Getting to Mud Lake starts at Pine & Cedar trailhead
Seven Senior Trailblazers started our hike today under gloomy skies. It had rained off and on all night, but the forecast was for the rain to diminish and possibly give us some sunshine by midday. We hiked to Mud Lake for the first time last year, and I wrote about it here. Usually we would just head up to Pine and Cedar Lakes. We start this hike at the Old Samish Highway trailhead to those lakes, and it has a very steep first mile or so. It is my least favorite part of this beautiful hike, not because going up is so hard, but because coming down is a killer on my knees. Without the poles I simply could not do it.
The trail is very pretty, though. It's at its most lush and green right now, and we didn't have any rain at all during our hike. The best we had for sunshine for most of the day, though, was filtered light, and it was very humid. When we stopped for any time at all, we got cold. We passed the turnoff to Pine Lake and continued down an old logging road to get to Mud Lake.
There is an old fishing boat at the end of this old log in Mud Lake. Since it was still early, we decided to hike back to Pine Lake for lunch and get the uphill part behind us. The hardest part of this hike is the steepness at the beginning, and the fact that you need to lose at least 700 feet of altitude before getting to the lake. It was pretty, though, and I took this kind of artsy shot of a lily in the midst of some lily pads.
Lily in Mud Lake
As we were hiking back to the Pine and Cedar trail, I saw these two old trees with chinks in them that made them look to me like two old beings who were watching our progress. You can also see the filtered sunlight on and around them.
"And who are YOU?"
We reached Pine Lake a little after noon and settled down for lunch. Afterwards, Peggy and I walked onto the boardwalk that covers part of the area around the lake, which is very boggy and perfect for skunk cabbage. I thought it looked a bit like she was a traveler from another planet, checking out the aliens.
Big cabbages in a foot of water
As we walked carefully on the boardwalk, not wanting to have a misstep and fall in (it would not have been much fun), I saw that the skunk cabbages have grown to an enormous size. Looking down into one, however, was very rewarding, as it curls inwards very prettily. The cabbages were covered with raindrops from earlier in the day, and I was happy to capture this scene next to an old log.
By the time we reached our starting point, my knees were complaining mightily but have since recovered. We traveled up and down more than 2,600 feet in elevation and hiked more than nine miles in total. And yes, by 2:30pm, the skies had cleared and we were in full sunshine. It was simply a fine day: good company, good hike, and no rain!