Hike: John MacDonald Tolt River (WA)
Today’s hike had a lot stacked against it. It was a gray, dreary, and damp morning. Arneta had a cold and bad cough. We had selected a hike that was popular for mountain bikers and had a lot of unmarked trails (and, as it turned out, we were carrying a guide book with faulty information). Given our low expectations for the day and the high probability we would either get lost or annoyed by the bikers, the hike turned out to be quite pleasant.
We parked in the John MacDonald Tolt River County Park and crossed a nice long suspension bridge. To get to the viewpoint trail, we then walked through a campground of yurts. The trail then climbs a few hundred feet in about a mile to a junction. Our guide book suggested we travel ¼ mile after the junction and turn onto a small trail to get to the view point. Turns out it should have told us to go only 100 yards before turning, so we got an extra mile of hiking to locate the right path.
The viewpoint was nice. We had a pretty good look at the Snoqualmie River (300 feet below) and the farmland around Carnation (the Cascade Mountains were hiding behind the clouds). On our return hike, we encountered only four bicyclists on the trail although there were nearly a dozen in the parking lot getting ready to head up the trail. To get a little more mileage, we walked along the shores of the River and took a spur path to the banks of the Snoqualmie. There was a little sand beach with lots of reminders about the damage that happens when rivers flood.
So in the end we got a view, a sandy river bank, and relative peace and quiet. Not bad for a dreary winter Sunday morning.