Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lookout mtn. Trailblazer hike

I returned today to join the Trailblazer hiking group that I hike with each Thursday. I've missed a few hikes lately and I was excited to be back especially since we were to be hiking Lookout mountain. I've never done this hike before, I've heard reports that it was long and steep so I was curious to see if I agreed. We would be starting from the Whatcom county parks parking lot.

There were 12 of us for today's hike, we split up into groups of 3 and each group went their own pace. We were following an old road the whole way in and out, so we figured no one would get lost.

I hiked with Marjan and Gary (in the photo below). Where the road splits I put a large arrow letting the other hikers behind us know which direction it was to the North tower. I tried to make it large enough that no one could miss it. Do you think I succeeded?

The grade of the road was quite steep in places, but I found it enjoyable.
The marine cloud cover was keeping us from enjoying any views at the top of the hill. There was a breeze blowing and it was quite chilly, so we ate a quick lunch and headed back down.

I heard someone yell as we were beginning to head back down the road, so I yelled back and blew my whistle. I got no response, so we walked a short ways farther on the road to see if we could see anyone, but shortly my cell phone began ringing and Bill was calling to tell us that their group had made it to the second of the North towers. We agreed that each group would make their own way down to the cars and so off we went. No sooner had we confirmed our plans then the next group of 3 (Penny, Jean & Char) showed up. We had the same conversation with them, since they hadn't had lunch yet. Feeling confident that we'd done our best to communicate with everyone we began our journey down the road 

I know that some hikers despise walking on roads and prefer trails, but it doesn't make any difference to me. I enjoy the views wherever I am.
When we got just below the fork in the road we saw Pat, Ed and Frank making their way up to us. Pat said that he and Ed would continue on a bit past the junction. Frank however was happy to stop and eat his lunch and then go back with us.

We got to the parking lot and each group arrived at the parking lot, we realized that no one had seen our "fearless leader" Pat and Ed on their return.

Thankfully we had cell coverage for most of the day's hike. So I called Ed to see what was up. He said they had decided to head up to the South tower and were on their way back. 
All happy and accounted for.
I would gladly hike this again. I really enjoyed the long up and the long down.

Endomondo stats:
total miles hiked - 12.05 miles
total ascent - 2418 feet
total descent - 2411 feet

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

May Summary ~ Spartan Race(s), 1/2 marathon(s) training

Well my bucket list for paid entry running races has come and gone. The Whidbey Island & North Olympic Discovery trail half marathons were great experiences. I haven't done any official (paid) entry running races for a few years, so it was fun to get back at it, but for the rest of the year my (paid for) events in front of me are Spartan races - the Portland Sprint (really in Washougal, Wa.) and the Seattle Beast (really in Monroe, Wa.). 
I need to get stronger and faster while keeping my flexibility in check for the rest of the year. I have a tweaky left hamstring from the Whidbey Island half that I'm trying to keep happy. Thank goodness for my compression leg sleeves, they have really helped my hamstring to feel better.
Here's my May summary from endomondo -

If you click on the photo below to enlarge it you will see the activities are color coded for running, biking, fitness walking, hiking, walking, yoga and tai chi.

The "savoring my 62nd year on this earth" bucket list item I'm the most proud of so far is my backpacking trip last week. It's been 24 years since I last put on a backpack. I forgot how heavy it could be, thank goodness I've been training, being stronger really helped.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Backpacking the Ozette Triangle

Our trip to the Olympic Peninsula started with a ferry ride on Friday, then we picked up our Wilderness camping permit and race packets in Port Angeles on Saturday. On Sunday June 5th, we ran the North Olympic Discovery trail Half Marathon on the Olympic Discovery trail.
My husband ran it with me, I was pleased that we broke 3 hours. Our official chip time finishes were: 2:58:50 & 2:58:51.

Then on Monday it was time to drive to Lake Ozette to begin our backpacking trip. After making sure that everything we needed was in our packs we stopped at the trail head for photos.

Our plan was to hike the Ozette Loop, and camp at Cape Alava and Sand Point before heading back.
There are creeks near the campsites for water, but it all needs to be treated. We hauled in some good drinking water & thought we'd just treat our cooking water.
Carrying our jugs :-)

When we got our permit in Port Angeles they gave us info. on where we could camp and the tide chart for when we'd be on the beaches. The tide chart is especially important because of the point crossings. The ranger emphasized to only cross the points on an outgoing tide. Not all of the points have overland crossings and must be crossed on the beach.

We reached Cape Alava and set up our tent. It was overcast when we got to our site, so we put the rain fly on.

After we were done with dinner & our camp duties we went for a hike up to look at the Makah archeological dig site. As you can see by the photo, there's really nothing left to see. If you'd like to read about the Ozette/Makah Village and it's history click HERE.

The dig site
Tuesday morning we loaded everything into our packs and headed towards Sand Point. We had to go around a point between Cape Alava and Sand Point, at high tide there is a land crossing but at low tide it's a nice beach walk.

The photo below shows the orange and black sign (target) that points to an overland crossing trail. The black and white targets signify a camp area.

I was hoping the tide would be low enough for us to see the petroglyphs at Wedding rock.
We found a few.

We stopped at this great sea stack for a photo.

We were able to go around the points just fine.

Sand Point, our camp area for 2 nights.

We were the only ones there and had the pick of the sites. We found a prime campsite, someone had even made a windbreak!

We set up our tent and kitchen and ate before going for a walk to check out the beaches.
No rain fly tonight. The wind really shook our overhead tarp all night long though.

our camp kitchen
We had a few shrews, a family of deer and a rabbit for neighbors while we camped. We had expected raccoons, since they used to be a real problem at these campsites but we never saw one. We heard that there had been a virus that all but wiped them out of the area. I was surprised to see that there were no seagulls, sea stars or sand dollars on any of the beaches we were on. It was very strange being at the beach and not hearing a gull calling. We did see many eagles and seals on the rocky side of the beach. The seals would get up on the rocks at low tide with their pups, they were fun to watch.

Wednesday we decided to walk down the beach and see the Yellow banks area.
If you click on the photo below, you'll see that I tried to get a close up of an eagle sitting on a rock. It's not too clear but it is identifiable. 

Looking towards Yellow banks.

I named the rocks below the "Portals".

There is no land crossing for this point, so we were glad it was a low tide.
Yellow banks is just around the corner, the tide was coming back in so we decided a peek was good enough for the day.

Tide pool life.

An otter ran from the water to the bank right in front of us, I didn't get a picture of it but I did get this picture of where he went. I think it had a den in the bank.

We decided to check out part of the trail to Ericson's bay on our return.

There was a small hill on the point near our camp, we went up to check out the views.

on top of the hill
looking towards camp and the point
the view from the top of the hill looking towards the ocean
We were good and hungry after our long day and we each apparently enjoyed an after dinner snooze.

Some clouds were moving in & it got a bit chilly & started sprinkling off and on. I was thankful for my layers.

There was a wonderful sunset that night.

We put the rainfly on our tent before bed and there were a few rain showers during the night.

Thursday already and time to say goodbye to our most excellent backpacking trip to the Ozette loop.

trail target

Lake Ozette
Hiking miles tracked:  22.76