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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Have Spring Fever? Go Hiking!

We have a sneaky feeling that some of you are getting a bit tired of being couch potato philosophers while endlessly scoping out Netflix for new titles to consume after work or school. March is notorious for Cabin Fever, so much so that it is officially celebrated as “Cabin Fever Month!”
 

The only remedy for Cabin Fever is to get outside, and with daylight savings time here the “it gets dark so early” excuse is moot. For you spring chickens and eternally young at heart – it’s SPRING BREAK! Put your party hat on by getting outdoors to explore Washington’s wild places!
 

If you’re over trudging through snow and dealing with icy trails, give one of the following hikes a try; we’ve done our best to choose places are that beautiful and experiencing hints of springtime. Not-so-coincidentally, each of the following hikes is in one of Washington Wild’s campaign areas.

Wild Olympics Campaign:

S. Fork Skokomish River by Dave Stiles
Lower South Fork Skokomish River Trail (#873)
  • Round-trip: 10 miles
  • Elevation gain: 575 feet
  • Accessible: year round
  • Map: Green Trails Mt Tebo No.199
The South Fork of the Skokomish River is a Proposed Wild & Scenic River in the Wild Olympics Proposal. Wild & Scenic designation–the strongest protection a river can receive – ensures that the free-flowing character, water quality and outstanding values of these rivers are protected for generations to come.


This hike features 500+ year-old Douglas Fir trees, expansive river views, and a scenic overlook at the turn-around spot (of course, you can turn around whenever you feel like it).




Bogachiel River by Tom O’Keefe
Bogachiel River Trail 
  • Round-trip: 12 miles
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Accessible: year round
  • Map: Green Trails Spruce Mountain No. 132
For this hike, after the first 1.5 miles, the trail follows the reach of the Bogachiel, which is also recommended for permanent protection under the Wild Olympics proposal.

Go on this hike if you really want to get away from it all. There is no visitor center or touristy town nearby. You will not encounter hoards of other trail users, or any roads once you leave the parking lot. What you will find are lichen-draped Sitka Spruce, lots of ferns and moss, and potentially, mud and elk. This is Pacific Northwest Rainforest at its finest!




Alpine Lakes Wilderness Addition
Snoqualmie & Pratt Rivers,by Charles Raines
Middle Fork Trail (#1003) 
  • Round-trip: 6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Accessible: year round
  • Map: Green Trails Mt Si No.174 and Skykomish No.175
A double-whammy of proposals here! The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Proposed Wild & Scenic River and the lands south of the trail are proposed Wilderness additions to the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.


This hike rolls along, for the most part, right next to the river and features river and cliff views, an impressive suspension bridge, and an abundance of serenity for being so close to the urban Puget Sound region. The trail is open to mountain bikes on odd-numbered days between June 1 and October 31 and will continue to be accessible to bikes due to Washington Wild’s collaborative work with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. While you won’t need to keep your eyes out for bikes this time of year, do watch for stream crossings. *Beware: the drive in on the Middle Fork Road is always rough, and particularly so this time of year. Tire-eating potholes are everywhere and a high-clearance vehicle is recommended for winter/spring access.


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If you’re not keen on venturing out by yourself, starting in May Washington Wild will be hosting monthly hiking trips to our campaign areas. The purpose of these trips is to help you get out and experience the areas we work so hard to protect. May’s hike theme is “Spring in the Lowlands” (click here for up-to-date hikes information). While the details of this hike are still being ironed out, rest assured it will feature spring wildflowers, budding trees, and lush green vistas.


As always, please be safe when you venture out. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. Bring the 10 essentials and err on the side of caution; an unplanned night in the woods could be uncomfortable any time of year, but certainly so during early spring. With proper planning, though, you are almost guaranteed to have a superb time working off your cabin fever in Washington’s wild places. Happy trails!


Go wild and get outdoors!
Alexia Lee, Washington Wild Intern

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