Steve, Ward, Rita, Amy, Peggy (I took the picture)
Today we were introduced to a new trail. The day dawned dreary and cold, with rain predicted for the entire day, with more rain coming after noon or so, accompanied by wind. Not exactly a promising beginning. Plus our leader Al is out of town and would not be joining us. Then Mike called me this morning to say HE would not be coming either, as he is having some reactions to medication. I thought maybe it would be me showing up at the Senior Center alone. But lo and behold, six of us were there to hike.
Since we had already decided to make it a short day and hopefully miss the worst of the weather, Steve talked us into driving to Gates Overlook and checking out a new trail, which is not yet finished. Six weeks ago it didn't exist, but the Washington Trails Association, WWU students, and volunteers from REI have all been working on building it. The wood for the steps and gravel have all been hauled in by hand (or I should say back). It's going to be a really beautiful trail; actually it already is.
The trail will eventually meet up with the Lost Lake Trail, and Steve was very pleased to see that almost all of the stairs have been completed. He's been out of town for a month and wondered how far along it has come since he last worked on it. Those cliffs along the side are magnificent! I am sure this will become a very popular trail once it's finished and you can make a loop of whatever length you desire.
Steve joked that putting in all those ferns in was a difficult task as they had to hand drill each one. (These grow like this naturally, of course.) The trail is now about three-quarters of a mile long and will be somewhere over a mile or so when finished. He showed us the place the trail is headed, and it looks to me like they've already completed the hardest parts. When we reached the end of the trail, we turned around and came back to the Overlook.
Steve says that most people want to call it the Lost Antler Trail, but there are a few who want to call it the Rock Trail because of these stunning rock cliffs. I prefer the first name. I know I will be back on this trail and am so happy to have seen it today for the first time. We also saw our first trillium in bloom, and the first blooming bleeding heart flowers for the year.
Although it was raining when we set out, by the time we reached our cars again it was beginning to lighten up a bit. We spent a short while on the established trail that leads to Chuckanut Ridge, but we only went about two miles in total as it was getting very cold in the wind. It's 1:00pm right now, and we cut it short so that we would miss the worst weather, have a bit of exercise with good company, and see a brand-new trail in progress! A good day for sure.