Most of Washington’s state parks are pretty great. The parks are located in some of the most beautiful areas in Washington. If I were to rate the parks on a scale of 1-10, Lake Chelan would most definitely be a 10. You can get a campsite on a gorgeous lake, and park your boat on a nearby dock. What else can you ask for?
Okay, okay. Maybe it would have been nice to be closer to a bathroom (it was a 5 minute walk from my site), and my husband said that the men’s bathroom was gross. Also, it’s extremely popular, which means it’s very crowded. But man, Lake Chelan is really amazing, and those lakefront campsites are calling me to return.
The stairs from the road to the campsite – The view of the lake from the campsite
Enjoying the lake at Don Morse Park in Chelen. It was 90 degrees and sunny. Does it get any better?
Here in the PNW, the heavens have opened and dumped lots of snow onto our mountains. Last year, my husband and I purchased our own set of snowshoes. By new years day, I was ready to get out and get my first snow hike in. I did a ton of research on the best snowshoe hikes in the area. There were a couple of good ones in Snoqualmie Pass, but I was worried about the crowds. We decided to drive up to the pass to see how busy it was. From the freeway, I could tell that the roads near I-90 were a zoo and we drove onto Blewett Pass. We came up to the Blewett Sno-Park, and there were parking spots! Going the extra miles away from busy Snoqualmie Pass really paid off.
The hike was beautiful, and the views were spectacular! We saw lots of people on the trail, but it didn’t feel crowded. I can’t wait to get out and do it again.
September and October were really busy months for my travel companion and I. We visited Orcas Island, Pullman, British Columbia, Skamania, and Whidby Island. With all this rain over the past couple of weeks it’s hard to remember that we had a great start to fall in the Northwest. It wasn’t too long ago that we were blessed with sunshine and warm days.
Back in September, I spent two days on Orcas Island. This was my first time on the island. The busy summer season was over but the sunshine was still out and the skies were clear. We stayed at the Deer Harbor Resort. The unit we stayed in had a great harbor view, and a private hot tub on the deck. It was a perfect place to sip a few glasses of wine, and take in the beauty of the San Juans.
We spent a few hours exploring the town Eastsound. It’s very quaint town, and has a beautiful water view.
We then drove up to the top of Mount Constitution. It’s a long windy road to the top, but the view is amazing. We were pretty lucky to visit on such a clear day.
We were pressed with time, so we didn’t get to explore the whole island. We drove through Moran State Park and then drove to the ferry to get in line. While waiting for the ferry to come, we had lunch at a local restaurant. Luckily they were showing the Hawks game. I’m always amazed by the beauty of the San Juan Islands, We really do live in an awesome place.
Since I don’t work during the summers, I like spending my time exploring the hiking options around me. After doing a few hikes off the I-90 corridor, I decided to move on to the Highway 2 area. Wallace Falls seemed like a perfect choice for a day hike. I called up a co-worker and we met in Monroe.
The trail head is easy to find. It’s within the Wallace Falls State Park. There are a lot of road signs pointing to the park.
We started on the trail head around 10:00ish, and surprisingly it wasn’t that crowded. I read that this is a really popular trail but we only passed people at the viewpoints. Of course, we were hiking mid-week which helps. We hiked all the way up to the upper falls viewpoint. It’s a pretty challenging hike at times, and we were both sweating by the time we got to the top.
After a quick snack, we hiked back down. At this point, the trail was getting more crowded and we passed by a lot more people. Overall, it is a beautiful hike. The old forests are lush and green. There are numerous views of the river and waterfalls. Next time, I’d like to try mountain biking up to Wallace Lake.
About a week before my trip to Seaside, a friend posted a picture of her on top of this mountain on Instagram. So I decided that I needed to hike it on my trip. I’m so used to looking up hiking information in Washington. We have an organization called Washington Trails Association that publishes an awesome website with lots of great hiking information. There doesn’t appear to be an Oregon version of that website. I had to look in like three different places to find the information I needed.
The trail guides all say that the hike is 5.1 miles as a loop. I opted to just hike up to the look out and back, which was about three miles total. There are a few different lookouts on the mountain, I chose to hike up to the South Peak. From Seaside, we drove south on highway 101. The trail head isn’t hard to find, but you have to be looking for it. There is only a small hiker sign pointing to the road you take. The road is on the left hand side (if you are driving south on 101), and it is between mileposts 41 and 42, not quite 2 miles north of Manzinita. Just drive up the road for a little bit until you see the trail head.
Next, start climbing up the mountain. At one point, we came to an four way intersection and we continued strait which took us to the south viewpoint. There is a short scramble up to the top but later we found a better trail to get up there. Either way, I’d suggest to climb to the top of the rocks to get a better viewpoint.
The view is pretty spectacular, especially on a clear day.