Thursday, April 14, 2011

Whitehorse Rail-Trail

Once again, we lucked out with a mostly dry day! With all the rain we have been having, I am overjoyed when it stays dry long enough to get out and walk or hike! The Whitehorse Rail-Trail is 27 miles long, but only 6 miles are currently open. Snohomish County will be working on some safety issues with bridges, trestles and SR 530 crossings and hope in the future to open the rest of the trail.

The 1/2 mile walk from SR 530 to the trailhead...

The snow low on the could
feel it in the cool temps!

The first time we went on this trail, I had trouble finding clear here is my version:

Take I-5 North to exit 208 (SR 530) and head towards Arlington/Darrington.
Follow 530 through Arlington as if you are going to Darrington. Turn left at
Swede Heaven Rd. The trailhead is about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile down Swede Heaven
Rd on the right. There is only enough parking for 2-4 cars at the trailhead so
parking on the corner of SR 530 and Swede Heaven Rd and walking to the trailhead
is the other option. On the SE corner of SR 530 and Swede Heaven Rd is the
Whitehorse Shell and Food Mart....this is a good place to pick up a snack, get
gas or use the restroom before or after the hike.

There was no elevation gain in the 3 miles or so that we walked. It is a nice dirt and gravel trail. There were a few wet/muddy spots, but they were easy to walk around. A great trail for small children and would also be a lot of fun to ride bikes on.

We ate our lunch on one of the bridges. They have nice wooden sides that make nice benches, as well as a good view of the water (which was running a lot higher than in the fall when we went).

We were the only people on the trail today....aside from the resident dogs that seem to be a permanent fixture on the trail. They hung around and waited for us to finish lunch and then came and cleaned up the crumbs when we left. One dog named Gracie followed us for most of the trail - and would not stop. She is a golden retriever and very sweet, but followed us all the way out to SR 530 and we were worried she was going to get hit. She had tags on and we called her owner and he came and picked her up.

Lots of birds singing along the trail and a few flowers were blooming....I saw Salmon Berry blossoms, Trillium, Bleeding Heart and lots of skunk cabbage (this was mainly along SR 530).

Salmon Berry in bloom

Bleeding Heart

Skunk cabbage "forest" along SR 530
We found some scat with some small bones that were easily visible, so I took a picture. :-)

This was some lichen that I thought was beautiful....
I found some of the same kind that had been blown out of the
trees and was drying into a really cool color...

It was another great day spent outside with good friends! Happy trails!

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