Wednesday 20 June 2012

Hike Week 2012- Pump it up! Some healthy sandwich wraps and salads too!

Summertime! Yippee!

Monday was the third hiking day, of hike week. We are having a lot of fun and

challenging ourselves everyday. If you live in the area, or are vacationing in the area, I would recommend the Rattlesnake Trail, leaving from the trail head off of exit 27. There are three different hikes, off this trail. Beautiful forest's and views waiting for you to explore and soak in. If you can, hike during the week, as there are very few people.Take your whistle and your bear spray, as there are bears.

Monday's hike-

 Squak Mountain Eastside loop
Roundtrip 7.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1700 ft
Highest Point 2025 ft

There is no real views on this hike, but a good, ambitious hike through the woods.

It's appropriate that this hike begins in the heart of Issaquah. In the language of the native tribes, Ishquowh means "sound of water birds." The raspy name of this mountain destination, meanwhile, comes from the raucous calls of the herons that migrate through this area in the spring and fall--their mighty squak, squak, squak! echoes off the forested slopes of Squak Mountain.

From the parking area, head east on Bush Street to its junction with Front Street. There is plenty of parking across from the police station and a final public bathroom at the Front Street market. Cross at the light and turn south onto Newport Way. Follow Newport Way as it crosses Issaquah Creek and then continue south on Wildwood Boulevard as it climbs out of town, soon turning to gravel road as it follows the creek up a gentle slope. When you reach the old Issaquah Creek Dam, you'll find a paved trail winding past some apartments and condominiums. A fast pace gets you past these buildings in just a few minutes and you'll soon reach the Squak Mountain Access trailhead on the left side of the street, about 1 mile from your starting point. There is very limited parking here, for those that can't or won't make the hike through town.

That first mile serves to remind you of what you are about to leave behind. As you start up the trail, you'll enter a world that is in transition back into a natural wonderland. The trail is an old road once used by coal miners and loggers. For the first 0.75 mile on this road-turned-trail path, stay left at the first two trail junctions before turning right to continue climbing.

At roughly 2 miles from your car, you'll find yet another fork in the trail (elev. 1450 ft). Turn right and follow the Central Peak Trail as it climbs gently for another 3/4 of a mile, then a push for about a 1/4 of a mile, where your muscles will be screaming, to the summit of Central Peak--the peak bristles with radio and cell-phone towers. Last year this area was overgrown with needles and brush, it is all cleared now. You'll find a few broken views from around the legs of the towers, but no real reward in views.

Leave the summit by walking 0.25 mile down the dirt service road before turning left onto a steep woodland path. Turn left at the next trail junction (about 0.25 mile after leaving the service road), and continue descending along an ancient logging road turned trail. This trail ends at a T junction near an old mill site.

Turn right onto the East Side Trail and meander through a bright woodland, crossing the multiple head water streams of Cabin Creek, before reaching the trail end and the short walk back through town to your car. I found it helpful to put cairn's (stack of rocks) at each intersection, as this is a loop, that feeds back into the trail and several other trails feed in as well, it can be confusing, which way to turn. We had our tracking dog, Emma, on the one intersection, we didn't put a cairn.

Driving Directions: From I-90 take the Front Street exit into Issaquah, and drive south on Front Street to turn right onto Bush Street. Free parking is provided in the Issaquah Trail Center parking lot.

Lunch provided by Holly, included a delicious wrap, sliced apple and some dry roasted almonds.

Holly's wrap
spinach tortilla roasted chicken
shredded carrots

Animal Kingdom! Holly, being creative and fun, wrote a name on each bag, we drew out a bag out of her pack and on the bag was the name of a animal. She told us for the afternoon entertainment and photo shoot, we would imitate that animal. 

                                            Crazy family fun!!

*Sunday's hike which I featured in Monday's blog, Amy made a delicious veggie wrap, that I thought I should share.

Amy's Grilled veggie wrap
grilled yellow squash
grilled zucchini
grilled green and red peppers
caramelized onion
Spicy three pepper hummus
Whole wheat tortilla

Tuesday hike- Rattlesnake Mountain Trail
Roundtrip 10.9 miles
Elevation Gain 2520 ft
Highest Point 3500 ft
 Location:  Off I-90 near North Bend
Distance:  5 miles r/t to Stan's Overlook; about 10 miles r/t to Grand Prospect; 12 miles r/t to East Peak; 10.9 mile traverse to Rattlesnake Lake
Elevation:  Snoqualmie Point trailhead 980'; Stan's Overlook 2100'; East Peak 3500

If you've hiked to Rattlesnake Ledges and beyond from Rattlesnake Lake, this is a delightful alternative.  Thanks to the handiwork of the trail community, you can now reach Rattlesnake Mountain from the west, starting from a new trailhead at Snoqualmie Point.
Expect more solitude on this approach, and enjoy the fantastic views out over the Snoqualmie Valley, Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe, North Bend and more.  You can choose to hike to one of the pleasant viewpoints along the way, to Rattlesnake Mountain, or as a traverse all the way to Rattlesnake Lake (11 miles).  The views are some of the best in the Cascade foothills and the trail can be hiked year-round, though it can be snowy in winter.
The trail was officially dedicated in June 2007, though people have been hiking along a mix of trail and logging roads for years.  Now the trail winds its way through mostly second-growth forest, crossing a few logging roads and requiring just a few stints on old roads.
The trail follows I-90 fairly closely, but there are times you don't remember that it is there.  Still, the reality of being in a managed forest does intrude - you do see and walk through clearcuts.  Fortunately, the forest canopy does get more mature as you go, and there is a delightful progression of ecosystems along the way.
The first nice viewpoint is Stan's Overlook, about 2.5 miles in (elev. 2100').  From there you can see Mt. Si and the Snoqualmie Valley.  Next up, and a fine turn-around for those not traveling end-to-end, is Grand Prospect at about 4.9 miles.  This precipice is due south of the town of North Bend.  At six miles and 3500 feet is the high point of East Peak - great views abound from here!  Then it is downhill to the Ledges (8 miles) and ending at Rattlesnake Lake (that is, if you've stashed a car here).
This trail system is the result of thousands of hours of hard work by trail crews from  Washington Conservation Corps, Earth Corps, and Washington Trails Association (WTA's handiwork was up to the Ledges from Rattlesnake Lake), all jointly managed by the Mountains-to-Sound-Greenway and DNR.  If you see a crew, please take the time to thank them!

 More Information: We did find prodigious and fresh tree scraping by bears along the trail, along with bear sign(poop). Dozens of trees damaged. We have never seen it to that extent on Snoqualmie. The trail is dry and well maintained and moves through thinned second growth. Lot's of Salmon berries and huckleberries, no wonder the bears like it. 

The scratches are from bears claws, tearing the bark off the tree, hunting for bugs. There were dozens of these trees along the path, most likely hundreds, if you wandered off the path.

  This approach to Rattlesnake Mountain is still so new that none of the published guidebooks describe it.  The trail is well-marked! It is really a nice trail and hike!

Directions from Seattle/Issaquah:

To Snoqualmie Point Park, take I-90 east to Exit 27.  At the end of the off-ramp, go right and follow the road to the end.  Go through the gate on the right to enter the trailhead. Lovely parking area, with restroom facility.
To Rattlesnake Lake, take I-90 to Exit 32.  Go south on 436th Ave. SE, turning into Cedar Falls Rd. SE - follow this main road 3.1 miles to the parking area for Rattlesnake Lake.  To reach the trail follow an old roadbed that circles the lake to the right (as you look at it).

Sweet One, Holly and Allie!

Today's lunch was provided by me, included, Harvest Salad, a plum and some pistachio's.

Harvest Salad
M√Ęche lettuce
baby arugula
grilled chicken
sun-dried cranberries
manchego cheese
wheat berries
Marcona almonds
Champagne vinaigrette

Sweet One, Holly and me!!

 Hike week is going well, we are on our 5th hike today, Wednesday. We decided to do challenge hike today and a new pretty hike on Thursday, so that Allie (my niece) could bring her teenage daughters, and they would survive it. I will write about today's hike and the final hike on Friday!

Happy Hump Day! Cheers! JJ

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