Monthly Archives: May 2013

141 – Lummi Island – Baker Preserve

Another ferry ride, another hike! This time on the Whatcom Chief to Lummi Island to hike through the Baker Preserve to the top of Lummi Island.

Baker Preserve . . . trailhead to Lummi Mountain

Baker Preserve . . . trailhead to Lummi Mountain

With ferns so tall, we called this a fern forest!

In the fern forest

Kent Doughty in the fern forest

The trail works its way up to the one of the highest points on Lummi Island, and once on top, there is a great view of the San Juan Islands.

Happy hiker . . . on Lummi Mountain

Happy hiker, Kenton Doughty, on Lummi Mountain

Looking out at the San Juan Islands from the view point at the Baker Preserve.

The view from top of Lummi Mountain

The view from top of Lummi Mountain

This photo, aptly named Old Ones Times Three, seemed the perfect example to me of the many sights along the trail as it worked its way through the forest preserve.

Old ones . . . times three

Old ones . . . times three

Having lived on Lummi Island some years ago, before heading to the trailhead to enjoy this hike, we met with a local realtor to list a piece of property. Because ferry rates continue to climb and island life is for but a small community, property sales are slow. We occasionaly (not often) toy with an idea that if the lot has not sold by the time we both are retired, maybe we will consider moving back to the island, building a little home and living there until the kids fear we are too old to drive on and off the ferry on our own. Who knows? What ever! Located above the Willows Inn (go here – http://www.willows-inn.com/ – for information about the Willows Inn), it is a beautiful piece of property in a beautiful location on a very special little island. Just look at these photos!  For more information on Lummi Island, go here – http://www.lummi-island.com/, and for information about the ferry to Lummi Island, go here – http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/publicworks/ferry/. If you, or someone you know, is interested in picking up your very own little piece of paradise (with beach access!), let me know.

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Many thanks to the Lummi Island Heritage Trust for their efforts in land conservation on Lummi Island! For more information on the Lummi Island Heritage Trust, go here – http://www.liht.org/index.html, and for information on the Baker Preserve, go here – http://www.liht.org/baker-preserve.html

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

140 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – On to Stehekin

This was the final day of our Lake Chelan backpacking trip, the day we finally reached the remote town of Stehekin. We were scheduled to catch the ferry back to the original starting point of this journey. To read more about this entire backpacking trip, see –Hike #44 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Moore Point to Flick Creek , Hike #43 – Chelan Lakeshore Trail – Day Hike South from Moore Point , and Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp. Having spent the majority of the day before hiking in the rain and unsure of what the day’s weather would deliver, even though it was not raining as we packed up and headed out, we started out in our rain gear – just in case. It’s much easier to shed layers once on the trail than it is to get caught in a down pour and have to stop to dig out the rain gear once the clouds seem to burst. If you have never hiked in the rain, you might be surprised how wet you can get in just a few minutes!

On to Stehekin . . .

On to Stehekin . . .

Vegetation along the trail was still wet from all the rain the day before, and the streams were running high. Stream crossings for the day turned out to be quite easy and with proper bridges though. This make-shift bridge of small logs that we encountered not long after we started out was not even much of a challenge.

Stream crossing . . .

Stream crossing . . .

The trail, often took us high above the shore of Lake Chelan and then dipped down right to the waters edge as we continued on to Stehekin. There really barely a couple feet in elevation difference between the beginning and ending of this hike, but there were certainly many, many ups and downs along the way.

Lake Chelan from the trail to Stehekin

Lake Chelan from the trail to Stehekin

The views were great the entire day.

Along the trail to Stehekin

Along the trail to Stehekin

And then we reached Stehekin!

Arriving at Stehekin . . .

Arriving at Stehekin . . .

Stehekin is quite a remarkable little town. Really just an “unincorporated” community, there are only about 75 full-time residents. There is no road access to Stehekin. The only way in and out of Stehekin is to take a boat, a float plane or hike in – or some combination or those options like we did (boat and hike).

The resort in Stehekin . . .

The resort in Stehekin . . .

Downtown Stehekin, now we’ve been there – done that.

In Stehekin . . .

In Stehekin . . .

We arrived in plenty of time to check out the town, eat our lunch, have tea and coffee and rest and relax before it was time for us to catch the ferry back to the town of Chelan.

R & R at the resort in Stehekin

R & R at the resort in Stehekin

The boat, the Lady of the Lake II, arrived and we dug our tickets out of our packs so we could complete our trip.

At the Stehekin dock

At the Stehekin dock

It was a four and a half boat ride from the Stehekin at the northern most end of Lake Chelan to the town of Chelan at the southern most end of the lake, and oh so beautiful. As we headed south, the clouds (which, by the way, never did rain on us as during our final hike to Stehekin), lifted to expose beautiful snow-capped peaks. By the time we reached Chelan, the sky was clear.

On the ferry from Stehekin to Chelan

On the ferry from Stehekin to Chelan

We tossed our heavy backpacks in the back of the car once we got off the boat at Chelan and made the one-hour drive back to son Brian’s to spend the night, then hit the road in the morning to complete the five and a half hour drive back home. What an exceptional adventure this was!

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Okanogan County, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

139 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Moore Point to Flick Creek

The best description for this day of hiking is, quite simply, WET. It rained all day. In spite of good rain gear – rain pants, gortex coats, rain hats, rain covers for our backpacks, extra waterproofing added to our boots, it rained almost all day, and we got soaked. Our tent got wet. Our sleeping bags got wet. Our feet got soaked. It was raining. This was the day we needed to hike north from Moore Point (see Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp) to a camp at Flick Creek in order to continue on our backpacking trip to the remote village of Stehekin at the northern most end of Lake Chelan. Here we are all packed up and tucked into our rain gear, big smiles on our faces as we were determined to make it a grand day of hiking in spite of the rain.

Moore Point to Flick Creek . . . in the rain

Moore Point to Flick Creek . . . in the rain

What started out as a slight mist in the early morning hours, turned into a steady rain as we continued along the trail.

Rain . . . along the trail

(photo by Kent Doughty) Rain . . . along the trail

We hiked on, past more trees charred from the fires of previous years as the view of Lake Chelan teased us through the never ending mist.

Misty views along the soggy trail

Misty views along the soggy trail

It was soggy. The foliage was heavy, weighted down by the rain and drooped over the trail, dripping wet on us even as the rain clouds began to lift. I’m pretty much as wet as this dogwood tree.

Soggy . . . along the trail

(photo by Kent Doughty) Soggy . . . along the trail

Finally, the Flick Creek Camp came into view, and we could see that it had a covered shelter. This being the only official camp site at the Flick Creek Camp, as we approached, we hoped that we would be the first backpackers to arrive. If other campers were already hunkered down in that shelter, we would be faced with having to keep on hiking north – all the way to Stehekin – as this was the only campgrounds between Moore Point and Stehekin. It looked even more inviting as we got closer. We were hopeful. We were wet!

Shelter . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Shelter . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Yes! No one was there! We could get out of the rain, hang our wet stuff up and hope that it would be dry enough to get a good nights sleep before hiking on to Stehekin.

Flick Creek Camp shelter . . .

Flick Creek Camp shelter . . .

By the time we had changed into dry clothing and hung all our wet gear up on the odd assortment of nails in the shelter, the clouds started to lift again. And, just like that, the rain stopped.

View north . . . to Stehekin

View north . . . to Stehekin

Kent always brings plenty of rope along on our backpacking trips, and good thing, because in no time we had a line stretched between two trees and had hung out our wet sleeping bags and other gear. We had a couple of hours remaining before dark, and with the gentle breeze that was blowing, by the end of the day, our gear was dry.

Blowing in the Breeze . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Blowing in the Breeze . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Just look at some of the beautiful mountain views we enjoyed from our camp once the sky cleared. Absolutely stunning!

Mountain views . . . after the rain cleared

Mountain views . . . after the rain cleared

Sitting at the end of the dock at the Flick Creek Camp, what a wonderful way to end the day!

Evening at Flick Creek Camp

Evening at Flick Creek Camp

Near dark, a family of backpackers came hiking in. Three teenage girls, a boy not much older and their mom, hungry, soaked and loaded down with their packs. They asked if we could please share our space. While the Flick Creek was really only for “one”, how could we possibly have sent them on down the trail? There was plenty of room for them! Since we had our tent set up under the shelter and it had stopped raining, we helped them identify a couple of areas that were fairly level where they could put up their tents. In no time, they were set up and cooking their dinner. They, too, were on their way to Stehekin. What a wonderful backpacking trip this was!

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

138 – Chelan Lakeshore Trail – Day Hike South from Moore Point

On a backpacking trip to the remote village of Stehekin at the far north end of Lake Chelan, once we were set up at the Old Orchard Camp, we wanted to explore the area a bit more before packing up and heading on. Up until a few years ago, one could hike the entire distance from the town of Chelan to Stehekin, but floods had wiped out portions of the trail and a major bridge between Chelan and Moore Point, making it impossible to hike now. Hikers currently must rely on the ferry to drop them off somewhere north of the washed out area, and that was what we had done (see Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp). We decided to hike along the Lakeshore Trail south toward the washed out area through a forest that had also been ravaged by wild fires a few years before (oh the power of Nature!). We had peek-a-boo views of the beautiful lake where we had just traveled by ferry as we looked through the tall, charred stumps.

Charred forest

Charred forest

The underbrush is growing back thick and lush since the fires, so there was an abundance of beautiful wild flowers in bloom.

Wildflowers along the trail

Wildflowers along the trail

After several miles of hiking along this trail, we were met by several groups of AmeriCorps workers, no doubt hiking back to their base camp at Moore Point. After a long, hot day of pulling noxious weeds from along the trail and property borders, you could tell they were glad to be heading back to camp. They looked tired. We hiked for several miles before turning around and hiking the distance back to camp ourselves.

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

137 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp

We had been wanting to visit the little town of Stehekin (population less than 75!) for a long time, so even the planning of this trip was fun. Stehekin is located on the northwest end of one of the deepest fjords in North America, Lake Chelan, and is quite remote. There are only a couple of ways to get to Stehekin. One, a four and a half hour ferry ride on the Lady of the Lake from the town of Chelan, and the other – a very long hike. We opted for a combination of the two, but first, because the drive from our home to the town of Chelan was over five hours, we first drove to son Brian’s in Rock Island (about a four hour drive from home), spent the night and then continued on to Chelan to catch the ferry the next morning.

Son cooking up burgers

Son Brian grilling us some dinner

Here I am, aboard the Lady of the Lake II.

(pic by Kent Doughty) me - on the Lady of the Lake

(pic by Kent Doughty) me – on the Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake is a foot-passenger only ferry, not to be confused with the type of ferries that might sail through the San Juan Islands or on up to Alaska. This is a much smaller boat, and it makes stops at several beaches along the way between Chelan and Stehekin. It gets as close to the rocky beach as it safely can, and passengers that want off wait as a crewmember lowers a walkway.

Our Stop - Moore Point

Our Stop – Moore Point

Moore Point was our stop, and it felt rather like walking the plank as we got off. We were the only passengers to get off at that stop, and once safely ashore, we watched as the crewmember pulled up the ramp and the boat backed away to continue on to Stehekin.

Waving good-bye to Lady of the Lake

Waving good-bye to Lady of the Lake

Once at Moore Point, we quickly discovered that a group of AmeriCorp workers had pretty much taken over the camp there, so we hit the trail in search of a place to set up our camp.

AmeriCorps work camp at Moore Point

AmeriCorps work camp at Moore Point

We hiked on to the Old Orchard Camp.

Hiking on to Old Orchard Camp

Hiking on to Old Orchard Camp

At the remains of an old homestead by the Old Orchard Camp, several lilac bushes remained, and there were many swallow tail butterflies flitting about the flowers.

Swallow tail butterfly on lilacs

Swallow tail butterfly on lilacs

Later on the beach, there were swarms of them.

Swarms of swallow tail butterflys on the beach

Swarms of “puddling” swallow tail butterflies on the beach

There were lots of bugs, so by dinner time, our bug nets came out.

Camp cook - with bug net

Camp cook – with bug net

Because we were going to be on the trail for several days, we had dehydrated our own shrimp and vegetables to lighten the load in our backpacks. Cooked up with some brown rice, garlic and olive oil, turned out, this was one of the best backpacking dinners we’ve ever had.

Backpacker dinner - shrimp and pasta

Backpacker dinner – shrimp and pasta

More photos of our adventure on the Lady of the Lake from Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp.

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

136 – Thunder Creek Trail

We accessed to the trailhead for Thunder Creek Trail from the parking lot of the Colonial Creek Campground along Highway 20 about 24 miles east of the town of Marblemount. Unable to drive all the way into the campground and to the trailhead until the Memorial Day weekend, we parked in a lot just outside of the main camping area and walked maybe a half mile or so through the campgrounds until we reached the trail.

At the Thunder Creek Trailhead

At the Thunder Creek Trailhead

Once on the trail, the sound of Thunder Creek lived up to its name as we passed through the wild and scenic forest.

In an old-growth tree

In an old-growth tree

There were lots of different wildflowers to enjoy along the way.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

More Wildflowers

It’s an easy, well maintained trail with sturdy bridges over all stream crossings with barely more than 650 foot elevation gain over the entire twelve miles roundtrip hike. For more information on this trail and current trip reports, visit the Washington Trails Association website at http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/thunder-creek-1?b_start:int=0.

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

135 – Guemes Mountain Trail

What an awesome hike this was! What hike starts with a ferry ride and takes you all the way to the highest point on one of the San Juan Islands? The Guemes Mountain Trail! Go here – http://www.skagitcounty.net/common/asp/?d=publicworksferry&c=general&p=ferry.htm – for information on the Guemes Island Ferry. Here, Dena and I enjoy the sunshine on the deck of the ferry as we travel from the town of Anacortes on Fidalgo Island to Guemes Island.

Dena and I . . . on the Guemes Island ferry

Dena and I . . . on the Guemes Island ferry

It’s only a short drive from the ferry landing once on Guemes Island to the Guemes Mountain Trail. If you prefer, park your car in downtown Anacortes and go as a walk-on passenger on the ferry. Bring your bicycle and ride to the trailhead. Or, if you don’t have a bike, the Anderson’s General Store might have a bicycle available for you to borrow. Go here – http://www.guemesislandstore.com/ – for information about the store and their contact information.

Guemes Mountain trailhead

Guemes Mountain trailhead

Four vehicle parking spaces are available at the trailhead, and a bike rack that will probably accommodate six or more bikes on a busy day. Early Spring and not a busy time of year for the island, we had the entire trail to ourselves; but I suspect it might be quite a popular hiking destination during the summer vacation season.

Along the trail

Along the trail

You should go now! Why? Because of the wildflowers. We saw fawn lily, chocolate lily, camas, pear, apple and wild plum trees in bloom, red flowering currant, Oregon grape, and more. All absolutely beautiful in the afternoon sunshine!

Wildflowers along the trail

Wildflowers along the trail

Do you like mountain views? This trail has them too – Mount Baker, Twin Sisters, Mount Rainier, Canadian Cascades and the Olympics, all visible from the summit. And island views. From the summit you can see Lummi, Samish, Cypress, Lopez, Orcas, Fidalgo, Portage, Vendovi, Sinclair.

Samish Island, Oyster Dome, Mount Baker . . . from Guemes Mountain

Samish Island, Oyster Dome, Mount Baker . . . from Guemes Mountain

The trail gains approximately 500′ in elevation as it climbs through a lovely forest to the top of Guemes Mountain. It is in very good condition and easy to travel so is a great hike for the entire family – regardless of their age or hiking experience.

Along the trail

Along the trail

For more information on the Guemes Mountain Trail, visit the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/guemes-mountain. Go, and enjoy!

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Categories: Hiking, Nature, Photography, Skagit County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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