Monday, April 18, 2011


It's going to be a while before the snow melts. A little too long for my comfort - I'm ready for it to be gone.

Hiking has been challenging this "spring" - the snow-free choices are few and many of those are far. A little too far right now with the rising

gas(P)! prices and fewer pennies in the penny jar. We've hiked several times in the Issaquah Alps (Tiger, Cougar Mountain Regional Park), Rattlesnake Ledge, Little Si and the Talus Loop (on Mount Si) and earlier in the year Kamikaze Falls. Also Snoquera Falls off SR 410 (there's been a landslide and/or rockfall on the trail just before you reach the falls - perhaps that's been fixed by now).

Where to go? Cowiche Canyon Conservancy (Yakima) is a good choice despite the long drive. Flowers are out, it's warm, sunny - at least warmer and sunnier than it is in Seattle. We've been to Lime Kiln recently (I co-led a Mountaineers hike) and it was a cool, cloudy day though it felt like it would rain any minute. That's OK though because it should be at least threatening rain when you hike the Lime Kiln Trail - just to get the historical ambience of the place. Heard somewhere that the Lime Kiln is "listing" but it looked fine to me. There's a washout not too far in above the river - it's not a place you'd die if you fell but you'd sure get muddy. Children might need help crossing this spot; otherwise it's manageable. That being said, I wouldn't cross that in a downpour.

The Blanchard Mountain Trail System is another year-round "goodie" - we've been to Oyster Dome and also Lily/Lizard Lakes (from the upper trailhead accessed from the Alger Exit on I-5 north). Signs of spring there too.

Even though Rattlesnake Ledge is always jumpin' on even a half-way decent day we went there on such a day but didn't mind the company. Most of us are getting stir-crazy and Rattlesnake Ledge is big enough to share with the crowds. We did meet crowds coming and going but the sun was shining and everyone was happy. That was about 10 days ago.

Today we did a hike at Cougar Mountain Regional Park but cut it short when it started to snow. I hike with an umbrella on days like these and by the time we were back at the car the umbrella had grown heavy with the weight of the snow. By now it's probably melted ... but jeepers, should it be snowing on Cougar Mountain THIS time of year? Again?

Grumble, grumble.

When all else fails ... head up to the Skagit Valley on a weekday (get an early start) and enjoy the tulips/daffodils. I call it the "miracle cure" for those of us with SAD.

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