Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wallace Falls Hike

Saturday we had plans to head East to the very small town of Gold Bar Washington.  Our plans were to get up early and beat the holiday weekend traffic heading out of town.  Well, we woke up late and by the time we left the house it was after noon.  Usually this would add a healthy does of stress to our day but we just let it go and were not worried about it.  Just fifteen miles from the trail head the traffic came to a complete halt and almost 2 hours later we arrived at Wallace Falls State Park.  The falls official parking lot was full and overflowed 1/2 mile down the street, where we parked, and just as we got out of the car it started to drizzle.  So now I was a little bit stressed about arriving late, bad traffic, crowded trail, and rain.  But hey we came for an adventure and we were going to take it come what may.  So we leashed up the dog, grabbed our backpacks and headed toward the trail head.


The trail starts up through a small field with beautiful views of the Cascade Mountains.  The rain had stopped, the sun was warm and aside from the crackle/hiss of the power lines it was a beautiful entry to the towering forest that held the famous falls.


The trail was speckled with other hikers coming and going in both directions.  As we entered the forest this sign welcomed us and served as a reminder to take in all the splendor awaiting us.


Thus began our journey to Wallace Falls......


.......and here is where it took a drastic change.  Let me just say I am not a hiker, and since Clyde came into my life and I bought a car with navigation I am not much of a map/sign reader either.  I figured a trail head leads the way to the destination so trudge forward, right???  While I stopped to take photos, I told Clyde to go ahead and I would be right behind him, so he did.  I took some photos and followed the hikers who came behind me.  If you want a hint to where things went awry, look closely at the sign in the photo below. 


Clyde took the Woody Trail and I, yup you guessed it, I took the Railroad Grade.  Fifteen minutes in on a 5 mile hike we were unknowingly heading on completely different paths.  And to make matters worse my ancient Blackberry phone is not holding a charge so I tucked it deep within the nylon pockets of my backpack. 

Now, since I am currently sitting here posting this blog entry safe and sound in my living room and Clyde and Bailey are snuggled up sleeping on the sofa, we know the story has a wonderful ending.

So here we go.  I headed towards the hikers on the Railroad Grade expecting to see Clyde and Bailey up ahead along the way.  The trail was beautiful the sounds of water trickling all around and the smell of fresh pine and cedar was heavenly.  Everything was covered in moss and the afternoon sun highlighted the wispy texture beautifully.


It was magical this landscape in front of me and I stopped many times along the way to capture the sights.  I wondered about where my boys were but remembering I had told them to go on ahead, I was not that concerned.  In my novice trail experience I figured the trail led one way in and one way out, as long as I stayed on the trail I'll be good.  I was sure I would see them in time.  Little did I know Clyde had back tracked a few times looking for me and finally thought I must have passed him, so he continued on his chosen path.


It was easy to get distracted taking photos on the long walk with the towering trees.  Occasionally I would pass or be passed by other hikers along the way and I remember being surprised at how few hikers I did see considering the amount of cars in the parking area.  But the hike was peaceful and spacious and I was really enjoying the lush landscape.


Eventually, I found myself keeping up with a family with two small boys and I noticed the Dad would stop to read the signs along the trail.  At one point I saw some other hikers coming up from a trail on the right and the family I had kept up with headed toward that direction.  I asked the man coming up if that was the trail to the falls and he said yes.  So I veered off my trail to a very narrow trail which went straight down and followed the young family with two boys.


This trail was steep, unstable and very narrow.  As people passed by I would have to wait off to the side to let them pass.  As I kept moving down I noticed even more people and soon the sound of rushing water confirmed I was heading in the right direction.


Oh, it was so pretty and I stopped on a wooden bridge to take more photos.   By now there must have been a hundred people milling about, sitting on benches, hiking along trails and on the wooden foot bridge with white water rushing below.  I looked for Clyde but I did not see him so I forged on across the bridge where the other side was even steeper this time going up.  This trail was crowded, narrow uneven and the edge was a pretty severe drop off.   I stopped a few hundred feet up to catch my breath and sat down on a bench to re-adjust my pack.  It was at this point I pulled out my phone and noticed I had seven missed calls from Clyde and one text.  "I am at Lower Falls where are you???".  I called him right away and we realized we were only about fifteen minutes apart, so I continued on up the trail to Lower Falls.

When I reached Lower Falls I snapped some photos and waited by the picnic tables for my boys.  The falls were beautiful, the Spring ice melt was in full swing, it was noisy and the energy rushing over those enormous boulders was commanding everyone's attention. 



The falls continued on down around a bend and disappeared behind the trees.


The 265 foot waterfall in the distance is the section of the falls you can see from Hwy 2.


After happily reuniting at Lower Falls we decided to take my road back to the trail head.  It was a mile longer but after Clyde told me how congested the other trail was we opted for a more peaceful walk back. Plus we were able to let Bailey off leash and he just loves that.  Fish gotta swim, dogs gotta run, it's just the way it is.


Bailey runs about 100 feet in either direction sniffing every scent and investigating the surroundings, then he catches up with us before he is off again, blazing the trail ahead.


The trail heading back was just as interesting as it was coming in, the light was different and it highlighted areas I had overlooked a few hours earlier.



About a half mile before the end of the trail, Clyde showed me where we took alternate paths and had me follow him down to a really scenic "waterfall amphitheater", which I had missed not taking the Woody Trail.. 


It was a beautiful hike and we had a great day.  On the way home I was lectured in hiking etiquette.   I apologized for not reading the trail signs and that I had worried Clyde, and I promised not to do that again.  

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, go do something fun.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Few Random Things.


Although Summer does not actually start for a few more weeks this weekend always reminds me of the official kick-off to Summer.  We have a fun weekend planned we are hiking to a beautiful waterfall, having lunch with friends, finally planting the pots on our patio, and I think I'll make a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. 

Here are a few fun things I'm loving this week.

I'm in LOVE with this sequined sweater, a stylin' way to show your Olympic spirit this Summer.  I might have to attempt a DIY version.

Finally the perfect milk and cookie mug, for the kid in ALL of us. This would be such a great graduation gift with a cookie of the month coupon for sending homemade cookies to your favorite college bound kiddo.

Franco Sarto has done it again with a great pair of  Espadrilles.  They make me want to spend the entire Summer on the Coast of  Maine.

A slinky on a treadmill video made me laugh, it's absurdly intriguing.   

These Peacocks are simply beautiful.

And last but certainly not least, let's all be grateful for our freedom, a freedom we enjoy at the sacrifice of so many men and women.   Thank you to the US Armed Services the sacrifices you make to your country are heroic and should be honored today and everyday.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

Marilyn photo from the Official Marilyn Monroe Facebook page.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pacific Ocean Getaway.

Last weekend we headed to Ocean Park Washington to celebrate my birthday.  Our friends have a vacation home there and graciously offered us their cozy beach cottage for our quick getaway.

Four and 1/2 hours after we left Edmonds, with one quick stop in Olympia at The Bread Peddler, we arrived just in time to see the sun sink beneath the mighty Pacific Ocean.   It was stunning and my boys immediately walked down to the waters edge.


And by waters edge that is exactly what I meant.  Basenji's are not water dogs and Bailey is no exception.

I can only imagine what he was thinking looking out at the largest body of water he has ever seen.  I'd like to think he was in awe of it all the sound of the crashing waves, the smells of the sea, and that magnificent sunset; like we were.


Oh how intoxicating this sight is.



The beach is so very good.

The next day we found a foot path through the dunes, a 5 minute walk from the house.


Bailey loved exploring in the tall grass.


He also enjoyed the warm dry sands of the upper beach, rather than the cold wet sand of the tide, and his curiosity kept him busy for hours.


Ocean Park is on the Long Beach Peninsula and is known for strong unpredictable currents, miles of sandy beaches and it's small towns.  It is great for building sandcastles, flying kites, and taking long walks or drives on the beach.

DSC_7028Beach Buddies.


While investigating this lifeless crab, he forgot about his wet feet for a moment.  He was both interested and on edge, ready to run the other direction if the crab made any sudden moves.


He stayed interested until the tide rolled in and he was soon ankle deep in the cold ocean waters, then he was off again.  He tried to partake in a volleyball game,  a Frisbee toss and he joined a runner for 50 feet or so then he'd gallop back to find us a little further down the beach.  He was so happy to run.


On Saturday we went to Jimella's Seafood Market for dinner.  The food was amazing!  This was another TripAdvisor find and it was spot on.  It is a very small restaurant with lots of twinkle lights and a big sign over the door that reads, "Thank you for shopping local, we promise to pay it forward".  They specialize in local, high quality fresh food and we loved our dinner.

I had the Halibut,  Clyde had a delicious Seafood Stew with a white wine tomato herb broth that was so yummy, I did not get a chance to photograph it before he enjoyed it.


During our chat with our server we had mentioned it was our first trip to Ocean Park and we were celebrating my birthday.   Jimella's is not the kind of place where the servers sing at your table but they did add a little sparkle to our Oregon Marionberry Cobbler..


We stopped by Jack's Country Store to pick up firewood and used the wood stove each morning and again in the evening.  It was warm and cozy and the crackling fire lulled Bailey to sleep each night in front of the fire.

We got up early each morning to take in the low tide of the day and went to bed early each night after a full day of beach combing.  We had no cell reception, no cable, no internet and we really enjoyed the simplicity of the whole weekend.

Our final day was the lowest tide of the weekend.


Low tides always bring out the birds.

These Western Sandpipers were amazing to watch.  They hovered just about the surf and when the water receded they landed to take in any tasty vittles left on the beach, then when the water returned they took to the air darting one way and the other in perfect formation.

They reminded me of the school of fish in Finding Nemo. 


It was mesmerizing how they kept this routine up all along the beach.


Bailey loved chasing them until he realized they were staying in the "wet" zone, which is when he gave up and continued on to the next adventure.

Cute little birds getting a drink of sea water.

And who knew Washington had Pelicans?  I was surprised as we came upon a flock of large birds I thought were Canadian Geese until we got a bit closer......Pelicans.  The Terns were pretty cute as well with their super bright orange beaks. 



Just before we left I noticed this group in the distance which resembled my friend John Ebner's famous watercolor paintings


Oh it was a lovely weekend indeed.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Mount St. Helens ~ 32 years later.

These photos were taken last Summer and it seemed a fitting post for today.
"32 years ago today at 8:32 am Mount St. Helens blew her top in a climatic fashion spewing ash worldwide with a blast heard as far away as Canada with such force that 200 square miles of forest was flattened. A cubic mile of the volcano's top was gone - equal to 1000 pounds of ash for every man woman and child in the world today!" Mount St. Helens FB page.

The day before the eruption.
Photo from U.S. Geological Survey via AP, May 17, 1980


This is a great video.

The visitor center at Mount St. Helens is wonderful, the view of the crater is amazing and the educational guides, interactive displays and incredible video of that powerful blast will leave you in awe of Mother Nature.
This volcano is still very active and you can see the new dome that is forming in the center of the crater.  The visitor center is roughly 5 1/2 miles from the crater.

Thanks to my friend, Rachel for this pic!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Edmonds Low Tide

We have been so fortunate this week with incredibly low tides for many days in a row.  On this day I ventured to Brackett's Landing which is located just a few feet North of the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry Terminal.  The water's edge seemed so far away,  it was as if someone had just pulled the plug out from the bottom of Puget Sound and let the water drain.

My last post on the low tide was in Richmond Beach, a little further South of Brackett's Landing and it was interesting how the low tide in Edmonds revealed a completely different tidal landscape..

The Starfish or Seastars that call these waters home are so beautiful and so different; red, purple, brown, periwinkle, and bright orange. 

Everywhere we looked was something new, something different.

I had never actually seen live Sea Urchins and these vibrant ones hanging from the rocks of the breakwater looked like something straight out of "Avatar".

The iconic Edmonds-Kingston Ferry looked so low in the shallow water. 

And this sign to the Underwater Park served as a measuring stick with the barnacles proving where the tide level normally resides.


Another habitat full of colorful sea life was underneath the ferry dock.

I think my favorite are the purple Starfish, their color is just so beautiful.
The tide flat on South side of the ferry terminal was so vast and calming and I could have stayed here all day, or at least until the waters of Puget Sound ushered me back out.

Wishing you all a lovely day!
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