Posts tagged hiking

Summers in Seattle get busy. The weather is only sunny from about July 5 through my birthday (mid-September) every year, and so everything interesting gets crammed into those ~12 weeks. When you’re talking about a couple of music festivals, a handful of inevitable weddings, two holidays, and at least one or two weekends consumed by vacation, half your summer is already gone.

And yet, Seattle is at the heart of what I consider the most beautiful region of the country, and just screams to be explored. The Puget Sound, the coastal ocean beaches, the thousands of rivers and lakes. The Cascades, Snoqualmie Region, Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St Helens, Mt. Hood. The forests & rainforests! The peninsulas and islands!

So a goal was set last year — put a dedicated effort into hiking every Sunday possible. Last year was kicked off by a 12-miler at Tiger Mountain, and followed by 6 or 7 additional hikes that year. But to me, that wasn’t enough. There is so much more to see, and I want to experience it all!

Long story short, I went on a hike yesterday. While it’s easiest to drive the 30 minutes out to the Issaquah region, where you can find hundreds of trails, I instead decided to trek out the 2 hours into the North Cascades for a 10-mile hike on the Elliot Trail loop up to Goat Lake; and it was stunning. Above are a few shots of the mountains, which turn jagged, steep, and perpetually snowy in that region. Just gorgeous.

Three more shots from the hike.

Butterfly/Moth, Dogwood Flowers, and Sun-Shiny Trees. 

Rows 1&2) Catherine Creek Hike shots

Row 3) Maryhill Museum Viewpoint, Crossing the Hood River Bridge, Rubber Ducky at Trout Lake Valley Inn

Row 4) Sunset over Mt. Hood, Sunset looking East

Day Two: Walla Walla —> Trout Lake, via WA-14

After the Aviary in Walla Walla, we headed back west to start the main part of the trip along the Columbia River Gorge, which is along the Washington-Oregon border for about 3/4 of the state line. 

Between Walla Walla and The Dalles area, 3 hours away, we made only one real stop. It’s pretty much just desert out that way — not much to do — but there is a hike right outside of Pasco, where the river swings up into Washington via a decent sized lake. The hike is around and up to Twin Sisters rocks. Boy, was it windy up there! But it was beautiful. The top row of photos are all of the Twin Sisters Rocks.

After wandering all around, we put ourselves back in the car and continued on our way. We only made one other stop (at a convenience store where I bought a cucumber-lime-chili popsicle that was way SPICY but delicious) as we drove along through windmill country, before really getting into the truly beautiful parts of the Gorge. We moseyed around the Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge Memorial before driving on to The Dalles.  

The Dalles is actually on the Oregon side (fun fact: it has the Eastern-most Burgerville, although we didn’t eat there this trip), and by the time you hit this area it’s easy to drive back and forth over the border. From the Dalles, I had originally planned to take the Historic Columbia River Hwy to the Hood River area to go to Panorama Point. We did eventually end up at Panorama Point to watch the sunset, but first we jumped back over to the Washington side to spend all afternoon hiking around a few of the Catherine Creek trails (pictures to be posted soon). Note! If you choose to hike these trails, be aware of ticks. We didn’t end up getting any, but another couple found 5 on their dog.

Then to Panorama Point (pictures to come in another post), then a late dinner in Hood River (I would not recommend the Big Horse Brew Pub, FYI), and a drive in the dark up to Trout Lake, where we stayed the night at the very, very wonderful and affordable Trout Lake Valley Inn. Honestly, I can’t recommend this place more, if you find yourself in the area. The owners are so friendly and they have fresh, made-to-order sweet potato waffles for breakfast each morning. Definitely planning to come back and stay here and hike around the Mt. Adams area and see all the ice caves and lava arches.