This past weekend I visited my friend and hiking buddy, Grace, in Seattle. Last year, Grace came to the Bay Area and we had planned to hike Mount Whitney together, but a fire closed the trailhead on the day of our permit. Instead, we had a memorable, Milky Way-filled trip to the Trinity Alps. So this year, I came to Grace and we did two breathtaking hikes: an epic 8-hour, 17-mile day in Mount Rainier National Park, and then an 8-miler to North Cascades National Park. Here is a bit about our hikes and our favorite scenery. Happy Friday :)
I get such a kick out of seeing new-to-me plants, especially wildflowers I’ve never seen before. In California, it seems like every single hike has something new to discover. The flowers don’t wait for you either, a lesson I learned after missing the fairy slipper bloom on Mount Tamalpais (dang it). But considering the new wildflowers I’ve seen this year, I don’t mind really too much. Here are my favorites from this spring’s hikes.
In search of wildflowers and mountain views, Grace and I headed to Snowgrass Flats in the Goat Rocks Wilderness this past Sunday. Although the views of Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens were hazy from wildfire smoke, the sheer variety of wildflowers blooming bright--red and magenta paintbrush, pink monkey flower, lupine, subalpine mariposa lily, bistort, cinquefoil, and pasqueflower--made our day.
Hiking past bright, multi-hued fields of lupine, paintbrush, bistort, sitka valerian, and awe-inspiring views of Mount Rainier is a priceless summer adventure. I was seeing vivid wildflower reports of Berkeley Park in the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park, and though I've written about Sunrise hikes in my book, 75 Great Hikes Seattle, I had yet to visit Berkeley Park. So, I went for it!
Skyline Divide, located near Glacier, WA, is a breathtaking hike with wildflowers in the summertime and unparalleled views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and the North Cascades. My friends Grace and Margaret had never hiked it before, and after finding out a tree that had been blocking the road had been removed, we decided to go for it. At 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 29th, we all met up at the Ash Way Park and Ride, piled into my Subaru with Margaret's dogs, Heidi and Badger, and headed for the trailhead.
Lodge Lake is small, quiet lake tucked behind the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski area. Clocking in at 4.0 miles roundtrip and just over 800 feet cumulative elevation gain, the hike is a scenic, approachable option for beginners, families, out-of-town visitors, and if you're short on time. Starting from the trailhead, you take off south on the Pacific Crest Trail, climbing 450 feet and passing under chair lifts on the north-facing slope of the ski resort, then descend 350 feet to Lodge Lake.
We were looking for a sub-5 mile, snow-free hike to do together and to test out how Onur's knee injury would hold up. We figured we weren't going to get a Mount Rainier view since the cloud base forecast was 6,000 - 12,000 feet, so a hike to a lake with wildflowers seemed to be a good move. It was also nice that it was less than an hour drive to the trailhead, off exit 52 on I-90.