October 29, 2008

Leavenworth - Day Trip

Having taken a break from hiking, we wanted to try some day trips nearby. Its a perfect season for day trips. Fall foliage and lightly chill weather makes it the best time to see some places around. Leavenworth was the destination this week. Even though the plan was to drive up to Stephens pass and turn back, the miles board for Leavenworth was intriguing and there we were already steering our wheels to go see Leavenworth. People around Seattle area would definitely have heard about this small German town with Bavarian style buildings and lash mountains around. Fortunately it was the last day of October Fest. People dressed up in colorful and funny costumes and stores filled with visitors made the place more vibrant.

Although this place will not make it to the top of "my favorite places to go" list I would recommend this place for a day trip from Seattle, specially during fall and winter. Make sure the roads are open and there is no snow storm in the forecast.

September 25, 2008

St Helens - Hike # 25

Distance: 9.4 miles (Round trip)
Time: 10 hours
Elevation gain: 4500 feet
Difficulty level: 4.5

Pictures: Click Here

Snow Lake - Hike #24

Date: 08/16/2007
Close by: NorthBend, WA - Off I-90
Distance (RT): 6.0 miles
Time (RT): 4.5 hours
Elevation: 1200 ft Gain
Level: 2.0
Things to remember: Will be better on a sunny day. Perfect view when the lake still has some snow left.

Pictures: Click Here

August 04, 2008

Franklin Falls - Hike # 23

Date: 08/03/2008
Close by: Exit 47 Off I-90
Distance (RT): 2.0 miles
Time (RT): 1 hour
Elevation: 200 feet
Level: 0.5
Things to Remember: Camera, it’s a beautiful falls; you shouldn’t come back without a nice shot. Also a jacket, it’s pretty cold near the falls.

Pictures: Click Here

Franklin Falls never ceases to fascinate me. Located near Denny creek at Exit 47 off of I-90, this is one of the beautiful falls around this area. The best thing about this falls is you don’t have to hike if you don’t want to. The main trail is 1 mile long but one can avoid the trail head and keep driving until the road runs close to the main trail and park the car on the road side. From that point the fall is just 100-150 ft away.

The end of the trail is a little wet and slippery. The water from the falls is freezing cold. If you live somewhere around Seattle area, please do not miss this wonderful falls. This could be done as a second hike on a given day since there is very little elevation gain and the trail is just a mile.

Kids of all ages will love this fall and if you are someone who is looking for a solitude time, early mornings are preferable. The temperature drops drastically near the falls, so a waterproof jacket is highly recommended to keep you warm and dry from the mist. Camera with a adjustable shutter speed can make wonders here

July 31, 2008

Bandera Mountain - Hike # 22

Date: 07/30/2008
Close by: Bandera Mountain
Distance (RT): 7.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 3000 ft
Ending Elevation: 5200 ft
Time Taken (RT): 4 hrs with 40 mins at the summit
Difficulty level: 3
Things to Remember: Hiking Poles, Lot of water, Food, Jacket.

Pictures: Click here

July 27, 2008

Lake 22 - Hike # 21

Date: 07/26/2008
Close by: Granite Falls
Distance (RT): 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1500 ft
Time Taken (RT): 4 hrs with 45 mins at the lake
Difficulty level: 2
Things to Remember: Camera

Pictures: Click Here

Located on the Mt. Loop, Lake 22 offers a wonderful trail for all ages. The trail is easy with minor switchbacks and gradual elevation gain offering beautiful creeks and waterfalls all along until we reach the lake. The trail head is past the Mt Philchuck Road and very easy to find. There is a small parking lot that holds good number of cars. Forest pass is a must to park the cars here.

The trail is covered with lot of trees until it hits a section where it becomes rocky and opens up to a direct contact with Sun. So sun screen is highly recommended. This section of the trail has lot of wild flowers on either side of them. The last .4 miles of the trail is covered with the trees that fell apart due to the avalanches. Hikers should be extra cautious at this section. Though not tough, extra caution is recommended when crossing these logs to get to the lake.

Only the front portion of the lake has melted down. The rest of lake and the wooden walkway around the lake are still covered with snow. The cliff that surrounds half of the lake provides a beautiful view of the lake. On the way back down, we cautiously hiked off the trail for about 50 feet to see a wonderful falls, which was only partly visible from the trail.

A wonderful hike and highly recommended to everyone who wants to get out of the routine and try an hand in hiking. View the pictures and leave your comments.

July 20, 2008

Mason Lake - Hike # 20

Date: 07/019/2008
Close by: Exit 47 off I-90
Distance (RT): 6.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 2200 ft
Time Taken (RT): 4 hrs with 45 mins at the lake
Difficulty level: 2
Things to Remember: Beautiful Lake, Plan to do both the lake and the mountain together.

Pictures: Click Here

An easy to moderate hike. Initially planned to hike the Bandera Mountain, but in between took the trail to Mason Lake, since it was cloudy and it’s no use going up without a clear sky. We didn’t not want to repeat Mailbox’s mistake once again. The trail is one of the most well maintained trails, I have been. You feel like you are walking on a muddy road.

The initial path of the trail is all flat with a very little elevation gain. There is a small waterfall at the beginning of the trail. The trail gains elevation after about a mile and rises instantly with a 45 deg up hill. After we hit the trail split where one was leading towards Bandera and other was leading to Mason Lake. Lots of wild flowers on either side of the trail. There was some snow on the sides of the trail on the way to this beautiful lake. Mason lake is definitely a must do hike.

July 07, 2008

Mailbox Peak - Hike #19

Date: 07/04/2008
Distance (RT): 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 4000 ft in 2.5 miles
Time Taken (RT): 8 hrs.
Difficulty level: 4
Things to Remember: Hiking Poles, Lots of food, first aid kit with Aspirin, look out for good weather.

Pics: click here

The toughest hike I have ever done. Also the horrible weather made the situation even worse. The trail is steep, unmaintained and navigation skills come handy at most of the places. Most of the trail is made of the roots of trees and is slippery. After the forest area, the trail approaches near the rocky section, some of the hikers were crawling up the rocks; we decided to hike up the forest area close to it and finally ended up to the actual trail. The trail after this rocky section leading to the Mailbox is very steep and scary. The Mailbox has a guest book where you can sign your name with a little message. Good luck searching my name.

If you would like to train for Rainier or other tougher hikes, this is the best trail. This hike way difficult than Mt. Si. The soil is loose and slippery along the trail. This makes the hike down tougher on your quad, calf and thigh muscles. Pain killers will definitely help.Not advisable for casual hikers like me and Only for serious hikers. Before you decide going on this hike, please respect you personal ability.

July 03, 2008

Lake Serene - Hike #18

Date: 06/28/08
Close By: Granite Falls
Beginning Elevation: 640 feet
Ending Elevation: 2250 feet
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: 3.5 (23 Switchbacks)

Pics: Click here

Lake Serene was this weekend's trail. A wonderful drive up in US 202 leading to the trail head around 8.30am.
The trail head warns saying “This trail is only for serious hikers". You will be in the middle of the woods with raspberries as soon as the trail begins. At least it looked like it!!

The first 2 miles of the hike is easy until the signs for Bridal Veil Falls. A wrong decision to go the lake before the falls. At this sign the trail splits and one goes to the falls and the other one leads to the lake. Within 200ft of the signs there is a small beautiful, a part of the bridal veil. After the sign the trail actually drops down to reach the falls area. Spent around 20 minutes near the water taking some pictures.

Hike was grueling after the falls. There are 23 switchbacks before you could reach the lake. Most of the trail was well maintained with wooden steps. The lake was worth every single step hiked. Only the front portion of the lake had melted down, the rest was all packed with snow. A couple of weeks more will make the lake more beautiful.

We started munching the snacks and fruits that we had carried, took some pictures and started our hike down. Personally i felt the hike down was horrible than the hike up the mountain. Rocks on the first 2 miles down the hike made it worse.Overall it was a wonderful hike and a good physical endeavor. Drenched in the falls on the way back down, a wonderful feeling. After a tiring hike up and down the lake, We decided to skip the hike to Bridal Veil.

Mt Si - Hike #17

Date: 06/21/2008
Close by: Off of I-90, NorthBend
Distance: 8 miles rountrip
Beginning Elevation: around 900 ft
Ending Elevation: 3900 ft

Pictures: Click here

This is my second time hiking Mt Si this year. Unlike last time, the trail was like a theme park-filled with so many people. It was an awesome weather to be out and most of the hikers nearby decided to come here to kick start their hiking season. (pillaiyar sulli !!)
This is the first hike that I and my wife are doing alone without our hiking friends. I was a little hesitant to take her with me, But to my surprise she finished the hike and in fact hiked higher than my last time.

An interesting thing happened in the hike. We met a guy who was hiking with his 7 year old son. He introduced himself as Howard and inquired where we were from. As soon as we said we are from India, he started telling too many stories about Indian culture and Indian films. That guy seems to know a lot of information. He had visited India couple of times and liked it a lot. He started to even talk about four types and Vedas, but we weren’t able to keep up with his pace so he had bid us good bye.

After a number of halts, we finally reached the top. The view from the mountain was wonderful. We were able to see the west side too for the first time. There were too many people near the haystack and we both found ourselves a good spot to sit and eat the sandwich and Morkolambu-Urugai , a great combination which definitely bet the sandwich hands down.
After spending close to an hour enjoying the view, we started our hike back. The hike down made us tired more than the way up.

SilverFalls StatePark - Hike #16

Date: 06/14/2008
Close by: 1.5 hours from Portland
Distance(RT): 8.6 miles
Time Taken(RT): 4 hours for 6 miles
Things to remember: Camera, water and some food. Its a long hike

Pictures: Click here

One of the most wonderful hikes, I have ever done. Not much of a elevation gain. This trail loop consists of 10 falls, each one of them is so special and so different from each other.

Mt Si - Hike #15

Date: 05/21/2008
Close By: Off of I-90, Northbend
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Beginning Elevation: around 900 ft
Ending Elevation: 3900 ft

Pictures: click here

This was a bad day to hike Mt Si. The weather was so damp and all you can see were the clouds. I did not take any picture during this hike, but I have posted Mt Si from a later hike. I did this with a colleague of mine who was training for Rainier. We did the hike pretty fast, finishing it in 3 hrs.

Rattlesnake Ledge - Hike #14

Date: 04/26/2008
Close By: Off of I-90 Exit 32
Distance(RT): 4 miles roundtrip
Time (RT): 4.0 hours
Beginning Elevation: around 900 ft
Ending Elevation: 2079 ft
Difficulty Level: 1.5

Pictures: Click Here

I have done rattlesnake ledge last year and absolutely love it. It’s a easy hike and definitely a good one to start your hike season. It was a nice day in the spring and we decided to kick start our hiking with this hike.

The Lake at the beginning of the trail did not have that much water, probably because of the time of the year. It was full last year when we were here around June. The hike up to the ledge is not an easy one at the same time not a tougher one too. But the view on the top of the ledge is amazing. It’s delightful to view the lake from the top. After spending half hour there, we did not want to hold up the spot for long, since we had a wonderful view from our spot. The hike down was not bad at all. We finished it in ease. A wonderful hike to start the season.

Twin Falls - Hike #13

Date: 03/16/2008
Close By: Off of I-90
Distance (RT): 2.5 miles
Time (RT): 2.5 hours
Elevation gain: 600 feet
Difficulty Level: 1
Things to remember: Lots of dogs; pretty simply hike.

Pictures: Click Here

This is the first hike of the year. I have done this last year but this time it is more special because of the fact that it’s the first hike after my wedding and the first hike with my wife. As usual the falls looked wonderful and there was a good amount of water. An easy hike if you would like to try.

Snow Lake - Hike #12

Date: 08/26/2007
Close by: NorthBend, WA - Off I-90
Distance (RT): 6.0 miles
Time (RT): 4.5 hours
Elevation: 1200 ft Gain
Level: 2.0
Things to remember: Will be better on a sunny day. We chose a wrong day and also it was too late in the season too, since the lake did not have any snow.

Pictures: Click Here

Melakwa Lake - Hike #11

Date: 08/19/2007
Close by: Off I-90 Exit 47
Distance (RT): 9.0 miles
Time (RT): 5.5 Hours
Elevation: 2300 Gain
Level: 2.5
Things to remember: Rocky Trail. Hike back down is little painful.

Pictures: Click Here

Mt Si - Hike #10

Date: 08/12/2007
Close by: NorthBend, Off of I-90
Distance(RT): 8 miles roundtrip
Beginning Elevation: around 900 ft
Ending Elevation: 3900 ft

Pictures: Click Here

MargratteLake - Hike #9

Date: 07/08/2007
Close By: Snoqualmie Pass, WA
Distance (RT): 5.0 miles
Time (RT): 3 hours, with 15 mins at the lake
Elevation: 1500 feet in, 300 feet out
Level: 3.0

Pictures: Click Here

Things to remember: The first half of the hike is almost like a staircase. Trail goes through a lot of bushes. But once it gets into the woods, the trail becomes normal. The way down to the lake was mostly covered with snow. Trails could not be located beyond a point. So, we just walked through the snow and got to the lake. The lake as such is nothing remarkable. A very small lake.

Mirror Lake - Hike #8

Date: 07/07/2007
Close By: Off I-90 exit 54
Distance (RT): 7.0 miles
Time (RT): 4 hours
Elevation: 1700 ft in 1000 feet out
Level: 3
Things to remember: Lesser used trails.

Pictures: Click Here

SnowLake - Hike #7

Date: 07/01/2007
Close by: NorthBend, WA - Off I-90
Distance (RT): 6.0 miles
Time (RT): 4.5 hours
Elevation: 1200 ft Gain
Level: 2.0
Things to remember: Better to go in the later part of summer. The trail was snowy even in July. So it’s better to visit in August or September if you want to avoid snow on your trail. Switch backs in the last mile. Elevation drops near the lake.

Pictures: Click Here

Lake22 - Hike #6

Date: 06/30/2007
Close by: Granite Falls, WA
Distance (RT): 5.0 miles
Time (RT): 4 hours, with 1 hour at the lake
Elevation: 1300 feet
Level: 2.5
Things to remember: Too many bugs. The trail is not very steep but there are occasional rocky sections and thus the descent from the lake is very tough on your feet, due to these rocky sections.

Pictures: Click Here

Franklin Falls - Hike #5

Date: 06/24/2007
Close by: Off I-90
Distance (RT): 2.0 miles
Time (RT): 1 hour
Elevation: 200 feet
Level: 0.5
Things to Remember: Camera, it’s a beautiful falls, you shouldn’t come back without a nice shot. Also a jacket, it’s pretty cold near the falls. Good time to visit the falls is in May –June because that’s when the water level is high.

Pictures: Click Here

Annette Lake - Hike #4

Date: 06/23/2007
Close By: Off of I-90
Distance (RT): 8.0 miles
Time (RT): 4 hours, with 30 minutes at the lake
Elevation: 1400 feet
Level: 3
Things to remember: Starts off steep, becomes relatively easy for a while before gets steep again. Good part is that the last 1 mile or so is on level ground and there is no elevation. Trail is in good shape. You might want to take another 0.75 mile trail called Nature trail which is at the trailhead. The lake is beautiful. Lot of logs. Lot of bugs too, on the way.

Pictures: Click Here

RattleSnake Ledge - Hike#3

Date: 06/16/2007
Close By: Off I-90 Exit 32
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Beginning Elevation: around 900 ft
Ending Elevation: 2079 ft
Difficulty Level: 1.5
Things to Remember: Go Early to avoid crowd. Try to enjoy views from different spots of the ledge. Spend some time near the lake after the hike. Really worth it.

Wallace Falls - Hike #2

Date: 06/10/2007
Close By: Gold Bar off of US-2
Distance (RT): 5.5 miles
Time (RT): 3 hours
Elevation: 1200 feet
Level: 2
Things to remember: 3 falls. The Middle Falls is the most beautiful of the three. If you are extremely tired, skip the Upper Falls. Trail is extremely beautiful, like walking through a rain forest. Trail runs parallel to a creek and you can find benches to get some rest & get some good views.

Pictures: Click here