state park

Chuckanut Drive

Seattle almost tops the list of cloudiest large cities in the United States. The number of sunny days are limited to less than a 100 in an year. And when we have one of those precious sunny day falling on a weekend we would not miss a chance to head outdoors.

So on a beautiful sunny Saturday in early May we decided to take this drive. Chuckanut Drive is about 75 miles north of Seattle. It is a 21 miles scenic route with views of farmlands, lakes, mountains and beaches.

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We started our journey and drove through the lush farmlands, in and out of the towns of Allen & Bow. The views were pleasing and the surroundings looked gorgeous.

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The views of the farmlands and the mountains behind were adding a charm to the place.

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The drive then continued on the rock shoulder of the Chuckanut Mountains. We spotted many water gliders in the Samish Bay. They were enjoying their sunny day.

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There were railway tracks close to the Samish Bay enhancing the impression of it being an old time scenic highway.

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There were many pullouts along the drive and we enjoyed the views of the Samish Bay.

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In the distant we could overlook the breathtaking views of the San Juan Islands.

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We enjoyed the views on the way and reached Larrabee State Park. This park features freshwater lakes, coves and tidelands. It provides camping facilities and all the camp sites were booked that weekend.

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There are few hikes around the area and we went on to hike Fragrance Lake. It was about 5 miles round feet and 1100 feet elevation gain. The lake was small and beautiful and there were people actually swimming in the lake.

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We spent our afternoon at the beach access area of Larrabee State Park.

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We had packed our picnic lunch and we enjoyed it there. People were relaxing on the small beach and kids were playing around.

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The drive continued all the way to the 1880’s brick town of Fairhaven.

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The town still has many old and historic buildings providing a unique setting to the place.

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Built during the second boom era of Fairhaven, the Nelson Block, trimmed with Chuckanut sandstone, served as a bank for over 30 years until the second Depression forced it out of business.

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We strolled through the town and witnessed a beautiful sunset at the Marine Park.

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Another shot captured with a long exposure.

We had our dinner at a cozy Thai restaurant in the area with live music. We headed home with images of a lovely day. It was a nice relaxing drive and we enjoyed the beautiful water views of the Pacific Northwest.

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Perspective

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On our recent visit to Lake Sammamish State Park this tap drew our attention. We enjoyed the beautiful flowers surrounding it and the dry leaves beneath it.
These captures are shared here for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

Sharing again for Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary

 

Saint Edward State Park

Blast from the Past!

Come Travel Along

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In a fine winter weekend the sun was shining out and we decided to drive to this park. It is a beautiful setting in nature with its fresh air, trees and moss. There is also a gorgeous old building on the grounds that used to be a Catholic seminary until 1977. There are amazing playgrounds and huge fields for running and tossing a ball. There is also access to Lake Washington shoreline.

We found a quiet sense of peace and solitude in this grand forested setting. We enjoyed the smell of the ferns and trees and just listened to the sounds of nature. There are lots of trails to wonder through the huge forest. I’ve yet to walk any of the trails, but they look fantastic.

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Wallace Falls State Park

We went to this pretty little park on a sunny weekend of July. It offers some hiking trails, picnic facilities, camping and a few waterfalls. It is a very busy trail especially in summer but since we got a late start we were able to grab a parking spot close to the trailhead. The trailhead starts right under few gigantic power lines with a continuous sound of the peculiar buzzing. Once we passed under the power lines and into the tree line we were in for a beautiful hike. We took the River trail for the Lower Falls which was well shaded.

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Trailhead under power lines

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Creek at the base of the hike

The trail was well maintained and we walked through dense woods with nice terrain and bridges. Although it was a sunny day but the thick trees around covered most of the sunlight and we were walking in a well shaded path. There were a lot of signage along the way to guide us to the right direction. The mossy forest was beautiful and there were few benches along the way to take short rests. In about 1.8 miles distance we reached the Lower Falls.

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Lower and Middle Falls

Lower Wallace Falls was barely a waterfall at all, but still made for some nice photographs. Although we came in the afternoon the trail was very busy. We saw people of all ages on this trail and as this is a dog friendly trail there were many dogs accompanying their owners. After a while we marched our way to the Middle Falls. Here the trail becomes little challenging with steeper grades. It is still good for beginners and casual hikers like us. There were a few areas where it took a lot of work but it really was not that hard. The Middle Falls are about half mile from the Lower Falls and offer the best view of the actual falls. We sat there for few minutes and clicked some pictures.

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View from Middle Falls point

We decided to proceed on the trail and hike the complete 2.8 miles way to reach the Upper Falls. As we continued on our way to the top we also came across a nice panoramic view. Although the sections available to check out the views were small we still were refreshed with the distant mountains and shining sun.

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Upper Wallace Falls Vista

Finally we reached the Upper Falls. The hike to the top is only worth for the exercise as the view is far inferior to the view at Middle Falls. It was a little disappointing, because even though we were at the top of the waterfall, the way that the layout is set up makes it nearly impossible to actually see the view. There are trees and a ledge in the way. We sat there and had some snacks that we carried with us. This point was not much crowded as not everyone comes to the Upper Falls.

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Upper Wallace Falls

The waterfalls are pretty, but not spectacular.

Wallace Falls also put in some overnight cabins that are available by reservation off the state parks website. We didn’t camp or stay in cabins or explore the rest of the park area except the hiking trails.

The trail was wonderful with the sound of the rushing river and raging waterfalls accompany us for most of the hike.  Overall it was an afternoon well spent with some good form of exercise amidst beautiful views of nature.

TIP: The trail is beautiful and about an hour drive from Seattle. So it is a nice outing on a sunny day. Try to reach early in the day or later afternoon as parking may become a challenge around noon. There are lots of photo opportunities with many viewpoints so do not forget your camera. This trail is kid-friendly and dog-friendly although the pets have to be on leash. The views from the lower and middle falls far surpasses that of the upper falls so if you are feeling tired or short on time then you may skip going to the top.