A Lake within a Lake

As told by Leo Bodensteiner

At sporadic intervals, when Seattle City Light draws Ross Lake down particularly low, a lake that was inundated by 1980’s damming event, reappears. Ashley and I had heard of the legendary Lost Lake so when old-timers told us it might emerge, we were ready.

It showed up in 2018 – I have attached a photo. This is near the mouth of Lightning Creek, looking easterly with the Skagit River to the left and the Lightning Creek valley to the right. The ground material is part of a large delta that was formed when a glacial dam burst on Lightning Creek and carried a TON of material down to be deposited at the mouth. We had to scale up 5-6 m along a steep embankment next to the river composed of loose gravel and cobble to get to the plateau that holds the lake.

You can see remnants of the trees that surrounded the lake. Ross Lake gauge was at 1480 feet and full pool is 1602.5 so the reservoir was down 122.5 feet when we were there on April 4, 2018 to get this photo.

Leo Bodensteiner is the US co-chair of the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission.