Category Archives: Hiking

Seahurst Park

Over the weekend, we investigated a new park: Seahurst Park. It is just by the Sound down in Burian and it is a pleasant little park. We walked every inch of the park – it was only about 3 miles of trails total. So maybe it is just a park for the summer when you can actually go out in the water, but I wasn’t going to go for a swim in the 50F water when it was windy and 50F in the air.

So, all in all, we enjoyed our time at the park, but not much to talk about. Maybe check it out in the summer.

There is something really pleasant about the sweeping curve of a shoreline.

There is something really pleasant about the sweeping curve of a shoreline.

The crashing waves!!!

The crashing waves!!!

If we weren't on the beach we were on this sort of trail.

If we weren’t on the beach, we were on this sort of trail.

A seagull in it natural habitat, eating natural food. West coast birds are weird.

A seagull in its natural habitat, eating natural food. West coast birds are weird.

Rattlesnake Ridge

Last weekend we got a bit of a reprieve from the rain and cold of winter with a day that was both sunny and in the 60’s. We had to take advantage so we went our to Rattlesnake Ridge for a hike.

It is the closest hike east of Seattle on I-90 so it is a bit crowded, but we got up early in the morning and got out before the crowd. The hike was so clear and crisp, and it was a nice reprieve to get out into the woods. It was a longer hike than we had initially planned for at 15 miles, but the views from both of the lookouts were worth it.

The only downside was that there was a couple of miles at the end of our hike that was recently clear cut. This both made the hike less pleasant to look at and also much more treacherous with all the trees covering the trail. I think we’ll go back again in the summer, but we’ll turn around before the clear cut.

It was a crystal clear day, and the mountains were beautiful in the distance.

It was a crystal clear day and the mountains were beautiful in the distance.

And sometime you get Jasmine in the foreground.

And sometime you get Jasmine in the foreground. When I say it was warm, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there was no snow.

The early part of the trail was a open and airy.

The early part of the trail was open and airy.

By the time we got 5 miles in the trees got a lot more crowded, and the forest filled up.

By the time we got 5 miles in, the trees got a lot more crowded and the forest filled up.

The sad remnant of the clear cutting.

The sad remnant of the clear cutting.

Hagg Lake Hike

Happy new year! We went down to visit some family in Oregon over the Holidays and, as part of the trip, we went on a hike around Hagg Lake. First of all, the Portland area is interesting as there is a clear city center, some small amount of suburbs, and, about 15 miles outside of the city, are farmlands and small towns. Having lived in the sprawling Bay Area and SeaTac, I find it to be quite pleasant.

Hagg Lake is a pretty standard Pacific Northwest state park with a pretty lake, some evergreen forests, a ton of short hikes, and no end of mud in the winter. It was a pleasant walk around the boat ramp, and we would like to come back in the summer – better yet for the 10.5 mile run around the lake! One thing that I noticed on the walk is how pleasant cedar trees are to hike under. The needles are soft and allow water to drain while not getting bogged down in mud. I only noticed because the trail started mostly with beeches and maples which led to a very slippery and muddy trail, so the contrast was informative.

Jasmine made close friends with Allie on the way out.

Jasmine made close friends with Allie on the way out.

Pretty Lake! Also looked like it would be a very pleasant kayaking location.

Pretty lake! It also looked like it would be a very pleasant kayaking location.

The normal (Cedar covered) trail. Still a bit muddy and hilly which was interesting.

The normal (cedar covered) trail. Still a bit muddy and hilly which was interesting.

The lake was fed by a quite aggressive creek / river. This area probably looks much drier and swampier in the later summer.

The lake was fed by a quite aggressive creek / river. This area probably looks much drier and swampier in the later summer.

I made friends with Allie on the way back. She was quite muddy and insistent about jumping on me.

I made friends with Allie on the way back. She was quite muddy and insistent about jumping on me.

Soaring Eagle Park

For some reason we were smiled upon by the weather this weekend and, while it got below freezing, it was sunny! We needed to take advantage of the sun when it was around so we went on a hike at Soaring Eagle Park and the surrounding open space. It was a really pleasant walk; nothing crazy but some cool mountain views, a swamp, the obligatory lake, and 3 hours walking around on iced-over muddy trails.

There is a surprisingly large amount of open spaces around the park so we will certainly have to come back and explore all of the surrounding areas and enjoy all of the various walking paths in the area.

Half-frozen swamps. Only about a half inch of ice, so not enough to walk on by a fair bit.

Half-frozen swamps. Only about a half inch of ice, so not enough to walk on by a fair bit.

I wish I had remembered my DSLR instead of cell phone camera.

I wish I had remembered my DSLR instead of my cell phone camera.

Beaver home on beaver lake! Jasmine promised to bring a sewing machine upon request.

Beaver home on Beaver Lake! Jasmine promised to bring a sewing machine upon request for Christmas.

This is par for the course for the walking paths.

This is par for the course for the walking paths.

Fall on Whidbey Island

As it turns out, the one thing that Jasmine and I really like doing is taking ferry trips out to maritime Islands. I’m sure you couldn’t guess from reading the blog. So, this weekend, we took a trip up to Whidbey Island, one of the islands on the Sound. While you can drive the long way around and use a bridge to get on the island, it is much shorter for us to take the car ferry. It was only a one and a half hour trip from work and it is always delightfully refreshing to be relaxing on an island.

We weren’t really up to that much over the weekend; we just went on a lot of small hikes in the various small parks on the island. That and had delightful seafood. Non stop local oysters and local mussels for the win!

We were on the ball during the trip, really had our ducks in a row.

We were on the ball during the trip, really had our ducks in a row.

On the first night we got an awesome sunset on Double Bluff beach.

On the first night, we got an awesome sunset on Double Bluff Beach.

And lots of Heron. I assume that means lots of small fish but we couldn't verify.

And lots of herons. I assume that means lots of small fish, but we couldn’t verify.

And a fort visit, to Fort Casey.

And a fort visit to Fort Casey.

Equally opportunity ruined for visitors - Roman, Maori, Medieval, WWII or other.

Equally opportunity ruins for visitors – Roman, Maori, Medieval, WWII, or other.

Forestwalk! Now with Big trees! This was the trail on the way to the "Ancient Cedar." Not the first or last walk we have taken to see large or ancient trees.

Forestwalk! Now with Big Trees! This was the trail on the way to the “Ancient Cedar.” Not the first or last walk we have taken to see large or ancient trees.

Local Renton Walks

The weather was quite nice on Saturday, so we decided to go for a hike! The weather is very fickle and, in the winter, it really likes to rain, so you really have to take advantage of good weather when it appears. Rather than going anywhere special, we went for a local hike. As it turns out, there are some nice walks around here. If we walk a mile east, we dead end into a power line trail that seems like it goes forever. Maybe one day we will go further, but Saturday the rain kicked back up and we only made it 5 miles. On the plus side, it was a very pretty 5 miles.

Everyone is ready for fall!

Everyone is ready for fall!

Suburbia is real and exists in its bizarre bucolic caricature.

Suburbia is real and exists in its bizarre bucolic caricature.

Powerline trails are always a good sign for hikes near houses.

Powerline trails are always a good sign for hikes near houses.

The Autumn.

The Autumn.

Mason Lake

We happened to have a delightfully sunny and warm fall day that coincided with a weekend here in Seattle, so we decided to take advantage of it and go for a hike! I am always a fan of a good alpine lake, so we did a popular hike off of I-90 from the Ira Springs Trail Head to Mason Lake.

The key feature of this hike was our inability to read trail signs, such as a prominent one that said:

Mt. Bandera –>
Mason Lake  <–

We took a right. Inadvertent peak bagging is the best sort of peak bagging, right? On the plus side, we got some gorgeous views of Mt Rainer from the mountain so it wasn’t all bad.

Once we noticed our failure, we made it back to the split and onward to the lakes. Mason was nice and very scenic, but we trekked on to see some more of the lakes. We were rewarded with a delightful private lake to have a bit of a midafternoon snack on.

Overall, I give the hike a B+. It was all the things I loved (woods, lakes, outdoorsness) and all the things I hate (crazy crowded parking, crowded trails, and straight uphill for the first 2000 vertical ft) about hiking in the Seattle area. We will have to come back in spring and venture further into the lakes without failing prey to a tricky mountain pass.

The views of Mt. Rainier from the hike were rather stunning.

The views of Mt. Rainier from the hike were rather stunning.

The moment I realized we took a wrong turn, when the lake I wanted to get to was 800 ft down a cliff from me.

The moment I realized we took a wrong turn, when the lake I wanted to get to was 800 ft down a cliff from me.

But we made in the end. Perseverance and all that malarkey.

But we made it in the end. Perseverance and all that malarkey.

The alpine likes have the craziest crystal clear water.

The alpine lakes have the craziest crystal clear water.

The normal trail, amusingly on the north face there was already snow, even though we were only at ~4000 ft elevation.

The normal trail. Amusingly, on the north face, there was already snow even though we were only at ~4000 ft elevation.

Wandering Ballard

We went up to Ballard last weekend for some wandering around Seattle and made a good day out of it. We did what has become somewhat of a tradition and parked in Fremont, then walked down to Ballard. This time, we kept going through all the way to Discovery Park. Discovery Park is OK; it is just another quasi-crowded city park – with the advantage of having a beach on the west side. I don’t know that we will go back in the summer, but maybe when it cools down a bit in the fall.

Ballard is actually a pretty happening place these days and we did a bit of shopping and cafe hunting. The conclusion was that Ballard was indeed sufficiently hipster to have good coffee and quirky restaurants which is Jasmine and my jam.

Step 1: Find a raven that is keen about cycling.

Step 1: Find a raven that is keen about cycling.

There is a nice little rose garden by the Ballard Locks.

There is a nice little rose garden by the Ballard Locks.

The locks release there payload.

The locks release their payload.

Now with a salmon run. I believe that these are sockeye.

Now with a salmon run! I believe that these are sockeye.

The water was quite pretty, but quite cold. I got in about knee deep and I saw a school of smelt. a halibut, and two seals.

The water was quite pretty, but quite cold. I got in about knee deep and I saw a school of smelt. a halibut, and two seals.

Bellevue Parks

For the weekend, Jasmine and I did something a bit more chill: we hung out in our local parks in Bellevue. While we say that we live outside Seattle, our house is actually a little bit closer to Bellevue, which is certainly on its way to becoming as big of a city as Seattle. Overall, the park scene in Bellevue is OK, nothing too crazy, with a couple of nice little parks to go check out.

The best part about the parks trip is that Bellevue has an awesome cafe scene – even a Kiwi or Aussie couldn’t complain about their coffee. So we certainly sampled both the wares of the cafes as well as the air-conditioning in the mall in between park visits. A very fun and chill way to spend a day.

Marymoor park has a velodrome! We will have to take the bikes one day and go for a spin.

Marymoor Park has a velodrome! We will have to take the bikes one day and go for a spin.

Marymoor is also right on Lake Sammamish. Now with bonus waterlilies!

Marymoor is also right on Lake Sammamish. Now with bonus waterlilies!

The bird watching path was actually a nice little hike.

The bird watching path was actually a nice little hike.

Downtown park had a really cool circular water feature with waterfalls, a reflecting pool and everything.

Downtown Park had a really cool circular water feature with waterfalls and a reflecting pool.

Also I heard america loves its flags...

Also, I heard America loves its flags…

Lake Eleanor (Mt. Rainer)

After nearly a year in the Seattle area, we still hadn’t hiked around Mt. Rainer even though it is there just staring always at us. So we drove around to the northeast side and hike up the Mt. Eleanor route to a delightful alpine meadow with some awesome views of Mt. Rainer. It was a very chill hike for us, maybe only 1500 ft elevation change, and only 15 miles so we just got to spend the day looking at the sights and eating bagels by a creek.

Overall, the hike gets a 9 out of 10 – and if it weren’t for all of those pesky mosquitoes at the start and end of the hike – it would have been a solid 10. We will certainly go again.

The start of the hike was about 1 mile to Lake Eleanor.

The start of the hike was about 1 mile to Lake Eleanor.

The alpine meadow was one of the coolest places to walk around, just for the views.

The alpine meadow was one of the coolest places to walk around, just for the views.

We kept walking back down the trail and prettiness continued to occur.

We kept walking back down the trail and prettiness continued to occur.

Lunch spot.

Lunch spot.

Then we got some stunning gorge views of Rainer.

Then we got some stunning gorge views of Rainer.

One creature enjoyed the mosquitoes

One creature enjoyed the mosquitoes.