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.
I’ve never been a fan of especially steep trails. Given the choice of a long trail with a moderate incline over a short steep trail, I’ll take the long trail any day. I’ll take all the switchbacks, please and thank you! Thus I found myself at the Chirico Trailhead on Wednesday morning, attempting the trail for the very first time.
Mt. Rainier. After my hike around the Wonderland Trail in 2016, I consider the mountain a dear friend. On sunny days, I have a clear view of Mt. Rainier every time I commute across Lake Washington. I wave a greeting to the mountain as I drive by and dream about returning for a visit. This past weekend I finally got my chance.