Been away from blogging for a while. I haven’t been doing as much hiking as I would have liked in the past few months either. I’m slowly getting back out there, so here’s some inspiration for you and me!
This past Wednesday my wife, son, and I hiked up Mount Ellinor in the Mount Skokomish Wilderness. We started at the upper trailhead (saving ourselves almost two miles of hiking versus starting at the lower trailhead) and ascended roughly 2,000 feet over a little more than a mile and a half. It was HOT – especially since we started at noon. My wife did this hike a year ago at this time and saw snow along the trail. This year, no snow – just lots of dust.
Mount Ellinor is a very popular hike on the Olympic Peninsula. Even on a Wednesday, the upper parking area was almost completely filled. The mountain is best known for its amazing views, steep ascent, and plentiful goat population. The views on Ellinor are spectacular – both along the trail and at the summit. The goats are pretty neat too. I did this hike last September for the first time and didn’t see a single goat. On that day I couldn’t see much of a view either because of the cloud cover, so I was happy to experience Mount Ellinor in all its splendor. I had almost given up on seeing any goats last Wednesday but halfway down we saw one hanging out on the side of a cliff trying to stay cool in the shade. Smart goat!
Mount Ellinor is a great hike and its views are well worth the climb. It’s pretty cool seeing wild mountain goats up there too. If you do plan on hiking Ellinor in the summer, I suggest starting in the morning. I also heard several people say that more goats were out earlier in the day. Here’s a neat video from the Forest Service about hiking Ellinor. Check out some of my photos below. I’ve also heard Ellinor is a popular place to watch fireworks displays go off throughout the South Sound. Have a Happy July 4th and enjoy the hiking!
Happy Father’s Day! I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for a few weeks to catch up on school work. Haven’t been hiking much either. I should finish up the semester in a week and then I plan on catching up with my posts and taking some nice hikes. In the meantime check out PNW Trail News and Photos page. Plenty of great hiking-related news and articles there from the Washington Trail Association, Seattle Times, and other contributors.
Some hiking news I’ve been following: Olympic National Park recently re-opened its Enchanted Valley area after the bears were bear-having (ha!) abnormal and coming up to people unafraid. The News Tribune recently reported on some of the best summer hiking and wildflower/wildlife viewing in the Puget Sound. The article’s suggestions include some of my favorite hikes, including the Sunrise Ridge Trail at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP (for great views) and Mt. Ellinor Trail in Olympic NF (for wildlife/goat viewing). Lastly, I went to North Bend, Washington, recently with the family. I mostly biked while there (the John Wayne Pioneer Trail) but would like to return to hike the prominent Little Si and Mount Si peaks. The Seattle Times recently reported on the Boulder Garden Trail, an alternative to the very popular Little Si hike. Both hikes start from the same location.
Finally, I want to say that I’m one lucky guy in that my favorite hiking buddy is also my son. We’ve done lots of exploring in the Pacific Northwest and I hope we have plenty more adventures together. Below are just a few of the photos from our hiking adventures over the past year.
This Saturday is the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. Noted as the largest annual U.S. trails celebration, National Trails Day is a day for hikers of all ages to head out a explore their local hiking trails and destinations. According to the American Hiking Society website, National Trails Day events will take place in every state, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. These events won’t just include hiking too: they include horseback riding, bicycling, birdwatching, and geocaching activities as well. The focus is simply on getting outside and appreciating our natural and outdoor spaces. Here’s a complete list of the events in each state. Here’s some more information:
According to the American Hiking Society website, National Trails Day “evolved during the late ‘80s and ‘90s from a popular ethos among trail advocates, outdoor industry leaders and political bodies who wanted to unlock the vast potential in America’s National Trails System, transforming it from a collection of local paths into a true network of interconnected trails and vested trail organizations. This collective mindset hatched the idea of a singular day where the greater trail community could band together behind the NTD moniker to show their pride and dedication to the National Trails System”. Here’s a neat timeline that shows the establishment of NTD up to its 20th anniversary event in 2012.
I’ve never heard of National Trails Day before now. I really like the celebration focus and appreciate that communities in each state will hold special events honoring the outdoors and protected natural spaces. According to the AHS, there are some 200,000 miles of trails just in the U.S. Respecting and appreciating these foot- and multi-use paths is important to our physical and mental wellbeing and to the health of our communities.
If you like photography and social media, AHS encourages National Trails Day participants to email or upload their photos or post them to Instagram (tagged with @AmericanHiking and #NationalTrailsDay). Participants who post their photos can enter a contest – here’s some more information.
Finally, if you live in the South Sound/Olympic Peninsula area, there are several NTD events going on. Here’s a list of events in Tacoma-Olympia area. On the Olympic Peninsula, there are events in Sequim, Port Townsend, Quinault, Shelton, and near Aberdeen. Here’s where you can find a list of all the events in Washington. Lots of great hiking and exploring going on this Saturday!
McLane Creek Nature Trail at Capitol State Forest is more than just a great hiking trail. In fact, it’s two hiking trails: McLane Creek NT and Centennial Demonstration Forest, both nicely tucked into the same property. While the .75-mile-long Centennial DF traverses some pretty country, including a working demonstration forest, most people visit to hike the nature trail and to watch for wildlife at the beaver pond encircled by the McLane Creek trail. If you have kids, McLane Creek NT’s many boardwalks, bridges, and viewing areas should keep them entertained, engaged, and (hopefully) excited about the outdoors.
This weekend, my family and I checked out Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail in Olympic National Forest. Beginning at Coho campground near Wynoochee Dam, we hiked around the entire lake (~16 miles) and saw Maidenhair Falls on the northern end. It was an interesting, sometimes fun, and sometimes really difficult hike given the poor condition of the trail. In some sections, the bushes were so overgrown that I felt like a jungle explorer (sans pith helmet and machete). Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail is a National Recreation Trail and probably was at one time a really great trail. However, I don’t think it’s received a whole lot of TLC since it was designated an NRT in 1979. All in all a decent hike and a fun experience. Maidenhair Falls were a beautiful find, however, if I ever do this trail again I will ford Wynoochee River just above the lake and save myself the trouble of trekking through the many campsites directly along the river. Check out my photos from the trip below and stay tuned (hopefully) next week for my review.
Thanks to arbyreed for the great photo.
Happy Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all those who served or serve in our Armed Forces.
For many people around the country, Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of the summer camping season. If you do plan on camping or hiking this weekend, Washington Trails Association offers some excellent tips and advice on where to go in Washington and how to prepare. Some important takeaways from the WTA article: check the snow levels in the high country and prepare accordingly, especially if you plan on hiking or camping in the Northern Cascades/Mt. Rainier area, where snowpack often exists until mid summer. For finding a camping spot: don’t be afraid to wing-it and try dispersed camping (make your own camping spot) in National Forest lands. Just follow these Forest Service guidelines. If you plan on visiting Olympic Peninsula and find the Olympic NP sites all filled up, check out some of the lesser-known state and national forest campgrounds, such as Cottonwood and Hoh Oxbow (state land) on the west side or Hamma Hamma and Lena Creek (national forest) on the east side. Or try hiking into a wilderness camping site. The WTA article also identifies some great hikes around Washington, from the Columbia River Gorge and Olympic Peninsula to the Central and North Cascades and Washington’s Central and Eastern areas. If you have a to-do list of Washington hiking destinations, definitely check out some of these WTA suggestions.
For more news and information on Memorial Day hiking destinations and all things hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest, check out Pacific Northwest Pathfinder’s PNW Trail News and Photos page. The news page features articles and photography from outdoor-oriented media outlets and blogs based in Washington and Oregon. Each week, the page offers new content to explore and share.