Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Chiwaukum Creek

It feels a little like these hiking posts are becoming an unplanned regular feature.  The flowers have been so beautiful and interesting that it has been hard to not post them.  Also just being out in the woods with the clean air, the noisy (at times deafening) roar of water cascading over rocks, the cool spray of river or creek water on a hot day, has been a treat and one I enjoy more each week. 

Chiwaukum is located on the east side of Stevens Pass on the way to Leavenworth, Washington.  It is part of the Alpine Lakes region.  The drive from Seattle was longer than usual and took over 2 hours to get to the trail so we left by 7 am.  I had to wake up a bit earlier than I am used to for sure.  This is another river trail although the trail runs along the hillside above the creek not right next to it.  Once up on the trail it stays fairly even and does not have much elevation gain (less work for the legs and lungs).  We started at 1800 feet and ended up at 2200 or 2300 feet so about a 400 or 500 ft change.  Not bad.  We could have followed the trail farther but chose to stop at a nice area where the trail had dipped down right next to the river then turned around after lunch.  It ended up being about 5 miles round trip. 

 The beginning of the forest trail starts here.

Near the parking area the trail starts out on a wide graded dirt road for about 1½ miles before the actual forest trail begins.  Once on the trail it is narrow and even though this is a very popular trail, vegetation is starting to encroach.  The pathway is only wide enough for one person in most places.  The ground is leaf covered but a very hard walking surface under that.  I will need gel insoles in my boots to cushion my feet if I do this one again.  Unlike the thickly forested west side of the mountains this eastern area is semi forested with some lovely open spaces for the sunshine to spill down and enough shady areas to keep the hiker cool and comfortable. 

The Chiwaukum Creek burbles and at times roars with a pleasant water noise all along the way.  This is a very fast moving creek or river with many rapids.

We saw a total of six tiny Calypso Orchids in bloom.  One was just peeking out of the sticks where we sat to have lunch the others were here and there along the trail.  The showy and beautiful Lewisia Tweedi was blooming everywhere along the way. 
The wonderful thing about digital cameras is that it is possible to take hundreds of pictures.  The hard part is trying to decide which of the many can be shared here.  Enjoy. 



Queen’s Cup

Service berry

At first I thought this might be a Yarrow but it turns out that Yarrow is white not yellow.  It may be a Groundsel.  As I have mentioned I am still learning to know these plants so any help from readers is appreciated.


Lewisia Tweedi

Closer view of a Lewisia Tweedi bloom

The Lewisia ranges in color from a pale almost cream through yellows, soft coral, and even pink.

Orange Indian Paintbrush

There was a lot of Paintbrush in places.  The brilliant orange color makes it really stand out in all the surrounding green and brown.

Wild Sweet Pea


Calypso Orchid


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