Teneriffe Falls (Kamikaze Falls) Day Hike

6 miles roundtrip / 1420′ elevation gain

With another beautiful weekend in the forecast for the Pacific Northwest my husband and I were anxious to get outdoors.  We woke up before sunrise Saturday morning and headed to Teneriffe Falls for a day hike with friends.  Even though our strategy was to reach the parking area early enough to beat the crowds, we barely arrived at the trailhead in time – parking in what appeared to be the last space!


View from Teneriffe Falls (Kamikaze Falls) trail

Our journey up towards Teneriffe Falls began by hiking up Mount Teneriffe Road; a slowly ascending, wide dirt and gravel service road.  The road winds through the forested mountainside for the first mile and a half of our journey which allowed for an easy hike with great conversation.  After the first half of the hike we arrived at a fork in the road with a sign pointing us towards Teneriffe Falls.  As we made our way along Mount Teneriffe Trail it became much more steep, slowly switching back and forth towards our destination.  We made our way along the narrow, rocky trail opening up at times showing panoramic views and abundant sunshine.  As we neared Teneriffe Falls the trail became very steep and finding a viewing spot among the crowds was not easy.  After soaking in the view and snapping a few photographs we were ready to find a resting spot.

Teneriffe Falls (Kamikaze Falls)

Teneriffe Falls (Kamikaze Falls)

We headed back down the trail a few yards below the Teneriffe Creek waterfall, and were thankful to rest our aching muscles from the climb we had just made.  Once chilled from the cold mornings air, we were now happy to have the shade of our forested surroundings cooling us from our heated exhaustion.  We enjoyed the sound of cascading water in the distance as we refueled for the return trip down Mount Teneriffe.  Once well rested with renewed energy it was time to leave the sound of the the rushing waterfall behind.  Our journey downwards was easy as we swiftly made our way across the rocks and boulders along the trail.  Within no time we reached the wider portion of the trail back on Mount Teneriffe Road.  We passed many hikers throughout the day also enjoying the outdoors in the unseasonably warm weather on the last day of January.  As we reached the parking area we were glad to hand over our parking space to adventurers just about to start their own journey for the day.  The memories of the warm sun atop Mount Teneriffe that morning lingered as we made our way back into the foggy Puget Sound area that afternoon.

Wildlife Wednesday 01/28/2015

A marmot enjoying the view of the Olympic mountains

A marmot enjoying the view of the Olympic mountains

During a trip to Olympic National Park in August 2012 my husband and I took a day hike near Hurricane ridge.  As we  made our way along the trail I noticed a marmot that appeared to be enjoying the view of the Olympic mountains just as much as we were.

Lower Big Quilcene River Day Hike/Trail Run

View from Puget Sound ferry looking north

View from Puget Sound ferry looking north

9.4 miles round trip / 800′ elevation gain

With the weather looking more like spring in the Pacific Northwest, my husband and I decided to head over to the Olympics for a day hike.  We woke up early enough to make the short drive to Edmonds just in time to catch the ferry and may our way across the Puget Sound.  As the ferry headed west thick clouds hung over the Olympic mountains, but as we looked back to the east a panoramic view showed blue skies surrounding the Cascades.  The one hour drive around Hood Canal towards the eastern Olympics had our car winding through small patches of thick fog under cloudy skies.  As we made our way into the glacier carved valley alongside the Lower Big Quilcene River the grey skies disappeared and finally let the sunshine in.

Lower Big Quilcene River, Olympic National Forest

Lower Big Quilcene River, Olympic National Forest

The parking lot for the Lower Big Quilcene River Trail # 833 had only one other car as we arrived.  With plans to make our return trip a trial run we packed light bringing only the essentials.  The trail begins with a slight descent heading down towards the Lower Big Quilcene River.  Right away we notice the trail is very well kept and appears to have recently been worked on.  It has several river and stream crossings including what appeared to be very sturdy and recently built bridges.  As we hiked the sun spent much of its time hiding behind the ridgeline to the south of the valley.  At times the ridge would dip down and allow the sun peak down into the valley along the trail.  Once we made our way down to the riverside, the trails makes its way along the river slowly climbing into the valley.  After 2.6 miles we crossed through Bark Shanty Camp with a few backpackers camp sites along the river.  We continued our hike heading up towards Camp Jolley with plans to stop for lunch upon arrival.  We found a few logs with views of the Quilcene River allowing us to rest and refuel for our return trip.


Lower Big Quilcene River Trail, Olympic National Forest

With the afternoon sun still trying to make its way into the valley, we headed back down the trail towards the parking lot.  After fifteen minutes of hiking, we stopped to prepare for a trail run for the remaining four miles.  This was a perfect trail for running with most of the way going slightly downhill.  The trail headed upwards only a few times and when it did it was hardly noticeable.  We made our way running up and down winding along the Lower Big Quilcene River with bursts of sunlight when the ridgeline dipped low enough.  The parking lot had several cars at the trailhead as we arrived mid afternoon.


Lower Big Quilcene River Trail, Olympic National Forest


Heading east towards the Puget Sound with the sun was still making its appearance, we decided to skip the ferry ride and take the small road trip home.  We headed south towards the Tacoma Narrows bridge with Mount Rainier dominating the landscape to the east.  Our journey ended as we arrived home just as the sun made its final appearance for the day.

Wildlife Wednesday 01/21/2015

Alpaca  San Juan Island, WA

Alpaca, San Juan Island, WA

During a trip to the San Juan Islands with my family in 2012 we visited the Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm near Roche Harbor.  The family running the business was very friendly and informative about all things alpaca.  After touring around the farm and visiting the alpacas we shopped for items made with the very soft alpaca fur.

Wildlife Wednesday 01/14/2015



I captured this eagle flying over the Shark Reef Recreation Area during a visit to Lopez Island in January 2013.  Lopez Island is one of the four islands accessible by ferry in the San Juan Islands in Washington state.  Shark Reef Recreation Area is a great location for wildlife viewing including a variety land and marine animals.

Boulder River Trail Day Hike/Trail Run


Boulder River Trail, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie Forest

8+ miles round trip / 700′ elevation gain

Have you ever had the feeling you’ve been somewhere before?  As my husband and I turned off the highway towards the Boulder River trailhead parking, we had that exact feeling.  Once we parked and started making our way down the Boulder River trail we knew we had made this hike before, or at least we had tried. Two years ago we headed down that very same trail, only to be turned around by unsafe, icy trail conditions which we were not prepared for; but that was not the case on this day.  Although our drive into the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest was slowed down by thick, dense fog, as we made our way down the forest road the fog cleared and blue skies appeared.


Boulder River Trail, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie Forest


Even though the air was a bit frigid with temperatures in the high 30’s, trail conditions were perfect.  With the recent large amounts of rain we have been receiving in the Pacific Northwest, Boulder River was thundering along the trail throughout our entire hike.  The abundance of rain also resulted in beautiful, cascading waterfalls speckled along the way.  The trail ascends slowly along the river making for an easy day hike.


Boulder River Trail waterfall

After a few miles we rested beside Boulder River enjoying the sounds of a small, cascading waterfall.  We returned to the trail and made our way around the next bend to find a much larger, even more captivating waterfall.  It was mesmerizing – I couldn’t take my eyes off of it!

Boulder River Falls

Boulder River Falls


Boulder River Falls

Boulder River Falls

Once we peeled ourselves away from the beauty of the falls, we continued along the trail winding through the forest with the sounds of the river as our soundtrack.  The short winter day had the sun dipping behind the mountains early in the afternoon.  After nearly 4+ miles we decided it was time to turn around and head back towards the parking area not quite making it to the end of the trail.

Boulder River, Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest

Boulder River, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

With plans to make our return a trail run, my husband and I stripped down to our running gear and stuffed our warmer layers into our packs.  We made our way along the trail this time moving more swiftly jumping over the boulders and small creek crossings along the way.  Even though it was mostly a descent back towards the trailhead, at times the trail climbed upwards slowing me down to a light jog or even walking on occasion.  The backdrop of cascading waterfalls and the sound of the booming Boulder River made for an exhilarating, breathtaking trail run.  We arrived back at our car just in time as the warmth of the sun was being stripped away by nightfall.  As we headed back towards Seattle the dense fog that had dissipated late that morning returned as if it was waiting for us to leave the trail.