Monday, January 18, 2021

Hike of the Week: Heather Lake, 1/16/21

We got up early on a Saturday and decided to take a little hike out to Heather Lake, which I had heard was frozen over. We arrived at the trailhead just before 8 and found it already pretty full -- despite the fact that the road up to the trailhead included about a half mile that was riddled with large potholes. Lucky (our Crosstrek) had no problem with them; but we saw a few cars that really struggled. 

The trail is short -- just 2.1 miles to the lake, then another scant mile around the lake at the end. 

It's a bit rocky, a bit rooty, and with all the recent rain much of the trail serves as the course of a stream. We were very happy to be wearing our waterproof books for creek crossings like this. 

We had packed our microspikes as I had heard there was some snow over the last quarter mile to the lake. I don't know that they were necessary, but they were definitely nice to have because, once we put them on, we didn't slip at all. 

We reached the lake after the short hike -- it was quiet and the lake still looked frozen over with a thin layer of snow. 

We walked around the lake, popping down to the shore now and again when we could. 

On the far side of the lake we thought we had reached the end of the trail -- at least for the winter. 

But the path curved and a series of boardwalks crossed what, in summer, would be marshy. 

The ice had that pretty, glacial blue tint to it. 

On the far side of the lake there was a lot of thawed water, especially in marshy areas. 

You can see that the lake was far from frozen solid -- about 3/4 of the way around there was a lot of open water. 

It was difficult to tell from the other photos, but here you get a sense of how much snow had been on these boardwalks -- though this side had much less snow piled up. It was a little like walking on a slippery balance beam on top of a bridge across icy water. So no pressure. 

Sadly on the way down the trail the later risers were crowding in -- for the last mile we passed dozens of people who were not wearing masks, and didn't make any effort to distance. Which, sadly, reminded us why we stopped hiking popular trails last summer. 

It's a very simple hike, and in non-COVID times would have been pretty pleasant. But I don't think we'd hike it again. 

Heather Lake

5.23 miles
1,211 feet elevation gain

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Tiger Stitch-a-Long, part 5

Hi everyone -- and happy new year! Just a quick update because I didn't get all that much done. Here's where I was last time -- I was thrilled to have finished the background of the center section.

Three weeks later -- and it's been a pretty wild three weeks -- I got the bottom plants stitched and about a third of the background on the bottom section. 

By our next check-in in three weeks I hope to have the background on the bottom strip done. I've realized I have a bunch of new projects I want to start soon, so I feel like I need to speed up!

The rest of the stitchers in this stitch-a-long all work on different projects, and I look forward to checking them out every three weeks. Visit their blogs for a bit of inspiration for 2021!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, SueConstanze, Christina, KathyMargaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, CarmelaSharon, DaisyAnne, Connie, AJ, JennyLaura, Cathie, Linda, and Helen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Hike of the Week: Brightwater, 1/9/21


We had an errand to run that took us into the mysterious city of Brier ... so I looked for a little walk to do while were were out that way. Brier is so odd, being tucked between Mountlake Terrace, Bothell, Lynnwood, and Kenmore, that it meant we could go a lot of places. Then I noticed it on the map: Brightwater. 

I had been curious about Brightwater since it had opened a few years ago. It's a curious blend of sewage treatment center (yep!) and "community amenity" -- with hiking trails, public art, and educational spaces all rolled into one. It's not a "destination hike", but as we were going to be nearby, it seemed the perfect time to finally explore it. 

We parked near the center building -- currently closed due to COVID-19, of course -- and were the first car there. We decided to walk past the center first, and then wander the trails in the north habitat. 

We saw some interesting art, like this branch made from pipe fittings: 

Cris Bruch, South Fork and Puddles

and these blown glass showing organisms that live in dirty water:

Ellen Sollod, Collection and Transformation, detail

The paths crossed creeks...

... wound up hills ...

... and back down to a which, rumor has it, is inhabited by OTTERS. (We didn't see any...)

Then we headed to the south side of the property. There's a busy highway right next to the space, but on early on a Saturday morning it wasn't all that noisy. 

Some long bridges took us across more wetlands -- you can see the freeway to the right of the image. 

We reached the southern edge of the property and turned back, finally seeing the actual treatment plant, oddly glittery in the sun. 

We turned back down along the loop trail rather than taking the shortcut back to our car, and passed another artwork based on a Coast Salish longhouse and and paddles raised in greeting. Grandfather's Wisdom by Andrea Wilbur-Sigo depicts salmon, an octopus, an orca, and the thunderbird. 

We went up the last hill back to our car and noticed that the parking lot was nearly full -- no surprise for such a lovely, if frosty, Saturday. 

It's a very nice space for a gentle walk, and almost everyone was wearing masks (though we didn't see many people!). Do I need to go back? Probably not... but I'm glad we made a visit there. 

Brightwater Center Loop

3.01 miles
151 feet elevation gain

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Hike of the Week: Camano Island State Park, 1/1/21


Decided to kick off 2021 with a little wander around Camano Island State Park, which was not far from where we were staying over my birthday weekend. 

We arrived early, with very few people in the parking area -- perfect as we are still trying to avoid people as much as possible, especially the people who won't wear masks!

To be honest, the trails were nothing special, but it was nice to get some fresh air and stretch our legs. 

Every so often we had a break in the trees on the bluff and glimpsed the water:

And at one point, we felt like we were being watched....

Even though the hike was short, there was a lot of up and down -- so we felt like we'd actually done a little work.

When we finished the loop we started to see a lot of people coming into the park, so it was a good time to head out back to our cottage. I wouldn't call this a destination hike by any means, but great since we were already in the neighborhood.

Camano Island State Park Loop

3.06 miles
436 feet elevation gain