Deception Creek

Day two of the Memorial Day Weekend and Kim joined me for a hike up Deception Creek. I did a 14 mile hike up Ingalls Creek the day before. I was looking for an easy forest walk this day. It would also be a good day to beat the 80 degree heat. Having back to back 80 degrees on Memorial Day Weekend is very unusual. Kim had never hiked up Deception Creek. I had hiked it on Memorial Day Weekend in 2014. That day was cloudy and damp. This would be quite different. We met at 7:05 am and soon headed for Highway 2. I have given up hiking on Highway 2 on Sunday's. The traffic is horrendous. This being the middle day of a three day weekend I made and exception. A Deception exception as it were. The trailhead road is 8 miles beyond Skykomish and just .20 miles past the Deception Falls parking lot. The road goes under the train tracks and ends under power lines. The small lot was nearly full when we arrived at 8:45 am. It was sunny as expected.

We packed up and headed into the forest just before 9:00 am. The trail drops a little to the creek and follows alongside. Much like Ingalls Creek the day before, this creek is really a river in the springtime. It was mostly white water as it dropped at a good grade. Just downstream by the highway is Deception Falls. Upstream it is just continuous Deception Cascades. The darnedest thing happened in the forest alongside the creek. It was cold. It was very cold. At first I thought I would just tough it out. Very soon I stopped to put on long sleeves. It was like high 30s cold. An instant refrigerator. We immediately came across skunk cabbage. The smell was still strong in places. The creek is high enough this time of year to flow around trees and engulf the trail in places. A path leads around the current shore.

A short  way along we reached the wilderness boundary. Just after that is the bridge over Deception Creek. It is quite a bridge. A log with steps cut in it leads up to the bridge level. The bridge itself has a sturdy handrail on one side. The creek is really flowing fast and deep. Falling in would not end well. We took our time enjoying the roaring creek. Most of the trail is far from the creek but the beginning is right alongside. After crossing the creek the trail begins to climb. It is not a steep trail but it gains elevation consistently. There were lots of side creeks that needed to be crossed. Most were easy rock hops. A few were a bit wider. None proved to be a big problem.

There were some spring wildflowers in bloom. We saw trillium, yellow violets, more skunk cabbage, and lots of marsh marigolds. I really like the big white flowers on the marsh marigolds. They seemed to be at their peaks all along the trail. Kim was most interested in the smallest and largest things. A prime bit of slime mold for one. Many big old growth trees for another. This is an older forest that has a wide variety of trees. Douglas firs, cedar, western hemlocks, and also pacific silver firs, and yew trees. No mono culture in this forest. A few groups passes us as we worked our way up the trail. As expected it was far from crowded.

After gaining 1000' the route began to drop a little. Just after 2.5 miles we reached Sawyer Creek. On my previous visit one of the handrails was broken. It still is. The creek is really roaring this time of year. After the creek we began to move towards Deception Creek. We could hear it at times but the route moved quite a distance away. Now we were closing back in. We saw a few small snow patches then more bare dirt. A little after the three mile mark we neared the creek and found continuous snow. This was the condition in 2014 also. Then Gwen and I went on a little farther and the snow went away. That is likely now too. The forested flat near the creek is where the snow was deepest. Kim slipped and hit her knee so we decided this would be our turnaround point.

This flat has several campsites. Since my visits have found it under snow I have not seen them. A short way off the trail we found a spot right above the creek for our lunch break. The creek is wider and a little less deep along here. It was about 12:50 pm when we stopped. We spent a full fifty minutes there. The shade, rushing creek, and lack of bugs made for a very nice stay. There was no real destination for this hike this day. We just enjoyed the creek, the trees, the wildflowers, and the relative solitude. At 1:40 pm we packed up and headed back. We made better time going back.

All along the trail we saw devil's club just beginning to leaf out. The forest seems pretty open now. That will change as the large stands of devil's club fill in. It is not a brushy trail. On my previous visit there were a number of trees down. We cleared out several clusters of small trees and branches. This time the trail was already in good shape. A few small logs to cut but we could step over almost all of them. We did not see any really big trees. We did see a lot of well above average sized trees. Lots of them 4-6 feet in diameter. A few were even bigger. The great thing is just how many big trees are within a mile or two of the trailhead. One does not need to hike deep into the forest to find old growth. This is exactly the type of trail that Kim likes. She was quite pleased with the choice.

The last part was no longer a refrigerator but it was still much cooler than the forest around it. We were slow to pass. In time we hiked the last bit to the parking lot. It was quite warm out in the sunshine. We were hot in places on the trail but the deep forest provided more cooling than most places on this day. As expected, the drive back was very unlike a Sunday on Highway 2. Steady traffic but doing the speed limit all the way. A stop at Zeke's showed many others were out this day. We had a longish wait to order.

This proved the perfect hike for the day after 14 miles at Ingalls Creek. A cool forest with lots of big trees. Early spring flowers were blooming in late spring. It was a month behind other places I have recently hikes. The dark cool forest will do that. Kim had a big tree mossy everywhere kind of day. Right up her alley. Though we only hiked a little over 6 miles with about 1400' of elevation gain it was a full day in the forest. Since there is no great view or lake or really any destination this is not a busy trail. All the better for those of us who hike just to see the forest.

Deception Creek
Skunk Cabbage
Raging Creek
Ascending Bridge
Kim On Bridge
Slime Mold
Spiral Tree
Yellow Violet
Marsh Marigold
Small Falls
Looking Up
Creeks Were Full
More Skunk Cabbage
Snow At Turnaround
Lunch Spot
Sawyer Creek
Big Tree
Devil's Club
Deception Bridge
Roaring Creek
Big Tree Forest
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2017