Along the way, deep into the forest trail

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I recently posted about my hike to Annette Lake, a serene lake high in the mountainous region of the Mt.Baker-Snoqualmie forest.

The lake being serene and amazing, was enough to behold for its own posting. Now, I would like to share a bit more on its trail to and back. It’s a path as awesome as its destination.

The 7.5-mile round trip Annette Lake trail has wonderous sights, rich in the best of the Pacific Northwest nature land preservations, and another reason I love the Washington State. Here, dedicated hikers will step across towering huddled trees, fallen trees with new life taking upon, rocks of all ages, countless waterfalls, old wooden bridges, and patches of snow along the top in this late spring.

The sunlight through the blue sky intensified the green, illuminated darker pathways partially covered full-grown branches, and gave sparkles to the streams of water running down. You can also enjoy the sounds of the trail varied from noisy waterfalls, chirping birds up high, and peaceful void of preserved stillness.

Here are some choice pics along the path…

 

Overall, the Lake Annette Trail is a good hike I highly recommend for those physically able to withstand a moderate uphill exercise binge, with a worthwhile destination of the lake itself to rest for a bit.

My tips for the trail: go early, so you’ll have time to rest and enjoy some views. Bring a water bottle or two, with snacks of nuts and dried fruit. Go in a group, and maybe bring your dog (allowed on the trail). Wear good hiking shoes fit for stepping over small rocky pathways and snow patches. Don’t rush, as parts of the path are narrow, and other hikers will be frequently passing on the good days. Much of the path is upon step hillsides, with an easy fall into deadly grounds. Rest easy at the lake for a good time before heading back.

For more on the Lake Annette Trail, visit the official Washington Trails site at www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/annette-lake.

– Orion T

The stunning sight of Annette Lake

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Recently, I went on a long hike in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Regional Forest with others, to Annette Lake.

The sight itself deserves my special posting as an amazing visual spot, high up in the mountainous regions of the middle Washington State. The lake is medium size, with much of its surrounding area closed off to visitors. There is no big open shore or planks, just some natural spots for viewers to appreciate it’s still serene beauty, and untouched landscape. The water is very cold and there are warnings to not proceed further in.

Here is a low-grade panoramic shot from my phone:

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The only way to reach Annette Lake is through a 7.5-mile round trip trail. Half the hike is uphill through a deep forest mountainside over switchbacks, small waterfalls, and a little snow up high. The elevation gain is about 1800 ft, where the lake signals the peak and destination of the trail.

I advise good hiking boots for the path, and for the current time while the snow sits up high..bring trekking poles. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, though one should take it slow with its rocky parts and slippy elevation. Dogs are welcome on the trail, as many brought their canine companions.

My friend’s dog Ruby joined our group, who enjoyed the snow part very much.

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There was a lot to visually enjoy for the hike to Annette Lake as well. I will share more on that soon.

Meanwhile, to anyone interested in checking out Lake Annette and the trail to it, visit the official site for more info, at www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/annette-lake.

– Orion T

 

 

Colorful Gardens at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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I recently visited the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Northern Washington State on a gray day this April. Some of that was detailed in my previous post, Colorful Views…). As amazing as the tulip fields were, I was also impressed by the Roozengaarde display garden area. Here, there are “90+ varieties of tulips and over 150 flower bulb varieties in total. Included are tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, muscari and other specialty flowers.”

The colors this time of year stand out, and a worthwhile attraction for tourists and locals in the Pacific Northwest. According to its website at tulips.com, the display garden is open all year round. Seeing these with the fields during the festival, is just an added bonus.

I now share some pics of wonderful display garden below (click on each for the bigger picture):

The admiration and picture-taking was a joy, but personally seeing this for yourself is the best experience, especially with friends or family. For more info, click here and check out the Roozengaarde official site at Tulips.com for more info about tulips and purchase options

– Orion T

 

 

An early sign of Spring

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I can see a small hint of the coming season.

The cold winter can only last so long, and there is still more than a month of that to go. In wait, I will enjoy the naked trees, the grey moody skies, the wetter streets after a quiet rain. I love the new days as the dawn steadily rises a little earlier, and the set is bit more patient.

Meanwhile, I notice to the side as I walk. Some of the buds are peeking out, getting ready. No rush for the year to move forward, but I shall welcome this next Spring.

– Orion T

Fall Colors in the Kubota Garden

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For those dwelling around in the Pacific Northwest, there is a medium-sized park, open to the public in Seattle, to view the best seasonal colors in nature. You should go there now, while the scenery is very Fall-tastic.

This place is the Kubota Garden, a 20-acre Japanese garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The park is named after Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese emigrant and horticultural pioneer who blended his Japanese design techniques with North American materials here, starting off in 1927. Fujitaro died in 1973 at age 94, hoping the land would eventually become public. In 1981, the land became a historic landmark.  In 1987, the land became public, and since became an attraction for visitors. In late 2017, it was my turn.

Kubota Garden is beautiful with every step inside. The walkways are crooked and intertwined, leading to little sights worth a long gaze. Such are small ponds, little structures of wood and rock, bridges, waterfalls, with a variety of uncommon trees and shrubbery. All quiet and peaceful, leaving the noise of the world to the distance.

I came here on the advice of a friend, who suggested this as a place to relax, and avoid the troubles of the world for at least an hour. By public transport, this was an easy destination (about an hour if taking the rail from downtown, then a short bus transfer). I arrived, not considering the grandness of the place, or a map.

This brought me much joy in the heart, to explore, and not finding any particular pattern or sense to the pathways of the place. I felt lost and didn’t want to be found for a while. I found many little partially mossed benches, shadowy coverings by spidery trees, and open grassy spots perfect for a picnic. I would stop here and there, sitting down and watching birds and dogs being walked by. And perfect for this day, was the amazing colors of the Fall season, with an awesome variety in every view.

The only regret here is my arrival so very late in the day. The evening was close, and I had to leave for a meeting. I did take some pictures, showing the amazing Fall-ness of it all. Click on each for a full look:

I shall come back here again, for a longer visit and for every season.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 7/10/2017, Bursts of Leaves

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“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The picture was taken by me, looking up during the day as the sun briefly came out and they sky turned partial blue, during an otherwise cloudy day.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 6/6/2017, The 22° Halo

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I looked up during my lunch break and noticed a very large surprise in the sky….

A  22° Halo, also known as an ice halo, or solar halo, or just a halo. Whatever you call it, the sight is still special to behold with the slight grayness trapped within, and the rainbow tint on the outer edge. Such was hard to capture with my phone and bright, direct sun.

That is, according to this excerpt from Wikipedia:

“A 22° halo is an optical phenomenon that belongs to the family of ice crystal halos, in the form of a ring with a radius of approximately 22° around the Sun or Moon (in which case it is also called a moon ring or winter halo). It forms as the sun- or moonlight is refracted in millions of hexagonal ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. The halo is large; the radius is roughly the size of an outstretched hand at arm’s length. A 22° halo may be visible on as many as 100 days per year—much more frequently than rainbows.”

This phenom is the second one witnessed in my life which I have blogged about back in 2015. This time, being the first I have seen this directly above and uninterrupted by nearby structures. Such was a glorious, welcome surprise for an otherwise routine day.

– Orion T