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Tag Archives: hiking

Last week, the girls and I took the camper over the mountains to camp in the shadow of one of the iconic northwest volcanoes. After the massive heat dome that brought us record-breaking high temperatures recently, it was good to be someplace cooler and greener. We even had a couple of overcast days and Luna was able to do two six-mile hikes! At her age, she cannot tolerate the sun and temperatures much over 70°. She (and Sky too) had great fun in a new place smelling all the smells and exploring everything. And wouldn’t you know it, Sky discovered a much-abused tennis ball three miles up the flank of the volcano. It was just one of four balls that she found on this trip.

I noticed that this trail started off as an old road. Farther up the trail, I began to notice large old stumps, reminders of the old growth that once blanketed much of western Washington. Later I read that the area had been logged all the way to the tree line, back in the day. When I was out on my kayak, I could see the outlines of the old clear-cuts.

Since it was an overcast day, we did not get to see views of the big mountain. We did enjoy the cool temperatures and even some fog. Back at home temperatures remained in the 90’s and a lightning storm ignited several forest fires. I am glad we got away for bit.

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park is straight up in the mountains from Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. It is a long bumpety bump drive to get there through many kilometers of industrial demonstration forest. There was a warning that the road was not for low-clearance vehicles nor for the faint of heart. We took it slow since the boats were still on the roof of the truck and we did not want them to get jostled around too much. It was fortuitous that the boats were with us as the road ended rather abruptly at a beautiful high mountain lake – the kind that we generally think we have to hike many miles to see. We had intended to go for a hike to another lake but with spectacular Gibson Lake before us it seemed like the only thing to do was get the boats down and go for a paddle. And you know, Ken had his fishing tackle with him so he was sure to wet a line. He enjoyed catching cutthroat trout that he promptly released. I poked around the edges of the lake and found a Solitary Sandpiper in addition to the more common Spotted Sandpipers and I was surprised to find a Great Blue Heron. I just don’t expect to find them at an elevation of 6000′. I imagine it was migrating and maybe it was young too. I watched it hunt – poking its long bill into nooks and crannies – and it often came up with a bite to eat but I could not see what it was catching.

Finally we had enough of the water and thought we ought to check out the trail. It was 4.5 kilometers to the next lake so we put on our packs and started up. The mosquitoes were horrific. And it was late in the afternoon – already 4:00 – and we did not have more food so after a couple k of enjoying the views and the wildflowers, we turned back and returned to camp.

But the most interesting part of the visit may have been seeing cars surrounded by chicken wire! We both have lots of experience at trailheads and had never seen such a sight.

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