Pyramid Lake trail….a beautiful spring jaunt

Pyramid CreekWith a busy week behind us and another looming ahead Ian and I decided nothing sounded better than staying close to home.  Of course “staying close to home” while residing at the North Cascades Institute environmental learning center presents a handful of hiking and exploring options, ranging from technical climbs to lake side strolls.  We decided a leisurely hike was in order and headed up the Pyramid Lake trail. 
The Pyramid Lake trail is special, in my mind, for a number of reasons.  The generally north facing aspect provides an ideal climate for cool, shade loving plants; Western Red Cedars line the trail; the sound of Pyramid Creek is constant and the reward at the end…..Sundews in the lake!

(Above) One of a few Bunchberry flowering along the trail.  (Top) Pyramid Creek.

One of my favorite past times is botanizing, but it is a timely endeavor.  But today was the day for it.  Time wasn’t an issue and I had my Pojar in hand.  While only a handful of plants were flowering along the trail: Bunchberry, Rosy twisted stalk, Salmonberry, and Crowberry I enjoyed examining, speculating and identifying a few others.  Aside from the flowers we spotted Deer fern fiddleheads, Coral root, Queen’s cup, False solomon’s seal, and young Oak fern.

Ian near the moaning tree
Ian listening to the Western Red Cedar

We also spent some time listening to this Western Red Cedar.  I’m not sure which came first, the fire or the lean, but this tree was definitely not standing up straight and it was speaking up on the matter!

Sundews on a floating log, in Pyramid Lake.

But the big discovery of the day was a fly in the Sundew!  I’d heard rumors of Sundews in Pyramid Lake but I had yet to see one, until today.  To top it off a bug was caught in one of the plants we photographed!
Sundew 3

The Sundew on the left has a bug!

After seeing the insect caught in the Sundew we wondered, how does it work?  The answer was at hand, we had our Pojar.  Apparently the Sundews use stalked, sticky tentacles to lure, ensnare and digest mosquitos, gnats and midges.  The insects supplement the Sundews “diet” which is often lacking due to the poor mineral content of the soil Sundews grow in.  Plants are so amazing!

Pyramid lake
Pyramid Lake with Pyramid Peak in the background.

While the highlight of the day was the lake and the Sundews we found there, the trail itself was perfect.  The dense overstory, wildflowers, new growth and constant rushing of the creek were exactly what we both needed;  reminding me that spring is magic and that natural world is the perfect calming agent.

Photos courtesy of Ian Rae and Jenny Lee


  1. Kelly

    oh wow! I want to go visit the sundews now!

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