Hello, Manito Park in Spokane, Washington

On my way back from Canada, I re-entered through Idaho and drove across through the panhandle for my second visit to Spokane, Washington. I had a great time exploring downtown Spokane during my last visit, and this time, I decided to visit Manito Park, about a mile south of Interstate 90.

I parked in the northern-most lot northwest of the roundabout connecting East 18th Avenue and South Tekoa Street, then started walking around Mirror Pond. Most of the paths were paved with asphalt, but there were a few dirt trails around the northwestern area of the park.

The northwestern area also had the Lilac Garden, containing, as you may have guessed, lilacs.

Next up was Rose Hill.

After Rose Hill, I crossed West 21st Avenue and looked at some of the flower arrangements east of Rose Garden Path.

South of this was Duncan Garden, a manicured garden with a very pleasant display of flowers and trimmed shrubs.

The steps going up from Duncan Garden led to the Gaiser Conservatory.

The Gaiser Conservatory had two sections, with the one to the east having a more humid environment.

The west side of the conservatory was drier and featured vegetation you’d see in an arid climate.

I continued my walk down south near the playground and kickball field, then circled back around through the picnic area to where I had parked. Back by the pond, I saw some ducks waddling around in the grass.

Even with partly cloudy skies, it was still pretty sunny and got pretty warm. I think Manito Park would be a great place to find a spot in the shade and relax if the weather is nice, and a pleasant (and free) place to go for a walk if you like looking at flowers.




Hello, Lethbridge Viaduct and Old Man River in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

After spending two weeks in Calgary, I started making my way back down to the United States. I wanted to break up the drive as much as possible, and I found a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Lethbridge, Alberta, so I decided to spend a night there.

The drive from Calgary to Lethbridge was only about two hours, and with the long days and late sunsets in the summer, I was able to go exploring during the evening of my arrival in Lethbridge. The thing that Lethbridge appears to be known for is the Lethbridge Viaduct, so I drove over and went for a short hike.

As I got closer to the viaduct, I saw an increasing number of teenagers loitering. At first I was a bit confused, but then I realized that, due to how the viaduct is a bit out of the way compared to the rest of the park, it was likely the “cool kids hangout spot” for the teens of Lethbridge.

After walking for a bit parallel to the viaduct, I connected onto Indian Battle Road South and saw a long flight of stairs leading to a gazebo at the top of a hill.

Of course, I went all the way up, my efforts of which were rewarded with vast, sweeping views of Indian Battle Park.

Overall, my hike was a little short of 2 miles (or a little over 3 kilometers). There were some smaller trails cutting through the center of the park, but I opted to stay near the perimeter with less shade coverage because I ended up with around eight mosquito bites.




Hello, Pearce Estate Park and Prince’s Island in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

On the rare days that it wasn’t raining, I squeezed in a few walks around the downtown Calgary area. It actually reminded me a bit of my walk around down­town Spokane, in that there was a lot of nature directly surrounding downtown, and it was designed in a way that made it very pedestrian-friendly.

For my first walk, I went to Pearce Estate Park, which isn’t quite exactly in downtown, but was nearby in the Inglewood neighborhood by the zoo. A short walk from the parking lot on Bow River Pathway led to some nice views of the Bow River. I am assuming it was because it rained a lot recently and it washed a lot of dirt into the river, but the water was unusually brown, opaque, and muddy.

Continuing northbound on the shoreline made me end up at the Harvie Passage Lookout, a nice structure surrounded by flowers that had an elevated view of the Bow River, Hughes Island, and the surrounding area.

After going as far as I could on the sand, I cut back into the park and explored the winding paths and smaller trails in the center of the park. There were a few small ponds and waterfalls, as well as some open areas where people were having picnics. The landscaping crew was also out maintaining the park, so large sections of the park had the nice, refreshing scent of freshly-mowed grass.

For my next walk, I wanted to get a bit closer to downtown. As is expected for a downtown area, parking was paid, so instead, I parked on 1 Street North­east (yes, apparently Calgary names its streets with numerals, rather than cardinals like 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. like the United States does) over by Rotary Park in a free parking zone. From there, I cut through the park, crossed Centre Street North, walked down Memorial Drive Northwest, and went onto Prince’s Island.

With a t-shirt, gym shorts, sneakers, and white above-the-ankle socks sticking out, I don’t think I could’ve looked more like a tourist. I ended up getting stopped by every single solicitor asking me to buy something from their business or donate to their charity. I felt like I had been walking pretty briskly the entire time, but according to my GPS tracker, my mile split times were comparable to climbing up a mountain because of them.

On my way back to Rotary Park where I parked, I stopped by Mt. Pleasant View Point and got a nice shot of the Calgary skyline.

The GPS tracking map probably isn’t as interesting for these walks as they usually are for real hikes, seeing as I was just walking on paved roads and tak­ing a lot of stops to capture photographs and tell solicitors I’m not interested in what they were offering, but here they are anyway:




Hello, Boulder Mountain Lookout Trail and Moses Falls in Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada

To put it simply, visiting Canada has been an amazing experience so far. I will have a dedicated blog post about traveling into Canada and my long-term stay in Calgary, but until then, here’s a hike I did near Boulder Mountain in Revelstoke, British Columbia, one of the stops I made along the way to Cal­ga­ry.

I started the first trail on Westside Road at the base of Boulder Mountain, just before the bridge across the Jordan River where it meets with the Co­lum­bi­a River.

Some areas were still muddy, but because of bridges, tree stumps, and tree trunks that I could walk on, it wasn’t too difficult. After about a fifth of a mile, I arrived at a clearing where I was able to get a nice view of the Jordan River.

From here, I got a bit confused and thought that it was already the end of the trail… which made no sense, because I had looked up this hike on AllTrails prior to arriving, and it was at least a mile and a half. I started wandering around in confusion, going off-trail to find where the path was, until I noticed a long rope coming down from a cliff.

Hikers on AllTrails had marked this as “easy,” so I questioned whether climbing the rope up the cliff was the correct path. Fortunately, as I was looking around for an answer, a family of hikers coincidentally arrived at the same time. They had previously done this hike before, so they confirmed that the correct path forward was to climb the rope, and they demonstrated that the rope was indeed sturdy enough by climbing up themselves.

The rest of the trail up wasn’t too bad—it was steep enough that I would get out of breath if I went too fast, and some areas were pretty muddy, but I made it to the summit without any further issues.

On my way back down, I found a slug (and, considering how bad my eyesight and depth perception is, I’m impressed at myself for noticing it and not step­ping on it).

Because this was a relatively short trail at about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) round trip with about 620 feet (189 meters) of elevation gain, I continued driv­ing northbound on Westside Road to a second short hike.

I eventually made my way to a parking lot near Moses Falls. Part-way to the waterfall, I met a nice older lady who was trying to get to the waterfall be­cause she saw it on Google Maps, but was a bit concerned that she would get lost and not be able to make it back up the relatively steep terrain. My pres­ence there instilled enough confidence in her to follow me to the waterfall, where she asked me to take her picture, then offered to take mine.

She retraced her steps back to the parking lot, while I went deeper down towards the base of the waterfall.

Eventually, I made it to the bottom where the waterfall emptied into a small reservoir that connected into the Columbia River.

To the northeast of the Columbia River, I could see where it passed through the Revelstoke Hydroelectric Dam.

Unfortunately, because I went on this hike after I had already spent the day driving from Kamloops to Revelstoke, it was later on in the evening, and the Revelstoke Dam Visitor Centre was already closed.

When I plan out what cities I visit and for how long, I usually go by hotel prices to ensure that my travel is as cost-effective as possible. However, after trav­eling through this area, I’m realizing the major flaw in that strategy. Especially during the summer months, the nicest, mountainous areas in the north attract a lot of tourists, resulting in relatively high hotel prices. However, I think the high lodging prices are worth it for the great experience ex­plor­ing these areas.




Hello, Fragrance Lake Trail of the Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

On my way up north from the Seattle Metropolitan Area to Canada, I decided to take a stop in Bellingham, a city on the north-northeastern corner of Wash­ington. Like usual, I wanted to break up the monotony of driving too much in a single day, but I also spent a few nights in Bellingham to meet up with one of Tempo’s former employees, and to see if there was good-enough weather for me to squeeze in another hike.

Luckily, there was some good weather on the day I was driving up, so instead of going straight to Bellingham on Interstate 5, I exited early onto Wash­ington State Route 11, also known as Chuckanut Drive. This followed along the coast of Samish Bay and eventually led me to the Larrabee State Park. I parked right outside and across the street from the entrance to the main campground area and hiked Fragrance Lake Trail.

The trail itself at a macro level was fairly normal for what I would expect, but there were some very interesting smaller details to the area.

After crossing the intersection with the Whatcom County and Bellingham Interurban Trail and going deeper into the trail, I came across the Trees of Life, a group of trees whose roots were growing on top of and around a large boulder.

The next point of interest was at the Fragrance Lake Trail Overlook, where I had a nice view of the forest below and the Wildcat Cove and Bellingham Bay in the distance. I also saw some land in the distance; I’m not certain, but based on superimposing my perspective on a map, it seems like they were the Portage and Lummi Islands.

As I retraced my steps back from the overlook and went back on the trail to continue deeper towards Fragrance Lake, I saw a miniature version of the Trees of Life, this one having its roots growing over and around the trunk of a dead tree.

The deeper I hiked and the closer I got to Fragrance Lake, there was more green growing everywhere.

Eventually, I made it to Fragrance Lake.

There continued to be more unique vegetative life appearing as I got deeper. As I was walking around the lake, I saw some mushrooms growing dec­o­ra­tively around a tree trunk.

Once I got to the opposite side of Fragrance Lake as the previous photos, I saw the Fragrance Lake Lookout Tree, which is exactly what you’d expect it to be—a literal tree extending into Fragrance Lake from which you could look out into the lake. I didn’t walk onto the tree, not only because I didn’t want to lose my balance and plunge into the lake, but also because there was already a man on it fishing, and I wasn’t sure if me walking on it would cause us both to lose our balances and go plunging into the lake.

This was technically the end of the trail, so I had the option of circling around and going back to the parking lot. But, when I poked around on the map, I noticed that there was a waterfall a bit further away, so I decided to go a little deeper. I connected onto Two Dollar Trail and headed north.

Eventually, I made it to the Lower Fragrance Lake Waterfalls.

From the waterfall, I noticed that completing Two Dollar Trail would result in an additional three-mile round trip being added to my hike, so I decided against it and thought this would be a good time to turn around and head back to my truck.

I had poor GPS and 4G LTE connection throughout the whole hike, so it seems like my tracker had difficulty monitoring my movement. It says that my total distance was 4.75 miles, but because of a late start and a few sections that it didn’t catch, I think it was closer to about 5 miles. As for elevation gain, only hiking the Fragrance Lake Trail clocks in at just shy of 1,100 feet, so with my detours to the overlook and the waterfall, I’m guessing my total hike was closer to about 1,300 feet.




Hello, Des Moines Creek Trail, Park, and Marina Pier in Washington

Even though I spent a lot of time in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, I didn’t really have an opportunity to go out and do much.

When I first arrived, I visited some friends and did all my laundry that I had been saving up (because I didn’t want to pay $4 per load to wash and dry at hotels), got my belongings sorted and organized, and cleaned out my truck. It also rained nearly daily and nearly all day, and I’m not really a fan of getting drenched while hiking, so I stayed indoors.

After spending a few days resting up, I managed to get sick with a common cold, so I rested some more, stayed put in my hotel room so I wouldn’t infect anyone else, and took the opportunity to cram some work. After recovering, I flew back to Las Vegas for a week to take care of some routine errands.

Upon arriving back in Seattle, I spent a few days playing some of the new content on World of Warcraft’s latest two patches, then for the next week, I caught up on a lot of work and visited our COO at her house to get some work done in-person as well.

During the very eventful three and a half weeks, I did manage to get outside for one of the days, during which I took a very long walk in Des Moines, Washington. I say a walk and not a hike because a vast majority of it was nicely paved and there was very little elevation change.

My starting point was at the Des Moines Creek Trail Park, and I took the Des Moines Creek Trail south along the Des Moines Creek. As I got deeper into the trail, I ran into some jungle-like vegetation that I hadn’t seen anywhere else before.

There were also a lot of nice wildflowers along the path.

At the end of the path, I connected onto South Cliff Avenue, turned onto South Dock Avenue, and made my way onto the Des Moines Marina Pier.

From here, I was able to enjoy some nice views of Des Moines Beach and the City of Des Moines Park Conservation Area.

From the tip of the pier, I got as close as I could and snapped some photos of snow-capped mountains in the background, which I believe are part of Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula.

After returning to the shoreline from the pier, I climbed down some rocks and went straight onto the stony beach to get some photos of the birds.

Shortly after I snapped this next photo, a couple came onto the beach with their dogs and set them free to chase after the birds, which, needless to say, hor­ri­fied the birds and made them all take flight away from the shore.

I generally try to avoid doing things on the weekends because I want to avoid crowds, but I visited this beach and pier on a Sunday because it had been raining so much that I was willing to take whatever clear day I could get. The beach was bustling and there were a lot of people out having picnics and enjoying the weekend, so it wasn’t like the quiet and solitary hikes I’m used to, but it was still nice to get out, get some fresh air, and get my body moving again.

In total, my walk was 5 miles (a little over 8 kilometers).