November 15, 2009

Olsen Creek

Filed under: Hiking — geezerwriter @ 5:03 pm

Lunch time

We hit another lucky seam in the weather on Thursday – it was actually sunny on the way up Stewart Moumtain and for a short while after we reached the clearcut at the top. I was surprised to find a pretty extensive layer of snow up there, since none was visible from below. In retrospect it shouldn’t have been surprising, as we were only a few hundred feet lower than the elevation of the White Salmon ski area, and they were open for business that day with record opening day snow depths.



At lunchtime we jealously hoarded the remaining sunshine. After the difficult slog 4.8 miles uphill through the woods we were pretty well warmed up but that didn’t last long after we got out in the open.

When I first hiked this trail only 5 or 6 years ago there were great open views to the north and east, but young trees have grown tall enough to mostly obscure them. I had to climb up the hill and onto s stump to get the shot on the right.

Clouds moved in as we came down on the new trails that have been built in the last few years by a local fellow named Einar. There are a number of trail segments connected by stretches of the old logging road. The first trail is really steep, dropping about 1100 feet in less than a mile, which puts it between Church Mt and Welcome Pass in steepness. But it passes through a dark and beautiful woods with mostly soft organic duff underfoot so it is relatively easy on the legs. There was pretty broad agreement that we weren’t eager to ever hike up this trail, even though it is a lot shorter than the way we’d come up.

At lower elevations the new trails pass through some very recent clearcuts which allow fine panoramic views of Lake Whatcom, Squalicum Lake, Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. We should enjoy these views while we can: in a very few years it will grow up into another impenetrable Alder thicket. And with the recent political shift on the County Council we will probably see a lot more of these temporary “View Enhancement Projects”, given the likely backtracking on the conveyance of Lake Whatcom watershed timber lands to the County for parklands.


Two lonely trees remain to seed a new forest.

1 Comment »

  1. Nice post, Al. I like that word, “duff” which seems perfect to describe the soft ground underfoot. I also noticed the political shift on the council and worry about what it means for the environment.

    Comment by DJan — November 16, 2009 @ 7:24 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: