Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Park Butte, or Baker Lake?

This last weekend was one of those times when it seems like no matter how much housework you do, everything is still a disaster.  My oldest son moved back home this summer for a couple months...but I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. ;)  Which reminds me of a story my sister used to tell after her son moved out and into Grandma's house.  He comes home for a visit and says, "Wow, the house sure seems a lot cleaner than usual", and then pauses while the wheels are turning and adds, "and come to think of it, Grandma's house is a lot messier than it used to be".  Hummm...what an odd coincidence! Anyhow, I kept trying to get ahead of things enough to justify going on a hike when I finally realized I was never going to feel that way--but I did know I needed to get the heck out of there before I lost my mind.  Unfortunately, I didn't wave the white flag until about 1:30 in the afternoon, which limited my options quite a bit.

I thought I should bring my youngest daughter (Summer) and her friend (Sydney) along with me.  Summer is not a huge fan of hiking, which I've mentioned on here before; but her friend Sydney is another story.  I took her with us to hike Mount Finlayson a couple years ago, and she fell immediately in love with hiking.  I knew Sydney would LOVE the hike I had my eye on, (Park Butte) but I also knew Summer would not be up for it. After hemming and hawing for far too long, we finally left for Park Butte at about 2:30--though I had serious doubts we would be able to finish the whole thing. (it's 7.5 miles...definitely in the 'whine zone' for Summer)

Park Butte is what I would call a destination hike, meaning the best part is getting to the end.  In this case, it's a lookout tower.  I kept thinking about the fact that it was really going to bug me not to finish this hike and see the tower. (I've never done it before--it's "on the list")  Driving through Sedro Woolley I decided to pull over at the Ranger Station/Visitor Center to see if they could give me some advise.  Why I don't do this more often is a mystery, because it's a really great place with awesome people who know everything about the area and have all kinds of maps and stuff.  And the very helpful information they gave me is that Park Butte is still covered in snow.  (no wonder I couldn't find a trip report....lesson #18, if a popular hike hasn't gotten a trip report in awhile, there is probably a good reason)
Good times at the ranger station
Baker Lake trail has been on my list too, but on the 'overnight' list because it's long.  If you look it up, you'll most likely come up with "East Baker Lake Trail" which is way at the end of the road along with the Baker River Trail. (I will never forget how to get there--you can read about that experience on my "Baker River" post)  The lady at the ranger station pointed out there is a trail head on the other end of the hike, which is less of a drive. She gave me great directions and we got there without a problem.
Cross Baker dam and go about a mile, the trail head is on your left

We did pretty minimal hiking, but it was pleasant.  The sign at the beginning let us know it was only a mile to "Noisy Creek"...and you better believe Summer noticed it and gave her 'vote' indicating that to be the optimal destination.

And it was, actually.  The girls felt pretty adventurous going over this log bridge.  It doesn't look very scary, but the water underneath was more terrifying in person.

At this point we were able to go down to where the creek emptied into the lake--which was a great place to swim, if it wasn't ice cold.

Sydney got Summer to get in with an offer of five bucks...she was out in about 2 seconds.  I got Summer to hike more of the trail with an offer of milkshakes on the way home...which lasted about 20 minutes. (in her defense, she stubbed her toe badly; lesson #19, make your kid wear shoes, even if she thinks she's Pocahontas)  I know Sydney was thoroughly disappointed...I swear that kid could've gone another 10 miles if she wasn't hiking with "slow and slower".
Cool lightning tree

Heading back I realized I wasn't just "slower", but quite possibly "slowest"...like maybe ever.  Here I am with a kid who doesn't even like hiking and has an injured foot, and she's still a hundred feet ahead of me at all times.  Sheesh!  When the girls got distracted with a dead shrew, (and a slug headed towards it...will it eat it?! Oh the wonders of nature) I thought it would be my opportunity to get a good lead and maybe even beat them to the car.  Not a chance--even with Sydney taking half the pictures you see in this blog, they still kicked by butt.   If there is anyone out there that wants to prove they are the slowest hiker ever, I welcome the challenge.  It's a title I wouldn't mind giving up. 

P.S. Did you notice I changed my blog title?  I was sick of people thinking I was fifty. (and not even commenting on how awesome I look for 50!)  If anyone's curious, I'm actually 44.

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking for a easy day hike for tomorrow....blew out my knee a few weeks ago at Rainier, so looking for something without a lot of elevation and this one just might be it! I could probably take your "title" away from you...just sayin'!