Washington

Tolmie State Park

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I haven't had a chance to get out hiking much this year, but I was able to end last year, and start this one, with two hikes! When my best friend was in town we drove down to Olympia to hike Tolmie State Park. Besides the fact that it was really muddy, it was a very simple walk through the woods, but beautiful nonetheless. Another local hike/walk I've been meaning to do is the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. It's been a while since I've been out and I can't wait to get out again!

What's been your favorite hike so far this year?

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Angel Falls

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Recently a friend and I hiked to Angel Falls. We started really late, and from a different trailhead than the main one, so we only made it to Angel Falls and missed Curtain Falls. The bridges had been taken out for the season, and the trail was washed out at one point, but with agility, trekking poles, and waterproof boots, we made it!

Angel Falls was pretty, and it all made for a good workout, but it was a bummer to not make it to Curtain Falls as well. I'm planning on going back at some point to see them both.

Do you have any waterfalls you like to hike to?

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?

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?

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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Annette Lake Hike

I have a list of hikes I'd like to do, and when the opportunity to hike Annette Lake came up, I jumped at it. We started out around 7:45, there was still room in the parking lot on a Saturday, but not a ton! So be there early if you're wanting to find a space near the trailhead.

I hiked a short .75 mile nature loop while I waited for my friends. When they arrived, we started on the actual trail.

I was more out of shape than I thought I was but the lake was so beautiful. I wish I'd brought a book; I could have sat there all day. Lake Serene may have been a touch more magical, (it may have also been the company) but Annette Lake was fantastic.

Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake

I'm so lucky to live in such a beautiful area. What are some hikes you love to do?

Ebey's Landing Hike on Whidbey Island

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I'd been looking for a hike I could do safely by myself. Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island is well-populated, only 5.6 miles long, and not very technical. It's also not in the middle of the mountains. So I picked it.

It happened that my mother came along, which made it a lot funner. But it did mean that I wasn't by myself. Not a bad fact.

You may need a ferry reservation to access this hike. We got lucky and made it on as a stand-by, but barely.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

We parked at the trailhead across from the cemetery for the hike. The Washington Trails Association had recommended that trailhead for more of a hike and the other one for more of a beach walk.

We'd chosen a day to go when it was supposed to be raining sideways. Thankfully, the rain and wind weren't as bad as predicted. It rained a bit, but I stayed dry in my Arc'teryx. My mom's Columbia wetted out.

The prairieland here was amazing. Nothing like other parts of Western Washington I've seen.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

At one point two bald eagles flew at eye level maybe 15 feet off the trail. It was amazing. I had my phone in my hands but was too busy looking at them to take a picture. So I took one when they were flying away.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I could have done without the walk on the beach. It wasn't as enjoyable as the walk on the bluff. If I did it again, I'd probably stay on the bluff, walk down the hill to the beach, and then back up to the bluff and just do a there and back.

It was a pretty good day-hike. Afterwards we took the ferry back to Port Townsend (again, get reservations!), got pizza for lunch, stopped at a loose-leaf tea place where I found my new favorite decaf tea, and drove home.

Do you have any fairly easy hikes you'd recommend in the area?

Guillemot Cove and the Stump House

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On The Outbound Collective website, I found a trail with a stump house at the Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve. A friend an I drove out there on what happened to be a sunny day to see the stump and the beautiful view of the Olympics. It's out near the town of Seabeck and situated on the water. It's an easy trail but there were a few tight squeezes between trees. There was a family with a stroller in front of us and they ended up carrying the stroller because it couldn't get down the trail. Also, when we went, it was incredibly wet. I wore my waterproof L.L. Bean Thinsulate boots which worked fine. I wouldn't have been comfortable in anything that wasn't waterproof; there were parts that were impassable without going through water.

But we made it to the stump house and it was so cool! Parts of the roof are made with newer wood, I had thought it would be all old, but either it's a new stump house, or it's been upkept with newer materials.

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

And I'd hoped to see the Olympics from the beach, but the clouds covered all but one or two peaks. While disappointing, the sun was still out for us and we had fun walking around the beach. I'd love to go back out some clear, sunny day and see the view then.

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove
Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Do you have any unique local adventures to recommend?

Weekend Trip to Lake Wenatchee Part Two

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Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

After we went snowshoeing, which if you want to read about is available at the Lake Wenatchee Part One blog post, we spent a few hours down in Leavenworth, Washington. My favorite thing to do there is to get a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Caramel Apple. I got it and some other candies, and we probably stopped in every single store downtown. There was an outdoors store that sold some Woolrich pants one of my friends got, an art gallery that sold metal wall art of the mountains and trees, a bookstore, and so so much more. Leavenworth is a pretty little town but it's my favorite when there's snow on the ground. We happened to go the same weekend as their ice festival so there were lots of other people in town watching the ice carvings and various contests and races.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth

After our time in Leavenworth we went back to the cabin and cooked burgers. We got up early the next morning to head home and made a couple of stops along the way. We had second breakfast at the Cascadia Inn in Skykomish and then made another stop on the side of Stevens Pass Highway to look at some massive icicles hanging from the cliff on the other side of the river.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

My L.L. Bean Thinsulate boots worked for this little stop fairly well. I fell through the ice once or twice but the water below was only a few inches deep so my feet stayed dry. I am planning on getting waterproof hiking boots in the next week or two though, when the coupons from REI come out with the REI member dividend.

Do you have any favorite places to stop or explore in the Cascade Mountains near Steven's Pass?