I sought out a hike in Greenwater after hearing tales of its many lakes and lush land, settling on a 13-mile trek to see Greenwater, Meeker and Quinn lakes. The distance seemed about right for a sunny Saturday and the elevation promised not to climb above 4,100 feet. (I ended up walking much farther. And higher.)
This is a trail for water lovers. There wasn’t a moment when I was out of sight or sound of water, whether it be lakes, creeks, mini waterfalls or a river that alternated between playful and rough. I crossed at least six bridges in the first two miles and was delighted to have water for company since I didn’t see another soul until I reached my final destination, where some had set up camp.
The first few miles were easy going and I quickly arrived at the first of two Greenwater Lakes. In truth, it was more of a glorified pond to me but pretty nonetheless. It was nestled among evergreens and encircled by wetlands. A single brown goose floated on the water. The clear water gave glimpses of the timber beneath the surface and one of the creeks dumped directly into the lake.
I snapped a few shots and continued on, reaching the second lake – also known as Meeker Lake – in another half mile. It looked similar to the first but had clearer water and fewer inlets. The water was a milky aqua and I couldn’t help but relax as I gazed out on this tranquil scene.
From there, the trail led me back into a dense forest and sloped slightly up until I came to a junction where I had to choose between Quinn and Echo lakes. I stayed the path and kept climbing up, winding around gullies and occasionally leaping over little creeks that flowed across the path. Somewhere around five miles the scenery changed to huge rock outcroppings and I couldn’t help but recall the tales I'd heard in Iceland about "little people" who live among the stones.
Back in the forest, I was hiking along when I noticed a flash of emerald green to my left. It turned out to be Quinn Lake, flashing its brilliant color through the trees. Not wanting to wait for a designated path, I cut through the trees and picked my way over the soggy ground to stand by the lake’s edge. Up close, the water seemed dark and flat so I backed up several feet and sat on a log to better admire this gem of a lake.
The emerald color returned and the rays of bright sun streaked down to meet the water. Quinn Lake was accessible almost all the way around and at least two groups had popped up tents nearby. I was envious as I watched them gather wood or lounge, knowing that I still had at least 11 miles left.