Hike #52: Margaret’s Way

Hike #52: Margaret’s Way
December 24, 2015
Mileage: 6 roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1550 ft.

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Well, I did it. 52 hikes in 52 weeks. More reminiscing to come at the end, but let’s start with the saga of Hike #52.

I left the house around 7am on Christmas Eve morning, wanting to do the Old Robe Canyon trail in some snow. Needless to say I found the snow! The roads were perfectly drivable, but the roadside parking for this hike left me in fear of being blocked in by the plows. Trying to find other wintry hikes proved challenging – the passes were closed and I know better than to attempt anything foolish with forest roads and the Honda Fit, so I turned around and headed back south.

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I stopped three times in various parking lots to look up other hikes. At first I tried to find a river ramble, or a low country wetlands loop nearer to home. I directed myself to three other hikes and stopped, staying in the car each time, unable to face it. I didn’t want a pleasant level walk with more rain and buildings all around. I wanted winter wilderness, powdery snow, and mountain peaks. And I’m nothing if not stubborn.

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Finally I settled on this hike, Margaret’s Way, in the Issaquah Alps. I wasn’t sure of seeing snow, but I was sure of enough elevation gain to make it feel like a legitimate finale to this year of being outdoors.DSC_0007

It was a beautiful trail, well-maintained and had great wayfinding signage. Maybe a bit overzealous at times. But you’ll never be lost.

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The first third of the trail gained elevation on old campground roads and then a narrower path. The middle third was quite muddy, but passable. The upper third started with a dusting of snow on the switchbacks and ended in simply dazzling powder coating all the trees and covering the trail. The winter wonderland I’d been searching for.

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After the intersection with Chybinski Trail, I turned again on the Perimeter Loop and headed for Debbie’s View. This network of trails is so fascinating to me – definitely worth exploring again in the future.

DSC_0056DSC_0050DSC_0086DSC_0046DSC_0071The viewpoint was stunning, with some sun breaking through and a bracing wind. I hiked down in a hurry, needing to make it back to Seattle by mid-afternoon, but it was a fabulous hike.

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Moral of the story: there’s always a wonderful (and safe) hike for any day if you know where to look.  WTA has been my constant companion throughout all of these hikes, and I don’t know of a better organization anywhere for keeping us all informed and up to date on such marvelous hiking options.

So there we have it – 52 hikes for 2015. The likelihood of a recap post is slim (I’m already looking ahead to my hiking plans for 2016), but I’ll say that this has been one excellent year for being outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

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This goal has pushed me to venture to new parts of the state, test my limits for going uphill, and encouraged me to spent a significant part of every weekend getting fresh air and noticing details. Though I sometimes felt the pressure of the numbers and the miles (need-to-do-a-hike-any-hike-oh-please-I-don’t-want-to-drive-two-hours), I’m so glad I did it, and so grateful for the resources that let me get out into the wilderness.

I’ve also had wonderful hiking companions – namely Clare (who adopted this goal with me and has made it so much fun) and her puppy, as well as Eric and other various friends and family members. Hiking alone is great, but hiking with friends is better.

Stay tuned for my hiking plans for the new year. Wishing you a lovely end to 2015 and all fantastic things for 2016.

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