Friday, June 27, 2014

Pinnacle Lake Trail

Bear Lake on the Pinnacle Lake Trail September 2012 

Oplopanax horridus (Devil's Club) & Tsuga heterophylla (Western Hemlock) Pinnacle Lake Trail September 2012 

Cladothamnus pyroliflorus (Copperbush) Pinnacle Lake Trail September 2012 

Mountain tarn on the Pinnacle Lake Trail September 2012  

Pinnacle Lake September 2012

Click here to see more photos of the Pinnacle Lake Trail.

The Pinnacle Lake Trail takes you through a beautiful forest to the subalpine zone near Mount Pilchuck on the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County.  The flora & terrain are both very interesting here.  It is mucky & grassy in the subalpine zone.  This is quite a contrast to the nearby Ashland Lake Trail, which ends in a wet environment filled with trees & bog plants.  The difference must be that Pinnacle Lake is 800 feet higher in elevation.  The trail was in poor condition in September 2012.  It was rocky & filled with the roots of huge trees.  It is also steep.  Pinnacle Lake itself is fairly small & not exceptionally beautiful.  The smaller tarn, in the same narrow cleft that contains Pinnacle Lake, is much more charming.  Bear Lake, near the start of the trail, is also pleasing.  The trail starts at 2,700 feet in elevation & climbs to 3,800 feet (1,158 meters).  It is 3.8 miles round trip.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rainier Beach Playfield

 Dunlap Elementary School

Rainier Beach Playfield in October 2013

Playfields are not very exciting places, unless you are actually playing a rousing game of soccer, football, baseball or softball.  But a large expanse of mowed lawn is restful to the eye & promotes a feeling of tranquility.  The Rainier Beach Playfield is particularly attractive, because it is in the secluded center of a super-block, surrounded by large old trees & the appealing architecture of the handsome brick Dunlap Elementary School, built in 1924 & the sleekly modern Rainier Beach Community Center, built in 2013.  Two other schools of unexceptional architecture are also here, South Lake High School & South Shore K-8 School.  Dunlap Elementary School honors Joseph Dunlap, the first white settler of Rainier Beach who built a home on the site in the 1870s. The Dunlaps donated the school site in 1904 to replace the 1898 log cabin school house.  The Rainier Beach Playfield can be found at 8802 Rainier Avenue S, a short walk from the Rainier Beach Station.  

Rainier Beach is located in the southeast corner of Seattle on the shore of Lake Washington. The Rainier Beach neighborhood includes the Dunlap neighborhood, which lies just west, between Rainier Beach & Beacon Hill. Joseph Dunlap built a cabin at S Henderson Street & 50th Avenue S. He brought his family from Iowa by wagon over the Oregon Trail in September 1869. Between the Dunlap claim and the lake was a low swampy area called Dunlap Slough. Those who settled south of the Dunlaps & close to the lake called their community Rainier Beach.  This information comes from Seattle Neighborhoods: Rainier Beach at

Friday, June 13, 2014

May in Seattle

Kniphofia (Torch Lily) & Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)


Weigela florida

Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry) This beautiful native plant with edible fruits deserves greater use in residential landscapes.

All photos were taken in the Montlake neighborhood in May 2014.

May 2014 in Seattle was significantly warmer & wetter than normal.  The mean temperature was 59.1F/15.06C.  The normal mean temperature is 56F/13.33C.  Total precipitation was 3.15 inches/80.01mm.  Normal precipitation is 1.94 inches/49.28mm.  The highest temperature was 85F/29.44C on 5/1, the lowest was 45F/7.22C on 5/7, 5/9 & 5/10.  Maximum daily temperatures were 60F/15.56C or more on every day of the month, 70F/21.1C or more on 9 days & 80F/26.67C or more on 4 days.  Temperatures in general were much more like June, than May.  There were 3 days with heavy rain, 4 days with rain, 11 days with light rain, 7 days with fog, 11 cloudy days, 16 partly cloudy days & 4 fair days.  Most of the rain fell at the beginning of the month.  There was only 0.37 inches/9.4mm after 5/10, while 2.14 inches/54.36mm fell from 5/3 through 5/5.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Kelcema Lake Trail

Kelcema Lake Trail in August 2013

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry) in August 2013

Kelcema Lake Trail in August 2013

Kelcema Lake Trail in August 2013

Kelcema Lake in August 2013

Click here for more photos of the Kelcema Lake Trail.

The Kelcema Lake Trail is a short trail through sub-alpine forest off the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County.  While the trail & lake are pretty enough, there are many more interesting & beautiful hikes in the immediate area.  Because you can drive on the forest service road to very nearly the level of the lake, this is an easy (1.2 mile round trip) walk for those not interested in, or able to do, a more strenuous hike.  Most of the short hikes off the Mountain Loop Highway are at lower elevations.