Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weekend Adventure: Mount Townsend

This weekend was another packed full of plans. My husband is attending SWAT class all this week, and left me on my own for the weekend. I was excited when my coworker, Jeremy, asked me to go hiking with him.

Jeremy and I started working together at the dispatch center three and a half years ago. We were hired in the same group, trained together and have worked the majority of our shifts together since then. He's become one of my closest friends, and he's someone my husband and I enjoy spending time with. And when it comes to work, I trust his ethic and judgement and I love having him there when we come across a challenge.

I'd heard about the Mount Townsend hike last summer when I had taken Kenzie in to the vet after hours for a problem with her eye (we found a piece of foxtail grass in it a week later, poor girl), and my vet told me about it. The summit sits at 6300 feet after a 5.2 mile hike. Views range from the coast of Victoria, BC down as far south as Vancouver, WA. He said it was one of the coolest things he'd ever seen, and if my husband and I were up for a reasonably difficult hike, this would be great for day or overnight.

Unknown to me, Jeremy had been on the hike that summer as well with friends. He wanted to make another trip of it and asked me to head out with him. We thought there would be about three feet of snow at the top, but given good tree cover we were sure the trail would be passable. Our adventure started much earlier than that, and made for a really fun day.

Warning: This is a picture heavy post, but I couldn't just pick a few.

 This hike took us across the Keystone/Port Townsend Ferry again (previously mentioned here).

It was another beautiful morning for a ferry ride.

We got lucky with a front row spot, no need to get out of the car for the view.

Port Townsend is a cool little town. It makes for a great day trip. Fort Worden is there too, which is an awesome place of history and kids love it. So much to do. I need to get back over to walk their downtown area for shopping again sometime soon. They've got some great little shops and restaraunts.

This woman cracked us up. She was the only walk-on passenger on this trip across. We saw her sitting upstairs brushing her crazy long hair. I was loving her brown courduroy bellbottoms she was sporting.

After stopping at the Quilcene Ranger Station to see if a day permit was needed, we headed out with our map. Well, of course Jeremy was sure we needed to head down Lords Lake Road when the map said Penny Creek Road. Lords Lake & Penny creek did intersect after going about six miles out of the way on a dirt road and this is what we found just beyond the intersection.

A lake. I did trust him when  he said the puddle wasn't deep. I made him drive across on his own, and I chose to just walk around. And take pictures.

That's the look of 'don't take pictures of me' and 'I told you it wasn't deep'. He's an excellent multitasker!

This is part of an old tree left surrounded by a lot of new growth. Though it's dead, it had another tree growing from the top of it. When you actually make it to a true old growth forest, you'll find so many beautiful things like this. The benefit of growing up in Washington is learning so much about the nature around us.

Dirt road with huge puddles and pot holes turned in to this after 10 miles. We thought 'this isn't bad, right'?

Until the car was stuck and wouldn't go any further. He's inspecting the ruts and how he might get around this. Mind you, to the left is the cliff. I wasn't about join the thrill ride of getting any further up the hill.

The views are spectacular, aren't they?

We left the car where it was and started to trek to the trail head on foot. We had gone about a half mile when we hit this point. Then we realized we still had another mile to the trail head. He was not going to let us be defeated.

Hike away Jeremy, hike away.

I was poking fun at his shorts, green wool socks and hiking boots. He'd later regret this decision when the snow was so deep it came in the tops of his boots. He ended up with an inch of water in the bottom of them.

Again, that mountain in the background was just beautiful. I wish I had a camera that really capture what the eye can see. The differences of depth and size were just breathtaking in person.

The trail head! We made it! Mt. Townsend #839

This was the last picture of hiking the actual trail that was taken. The snow was only a couple of inches deep here, but once it hit knee deep and we started feeling the effects of wet feet, we were just too tired to pull out our cameras. It was lots of snow and lots of trees. We hiked aimlessly for about an hour and a half upwards.

Here's where we signed in and out. Hikers hadn't signed in since the 7th, and we had the trail all to ourselves. Is that a good thing? Yes and no. Yes, it wasn't overly busy and we didn't run in to anyone like the 30 some groups he had run in to in the summer. Bad? Sure, since we had no cell service and had come across reasonably fresh bear tracks, elk tracks and some of the biggest quail I'd ever seen.

After about 2 miles up the trail, leaving us about 2.2 miles short of the summit and knee deep snow, we decided to sit down for lunch and then head back down. It took us about 30 minutes to get back down versus our hour and a half it took to get up. This is why downhill has it's advantages. We pretty much ran and slid down the whole thing. It was a lot less work, and a lot more fun.

We made it back to the car and posed for a picture after our 7 mile hike. We were proud of ourselves.

We headed back down to Port Townsend and waited for our ferry home. We were lucky enough to get on without a reservation (small ferry means reservations on busy days to ensure you get across). Just a note, Mondays are their least busy days. This works in my favor, I have Mondays off. We were tired since we'd both been up really early and were ready to head home for a nap.

Today I'm sore. My back, hips and thighs hurt. I was disappointed in my level of fitness, but again it's hard to hike in the snow. We mentioned to each other quite a few times that my husband would absolutely love this hike. He loves the outdoors and we plan to take him next time we go. We're planning to try again next month, but we'll take our truck up in case we hit snow again. Jeremy and I have decided to plan on hiking a local Whidbey hike every Saturday we're off work. It will get us out to enjoy where we live. And the exercise never hurt.

I'd recommend this hike soley based off what we made it through yesterday. Make sure you pack well, plenty of water and snacks to keep up your energy. Get a good early start so you have plenty of time to make it up to enjoy the views and back down. Plan to be gone all day. It's well worth it. I'm looking forward to reviewing more hikes as we go.

Today I'm headed to my mom's for our first run together. She's teaching me a new recipe tonight that she'd like me to feature on the blog, and I'm really looking forward to that!

Thank you to my readers, you keep me going! Have a wonderful day!


Jules said...

hi cassie! thank you so much for your sweet comment today. i appreciate your visits and am happy that you find inspiration from my blog :) it's people like you that keep me motivated to continue with it! take care and keep up the great work with your own blog!

XO - Julie

Anonymous said...

Since I also have your Saturdays off I would love to come to. Thanks for the future invites. ;)

awesome post keep them coming.

Kate said...

7 miles - way to go!

Looks like it was a great day for it! You really live in a beautiful part of the world!

Amber said...

Wow wat an adventure!!