Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lake Serene, killer whales, toilet paper shortage and blue mushrooms

Due to having to deal with my mother’s estate, including her condo,  my 11 year old daughter and my terminally ill husband, I am in a bit of a time pinch.  But I need to take time out to take care of myself too!

 I can’t pour from an empty cup.   I have decided to combine trips to my mother’s condo with hiking.  I got some advice on northwest hikers net as to the best trails off of highway 2 and I picked Lake Serene.

But first, my trip to Kirkland on the Ferry started with an orca whale sighting! 

I have decided that the Edmond’s Kingston Ferry is the best way to get to Kirkland.  I wish I had discovered that years ago.  By taking the ferry, I get to pretend that Tacoma and Seattle and I-5 and 405 do not exist.  There are no toll bridges or toll lanes or metered on ramps on my route to Kingston and rush hour is much less of a concern.  The sighting of Orca whales from the ferry was a nice bonus.

I left my mother’s condo in Totem Lake at about 6:30 am.  I set my GPS to avoid all highways and the route it picked was rather scenic.  It was also a bit haunting as it went past my old stomping grounds, all filled with memories.  I grew up mostly on the Eastside of Seattle, but I did not drive at all when I was a kid.  Going back in a car ties everything together for me.  I understand the geography so much better now.

My route from my deceased mother's condo took me past my father’s house off of 212th ave, my father whom I have not spoken to in about 4 years.  Then my route took me to Duvall and through Monroe and finally up highway 2.   Fall colors were everywhere and the traffic in my direction was light.  I drove my mother’s Lincoln town car, it needed a good run on the highway after sitting for so long.  What a nice ride it is!

I’m sure her giant Lincoln looked pretty funny parked at the trail head.  Trailheads are for Subaru out backs, not Lincoln Towncars!  I had my forest pass but not my hang tag.  I was worried that forest rangers would not see my pass and write me a ticket like they did at Lena Lake.  Then I remembered that any ticket written would be sent to my deceased mother,  so I decided not to sweat it too much.  I placed my pass on the dash and hoped for the best.
Outhouse reflections and fall colors at the trail head
I guess there is an extreme shortage of toilet paper in this neck of the woods.  The TP dispenser in the outhouse was awful.  It took me ten minutes to get enough paper to do an unsatisfactory job.  I wonder why toilet paper is so rare there?

My car was the only one at the trail head and I started hiking at about 7:45.  The route was rather wet and I wished I had worn my waterproof boots instead of my garbage Solomon shoes that were falling  apart.  I took the side trail to the water fall.  Wow, what a waterfall it was!  Water was high due to the recent rains.  It took me a while to find a spot where I could view the falls without getting wet.

After the trail leaves the falls, it starts to climb up a series of staircases built into the hill.  I was feeling a bit under the weather and the staircases took it out of me.  I never was able to get away from the sounds of Highway 2 until I reached the lake.

The lake was gorgeous, but foggy.  There was too much fog for me to be able to see Mount Index.  There were two women at the lake with three dogs.  We had a nice chat and they offered me hot chocolate before they left.  After they left I had the lake to myself.  At one point my water bottle rolled down to the bottom of Lunch Rock.  That was bad, I needed that bottle to go with my water filter.  I don’t filter water in the Olympics, but I was in the Cascades and maybe my guts are not used to the micro fauna in the Cascades?  I inched down the rock to see if I could find my bottle without falling into the lake. 

Luck was with me, my bottle had lodged into a crevice in the rock just before it would have fallen into the lake.  That was a close call.  Perhaps I should carry two water bottles or at least a back up evernew water bladder.

I stayed at the lake for about an hour and then the cold drove me back down.  Also, I think I had the jitters from the hot coffee that I brewed on Lunch Rock.  After I left the lake I wandered over to the “Valley Overlook” but all I could see was fog.

Nothing too exciting happened on the way down and I finished my hike at about 3pm.  Just before the trailhead I saw a forest service working taking a leak.  His back was turned but I knew what he was doing.  I had been holding it until I reached the outhouse as there were people on the trail behind me.

On the drive back to my Mother’s Condo I got flipped off by a man who was mad that I slowed down a little bit while trying to figure out how to use the cruise control.  I think I had slowed down to 52MPH in the 55MPH for a good ten seconds.  He pulled up to me at a light in downtown Monroe and flipped me off.  I lipped “what?” and he signaled 55 with his hands.  I just raised my hands in the air and dismissed him.  Then he started gesturing madly into the air.  I knew he was going to pass me and cut me off as soon as the light turned green, so I hung back a bit and let him go.

Rush hour traffic was in the opposite direction to my travel, so the drive back was pleasant.

I only saw six people all day.  I suspect that this is the Lena Lake of Highway 2 and I felt lucky to mostly have it to myself.

7 miles with 2,500 feet elevation gain plus another 300 feet of gain on the side trail to the waterfall.

Start of hike

My mother's dress shoes all size 8

Lunch Rock

Mount Index came out at about 3pm when I was way down the trail

Road raging driver who flipped me off.  Seriously, who flips off someone who is driving a Lincoln Town car?
It's an old person's car, not worth getting upset about.

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