Hike Distance: 8.4 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1009.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 1628 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 148801 feet

I know it seems repetitive to hike only on forest lands, but we feel very safe, for the most part!  We parked and then a truck stopped to give us some information, and we didn’t take it lightly.  You see, he had walked along this road in the past week and had see a Cougar!  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m always looking out for wild animals that have the capacity to hurt, or kill, us.  However, if we only hiked in areas where there were no apex predators, then we’d never go hiking again.  This is the Pacific Northwest, and there are bears, cougars, wolves (?), coyotes, etc …..  everywhere!

We are completely prepared for whatever occurs, which doesn’t mean bad things can’t happen.  It just means our level of concern is just that; we are cautious and acutely aware of our surroundings.  We carry an InReach satellite communicator that has an emergency beacon, and we also carry bear spray, and have other options.  There is also power in numbers, and it’s unlikely that a large predator would attack, unless there were babies around, with two of us hiking.  My wife was concerned, but I showed confidence, and so we went on our usual hike.  We saw no cougars or bears, or any animals for that matter.  Actually, I love seeing all the animals, at a safe distance. 🙂

It was a humid day but we were under the canopy most of the time.  The most interesting part of the hike was taking a turn along a short road, at our highest elevation, that led to a fantastic overlook!  We stopped to have snacks and a drink at this location, and just absorbed the goodness.

Another interesting sight was seeing so much Fireweed.  We see many open areas but rarely see the fireweed, outside of burn areas of course.  Still, it’s a flower with beautiful Fuschia color and adds nice contrast to the green vegetation.

Nature was very healing for us today, and the hike was gratifying. 🙂