Monday, May 30, 2011


Passing the point of no return.  That's what happened on this 3 mile turned 9 mile hike.  Poor Jewell--she thought she was going to get home in time to work in the yard. (At this time of year, whenever there is actually sun outside, that's all us Northwester's can think to do.  We know if we pass up a lawn mowing day for fun, we may have a jungle on our hands when the next chance rolls around. It's sad, really)  But I talked her into doing something quick and local; a beautiful drive up Chuckanut and just a stroll to Lost Lake, turn around come back, be home before 2:30. 

But there's something about turning around and going back the way I just came that really rubs me the wrong way.  So after we sat in the sun and ate our snack on Lost Lake (literally on the lake...we had to crawl out on a log to be in the sun, and like I just said, if the sun is out around here, you do whatever it takes to be in it) and it was time to either turn around and go back OR keep going and do the whole loop...we thought, let's just go a little farther.  Maybe there will be a spot where we can cut across and shorten the loop. (From the map, it looked like it would be so easy.  Unfortunately, this map didn't show the sheer wall of rock that ran along the entire length of the loop...that would be the RIDGE making it the "Chuckanut Ridge Trail". Seems like maybe I should have figured that out earlier.)

So we went a little bit farther...and a little bit farther...and then we realized we were 'all in'.  We kept looking at the map and saying "well, if we are here, then it shouldn't be too far to get there"...not realizing how NOT to scale this map was.  And there was no signs with any sort of mileage on them, so we just kept going.  And even though I'll admit that this trail kicked by butt, it also made me remember why I love hiking so much.  Nature is so beautiful, and there's that excitement to see what's just around the corner.

When we came to the first waterfall, I gasped. (scared Jewell to death...she was certain a bear was going to be charging toward us) Wouldn't you know, this is when my camera battery died.  I SO wanted a picture, and even considered coming back later when my camera was working.  (that was before my butt was completely kicked...I will have to be in much better shape before I feel up to tackling this hike again) So I cheated and got a picture online instead, which I don't think really does it justice.
  Then we came to our second waterfall, which was possibly even more amazing then the first. (Another online picture..."Mossy Falls" is what it's called.  Creative name, right? ;)

But my favorite moment, and the part that made my day was when an owl swooped down in front of us.  Of course I've seen owls at the zoo before, so it doesn't seem like seeing one in it's own environment should be that big a deal.  But it was a big deal, and even more-- it was magical. (looking up a picture of an owl online is definitely not going to capture that, so I won't bother ;) 

I also wanted to mention an intriguing couple we passed going the opposite direction and got to chatting with.  He was on the board of directors (or something like that) for a National trail I had never heard of..."The Pacific Northwest Trail".  So far it runs all the way from the Olympic Peninsula to the middle of Montana, with plans to connect it with other trails to eventually make a coast to coast through trail.  We just happened to be on a part of it when we ran into them.  Here is a link for anyone wanting to know more: 

I'm not proud of how I ended this hike.  The last hour or so felt like one of those nightmare car trips where the kids keep asking, "Are we there yet"...except I was the whiny kid. But Jewell kept a great attitude--even though her yard work was put on hold AND her knees were starting to give her problems.  (To the extent that whenever she was going downhill she had to keep her knees from bending...and how did I support her?  By telling her she looked like a hiking Frankenstein.  How do I still have friends?) 
 I was overjoyed when the trail finally started heading down to where I was SURE the car was parked when Jewell turned around and said, "What if this is wrong, and this isn't actually going to the parking lot, but just to the road which leads UP to the parking lot", to which I replied, "Then I will sit down and cry".  But thankfully, when we got to the ROAD (and not the parking lot) there just happened to be young man driving down just at that time; and yes, I did not hesitate to flag him down and beg him to drive us up to our car.  "You've done your good deed for the day/ your mother should be so proud/ you've saved our lives" we cooed the entire mile and half back up the road. (A mile and half that felt like twenty and would have surely turned me from whiny kid into full blown pain in the ass)  And since we survived such an ordeal, we decided to treat ourselves to a wonderful late lunch at the Rhododendron Cafe on the way home, which was divine.  So here's to Jewell, who sacrificed her yard and knees to spend a day hiking with this less than valiant friend.  


  1. Love this pic Kel and your story!! I have GOT to take this hike, sure missing the NW here in China tho can't complain, can I!?? I'm off to Tibet Sunday and if weather cooperates, will be in base camp of Mt. Everest next Thursday!! Having to pinch myself at the thought : ) Butttttt...nothing compares in beauty to WA state!! And my hike won't be as hard as this 18, 200 ft, a jeep is taking me most of the way : ) Love You!


  2. you made me laugh so hard! I do love you so! xoxox

  3. I am so glad that you post your adventures. I read this last week and shared it with my daughter too. Your words are very descriptive & picturesque (the photos just confirm what the words say) and the hikes always seem to have an element of craziness among the beauty of the hike. I can't wait to get back home to go hiking again! Thanks for the inspiration and the laughs.