Monthly Archives: April 2013

134 – Squires Lake

Squires Lake has turned out to be one of our favorite County Parks. We hike their often, sometimes continuing on to Alger Alp, other times on to the beaver pond, and other times along the Ridge Trail (see Hike #27 – Squires Lake to Alger Alp, Hike #32 – Squires Lake Park and Hike #14 – Alger Alp). We like Squires Lake Park because it has a different feel than most of our county parks. Rather than big fields of carefully manicured lawns, picnic tables and shelters, this park is but a steep trail through a forest to a sweet little lake. Today we hiked up to the lake with our fishing gear.

The trail to Squires Lake

The trail to Squires Lake

And we spent the afternoon fishing.

Casting . . .

Casting . . .

I’m reeling in a very tiny fish. Although the locals say there are some nice trout in Squires Lake, this one was definitely not a keeper.

The little one that got away

The little one that got away

Whether hiking out of the park with a stringer full of fish or not, Squires Lake is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon!

Boot shot

Boot shot

More information about Squires Lake Park is available on the Whatcom County Parks website, here  http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/squires/index.jsp; and fishing regulations for the lakes in Washington State can be found here – http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/ .

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Categories: Hiking, Nature, San Juan County, Skagit County, Whatcom County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

133 – Heybrook Fire Lookout

Fire lookouts are one of my favorite hiking destinations, and clear skies made this the perfect day to hike to the Heybrook Fire Lookout for the magnificant views.

Registering for Heybrook Fire Lookout hike

Registering for Heybrook Fire Lookout hike

The trail is a bit rugged in places as it works its way 850′ up through a now mossy forest that had been clearcut in the 1920s.

(pic by Kent) Along the trail to the fire lookout

(pic by Kent) Along the trail to the fire lookout

Constructed in 1965 and staffed until the early 1970’s, the original lookout was designed by former Washington State governor Dan Evans and rebuilt by Everett Mountaineer volunteers. The hike, described as “short and sweet and a tad bit steep” on the Washington Trails Association (WTA) website, is definitely worth the effort.

Kent by the Heybrook Fire Lookout

Kent by the Heybrook Fire Lookout

We climbed the sixty-seven steps to the observation deck where we could see Mount Persis, Mount Index, Philadelphia Mountain with even more peaks in the distance. What a great way to experience this piece of history!

At the top of the Heybrook Fire Lookout

At the top of the Heybrook Fire Lookout

More information and recent trip reports about the Heybrook Fire Lookout is available on the WTA website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/heybrook-lookout.

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Categories: Hiking, Nature, Photography, Snohomish County | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

132 – Swakane Canyon

Listed in the book, Desert Hikes Washington by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer, Swakane Canyon sounded like an area we would enjoy exploring. In the Wenatchee Valley for several days of hiking, we were able to spend an afternoon there.

Swakane Canyon Trailhead

Swakane Canyon Trailhead

Swakane Canyon covers a large area, and the trail, an old road, steadily gains in elevation and seems to go on almost indefinitely. The view seems to go on forever too as with no real turn-around point along the trail, you simply hike up and around the hills until you have had enough and are ready to turn around. We had covered approximately eleven miles by the time we returned to the trailhead.

Swakane Canyon . . . along the trail

Swakane Canyon . . . along the trail

While wildfires burned through most of Swakane Canyon last fall, the wildflowers are quick to return. We spotted arrow leaf balsom root, bluebells, shooting stars and many more.

Wildflowers of Swakane Canyon

Wildflowers of Swakane Canyon

More information and recent trip reports for Swakane Canyon are available on the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/swakane-canyon.

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Categories: Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

131 – Hammond Lake

A trail likely blazed by locals heading to their favorite fishing spot along the shore of Hammond Lake, one of the small lakes making up the Rock Island Ponds complex off of Highway SR-28, turned out to be a beautiful hike as the guys fished from kayaks.

Trail around Hammond Lake

Trail around Hammond Lake

Even though a small lake of only 24.2 acres, I managed to log nearly three miles of hiking time along the trail, through an orchard, along the county road and along the edge of the bordering golf course.

Lake Hammond

Lake Hammond

The blossoms in the orchard were absolutely beautiful!

Orchard blooms near Lake Hammond

Orchard blooms near Lake Hammond

Go here – http://gamefishin.com/rpts/Reports.asp?State=WA&County=Douglas&Body=Rock%20Island%20Ponds – for more information on the Rock Island Ponds.

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Categories: Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

130 – Sage Hills

The drive up the narrow, steeply rutted Horselake Road, twisting sharply as it climbed up the very edge of Sage Hill made it feel like quite an adventure just to reach the trailhead. Right from the beginning of this hike, the views of the Wenatchee Valley below were wonderful, getting even better as the trail continued to take us even higher.

Sage Hills Trail System

Sage Hills Trail System

Scars remain from the wildfires that ravaged these hills in 2010 and again last fall. Often seeming harshly obvious by the contrast of the bright and cheery arrow leaf balsam root blooms next to the bare, charred remains of what was once a field of sage brush. Sometimes even our footsteps stirred up the charred aroma left over from those fires.

Arrow Leaf Balsam Root blooms by wildfire ravaged sage brush

Arrow Leaf Balsam Root blooms by wildfire ravaged sage brush

As mentioned before, the views, great from the start continued to get even better the higher we hiked. He’s pointing out Icicle Ridge in Leavenworth where we had hiked just two days before (see Hike #33 – Icicle Ridge) in this photo.

Pointing out Icicle Ridge

Pointing out Icicle Ridge

More information about hiking the Sage Hills Trails and the many different options for access can be found on the Wenatchee Outdoors website, here – http://www.justgetout.net/Wenatchee/15503.

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Categories: Chelan County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

129 – Dusty Lake Trail

Set in a basalt column lined coulee left over from the ancient Missoula floods along the Quincy plateau in Eastern Washington, Dusty Lake, one in a cluster of ancient lakes, was the destination my son took us to for an afternoon of hiking and fishing enjoyment. Here we are at the trailhead with my son.

At the Trailhead . . .

At the trailhead with son Brian . . .

It was a beautiful hike to the lake with wildflowers lining our path, a small waterfalls, a pond with a beaver lodge, a busy ant hill practically as tall as me nestled into the base of the sage brush along the trail, striking basalt columns surrounding us, hawks soaring above and warm sunshine all around.

Bird watching

Bird watching

We took a break from our hiking to fish from the shore.

Brian and Kent fishing

Brian and Kent fishing

After fishing for awhile, we continued our hike around the perimiter of the lake before heading back. This is one of my favorite photos from the day!

Brian on top of the cliff

Son Brian on top of a basalt cliff

More information on hikes in the Ancient Lakes area is available on the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/ancient-lakes.

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Categories: Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

128 – Icicle Ridge Trail

Even though many of the trails in the Cascades are still buried in snow this time of year, the Icicle Ridge trail with its sunny exposure on the east side of the Cascades is already snowfree, and with its early showing of wildflowers, is a great Spring hike.

Icicle Ridge trailhead

Icicle Ridge trailhead

The Icicle Ridge trailhead begins near the tourist-stuffed Bavarian storefronts of downtown Leavenworth and with an 1,800′ elevation gain over its approximate three miles to the top, it feels like an endless series of long switchbacks to reach that ridge.

Along the trail . . .

Along the trail . . .

I love seeing families with young children along the trails and once we reached the top, we met up with perhaps the trail’s youngest hiker. What a great way to introduce the next generations to the beauties of nature, and what a sweet little baby with his very proud pappa.

Trailmates . . . the youngest hiker

Trailmates . . . the youngest hiker

From the top of Icicle Ridge an absolutely stunning, 360 view awaits. On one side, you can look down at the Wenatchee River and Highway-2 as they cut their way through the Tumwater Canyon to downtown Leavenworth, all the way to a very distant Wenatchee on another, and snow-covered Cascade mountain peaks on the other.

Icicle Ridge Rose - Leavenworth down below

(pic by Kent) Icicle Ridge Rose – Leavenworth down below

More information about the Icicle Ridge Trail can be found on the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/icicle-ridge-1 .

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Categories: Chelan County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

127 – Raptor Ridge and Huckleberry Ridge

From delicate flowers, cascading waterfalls, a trail through a magical forest, two ridges both with great views, it was obvious that Spring has sprung on Chuckanut Mountain. By the time we had finished this hike, my Fitbit had logged 10.20 miles in trail time. We began our hike at the North Chuckanut Mountain trailhead and shortly thereafter, turned off to follow the Hemlock Trail for several miles.

That way to Raptor Ridge

That way to Raptor Ridge

Once on the Raptor Ridge Trail, we climbed sets of stone steps that hugged the edges of many moss-covered sandstone cliffs that led us deep into a dense and dark forest. Magical, mystical, Hobbit-like is the best way to describe this stretch of the trail.

The Raptor Ridge Trail

The Raptor Ridge Trail

Once we reached the sign indicating which direction to the viewpoint, in no time we stepped out onto the polished ledge of rock known as Raptor Ridge. The view of the forest covered hills from the ridge was stunning.

On Raptor Ridge

On Raptor Ridge

On our way to Raptor Ridge, we passed a side trail marked for Huckleberry Ridge, so as we were hiking back down Chuckanut Mountain, we decided to head over to Huckleberry Ridge to see what that was all about. The view from Huckleberry Ridge was a bit of a let down after soaking in the sun and enjoying the view from Raptor Ridge, but at least there was a bench to sit on for a minute, before heading back to our main trail. Now we can at least say that we’ve been there and done that one too.

The view from Huckleberry Point

The view from Huckleberry Point

For more information on the hike to Raptor Ridge, visit the Whatcom County Parks website, here   http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/chuckanut/raptor-ridge.jsp; and for trip reports, go to the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2012-04-29.1544498673. And for those of us who enjoy learning about the rocks along our trails, excellent information about the geology along the Raptor Ridge hike is provided here – http://nwgeology.wordpress.com/the-fieldtrips/the-chuckanut-formation/raptor-ridge-geology-hike-chuckanut-mountains/.

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Categories: Hiking, Nature, Photography, Whatcom County | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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