13 – Samish Park

Within the Chuckanut Mountains, Lake Samish is not a place that I often think of when setting out for a hike, but with well over three miles of trails from the shore up through its steep, densely forested slopes, the 39-acre Samish Park is exactly where I headed this morning.

Me . . at the lookout at Samish Park

With the sound of a fast moving creek almost constant as I hiked the trails today, there were also several waterfalls. The most spectacular, barely fifty feet off the trail. At least thirty-feet wide, it was one giant wall of water pouring over a massive cliff.

Huge waterfall . . . along the trail at Samish Park

The Lakeshore Trail (.7 miles in length) is rated moderate, but I found it required little effort and was quite easy. However, the Hillside Trail (1.3 miles in length) is rated strenuous, and I agree as I felt it was a good climb up its series of switchbacks. In addition, I found many smaller trails branching off and looping back to the main Hillside Trail. Taking some of those trails at least twice, I probably covered over twice the distance of the combined Lakeshore and Hillside Trails.

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Relaxing along the shore of Lake Samish enjoying a snack at the end of my hike, I couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of Samish Park.

Taking a break . . . after hiking the trails back down to the shore of Lake Samish

12 – Heart and Whistle Lakes

The Lake Erie Grocery has the most charming shopkeeper! His supply of trail maps for the Anacortes Community Forest Lands was sold out, so he drew the route we needed for today’s hike on the map in a Kiwanis flyer that he had and sent us happily on our way around Heart and Whistle Lakes.

The charming shopkeeper at the Lake Erie Grocery

With 50 miles of trails meandering through the Anacortes Community Forest Lands (ACFL), having a map is almost essential if one wants to do much more than simply hike the parameter of the lakes. What I call “wild” lakes, Heart and Whistle Lakes are not particularly large lakes, and sort of shaped like their names, a heart and a whistle. Protected by the surrounding forest, their waters are relatively calm, yet it is not uncommon to see huge trees that have blown down into the lakes.

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The mass of trails weave a maze of sorts around lakes, past bogs, even beaver ponds, and up and down the hills through the forest. Look at this map closely and you will see that each red marking identifies a different trail!

Trail map for Whistle Lake . . . a huge maze of trails, and their descriptions

Often with spectacular views, like from the top of Mount Erie or Sugar Loaf, I’ve hiked some of these trails already, and look forward to returning to explore even more.

Me . . . at Whistle Lake

The Friends of the Forest is an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands through education, outreach and stewardship. More information about their organization and the Anacortes Community Forest Lands, including where to obtain trail maps, can be found here – http://www.friendsoftheacfl.org/content.cfm?contentid=15.

11 – Woodstock Farm

With two-hours between rain showers predicted for the afternoon, I hoped that would be plenty of time to hike to Woodstock Farm and thoroughly explore the trails there.

Me . . . along the trail at Woodstock Farm

Like my hike to Teddy Bear Cove, I began again at the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead parking lot, followed the Hemlock Trail and continued onto the Interurban Trail. This time though, at the Spokane Street intersection, I left the Interurban Trail and walked west along Spokane Street until I reached Chuckanut Drive. After carefully crossing Chuckanut Drive, the entrance for Woodstock Farm was only a short walk to the north.

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Delightfully, the rain did hold off for the entire two hours that I was out on the trails today!

Information about Woodstock Farm can be found here – http://www.cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/woodstock-farm.aspx .

10 – Teddy Bear Cove

The sun was shining and I couldn’t resist being outdoors, so I hiked to Teddy Bear Cove. I began my hike from the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead parking lot along Chuckanut Drive, following the Hemlock Trail until it intersected with the Interurban Trail.

Starting my hike . . . along the Hemlock Trail . . .

Once on the Interurban Trail, within a half mile, I was crossing Chuckanut Drive and beginning my descent along the Teddy Bear Cove Trail to the beach below.

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Because this wasn’t particularly a long hike, I took the time to explore every little trail up and down and around the cove before making myself comfortable on a sandstone boulder on the beach and putting my feet up on a smaller one. Eating a snack that I had brought along, I couldn’t help but think, “Oh, what a wonderful life!” as I looked out at Chuckanut Bay.

Kicking back on the beach . . . at Teddy Bear Cove

Directions to the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead can be found here –http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/trails/chuckanut.jsp#northchuckanut. Information and a map of the Hemlock Trail can be found here – http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/trails/hemlock.jsp. Information and a map of the Interurban Trail can be found here –http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/trails/interurban.jsp. And information and a trail map for Teddy Bear Cove can be found here – http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/trails/interurban.jsp.

Happy trails . . .

09 – Post Point to Fairhaven Park

Seeking protection from today’s impending rain and wind, there was barely a sprinkle as we set off on a hike from the Post Point Lagoon to Fairhaven Park, and back.

Me . . . at the Post Point Lagoon

Beginning at the lagoon, we first took the Lower Padden Creek Trail, then the Fourth Street Loop Trail and then continued on to the Larrabee Trail. Connecting with the Interurban Trail, we followed that to Fairhaven Park. Protected from the sprinkles and wind that were starting to brew, I felt this stretch of the trail especially tranquil.

Along the Fairhaven Trail

Once at Fairhaven Park, we explored a few of the smaller trails there, then turned around and followed the same series of trails back to our starting point at the Post Point Lagoon. By the time our hike was finished, the storm had picked up force and strong gusts of wind were blowing, and with the wind, came a steady rain.

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For more information about the Interurban Trail and a map, go here –http://www.cob.org/documents/parks/parks-trails/trail-guide/interurban.pdf.

08 – Civic Trail

Today’s hike along the Civic Trail meant yet another day of fun in the snow!

Me . . . at the big tree along the Civic Trail
I especially like that once on the Civic Trail, I can easily connect to the trail that goes through the Salmon Park, and then on to the system of trails along Whatcom Creek. If I am feeling especially ambitious, I can hike from the Civic Athletic Complex all the way to Whatcom Falls Park, on to Lake Whatcom, or even further.

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My home is about a half mile from the trailhead for the Civic Trail, so today I walked, but there is ample parking available at the Civic Athletic Complex if one does drive or bike to the trailhead.
It was a beautiful day to walk from my neighborhood to the Civic Athletic Complex
For more information about the Civic Trail, or directions, follow this link – http://www.cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/civic-athletic-complex.aspx. Scroll down the list of amenities on that web page to the pdf for “trails”, then click to download the map and trail information.

07 – South Bay Trail

With more snow falling last night, a hike along the South Bay Trail to Fairhaven seemed most appropriate.

Me . . . along the South Bay Trail

Living just under a mile from the trailhead in downtown Bellingham, my trek started from home with a total roundtrip distance of approximately 5-1/2 miles. The walk was absolutely beautiful and I was impressed at how many others were out enjoying the snowy weather too.

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06 – Whatcom Creek and Waterline Trails

With a light dusting of snow on the ground, I decided a hike along Whatcom Creek would be a great way to enjoy the winter day. With the Whatcom Creek Trail barely a mile from my home, I opted to take a walk through the neighborhood rather than drive my car to reach the trailhead.

Walking through the neighborhood to the trailhead, very light snow is falling

From the Whatcom Creek trailhead at Meador Street, it is only a short distance to the trail’s I-5 underpass, and then an easy hike along the creek. Following the Whatcom Creek Trail to Woburn Street, I followed the sidewalk along Woburn Street until I came to the trailhead for the Waterline Trail. Following the Waterline Trail for quite a distance up the hill toward Whatcom Falls Park, I eventually turned around, headed back to Woburn Street and then cut through city streets again until I reached the trail that goes through Salmon Park. Following that trail, I again intersected with the Whatcom Creek Trail and followed it back to my starting point at Meador Street, heading back home. A distance of approximately six miles was covered and it was such a beautiful hike with the added beauty from the dusting of snow along the trails.

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05 – Sehome Hill Arboretum

Not a stranger to any of the trails at the Sehome Hill Arboretum, I believe I have hiked up and down every one of them before (see: More from Really Rose: Sehome Hill Arboretum Trails ), but my friend Dena had never been there before. The Sehome Hill Arboretum is close by, and I knew it would be the perfect place to take her for an afternoon hike.

Dena at the Tunnel Through Time along the old Huntoon Road

And she loved it there! The Sehome Hill Arboretum has everything one could ask for on a hike – it’s located close by, it has a water view, there is a mountain view, there is a tunnel, there are huge sandstone rocks to climb around on, it is in the forest, and there is even an observation tower at the very top.

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Follow this link – http://www.cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/sehome-arboretum.aspx– for information on the Sehome Hill Arboretum and directions for getting there.

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