Sunday morning came a bit too early for me! I knew it would....and it did. Being an evening shift worker, I'm usually just getting tired around 2:00, falling asleep around 3:00 a.m., and my best sleep occurs between 4:00 and 8:00 a.m., so the thought of getting up and out of the house by 8:00 is enough to make me cringe....and it did. However, I really wanted to be on this trail long before the crowds on what was going to be a beautiful, warm summer day. So, I set my alarm for 7:15 and woke up at 7:10. Most of my gear was waiting by the door, so I got dressed, downed a cup of coffee, loaded up Jack and I was on the road by 7:55. I headed north on I-5 for about 5 miles, and exited at Exit 231 (Route 11-Chuckanut Drive). Within one mile of exiting the freeway, the farm lands were enveloped in a fairly thick fog. As I headed north, the fog seemed to be getting thicker. Naturally, I was hoping it would burn off by the time I trudged my way to the viewpoint on the way to Fragrance Lake.
I was the first car at the small parking lot at the trail head, located just after the entrance to Larrabee State Park. The trail head parking is on the right and holds about 6 or 7 cars. I backed in to make leaving that much easier. Route 11 is a narrow, winding road and backing out onto it on a busy summer weekend could be difficult. I hung my Discover Pass on my rear view mirror, put on my pack and we were off.
My GPS listed this trail head at about 170' elevation. This trail starts with couple steep switchbacks, meets up with the Interurban Trail, I turned right and after about 25' I picked up the Fragrance Lake trail on my left. I climbed and climbed up a series of switchbacks passing a tipped-over tree. It always amazes me how big the root ball is on these trees. Although this tree was only about 3 feet in diameter, look at how big across the roots are. It's difficult to put into words for others, so I sat Jack in front of it for comparison sake. He's a good size dog, over 90 lbs and about 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall. Quite impressive...
|Jack in front of a tipped-over tree|
As we approached what I thought was the completion of our orbit around the lake, we headed off to the right to pick up the next leg of our hike. After about 1/10 of a mile, I realized that this area did not look familiar, so I turned around to see what I would have seen on my way up....nope, definitely did not look familiar at all. I must admit there was a very brief moment of panic; am I lost? How could I be lost? Then I realized that the bridge we just crossed looked similar to the one at the beginning of the loop had we gone clockwise instead...similar, but not the same bridge. So, we walked back to the trail junction we just left, and finished our loop around the trail. Occasionally looking back while hiking is a good way of "staying found"; it gives you another perspective.
We went back to, but not through, the bike barricade and took a left. We passed a lady with her little dog, who was off-leash. It was the first time we've ever passed a little dog who didn't snarl and growl, I was impressed and thought about them for the next several minutes. Within 1/10th of a mile, we got to another bike barricade and out on to what I now know is Fragrance Lake Road. It's an old road, just gravel, trees on both sides. We headed right which was somewhat south, and passed a sign on the left for Lost Lake Trail. Someday we'll do that hike. After stopping to chat with a man and his son, giving them some directions about how to get to Lost Lake Trail, about 1/2 way down this 2 mile road we passed a small waterfall. Jack hopped in and got a drink and I stared at it, somewhat mesmerized by the sight and sounds of the waterfall. It was a small one, maybe a foot wide and falling 15 feet or so, but there is something soothing about the sound of water.
Heading back south on Route 11, the traffic was quite a bit heavier and the fog was gone. Many people were pulled off to the turnouts to catch of glimpse of the amazing views of Puget Sound. Next time I'll This was a good hike, an excellent workout and close to home, and I'll certainly be back to explore more of what the Chuckanuts have to offer as part of my 47 Hikes.
|Sunshine and Shadows!|
|The elevation profile pretty much says it all!|
Fragrance Lake Summary - 8/28/2011
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes