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Weekend Hike Calendar 2016!!

Jer's PhotoLooking for inspiration to get out on the trail? Looking for a great holiday gift? Look no further! For the fifth year in a row, we've put together a great calendar with a different hiking trip every weekend in the new year. The Weekend Hike Calendar 2016 recommends a different hike every Saturday that we've chosen specifically with the season in mind.

Of course all the hike details, including directions, history, and photos can be found on hikingwithmybrother.com or in our guidebook Hiking Through History Washington. A full preview of the calendar is below and we hope you pick one up this holiday season.

Be sure to check Lulu.com for promotional discount codes! -Jer

Support hiking with my brother: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

Deep Lake via Cathedral Pass Trail #1345

Our Hiking Time: Overnight
Total Ascent: 3400ft (2200ft in; 1200ft out)
Highest Point: 5600ft
Total Distance: 15 miles
Location: N 47° 32.5683, W 121° 8.3816
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Moderate

Nathan's PhotoRecently we decided to get one last overnight in before the snows seal off the mountains for a few months. We wanted to capture some fall color so we headed out to the Salmon la Sac area to tackle Cathedral Rock and explore some nearby alpine lakes. With good weather on our side, we enjoyed spectacular autumn landscapes and the quiet of the wilderness.

Back in the late 1800s, prospectors and sheepherders were far more common in this area than hikers. One of those prospectors was a gold miner named James “Jimmy” Grieve, who was likely the first to scale Cathedral Rock. As a result it was known as Grieve’s Peak and Jimmy’s Jumpoff for years. The name did not sound regal enough for the Forestry Service, so someone in the 1940s or 50s decided Cathedral Rock was a better fit. Grieve had several claims in the area and built a cabin near Peggy’s Pond that was a popular site for hikers to visit for decades, though it is little more than a pile of crumbling logs today. The story behind some of the places in the area is a bit murkier. Supposedly it was Spanish-speaking shepherds that gave the Spinola Meadows their name. Deep Lake, unsurprisingly, was named for its depth, perhaps by the same folks that decided Grieve’s Peak somehow resembled a cathedral.

The Cathedral Pass Trail #1345 begins from the Cathedral Pass Trailhead (officially part of the Tucquala Meadows Trailhead), near the end of FR 4330. From the parking area, craggy Cathedral Rock juts dramatically into the skyline, giving you some perspective on the hike ahead. The rocky trail begins without fanfare, crossing a few creeks before beginning a series of long switchbacks, slowly ratcheting up the mountainside. After .4 miles the trail brings you into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness without fanfare, drawing you past brushy undergrowth and deeper into dark stands of hemlock and fir. Soon the trail begins to level out and at the 2.2 mile mark reaches the junction to the Lake Waptus Trail #1322. Push ahead for another .5 mile to your first destination, Squaw Lake. There are a number of campsites around this little tarn, as well as a backcountry toilet, making it a decent option for a quick overnight with the kids or basecamp for exploring the area trails.

From Squaw Lake, the trail begins a long, rocky traverse up to Cathedral Pass offering occasional views of the Wenatchee Mountains just to the east, while snaking past the occasional pond. Continue to push upwards through the thinning sub-alpine forest for another two miles to the connection with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 at the 4.2 mile mark. Cathedral Pass is less than .25 mile up ahead, so climb the last few feet to the 5400’ pass, though do not expect a lot of fanfare - there is not much in the way of big panoramic views. But be sure to take a moment to scan the cliffs for mountain goats before beginning the long descent down into the Spinola Valley.

Compared to the Cathedral Pass Trail the Pacific Crest Trail is a breeze. Wide and almost smooth, the trail gently guides you down the mountainside. At the first big switchback you’ll reach the junction with the Peggy’s Pond Trail #1375 - it’s a decent .6 mile side trip out to a lovely tarn, though the trail is rough and somewhat challenging to navigate. Most hikers will opt to continue down another three miles to Spinola Meadows and the shores of Deep Lake, 7.5 miles from the trailhead. As you descend, enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Deep Lake and the valley below as well as Circle Lake Falls cascading down the opposite side of the valley into the lake below. Depending on the season, you may be in for quite a show before the views disappear into the trees as you re-enter the forest. Eventually you’ll reach the bottom and the old growth will give way to meadow. Here the barren cliffs of Cathedral Rock rise dramatically above Deep Lake, demanding your attention as you take in the panorama. Take some time to explore the shore before settling in - there are plenty of campsites around the lake for those planning to spend the night and you can afford to find the best vantage point to take in this gorgeous alpine landscape.

This hike is a classic, offering some of the best the Alpine Lakes Wilderness has to offer: a pristine alpine lake, views of the surrounding rugged landscape, and the quiet solace of the wilderness. While some hikers can tackle this one as a day hike, the distance really lends itself better to an overnight or a multi-day exploration of the area, as there are a number of destinations right nearby including a popular scramble route up Mt. Daniel by way of Peggy’s Pond.

To get there, take I-90 out over Snoqulamie Pass to Exit 80. Head left over the freeway following Bullfrog Road to SR 903. Follow 903 16.6 miles through Roslyn and along Cle Elum Lake to FR 4330 just beyond the Salmon La Sac guard station. Veer right, avoiding the campground and continuing onto the dirt and gravel FR 4330 for 12.3 miles to the Cathedral Pass Trailhead. Privy available. -Nathan

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Deep Lake

Licorice Fern Trail (S6) to Far Country Falls

Our Hiking Time: 2h
Total Ascent: 200ft
Highest Point: 700ft
Total Distance: 3.8 miles
Location: N 47° 31.26, W 122° 7.7033
Required Permit: None
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's PhotoOver the years we have spent many an afternoon tromping up and down Cougar Mountain. Still, with many miles of official, “unofficial” and abandoned trails, there are still areas we have yet to explore. Recently we had a chance to check out the often-overlooked Licorice Fern Trail, which offers a quiet alternative approach to Far Country Falls.
We’ve covered much of Cougar Mountain’s past on previous hikes. From the early coal mining days to the area’s more recent military history, the nearly 30-year-old park contains and preserves a rich cultural legacy. Envisioned by Harvey Manning and first proposed in 1979, the Cougar Mountain Regional Park concept eventually managed to block planned residential development in the park and gain enough voter support to pass a bond measure. Today the park is the largest “urban wildland” in the United States with over 3,000 acres of forest riddled with 38 miles of hiking trails.

The trail begins directly from 169th Street and is largely unmarked. Only a small sign picturing a hiker gives any indication of a trailhead. Once you find roadside parking, be sure to avoid the paved driveway leading uphill to the left and the grassy yard to the right as you begin the hike. Instead stay on the wide gravel path leading into the trees. From here the trail angles uphill, winding beneath mossy alders and through a thick understory of vine maple and fern. After a mile of hiking, the trail crosses SE Licorice Way before continuing to climb another third of a mile to the junction with the Indian Trail (W7).

Head left at the junction, following the Indian Trail for a half-mile to the Far Country Trail (S1). Continue straight ahead to reach the Far Country Falls overlook. The seasonal multi-tiered cascade drops about 20 feet through a field of moss-covered boulders. While not necessarily spectacular, the falls are interesting enough to make a good destination for those looking for a short hike. You can add some mileage by hiking another third of a mile down the Far Country Trail, to the Far Country Lookout, though this somewhat overgrown peek-a-boo view of the surrounding suburban landscape is unlikely to hold your attention for long.

This trail is a great alternative to the more popular Cougar Mountain trailheads, offering the same outdoor experience with a little less foot traffic. Easy and approachable for any hiker, this easily accessible trail is also a good option during the off-season or just a rainy day as Far Country Falls is fueled entirely by rain or snow melt. Next time you head out for jaunt up Cougar Mountain, consider trying something a little different and exploring the Licorice Fern Trail.

To get there, take I-90 out to Exit 10A, merging onto I-405 South. Stay to the right to take Exit 10 onto Coal Creek Parkway. Follow Coal Creek Parkway four miles to May Valley Road. Take a left onto May Valley Road and continue 2.2 miles to a sharp bend in the road and veer left, continuing to stay on May Valley Road. In .1 miles keep left as the road splits, merging onto SE 112th Street. Continue another .4 miles to the first big curve in the road. As you turn left up the hill the road becomes 169th Ave and the trailhead is here. Find parking along the roadside. -Nathan

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Licorice Fern Trail
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