Saturday, December 17, 2011

Washington: Around the Lake Trail

Distance: 2 mile loop
Elevation: 422 ft
Elevation Gain: 300 ft (a guess)

View of Tradition Lake in the Tiger Mountain State Forest
After attempting to climb West Tiger 3 in the Tiger Mountain State Forest I managed to convince my mother that getting out into Nature would be a great thing and that there was a handicapped accessible trail where we had been.  The fact that the rain had stopped gave her no excuse so off we went again to Exit 20 (off I-90) and the Tradition Plateau Trailhead in the Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Starting out on the Bus Trail
Large Cedar Trees dominate the lower portion of Tiger Mountain

I did not mention this before, but Tiger Mountain, along with Cougar Mountain, and Squawk Mountain are the remnants of an ancient mountain range.  They are eroded, were forested several times over the last few centuries, and now form a series of parks in the Issaquah area.

Most of the Around the Lake Trail is accessible

These ferns were large enough to hide the national debt!
The lower portion of the Tradition Plateau Trailhead contains a warren of trails, not all marked with signs.  We started out briefly on the Bus Trail and then switched to the Around the Lake Trail, which is both accessible and marked with periodic self-guided nature plaques.  My parents love such things and we stopped at each one to learn something new about the area.

Given the dampness of the area, it is not surprising that mushrooms we sprouting from every log.

Looking up into the canopy
At one point, the trail (or another unmarked trail) veered sharply to the left and started descending over rocks and roots.  Mother was game, however, and we continued this way until it looped back towards the lake again.  Eventually, we reached the Puget Power Trail, which is really a road.  This took us back to the parking lot. 

Shelf Fungus and Slime Mold grow on a cut log
Nice sitting area
Throughout, mother asked me to photograph the numerous forms of Fungi we found and we had fun discussing the ecology of the area.  This short hike was the highlight of the trip for her.   As my parents age, I have come to appreciate accessible trails that allow older folks to still get out and enjoy Nature.  The last time they came to visit me in Colorado I took them to Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park and Pella Crossing near Longmont.  Both are wonderful trails.  I don't know what the gig was with the Around the Lake Trail, but it would be great if they made it accessible all the way around. 

You can't actually get to the lake, but you can glimpse it through the trees.

Walking along the Puget Power Trail.  The parking lot is just ahead.


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