Growing up in North Central Wisconsin, I remember white seas
of trilliums carpeting the ground in the woods. I recently discovered that there is a Western trillium
in WA state, so last week I went on a hunt. My husband, Ted, and I went on three hikes, based on trip
reports of trillium sightings.
Much to my excitement, we found the flowers, beautiful amongst the
ferns; however, it was more like hunting Easter eggs than looking at a white
The surrounding forest, however, was beautiful, with big,
mossy trees, green ferns, and even some rhododendrons waiting to bloom.
Trip planning centered on the perennial search for
I have an old
book published by the Mountaineers entitled “Accessible Trails in Washington’sBackcountry,
” but it is over 20 years old and hasn’t been updated (no, I am not
detail-oriented enough to want to do so!).
The Washington Trails Association
has a wonderful,
searchable database of trails, so my next step was to search online and to
remember personal sightings.
Our first hike was on the Boulder River Trail
off of the Mountain Loop Highway.
It was listed as recommended for families with children.
I think WA children must be superstar hikers, since the trail turned out to be not so wheelchair-accessible, traversed by me only with serious assistance from my own personal superman (Ted), as we went up steep and rocky hills and faced three daunting challenges.
The first was a steep dip into and out of a gully about five feet deep.
That was successfully crossed with help from a passing hiker.
The second was another steep gully – this one not quite a steep but lacking a solid path across.
Continuation was accomplished thanks to Ted’s bridge-building skills and physical stability.
The third challenge was, unfortunately, insurmountable – a large, uneven rock taking up most of the uphill trail that was already narrow and bounded on both sides with obstacles (one side being a steep cliff).
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the waterfall on that trail, but I did accomplish my goal of finding trilliums and hiking in the woods.
|The trail wins -- my turnaround point!|
The second trail was out of the Hamma Hamma Campground
the Olympic Peninsula. Ted had spotted it on a previous backcountry expedition
and thought it might work.
greeted with trilliums, and we actually managed to complete the trail – but only
with a lot of pushing by Ted and by taking the road (rather than the trail) on
the second half.
One of my scariest
moments occurred on this trail, when I was on a narrow trail right next to and
slanted toward the icy river, with my feet strapped in.
The third hike was the result of a WTA trip report that
described trilliums and a trail that an elderly father was able to hike.
On the trail to Murhut Falls
Olympic Peninsula, we again hiked through beautiful mossy woods with a few
And we again hiked up
steep, rocky hills that I could never have managed by myself.
I got to see the waterfall at the
end only because we ditched the wheelchair at the edge of the trail (much to
the following hikers’ consternation), and Ted carried me on his back over a 12”
root and up a steep, rocky, narrow trail to the lookout.
|Could not get over or around this root|
|So we ditched the wheelchair and Ted carried me on his back up the trail|
|Which allowed me to enjoy the waterfall from the lookout |
So, I will continue my search for appropriate trails. In the meantime, thanks to Ted and my
Freedom Chair, I’ll enjoy the challenge of these non-accessible trails, the joy
of being in the woods, and the occasional trillium.