Iron Horse Trail, Lake Easton, and Lake Sammamish
May 18, 2015 by Megan
After spending the night in Ellensburg, we were on our way and on schedule Sunday morning to kick off Day 4. This only lasted a short while as we found our route impacted by whim as well as necessity as the day progressed.
First came Cle Elum, and a sign for the Iron Horse / John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Now, Iron Horse State Park is on our list, and the trail itself is 110 miles long… so we knew it made most sense to capture it at multiple points as much as possible. So we pulled off in Cle Elum to do just that. It was awesome! And for someone who loves the color orange, old things, as well as mountain vistas, I wasn’t disappointed. Believe me that I plan to come back and check out this awesome Bed & Breakfast just off the trail where you get to stay in little restored rail cars… so cute!
With unplanned stop #1 down, we headed to Lake Easton, back on track. This gorgeous State Park in the glacial valley of the Cascades has some lovely camping opportunities, beach and play areas, and a 10 horsepower engine limit that makes the lake ideal for kayaking and fishing. I found myself once again on a solo hike for a higher vantage of the lake while Rob gave Dane some playtime attention.
It struck me big time while in the trees just how fortunate we are to be calling this “work.” Granted, we are managing long hours and an aggressive timetable, but still. I almost had to pinch myself. When I got back to the Winnie Warrior, I found Rob with a wry smile and a new plan. Turns out our Day 5 plan was meant to end at the Goldendale Observatory. Turns out the observatory is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays… so that left us with a few options. Take two days off (ha ha) and wait for the observatory to open; backtrack and head towards Yakima; or continue Northwest and arrive at the coast almost a week ahead of schedule. Guess which one we chose?
At the end of our drive we were once again racing the sunset, taking advantage of glowing golden light on the water, and quickly absorbing the lay of the land. Going from a campers’ park to a day users’ park is a bit of a shock to the system, as you figure out what the attractions to shoot are exactly. It is less about amenity and more about activity. On the Lake Sammamish “wish list,” as I have come to call our rough shot sheet, was a request for images of ‘the heron rookery’ and ‘wetlands.’ As I looked everywhere for a map or signs for the rookery, asking passersby as able, it dawned on me that a rookery may not be an official park-designated area. It may just be where herons like to hang out. This is when the evening became all about heron hunting.
Once again, we finished off the day feeling like we’d hustled from dawn till dusk, and knowing we wanted to put in a few more miles to camp at our morning destination: Camano Island. I’ll admit, I quickly fell asleep on the futon in the back while Rob guided the Winnie Warrior to the coast.