Squak SP Medium Loop

Kim was free for a hike. The forecast was poor. Going farther east or north of Seattle meant more rain. We chose a lose in hike that would not be all under rain. It meant another trip to Squak Mountain for me and a rare visit for Kim. The morning forecast improved. We might have a few hours without rain in the late morning. We headed east and reached the state park trailhead at 8:33 am. We were on our way at 8:41 am. Though it was sprinkling the lot was about one third full. I started with rain pants and a jacket. First, Kim wated to go see the Pretzel Tree. The loop trail is short. I was there recently and could not see the tree. I could not recall exactly what it looked like but I saw nothing even close to a pretzel. I figured it must have fallen. We reached the spot and could not see anything like it. Then I tilted my head wday back and looked right overhead. There is was. A tree split part way up with one part spiraling around the other. Near the tree the ground was covered with blooming bleeding hearts.  With that done, we headed for the main trail.

On a trip justd a few weeks ago, I saw very few bleeding hearts. On this trip we saw them most everywhere. Some patches were huge. Quite a show right now. The trail is smooth and gently graded. The overcast and moist air really brought out the many shades of green. Many more leaves had opened since my last visit. I figured with all the rain it would be tough to take photos with my phone camera and its touch screen. When the light rain soon ended we stopped for a lot of photo opportunities. It began to look like I would have a trip report after all. We started pretty slowly and with all the photo stops this was a long and slow hike. It was a break from fast hiking and early finishes. This trips are fun on occasion. At .50 miles we passed the end of our big loop. The main trail continued to climb gentle and steadily. My recent trips have taken the Perimeter Trail over to Debbie's View. This time we continued up the Bullitt Gorge Trail. Work has been done where we crossed the creek at the bottom. The muddy crossing has been changed and I easily crossed with my non waterproof hiking shoes without getting wet.

The Bullitt Gorge Trail is steeper and quite direct as it climbs the slope. We crossed the creek once more and the grade eased. We were now in the clouds. Mist was in the air as we passed the West Peak Trail and reached the old  road. A short steep climb brought us to the Bullitt Fireplace. Kim had not hiked here previously. It was 11:18 am and we took advantage of the picnic table for our lunch stop. We had seen a few other groups going up and others coming down. We saw another couple groups at the fireplace. At 11:45 am we headed on. I chose the ridge trail over to Central Peak. This narrow boot path of a few years ago is now a big wide trail. It was also pretty muddy. With a few ups and downs we popped out just below Central Peak. It was very misty at the peak. We did not stay. We headed back down the trail to the top of the Old Griz Trail. Down we went. This is a beautiful trail. Very smooth and soft trail. A lot of green all around. Some bigger trees too. We hiked very slowly and took quite a few photos. The lighting was really good.

When we reached Phil's Creek Trail we turned right. There were several big and smaller trees across the trail from winter storms. We had to get over or under them on winter headlamp hikes. Now they are all cut away. Easy hiking on a very gently descending trail. Near the fireplace we passed a Mountaineer hiking group. Now they passed us once again while we took a photo stop. A guy was leading and the other 8 members were all women. They were having a great time. We passed the East Ridge Trail and continued down Phil's Creek. This was the third time I have hiked this section of trail in the past month and the third time ever. We had been hearing a lot of bird songs all day and it was even more pronounced along here. The deep overcast had a few cracks in it as the weather generally improved from here. That included a few short spits of rain. We crossed the creek on the bridge. The salmonberry bushes are so thick that you can barely see any of the creek. They have leafed out since my last visit. Back in forest, we soon reached the best bleeding heart patches of the day.

In places along here the entire slope was bleeding heart flowers. Many hundreds of them. I don't think I have seen so many in one place at any time. This really slowed down our pace. The moss is very thick here. Big rocks were covered with green. Moss, ferns, and more. We took another break at the bench. A little food and water and we were back on our way. The long switchbacks that lose very little elevation come next. That is followed by what seems like too long until we reached the May Valley Loop. For the third time I chose the longer left part of the loop. This brought us down to the bridge over Phil's Creek. Now we had some actual sun breaks. The mostly rainy hike we planned on turned out to be a little drizzle at first and a few short bits of rain, and 90% dry. Much better than my most optimistic hopes.

We crossed the road and then reached the end of our big loop. More blooming bleeding hearts all along here. The last half mile went pretty fast. We reached the parking lot at 3:36 pm. There were plenty of open parking spots. It was more crowded than I expected at the early damp start and less so at the sunny conclusion.

This turned out to be a really fun hike. We covered about 7.3 miles with 1800' of elevation gain. We had some drizzle, some misty clouds, some short rain spits, and some sunshine. All kinds of weather and lighting. On the busiest trails we saw some folks. ON much of the route we saw nobody. Their were small numbers of wildflowers like trillium, yellow violets, starflowers,  salmonberry, spring beauty, and a lot of bleeding hearts. I like to keep up a good pace on hikes but sometimes it is fun to hike slow and take a lot of photos. We managed to spend almost seven hours on the trail. With an early start we were still home well before dinner. When you hike often doing a different kind of hike keeps things fresh. We had a great time on the trail.

The Pretzel Tree
Lots Of Bleeding Hearts
Great Colors
Very Vivid Colors
Very Mossy
Green Border
Mossy Trees
Steep Ascent
More Moss
Bullitt Fireplace
Misty Trail
Squak Mt. Microwave
Red Currant
Old Griz Trail
Slime Mold
Phil's Creek Trail
A Little Sunshine
Frog Pelt Fungus
Kim On The Trail
Phil's Creek?
Very Red
Spring Beauty
Kim At Work
More Bleeding Hearts
Mossy Rock?
Big Rock
Moss & Ferns
Now It Is Sunny
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2022