Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mason Lake (6 miles)

At first we were a little bummed that the rain showers and low clouds were going to obscure what are said to be great views on our chosen hike, but after we got to hiking, we weren't missing the sun at all.

It looks innocent at the beginning.

But then it starts to climb pretty quickly.

And it keeps on climbing. 2550 feet to be exact. We were welcoming the misty rain that would blow in periodically.

We had originally planned to continue up to Bandera Mountain, but when we reached this point and saw that trail was pretty much vertical up the exposed slope, we opted to take the fork in the road to Mason Lake.

There was still some climbing to do before the trail curved over to the east and dropped 500' to the lake. The temperature difference around the bend was quite marked.

Mason Lake and my two best hiking buddies. Being a Sunday, there were a lot of other hikers, and I think every one of them commented on Zuli. So many people think she's a (boy) puppy, and everyone wants to pet her. She just eats up the attention, and gets a very big head.

The Big Guy has to humble her by denying her a bite of his sandwich. Good thing I'm a softie and had her snausages in my pack.

It was a very pretty lake even without the sunshine. After being soaked from exertion, though, and sitting still for lunch, it was time to get moving again before it got too chilly. It didn't take long to warm up again by climbing back out those 500', and after coming back to the west side of the mountain, it was very pleasantly warm.

I end with a Photo Identification Quiz. No prizes, though, sorry.
Do you know what this is?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Otter Falls, 9.5 miles

Summer is still taking its sweet time getting here (again) and many of the bigger, higher hikes have either snow pack left or muddy bogs where the snow has just melted. In other words, the places we might normally be tromping are not trompable just yet. This gives us the opportunity to find some closer-in lower-elevation hikes. Isn't that a happy, positive attitude? We're always this sunny and adaptable, too. You're super lucky to know people like us! (Helpful life hint: Sarcasm is the antidote to climatic dreariness)

It is always best to begin at the beginning, and this is the Snoqualmie River under the bridge at the beginning of the trail to Otter Falls. I was very excited to see some otters! (again, I kid. It's a sickness.)

The sun broke through a few times, and one good thing about a cooler, wetter summer is that everything is amazingly green.

The trail wasn't all this smooth, but it was a pretty even grade most of the way with a couple of river crossings which had to be forded on foot. We did pass a guy on the way back at one crossing who was crawling across the river on the rocks that were easily steppable. Poor dude looked terrified, but he made it!

This is not Otter Falls. I'm not kidding.

This is Otter Falls. Many moons ago, this trail was meant to be a real road, but due to some conservation laws or some such, the road was abandoned and became a trail. The bridge over the falls is, obviously, still very road-like, with nice cement berms on which hikers were seated to have their lunches while admiring the falls.

A very large, very cleft rock, The Big Guy, and a Pacific Northwest Forest Pig.

The sun temporarily blinded the forest pig, and I was able to capture it without incident. It's no otter, but it's pretty darn cute.