Barclay Lake in Baring! Only locals know this town!

It’s hiking weekend and the weather decided to give us a break from the perpetual rain! I searched the WTA site looking for a new hike. I don’t really like to hike a trail more than once, as there are so many awesome hikes in Washington State, I want to get to as many as possible!!  I spotted Barclay Lake Trail which is listed at 2.2 miles each way and it seemed it may be possible to hike to Eagle Lake from Barclay, so we headed out to give it a shot!

From those not from Washington you may be wondering where on earth is Baring!!  Well, it’s a very small town along Highway 2.  No signal lights.  It’s pretty much just a few houses along Highway 2.  I think it really only has it’s name because the train runs through and the train signal says “Baring”.  The residents of Baring may think otherwise though!

Along Highway 2, you turn off and head out a forest service road.  Sometimes these can be best described as ‘rough”.  This service road is in amazing condition!  Some city streets have more potholes than this road!  It is a few miles out the road until you reach the trailhead, which has a small parking lot so most people parked along the road.

This is surprisingly a very popular trail for being way out in the middle of nowhere!  Along the way, we began to discover why the trail is so popular!  The trail winds through the forest, which has a few creeks nearby and some very large trees!  You pass over a few of the creeks on some manmade wood bridges.  There was a decent amount of mud on the trail but this is expected with the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve had this winter (even for us native Washingtonians its been a lot!!)

The hike takes you to the edge of Barclay Lake, which is a small lake at the base of Mount Baring.  The view was nothing short of spectacular!!  The cliffs are so impressive and still covered with snow this time of year.  There are several spots to go right down to the lake.  We saw several people who packed in camping gear and were spending the night.  This is a pretty nice place for rustic camping!!

We hiked as far along the lake as we could as the farther we went in, the more snow there was. It got to the point where the trail was no longer visible and you really couldn’t decipher where you should turn so we hiked back to the lakeside.  Somewhere along the trail is an unmarked trail which leads you to Eagle Lake, which has a cute abandoned fishing cabin which is quite popular in the summer.  We  weren’t able to find it and a seasoned hiker we passed along with way agreed we most likely wouldn’t be able to find it with the snow.

We decided to stop for lunch at the lakeside and chat with a camper.  The lake was like glass!  Beautiful reflections of the rocky mountains surrounding the lake.  We heard and saw several avalanches across the lake.  That was pretty amazing.  I had not seen an avalanche in person before. Glad it was on the other side of the lake!  The loud cracking sound was a dead giveaway to look up the mountain and catch another slide.

Tami taught me how to take a panorama photo of the mountain and the reflection in the lake.  That is pretty cool to know how to do!  I’ve had an iPhone for years, but I swear I only know part of its capabilities.

The plants are just starting to bud so I’m sure in another month they will be all in bloom. I bet this is a really pretty hike in the summer.

Shari’s boot exploded on the trail so she gets to buy new hiking boots now! Other than that, we all made it out without falling in the water, climbing out on the many downed trees in the water.

Adventuring around Crystal Mountain and Mt. Rainier

Kids are on spring break so what better place to still get some good powder snow, but also some good hiking in the woods.  We headed down to Alta Crystal Resort (highly recommend them!). We reserved a cool chalet with a loft so we had plenty of space.  They do some fun activities on the property, like a huge bonfire on Saturday nights.  They supply all the ingredients for smores along with drinks, including beer and wine for adults! They have a  pretty nice heated pool as well with hot tub!

We rode the gondola up to the top of Crystal Mountain.  It was a bit foggy when we arrived so we decided to have lunch at the restaurant at the top.  By the time we were done eating, all the fog was done and we had a breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier.  They have some fun summer chairs set up along the upper ledge so people can enjoy the view. We even got to see and feed the high altitude birds you frequently find while hiking on Mt. Rainier.

During the day we ventured out on some trails on the back of the property.  We tried to hike up Goat Falls, but there was still quite a  bit of snow and you definitely needed traction wear to make it. Unfortunately I did not pack them so we had to turn around.  The forest is full of streams and super green moss.  I could have spent a few hours at the stream taking photos!  I’m sure i was down there for awhile playing around with shutter speeds and filters.  Came away with some pretty cool photos! A couple that I might frame.

We took the sleds up near Crystal Mountain so the kids could play for awhile.  I got to try out my new shoe shoes!  Can wait to go on a snow shoeing adventure!

I can’t wait to head back to Mt. Rainier in the summer and do some more hiking!

Hiking to Poo Poo Point

I tried to do this hike last weekend, however apparently I decided to sleep in instead!  Sometimes it’s the best thing to do! The weather today was spectacular so I headed to the trail.  Parking at the trailhead is difficult! Nowhere near enough parking for the amount of people who hike this trail.  I found a neighbor down the road who has a good side business!  He allows you to park on his property for $5! Heck of a deal!

This trail is just under 4 miles roundtrip and has a nice elevation gain of 1760 feet. The trail weaves through the forest with plenty of switchbacks!  Although it is only a couple miles to the top, the elevation gain is a good thigh burn!  It took me an hour to get to the first viewpoint, which certainly made the sweat worthwhile!!  It was a clear day and Mt. Rainier was out in all her glory!  The sight of that mountain, no matter how many times I’ve seen it just makes me say WOW!  It was pretty windy today so we didn’t see any hang gliders.  I bet that would be pretty cool to see from up there.  The first viewpoint is a great place for lunch and taking photos!!  After lounging her awhile, we headed up to the upper viewpoint, which shows the opposite direction.  You can see parts of Bellevue and off in the distance Mt. Baker!  There are a few lunch tables up there so people were eating lunch there too.  A nice area for a takeoff spot for hang gliders too.

The trip down was much less taxing on the thighs but still a good workout for the day!  This is a very busy trail.  We saw about 40 people on the way up and well over 100 on the way down!  Good reminder for everyone to use proper trail etiquette when trails are busy so everyone has a good time enjoying the outdoors and no one gets hurt on the steep ledges.

Trekking out Boulder River

I’ve seen this hike on WTA.org a few times and what caught my attention was the photos of a waterfall. I seem to chase great waterfall hikes and this one lived up to the photos!!  The hike is posted at 8.6 miles round trip through the forest, along the river back, and up along the hillside overlooking the river. The forest is covered with so many varieties and color of moss covering the ground and the trees. This must be an old growth forest. Many of the trees seemed to reach up to the clouds and were well over 6 feet in diameter. One of these large trees had fallen and was blocking the trail. Three great guys from Back Country Crosscut Crew were sawing it to clear the trail. Sawing it with old school large hand saws!  Awesome guys!!  The  trail is well marked, with lots of thick mud and several stream crossings. With all the rain we’ve had lately the water was just running out of the hillsides. Along the trail you get to see 3 large waterfalls and a number of small ones. The large falls are gorgeous. Heavy flows of water cascade down the rocks to the river. The trail has a few hill climbs and descents but the forest is so peaceful we didn’t mind.   

We did run across a ferocious field mouse who challenged us on the trail. He bravely stood his ground then in a split second charged me. I was able to quickly maneuver out of his way so he ran past us and down the trail. Thank god!!  I don’t like mice so I was glad we were able to part companynwith no injuries or screaming for that matter!😳

At 5 miles we decided to turn around as the trail was getting very narrow and overgrown. Not exactly sure where the end was but another hiker told us we got close as the trial end in an old campground. Round trip the hike was about 10 miles for us. Nice sunny day to end March. Spring is on it’s way!!🌷🌷

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