Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The flatness of Mud Mountain

Distance: 7 miles or so

Looking for a short, close-to-home hike I could squeeze in before I work drew me to the Mud Mountain Dam River Trail in Enumclaw. There were no magnificent sights and the brown river could only be seen at a distance, but there wasn’t much climbing and I could relax into my surroundings.

The path started near a recreation area (doubt that was around when the Army Corp of Engineers built the dam in the 1940s) and swooped into a thicket of trees, providing occasional glimpses of the river if I hopped over the safety fences to peer over the eroding ridges. The first mile and a half stayed flat and took me through some muddy marshes where beautiful yellow flowers were blooming in the shallow pools. And though the views hardly compared to some of my other adventures, I was excited to get a peek of a cascading waterfall on the other side of the river.

By mile 2, the trail began crossing abandoned logging roads and eventually led to a meadow. Apparently storm damage has washed away the rest of the trail, which is all the same since I wouldn’t have had time to finish all 11 miles before clocking in at the newsroom. Instead of turning around and heading back the way I came, I detoured down random logging roads in search of a view that would leave me with the “summit” feeling of the hike.

Satisfied after climbing a muddy ridge to gaze out on an amber-colored valley dotted with felled trees, I followed the road back to the trail and reclaimed the river as my companion. Even such a simple outing beats being behind a desk!

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