Saturday, October 29, 2011

High and Low (A hike and a stroll)

10-25-2011 (Crystal Lakes)

A dash to the still-colorful Crystal Lakes off SR 410 (between Enumclaw/Chinook Pass). Made it just in time for the last of the fall color before winter sets in. The trail was frosty but no snow (yet) to speak of. A little ice at the edge of the lake. We climbed above Upper Crystal Lake to look down on the lake and to the un-named gap as if we were headed toward Sourdough Gap (we could see Sourdough Gap from the "Gap Without A Name") but time was running out and the sun would descend all too soon. This hike makes a good fall hike even with a little snow. Might be OK until mid to late November. Time to carry (or use) traction devices, poles or ice axe if heading above the lakes or hiking to Crystal Peak (you can also hike to Crystal Peak by starting out on the Crystal Lake trail). With two cars you can turn this into a 6-mile one-way hike from Chinook Pass to the Crystal Lakes trailhead or vice versa but Time is off the essence these days. You might want to save the one-way hike until next summer as it takes time to set up a car shuttle.

The stroll was yesterday (10-28) through Lincoln Park, what we call a "desperation hike", simply to get outside and get some fresh air, snap a few fall-color photos before returning to the prison of a very tiny house. It's enough to keep Bob and I both sane as we suffer from SAD (SAD seems to intensify as we age).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Granite Mountain Trail October 2011

GRANITE MOUNTAIN (Alpine Lakes Wilderness)

We have a love/hate relationship with the Granite Mountain Trail. It’s a hard hike for many with significant elevation gain and mileage; the reward for the toil is worth it for hikers who stick to it. Those who have hiked to Granite Mountain and the Granite Mountain lookout on a regular basis get to know each switchback by name (we’ve never counted them) and after several trips over the years we look for the tree that designates the beginning of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Our hike yesterday (10-17) was no exception though the weather was exceptionally good for mid-October. Though it was cool in the shade when we started by the time we were out of the forest and onto the open slopes of Granite Mountain the sun was warm and the fall colors so intense it looked like the mountain was on fire.

The first stretch of the trail – as many trails in the Pacific Northwest – starts out in forest but this is old forest, quiet and deep. When you get to the junction for Pratt Lake/Granite Mountain go straight uphill – you’d turn left if you were heading to Pratt Lake.

Still in the forest the trail continues its intense climb and eventually enters the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (designated by a sign). The foliage thins out a bit and there are a few peeks ahead to blue sky and swatches of fall color.

Views improve every step of the way – this is high country at its finest with views down to I-90 and McClellan Butte resembling a great bird with its wings spread about to soar. The trail continues through the Halloween candy colors of fall – the blueberry shrubs were turning red; some still held bountiful berries. The beargrass that lined the trail earlier in the season has lost it’s white plume of a flower but the ragged, skeletal stalks remain amidst bright pockets of mountain ash, hanging meadows with occasional white snags and then looking very far away – the lookout comes into view.

The climbing relents as the trail approaches two small tarns in a meadow; the fall colors above the tarns were reflected in the water. The tarns are the ideal spot for a break before girding yourself for a still-steep ascent.

From the tarns the trail spurts upward again then winds more gently through large boulders and meadows. The lookout appears again, still looking very far away though it’s closer than it looks.

The trail relents again and is level for a bit before one more steep push through forest to a boulder field; then suddenly you are there. The lookout is closed for the season but there are plenty of places to settle and the views will take what breath remains away.

First we stopped for lunch at the lookout; where it was warm and sunny enough that a chipmunk popped up from the rocks and dashed about hoping for handouts. From there we enjoyed views of Mount Rainier amidst a sea of undulating ridges and Mount Adams further to the south.

Two companions opted to hike the trail back to the tarns; three of us opted for the scramble route on boulders to the tarns where we’d rendezvous. The scramble is not particularly dangerous though good balance and some off-trail hiking experience comes in handy. Later in the year when snow falls, the scramble route over the boulders becomes hazardous as snow fills in crevices between the rocks and it’s all too easy to twist an ankle or worse.

We suggest you hike this trail soon – once significant snow accumulates the trail becomes dangerous in the open areas and avalanches can roar down without warning.
However, with a dusting of snow the hike can still be done and is spectacular then, especially when there is still fall color (watch for ice as temperatures drop).

As always never hike beyond your comfort level and always tell someone where you are hiking and when you are expected to return.

The map is Green Trails No. 207 Snoqualmie Pass.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kendall Katwalk, October 15, 2011


What can I say about the Kendall Katwalk that hasn’t been said before? It’s a fairly long hike (12 miles round trip with about 2,700 feet elevation gain via the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass). The scenery is spectacular from beginning to end.

The first stretch is mostly forested but with occasional flashes of colorful vine maple here and there. Devil’s club has turned yellow, its big leaves reminiscent of maple leaves but with treacherous needle-like stickers. It was no surprise there are few flowers now along the trail – in the forest remnants of Canadian dogwood, aged Solomons seal and vanilla leaf. At the Katwalk there were a few harebells and a bit of yarrow.

We always looked forward to that first view of Guye Peak as the PCT leaves the forest to contour below a boulder field. There are also growing views of Red Mountain and Snoqualmie Mountain (Snoqualmie Mountain was dusted with fresh snow that melted away by afternoon).

Shortly past a slightly tricky stream crossing there’s a junction for the Commonwealth Basin trail (it’s signed). The trail to Commonwealth Basin can be used as a shortcut back to the PCT trailhead but stream crossings in the basin can be dicey, especially after recent rain and some snow-melt. The “old” Commonwealth Basin trail is a stretch of the original PCT before the trail was rerouted – it was called the Cascade Crest Trail then.

Past the junction to Commonwealth Basin the trail climbs through dense vegetation - blueberry shrubs, bracken, fading hellebore and mountain ash. After a while the dense vegetation gives way to old-growth forest and another stream crossing, this one easier than the first though at first glance it looks worse than it is.

The next stretch climbs through old-growth forest and you’ll see where trail crews cleared a large blowdown earlier this year. You’ll begin to see bits of sky through the forest canopy and about the time you think the forest will never end the trail breaks out below Kendall Ridge. In October the views are mesmerizing. Colorful fall foliage extends to the base of the ridge (right) and you will unconsciously slow your pace to take in the colorful displays. There are also views of the Snoqualmie peaks.

I’ve only been on the true summit of Kendall Peak once and that was a few years ago. It was the last Mountaineer scramble that the late Paul Wiseman led for the Seattle Mountaineers. The scramble to the true summit is trickier than it looks (at least I thought it was so) and from the trail it is hard to tell which of the high points is the summit.

The PCT its way around Kendall Ridge and here we found a thin layer of snow and occasional ice in the shade; not enough yet to warrant Yak Trax or traction devices but that can change any day now. There was a definite winter chill in the air despite the sun and blue skies.

If you have time notice the boulders beside the trail – they are splashed with lichen in just about every color you can imagine and in places sparkled with a glaze of ice. After some minor ups and downs the trail reaches a viewpoint – this is not the Kendall Katwalk but the views are impressive.

The PCT continues, making a long curve as it contours above a talus slope then comes to the Kendall Katwalk. Just before you get to the Katwalk the trail is narrow and a sign encourages horseback riders to dismount. It’s no place for a fall. Just before you get to the Katwalk peer through a window in the big boulders that border the trail for an interesting frame and view of Red Mountain, Lundine and more.

The Katwalk is snow-free and was the ideal place to stop on this chilly, sunny day. Here we enjoyed views of the Four Brothers, Chikamin Peak and other peaks we weren’t sure we could properly identify. Since we’ve hiked this trail often we didn’t bring the map – that’s a mistake if you want to identify the surrounding peaks.

Since it was a sunny Saturday there were many other hikers on the trail but who can blame them? Most of the hikers we met were younger and probably work full-time – who can begrudge their desire for a golden hike on a Saturday? I used to be one of those weekend-warriors after all. In my 30s, 40s and 50s I mostly worked full-time positions and hiked, scrambled, snowshoed or skied both days of the weekend.

Bob and I dawdled both coming and going – you can blame that on the somewhat futile attempt to immortalize these splendid scenes with our cameras.

Don’t forget your Northwest Forest Pass as we did in our eagerness to get outside on a sunny day. I didn’t realize it was sitting at home until we were half-way to Snoqualmie Pass. We ended up having to use my debit card to purchase a day-hiking permit at one of the grocery stores at the pass. I don’t remember the name of the store but it’s the first one grocery/gas station you come to as you approach Travelers Rest from the west (Exit 52). You will need a permit to park at the trailhead and parking is not allowed near the freeway interchange. You’re likely to get towed if you attempt to park there. Buck up, admit you’re getting old and forgetful and purchase a pass if you need to (to be completely honest …. I often forgot important items in my 30’s too, like the time I forgot my blue foam sleeping pad on a wintry, snowy backpack but that’s another long story…..).

I guess that’s called being human.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sand Lake via the PCT (White Pass)

Sand Lake, October 9, 2011

It's a long drive to White Pass from Seattle but we'd never hiked there and wanted to before winter set in (then, we'll come back with snowshoes and/or skis). We enjoyed the drive from Seattle via SR 410/Cayuse Pass to Hiway 12 and to White Pass where we found the trailhead for the PCT where the PCT begins to head north. The traihead is at Leech Lake.

The trail to Sand Lake via the PCT is mostly in the forest but en route to Sand Lake it skirts several lush meadows and there's also a spur to Deer Lake (nice camps). Since the PCT is open to horses (plus late snow-melt and recent rains) the PCT was quite muddy in spots but not bad enough to deter hikers who don't mind a bit of mud on their gaiters. It's not too high a price to pay for this quiet lake created from snowmelt (no inlet or outlet).

The lake is shallow; hence a sandy bottom and shore. In October it was a pretty scene, the lake bordered by Halloween-candy-colored grasses and reeds on one side and a row of handsome evergreens on the other. There's a nice camp on the north side of the lake; perhaps even more as we weren't looking for campsites. Fall color is just starting up and mushrooms are emerging.

Not too far from the lake we came upon the Sand Lake Shelter; it was looking like it had a hard life but was still standing and ready to serve those in need of shelter. The shelter is used year-round not only by hikers but snowshoers and skiers. It'd make a fine winter camp.

A couple hikers we met were scouting out the trail for ski trips this winter; they knew this place like the back of their hands and told us how to get to Cortright Point a little further away. Who could resist?

However since days are growing short and you don't live in Packwood or Randle you should probably call it a day when you get to Sand Lake. We think the drive is worth it.

Stats: Sand Lake round trip is about six miles with 900 feet of gain. Cortright Point is a little further. You can also get to Sand Lake on the Sand Lake Trail No. 60 which is reached from another trailhead. See Green Trails Map White Pass (No. 303).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scottish Lakes High Camp

SCOTTISH LAKES HIGH CAMP (September 22-23, 2011)

You may have second thoughts about a visit to Scottish Lakes High Camp when a rusty, wind-shield cracked vehicle (or snowmobile) meets you at the gated road where the fun begins. Relax, the rollicking ride on this four-mile, rock-studded, pot-holed road is a jolly prelude to good times. Let the romp to the cabins or the Day Lodge be part of the experience. The proprietors, Don and Chris Hanson, wear many different hats and they are veterans of transporting guests up and down the road. When it snows, the aging Suburbans are replaced by Snowmobiles and Sno-cats and having experienced the ride to High Camp in winter we can attest you are in good hands. Don and Chris keep the high camp in top-notch conditions and their loyal care-takers when they are not available are the best. Zeke, the caretaker we met, was as likable as the Hansons and was patient with us when we had trouble getting a fire started in the cabin designated for our stay.

Not only are the Hansons and caretakers able to handle just about any contingency, they are patient with their patrons (I left my sleeping bag on the front porch in Seattle along with a couple other items). I’d like to blame such forgetfulness on anticipation rather than age though I’m probably not the first to leave a sleeping bag nor will I be the last.

Rest assured you won’t freeze to death if you forget your sleeping bag or have trouble lighting the fire (I was able to borrow a sleeping bag). If that’s not enough to attract you to spend at least one night at this remarkable place the Day Lodge is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Coffee is free though Zeke cautioned that if you want coffee before 8 a.m. it’s $5 a cup. We think he was joking.

The day lodge also provides maps (some created by the Hansons), reading material, games, puzzles and other amenities including a sauna and hot tub where you can relax and ponder the stars in the night sky.

Since it was mid-week we were the only guests (weekends are busy!) and our cabin, Larkspur, was ready for our arrival. After the rollicking ride the Hansons delivered us, with our gear, cooler and food, to the front door of Larkspur Cabin, a delightful A-frame cabin with a front porch and a loft.

Other than bringing your own food (and a sleeping bag!) just about everything else is provided other than hiking gear, skis or snowshoes. There were instructions inside the A-frame as how to light the propane lamps, light the fire in the woodstove and other helpful instructions on how to live off the grid for a while.

We were eager to hit the trails; it was a sunny day and fall color was beginning to show in the mountains. With a Green Trails map (Chiwaukum Creek) and a map of trails created by the Hansens of their trail system leading to McCue Ridge and other points of interest we set out for Chiwaukum Lake (6 miles round-trip) and Larch Lake (10 miles round trip). We started from High Camp and followed the trail system as it climbed through forest and tawny meadows toward McCue Ridge.

With plenty of time at our disposal we stopped to admire the wildflowers; many had faded though the buckwheat was still colorful and the desiccated leaves of balsamroot made for natural dried flower arrangements tethered to the mountain. Where the trail was vague there were cairns to follow as the trail continued to climb.

At an unsigned junction on McCue Ridge we turned left. If Lake Julius is your destination go straight. Just before the trail begins its descent to Chiwaukum Lake there are glimpses of the mile-long lake through the trees, then it disappears again. As the trail loses elevation it skirts hanging meadows just beginning to pick up fall colors, especially the fireweed, a brilliant red. The trail returns to forest and remains there, dropping more steeply until it breaks out at the far end of the lake, elevation 5,250 feet.

Though we didn’t see a trail sign we knew to turn right for Larch Lake. First we walked a short spur that led to a perfect spot for lunch in a clearing with logs to sit on at the edge of the lake. Here dark sedges and billowing green reeds bordered the lake and it was so peaceful there that my companion elected to wait there as I continued to Larch Lake.

To ensure we had plenty of time to hike out so we established a time to rendezvous at Chiwaukum Lake. That gave me an hour to get to/from Larch Lake but since that left no time for photography I opted to spend time in Ewing Basin which is situated between the lakes.

If Larch Lake (or Ewing Basin) is your goal - from Chiwaukum Lake the trail continues two miles to Larch Lake, skirting a large meadow on the way and crossing Chiwaukum Creek (an easy hop, skip and jump). After crossing the creek the trail began to open up as it entered the basin so I slowed my pace accordingly.

Ewing Basin is a about a mile from Chiwaukum Lake, a sublime high-country setting with touches of fall color in a boulder-strewn meadow, blueberry shrubs touched with crimson, ridges stretching above with hanging meadows, some still green, others just turning russet. As if that were not enough to keep a hiker spellbound there were still wildflowers in bloom including Indian Paintbrush, arnica, yarrow and blue gentians, a late-summer flower that heralds the end of summer.

It was so beautiful in Ewing Basin that I felt almost guilty for having the whole basin to myself. I knew I would never be able to find the words to describe such beauty so I focused on photography, hoping that my photographs could compensate for the inadequacy of words.

Muttering to myself about the tyranny of the clock and shorter days, I headed back, always mindful about sticking to a turnaround time when someone is waiting. Larch Lake would have to wait for another day. It was little solace that I’d been to Larch Lake so long ago that digital cameras hadn’t even been invented. What remains of that long-ago visit is a box of slides in the basement and good memories. Chiwaukum Lake is beautiful but plan on getting to Larch Lake if you can for even wilder and scenic views.

Back at Chiwaukum Lake my companion was waiting for me (I was only one minute late!) and we trudged out of Chiwaukum Lake already anticipating the comforts of the cabin. Hikes always take longer going out it seems – fortunately there were scenic spots the entire way back, including the way the late afternoon light brushed the dark ridges and mountains with a copper tinge.

The next morning we took an easy walk to Picnic Point (about two miles round trip from High Camp). The walk is on a gravel road through clear cuts with views of Glacier Peak. The clear cuts provide a feel for the topography; you can see the spine of the mountains rising from the earth and vegetation beginning to fill in the blank spots that were logged. First we stopped at the short spur to Glacier View (well signed) in hopes of getting a view of Glacier Peak but the clouds were too low. Glacier View is about half-way to Picnic Point where the road ends at an old landing with a connection to the McCue Ridge Trail. A picnic table is provided, of course, where you can enjoy a snack or feast on the views.

Additional Information: You can also approach Chiwaukum Lake and Larch Lake from the Chiwaukum Creek trail though that is a much longer approach and best done as a backpack. The map is Green Trails No. 177 (Chiwaukum Mountains). Other hikes easily within reach of High Camp are Lake Julius and Loch Eileen. Call the Wenatchee River Ranger District in Leavenworth for additional rules/regulations at 509-548-6977 or visit their website at

For additional information on lodging, rates and seasonal bests or to make a reservation at Scottish Lakes High Camp call 509-763-3044 or visit the website: . You can also view the site for winter cabin availability (2011-2012), a trail map (including ski trails), and a 5-day weather forecast. Dogs are OK if well-behaved and last but certainly not least, Scottish High Camps is also family friendly.

Karen Sykes

Saturday, June 11, 2011

An attempt to chat with Putrid Pete, June 10, 2011

What’s In A Name? Who Was Putrid Pete? June 10, 2011

There is some understandable confusion regarding the name of this prominence. Some call it “Putrid Pete”, others call it “Webb Mountain” or the W. Peak of Defiance. There’s probably other names for it too since it’s a numbered high point on a ridge. Call it whatever you like, it’s a fun trail though considerably steep.

Dennis had been there before – it was Michael’s first time and also my first visit. Yes, I knew where the trail started. It’s pretty obvious where it leaves the Ira Spring trail near the trailhead.

Reports I’d read convinced me that I wanted to explore it some day, preferably with someone who’d been there. Dennis had been there so we were set.

Dennis is a GPS wizard so stop reading here if you are looking for GPS waypoints and such but if you’d like those I can probably get them from him and post them here. Admittedly, I’m not much into gadgets though I have a GPS. Like my “smart” phone, I don’t feel “smart” enough to understand these devices and use them only when necessary.

We didn’t quite make the “summit” – the combination of poor visibility (fog, clouds) combined with treacherous old age stopped us short of the summit. We could have made it – the desire to do so wasn’t just as strong as our desire to stop plodding uphill. Or should I say plodding uphill through wet snow (the wet vegetation and loose rocks were challenging enough).

We let Michael lead the way – his pace is easy to follow, moderate and deliberate. I’d have to say his pace qualifies as a good “forever” pace. Same thing can be said for Dennis.

Following the trail from where it leaves the Ira Spring trail is a cinch. Enough folks have used it now that route-finding isn’t much of an issue. When in doubt, go uphill. We crossed a stream (was it the same stream or two different streams?) – we didn’t pay much attention as the crossings were not a problem. Just a hop, skip and a jump, no raging torrents here.

The trail is steep and in good condition most of the way, especially through the forest. No worse than say, the trail to Mount Defiance or Mailbox Peak before that trail breaks out into the open.

We crossed a small talus field – there’s a cairn to mark where the trail re-enters the forest but if it wasn’t there, it’s still easy enough to spot. We left it. Some hikers knock them down – we don’t.

The forest gradually opens out into a steep slope of loose rock, wet vegetation (lots of emerging bear grass – that should be blooming within a couple weeks). As for the gradient of the trail, it never relents. There are no flat spots. No scary spots either. It’s just … well, steep.

Clouds obscured most of the views – at times we could see I-90 below and we’re pretty sure McClellan Butte made a partial appearance at one point. We could not see the ridgeline above us or the high points so we stopped for lunch, opting to play the rest of the day by ear.

It was a little too chilly to linger so we discussed the pros and cons of going higher. Michael was content to stop there and savor the rest of his lunch. Dennis and I still had a spark of summit fever so agreed to continue on a little further.

If anything the terrain even grew steeper, the rocks looser, the vegetation more slippery, yet we pushed onward. From time to time the clouds would part for views of the ridge above us; my gosh, this is a beautiful place. No wonder more hikers are finding there way to whatever-the-name of this place is.

We reached a point where we could see what we believe was the named prominence. A fat strip of snow would lead us to the top but there was still 400 feet or so to go. We were in all honesty – tuckered. Dennis and I opted to turn around since we knew that going down wasn’t going to be much easier than climbing.

We met Michael and we retraced our way down, grateful when we recognized landmarks though Dennis could have led the way with his expertise with the GPS. A couple of us fell – once – on the way down. I won’t tell you who. No injuries other than muddy pants and a sudden loss of self-esteem.

If you think this was misery – well, it wasn’t. Tiring yes - but also fun and exhilarating. I enjoyed it so much I’ll go back to tag the summit of whatever that chunk of rock is called but I’ll wait for dry vegetation and blue skies.

Stats: About 2,650 feet of elevation gain to our turnaround, 4.6 miles round trip. (What? Is that all?)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Iron Bear Trail, Teanaway, June 3, 2011

The Iron Bear trail melts out earlier than most trails in the Teanaway. There's a little snow beyond Iron Bear/Teanaway Ridge trail saddle but not enough to obscure the route or warrant snowshoes or traction devices.

Flowers are off to a good start - bitterroot is coming out but not yet in bloom. We saw Indian Paintbrush, glacier lilies, spring beauties, ballhead waterleaf, stonecrop and a few more. The best is still yet to come.

We made it to the knob at 5,489 feet (this is a great lunch spot and turnaround). We enjoyed the views of Mount Stuart and minor peaks of the Teanaway. We did not enjoy the ticks we picked up en route. Wearing gaiters helps.

The hike was 7-1/2 miles round trip with 2,170 feet. Map: Green Trails Mount Stuart

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kachess Beacon Scramble

May 23, 2011

Kachess Beacon Scramble Route (Easton)

Another great trip in Easton with friends – no ticks today, no sun either.

Four of us started from the Easton Ridge/Kachess Ridge (also known as the Silver Creek trail) trailhead. Instead of Easton Ridge we headed uphill (a steep start) on the Kachess Ridge trail.

The trail doesn’t mess around – it gets down to its business immediately. Perhaps the trail itself is in a hurry to get to the views and wildflowers for which this trail is known. The Kachess Ridge trail is a long trail (you can hike to Thorp Lookout on this trail system) but we weren’t going that far today. Besides, this time of year crossing Silver Creek can be challenging (especially this year).

After a steep climb with a few breaks to photograph flowers (first Indian Paintbrush of the season, at least for us) such as trilliums, yellow violets, lomatiums, even Calypso orchids at lower elevations we reached the hard-to-miss junction (unsigned) where a branched path leads off (left) as the main trail continues on.

We left the main trail and began our hike on a faint path winding between rock outcroppings, following the spine of a ridge with several good overlooks along the way. Dennis and Michael had taken this route before and when we began to hit snow patches they knew exactly where to go. The snow was perfect for hiking – not too icy, not too soft with only a little post-holing.

We were denied most of the views because of fog and clouds; but as we continued along the ridge there were interesting rock formations to ponder as we climbed. With wisps of fog coming and going it was moody and beautiful.

Then – a glitch for Bob. The lens popped out of his glasses and his eyes are as bad as mine. If we’d been born a few centuries ago we would have killed ourselves tripping or falling with our poor vision. This has happened before – he did his best to make a repair but it was time-consuming so he told us to carry on, he’d wait.

We continued on up, now mostly on snow. The last 300 feet or so were a bit of a struggle for me (I’d hiked the day before) but when I saw the Kachess Beacon I knew I could make it. We did not linger at all – it was too cold and we wanted to get back to Bob and eat lunch with him.

After meeting up with Bob again we continued down, seeking a warmer spot for lunch. Bob wasn’t able to fix his glasses so resorted to his “spare” glasses. He had a little trouble with depth perception but did pretty well considering.

Back at the car Michael shared a lemon pie with us, made by his daughter to celebrate his recent birthday. That made a sweet ending to a cold but fun day.

By the way savvy hikers can make a loop out of this by way of the official Kachess Beacon trail that takes off from the Silver Creek trail though that trail doesn’t seem to show on our maps. Perhaps it’s not an official trail anymore. If I were to do this as a loop I’d go up the scramble route and then descend down to the Kachess Ridge trail on the “official” Kachess Beacon trail. However now there’s still a lot of snow in the Silver Creek valley and trail reports indicate there are a lot of trees down on the Kachess Beacon trail from Silver Creek.

Stats: A little over 4 miles round trip with 2,200 feet elevation gain. Maps: Green Trails No. 208 (Kachess Lake, WA) and No. 240 (Easton).

To get there: From Seattle take I-90 east and turn off at Exit 70. Drive over the freeway and turn left onto a frontage road signed Kachess Dam Road and proceed to Forest Service Road No. 4818, turn right. Stay on Road No. 4818 to an unsigned road junction and turn right – continue about ½ mile to the trailhead, elevation 2,400 feet, no facilities. A Northwest Forest Pass is required. The maps are Green Trails Kachess Lake No. 208 and Green Trails Easton No. 240.

Additional information: Cle Elum Ranger District (509-852-1100).

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still kicking

Sorry I've been so quiet of late. It's not because I haven't been hiking, I've been hiking my butt off. And when weather prohibits hiking I either go for a run or enjoy a photo foray closer to home.

About the hikes - I will do my best to catch up (albeit briefly) on where I've hiked and snowshoed the past few weeks.

Bear with me and accept my apology. I owe you more than this long silence.