Saturday, May 7, 2016

Washington Rules, Colorado Drools

My co-worker, Kimberly, loves Colorado. She talks about it...A LOT. And even though she grew up here, she still dares to compare; and actually proclaims Colorado as more beautiful. Inconceivable!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I knew Kimberly was not looking at Washington through "hiker eyes"; so I was determined to give her a different perspective. 

I would have preferred to get way up in the wilderness (maybe not "14er" that's so special ;)) but in May the really good stuff is still covered in snow. I had been seeing a flux of pictures coming through my news feed from the Diablo Lake area (this is due to Hwy 20 opening it's winter gate for the season, and the fact there are some fantastic photographers on the "Washington Hikers and Climbers" FB group) and decided it would have to do for the Washington vs Colorado face off. 

A drive on the North Cascades Hwy will fill your scenery tank even if you don't plan on hiking, but if you have time to hike, you will find many options. Even though it's a bit of a drive to get to there, the good news is you won't have to worry about heading up miles of forest roads. As far as I know, all the trailheads in this area are pretty much pull off the highway and you're there close. You do have to drive a few minutes to get to the Diablo trailhead; but the drive over the particularly beautiful dam is well worth it. 
The easy access and large parking lot, complete with obvious signage, gives you the impression everything about this hike is going to be totally straight forward. I definitely did not want anything complicated, because I needed some redemption with Kimberly.
You see, this was actually my second hike with Kimberly. We both attended a work sponsored hike at Sharpe's Park last November, where we tried to be the cool kids and brake away form the group to do our own (far superior, of course) hike.
Sharpe's Park Map; not helpful if your phone goes dead

Shape's park. "Maybe this is where we will be spending the night?"
I tried to pull off a "don't worry, I'm sort of an expert at this" persona by taking a picture of the map with my phone. After my phone died, we got so helplessly confused by the loops we actually considered bush whacking through the forest to intrude upon some private property to possibly call for help; but finally ended up being rescued by a kind hearted fellow hiker who literally had to lead us out. So, some image damage control was in order. Unfortunately, our Diablo Lake outing was not going to convince Kimberly of my navigation skills; though, I will still say it wasn't my fault.

The above sign was obviously placed here to help alleviate any confusion as to which direction to go...apparently the arrow on the trail marker pointing right was not clear enough. The problem is the word LEFT in bold letters and the fact most people tend to skim when reading directions. (blah, blah, blah, LEFT, blah blah blah)
Now, I'm sure I would have read the sign carefully, except I trusted the gals who were ahead of us had already done so. Hiking lesson #49: "Never assume other hikers are any less stupid than you". After catching up to them, we all four tried our darnedest to follow the pseudo trail that is a little ways down the service road we had turned left on. You would have thought the idea that we read the sign wrong would have came to us sooner, but the power of the clearly dominate LEFT instruction was a strong force. 
This is as close as you're getting to Ross Dam
After figuring out our mistake, we thankfully finished the remainder of the hike without incident. I will confess though, that I had it in my mind this trail would take us all the way to Ross Dam, instead of just a lookout to see it. But it does take you all the way down to Diablo Lake, where you will find a suspension bridge; and if you cross it, you will find on the other side a boat house for the lake "taxis".

We found the cement platform makes an excellent spot for a picnic!! Just be sure to please respect the signs and do not enter the restricted boathouse, even if the door is wide open and there is not a soul there to catch you. 
Kimberly demonstrating what not to do
On the drive back we stopped at my favorite Hwy 20 burger and beer joint, the Birdsview Brewery. I'm sure Kimberly would argue Colorado has better beers too...whatever, she still bought a growler to bring home. I didn't ask her if she still considered Colorado the winner of the scenic war; I knew that was a debate I was never going to win. Nevertheless, this amazing state I call home will always have my heart. 
I still love you, Kimberly; Colorado lover and all!

1 comment:

  1. Omg this is so amazing I love the drama !! Great read I laughed so much !!! You are too funny!! KB you are so great !!! I'll go anywhere with you !!!