67 – Beach Walk – Camano Island State Park

When it’s the middle of summer and hot in the valley, it’s time to head to the beach.

camano island 02 01This time it was the beach at Camano Island State Park.

It was warm there too . . . so nearly every parking spot was full . . . and there was a party going on . . . as the gentle waves rolled onto the beach.

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Just another day in the life . . .

Go here – Camano Island State Park – for more information about the state parks on Camano Island.

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66 – Paddling Detroit Lake – Santiam River

Turns out when the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday and both weekends before and after are warm and sunny, there are plenty of folks in line to put in their boats, floats, stand up paddle boards, canoes . . . and kayaks. Ours were kayaks . . . my first paddle in my new kayak, and the celebratory #66 of the 66 Before 66.

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There should have been fireworks. Wait, there were fireworks! A second Fourth of July fireworks display exploded over the dam at Detroit Lake that evening . . . the Saturday evening after the middle of the week real Fourth of July. Hahahaha, I didn’t stay for the fireworks . . . but thank you Detroit Lake for the celebration.

I had an absolutely wonderful afternoon of paddling around the Santiam River . . . in the mild water of the “no wake” zone . . . under the warm summer sunshine at Detroit Lake . . . (yay me!) . . . with hundreds of other summer loving folks out there having a great time too. Don’t you agree this giant unicorn floaty looks to be absolutely TOO MUCH FUN!  I want one . . .

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A giant thank you to each and every one of you who helped make it happen . . . thank you!

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65 – Round Mountain

Round Mountain – South Trailhead, Ochoco National Forest, Prineville, Oregon.

Camped with friends from the coast for the weekend with the Sierra Club in the Ochoco National Forest. In contrast to the wet, often muddy National Forests I frequently hike in Northwest Washington and the moist Coastal Range along the Oregon Coast, the Ochoco National Forest is a hot, dry and dusty pine forest. My eyes feasted on the brightly colored wildflowers in contrast to the dry trail and forest – many different hues of Indian paintbrush bursted with color . . .

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. . . lupin, pink fairies, elkhorn, lance-leaf spring beauty, corn lilies . . . all my favorites . . . and more colorful delights. Several different types of butterflies soared above the dusty gravel in sun at the summit of Round Mountain . . . 360 degree views from the top . . . with snow topped mountain peaks in the far away distance along the horizon.

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Various Stats – approx. 8.7 miles trail distance up and back, approx. 3,740′ elevation gain up and down, temp was somewhere around 84 degrees, felt warm even in the shade of the forest, sucked down 2.5 liters of water, used the trekking poles for the entire hike, a fun time camping with the friends . . .

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Go here – Round Mountain-South Trailhead – for more information about this trail and the Ochoco National Forest.

64 – Oh La La, Olalla

Paddling Olalla Reservoir . . . a mellow evening paddle . . .

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First thing we noticed was the wind upon arriving at the boat launch at Olalla Reservoir . . . the concerns were if there was too much wind so the paddling would be too much of an effort . . . someone commented there were no white caps . . . though every gust of wind blew gritty dust into our eyes . . . we decided to give it a try . . . it looked calm along the shoreline . . . we could always turn around and head back if the wind was too much . . . we were there – we may as well put the kayaks in the water.

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Turned out there were no problems caused by the wind . . . it actually calmed down considerably once we had been out for awhile . . .

As I was finishing my paddle and pulling up to the shore, it started to sprinkle.

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Had my rain hat on . . . after all, I was in Oregon . . . near the coast . . . so it was perfect. Used the windshield wipers for the first few minutes of my short drive home . . . but by the time I pulled into my driveway, the clouds had already broken up.

A big thank you to my friends for hauling and lending me a kayak!

Go here – Olalla Reservoir – for information on Olalla Reservoir.

 

 

63 – Barclay Lake

Barclay lake . . .  an easy hike to a sweet little lake. It works out to be about a 4-1/2 mile hike if you follow the trail along the lake shore as far as you can before turning around to head back to the trailhead . . . with very little elevation gain. It’s a very popular trail these days . . . parking lot could be twice its current size and hikers would still have to park as I did – in overflow a ways down the road. It was warm in the valley as I drove to the trail . . . high 70s (that’s nearly too warm for me!), maybe low eighties as I passed through Monroe . . . so was delighted to see the temp dropping as I turned off the main highway and continued up the narrow, winding, potholed Forest Service road to the trailhead. It was but 68 degrees when I got out of the car. The trail is very well maintained.

There are nice camping spots on the shore of the lake. A few were full . . . but I found a great spot for lunch . . . with an empty campsite right next to it. Ha, should have brought my backpacking tent and stayed for breakfast . . . It made a great spot to eat lunch.

36176005_10212104412346192_2002274871056269312_nThe bridge at the 1.2 mile marker is impressive. The bridge has held strong against the forces of nature over the years . . . it’s a fast flowing stream under that bridge . . . I’m sure in the winter the water runs high. Must have been quite the job for the crew to set that bridge in place. Thank you to the bridge builders and trail builders . . . and trail maintenance crews. Great views from the trail and around the lake too.

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Go here – Barclay Lake – for more information about this hike.

 

62 – Cow Heaven

Cow Heaven . . . Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Marblemount, WA . . . back in the days when the U.S. Forest Service leased out land for cattle grazing, a local farmer herded his cattle up a steep trail to the meadows on top . . . that’s how this trail got it’s name. Not much about the trail has changed over the years . . . it’s still a steep 4,000 foot climb, a narrow trail full of tight switchbacks cutting up through a thick forested mountain . . . and ten miles round trip … except the Forest Service no longer leases this land out for grazing . . . so there are no cattle up there now . . . and the forest itself has grown up tall so blocks the beautiful mountain views . . . and the meadows up top have given away to bushes, brush and trees.

There’s plenty of water on the way up . . . and several dicey stream crossings. Wear good waterproof boots if you make this hike. Did I already mention the elevation gain along this trail is 4,000 foot? It’s a challenge to make it to the top . . . so most people pass this trail by. Once you finish the switchbacks . . . and just before you reach exhaustion . . . you can almost see the sky above you because you are close to the top . . . but turns out, that’s just a teaser . . . because next thing, the trail takes you around to the back, dark side of the mountain . . .

cow heaven meAnd that’s when the mosquitos start swarming you. They wouldn’t leave me alone . . . I put on a long sleeved shirt, pulled my headband down over my ears, put my hat on . . . tucked my pant legs into my socks . . . and they still swarmed me. They bit me through my shirt . . . my shoulders were on fire. Turns out, I am the perfect mosquito bait!

I stopped just a few minutes short of the top . . . and turned around . . . I could see it was grown over so in order to get a good view of all those beautiful mountains from up there, I would have had to do some bush whacking up yet another little hill . . . and there were just too many mosquitos swarming me to do that . . . so I turned around . . . and made the long, steep hike back down to the trailhead.

I had the entire trail nearly to myself . . . when I started out, there was a young man with his 3-month baby that did just the very beginning of the hike . . . and about half way up the hill, another young fellow jogging up passed me . . . running up the steep hill . . . a tough run … ha, a tough hike.

This is a great conditioning hike . . . the trail is in reasonably good condition even though it gets little use . . . and the forest is absolutely lovely, deep and dark. Saw a few surprise pretty wildflowers blooming . . .

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A cute little squirrel chattered at me for awhile as I made my way down.

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I seriously feel we should change the name of this trail from Cow Heaven to Mosquito Hell . . .

61 – Beach, Bluff and Kettles Trails

Beach, Bluff and Kettles Trails – Fort Ebey State Park . . . Temps in the mid eighties were predicted in the Stillaguamish Valley . . . so I was looking to escape the heat. Having lived at the top of the hill above Ault Field in the early 70s, I knew it would be cooler on the island beaches. Greeted by temps in the low 60s when I arrived at Fort Ebey State Park, I walked the beach before hitting the trails.

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This is one of my favorite parks on Whidbey island . . . it’s never as crowded as it is at Deception Pass State Park. The Bluff Trail and the Kettles Trails offer the perfect combination of sea breeze and shady forest walk . . . plus views as far away as the Olympic Mountains. All trails are easy and overlook Admiralty Bay.

There are even a couple old World War II bunkers to explore . . . and you can catch a glimpse of the Point Wilson Lighthouse on the other side of the Bay on a clear day . . .

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60 – Lake Twenty-Two

Lake Twenty-Two, Trail No. 702 . . . it had been six years since I hiked this favored trail . . . and even on a Monday, there was barely a parking space in the big trailhead parking lot to be found. I ended up parking on the access road to the parking lot . . . behind an asphalt truck of a crew doing some resurfacing to the Mountain Loop Highway.

I didn’t hike fast on the way up … over the something like 1,400 feet elevation gain along the 2.7 miles of trail. It was but a gradual up hill climb . . . lots of areas with well defined steps . . . big steps designed for legs longer than mine . . . and plenty of areas with rocks . . . big rocks, boulders, sometimes even bigger than I am tall, defined the trail. Wonderful valley and mountain views from the trail. A nice assortment of spring flowers showing their colors along the way too, and a magnificent waterfall offering cooling refreshment in the afternoon heat.

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Nearing the lake, the trail turned to snow after the first board walk . . . to walk further caused the boot to sink into the snow . . . sometimes up to the knees . . . and if there was no board walk under that spot . . . my boot went deep into goopy mud. It was all good though . . . that’s why I recommend proper sturdy leather hiking boots. A few folks hiked all the way around the lake to the big rocks on the other side . . . and dove off the cliffs to swim. Lots of happy whoops and hollers of fun times being had by that swimming crowd.

A very popular trail . . . lots of friendly hikers . . . everyone super happy for the warm sunshine and to be able to make such an awesome hike on a warm Monday afternoon. Took a break for lunch along the side of the lake . . . watched the bumblebee frenzy as they feed on the fuzzy ends of unripened blueberries on the bush. Delightful entertainment with the snow field behind Lake Twenty-Two as the backdrop.

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Used the trekking poles along the entire hike . . . and wore the knee brace. Memory card in the GoPro was full (oops, note to self to always carry a couple of spares in the daypack). All photos and video thus taken with the Fujifilm FinePix XP-130. Having barely recovered from a recent rare migraine and the long drive from Oregon to Washington, it felt absolutely delightful to be out and about on such a beautiful day on such a wonderful trail with such a friendly group of hiking friends . . .

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59 – Gold Basin Mill Pond

Gosh, as I’m preparing to take another road trip to Washington, I realize that I completely forgot to post the Gold Basin Mill Pond hike that I did the last time I was out and about up there along the Mountain Loop Highway . . . so here it is!

This area was quite a buzz of activity in the early 1900s  . . . trains served the area well and there were resort destinations, mines, towns and lots of people supporting those efforts. By the mid 1930s though most of that activity had diminished . . . now most of the land is part of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and all that remains today are a few historical relics.

This is the site of an old mill pond . . . and has lovely trails and boardwalks up to and around the pond.

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Mine was the only car in the parking lot while I was there . . . perhaps even for the entire day as the area looked on the forgotten side. It made a lovely walk . . . with plenty of signage explaining the history of the area. There were lots of sweet bird songs to be enjoyed as I paused to admire the pond.

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I cut my walk a bit short . . . upon spying a fresh pile of bear scat right in the middle of the trail . . . deciding that would make a good turn-around point.

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