Friday, September 30, 2011

Carkeek Park ~ September 29th 2011

Carkeek Park is another great urban park with hiking trails! It was a beautiful fall day and we enjoyed being outside! This is another place that it is helpful to have a map so that you can figure out where you want to go. Some of the trails are marked with signs, but others aren't. I printed my own map from the link above, but I did notice that they had some pre-printed at some of the information signs as well. We didn't walk too far today as we had some younger kids with us, but we enjoyed a leisurely stroll along some of the trails. This would be a perfect place to introduce kids to hiking without having to drive a long way. Another benefit is being able to stop and head back to the car whenever your little one is tired. We followed the Lower Meadow Trail from the main parking area towards the beach access. From there we meandered along the North Bluff Trail, checking out the viewpoints along the way.

A little incline along here, but nothing too challenging.

From there we cutoff onto the North Meadow Hillclimb Trail until we reached the Grand Fir Trail. We followed the Grand Fir Trail until we reached the North Traverse. We walked down the 12th Ave. Hillclimb until we came back to the main parking area. We crossed through the parking area and wandered down the Piper's Creek Trail until we reached Piper's Orchard.

We saw a lot of these in one area along the Piper's Creek Trail. They appeared to be some
sort of art. They were made out of corrugated cardboard glued together and seemed to be
in a shelf fungus or hive shape.

A bridge along the Piper's Creek Trail

This is a beautiful old orchard full of heirloom variety apple trees. Lots of apples on the ground and in the trees. We had a lot of fun walking around and looking at the different trees.
This was a really interesting apple tree. It had two "tracks" worn into the trunks
that were just perfect for rolling some of the fallen apples down.

Here is the bottom of the track where the apples landed.

Some of the artwork that is scattered throughout the park with the orchard in the background

I saw a few mushrooms and other fungus.
This shelf fungus was beautiful!

Lots of beautiful colors out:

Stinging Nettle


A few of the yellow fall leaves in the creek
Happy Fall Trails!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mercer Slough Nature Park ~ September 22nd 2011

This is a great area to explore and check out some wildlife.

We've seen this same turtle or tortoise, I'm not sure
which it is, both times that we've been here!

It's not too far to drive and the hike (walk) is not too long. Most of the trail is stroller friendly, although you may need a hand to get over a couple of areas. There are over 7 miles of trails, but there is no need to hike all of them. There are several nice loops that you could take your time exploring.

I would recommend printing and bringing this map along. I forgot it this time and it was much easier navigating with it the time before!

I saw lots of beautiful colors, including some fall color starting to show.

I love the Bellevue city skyline in the background. I think it's really great that there are natural, wild places left in urban areas!

Happy Trails!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Meadowdale Beach Park Trail ~ September 8th 2011

This was the first time that I had been to Meadowdale Beach Park. It was a great short hike .The trip to the beach is all downhill and you get a good cardio burn on the trip back up. It's 2.5 miles round trip. We saw lots of people and dogs on the trail. The parking lot was almost full at 11:15am when we got there. The kids had a great time playing in the creek along the trail, exploring the beach and going under the tunnel when the train went by!

I loved this sign along the trail:
Happy Trails!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Peek-a-boo Lake ~ August 27th 2011

Peek-a-boo Lake is a trail that I have been wanting to hike for a while now. I finally got around to doing it! We camped at Squire Creek Campground and the trailhead wasn't too far from the campground.

The drive up the forest roads was interesting. You are going to turn west off of the Mountain Loop Highway onto USFS Rd. 2080. This is very near MP 45 and the Sauk River bridge. Continue up USFS Rd. 2080 for a little over a mile and then turn right onto USFS Rd. 2081 - stay on 2081. You will come to a junction with USFS Rd. 2083 and you will need to turn right to stay on 2081. Follow this through weeds growing up and brushing under your car. I thought we were on the wrong road for a while. This road gets steep and I lost traction a couple of times driving up an incline in the gravel. My husband played classical music the whole way up to help him relax if that helps to paint the picture. :-)

You will stay on 2081 for approximately 3.5 miles before you get to a junction with USFS Rd. 2086, bear left on this and continue for another mile until you reach the roads end and the trailhead. I was surprised to see 6 or 7 other vehicles at the trailhead when we parked at around noon as the road did not appear to have been traveled much recently. The trail begins where the road dead ends.

I know there are more difficult trails, but this one was far from easy! It gave everyone a good workout. It's about 5 miles roundtrip with 1500 ft. of elevation gain. Lots of beautiful scenery along the trail.

Many switchbacks to walk up as well some places that seemed to just go straight up. Watch out for slippery spots especially on the way down. We encountered some wet and muddy areas especially as we got into the meadow area where the snow was still melting.

The first patch of snow we encountered

Making a sliding trail in the snow with his feet
After hiking upward for about 2 miles you come to the meadow and the melting snow. After that you drop back down about 300 feet until you reach the lake.

The melting snow with plants pushing up through it made it look like spring!

Pictures of the lake:

Hiking back up to the meadow from the lake
Another meadow picture as we walked out to the viewpoint 

We went out to the viewpoint after we went to the lake. Keep children and dogs close here as there is a very steep drop off. The path out to the viewpoint is lined with wild blueberries (not ripe yet though).

The kids decided to try to cross one of the little muddy ponds in the meadow. Luckily
no one got wet!

Heading back down the trail - Gavin decided to run because it was downhill....

and the end result of running down a trail and catching a slick spot. You slide
off the trail and gouge yourself on a sharp branch.

Still smiling (after the initial tears)....thankfully!

Flowers, fungus and frogs (and toad):

 Happy Trails!