This weekend, I hiked to Talapus Lake with my 3-year-old nephew Ben, my brother Jonathan and my sister-in-law Sarabeth. Talapus is one of many stunning lakes that gives the Alpine Lakes Wilderness its name. The lake is accessible by a short and gently-sloped path – which makes it a very popular trail for hikers of all ages and abilities. The trail became increasingly crowded the longer we stayed but I found it to be more manageable than some of the other more popular Seattle-area trails.
I spent a pleasant afternoon this past Sunday wandering the trails at Magnuson Park. I’ve been to the park before and was already familiar with individual areas such as the dog park and kite hill, but this time I focused on exploring the entire park’s trails. I parked at the E1 parking lot in the Southeast corner of the park with the intention of walking along the Beachwalk Trail, and instead found myself exploring the wooded trails of Promontory Point.
Last Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and so I decided to check out another new trail before work. This time I chose to explore Squak Mountain. Located between Cougar and Tiger Mountains, Squak Mountain is easily accessible from the I-90 corridor and only a 40-minute drive from my house.
While researching new trails that are within reasonable driving distance, I came across Bandera Mountain. I remember seeing the peak on a map when I previously hiked in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and I was curious to check it out. I briefly skimmed through the description on the Washington Trails Association‘s website and noted that the last section gets a bit steep. The total distance and elevation gain of the hike overall didn’t seem that bad though. How hard could it be?
On Saturday, Daniel and I decided to explore the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River area. We were looking for a relatively easy trail near Seattle and I wanted to go someplace new. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road is newly paved and winds through pristine forests along the banks of the Snoqualmie River. We passed many small turnouts and trailheads along the way that were virtually empty. I guess everyone else was too busy hiking Mailbox Peak.
On our way home from visiting family in Eastern Washington this past weekend, Daniel and I decided to visit Palouse Falls. Designated as Washington state’s official waterfall in 2014, the 198-foot waterfall is a stunning surprise amid the Palouse region’s arid rolling hills. When I mentioned our plans to my aunt, she grew concerned and warned us to stay away from the cliff’s edge. I thought she was being overly cautious until I did some research and found out that four people have died at Palouse Falls in the last two years, and 17 people have had to be rescued via helicopter.
I grew up hearing stories about Kamiak Butte. With an elevation of 3641 feet, it’s a forested island that towers above the rolling hills of wheat, alfalfa and barley so typical of the Palouse region. My parents are originally from the town of Palouse and have fond memories of hiking Kamiak Butte years ago. It’s one of the few options for hiking available in a region primarily dominated by rolling agricultural fields.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I headed east of the mountains with my sweetie, Daniel. We planned to visit my aunt and stopped off at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area for a quick overnight backpacking trip. I was already familiar with the area as I had recently day-hiked an 11-mile loop starting from the upper Ancient Lakes Trailhead. This time, we chose a shorter route starting from the lower Ancient Lakes & Dusty Lakes Trailhead.