As it starts to warm up and get sunny everyday here in the Pacific Northwest, one thing is clear – Mt. Rainer dominates the skyline. To get into the season, we decided to go out to the mountain for a hike. Since it is only early May, a lot of the access roads are still closed so we picked a major road, Route 165, and drove as far as we could to Mowich Lake, stopping at the farthest open trail head.
So we got to do an awesome, and rather quiet, hike down to a river and up the hill to Mowich Lake, then back the “road” to the car. The one big bummer was that while I brought my nice camera, I forgot the SD card at home…. so I hope you all like cell phone pics. Overall, quite happy with the hike, but we will probably never do it again as there are just so many cool hikes to do around Rainer and this one doesn’t really stand out as awesome as it was.
The hike started as it should – a log bridge over a cascading creek.
Sometimes the shitty sensor of a cell phone camera makes a photo artsy?
Now with Rainier views!
Mowich Lake was still very frozen. It almost comes across in the picture, but the lake was a haunting, pale blue – probably the highlight of the trip.
The 5 mile hike back in 3 to 12 feet of sort-of-melting snow left something to be desired, unless you desired post-holing every step.
We only stayed on the Olympic Peninsula for two days and one night so we decided to splurge and stay at a nice B&B in Dungeness. It was quite pleasant and a bit different than our usual hotel or hired house experience. Major upsides include: B&B was a converted barn, nice in-bloom flower garden, and an magnificent sunset over the beach.
On day 2 we decided to check out the water rather than the mountains. There is a large spit out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca called the Dungeness Spit that is both a wildlife refuge for waterfowl and a long hike on the beach. We had a very pleasant hike, but I suppose it was a bit nondescript, just a long sandy walk with gorgeous views.
Overall, it was a fun trip and we will certainly go out to the Olympics again. Next time, maybe even go deep into the rain forest.
As mentioned awesome sunset! With bonus background Canada.
This picture has two bald eagles and a hawk. One day I might get a nice telephoto lens, but the thought of lugging it around…
My favorite beach, one with lots of skippable stones.
We thought ahead and took a photo of both of us together!!!!
We decided to go for a nice weekend trip since the weather looked like it was going to hold out for the weekend and were rewarded with a beautiful weekend on the Olympic peninsula. We hadn’t really gone out much previously but, as we now live next to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, we have no excuse not to go out more frequently.
On day one, we drove and ferried over to Olympic National Park and went for a hike to some waterfalls and around Lake Crescent. It was pretty in the standard Pacific Northwest way with the moderately dense cedar forests, cascading cascades, and obscenely clear blue lakes. As always, we were highly amused by the trails full of people up to the first picturesque site listed on the map and then clear of anyone afterward. As a general spoiler, we consider the walk its own reward.
Step one – drive 0.5 miles to the ferry. We live in a weird place.
The lake was a pleasant little walk since the main trail was under construction :(
Waterfall! Not even called bridal falls for a change of pace.
This was a singe tree bridge that was around 150 ft long. That is like 30 meters!
Now with thinking ahead pictures of Jasmine and Lloyd.
We missed “the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of pattens” and all of the other good that comes out of living close in to a city so we have given up the suburbs for a house in West Seattle. I’m sure one day both of us are more suited for the country, but not while we have to commute into jobs. Suburbia is full of compromises I would rather not make.
To say goodbye to the old house we went for a walk on our favorite circuit: down the Ceder River Trail to Lake Washington, then back through Renton with proper zigzagging through suburbs and parks. It is a nice 10 mile walk that we would do every other week or so, so I wanted to temporarily immortalize it through a blog post. For you, Renton, “Let us say not farewell, but as the French have it, au revoir!”
The Ceder River Trail is very nice for the three quarters not on the highway.
This bridge is a library! I would put King Country up for best library system.
And, finally, Lake Washington with that damn interloper Mercer Island.
Boeing lines up all the 737’s like ducks in a row by the water. The awesome turquoise color is the coating before painting.
There are some surprisingly nice vistas in Renton.
Now that it is fall, Jasmine and I are taking advantage of the season and going on hikes all over the greater Seattle area. This weekend, we took a trip northeast of here to the Tolt River Park in Carnation just off of the Snoqualmie River. It is fun to get out of the city and suburbs for a bit on the weekend and have an enjoyable day wandering around the trees and river.
The park was next to the town of Carnation which grew many of the titular flower so I had to include a picture of a flower farm.
The first part of the hike was the prettiest – a nice river crossing on a very wobbly bridge.
Behold my attempts at pretty photography.
There was access to the river so we got to spend time on the banks skipping stones.
And we also hiked up a mossy mountain trail which seemed like an appropriate name at time, though fern hill may have been more accurate.
This is a little bit out of time, but we went to North Carolina this summer and I am finally getting around to blogging about it. All of our NC trip is split into three parts: hanging out on the lake/ocean, glass blowing, and going for a hike in the Uwharrie.
Jasmine and I have hiked in the Uwharrie a couple of times before and it is a fairly nice place to hike. It is a pretty generic forest: rolling hills with a lake, a bit on the swampy side, and covered in mid-sized mixed trees. The hike we went on this time was a pleasant and an easy hike, but there was a good reason for that – we had our nephew on the trail with us. Overall, I would say 8 out of 10 would hike again – hopefully when it is cooler and less humid.
Our fearless leader.
There were a lot of spiders and spider webs on the hike – I think this butterfly may be part of the reason.
Look! Generically pleasant hiking trail! I quite liked it.
This backed up stream was quite gross and the blackest water I have ever seen.
After spending most of the summer with sailing lessons on Lake Union, we decided to switch it up and go for a nice long hike in the Snoqualmie National Forest. And after not being in the mountains for a while, it was delightful to go for a hike again. The trail was moderately well traveled with a 15 mile round trip and 2100 ft of elevation gain. Not too shabby for a first walk back in while, but we were both tired the next day.
We got to see a bunch of alpine lakes which, as is the usual case, were nicer the higher you went up in altitude. The coolest part of the whole deal was that the second highest lake was the shade of turquoise blue you only find at higher elevations and had a family of otters swimming around it. I have never seen otters anywhere but Monterrey, so that was pretty cool.
Trees! Everybody likes cedar forests.
The trail was not that steep to walk up, but it was steep against the grain.
Pretty Blue Lake. Otters not pictured.
Alpine lake. Swimming Lloyds pictured.
Fording the streams in the US is a bit more civilized than in NZ.
What’s that you say; I just left a cliffhanger for our Bay Area trip? No conclusions, no finality, and weeks later you want to know what we were up to. Well, I guess I can finish the story of the trip out.
After hanging out in the South Bay for a while, we went up to Sonoma for the real point of our trip: our friends Scott and Marilyn’s wedding. The wedding was nice and set up at the Sonoma Golf Club which was a pretty cool venue.
Other than the wedding, we went on a couple of hikes in the area. Nothing particularly spectacular, just the normal NorCal fare, and did the obligatory wine tasting. Rather than just go to a couple of wineries like we normally do, we classed it up and did a wine and food pairing lunch at St. Francis which was a lot of fun and highly worth it.
So that was our Bay Area trip in a nutshell. It was chill, which is how I like it.
Sonoma was dry, but pleasant.
Double Jasmine. At the B&B.
We stopped at my favorite SF coffee shop on the way back: The Interval. Bet you can’t guess why.
Apparently, there was some sort of youth sailing event. I think they were in Optimists.
Some sunny warm weather rolled in over the weekend, so we took advantage of it the only way we know how: hiking! For a change of pace we checked out a new area, Black Diamond Natural Area and the 4 or 5 surrounding county parks. BDNA ended up being more of a trail mountain bike area with a bunch of bike-only loop trails so that was a bust, but all of the surrounding parks were quite pleasant walks. We ended up making a pleasant 10 mile walk out of it and we’ll have to make it out again to check out 2 of the surrounding parks: Ravensdale and Lake Sawyer in the future.
The trails were mostly wide gravel, which led to a chill vibe.
Mountain bike trails brought to you by the local church outreach. We have now reached peak Pacific Northwest.
Best views of the day were lakes, as is often the case. I don’t think you can see it, but this picture has a bald eagle harrying some geese. We were rooting for the eagle.
I like tree tunnel trails.
We lucked out with nice weather over the weekend and took advantage of it on Saturday to go for a hike in Bellevue. Sometime last year, we visited the Bellevue Botanical Garden and noticed that there was a trail that went through the garden called the Lake to Lake Trail between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. So we went up to the garden again and started walking east on the trail.
At the end of the day, we only made it around 2 of the lakes, Phantom and Larson Lakes. It was funny that on the way out we were bleh on the trail as it was half in parks and half on road but, on the way back, we went on the Northern loop and it was quite pleasant. I think we will have to come back and just check out the east side of the trail.
Larsen Lake was full of ducks. They couldn’t decide if they were scared or wanted bread.
Also, a you-pick blueberry orchard on the the hike.
Half of the walk was trails in the woods.
And half was through the roads.
Our final destination was Phantom Lake, home of only corporeal beings.