Sunday, September 11, 2016

Millersylvania State Park

The September that I love returned this week, and off we went on another stomp-about.
Miller = the name of the second family to own the property, which, coincidentally, is the name of the first family to own the property although they were not related. Sylvania = Latin for "forest land." 

I had printed a trail map of the park, but it didn't include the mileage, so I took a pic of one of the park's many trail markers in order to add them up later. This is also a little trick I've used in the past when I've neglected to pre-print a trail map, that way I can just refer to my digital picture as my map if need be. 
The website says there are 8.6 miles of trails. We figure we got in somewhere between 6-7.

Hike = walk for a long distance, especially across country or in the woods. The majority of the trails look like this, very even and flat and soft. Trail running is popular here, for obvious reasons. There is even a section called the Fitness Trail,

complete with two sets of chin-up bars along the way. TBG could jump up to the highest one.

I was able to hop onto the low one (yes, my feet are off the ground.) Don't ask me if I could do a pull-up. Worry about your own self.

One of many stream crossings.

Enjoying the beautiful canopy = the uppermost spreading branchy layer of a forest. Branchy!

Douglas squirrel. 
We also saw a few garter snakes, lots of slugs, 


and this rude rabbit that refused to sit still while I zoomed.
Shortly after this photo was taken, I spotted perhaps the biggest bullfrog = a very large frog that has a deep booming croak and is often a predator of smaller vertebrates I've ever seen. It leaped into the lake before I could capture it on film, so I understand if you don't believe me. It's like the Sasquatch of bullfrogs. 

But I know what I saw.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Wallace Falls State Park

Usually we can count on Labor Day weekend, and really most of September, to have some of the loveliest weather of the year in our area. It is, after all, the third driest month on average. But not today. 

If you're going to live here and let rain keep you from going outside, you're going to be a miserable shut-in and maybe a serial killer. 

We thumbed our noses at rain and sociopathy and motored north to Wallace Falls S.P. 

This park was a very pleasant surprise due to its great upkeep, wonderful viewpoints, and good signage.

We started on the Woody Trail (laugh if you must) since that was the one that led to all the viewpoints for the waterfalls.

  The Wallace River

The viewing points are strategically well-placed, and you can see here a peek of what's to come upriver.

No, not this, although this was pretty cool out in the middle of the river as it was.

The website cautions about the popularity of this park and advises parking can become limited. Starting early and on such a day, we had a lot of trail to ourselves. 

Lower Wallace Falls

Middle Wallace Falls, the most impressive of the three.

After this point, the climb becomes more serious. There are a lot of stairs in this park. A half mile more of steps and switchbacks

and you arrive at Upper Wallace Falls.

Please stay on...what?! Who did this?


 TBG's keen eye spotted this little cutie. My research tells me that, due to the range, it has to be a western redback salamander, although it really, really looks like a larch mountain salamander. Where's a ranger when you need one?

After the Upper Falls, there are two choices. One, return the way you came, and two, continue up a harder-to-discern portion of the trail the will connect to a DNR road and, eventually,  Wallace Lake. Two, please.

I spotted the first blue triangle that helped lead us through the woods. That was some fun hiking. "Blue Triangle, there!" we'd call out, pointing.

 Well, that's how I played the game.

The DNR road was a respite after all the climbing, and we didn't encounter one other soul.

It also got prettier and prettier the closer to the lake we got. We saw a few lumps of bear scat on the road and then a sign cautioning that a bear had been sighted in the area. The sign listed what to do if you should encounter a bear, and I demonstrated these things for TBG, adding singing to the list obviously. I didn't get the opportunity to use my skills, though, as no bear was spotted by us.

Wallace Lake, a hundred feet deep and full of trout, informs the sign board.

 We seem to have only taken one picture of only part of the trail back down. Except for one spur, it wasn't as steep as coming up, and the sun broke through a few times. The nearer we came to the bottom, the more people we saw heading up, and the parking lot was almost full when we arrived back. The early bird gets the bear scat salamander!

 We hadn't quite planned to hike for 8.5 miles today, and we might be a tad cranky about that tomorrow. Until then we say, "Good show, Wallace Falls!"

WA State Park Grand Scheme Total = 42