This week has been bleak! I am usually roaring to go and ready to write come Sunday, and I don’t know if it was the time change, or the prospect of 7 more days of rain, but GOODNESS was I useless yesterday.
Now, it’s not all bad. I love the color of the grass and the trees when they’re soggy from rain. The moss in the forest was spectacular. The high, roaring Stillaguamish, seemingly powerful enough to break free from its hold at the base of the gorge, was absolutely breathtaking. All of this aside, there is something about being in the rain for a few hours that takes it out of you.
It may be the sheer amount of effort required to stay on two feet when every step is dodging a small pond that’s formed on the trail, or trying to un-suction your shoe from impossibly deep mud. Or it could be the fact that despite being outside, your body wasn’t able to meet its daily Vitamin D quota. Whatever the reason, I was content to sit on my butt all day Sunday and do nothing productive outside of making Ramen. (yummm)
Friends Melanie and Nick joined us this week, and Melanie, being from Colorado, was explaining to me how infrequently it rains there. This kind of blew my mind. I mean, I’ve been to lots of different climates and locations around the country, (including Colorado) and even across continents and oceans, but I usually go in the summer. So it’s easy for me to assume everywhere else has at least some fraction of the fall-spring rain we do. Nope. They don’t. Don’t get me wrong, deserts, dry plains, I understand the concept, but the idea of actually being able to predict the weather because it rains so infrequently baffles me. Either way, the people from Colorado, and the people Washington mentioned how this was one of the wettest hikes they had ever been on.
In case you haven’t caught on yet, it was really rainy this week as we hiked the Lime Kiln Trail in Granite Falls. Our friends clamored right along with us through the muck and showers. The trail itself is setup just about perfectly. Long enough so you don’t end up seeing other hikers, save for a moment in passing, steep enough at points to raise your heart rate, but it mostly meanders along a cliff and through the woods following a railroad grade.
The river you guys… The South Fork Stillaguamish is raging this time of year. Full of rain water and snow melt, the rapids were high and loud, and we saw a few whitewater kayaks taking part in the fun. As we came over a crest in the hill, the sound was so impressive I had to yell to be heard about 3 feet away. We climbed back up the gorge and spent most of the hike within earshot, though not to a deafening level. The official Lime Kiln Trail ends before it reaches the shore, but a side trail dips down to a nice bank, which I imagine is much larger and lounge-able in the summer.
But there was a lot more going on than just river. I tried to capture photos of the small waterfalls, beautiful, mossy rock faces, and impressive bark-stripped trees, but I haven’t gotten my camera waterproofing system down yet, and most pictures ended up with raindrops on the lens (or just as one giant, wet blur). It was also very fun to see Western Red Cedars showing their colors in spots where the bark had partially worn off, and rain had soaked in.
On top of plants (I like plants) there was of course the kiln. Smartly placed next to the railroad at the time it was built, it now looks impressively out-of-place off to the side of the trail, about 0.8 miles from the actual end. There are signs as you approach saying to leave behind any artifacts you might find. Though this seemed like a rather easy rule to follow as most of the artifacts are chunks of steel, giant saw blades, or big, heavy bricks.
The whole hike, including the trek down to the river, was just about 7 miles round trip and took us about 2 hours with a stop for snacks. Melanie’s pedometer also said we had climbed the equivalent of 69 flights of stairs, and that’s pretty darn good if you ask me! The best part is that the trail never felt like it was going on forever, nor too easy or difficult at any given point. Well paced, and great for a “oh no, it’s rainy, where should we go, well I don’t want to waste a perfectly good view on clouds, well the coast has wind, so what else do we do” kind of hike.