Memorial Day Hiking Wrap-Up
Where did people hike over Memorial Day and what did they see? From the river valleys of the Olympics to the desert steppe of Central Washington and the snowy Cascades in between, more than 70 Trip Reports from the long weekend showcase both the beauty and frustrations of late spring hiking.
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If you're a hiker like me, one of your favorite things to do come Monday (or in this case, Tuesday) is to peruse all of the Trip Reports from the past weekend. Where did people go? Did they encounter snow? Crowds? Flowers? Is there a hike that I haven't heard about but should add to my bucket list?
With Memorial Day being the unofficial kick-off to the summer hiking season, and snow so plentiful, I was particularly curious to see where people hiked over the weekend. As of this writing, we have 70 reports, and it look like the three-day weekend of half-way decent weather encouraged hikers to go farther afield than usual.
Some folks heeded my suggestions of last week (or came up with the idea on their own) and hiked in the Columbia River Gorge (Catherine Creek, Hamilton Mountain, Dog Mountain). Wildflowers here are late this year - maybe another week or two, or perhaps it is one of those years when they simply fizzle out.
A few took to the desert trails of Central Washington and found cactus in the Beezley Hills, a soaring red-tailed hawk along the Umtanum Creek Trail, and flowers at Ancient Lakes.
Other folks explored the river valleys of the Olympics - the Duckabush, Quinault and Dosewallips. Some took in our ocean and Puget Sound coastline, from the wheelchair-accessible Padilla Bay to the extremely challenging traverse from Rialto Beach to Sand Point. A many stuck close to home with day hikes to Twin Falls, Lake Serene, Bandera Mountain, Otter Falls, Cougar Mountain, Oyster Dome, Wallace Falls and more.
But what I found most interesting was the number of reports referencing snow. Fully half of hikers reported snow in some form or another. From the Pratt Lake Basin and Annette Lake to the West Fork Methow River and Lake 22 - snow covered trails will certainly be one of the biggest issues facing hikers this summer.
That's why Trip Reports are so important. Not only do they tell your story, they help inform other hikers about conditions on the trail - should they bring traction devises, an ice axe or simply choose another hike? At this time of year especially, we can't have too many Trip Reports. So keep them coming! WTA and other hikers thank you very much.