What better way to beat the heat then go on a grueling 9 mile hike!!

So I decided to look through my bucket list hikes as my plans changed and I wanted to find a hike closer to home. Bridal Veil Falls looked like a pretty good one. Once you see the Falls you can continue on to Lake Serene. Seemed reasonable. Only 9 miles round trip. I made it Mailbox Peak so heck I’m good for any hike!  Right???

We headed out early because the weather in Seattle in unusually warm. Like 90 degrees HOT!!  We arrived at the trail, along with about one hundred other people with the same idea!  The trail meanders through the forest. Even at 8 am you could tell it was going to be a hot one! The first section of the trail is pretty good. Nice easy trail. A couple miles in we made it to the fork that sends hikers up to the right for Bridal Veil Falls or continue straight to head towards Lake Serene. I headed for the Falls and Tami headed to the lake as she has already been to the Falls. The Falls is a mile round trip back to the main trail. There were a few stairs along the way but I was happy with how quickly I made it to the Falls. The Falls were much larger than I was expecting and you are right next to them. There was a nice spray coming off the Falls which helped with the ridiculous heat. I took a couple photos then headed back to the main trail to catch up with Tami.

Well that’s where the fun started!  I’d read the hike description and it mentioned stairs. I guess I had in my mind what that might look like. Boy was I wrong. There are stairs upon stairs, upon stairs, upon stairs. They are followed by lots of rocks to walk on, over and around!  Did I mention stairs???  It is essentially straight up the mountain!

Switchback after switchback. Although it wasn’t as bad as Mailbox it had a similar feeling of “This trail is never going to end”!!  I swear I had hiked for three miles but looking at my gps map I had only covered about a half mile. Well that sucked!!  Dripping in sweat we exited the forest into the beating sunshine. So glad I packed two extra large containers of ice water!  I drank every ounce!

We finally made it to the top and we dropped into this area surrounded by tall mountain peaks, some of which still had a bit of snow. In the middle was this gorgeous green lake!  Lake Serene lives up to its name!!  We were so ready to find some shade, eat and relax a bit. We found “lunch rock” which is a favorite spot for hikers. Today it was full of hikers jumping off the rock and into the water to swim and cool off.   We found a couple trees to hang the hammock from for some relaxation. So glad I added that tommy pack!!

The climb down seemed much faster but it was a little tricky. Stepping over rocks and trying not to fall and break an ankle. It took us an hour to get back to the trail interchange. I’ve never been to happy to see a parking lot in my life!!  Air conditioning waiting in the truck!!

For some reason I like to pick the hottest days of the year to take on the most grueling hikes!  Mailbox Peak in 85 degree weather and Lake Serene in 90 degree weather. Not a good plan!!

What to plan next???  So many PNW adventures await!!

Did you say Ghost Town???

I’ve been looking for a hike that was out of the ordinary and just happened to stumble upon the Melmont Ghost Town Trail outside of Carbonado, WA.  The trail is partly on county land and partly on school district land as it is a historical site.  Carbonado is on the way to Mt. Rainier and is a very small town.  Like the kind that stood still in time and if you blink you missed it.  So don’t blink because you don’t want to miss this town or Wilkerson for that matter!

We breezed past Carbonado and headed towards the trail.  You come upon a single lane bridge that starts out as a wooden bridge, but becomes a steel bridge.  It looks like a smaller version of the Deception Pass Bridge.  It is quite impressive!  There is a small parking area just past the bridge, then you walk back over to get to the trail.  You can feel the rumble of the cars as they drive over the bridge.  We stopped for a second just to peak over the side of the bridge down to the Carbon river.  I’m not afraid of heights, but I have to say that was a very uncomfortable feeling leaning over the side of the bridge.  I bet it’s at least 150 feet straight down to the river.

The trail is a wide path, that leads you to an old mining town.  Apparently it is a ghost town because most of the buildings are invisible!  Actually they were all limestone and wood and have deteriorated so much they are gone or the wood was repurposed for other buildings in town.  We were able to find the old dynamite shed, which was made of limestone, as well as the remnants of a pretty large building.  All that remains is one wall and part of the side.  It’s embedded into the dirt now and covered with moss and ferns and graffiti!  Seriously people, lets respect a historical site.  There is no place for graffiti!! We found a couple of “prospectors” looking for metal on the old town site, which is now just a big grass field.  With their metal detectors they uncovered a fire shovel, pan and some other kitchen looking items.  For being pretty out of the way, I was surprised at the number of people we saw along the trail.  I’m not exactly sure where the trail goes to as we walked over 4 miles in and the trail is only suppose to be 6 miles roundtrip, but we were not at the end 4 miles in.  The trail goes along the carbon river so we decided to take a lunch break there and explore some side trails on the way back.  We found some only steel bands and ties, which may have belonged to the train trestle that once went over the river, but no longer exists.

The steel bridge over the river is so precise. When you try to figure out how men built that in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, you realize just how impressive their building skills were.  It is so intricate how all the steel bars lace together to hold up the bridge guides.

After the 8 mile roundtrip hike we headed back towards town and stopped at the Carbonado Saloon.  If you ever venture that way, you have to stop here and go into the bathrooms.  Checkout the artwork!  Hilarious!  After the saloon we stopped in Wilkerson, which is only 2 miles down the road and ate lunch at the Pike and Shovel Restaurant.  They serve their burgers on metal baking pans.  I had a black and blue burger with onion rings.  OMG, the best burger ever!!!!  Wilkerson is also a very small town, but they are apparently famous for the annual Handcart races, which are the little cars that went on the rail lines.  It’s the last weekend in June if you are ever in the area!

So many gems in this great state!

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