I wanted to spend some time with my dog, Lilly, so I asked her what she wanted to do. She suggested a full day of doggie treats and napping. But taking a walk was a solid second choice. So off we went to Bresemann Forest in Spanaway Park, next to the Sprinker Recreation Center. Just the word forest brings up an image of mysterious woods to me, so I was pretty excited. There is a lovely metal archway leading into the forest and plenty of parking next to it. The trails were clean, well maintained and unmarked, so we just set off along the main trail. Almost immediately I noticed a big dog coming toward us on a leash. Knowing that my dog is insane and will bark her head off (its us, not you), we veered to the smaller trail and didn’t see anybody else the rest of our stroll. Despite the fact that the weather guy promised only clouds it started to rain, so we didn’t stay as long as originally planned. I hear there is a quaint bridge and a pond, but that will have to wait.
Next to the forest is a huge rock designed for climbing and there were about 25 people there learning the ropes (so to speak).
I finally made it up to Mt. Rainier to see this year’s wildflowers. Normally they are just starting to be in full bloom. The National Park Service’s website says “Mount Rainer’s renowned wildflowers bloom for a limited amount of time every year. The “peak” bloom for wildflowers is heavily dependent on weather and precipitation patterns, so accurate predictions are difficult. In most years, many flowers will be blooming by mid-July, and by the first of August the meadows should be very impressive.” This year because of our ongoing heatwave the wildflowers came into bloom six to eight weeks early, so I was catching the last of them. But still they were lovely and it was great to hike around and see the new to me visitor’s center. Driving up and down the mountain and even hiking around was like being in a cloud. When I crossed the bridge over the Nisqually River, I couldn’t even see much of the bridge and nothing to either side. It was a real leap of faith to keep going!
This sign was displayed at the trail head and it made me wonder what the snowfall was for the year that just passed. 2014-2015 was a new record of low snowfall with only 266 inches. That is not a good thing impacting the glaciers, lake levels, skiing, fish migration and the water that will be available to Washington residents this year.
Garfield Nature Trail at 620 Rogers Street NW, Olympia is like a little haven of wilderness right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It isn’t a typical park with picnic areas and playground equipment. Instead it is a trail through a ravine between Rogers Street NW and West Bay Drive NW. I hiked from Rogers to West Bay and back again. The path has several sets of stairs and boardwalks and I wish I had worn my sneakers because is places it was damp and a tad slippery. The trail was busy with young people, families and folks walking dogs.
We continued exploring the Long Beach Peninsula with a visit to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. To be fair, the ranger guy did say that it was a 1.2 mile hike each way and the terrain was steep in places and slippery with rain. Both of those facts proved to be true and it didn’t help that just as we reached the lighthouse, it began to rain in earnest.
This lighthouse was the first to be built in the Pacific Northwest. The ship that carried the original pieces of the lighthouse sank in view of where the lighthouse was eventually built in 1856! The first time they built it the tower was too small to hold the lantern, so they disassembled it and rebuilt it. That process took two years.
There is a Coast Guard observation station in use next to the lighthouse and it was staffed with two men that got there in their truck by using the special Coast Guard road.
Despite the dampness, it really was a lovely hike with amazing views along the way. I believe that on the weekends in the summer it is possible to go into the lighthouse. The photo below is taken of the lighthouse from Waikiki Beach, which is another lovely spot in Cape Disappointment State Park. The last photo shows a view from the top of the trail by the lighthouse.
Today was too lovely to stay inside or even in town, so I grabbed dear daughter and we went to Mt. Rainier to take a stroll on Trail of Shadows in the Longmire area of Mt. Rainier. It is a short trail (.7 miles), but really lovely with views of open areas, Mt. Rainier, wooded areas and a pioneer cabin. James Longmire settled in the area in the late 1800s and when he saw the mineral springs he built a spa to capitalize on them. The one photo below with the reddish mud is the remains of one of the Longmire Medical Springs. There is a sign near the springs that says “Please don’t drink this water. It can make you very sick!” Never crossed my mind that somebody would actually drink it!