Friday, August 11, 2017

#Mountains - Hurricane Ridge - #Olympic National Park, WA - #SaturdaySnapshots

More photos from the July 17-19 hiking getaway with the #Auburn Senior Activity Center. We spent July 18th in the Hurricane Ridge section of Olympic National Park, not far from Port Angeles. Sunny skies, perfect weather with a cool breeze, and dramatic scenery that's hard to beat.
(Click on photos to enlarge)


Tame deer near the visitor center. What a view!
We walked to the top of High Ridge Trail and beyond
View from "You Are Here" on the map above.
See the hikers near the top of the rise?
View across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Canada.
My cell phone sent me a message saying "Welcome to Canada." 
Break for lunch. Food always tastes better outdoors, doesn't it?
To get to our lunch spot, we hiked along the side of the bare hill on
the left and up past those little patches of  snow in the middle
of the photo. The road into the park is on the right (middle).
Looking back the way we came.

I've posted photos from the rest of our trip here: Waterfalls 
More info about Hurricane Ridge HERE






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Friday, August 4, 2017

#Waterfalls - #Olympic Peninsula, WA - #SaturdaySnapshots

Today's focus is on waterfalls. Recently, I participated in a three-day getaway with the hiking group from the Auburn, WA, Senior Activity Center. We had a fantastic time in the northern part of Washington State's Olympic National Park. For the next few weeks I'll be posting photos from our adventure. (Click on pictures to enlarge.)

Our first destination was Sol Duc Falls (visited on July 17). Trail maps indicated a 5.5 mile round-trip hike via the Sol Duc Falls Trail and Lovers Lane Trail, but our FitBits and other GPS devices showed that we covered 7+ miles. (My FitBit showed a total of 9.3 miles for the day!) We were sure tired by the time we got back to the van! 


A portion of the trail to the top of Sol Duc Falls.

To get an idea of the size of the falls, find the person
on the viewing platform at the right of the photo.
The falls tumble 48 feet into a narrow canyon.
This notice gave us pause!

What a joy it is to walk alongside a gurgling mountain
stream. Wish I could have taken off my boots and soaked
my feet in the icy water.

Ninety-foot-tall Marymere Falls is about 1.8 miles
from our camp at Crescent Lake, WA
This portion of the trail to Marymere Falls
led up a steep narrow path.
Much of our hike took us through old growth forest.
My earlier post about the Nature Bridge facility at Lake Crescent is HERE
More info about Sol Duc Falls and Sol Duc Hot SpringsHERE
and HERE.
Overview of Marymere Falls and Marymere Falls Nature Trail: HERE.




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Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Camp! - #Olympic Peninsula, WA - #SaturdaySnapshots

Did you ever go to summer camp when you were a kid? If you did (and if you enjoyed it), you would have a great time at NatureBridge on beautiful Lake Crescent. Nestled in the northern portion of Olympic National Park (near historic Lake Crescent Lodge), the camp offers cabins in a beautiful setting. The organization's mission: "At NatureBridge, we foster environmental literacy to sustain our planet." The facility is open to youth groups, families, and others. (More info here: NatureBridge-Olympic

Along with members of the hiking group from the Auburn Senior Activity Center, I spent three days and two nights at this lovely facility.
Entrance to NatureBridge-Olympic facility

Crescent Lake

The cabin assigned to me ("Raccoon") had four bedrooms, each one containing three bunk beds. I shared my room with a friend. Other people reserved private rooms.

Me, ready to go hiking on a chilly July morning.
(My belly isn't quite as big as it looks in this photo. 
I'm wearing a fanny pack in front under my coat
to hold my camera!)


We shared breakfast and dinner in a "mess hall" with a group of teens visiting from New York. Most of them seemed to be having fun, but a couple of girls confessed that they weren't all that comfortable in the great outdoors! (Limited cell phone coverage.) Our senior group assembled our own sack lunches to take with us on hikes. (More about our hikes in future posts.) 


After a day of hiking, the NatureBridge dock was a great place to relax.

Other views around the camp:


I'll post more photos from our getaway and hikes at Hurricane Ridge, Dungeness Spit, and other areas in Olympic National Park in the coming weeks.












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Friday, July 14, 2017

#Snoqualmie Tunnel Trek - #SaturdaySnapshots

I've hiked along city streets beside Lake Union, on paths in Mount Rainier National Park, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, and more, but yesterday was my first time to hike through a tunnel. What a great experience! The Snoqualmie Tunnel (part of the 110-mile-long John Wayne  Pioneer Trail) was cool -- both in awesomeness and in temperature. The high temp at Snoqualmie Pass was probably in the mid-70s, but inside the tunnel I needed layers of clothing - 
a t-shirt, long-sleeved cotton shirt, and light jacket. Just right for the damp and breezy hike. 
[Click on photos to enlarge.]

That's me, looking dorky with my headlamp,
trekking poles, and waterproof jacket.

The tunnel is 2.3 miles long and was originally used by trains. The tracks have been removed, of course, and the walking surface covered in asphalt. Occasional drops of water seep from overhead. We all wore headlamps so we could see in the darkness, and the far end of the tunnel was visible as a tiny light far ahead. I had been concerned about feeling claustrophobic, but that wasn't a problem at all. 

Here's the view as I neared the tunnel's end.



Literally the light at the end of the tunnel.

Afterwards, we all stowed our coats and other gear in our backpacks and looked back at the mountain we'd walked under. 



Wow! We walked underneath a mountain!

Nice view for our lunch break.


Not a single cloud, and the sky really was this blue.

At trail's end I experimented with my camera's shutter speed a little bit to see if I could capture the movement of flowing water. 


First attempt:


Slower shutter speed:



I'm not sure which photo I like better. Any comments?

Video too:
video





More info:  Snoqualmie Tunnel

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Port Gamble Beaver Dams - #SaturdaySnapshots

My FitBit says I walked 7.25 miles on June 16th, and 5.5 miles of that distance were logged in the magnificent Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park, located on Hood Canal, Washington. 

Although we walked through towering trees, up and down hills, and through the biggest collection of ferns I've ever seen, the most memorable parts of the hike for me were the beaver pond and dam. We didn't see the shy inhabitants, but we found ample evidence of their presence. Looks like they've been as busy as ... well... beavers! [Click on photos for a closer look.]

Downed trees.

Their dam.

Freshly gnawed building materials.


One of the men on our walk educated us about ferns, and we learned to identify several varieties. The ones in this photo are predominantly sword ferns, but we also learned about bracken ferns, lady ferns, deer ferns, and licorice ferns. Who knew there were so many kinds? 

This forest may soon become a residential neighborhood unless money is raised to purchase the land as a refuge and for recreational use. The following video tells more about the situation. It also includes gorgeous photos of the beauty I saw on my hike.





More info about the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and a map of hiking trails: HERE

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mercer Slough - #SaturdaySnapshots

I have to admit that the June 13th walk along Mercer Slough wasn't my favorite, mainly because of the mosquitoes! But the nature park was lovely, and the weather was nice and cool. It's amazing that such a quiet, serene green space exists right next to the intersection of two of Seattle's busy freeways -- Interstates 405 and 90.
[Click on photos to enlarge.]

Our path took us along a stream...



Among skunk cabbage...

And over the slough.



Raised walkways kept our feet dry.

Portions of the park were closed for renovation and we couldn't visit the Blueberry Farm, but we explored what we could and had a great time.

From the Bellevue, Washington, Parks & Recreation website:
Nestled in the heart of Bellevue, the 320-acre Mercer Slough Nature Park offers a tranquil setting for a variety of recreational experiences: biking, hiking, canoeing , blueberry picking, and environmental education. The Mercer Slough is Lake Washington’s largest remaining wetland, containing hundreds of plant species and an abundance of water resources. The park provides a diverse habitat for over 170 species of wildlife. Interconnected boardwalks, soft surface trails, and asphalt paths transport visitors through this unique urban wetland.

More info:  Mercer Slough Nature Park


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Friday, June 9, 2017

Twin Falls #Hike - #SaturdaySnapshots

Seems like every hike and walk I take has something that sets it apart from the others. Last week's out-and-back trek started off at Olallie State Park and followed along the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River in western Washington. I love the sound of a roaring river. 


We then veered inland and hiked up, up, and up some more to the top of Twin Falls. The view was worth the effort! The area had a lot of rain this past winter and spring, so the river was full and so were the falls. I took lots of photos of the upper falls. Here are two from different angles.



We continued upward to intersect with the John Wayne trail, so our hike ended up being around five miles. The trail was well tended (washouts had been rebuilt) and lined with ferns, bleeding hearts, salmonberry bushes, and other lush foliage. This isn't a great photo with that big tree smack-dab in the middle, but I wanted to show the ferns, switchback trails, and the hikers down below.



And here's the lower falls:

We walked down 104 wooden steps to reach the viewing platform where I took this picture. Of course, then we had to walk back up! My legs were quivering by the time I reached the top, but the dramatic view of the 135-foot plunge made it all worthwhile.

I hope you're able to view my video to get an idea of the roar from the falls:

video


The various hiking websites I visited described this as an easy hike. Maybe it would be if I were 20 years old! Although I was able to complete the whole thing, easy isn't a word I would use to describe the trek; but I'm sure glad I went.

For more info: Twin Falls Hike


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