Hikes

Christmas Ideas for the Hiker in Your Life

I've started Christmas shopping and am about halfway done with my list. Planned gift giving isn't my love language, it stresses me out, but if you're looking for a few gift ideas to get the hiker in your life, check out the items below! I have or want most of them!

Talapus and Olallie Lakes

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While I enjoy hiking when it's not raining, I live in Washington, and if the choice is to hike in the rain, or to not hike at all, I'll (usually) pick the rain.

I can deal with rain way better than I can cold. But that's a side point.

One rainy week day a friend and I took off for Talapus and Olallie Lakes. We were the third vehicle at the trailhead, one of which was for two forest rangers clearing debris off the trail. Thank you!

The parking lot is a bit small so I'd imagine that on a nicer day or a weekend, it would fill up early.

It was my first time using my Lowa Renegade boots on a hike and let me tell you, they were worth every cent! So was my Arc'teryx Beta Lt. Hybrid jacket (no longer sold; similar jacket here.)

 
 

The trail was muddy, full of puddles, and at times, running water. I just stomped right through it all.

We barely saw the other hikers on our hike. They had taken a different fork and if we had been five seconds ahead, wouldn't have encountered anyone besides the rangers on the first half of our hike.

Talapus Lake:

 
 

Olallie Lake:

On our way back we only passed three people. We were both craving something warm to eat or drink and settled for Starbucks in North Bend.

I've checked a lot of hikes off of my list lately. What's been one of your most recent hikes?

Glass Beach

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My mom read about a beach with lots of sea glass, the catch is that you have to hike three to four miles each way to reach it. 

It's accessible through two access points/trailheads in Port Townsend, Washington. We parked at North Beach on Kuhn St. and walked west along the beach to find the seaglass. The other option (according to Pacific NW Beachcombing) is to park at the Marina Drive parking lot at Cape George and walk east along the beach.

If you're coming from the east, two old car axles about 3 miles in mark where you can start to find sea glass. You need to make sure you time it for low tide and that you don't get stuck out there at high tide.

On our hike/walk, some of the people who we passed going back to their cars said it wasn't a very good day for sea glass, so that was disappointing, but we managed to find a bit anyways. 

White glass was pretty common, with brown, green, and blue, and even pieces of porcelain. My favorite piece I found was one piece of pink sea glass.

 
 

Finally, one more cool thing I found along the beach, was a possible fern fossil.

 
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Hiking on the beach isn't really my idea of fun. I find it more exhausting than going uphill. So while this isn't a hike I'll do again anytime soon, it was fun to go out and get the glass. 

Do you know of any good places to find sea glass?

Snowgrass Flats

A few weeks ago we drove down to hike to Snowgrass Flats. An entire hour of that drive was spent on the same 16 mile dirt road, so bring a high clearance vehicle if you can. We were the only day hikers out that day, minus two separate men on horseback. Everyone else was backpacking in and going further than we were.

It was a nice hike but we hit a lot of snow and it was difficult to go uphill in it. We made it, but trekking poles or microspikes would have made it a lot easier. It was the first real snow I'd seen this year though and it was fun to play around in. There's been a couple of other hikes I've looked at recently, but they've gotten more snow than I'd like to hike in. Any suggestions for winter hikes to do in the PNW?

Snow Lake

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For a friend's birthday she got a group of us to hike to hike her favorite hike. Snow Lake. 

I was originally going to do Snow Lake Saturday and then Diablo Lake Sunday, but luckily for my knees and feet, Diablo Lake fell through.

Snow Lake wasn't as hard of a hike as I'd been anticipating. It was incredibly rocky, and there were a few places where you had to scramble up boulders, but overall it wasn't too bad. We went one of the days when the wildfire smoke had drifted a bit West, but besides a lingering haze and the smell, it wasn't too bad. 

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You gain about 1400 feet on the hike and then lose 400 to go into the lake basin. So not all of your gain is at once. We hiked partially around the lake to a very exposed overlook where it was pretty cold with the windchill. I ended up breaking out my wool hat, gloves, and Buff that I keep on me in case a hike goes awry and I end up staying out overnight. They helped me stay warmish during lunch. But I'll definitely be buying warmer gloves soon. 

It's a pretty fantastic lake, I can't imagine how beautiful it is without the haze. It's very popular though, so be warned that you'll be sharing it with lots of other people. The parking lot for the hike is huge. We showed up around 8 a.m. on a Saturday and there was plenty of parking, but by the time we returned, it was pretty full.

As beautiful as this was, my favorite is still Lake Serene

What's your favorite alpine lake hike?

Lower Lena Lake

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I'd been wanting to hike to Lena Lake for around a year. We were going to hike to Upper Lena Lake last inter, but it was inaccessible with snow, and then the WTA had trip reports of a bridge out for Lower Lena Lake. It turned out that you didn't have to cross that bridge to get to Lower Lena Lake, so once I figured that out, I planned a hike. 

It was one of the easiest hikes I've done. The switchbacks were so enjoyable. According to the WTA you gain 1,300 feet over a roundtrip of 7.2 miles. My only regret is that I didn't go in the late spring when the water level was higher. But oh well, there's always next spring!

In case you aren't able to tell by now, I like hiking to lakes. This wasn't the prettiest, but it was the easiest! When we started out at 8 a.m. we were the only day hikers. More came along later, but the trailhead had been full when we got there from either backpackers who started out earlier than we did, or the day before.

I'd definitely recommend this hike. I'll be sure to do it again when it's wetter out.

Any easy hikes you'd recommend?

Orcas Island

A few weeks ago a friend and I went to Orcas Island to move some furniture. I had brunch by myself the next morning at the charming New Leaf Cafe. Since we were hiking that morning, I wanted something hearty and not too sweet or heavy. I ordered the duck confit hash and it was fantastic. Better than I could have imagined.

We drove to the park and got to the trailhead. We were going to hike to the top of Mount Constitution. You can also drive this, but we chose to hike it. Do you ever have those days were a hike or a workout is nearly impossible? For whatever reason, that was this day for me. I don't know the last time I was this slow on a hike.

There was ice cream at the top though so that was a bonus.

The day we went was one of the times the wildfire smoke was heavy. From the top you're supposed to have an amazing view. We didn't have that, but it was still cool.

Once we hiked back down we stopped for dinner at a bar in town. 

The next day we kayaked before we had to catch our ferry. There were lots of sand dollars in the water, starfish on the rocks, and I even saw one otter! 

It was a fantastic weekend. We ended up getting stuck on the island when one of the ferries broke down, but we made the best of it and had a blast. Except for the getting home at 4 a.m. on a Monday part. That wasn't ideal, but hey, at least I was able to work from home that day!

Any PNW weekend trips you'd recommend? I've been wanting to go to Crater Lake, but it's a bit too far to do in a weekend.

Barclay Lake

This post is late, we hiked this on July 4th, but hey, life gets busy.

Barclay Lake had been on my hiking list and it was pretty close to where we were staying for the fourth, so we woke up early the morning of to set off to do it.

The glimpses of the mountains around us as we hiked were beautiful. A freezing river runs next to part of the trail and I was able to wade partly across to a small island. 

We didn't spend much time at the lake, one of my friends had to get back to study for a test, but the lake was beautiful. 

Where have you hiked to lately?

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Hike to Wallace Falls

Earlier this week we drove east on Highway 2 to hike to Wallace Lake. When we got there, we changed our destination to Wallace Falls. The trail was mostly in the shade but I still managed to get sunburned in the 10-15 minutes we weren't in the shade. Yay fair skin. We took the Woody Trail all the way to the Upper Falls. I loved hiking next to the river but eventually the trail left the river. There were a few river and waterfall viewpoints along the way.

It was a pretty hike and the waterfalls at the end were beautiful. What are some hikes you've liked lately?

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