The Ultimate Blog Post: Weeks 15-17

Okay, I know I said it wouldn’t feel like summer until my classes were over… But it’s been sunny and I’ve had things to do, so in true summer fashion, I’ve started slacking when It comes to everything involving the indoors. While this phenomenon of summer, laissez faire adulthood may come into play everywhere, I think it holds especially strong in higher latitudes. When the winter has been dark and long, we flip the frick out when the sun sticks around for 16 hours/day. It’s awesome!

This is especially so in the Seattle area, where we managed to have only 3 “Mild Sunny days” between October and March. 3 days. Most of the winter, we not only endured extensive rain, but the few days that water didn’t fall from the sky, the sun chose to forsake us and hide behind a seemingly endless sheet of grey. But then again, Washington is (in my humble opinion) the greatest chunk of land known to human kind, so I’ll deal with grey skies if it means I get to spend the sunny days in this gorgeous place!

Okay, back to my point: I haven’t been doing any of the things I’m “supposed” to do indoors. These include cleaning, laundry, homework, and of course, writing this blog.

So hold on to your seats friend, today is a big day. Today, I write about 3 weekends at once! Let’s see if I can make this come together!

– Week 15 – Kayak Point

DSCN0957Week 15 fell on Memorial Day Weekend. Typically, I like to take the opportunity of a 3 day weekend to go on my first backpacking trip of the year. This year, we had somewhere to be on Saturday and Sunday night, so a legit camping trip wasn’t really an option. I came home on Friday night a bit bummed out by this fact, and feeling particularly restless. After relaxing for an hour or so (and by relaxing, I mean ferociously researching campsites) I stood up and told Bryce “we should go camping!”.

A little surprised, he looked up from his Rubik’s Cube and graciously said “okay!”. So we packed up some food, our tent, a whole bunch of blankets, and started driving North. Snohomish County has an extensive network of county run parks, and we chose Kayak Point for our adventure that night. This turned out to be an extremely serendipitous choice.

After circling the park a few times to hunt down a ranger, we learned that the campsites didn’t have power hook-ups due to a delay in construction. Because of this, the normally packed park had a few sites open due to no-shows, including the ranger’s personal favorite with direct access to the trail she had created. Not only did we get the best site, it was discounted because of the construction issues, and we were given a complimentary s’mores kit with a full bag of marshmallows, full box of graham crackers, and two large Hershey’s bars! What a deal!!

DSCN0952We didn’t get to the site until about 9:00pm, so we ate our camp-stove pizza bagels quickly, wandered to the edge of our site overlooking the water played a little solitaire and Rubik’s Cube, and went to bed. The next morning, we woke up bright and early, with the the sky getting light around 4:30am, and our tent doing a terrible job of blocking any of it out. We heard eagles and owls in the surrounding woods, and by 7 or so, got out of bed and headed to the beach for breakfast and tea. The beach at Kayak point is absolutely stunning. Bryce’s grandparents live just down the road from here, and tell us how gray whales pass through here and leave their mark in the form of big scoops in the sand at the bottom of the channel.

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We set up our gear and had some tea as the day started to really heat up on the beach. After making friends with a few pigeons, we headed up the steep hill to check out the mile or so long trail that our ranger had raved about. Apparently this trail was her brain child, and she was thrilled to see it complete and being used. It was a lovely jaunt through the woods, and we saw some beautiful fern forests and flowers. As morning ended, we packed up and drove home to get ready for the rest of the weekend which was primarily spent on a boat checking out the gorgeous North Sound on our way to Anacortes for Bryce’s Grandma’s birthday.

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Side note: If you ever have a few hours to kill in Anacortes, stop by Anthony’s Cabana at Cap Sante Marina. While I’m sure someone could suggest a better, more local spot, this was truly a lovely setting with Bocce, Adirondack chairs, and some of the most delicious Moscow Mules and Mojitos I’ve ever had!

– Week 16 – Ira Spring Memorial Trail

Ira Spring was a remarkable woman known for her work in conservation, as a mountaineer, and as the author of countless hiking and back-country books. The beautiful trail we took on week 16 was aptly named after her.

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The stats for Ira Spring Trail are a bit different than most of our adventures so far. Gaining just under 2500ft in about 3 miles, we knew going into the day that it was going to be a little bit of a challenge. Challenge; but not impossible. So we took off in the late morning and headed out I-90 into the melting, sunny mountains.

The trailhead sits about 4 miles off the highway down an immaculately maintained service road, partly paved, and mostly well packed gravel. The parking lot was spacious, and when we arrived after noon, there were plenty of spaces along the road and a few in the lot. The trail itself starts off at a mild grade and crosses a beautiful rushing waterfall early on. The bridge is made form a massive log anchored into the rock face so when the dirt it sits on inevitably erodes, it doesn’t become a massive projectile, shooting across the road below.

 

The trail continued at its constant grade, never letting up. A mile or so in, the trail becomes officially “steep”, as in woah-that’s-getting-close-to-vertical-this-angle-would-require-stairs-indoors “steep”, and I got to the point of huffing and puffing pretty darn quick. On the way up, I didn’t notice any of the beautiful wild flowers starting to bloom, nor the impressive grasses the lined the trail. I did however, notice the massive boulder field looming what seemed like miles above our heads. We continued gaining elevation, and I came to realize that those fields were indeed our destination as we entered beautiful, sweeping, and bug-filled switchbacks.

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At this point, I let Bryce know that I was completely okay with being left behind for this portion of the trail, and I trekked on at my normal speed as he buzzed along at his. The switchbacks were partially made of gorgeous steps made out of the very boulders that surrounded them, which served as a great marker of the hard work that went into this trail in honor of the great Ira Spring.

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We chose to end our Hike at the Ira Spring Overlook which sits above Mason Lake. The other option was a direct ascent to the summit of Bandera Mountain, which at the top of a long stretch of switchbacks didn’t quite seem worth it. While we couldn’t see the lake from our lookout, the few hundred foot drop down the back side of the mountain deterred us from checking it out. Instead, we relished in the sweeping mountain views in front of us, had a snack, and headed back down.

Ira Spring Memorial Trail is one I would recommend to anyone looking for a rewarding and challenging new hike in the area. I hadn’t heard of it before, and while the parking lot was mostly full, and the trail well maintained, the trail was quiet and there weren’t any “traffic jams” even on a sunny, Saturday afternoon.

– Week 17 – Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve

Week 17 found Bryce and I visiting my parents on Bainbridge Island and in Bremerton. Bainbridge, and most of Kitsap County, is a gorgeous, lush area, full of cute towns, beaches, parks, and bald eagles. Having grown up there, I definitely take a lot of it for granted, and in true Washington fashion, find myself complaining about the changes, and increase in population rather than simply enjoying it’s beauty. 🙂

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The last time I was on that side of the water was back in December, so it was fun to see the streets buzzing, rather than turning into ghost towns by 7:00pm, as so often happens when the sun sets at 4:00. We took the opportunity to try one of the many new restaurants on Bainbridge, and visit Finnriver Cider out in Chimacum.

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The Cidery was glorious! I had the lavender black currant, and Bryce the farmstead. My mom’s friends were playing live blues dance covers, and the orchard grounds were open for wandering. We spent most of the night playing corn hole and ladder golf, and wandering the grounds checking out the trees, geese, and sheep. While this wasn’t our main outdoor adventure for the weekend, it is certainly somewhere I would go again, and a great way to spend a sunny evening.

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Our true adventure came the next day, when we headed out to Guillemot Nature Preserve in Seabeck. The trail is very short, about 1.25 miles each way, and it’s straight down a hill, then straight back up with just a few turns. While the trails weren’t marked, and we really weren’t sure we were even going the right direction, we managed to find our way down to the water to look out over the Hood Canal and the Olympic foothills beyond. On our drive out there, we saw tons of bald eagles and blue herons fishing in the shallows, and plenty of photographers trying to get the best shot.

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Once we reached the beach, we had a lovely lunch my mom had provided for us (that was awesome!) and wandered out into the extensive oyster fields. Two eagles decided to hang out by the water’s edge, and one made a few trips up to a nest to feed her very chatty babies.

While this wasn’t the longest, or most challenging hike we’ve done, it was really nice to be in an area that feels so secluded and wild, yet was so accessible. It also paired well with our 2 hour drive back around the sound!

Okay! So hopefully I didn’t get too off topic through any of this, but I did it! We’ll see what happens the rest of the summer. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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