|Big Leaf Maple leaves at Erinswood|
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Friday, February 5, 2021
|Driftwood at Deception Pass State Park|
|Lookout onto Strait of Juan De Fuca|
|South-east side of|
Sand Dunes Trail
The other side of the loop goes along Cranberry Lake and then through a stretch of mossy trees.
|This root is easy to bypass|
|This root is harder to bypass,|
|PBST looking out at Padilla Bay and the Salish Sea|
"Where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea." This trail description on The WTA website sounds so romantic and foreign. However, the Padilla Bay Shoreline Trail is really just about 72 miles north of Seattle.
As an extra treat, the route from Seattle to the trail winds through the small towns of Bow and Edison, allowing a stop or two at The Farm to Market Bakery and/or The Breadfarm.
Monday, January 18, 2021
|Monte Cristo Trail (and resident)|
Monte Cristo (town) -- in 1889, a vein of gold- and silver- ore was discovered in the mountains at the head of the South Fork Sauk River, and over the next twenty years, mines produced millions of dollars in ore. A bustling town sprung up at the foot of these mines -- complete with a school, hotels, and a train to Everett. This town of Monte Cristo is now a ghost town, 4 miles from Barlow Pass, on the Mountain Loop Highway, near Granite Falls.
Monte Cristo (trail) -- I've tried twice without success to get there (once on each side of the river). I've come to terms with the probability that I will never see Monte Cristo. The trail on one side of the river starts out promising, but it becomes narrow after a steep dip, and it eventually requires crossing the river without a bridge. The other, longer side has a wide and rocky road, but it's very hilly, and the road surface is not always very firm. Thus, on both sides I had to turn back way before reaching the town of Monte Cristo. However, my attempts added a new picnic destination and trail to my repertoire -- short, but accessible, with mountain and river views, all kinds of berries, and wildlife.
Attempt #1: June 2020
|Gate guarding entrance to Monte Cristo Trail|
|Beginning of Monte Cristo Trail|
|Sauk River on MC Trail|
|Monte Cristo Trail Resident|
Attempt #2: September 2020
|Gate to Monte Cristo Road|
|Monte Cristo Road|
|Monte Cristo Road|
Hike #3: September 2020
|View from Monte Cristo Trail|
Thursday, December 3, 2020
| Camp Brown,overlooking the Middle Fork Snoqualmie |
and Garfield Mountain
20 years ago, I was in an airplane, embarking upon a year-long trip around the world. Now, we talk about "staycations" and plan road trips near to home. Things change.
20 years ago, I was walking with my own two legs, using hiking poles only to hike. Now, I am unable to take even one step, and I am only able to hike by using my wheelchair. Things change.Several years ago, we drove down a pothole-filled, dirt road past Mailbox Peak, to hike along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River -- only to have to turn around very quickly, as the trail soon became impassable to my wheelchair. Today, we drove 11 miles down a smooth, paved road --this same one -- to a fantastic ADA trail a little down-river from where we'd hiked previously. Things change.
which is always wide, usually level, and mostly flat. There are small ups and downs, especially at beginning and end of the loop, but I made it without help around trail (disclaimer: my Freedom Chair wheelchair is propelled by levers and fairly strong upper-body muscles). A friend completed this trail in a power wheelchair with no problem. There is one bridge, but the edges are level with the ground.
Monday, November 30, 2020
|Rainy Lake, North Cascades National Park, WA|
For the past four years we've taken an autumn trip north. Way north. The first road trip was the most dramatic -- to and beyond the Canadian Arctic Circle. The next two years, we completed ferry-automobile loops in northern British Columbia. This year, with the Canadian border closed due to Covid19, the far north was not a possibility. To complicate destination decisions even more, fires in the east and the south (not to mention that large body of water to the west), hemmed us in further. Nonetheless, we went north to Washington's North Cascades.
We were able to continue our annual search for gold, since the timing was perfect for autumn colors (the beginning of October); in addition, we happened to time our travels just as the larches were turning golden, and we caught glimpses of them high up near the tops of peaks on the eastern side of the Cascades.
Our intention was to spend the first day in the Marblemount area. Of course, that was based on the intention -- also one of ours -- to leave before noon that day. In the end, due to nothing but our own tendency to start everything late and take longer than expected, we ended up leaving at about 4:00pm, which meant that we didn't even get up to the North Cascades until after sunset. We didn't enjoy any of the accessible offerings I had discovered in books, and we didn't find any available campsites at either Goodell or Colonial Creek Campgrounds.
We decided to drive back towards town and hope for some place to stay, when we happened to see Alpine RV Park near Marblemount on the side of the highway. It was geared toward RVs, with just a few sites designated for tents, and with very few trees or site separation. While I put together the tent poles, I heard what sounded like chickens behind me in the dark. Turning around, I was surprised to see instead two deer chewing and "clucking." Luckily for us, there were no other tents there, so we had a lot of space. Also lucky for us, the campfires ended soon, and the people went inside their RVs, so it was quiet. To top it off, the full moon shown brightly through the tent window. Really, it was perfect for what we needed.
We will, however, have to return and explore the accessible activities we missed this time. Besides the magnificent drive on Highway 20, the numerous accessible options include:
Shadow of the Sentinels Trail - .5 mile boardwalk through old-growth forest near Baker Lake
West Loop Interpretive Trail - .5 mile trail through old-growth forest in Rockport State Park
Sterling Munro Boardwalk - 300 ft boardwalk starting at northwest corner of Visitor Center
Linking Trail - hard-packed dirt trail in the forest between trails, starting at the ranger station near Newhalem Creek Campground. .1 mile to Newhalem Creek picnic area. (one accessible table), then .3 mile to Newhalem Creek Rockshelter trail, then .25 mile to Newhalem Powerhouse and Trail of Cedars
Newhalem Creek Rockshelter Trail - between .1 and .7 miles, depending on which webpage you believe, this hard-packed dirt trail passes an ancient hunting camp and and old-growth cedar grove. The trail starts past the steel-grated Newhalem Creek Bridge (service Road in Loop C for Newhalem Creek Campground)
Trail of the Cedars - .3 mile gravel loop along banks of the Skagit River through stands of old-growth forest, which begins at Newhalem Creek Powerhouse or at suspension bridge in Newhalem
Gorge Overlook Trail - .5 mile (.2 m is paved) trail to the overlook of Gorge Lake and Dam, east of Newhalem, at the start of Diablo and Ross Lakes
Happy Creek Nature Trail - 1/3 mile loop through old-growth forest on boardwalk and gravel (trail to falls is not accessible) at Milepost 135
The next morning, we got up and left at a reasonable hour, giving us time to do about 50% of our planned activities for the day. The first stop was at Rainy Pass (Milepost 158). Rainy Pass is on the part of the highway between Lake Diablo and Mazama which closes due to winter weather and snow, so it is only open in the summer and fall. The parking lot includes a few picnic tables and accessible outhouses, as well as the trailhead to Rainy Lake and to Maple Pass.
|Rainy Lake Trail|
The accessible, paved Rainy Lake Trail is 1 mile each way. It is not very wide, with little opportunity to step to the side (this matters during the time of Covid19), but most of the crowds turn off at the path up to Maple Pass. The trail to Rainy Lake traverses the hills, so it is very steep and hilly, with a significant side slope. In addition, it is in the forest, so the path may be blocked by fallen trees.
However, it is one of my favorite trails, since it winds through the forest to Rainy Lake, with a view showing colorful mountains on the other side. This first week of October included the added bonus view of colorful vine maples on the slopes across the lake and golden larches near the distant peaks.
|Liberty Bell at Washington Pass|
After a picnic at Rainy Pass and the hike to Rainy Lake, we drove eastward to Washington Pass, pulling off at the Washington Pass Overlook. In the parking lot, there is an accessible outhouse, and there is a short paved trail to overlook Liberty Bell and the pass.
|Fishing pier at Blackpine Lake|
|Walk-in campsite #10 near Blackpine Lake|
During the day, we explored the campground, read by the lake, and hiked the accessible trail along the lake and through the pines. There were lots of small critters -- a little too brazen to leave unwatched for long. At night we were treated to a full orange moon.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of my discoveries were already documented in one of the Forest Service videos on accessible adventures. People interested in visiting the North Cascades with a wheelchair should also take a look at Barrier-Free Travel: WA National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers in Candy Harrington's Emerging Horizons series.
We drove back to Seattle via Highways 153 and 97. On the north side of Wenatchee, we stopped at several fruit stands to buy fresh fall fruit. Conscious of a needy cat impatiently waiting at home, we decided to head directly back to Seattle on I-90, saving the accessible trails (Iron Goat and Erinswood) on scenic Highway 2 for another day and another blog.
Monday, September 7, 2020
In addition to the usual suspects (Gold Creek Pond, the Iron Goat Trail, and Rainy Lake), there were lots of good, fresh ideas, including the following (no order, no or minimal editing, no endorsement, probably not comprehensive -- I think more comments have already appeared!):
Hurricane hill in Olympic National Park‚ (they just paved the whole trail a few weeks ago)
Big Meadow Loop at Hurricane Ridge
Trails at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic national Park (paved, but some steep)
Olympic Discovery Trail
Quinault Forest Nature trail
Picture Lake near Mt. Baker! (ADA, paved)
There's about 150 yards of paved trail at artist point by Mt. Baker ski area. Not much but excellent views with lots of other little places nearby in the same area.
Shadow of the Sentinels by Mt. Baker (boardwalk) through old growth forests with several view points and picnic spots. All ADA accessible.
If you do head up to Mt Baker make sure you swing at through boulevard Park is completely paved and or wheelchair accessible and a gorgeous walk on the waterfront!
Paradise, at Mt. Rainier, has some paved, but steep trails, such as the Skyline Trail to Myrtle Falls
Carbon river on Mt Rainier (first 5ish miles, make sure the chair has big wheels for this one)
Chambers Bay Beach Access, University Place, WA 98467
411 S 348th St, Federal Way, WA 98003
(Chambers bay has a pair of Osprey that have a nest)
Deception Falls. Off of Highway 2 (may have closed gate, so no access)
The Foothills Trail that runs from Puyallup through Orting and on to Buckley (paved)
Cedar river trail
Soos creek trail
Magnuson park waterfront trail are all wheelchair friendly.
Greenwater lakes trail
Sammamish River Trail i(paved)
Centennial Trail from Snohomish north to Arlington is paved.
Rhododendron Trailhead just north of SR 92 at Lake Stevens and heading north.
Nisqually wildlife refuge (wooden boardwalk)
Old Sauk River trail (ADA, gravel loop) on Mt Loop Highway
The Ho River trail, on the Olympic Peninsula (paved for the first couple of miles, flat)
Anacortes, Fidalgo island : 3 different paved trails with water views, Tommy Thompson trail that goes over Fidalgo bay ,the Guemes Channel trail by the ferry terminal, and the loop at Wa park
Padilla bay trail in Bow (paved)
Part of Rockport State Park.
Tradition Lake Loop (Around the Lake Trail) of Exit 20 (High Point) on I90 (wide gravel path)
Puget Power Trail (not paved, but a hard-packed access road) at High Point, exit 20
Friends Landing, Montesano, Wa.
The Willapa National Wildlife Refuge (ADA, 0.3 mile round trip)
Franklin falls had a stroller/wagon trail that ends with a little sort of picnic area by the river.
Ebey waterfront trail
The Theler Wetlands trails in Belfair
Mima Mounds in Capitol Forest (1/2 mile ADA accessible path)
The Big Four Ice Caves has a paved/boardwalk pathway and picnic area on the Mountain Loop Hwy. It is not accessible (steps) after the boardwalk.
Des Moines creek (paved all the way up along side the creek. And not too steep going up). There is the marina as well with the boardwalk out over the water.
Miles of trails along the Skagit County sound are paved and quite flat.
Erinswood, the new ADA trail in Index at the bottom of Heybrook Ridge!
Snoqualmie Valley Trail ( hard-packed gravel)
John Wayne Trail / Iron Horse Trail (grave), bring headlamps for tunnels
Coal miners trail in cle elum (road, hard packed gravel) connects Roslyn, Cle elum, and Ronald
Chehalis Western Trail through Olympia and down past Tenino (paved and flat)
Stimpson Forest Preserve , Bellingham, is full of great access trails.
Bradley Lake in Puyallup is paved all around.
Nathan Chapman park on 144th in Puyallup ,
Cross Kirkland Corridor between Bellevue and Kirkland. (mostly flat and wide)
I-90 Trail. It follows along I-90 from Seattle to Bellevue (paved)
Whistle lake in Anacortes (Not paved but very flat and wide)
Point defiance has a beautiful park with a ton of accessibility
Bpa trail in federal way (paved)
Downtown Issaquah Rainier Trail.
Deschutes Falls https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/parks/parks-deschutes-falls.htm
North Creek County Park, wetlands in Bothell
Bridal Trails State Park in Kirkland and Bellevue
Mt. Grant on San Juan Island
The Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest has videos of many of their accessible trails, narrated by a man using a wheelchair so you get a better idea of just how accessible they are. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/recreatio‚Ä¶ See More
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - Recreation