Sunday, January 24, 2021

Hike of the Week: Camp Wil-Sun to Carkeek Park, 1/24/21

On a drizzly Sunday we decided to stay closer to home and got for a walk in a local park. But in order to get some extra miles under our feet, we walked there and back. And we visited part of the park we had never seen before. 

We made our way to Mary Street, as it appeared that a trail would lead from the dead end there into the park. Happily, yes! 

And soon we left the city behind us as we went downhill into the park. 

We reached a turn and a lookout over the water -- weirdly unexpected as we had never been in this part of the trail before. 

And then we continued down toward the bridge that crosses the railway tracks. I do always love stairs built into a trail!

There were a few too many people on the beach for our comfort, so we decided to turn and head back up the Piper Creek Trail and then to home. I always forget in November / early December, but I'd really like to come here to watch the salmon swimming upstream to spawn!

Not the most exciting or strenuous of hikes, but Carkeek Park is pretty, has some nice hills to climb, and didn't require us to get in a car, drive up a potholed forest road, or share a trail with too many people. I suspect we'll walk this loop again. 

Camp Wil-Sun to Carkeek Park

6.23 miles
512 feet elevation gain

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hike of the Week - bonus! Snoqualmie Valley Trail, 1/17/21


A three-day weekend meant an extra day to fit in a little hike. After all the previous day's "close encounters" we decided to look for a wider trail. 

We've been enjoying the wide "rail trails" that crisscross our region, so decided to drive to a different section of a trail we have walked and ridden in the past: the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

We passed under I-90 and worried that it would be noisy. But we soon came to the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and it drowned out all the traffic noise. 

To be honest, the trail was neither challenging nor particularly scenic. But it was quiet and we only saw a few other people on the trail the whole time we were out. 

Of course, none of the people we saw wore masks, soooo..... But the trail was wide and we were able to stay far away from everyone.

The trail was long, slow, gentle uphill -- which would be the perfect trail for me to run on. It also made me want to bring the bikes to this part of the trail and go for a long ride.

We had decided to go three miles up the trail, and three miles back. Nice and gentle. 

If we lived closer we would walk this trail all the time, even if this wasn't much of a "hike hike". Still, a nice, gentle day out.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Tanner to  ??

6.12 miles
378 feet elevation gain

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