Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mud Mountain Dam - Rim Trail and River Trail - 8 miles round trip

When the forecast says it's going to be in the 80's, it's time to take some time off.

I decided to walk the Rim Trail at Mud Mountain Dam. It is located about 5 miles from the city of Enumclaw, and the road is well marked. After turning onto the road, the park is about 2 1/2 miles down. I parked in the first obvious parking lot, which is also used by folks visiting the play area.

The trail starts right next to the playground and follows a chain link fence before heading into the forest. Some have said that the trail is hard to find, so I took a picture to show where I parked, and where the trail starts. There is a sign posted at the beginning of the trail, but it is not large.
Start of the Rim Trail
The trail is easy to follow and has relatively few ups and downs. In several areas it passes through some boggy spots, but there is a board walk to keep your feet out of the ooze.

Board walk through marshy spots
At one spot, the trail passes an out house, cause you never know when your are going to have to go!

Outhouse at about one mile
Soon the trail gets close to the bluff, and there are several warning signs that it is not safe to approach the edge. Of course, everyone does just to see how steep it really is. It is steep.

Stay back from the edge so you don't become a projectile heading towards the river 400 feet below.

Ignoring he warning sign, here is what it looks like near the edge. It's further than it looks in this picture.
There are fences along the way to remind hikers to stay on the trail. Another neat feature is that there are mile markers every half mile. Here is the one at mile 1 1/2.

Mile marker 1.5
Eventually the Rim Trail meets up with the River Trail at about the two mile mark. The Rim Trail appears to continue, but I decided to take the River Trail.

Junction of the Rim Trail and River Trail
The River Trail follows a gravel road that quickly drops the 500 feet to the White River. There were beautiful vistas!

River Trail nears the river. Beautiful views upriver.

The White River - lots of snow melting today.

Another view of the White River
 By following the trail across the meadow and through the woods, I eventually arrived at Grandmother's house.... no not really, it was Scatter Creek. I stopped to take off my boots and socks and soak my hot and tired feet in the cool water. What a relief. Had a snack, drank a liter of water, and then headed back to the car.
Scatter Creek
The scenery was just as good heading back. I guess this area is called "Mud Mountain Lake" because of the activities that take place during flooding. There are a number of what appear to be "pontoons", which are all linked together. From what I understand, these are set out across the river to catch logs and drifting debris and keep it from piling up at the dam downstream. It would be interesting to see them during a flood.

Heading back towards the dam on the River Trail. The green grass is really small horsetail plans - millions of them!

Pontoon used to capture drifting logs during times of flooding
I noticed that I could see the top of Mount Rainier at the 1 1/2 mile marker!
Mount Rainier peaks over the hills in the distance.
I put on the gas heading back, because I parked inside the gate. There are numerous signs warning that the park starts to close at 3:30 PM and the gate is locked at 4. Anyone inside has to wait until morning to get out. I made good time and arrived at my car at 2:20. I estimate that I walked about 8 miles round trip. This is a good conditioning hike because the climb up from the river.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

More Spring Weather

Total Walking Miles this past week (Monday 4/21 - Friday 4/25):   60.1 miles
Total Training Miles Today (Saturday 4/26):     17.8 miles

Patti went to New Mexico to be with her brother this weekend, so it was just Debbie and I.

The morning was beautiful, and especially nice since we saw the herd of elk. They appear to be as curious about us and we are of them.
Elk in the field

We arrived at Lake Sawyer after walking the trials that follow the hill-top around Frog Lake. The lake was peaceful and quiet; the glassy surface appeared as a mirror.
Deb looks at the high water and peaceful lake.

After leaving the lake, we headed up the road which had all of the "No Trespassing" signs on it. We followed it through a locked gate (there was a convenient path around it) and found the trail leading back to the woods. Everything looks so green and fresh this morning.
The green carpet of plants are everywhere.

On our way back, Mt. Rainier looked so lovely.
Mount Rainier in the morning sunlight
Deb and Bridget on the road back to the car. It was a great walk today!
Total Training Miles on Sunday (4/27): Approx 15.6

It was raining when we arrived for our walk, but we expected that they would be just showers. We were right. Within ten minutes, the rain stopped. I stored my umbrella up the sleeve of my raincoat. It worked well.

We saw the herd of elk again.
Elk are curious
We then decided to hike some trails that we hadn't hiked in a while. We crossed a little pool with skunk cabbage in it.
Pool along the way. Skunk cabbage love it!

We ended up out at the little stores near Black Diamond. I carried out a bag of garbage collected along the trail and left it at a dumpster there.

We then headed back to the main trail and followed Ravensdale Creek back to the road. The forest is so green this time of year.
Everything is so GREEN this time of year!
 We hiked a little over two hours. I hurried home, because our dog, Lillie, is very sick (she has cancer). She was sleeping, but I noticed a few mistakes on the floor. I settled down with her to take a much-deserved nap.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Weather

Total Walking Miles (Monday 4/14 - Friday 4/18): 61.6
Total Training Miles Today (Saturday 4/19): 16.7

Saturday was a beautiful day for walking. The sky was blue. Mount Rainier was catching the morning light. Everyone arrived with their packs and trekking poles, except Patti who "forgot" hers at home.

Patti lead the way and we hiked out to Lake Sawyer and then up Ravensdale Creek. I just love the sound of the water as it cascades towards Lake Sawyer. The local Christian Church has been hiding Easter eggs with invitations to Easter Sunday service. Patti found one of the eggs.

At the log bridge, Patti pointed out a pretty flower that we had planted two years ago. She also tested out the log bridge with the recently repaired wire hand-hold. However, I decided that I was not comfortable enough walking a log with my 30 pound pack just yet. Why tempt fate?

We planted this beauty two years ago!
Patti checks out the log bridge with the recently replaced wire hand-hold. We decided not to cross.
 The forest looks so pretty with the green ferns, ground cover and mossy trees.
Deb and Patti

Patti and Deb near the steep downhill trail leading out to 288th street
 On the way back, the clouds were rolling in. I was able to snap this shot of Mount Rainier.
Dramatic view of Mount Rainier as the clouds gather.

Total Training Miles Today (Sunday, 4/20): Approx 15.6

It's Easter Sunday. And, it's NOT raining! Yesterday a big storm swept the area with rain and wind. I could hear the rain pelting the roof last night and I was worried it would be a rainy walk this morning. What a relief.

Patti decided NOT to walk today, so Deb and I donned our packs and headed towards Oak lake. On the way, we saw a large herd of elk in the field. They watched us for a few moments and then melted into the forest.
The elk watched us for a few moments before disappearing into the forest.

The Oak lake trail is flooded. The trail was under about four feet of water!

Oak lake is flooded! The trail around the lake is under at least four feet of water. Needless to say, we didn't try to bushwhack around it. We headed over to the Lake Sawyer park and then cut through the forest to the main trail. The forest was lovely, as usual, and we walked for almost exactly two hours.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Catching my breath

I walked 17 miles yesterday. It's my second highest mileage and I feel good about it.

Patti and I decided to walk to the top of Palmer Peak. It was a beautiful morning with a few clouds glowing pink in the early light. Plus, this is one of the few places where we can be challenged with a little elevation gain.

We headed down after taking in the sunrise. I suggested that we cross over onto the trail that would lead to the toy stump. However, instead of going to the stump, we followed the old railroad tracks to the main trail, and then headed down towards Ravensdale Creek.

Debbie had told Patti that she had hidden lots of Easter eggs, and that they were EVERYWHERE. All we needed to do was look high and low. Well, we did. And we didn't find any until Patti found one along the road on the way back. For a good hour all we could do was remark, "Oh, they're everywhere!" I remarked that we must not be hiking on the "everywhere" trail.

There are lots of trillium growing in the forest. They are so pretty.

Because of our trek up Palmer Peak, we took about an extra twenty minutes for our walk.

On Sunday, we arrived fifteen minutes early (6:15) and headed out. Everyone had their packs and trekking poles. It was great. We saw a few elk on the road and looked for Easter eggs along the trails. Patti and I both found two of them. Mount Rainier was catching the morning light.

Mount Rainier in the early morning sunlight

The comment about hiding eggs everywhere meant that about fifteen eggs were hidden in total. Well, at least we found a few.

Sun rising over Cranberry Bog

Deb and Patti doing some up-hill walking

Pretty sunlight on the winding trail

Coming out of the woods to a grassy field

On our way back to the cars. Bud, Bridget & Patti

Mount Rainier looked lovely and the trails looked so inviting in the morning sunlight.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Living my dream

Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life.
You don't have to live forever, you just have to live. - Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting

In the movie, Tuck Everlasting, the idea of living forever is explored. It becomes clear that there is a cycle of life. It moves in a great circle. There is a beginning. There is an end. But for life, it is a cycle.

I love the idea that we won't live forever. BUT, we should LIVE life. My wife had the "Holstee Manifesto" framed and posted. It ends with, "Live is short. Live your dream and share your passion."

Now that I have my equipment (pack, tent, food, sleeping bag, stove), I am looking forward to getting my body strong enough to walk twenty miles a day with thirty pounds on my back.

I felt the weight today.
I felt the struggle.
My feet hurt.
And I was only three miles into the walk!

But, the wheel of life is turning.

Debbie with her new pack

Debbie got a new pack. She wore it for the first time today. And she did really well. 

Patti and I both agreed that she looks like an "official" hiker now, with her trekking poles and all.

We hiked for over two hours this morning. Saw a single elk in the large grassy field, but the dogs scared it away before we could get close enough for a good view.

We scrambled up the "steep" hill near 288th street. Patti asked whether the PCT had hills like this. I had to admit that there were.

Patti and I both found golden eggs that Debbie had hidden earlier in the week. Inside was a "Jungle of Money" scratch ticket. Patti's was not a winner. But, I won five bucks! Score!

Pausing to enjoy Ravensdale Creek

It was soothing walking along Ravensdale creek.

I love the sounds.

I love all of the greenery: the ferns, the moss, the hiding trillium.

These days make me feel I am beginning to live my dream. 
I won't live forever, but I am avoiding the unlived life.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why am I in such a hurry?

I need to learn patience. I need to learn to listen to my body. I need to hear it. I need to respond. So often I am hiking along and I won't stop. Won't stop to unzip my coat. Won't stop to take a picture. Won't stop.
Heading upstream on Patti's favorite trail.
Why am I in such a hurry? We always take almost exactly two hours to take our morning walk, regardless whether I stop to take pictures. I need to slow down. I need to listen.

Debbie hid Easter eggs on her walk on Monday. Today, Patti and I tried to find them. I didn't want to stop. I didn't want to search. But I did. I did find two eggs!

Patti found the first Easter egg

But, Patti found the first one.

Candy and Money!

Cute little mushrooms. Looked like umbrellas.
I'm surprised I stopped long enough to admire the cute little mushrooms growing from a log!

I found an egg hidden in the moss

I seemed to be happy to find the egg hidden in the moss.

Debbie adds a rock to the monument.

We did stop long enough to add our rock to the rock monument.

The woods waited for me. So much moss. So much expectation.

Headed along the main trail - the old railroad line.

Everything is starting to burst forth in life. I need to listen. Need to hear. Need to respond.