The outdoor life in pictures

Latest

Bridal Veil Falls & Lake Serene

I led a relatively easy hike last weekend. We drove up US 2 to Index, and hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls, one of the taller waterfalls in Washington state. After that, we climbed a LOT of steps and rocks to Lake Serene (the falls gets its water from there).

The Lake is serene, but the trail is so popular that the shoreline wasn’t. Oh well. It was a pleasant sunny day. The temperature in the upper 70s, so a lot of the males had their shirts off.

As usual, I brought up the rear. Every time I’d get my stride, something beautiful would catch my eye and I would stop to take a picture. That makes me a really slow hiker, but it does mean that you get to see what I do. Enjoy!

Backlit tree and moss

Backlit tree and moss

DSC_2380

Salmonberry blossom

Salmonberry blossom

DSC_2392 DSC_2393

I think these insects are mating, so this is bug porn! :)

I think these insects are mating, so this is bug porn! :)

View to the north (central Cascades)

View to the north (central Cascades)

DSC_2398

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

DSC_2401 DSC_2403 DSC_2405

Looking down the falls

Looking down the falls

DSC_2408

Moss

Moss

The falls are visible from the trail to Lake Serene

The falls are visible from the trail to Lake Serene

DSC_2423 DSC_2427

The views are starting to open up.

The views are starting to open up.

DSC_2431

Mt. Index. Almost to the lake!

Mt. Index. Almost to the lake!

Skykomish river valley.

Skykomish river valley.

Lake Serene

Lake Serene. A little bit of Mt. Index is in the background.

DSC_2450

Mt. Ellinor

I “climbed” Mt. Ellinor in the Olympic Mountains. It was actually a hike, but the last mile was so steep that it felt like climbing. I didn’t do this to torture myself; I did it for the view. Mt. Ellinor is 5,900 feet above sea level, and on a clear day you can see what seems like forever.

Unfortunately, the clouds started building as we drove to the trailhead, and when we got to the summit, you couldn’t see anything. Fortunately, the clouds parted shortly after we started going back down. Worth it!

Here are some pictures:

Moss

Moss

View from the trail. We haven't gained much altitude at this point.

View from the trail. We haven’t gained much altitude at this point.

Walking through the clouds.

Walking through the clouds.

DSC_2339

Glacier lilies were starting to emerge.

Glacier lilies were starting to emerge.

This gives you an idea of how steep the trail is.

This gives you an idea of how steep the trail is.

The heather is beginning to blossom.

The heather is beginning to blossom.

View from the summit

View from the summit

The mountain goats were shy that day.

The mountain goats were shy that day.

Looking down a few thousand feet at a lake.

Looking down a few thousand feet at a lake.

The clouds start to part. You can (barely) see Lake Cushman.

The clouds start to part. You can (barely) see Lake Cushman.

Clearer view of the lake

Clearer view of the lake

DSC_2358

Hood Canal

The Olympics

The Olympics

Now the view is fairly wide open

Now the view is fairly wide open

Looking back at Mt. Ellinor

Looking back at Mt. Ellinor

Mason Lake

I hiked up to snowy Mason Lake last weekend. The original destination was Bandera Mountain, but there were hordes of people going that way. So, like Robert Frost, I took the road (okay, trail) less traveled to Mason Lake.

I’m actually glad that I took the alternate trail because of its history. The Ira Spring trail is named after a strong advocate for trails. Ira spent his life encouraging people to get out on the trails. He also did quite a lot to get funding for new trails and to maintain the existing ones. Ira passed away in 2003, and was buried in a boulder field next to the trail. The burial site has a memorial plaque and an excellent view of Mt. Rainier.

It was a decent day in terms of weather. It was clear enough that you could enjoy the view. The only downside was that Mt. Rainier’s summit was hidden by the clouds, but that was good enough.

Mason Lake was uncrowded, as expected. I ate lunch and drank in the view. I did have to be careful not to sit under the trees, because they were dropping snow bombs. Not a bad day overall.

Now the pictures:

DSC_2271

McClellan Butte as seen from the trailhead

DSC_2274

Water

Water

It's spring

It’s spring

Water on needles

Water on needles

Water droplets

Water droplets

The snow started getting serious at about 4,000 feet elevation

The snow started getting serious at about 4,000 feet elevation

I-90 and the Snoqualmie valley

I-90 and the Snoqualmie valley

The clouds over Mt. Rainier's summit briefly parted.

The clouds over Mt. Rainier’s summit briefly parted.

McClellan Butte

McClellan Butte

The Ira Spring memorial plaque and a little piece of the view.

The Ira Spring memorial plaque and a little piece of the view.

DSC_2308

Mason Lake

Mason Lake

Reflection

Reflection

I think this is Dirty Harry's Peak. No, this Harry was merely filthy all the time. :)

I think this is Dirty Harry’s Peak. No, this Harry was merely filthy all the time. :)

Granite Mountain

Last weekend, I wanted a hike that (a) had a fantastic vista and (b) would be strenuous enough to count as a conditioning hike. Granite Mountain definitely met those criteria.

So, off I went. I got a relatively late start, but I managed to get a parking space. Granite Mountain, like most trails on the I-90 corridor, gets a bit crowded on sunny weekends.

I normally don’t bring a camera on a training hike, but I made an exception for this one, because the views are exquisite! The only slight problem was a haze caused by massive wildfires in Siberia. I’m not complaining, though. Over 1,000 Siberian homes have been destroyed or damaged, and 15 people have died due to the fires.

The hike started in the forest, and I noticed that the wildflowers are beginning to blossom. There wasn’t any snow until I got above the treeline (about 4,000 feet). The snow was fairly shallow until I got to about 5,000 feet. After that point, you had to stay on the packed snow. If you didn’t, you sank to your waist in the snow.

I almost made it to the summit, but I turned back with about 300 vertical feet and 1/4 mile to go for two reasons: (1) the snow started getting very slippery and (2) it was getting late (4 PM) and I did not want to use my headlamp on the way back.

That’s the nice thing about mountains. They’re not going anywhere, so you can always come back another time. :)

Here are a few pictures.

Flowering strawberry plants

Flowering strawberry plants

Trillium

Trillium

Yellow Violet

Yellow Violet

First vista on the trail. We go much higher than this!

First vista on the trail. We go much higher than this!

Looking west

Looking west

We've still got to gain a lot of altitude.

We’ve still got to gain a lot of altitude.

Looking east.

Looking east.

First glimpse of the fire lookout

First glimpse of the fire lookout

Mt. Rainier. The haze is from massive Siberian wildfires.

Mt. Rainier. The haze is from massive Siberian wildfires.

An artistic look at Mt. Rainier.

An artistic look at Mt. Rainier.

Looking down at Lake Keecheelus on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass.

Looking down at Lake Keecheelus on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass.

The lookout is getting closer.

The lookout is getting closer.

"The tooth". Also known as Kaleeten Peak.

“The tooth”. Also known as Kaleeten Peak.

The lookout. I turned back not long after I took this shot.

The lookout. I turned back not long after I took this shot.

Umtanum Creek Canyon

One of the (few) advantages of being unemployed is that you can go on hikes in mid-week. So, I headed to eastern Washington to explore the Umtanum Creek Canyon. If you are curious, it is south of Ellensburg by the Wenas Natural Area.

There were lots of wildflowers, and it was a sunny day. Perfect!

On to the pictures!

The trail starts by crossing the Yakima River

The trail starts by crossing the Yakima River

DSC_2116 DSC_2121 DSC_2129

Apple blossoms

Apple blossoms

DSC_2136

Balsamroot

Balsamroot

DSC_2145 DSC_2149

See the Blue Jay?

See the Blue Jay?

DSC_2156

The back-lighting gives the leaves a lot of texture.

The back-lighting gives the leaves a lot of texture.

Who says that the desert is ugly?

Who says that the desert is ugly?

Lots of color and texture

Lots of color and texture

DSC_2171 DSC_2174

This is my favorite shot

This is my favorite shot

This used to be a homestead. They planted apple trees.

This used to be a homestead. They planted apple trees.

DSC_2194 DSC_2196 DSC_2200

 

Source Lake and Snow!

Last weekend (April 11th), two friends and I hiked to Source Lake. I’ve been there several times, but it’s always been in the winter and I’ve never taken the official trail until now. The reason for the latter is that you make your own trail when there’s snow on the ground.

This was an easy six mile trek with only minimal elevation gain. I selected this route because my friend is not a strong hiker, but he loves the snow. We got lucky. While we were on the trail, the snow started coming down pretty heavily. I don’t know about you, but I love hiking while it’s snowing.

Trivia: it’s called Source Lake because it is the source of the Snoqualmie River. Ironically, the lake is so small and unimpressive, that I didn’t bother taking a picture of it.

Speaking of pictures…

Guye Peak

Guye Peak

DSC_2084

Snow on a branch

Snow on a branch

DSC_2088 DSC_2092 DSC_2097 DSC_2099 DSC_2106

The snowfall is rolling in.

The snowfall is rolling in.

DSC_2111

It snowed heavily at times

It snowed heavily at times

I love the way that the trees fade away in the distance.

I love the way that the trees fade away in the distance.

Exploring eastern Washington

A friend and I headed out to explore eastern Washington, specifically the area south of Ellensburg. We were going to hike, but we couldn’t go on the trails for various reasons. Fortunately, my friend’s truck has four-wheel drive, so we went to a Jeep trail that I knew.

The trail goes to a viewpoint overlooking the Kittitas valley, and then to an observatory owned by the UW. We couldn’t go any further, because the trail is closed until May or June.

This was the first time he’d been to the area, so he really enjoyed it, and will probably return to do more exploring.

As usual, there are pictures. Enjoy!

My friend, Rick, taking a picture.

My friend, Rick, taking a picture.

Yakima River.

Yakima River.

Also Yakima River. All that yellow is a bazillion Balsamroot flowers.

Also Yakima River. All that yellow is a bazillion Balsamroot flowers.

Looking at the Kittitas Valley and the Stuart Range.

Looking at the Kittitas Valley and the Stuart Range.

DSC_2025

What an amazing view for a last resting place.

What an amazing view for a last resting place.

DSC_2027

Lupine

Lupine

You can see the Jeep trail continue into the distance.

You can see the Jeep trail continue into the distance.

Balsamroot

Balsamroot

I really like that lone tree for some reason.

I really like that lone tree for some reason.

Looking east/

Looking east

I believe those are the Goat Rocks between Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

I believe those are the Goat Rocks between Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

The observatory and a bird.

The observatory and a bird.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers