Anacortes Trails Day Hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail
In my passion to section hike the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT), I was able to take the girls along on this easy, short section. At least I thought it was short. Chalk this one up to- not enough research!
We started at a small parking lot uphill from downtown Anacortes on in the middle of housing and just up from the Senior Center; at the end of 23rd Street where it crosses with Cascade Ct. (See MAP).
A very simple trail passes some houses and spur trails on the way to Cranberry Lake. This is a beautiful lake that would make for a great day hike by itself. We saw a dead salamander floating in the inlet stream and would not have seen it if it was still alive of course, since they like to hide under things.
Right away up trail we passed Beaver Pond Lake. This lake had a lot more floating logs and grasses protruding, which made it more colorful and picturesque. The trail climbs a small bit to the junction with a small closed road labeled 10.
The PNT route follows trail 10 for quite a ways, passing another smaller pond, Mitten Pond, before taking off on trail 126. It was in this area that my daughter Raichel heard the wolves howling. I of course told her that there were no wolves and they must be Coyotes (see further down for follow-up)
Trail 126 heads down to more houses with signs telling hikers to stay on trail because the trail splits between private properties of both the houses and Barlow Pit. The area above the pit is meadowy and was a completely different look than any other part of the trail.
We had to cross Havekost Road which is the main route to Marine View Dive. On the other side, we were then on trail 241 which followed the backside of some beautiful homes and brought us to trail 224. Leaving the houses we only had one more turn and we would soon be at Heart Lake.
We took a left onto trail 210 and we should have turned right, but we saw the lake and found a great spot to put up our hammock and eat lunch. It started to rain and I realized that our short hike had turned out to be three and a half miles to get here. We now had to go back and I obviously should have checked the mileage before taking my four year old along!
The hike back was short and the promise of an ice-cream cone at Snow Goose Produce kept the kids' spirits high. We passed some mountain bikers and other hikers and runners. I started to remember my interview with Predators of the Heart (LINK). I also started thinking about the location of the wolves there. The trail is very near the location and my daughter had been correct when she said that the howls we heard were wolves!
So if you want to hike a trail in Washington that you can hear wolves from and don't need to be worried about encountering them, this is a perfect trail. Also, to those PNT through hikers that have heard the howls, yes those were wolves.
To the local hikers, I would like to point out that the thru hikers coming from Glacier National Park do use these trails and are headed all the way out to our coast o the Pacific Ocean. Say hello to them and wish them a good trip!