Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ebey's Landing and Erie Mountain on Whidbey Island

After seeing Deception Pass, Oscar and I decided we wanted to see a bit more of Whidbey Island by taking a hike at Ebey's Landing.

It's rare to see Mount Ranier in this kind of clarity, but we had perfect views of it our entire drive south.

The hike starts near a beautiful prairie where you find a trail leading you to the coast.

It's amazing how far we could see along the coast.

If you click to enlarge this picture, you can see that the area just right of Mount Ranier is Seattle. How impressive that we could see the city of Seattle when we were 60 miles away from it!

Those of you who follow my blog know how much I like seeing water in all of its forms. This was definitely the perfect hike for me.

I loved our perfect views of the Olympic mountains behind the water.

The trail was a tad steep at the beginning

But I'm glad for it, since the height gave us better views. The hiking book I learned about this trail from gives this hike a maximum rating for scenic beauty.

Here's me hiking up the steepest parts. Oscar always hikes quickly the parts that are most difficult. I take my time.

We also had a perfect view of Mount Baker rising up behind the prairie.

There were a lot of pretty wildflowers along the trail.

The tide forms this small lake, Parego's Lagoon, that we hiked over and around.

This is my absolute favorite shot of the day! Oscar got this pretty pic of Mount Ranier, the coast, a boat, and a seaplane all in one.

At this point the trail leads you downhill and you walk back along the beach.

Here's my sweet husband on the beach, who was unfortunately having a difficult time with his eyes due to his allergies that day. Ideal weather often makes for horrible sinuses.

We passed this garden on our way back. I think it was cabbage they were growing.

And to finish off our day on Whidbey Island, we drove back up north to Erie Mountain lookout. We were a bit disappointed with the view at the end of the road because it was so obscured by trees.

But fortunately the other lookouts on the way back down the mountain did not disappoint.

Here's a pic of me at the middle lookout.

And this is the final lookout (or first depending on when you stop at it). We enjoyed some lovely views of the San Juan islands to finish off our beautiful day before we drove back to Edmonds for some 4th of July fireworks.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deception Pass

Oscar and I have been meaning to go up to Deception Pass for several months, and we finally got around to it on July 4th. Deception Pass is a bridge that allows cars to travel onto Whidbey Island.

Seattle did July 4th right this year! After a very gloomy spring and even a gloomy start of summer, July 4th was sunny and crystal clear. It's best to visit Whidbey Island when there are as few clouds as possible since that increases you're chances of being able to see the nearby San Juan islands as well as distant Mount Ranier and Mount Baker. This was the gorgeous view that beheld our eyes when we first walked out onto the bridge.

And the beauty just kept on coming at us from all sides.

I love this adorable picture of me with my windblown hair wrapped around my face.

There are some short trails that will take you down to the beach area, but we didn't take those. Maybe we will next time.

I'd actually bought a groupon to ride a catamaran around the area, so we were in a bit of a hurry to take some pics from the bridge before we drove down to the dock.

Even the views looking east (away from the San Juans) were beautiful.

This shot just blows my mind! Stunning!

We had a clear view of Mount Baker that day. That can be hard to come by here in Seattle.

This was our view of Deception Pass from down on the catamaran.

You'll have to click on this picture to enlarge it in order to see them, but this area is home to a small breed of seals.

Here's me enjoying the catamaran cruise.

This area in the hill used to be a prison! You can see the bars if you look really, really closely.

Here's my sweet husband taking a break from picture taking to enjoy the cruise.

Whenever I go out on a boat ride I love watching the wake it forms.

Here we've cruised over to the west side.

If you click to enlarge this picture you can see a seal sticking its head out of the water.

We had wonderful views of the Olympic Mountains.

I really like this shot Oscar got of the boat nearby us cruising across the water.

You might not recognize it from this picture.

But this mountain clearly looks like King Kong's profile. Though it's not quite as good as the one we saw in Kauai.

We even saw a couple bald eagles on our way back to the dock. This was a tiny one that actually stayed in the tree long enough for us to get a picture.

Stay tuned for our next Whidbey Island post - Hiking to Ebay Landing and going to Erie Mountain Lookout. We almost lost our camera that night when we watched fireworks, but we found it several days later (once we realized it was missing) on the lawn where we'd set down our blankets. Thank goodness or we would have lost all of these beautiful pictures!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lake Chelan Butte

Lake Chelan is about an hour northeast of Leavenworth, and it's definitely worth a trip up there. The lake sparkles on a sunny day.

Several people were up here hang-gliding. It was cool to watch them take off.

Originally we'd intended to go hiking up Chelan Butte Road, but it turned out our car was able to make it up all but about 1/5th of a mile. Our guidebook had told us you would need 4 wheel drive to go the last two miles, but our Prius seemed to be doing okay, so we kept driving. We're glad we did too, since there ended up being another Prius parked next to us at the top. We would have felt stupid if we'd hiked the last couple miles only to find out our car could have made it just fine.

I loved how there were different views from all sides. On the southeast side we could see Entiat Lake and the river that flows into it.

Oscar and I both climbed up on this monstrous rock to get the full 360 degree effect.

These were the pretty hills we could see when we looked north.

And, of course, there's a lovely view of Lake Chelan to the west. Lake Chelan is a LONG lake. It's 55 miles long, actually. Chelan actually means "deep water" in the Salish language, and even though it's only the 24th deepest lake in the world, what's impressive is that it's only a mile wide at its deepest point (1,486 ft). Other deeper lakes are much wider before they reach that depth.

Oscar thought he'd pose for a Vitamin water advertisement! I think he looks HOT!!! But maybe I'm biased...

Since we hadn't actually done much hiking we decided to take the Echo Ridge loop trail. It was nifty to be able to see our car for the entire 2.25 mile loop.

There were a lot of pretty wildflowers,

But unfortunately our views of the lake were limited. Good thing we'd already gotten some fabulous pics on Chelan Butte Road.