And Sugarloaf on accident. This hike felt like driving around LA using an old school, paper map. Like back in the dial-up days with printed MapQuest directions. We were confused. At least I was. Karann would have figured it out if not for me being certain we needed to turn left on the 216. It was all good in the end, hitting both Mount Erie and Sugarloaf. I’m not sure why it’s not called Mount Sugarloaf. It’s either plain old Sugarloaf or Sugarloaf Mountain. Maybe there is some sort of height requirement to earn Mount in front?
The plan last Sunday was to hike up to Mount Erie, part of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. Karann had it all planned out—hit up Lake Erie Grocery for paper maps, park at the trailhead, and make our way up using the map. At the trailhead, we planned out our route: start at the 215 to the 225, hop on the 230 and then the 207, finishing with the 216 to the summit. It was straight-forward heading up. The trails are all marked with their number on wooden labels, nailed to trees at the trail junctions.
Going up was quiet. The only complaint—which isn’t even that bad—was that it started out with a bang. Uphill right away. We were expecting more of a leisurely stroll that hid any steepness. Nope. The steep welcomed us as soon as we hit the 215. We survived and eventually made it to the more leisurely uphill part. Thank goodness for leisurely… we like to nose around and check things out. Like all the mushrooms we found.
We passed a handful of people on the beautiful Sunday morning. And the few we passed were going in different directions which made it nice not to have people in front or behind us. My main goal with hiking—with anything really—is to avoid people. All friendly people I’m sure, but I’ve been embracing social distancing long before Covid. There were birds galore. And a few squirrels. Cute little suckers. There was a bit more action as we neared the top of Mount Erie. The trail is close enough to the road to hear cars and more people appeared. One family we passed said they were doing it backwards—they parked at the top and hiked down and then back up.
Parts of the trail. I’m a sucker for tree roots on trails.
Trees and some blooming action.
At the top of the 216 we found the summit sign, directing us to head left. We made it off the trail and through the parking lot, to the view points. What a beautiful view! Even on a cloudy day. I say this often but we live in an absolutely beautiful area. The thought of ever living somewhere flat again is such a nope for me. And I need bodies of water. The Pacific Northwest is hard to beat with my list of requirements.
Heading to Mount Erie.
Panoramic view on top of Mount Erie.
Mount Erie has climbing also. We learned this seeing groups of people walk about with their climbing gear, and watching a few hooked to their ropes tied to trees. Which brings me to my favorite hike picture. These four backpacks were all alone. Not a single person around. We have no idea whose they were. Probably climbers? And if I had to guess, I’m sure each backpack alone is well over $100. Not to mention all the contents. This is another why I love this area. People are genuinely good and trustworthy. When I go to Costco, I leave my wallet in the cart as I grab things half-way down aisles. I’ve seen open purses with wallets in full view, resting in carts with nobody around. There are always iPhones charging in random plugs without anybody around. And I’ve left my stroller at points where I take a kid out to walk a bit, with my backpack filled with stuff—and my wallet—in the stroller. Back in the day of two kiddos, Brian left the diaper bag at a park in Downtown Issaquah. It was a few hours later when we realized it was still at the park. We drove back and it was still sitting there, on the bench Brian left it on. Compared to Sacramento, where Brian’s dad was grocery shopping with his reusable bags in his cart. He was standing in front of his cart, turned toward the shelf to grab something when someone swiped his bags! Who does this?! I know not all of Sacramento is bad. And that there are those kind of people around here. But for the most part, I realize we live in a bubble. An absolutely beautiful bubble. I digress.
Rock coming out of Mount Erie at the top. And three massive antennas up there.
After taking in the beauty of Mount Erie’s views, we trekked back down with the goal of going in reverse of coming up. When we made it to the 216 junction, I was certain we came from the left. Karann wasn’t sold but I’m usually really great with directions so we went left. My dad used to say he knew areas like the back of his hand. And I would argue I’m the same. Except on Mount Erie. My dad also used to say he’d do whatever was asked of him on the second Tuesday of next week. Haha. I have so many expressions from my parents.
Turns out I was totally wrong but the silver lining is we were heading up to Sugarloaf. We thought it was odd we were going uphill. We scored with having Sugarloaf to ourselves. We passed one couple heading down, asking us where we came from. Turns out the trails aren’t labeled at the top of Sugarloaf. They went down, we went up, and we found a spot on some rocks to enjoy the view while we snacked.
Heading up to Sugarloaf. And the view.
Snacks, check. Back to the car we went. As we started down, we passed the same couple again. They seemed confused as to where they were going—and amused they had no idea—but they were able to point us to the 215 trail. No signs and all. Even though we started on the 215, we were on a different section of the sucker. It eventually led us to a different trailhead along the road up to Mount Erie. We started walking down the road figuring it would take us to the car eventually. We passed a couple walking their dog and asked if we were heading the right way for the main parking lot. They both said yes, and they guy said, “It’s just down there; you can’t miss it!” His meaning of just is slightly different than mine because we were on that road for what felt life forever. Just three hours to go would have been more fitting. Haha, nah, it was more like 20 minutes. Not just in my book. Another parental expression: my mom never uses a lot. She says a lot is where you park. So of course I never use a lot either because my mom drilled that into my head.
Back at the original trailhead—just down the road—we loaded up and left for Lynnwood. We met at the Target there. I was able to grab a few things before Karann arrived to carpool. Nothing beats shopping at Target first thing in the morning. Avoiding people.
Next up with Karann is Colchuck Lake. We’re branching out with our hiking and doing destination hikes. We’ll spend two nights in Leavenworth playing tourist between hiking. Before then, I’ll hit up a few trails in June with another friend. And I have big plans to do a hiking week with the kiddos. I never thought I’d say this, but I CANNOT wait for summer! (I reserve the right to complain about summer, and the sunshine and heat in about two weeks.)