Thursday, May 21, 2020

An easier Chuckanut hike

Our own Yellow Brick Road
Okay, it might not actually be yellow or made of brick, but this boardwalk leads into the beautiful forest on Chuckanut Mountain. Last week Melanie took me on a difficult hike up to Raptor Ridge, and I managed to recover within one week. Yesterday she asked me if I wanted to hike somewhere less challenging with her today. Of course I said yes.
Vanilla leaf plant
It was supposed to rain, but it never did. We hiked through carpets of wonderful green things. I've seen this lovely plant before (Achlys triphylla). Why is it called vanilla leaf? Well, that Wikipedia link above explains:
When dried properly, the plants are strongly aromatic and smell of vanilla. Besides serving as an excellent tent air freshener, Achlys was used by native tribes of southern British Columbia as an insect repellent. The dried leaves were hung in bunches in doorways to ward off flies and mosquitoes, and it's not unheard of for naturalists to rub the dried or even fresh leaves on exposed skin when hiking the Olympics or Cascades during the summer mosquito season.
 I didn't know that about it being a good insect repellent. I might just have to try this trick, instead of using icky chemicals. Plus it's a very nice fragrance.
Maidenhair ferns
We saw a profusion of my favorite fern, the maidenhair fern, in abundance. Usually I see it growing near water, but today I saw plenty of it without water being nearby. I think it's really pretty. There are many variations of this fern, but I think this one, the Western maidenhair fern, is beautiful.
Last gasp of the springtime trillium flowers
We saw lots of the three-leafed trillium plants, but most of them no longer have a flower, which comes out in early spring and then changes from a brilliant creamy white to lavender and then purple. It was sure nice to see that there are still a few flowers left. Not many, so I had to show you this one, still intact.
Such a lovely place
We followed the Lower Salal to the Hemlock trail, then back to the cars, making a loop. Since it was supposed to rain, that must be the reason we saw so few people out and about on such a lovely day. We covered around five-and-a-half miles and around 1,000 feet of elevation, much shorter than last week's hike. And today I returned home in good shape, no knee or back pain, and very glad indeed to have had such a wonderful outing. Thank you, Mel, for taking me out on such a nice hike. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have gone.


  1. Oh, DJan, I loved this hike; the trails, the ferns, the woods, all of it! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I will revisit these pics and pretend I'm there. And I love the smell of vanilla... such a neat plant.

  2. Huge thanks to Mel, and to you for taking us on this delightful walk.
    I do hope you will test the vanilla plants effectiveness against insects - and will let us know. My nose struggles with lots of chemicals but very rarey with natural alternatives.

  3. Somehow the forest floor there is filled with plants. It makes for a very pleasant walk. Our spruce floor hano plants whatsoever.

  4. Aloha! Glad to find your blog via our mutual friend Kay. I don't hike - but your ventures are beautiful and make me smell the fresh air.

    I got a nice email from you - mahalo! Sorry I am responding this way - the email disappeared after I read it probably due to my non techie fingers. Hope we can meet when you come to Hawaii after this all passes by.

  5. You see so many wonderful things on your hikes, DJan. I'm glad you've now met Honolulu Aunty. She and Jalna are the most creative, artistic bloggers I know here in Hawaii.

  6. Well, I think ... of all your hikes you've taken us on, this one would have to be a favorite of mine!

  7. Your trilliums seem to have bigger leaves and smaller flowers than ours.

  8. Ahhh...heaven. That last photo is just gorgeous. I can imagine walking there.

  9. So glad yo have Mel to coax you. This was a most appealing hike for those of us not quite geared for the more challenging ones. And I love those vanilla plants. What a great way to repel bugs. Wonder if it works for ticks also? Wish they grew here but I think they need your lush area to grow.

  10. Yeah for a a good hike and Mel to go with you!

  11. It's so nice to have such a good friend like Melanie. Glad you had a good time, hiking in the woods.

  12. What a gorgeous place to hike! Glad it was an easier one. It's so beautiful there I'd be back often. :)

  13. Oh, that's a pretty hike! I love all of those plants too, and we even have a few of each in the shady parts of our yard.
    I'll have to go out and check for the Vanilla leaf. I hope it came back to it's shady little spot.

  14. Love the boardwalk, and the Hemlock trail. Glad to hear no knee or back pain. I'm always surprised: the more I move, the less I hurt!

  15. How I love early spring Woodland wildflowers and seeing them in the place with the intriguing name Chuckanut adds to the whole scene!


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