Goldmyer Springs Backpacking

2 days, 1 night / 10+ miles round trip / <100′ elevation gain

Goldmyer Springs Trail

Trail to Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

After making reservations for one night at Goldmyer Springs several months ago, I was so excited the time was finally here.  I was also so happy to have the chance to share another backpacking experience with several friends – two friends backpacking for their first time ever!

Our day started by waking up just as the sun was rising over Seattle.  After my husband and I loaded our car we picked up two friends and headed to North Bend to meet the other four members of our group.  We had a quick breakfast and packed up on the last few items and headed down Middle Fork Road towards the trailhead.  After a long, slow trip down the heavily potholed road, we arrived at the Dingford Trailhead parking lot filled with anticipation for the day ahead.

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The group before starting our hike to Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

Since several members of our group were fairly new to backpacking we decided to take the easier route to Goldmyer Springs.  After reading trip reports about the more rugged Middle Fork Trail, as a group we chose to take the trail along the old NF Road 5620 along the thundering Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.  Not long after we started our hike, the trail crosses the river as it tumbles down a powerful waterfall which can be heard long before it’s seen.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

The trail along old Forest Road is an easy hike as it winds its way through the forest.  It was a great opportunity to get to know new friends and share hiking stories as we made our way towards Goldmyer Springs.  At times the trail is wide and flat, but evidence of years of erosion can be seen during other sections of the trail.  At one point, the trail is completely flooded and we took a detour along small footpath through the forest.

Trail to Goldmyer Springs

Flooded section of the trail to Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

We snacked on ripened salmonberries speckled in every bush beside the trail and enjoyed the peaceful sounds of the flowing river and chirping birds.

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A salmonberry along the trail to Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

It wasn’t long before we were crossing the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River once again and finally on the last stretch of our journey.  After crossing the Middle Fork Trail, we headed uphill along the Goldmyer Springs Trail filled with excitement.  As we arrived, we rang a bell as the sign beside it requested for all guests arriving and leaving the Goldmyer Springs campground.  After a brief meeting with the caretakers, our group found two great campsites along Burntboot Creek.  This was the best wilderness backpacking camping area we have stayed at to date!  Each site had several logs for sitting and tables provided, and the backcountry toilet was private and clean.  With the relief of taking off our packs, we enjoyed lunch as a group and then quickly set up camp with the anticipation of soaking our aching muscles in the hot springs.

It wasn’t long before we had our swimsuits on and headed up the 3/4 mile trail towards the hot springs.  We quickly learned that proper footwear is best for this short, but steep and rocky hike along Burntboot Creek.  As we arrived at the hot springs, the upper part of the springs and the cave was packed with another group.  Our group of eight piled into the lower pool, happy to soak our aching bodies in the hot springs.  Thankfully we are all close friends, because it was very close quarters.

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Cabana at Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

Goldmyer Springs

Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

After a very long soak in the lower pool of the hot springs, I explored the upper pool and cave.  It was very dark and a little creepy going into the cave as far as I could go.  It was also very hot, which only allowed me to stay a few minutes before I was ready to get back into the lower and much cooler pool.  One by one our group left the hot springs after a few hours of soaking.  Before heading back to camp, my husband and I spent a little time exploring the rocky area alongside Burntboot Creek.  The rushing sound of the tumbling creek was powerful.

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Burntboot Creek near Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Burntboot Creek near Goldmyer Springs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

We let the warmth of the sun dry us off, and then made our way back down to camp.  This was our first time backpacking with a large group, and each couple decided to take on cooking one meal for everyone.  My husband and I were in charge of dinner that night, and were happy to take on the role of chefs.  Because we only had to pack for one meal, we were able to bring luxury items we normally wouldn’t bring.  The warm soup and sandwiches hit the spot during the cool evening hours.  Once dinner was over, one by one our group disappeared into their tents before the sun even set.

The next morning we woke to a bright sun trying to make its’ way into the valley.  After a quick breakfast, we broke down camp and prepared for our hike out.  As we rang the bell saying goodbye to the caretakers, it was hard to leave this little piece of paradise in the wilderness.  It was a perfect sunny day in the Pacific Northwest for a hike.  The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River was a beautiful backdrop as we hiked along listening to its’ rushing waters.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

In no time we were back at the trailhead, happy to take off our heavy packs for the last time.  It was another great trip in the WA wilderness with great friends.  As usual, it was hard to leave the solitude of the forest, but I know that I will be back soon.

Lake Serene/Bridal Veil Falls Day Hike

8.2 miles round trip / 2000+ elevation gain

I belong to several different hiking groups on multiple social media sites.  I love sharing my trip reports and photographs, but have never joined any of the groups in an actual event.  I finally decided to join a group of ladies from the PNW Outdoor Women’s Group on Facebook in a day hike to Lake Serene.

Our day started as a group meeting at Sultan Bakery, which was a great stop for coffee, pastries, and sandwiches for a trail lunch.  After a short drive from the bakery, we arrived at an almost full parking lot around 11:00 am.  We loaded our packs making sure to have the ten essentials and hit the trail.

Lake Serene group

Me and the ladies from the PNW Outdoor Women Facebook Group, Lake Serene Trailhead, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA 

The trail starts off as a wide dirt path with a slight incline climbing through the forest.  This section of the trail was perfect for getting to know new friends as we shared hiking stories along the way.  Several bushes beside the trail were full of ripe berries to snack on.  After the first mile, the trail begins to narrow and climb higher into the forest.  At nearly two miles, we reached the sign splitting the trail to either Bridal Veil Falls or continuing up to Lake Serene.  After discussion about previous trip reports, we decided to visit the falls before we headed up the the lake.  The hike up to Bridal Veil Falls is a short but tough 1/2 mile journey.

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Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

As a group we took turns taking photographs of the waterfall and enjoying the cool mist on our warm faces.  After a short break alongside the waterfall, we were excited to head back down to the main trail and continue our hike towards Lake Serene.  Shortly after we got back onto the main trail we crossed the base of the waterfall.  It was a great spot for capturing images from a different view and resting before the toughest part of the hike.  Several other hikers were resting here as well and some were even cooling their bare feet in the shallow waters.

 

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Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

For me, this was a pretty tough hike.  The trail switches back and forth through the forest and becomes more and more narrow and rocky.  The group was great about waiting on each other and being supportive through the more steeper parts of the trail.  The number of stairs seemed endless as we climbed higher and higher towards our final destination.

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Trail stairs, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Trail stairs, Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Trail stairs, Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Trail stairs, Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Trail stairs, Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

I also loved the many boardwalks and bridges!

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Boardwalk along the trail to Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Bridge along the trail to Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Boardwalk and bridge along the trail to Lake Serene, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

We encountered many other hikers along the way; each one reassuring us the journey was worth it.  After what seemed like forever, we reached our final destination – Lake Serene!  Views of the lake were the perfect backdrop to a picnic lunch.

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Lake Serene, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Lake Serene, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

 

After a much needed rest and refueling, it was time to leave the beauty of the lake behind us, and hit the trail once again.  As we made our way down towards the trailhead, we stopped at times to enjoy the views of the valley down below.

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Views from the Lake Serene Trail, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

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Views from the Lake Serene Trail, Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, WA

Time flew by quickly as we hiked down towards the beginning of the trail enjoying the company of new friends.  After what seemed like no time, our group hike had come to an end.  With a round of high fives we said our goodbyes and loaded our cars for the drive home.  My first experience sharing a hike with strangers has me excited to do it again soon.  It was another perfect day surrounded by nature in the Pacific Northwest.

Wildlife Wednesday 06/15/2016

Happy nature photography day everyone! One of my favorite things to do as a photographer is to capture wildlife in its’ natural environment. I hope you enjoy another Wildlife Wednesday from TamarasCameras! I love visiting Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, because I know I’m going to have the opportunity to see lots of wildlife. This is a photograph of one of the many marmots hanging out along the trail during a recent visit to the park. 

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A marmot just after making a very loud whistle, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

Crescent Lake Camping/Shi Shi Beach Backpacking

IMG_6207For Memorial Day weekend, my friends and I decided to head over to Olympic National Park for a few nights of car camping and one night of wilderness backpacking.  On Thursday, one of our group members headed to Lake Crescent campground to get a head start on the holiday crowd and grab a first-come, first-serve site.  My husband and I joined our friend later that evening and quickly set up camp in the dark, rainy night.

We woke up the following morning to more rain, and hurriedly set up a canopy over our picnic area.  With hopes of things drying out by that afternoon, the three of us headed to the ranger station in Port Angeles to get our wilderness permits for Shi Shi Beach the following day.  After seeing the great weather at Hurricane Ridge from the webcam in the ranger’s station, we decided to drive up the mountain for some day hiking.  It was a great morning to enjoy the views from Hurricane Ridge and watch the wildlife along the trails.

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A view of the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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Friends enjoying a day hike along Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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A marmot enjoying the view from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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A marmot just before it whistled, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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Two marmots at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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A curious ground squirrel along the trail, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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A deer running alongside the trail, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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A deer running quickly to get over the snow, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

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A deer checking out the view from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

After a great morning hike, we headed down to Port Angeles for lunch before making the drive back to our campsite at Lake Crescent.  Once we arrived back at the campground, the weather had not changed since the time we left that morning.  Even though it was still raining, we were happy to see our picnic area had dried under the canopy.  With several hours of daylight left, we decided to explore the hiking trails around the lake.  After a short drive to the end of camp David, Jr. Road, the trailhead to the Spruce Railroad Trail came into view.  Our car was the only one parked at the trailhead that evening, and we were the only people on the trail the entire hike.  The hike is a beautiful trek along the northern shore of Lake Crescent with small sightings of the sun trying to break through the clouds.  A few miles into the hike, we were excited to find a tunnel to explore.

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A view of Lake Crescent from the Spruce Railroad Trail, Olympic National Park, WA

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Mount Storm King looms over Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WA

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A tunnel along the Spruce Railroad Trail, Olympic National Park, WA

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A tunnel along the Spruce Railroad Trail, Olympic National Park, WA

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Exploring a tunnel along the Spruce Railroad Trail, Olympic National Park, WA

Late that evening, the remaining members of our group showed up and set up their tents in the rain just as we had the previous evening.  Once again, it rained all throughout the night as we tried to stay dry and warm inside the comfort of our tents.  We woke up to another rainy morning, where we huddled under the canopy as a group for breakfast.

Two of the members of our group had never been backpacking, and I was so excited to share my passion with them.  When planning this trip, we decided to head out for one night and test out their new gear and experience an evening in the wilderness.  The four of us spent the morning huddled under the canopy trying to keep dry while stuffing our packs with the essential gear for an overnighter on Shi Shi Beach.  We hopped in the car and headed towards the coast in the pouring rain.  When we arrived at Neah Bay to get our permits from the Makah Cultural & Research Center, it was raining harder than it had all weekend.  After the trip, every member of our group admitted at that point we were all secretly hoping the others would back out because of the terrible weather.  Instead of confessing our fears and giving up, we put on our happy faces and hit the trail.  The hike is was very muddy as expected, and it was funny to watch day hikers try to avoid walking in the muddiest parts of the trail.  I felt like a kid again tromping down the trail in the pouring rain.

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Shi Shi Beach Trail, Olympic National Park, WA

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Shi Shi Beach Trail, Olympic National Park, WA

As we neared the beach, the most difficult part of the hike appeared before me.  As the rain and sweat poured down my face, I feared the steep section of the trail in front of me.  In spite of my slight fear of heights, I made my way down the trail repeating to myself, “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.”  It wasn’t long until we reached the bottom and I felt a huge sense of relief.  Now it was time to head towards the Point of the Arches and find a suitable camping spot.  We realized quickly that even though we desired a camping spot in the woods seeking protection from the elements, the only spots available were on the beach.  For the first time since we drove into Olympic Mountains days ago, the clouds started to dissipate and the rain disappeared.  We found a great spot amongst the driftwood to set up camp near a small creek to use as a water source.  Life was good.

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Point of the Arches viewed from Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

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Delicious, filtered creek water, Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

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Dinner on Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

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Shi Shi Beach sunset, Olympic National Park, WA

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Shi Shi Beach sunset, Olympic National Park, Wa

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My friends enjoying their first evening of backpacking, Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

Besides one small rain shower in the early evening hours, the rain never returned.  We slept soundly on the beach and woke up to sunny skies.  After packing up, we were excited to  explore the tides pools surrounding Point of the Arches during low tide.  I have never seen more sea stars and anemones in my life!

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Point of the Arches tide pools, Olympic National Park, WA

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Point of the Arches tide pools, Olympic National Park, WA

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Point of the Arches, Olympic National Park, WA

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Point of the Arches, Olympic National Park, WA

After a quick lunch among the driftwood on the beach, we made our way back towards the trailhead.  Unlike the day before, we were now protecting ourselves from sunburn!  The part of the hike that pushed my fear of heights the day before, seemed much easier going up (and the fact that it was dry also helped.)  As we hiked along, my friends discussed future backpacking plans and I knew I had given them a great first overnight wilderness experience.

We arrived back at our campsite at Lake Crescent happy to find our area warm and dry.  All of the luxuries of car camping were at our fingertips once again.  We enjoyed the company of good friends by a warm fire stuffing our faces with s’mores and beers.  I slept better that evening than I had the entire trip.  The next morning the sky was still filled with sunshine, allowing us to dry out all of our wet gear before stuffing it into the car.  It’s always a little sad to pack up and leave your camping home away from home, but I knew I had many memories to take me back whenever I needed.