Monthly Archives: March 2012

37 – Lake Terrell and Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

Having wanted to explore the trails around Lake Terrell for some time, and by adding in the trail through the nearby Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve, it made for a great hike. Somewhat of an adventure, it turned out not quite as easy to find the entrance to Lake Terrell as it would have been had we brought a map along, but persistent enough to drive around in the general vicinity for a long enough time, we finally found the lake.

Lake Terrell Game Range

Parking near our first sighting of signage for Lake Terrell, we followed a trail around the shore of the lake to a public fishing dock.

At Lake Terrell . . .

Continuing on past the main parking lot and another public dock, we enjoyed great views of the Lake.

Lake Terrell . . .

And explored its shore.

At Lake Terrell . . .

After we were content that we had explored enough at Lake Terrell, we returned to the car and set off to find the Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve. Again a bit of an adventure, even though we had recently explored the beach portion of the Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve (see Hike #35 – Point Whitehorn from Birch Bay State Park), having had a map along would have come in handy when it came to finding the park entrance from the street side.

Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve entrance

The trail through the reserve passes over wetlands as it winds its way through a forest scattered with Sitka Spruce.

Trail through Sitka spruce . . . Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

Having brought slices of homemade pizza along for lunch, we sat on a bench and enjoyed our picnic and the picturesque view from the top of the bluff.

The view from the viewpoint . . . Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

The trail continues along the bluff to more viewpoints before it leads down to the beach, but after our picnic, we backtracked to the trailhead. Seeing masses of wild bleeding hearts and wild ginger growing along the trail, what a treat it would be to re-visit this park later in the spring when they are both in bloom.

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36 – Arroyo Park and Teddy Bear Cove – from Fairhaven Park

Only a mile and a half from Fairhaven Park, following the Interurban Trail, today’s destination was Arroyo Park.

Arroyo Park

Once entering Arroyo Park, the trail follows along Padden Creek, then crossing at a footbridge, connects with the Hemlock Trail.

Bridge over Padden Creek . . . at Arroyo Park

Along the Hemlock Trail, there are options to connect with many of the other trails within the Chuckanut Mountain trail system as you work your way around the lower portion of Chuckanut Mountain. Passing by a few remnants from the era of the Interurban Railway that once connected Bellingham to Mount Vernon, the trail finally works its way through Arroyo Park and reconnects with the Interurban Trail.

Remnants of the old Interurban Railway

Since the route we had followed through Arroyo Park had been an easy trail and it was a lovely afternoon, we decided to continue on to Teddy Bear Cove before making our trek back to Fairhaven Park, and what a great decision that had been. We practically had the entire park to ourselves as we sat and enjoyed the view of the islands from atop of the bluff.

On the bluff . . . above Teddy Bear Cove

After exploring Teddy Bear Cove, we hiked the trail back up Chuckanut Mountain from the beach, followed the Interurban Trail until to the Hemlock trail. Following that trail back through Arroyo Park, we reconnected with the Interurban Trail and returned to our starting point at Fairhaven Park.

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35 – Point Whitehorn from Birch Bay State Park

Wanting to soak up some of the day’s sunshine, we headed to Birch Bay. Parking near the camping area at Birch Bay State Park, we followed a short trail through the woods and crossed the street to the beach.

At Birch Bay . . .

Having checked the tide tables for Cherry Point/Birch Bay before leaving home, we were confident that we had plenty of time for a hike following the beach to Point Whitehorn – and back – before the tide would reach a high enough point to cut off our beach access around the point.

Along the beach . . . at Point Whitehorn

There was plenty of time to explore the beach – and enjoy a picnic. Turns out, Birch Bay and Point Whitehorn are great areas for eagle watching. One flew right over us, perched up in a tree high on the cliff behind the beach and sang us its song as we dined.

Making us lunch . . . on the beach at Point Whitehorn

Another eagle entertained us as we followed the shore back to Birch Bay. Crows followed in its path as it dove down to the water and soared back up.

Eagle and Canadian mountains . . . at Birch Bay

For information on accessing the beach at Point Whitehorn from Birch Bay State Park, go here – http://whatcom.kulshan.com/Washington/Whatcom%20County/Western%20Whatcom%20County/Birch%20Bay/Outdoors/Point%20Whitehorn.htm. Note that a portion of the tidelands and the uplands around the point are privately owned. The potential for being cut off from beach access back to Birch Bay by rising tides is possible, so if you plan on returning that way, you should check the tide tables first. The Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve is just south of those privately owned areas, so if you do find yourself cut off from beach access by the tide, locate the trail that leads up the bluff, follow it through the forest reserve and walk along the streets back to Birch Bay State Park.

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34 – Lost Lake – North Lost Lake Trail

It was back to Chuckanut Mountain for me today for the long hike to Lost Lake – and back. Beginning at the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead parking lot, first I followed the Hemlock Trail.

Along the Hemlock Trail . . .

For 1.2 miles, that trail winds its way through the forest as it climbs up the mountain until reaching the junction for the North Lost Lake Trail. I paused long enough to admire this falls alongside the Hemlock Trail.

The falls . . . along the Hemlock Trail

From the Hemlock Trail, the North Lost Lake Trail continues the climb over Chuckanut Mountain in pretty much a north to south direction for approximately four miles. Reaching a maximum elevation of around 1,600 feet, it felt a long, steady climb, and I stopped in the sunshine at about the half-way point for a quick break of water and an apple.

Water break along the trail . . . about half way to Lost Lake

The entire Chuckanut Mountain trail system seems very well marked at each trailhead with easy to read signs that indicate the distance to many popular hiking destinations – such as the Interurban Trail, Chuckanut Ridge Trail, Huckleberry Point, Madrone Crest, Raptor Ridge and Pine & Cedar Lakes. Well marked, that is, until just before Lost Lake!

Near Lost Lake there were two trail options – one to the left (east) and the other to the right (west), but the signs on the posts for each of those trails were gone. According to the Chuckanut Mountain trail map I carried in my backpack, the trail to the left continued to the shore of Lost Lake and the trail to the right followed along a ridge above the lake before it meandered down to Fragrance Lake and continued down the mountain, coming out at the Fragrance Lake trailhead along Chuckanut Drive near the main entrance to Larrabee State Park.

At approach to Lost Lake, trail signs are missing . . .

Since I had parked at the North Chuckanut Trailhead parking lot, not the Fragrance Lake parking lot, taking the trail to the right didn’t seem like where I wanted to go, so I took the trail to the left. At first the trail was easy to follow, but after about a quarter of a mile, it passed through several boggy, muddy areas where it was difficult to tell exactly where the trail continued once mucking through each stretch of mud. There were a couple of places where so many logs covered the trail that it was impossible for me to be able climb over, so I removed my backpack, pass it through and climbed under. I noticed several pink plastic ties on logs and trees and hoped that they marked the trail. I tried to follow them, but eventually could see no more of them once I reached a big, muddy bog that seemed impossible for me to cross. It was then that I realized that I had completely lost the trail.

I lost the trail to Lost Lake in this muddy bog

My goal was Lost Lake. The lake appeared larger than Fragrance Lake on my map, and I had hiked to Fragrance Lake many times (see: http://really-rose.blogspot.com/search?q=fragrance+lake) with no difficulty. I expected hiking to Lost Lake would be just as easy, but obviously I was wrong. When I lost the trail to the muddy bog, I turned around and backtrack to the other trail that was missing its sign. This trail, just about as muddy as the other one, at least clearly followed the ridge, and gave me peek-a-boo views of Lost Lake.

Looking down to Lost Lake . . . from trail along the ridge

Once having made several sightings of Lost Lake from up on the ridge, I turned around and began the long hike down the mountain to the North Chuckanut Trailhead parking lot. I was a rather muddy girl by then.

Mud girl turns around and begins the 5-mile hike back to starting point . . .

As I made the trek back, I was content that I had accomplished a great day of hiking even though I had not actually reached the shore of Lost Lake. I also knew that I will want to make the hike to Lost Lake again. Next time, maybe from the Fragrance Lake side, and most likely during the hot, dry part of summer – rather than the cool, wet early Spring.

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My favorite part of the North Lost Lake Trail was a portion where a mossy falls feeds a creek that flows over the trail. The stream flowed right along the trail, crossed the trail, yet there were enough big rocks along that stream to make crossing easy. I recorded a video of that falls while I was there (go here – Waterfalls Over Trail) to view.

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33 – Whatcom Creek – Trails Above the Gorge

Discovering a dirt trail along the south side of the ridge above the Whatcom Creek gorge while following the Waterline Trail to Whatcom Falls Park the other evening (go here – 60before60-YouTube-Whatcom-Falls – to view my video of Whatcom Falls just before sunset taken during that walk), I knew I would be back to explore that trail more thoroughly.

Dirt trail along ridge above the Whatcom Creek gorge

A wilder, more rugged trail system with several shorter, off-shoot trails leading to views of the creek far below, this trail offers a view of the lookout point on the other side of the creek. Go here – https://60before60.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/08-checking-out-the-view.jpg – to see a photo taken during Hike #25 – Whatcom Falls when we were checking out the view from the other side.

Looking across to the viewpoint on the north side of the creek

Beginning at the Bellingham Civic Athletic Complex, I first followed the Civic Trail until I connected with the Waterline Trail along Woburn Street, and followed that to the Whatcom Creek Greenway Trail that leads into Whatcom Falls Park.

Me . . . Along the Waterline Trail

Once at Whatcom Falls Park, I thoroughly explored the park and creek shore. Then visiting the Bellingham Fish Hatchery, I watched as the fish in one of the tanks were being fed.

Bellingham Fish Hatchery . . . at Whatcom Falls Park

Continuing out of Whatcom Falls Park along a trail that leads to Bloedel Donovan Park, I turned around at about the midway point and backtracked to the Whatcom Falls. From there, I followed the Whatcom Creek Greenways Trail until I had reached the trailhead for those dirt trails. Turning off from the main trail, I thoroughly explored the ridge above the Whatcom Creek Gorge along those more rugged trails.

Along the dirt trail . . . above the creek gorge

When I came to the end of those dirt trails, I reconnected with the Waterline Trail and followed that back to Woburn Street. Crossing Woburn Street, I connected with the Whatcom Creek Trail on the north side of the creek and continued on through Salmon Park, eventually reconnected with the Civic Trail and returned to my starting point.

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This turned out to be a fairly long hike. Often curious about how many miles I actually cover during some of my hikes, I really should consider getting a pedometer.

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32 – Squires Lake Park

Have you ever sat in your car hopeful that a hail storm that had started just moments before you pulled into the parking lot would quickly move on so that you could set out on a trail? Well, that is exactly how this hike began.

Waiting out the hail storm . . . in the parking lot

Certain there was a hint of brightness in the sky to the south, it seemed that almost as fast as the hail had started, it turned to rain and just as quickly those storm clouds continued their journey north. Better than being caught by a hail storm while out on the trail (like I had only days before – see https://60before60.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/31-stimpson-family-nature-reserve/), it really is amazing what a difference fifteen or twenty minutes can make!

Squires Lake Trail . . . slightly hailed upon

Maintained by Whatcom County Parks, Squires Lake Park straddles the Whatcom and Skagit County lines. From the trailhead, a quick series of switchbacks climbs approximately 500′ to reach Squires Lake.

At Squires Lake . . .

Once at the lake, there are two main hiking options – one to an old beaver pond, and the other makes a big loop around the lake.

Checking out the Squires Lake Park trail map . . .

First we followed the trail to the beaver pond.

Beaver Pond . . . at Squires Lake Park

Then we continued on the Squires Lake Loop Trail.

Moss covered trail section . . . at Squires Lake Park

We found another trail, the South Ridge, branching off the Squires Lake Loop trail so followed that. It led us to a nearly-overgrown viewpoint of the trees in the valley below with barely a peek at the old Bell-Alger quarry. I find the geology of the Squires Lake area rather interesting, and information about that can be found here – http://nwgeology.wordpress.com/the-fieldtrips/the-chuckanut-formation/geology-of-squires-lake-and-the-alger-alp/.

Viewpoint along the South Ridge Trail at Squires Lake Park

For a more ambitious hike, there are additional trails that connect Squires Lake Park to the trail that leads up to the Alger Alp (go here, to see https://60before60.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/02-alger-alp-little-baldy/ photos from when I did that hike). For today’s hike though, we stayed within the park boundaries.

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It was Saint Patrick’s Day, and Kent was wearing the green!

Wearing the green . . . on Saint Patrick's Day

Categories: Hiking, Nature, Photography, Skagit County, Whatcom County | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

31 – Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

The Stimpson Family Nature Reserve is the perfect example of what I consider a Pacific Northwest rain forest. Having hiked the reserve before, I had never been able to fully appreciate the beautiful forest setting as much as I did today. My previous visits had been only during those rare hot, dry periods we occasionally get during the high point of our short summers. Sure, there was always moss hanging from the trees, but it was dry, lacked color and was not plush, and the streams had always been reduced to no more than a trickle along side dusty trails. Today the forest was beautiful! Those stream beds were nearly overflowing with current, and the moss was plump as if visibly stretching out to absorb the moist air and enjoy the sun filtering down through the trees. Wow, what a difference lots of rain makes!

Forest thick with mosses . . .

From the trailhead at the parking lot along the Lake Louise Road, I followed the entry trail past the beaver pond until I had reached the Main Loop Trail. Heading left on that trail for a short distance, I turned off on the trail to Geneva Pond.

Geneva Pond . . .

After completing the 1.2 mile loop around Geneva Pond, I rejoined the Main Loop Trail, and continued along the 2.8 mile loop around the reserve. The sun was shining through big breaks in the clouds when I began my hike, but dark clouds had moved in while I was on the trail. Getting hit by the surprise of a fast but furious hail-turned-to-rain shower during my last mile or so along the trail, I was glad that I had crammed my rain slicker into my daypack before I left home.

Slightly wet . . . from a sudden hail turned to rain shower

It was only a short downpour, and by the time I had rejoined the trail that took me back to the parking lot, the sun was out again and I was nearly dry.

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30 – Lake Whatcom Park – Hertz Trail

Still a favorite, the Hertz Trail is a year-round, easy access trail that I have been frequenting for the last thirty years. Even on a heavily overcast, rainy day, because the trail so closely follows the shore of Lake Whatcom, the feeling of natural daylight seems to bounce off the lake and grace my every step. These sandstone cliffs appeared to take on an extra glow from the constant drizzle.

Sandstone cliffs along the Hertz Trail

Cozy at home the day before as I looked out my living room window at the heavy winds rocking the trees in my neighborhood, I wondered what new blowdowns might be discovered along the trails. Sure enough, a couple of trees had come crashing down along the Hertz Trail.

Blowdowns over the Hertz Trail . . .

Surrounded by twisted logs and tangled branches, the smell of damp, freshly bruised tree greeted me as I stepped my way through a mass of broken limbs.

Stepping over the blowdowns along the Hertz Trail

Here I am, slightly damp from rain, at the turn around point at the end of the trail.

A slightly rained-on me . . . at the end of the Hertz Trail

Originally the route for the old Bellingham Bay and Eastern Railway that was used to transport coal from the Blue Canon Mine in the early 1900s, the Hertz Trail follows a portion of that railroad easement. For more information, see the Rails-to-Trails Conserancy link – http://www.traillink.com/trail/hertz-trail.aspx – at http://TrailLink.com). The trail is 3.1 miles from beginning to end with a few of short side trails – one to a  viewpoint for a falls, and others to quiet beaches. Recording a short video of that falls before heading up that side trail, you can go here – Hertz Trail Falls – to view on YouTube. By including all of the side trails and making the round trip, this hike can be stretched to almost 6-1/2 miles. The trail is well maintained and except for the last half mile, even on a day with constant rain, there is very little water to slosh through along the route.

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Categories: Hiking, Nature, Photography, Whatcom County | 1 Comment

29 – Lake Padden Loop Trail

The forested side of the Loop Trail around Lake Padden, provided enough of a canopy to protect us from the few light rain showers we encountered.

(Pic by Dena) Dena and I along the Lake Padden Loop Trail

We had fun and met friends along the trail.

Making fido friends . . . along the Lake Padden Loop Trail

An easy 2.6 mile trek, after Dena and I had finished casually walking around Lake Padden, feeling the need for a little more exercise myself, I went back and power walked the trail again. Finishing that second time in about one half hour, I felt satisfied with that extra amount of exercise.

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28 – Nooksack River Dike Trail

We parked at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Public Access Area near the Nooksack River along the Slater Road, and hiked along the Nooksack River Dike Trail from Slater Road to Marine Drive – then back.

Bridge over Nooksack River - along Slater Road

Next we continued on to Tennant Lake and Hovander Homestead Park – and then back. Probably close to six miles of trail was covered. All were easy, flat, well-established trailbeds with only a few places submerged in water – not deep enough to deter us though.

Kent . . . along the trail to Hovander Homestead Park

 Here we are, along the bridge to Hovander Homestead Park.

Us . . . along the trail

And even more photos . . .

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