Eagle Lake Fisherman’s Trail

Our Eagle Lake Trail Hike And Camping Experience

View of Gunn Peak from Eagle LakeAs our first real hike in, overnight camping trip of the year, I wanted a relatively easy trail for my 10 year old daughter to navigate.  Eagle Lake Fisherman’s Trail according to the guides would be just such a trail.

After packing all the essentials for an overnight trip, my daughter and I set out mid morning for Eagle Lake.  The drive out to Skykomish is always a mix of the mundane at the start, slowly evolving into more and more wild as one heads East into the wilderness.  Eventually we hit Skykomish and turned left up Beckler Road and the adventure started.

Unlike most places in Western Washington, the trail up to the Eagle Lake Fisherman’s Trail isn’t paved.  It never ceases to amaze me the places that are considering that I grew up in North Idaho, where not even all the streets in town were paved and the ones that were, weren’t that great.  A quick left off Beckler put us on logging roads that were still soft with winter runoff.  That quickly changed to broken fill rock and the road grew rough.

view from forest service road to Eagle LakeThe forest service road we were on climbed steadily and at a few points where it crossed clear cuts, offered some stunning views of the valley below.  My daughter was not impressed by the combination of the narrowness of the road and the near vertical drops on the sides.

The Eagle Lake Fisherman’s Trail trail head is an unremarkable spot where the road makes a tight bend.  There is a Forest Service marker sign and that is pretty much it.  We loaded up, chatted briefly with some other hikers that were heading in and started up the trail.

Eagle Lake Fisherman's Trail Head

Preparing to set out on the trail for Eagle Lake.

The trail starts out with what feels like an almost deliberately placed tunnel of trees that arch over the trail that starts out relatively flat.  We emerged from these tiny trees, crossed a small patch of boulders and entered the forest proper on the narrow track.  The trail itself is not particularly difficult, occasionally blocked by fallen trees or other minor obstacles, but it far from a flat walk in the park.  As you are hiking, don’t forget to look around.

Views of the ridge of Townsend Mountain from the Eagle Lake TrailWhile most of the trees are sizeable 2nd growth, there are several huge trees that are ~5-6′ across that escaped logging the first time through.  They are truly massive and worth pausing to take in.  Occasionally, breaks in the trees revealed views of the ridge on the opposite side of the canyon.

Eventually the trail starts dropping again and descends to the swampy ground below the lake.  Trail instructions say to follow the flags, but we lost them somewhere and had to wander around a bit, 1000′ feet from the lake until we found a trail through the scrubby brush to the two camp sites that sit on opposite sides of the stream flowing out of Eagle Lake.

Camping At Eagle Lake

Both camp sites at Eagle Lake are relatively well developed and have fire rings and a flat spot for a tent.  You may want to scrounge fire wood along the way if you want a fire though, as there is little in the immediate vicinity.  If you are lucky you may get a chance to camp in the cabin that sits at the Southern corner of the lake.  If you zoom in on Google Earth, you can see the roof of the cabin.

For sanitation’s sake someone has built a primitive toilet as well, just East of both the camp sites.  Follow the sign and red flags and you will find it sitting on a rise, all by itself.

Southern face of Gunn Peak as seen from Eagle LakeQuite honestly there isn’t a lot to do at Eagle Lake besides camp out.  The trail as far as I can tell doesn’t ring the lake and the only accessible shoreline is right in front of the cabin.  There are some open spots, but they would require some slogging through the brush to get to.

The camp sites do give a great view of the South East side of Gunn Peak.

My daughter and I set camp and ate our dinner, then explored a bit.  The only other campers up there were a dad, his son and two incredibly hairy Malamutes.  Evening was setting in but my daughter was far from ready to sleep so we wandered over to the cabin for the second time, where we wound up in a snowball fight with him and his son as the dogs barked in protest at the fun.

Beyond that, the night was relatively uneventful and we broke camp in the morning and headed home.  While I can’t say that Eagle Lake is my favorite place to camp, it would make for a great day hike, or even a weekend if you wanted to make the effort to climb the ridge or make your way around the lake and explore.

The cabin at Eagle Lake, WA

A small cabin sits on the southern corner of Eagle Lake, WA. It is first come, first serve, so you may get lucky and get to stay here. People have left all sorts of items, leaving the cabin surprisingly well stocked.

Fishing In Eagle Lake

For a high mountain lake, Eagle Lake is incredibly shallow, ranging into the 20′ depths in the middle.  It does support a small population of trout, evidenced by them jumping for bugs in the afternoon.  The other camper said that some trout in the 12″ to 18″ range can be found in the lake, which is surprising to me considering the size and depth of Eagle Lake.

I definitely would lean towards catch and release up there, as it likely wouldn’t take much to wipe out the fish population.

Final Thoughts On Eagle Lake

On the whole, we really enjoyed the Eagle Lake Fisherman’s Trail and the lake itself.  We had to get back to the world fairly early the following day so didn’t explore much more, but both my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the trail and at the lake itself.  Not sure I’d be up for hiking just for the night again, but packing in for a weekend might be fun if we could scramble our way up to the peak of Mount Townsend.

WTA Eagle Lake Fisherman’s Trail Info

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Whidbey Island One Day Road Trip

Looking for a trip to somewhere but are short on time?

Whidbey Island Road TripWe can’t always carve out a week or even a whole weekend to go road tripping, but the Washington State Parks have put together a one day road trip that  will show you some sights that you might otherwise never have stopped and seen.

Whidbey Island One Day Road Trip

True to the point of this blog, this tour takes you to places right here at home that many people have never stopped to look at.

The Adventure…
Itching to get out of the city this weekend, but don’t have enough time for a full weekend getaway? No sweat. We’ve got the perfect day all planned out for you – complete with fresh salt air, three parks and a great hike.

The day starts early on a (fingers crossed) clear, sunny day. You’ll hop on the 9 a.m. ferry for a quick ride, with views of the Cascade mountain range all the way to Whidbey Island where you’ll find three beautiful waterfront State Parks – Fort Casey, Fort Ebey and Deception Pass. Each park offers unique, gorgeous landscapes and different activities, from exploring the old military structures at Fort Casey to beachcombing at Fort Ebey to kite flying and hiking at Deception Pass.  Read More…

My one addition to this might be to stop at Penn Cove and dig a few clams for dinner the next day (if the tides cooperate).  Just make sure you have a cooler, some tools and your license in the car when you head out!

 

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2013 UFO Fesitival in McMinnville, OR

UFOs and Aliens in McMinnville, OR?

McMinnville, OR UFO fest

If you are in the Northwest, plan to attend the UFO Fest in McMinnville, OR

Are you a fan of UFOs and aliens?  Then you should really take a trip to the McMinnville UFO convention that is held in May every year!

On May 17 and 18, 2013, McMenamins hosts the 14th Annual UFO Festival with a parade, speakers, vendors and LOADS of people dressed up in all sorts of outfits.

About the UFO Festival
The McMinnville UFO Festival began as a way to honor the famous 1950 Trent sighting in which two local citizens witnessed and photographed a UFO.  One of the earlier UFO case with photos, they have put together a PDF detailing the history of the Trent Sightings that you should take a look at.  Trent UFO Sightings PDF

Make your reservations early!

There aren’t a lot of places to stay in McMinnville so if you want to stay in town, you will want to book early!

 

 

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Washington State Wild Horse Monument

If your are headed east on I-90 stop and see the Wild Horse Monument!

Horse of the Wild Horse MonumentPerched high on a bluff over the Columbia River gorge, just a few miles before the turn off to the George Amphitheater is a often missed monument to the wild horses that once roamed across the plains of Washington State.

The monument is actually a series of wild horses cut from 1″ thick steel that is entitled Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies created by David Govedare, symbolically re-creates the Great Spirit turning loose a herd of wild horses above the Columbia River’s Wanapum Lake.  The whole monument actually stretches for 200′ across the top of the hill overlooking the river and the town of Vantage.

Wild Horse Monument viewIt is only accessible from the eastbound lanes of I-90 and with a short hike.  A short but robust scramble, the trail is only one mile round trip with a 150′ elevation gain.  The trip is definitely worth it, as the view from the top is majestic.

So next time you get ready to head east, plan on an extra hour, bring some hiking shoes and stop and see the Wild Horse Monument.  It is a link to a wilder time before farms and development gobbled up the wide open spaces that you really should stop and give thought to.

 

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Fremont Oktoberfest 2011 Drinking Festivities

Yes, it is the Fremont Oktoberfest not Octoberfest!

Server pouring beer at the Fremont Oktoberfest

Thousands of gallons of beer on tap at the Fremont Oktoberfest.

Every Fall, beer lovers at the Fremont Oktoberfest and at festivals across the globe, pause from their busy lives for a couple of weeks to give thanks to Crown Prince Ludwig for marrying Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810.  The Prince was nice enough to invite everyone to the festivities (drinking) and it became an annual event dubbed Oktoberfest.  I can only assume that lots of beer was consumed at that first party considering it was in Bavaria.

Now each year millions of people across the globe raise their beer glasses high, celebrating BEER!  Glorious, glorious BEER!

In that tradition, every fall the Fremont Chamber of Commerce puts on the very cool Fremont Oktoberfest  with brewers from across the region (and country) attending and representing their particular brewed craftings.  This year there were over 40 breweries in attendance at the beer garden and I did my best to sample them all. Read more »

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2011 Snohomish Pumpkin Hurl

Pumpkin Hurl = Screaming Pumpkins of Doom!

Snohomish Pumpkin Hurl TrebuchetFall is the start of the corn maze and Pumpkin season here in the Northwest and my favorite event of the season is the Snohomish Pumpkin Hurl. If you have watched the Pumpkin Chunkin shows on TV, this is very similar, just smaller and more home town.

The star of the show is always Tre Barbaric which broke the distance record in 2007. With a hurls of over 1800 feet, the Pumpkins are literally screaming as the arm of this massive 58′ tall trebuchet comes around and releases its unprocessed pie filling down range.  The only thing missing is a wide screen play back of the splatter at the end. Read more »

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