Showing posts from December, 2013

Last Day 2013

In addition to the start of a new year, tomorrow is First Day Hike day.  Fifteen Washington state parks are hosting events (scroll down to Jan 1 here to find them all).  Tomorrow will be my third F.D.H. at Deception Pass State Park .  The itinerary will include the Discovery Trail and Goose Rock Summit (.pdf).  I can't think of a better way to start a new year. Last Saturday, I took a preview hike along the Discovery Trail and the nearby Lower Forest Trail.  What caught my eye were all the shapes, patterns and natural sculptures found in the forest.  Enjoy this album of Discovery Trail images as a preview of tomorrow's hike.  Then join us at the Cornet Bay Retreat Center  New Year's Day at 10:00 AM. Winter Rhododendrons promise springtime blooming. A Bigleaf Maple bends and twists to reach for precious light. Archways lead us into other worlds. Mists linger where the winds don't reach. Hair Lichens decorate bare limbs.

Pass Lake Loop Trail

I had never explored the Pass Lake Trail in Deception Pass State Park.  It used to be a short, one-way trek which ended on Rosario Road.  From there it was necessary to either continue hiking on the road or turn around and return on the same trail.  I found neither option appealing.   On a newer map (.pdf) I noticed that it is now the Pass Lake LOOP Trail and it makes a complete circle back to the parking lot.  I decided it was time to check it out.  From Highway 20, turn onto Rosario Road at this sign (above).  Immediately turn right into the Pass Lake parking lot where there is a well marked trail head. On setting off, it is apparent that this is a Northwest Coast climax forest .  The dominant trees are Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata) , Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) , Grand Fir (Abies grandis) and Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) .  Where the canopy opens to let in a little light, there is Red Alder (Alnus rubra) and Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) .  I will h

New Feature on the Beach

Late this afternoon as the sun was setting, I noticed a change on the beach.  That raised sandbar at the water line is new.  In my twenty-five years here, I have never seen this before.  Perhaps, I just never noticed it.  During the winter, it is unusual to see this much beach during daylight.  This time of the year, the lower low water tides usually occur in the middle of the night, or at least after dark.  It is not surprising to see no beach at all during daylight for a couple of months.  Today, the lower low water tide will be about 2 feet at 6:39 PM which is after dark.  The photo was shot at 3:54 PM with the water level at 4.84 feet according to my Tides and Currents app. These sandbars are formed by wave action and currents.  Usually, there is very little wave action in this part of Skagit Bay.  During fall and winter, however, windstorms can kick up a bit of surf.  This has not been a particularly stormy year, but we have experienced some moderate winds.  Apparently, this