Lime Kiln

After a rainy hike on Saturday I was not sure if I would get out again this weekend. At 9:20 Kim called and suggested we head up to the Lime Kiln trail. It rained all night and all morning but amazingly it just stopped. No rain on the drive up, on the hike, or on the drive home. We did not reach the trailhead until about 11:30. There were no other cars there. This hike is just outside of Granite Falls and I definitely did not expect to be the only folks on the trail on a Sunday. The trail starts in forest and the trail was covered in red leaves. A very colorful start.

Soon we were on the old road section. The brush is growing and the road/trail is narrowing a bit. Not quite a trail but getting better. Blackberry bushes still had a lot of ripe berries. We slowed down and enjoyed the bounty. The route crosses a very wide bridge over Hubbard Creek and begins the descent towards the South Fork Stillaguamish River. The drop ends when the old Everett & Monte Cristo Railroad grade is met. The tracks are long gone but the trail follows the old route.

This is where the trail gets more interesting. The bench the trail sits on is well above the river but with a steep slope on the uphill side. This mini rain forest is dripping green. Green trees, green leaves, green moss covering downed trees and draping live ones. When it has recently rained the colors are at their most vibrant. We had very good conditions. There are no peaks or lakes but there is no shortage of things to view and photograph. Our pace was very slow. I kept expecting hikers to catch up and pass us. None did.

There is one place where a slide took out much of the trail. A narrow trail crosses. It is not as kid friendly as the whole trail used to be. Some work needs to be done for this short bit. At about 2 1/2 miles we reached the lime kiln. This big oven was used during construction of the railroad. On the other side of the river are tunnels and sections where the railroad ties were cemented into the rock.

The kiln was lost in the jungle for many years before it's rediscovery led to the building of this trail. When the trail first opened it was hard to see though it sits right next to the trail. Moss and ferns covered the sides. Now the moss and ferns are dying and the walls of the kiln are open to view. After the kiln it is about 8/10th of a mile to the end. The river was now in sight and sound. It was dark brown and loud. The recent rains had really brought up the level.

The end of the trail was a little different that we recalled. A loop goes out to where the railroad crossed the river on a bridge. There are cement foundations for the bridge on each side. Now a short steep trail drops to the foundation at river level. I went part way down to get a better look at the river. We continued around the loop to the point where you can walk out onto the gravel along the river. Not this day.

The river completely covered the rocks. We sat on the bank just above the river and had a late lunch. I have been on the Old Robe trail when the water is much higher in the canyon but this was much higher than I have seen it on the Lime Kiln trail. Branches and small logs would pass by periodically but we saw no trees. Soon it was time to head back. The sky began to lighten and the lighting was much different for photos coming back.

We kept waiting for the afternoon crowd to show up but the trail was eerily quiet. When we were less than five minutes from the parking lot we met a group heading in. They were the only people we saw all day. A remarkable amount of solitude on a popular trail near the cities. Our lazy day of hiking lasted from 11:30 to 5:00 pm when we finished. Over five hours to do 7 miles. Not fast but very enjoyable. I'm sure in a year or so when the mountains are awash in a rain storm I'll head on back to the Lime Kiln.

Red & Green
Wide Hiker Bridge
Moss Hanging Everywhere
Lots of Fungi
Interesting Moss
Draped In Moss
Multi Colored Leaf
Sluggy Mushroom
Kim At Work
Ferns On Tree
Halloween Leaf
Lime Kiln
Snail And Fungi
River At Trail End
Triple Shrooms
High Water
Bright Orange
White Water
Mossy Nurse Log
Glowing Branches
Colorful Leaves
Some Blue Sky
All Rocks Covered
2009-Normal Level
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2010