Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades
by Joan Burton (The Mountaineers Books)
© Joan Burton/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Went from third beach to toleak point. just over four hours to get there. very few people. great weather except for a little windy at night. beautiful scenery and sunset. interesting trail features: Several steep climbs and decentes on plank and cable ladders, one cave through which you must pass to proceed and several rocks which must be climbed around and over. Consider getting most of your water before reaching the point as jackson creek is quite dirty. water will come out a little brown in color but i experienced no illness after using filter. backcountry permit required and available at the trail head. no car permit needed.
If short and scenic are best, then these hikes get the "best" rating. The hikes themselves were so short as to not really count. They were more like long walks from the parking lot, but they were pretty, with plenty of green, and big trees you knew were centuries old. When I went, the trail was pretty muddy at Third Beach; sticky, but not troublesome. I drove from Seattle, leaving at what I thought was an early hour, 9 am, and arived at the trailhead with about 45 minutes until sundown. I ran the trail and spent every last precious minute on the beach, barefooted and shooting pictures madly. There was a stream making time from the woods down the beach and into the waves, just as you entered the beach. It looked like it ought to be crossable, but turned out to be too deep and fast to hop over. I ended up taking off my shoes and splashing through. The tide pools were an incredible surprise, with the purple and orange sea stars hugging the rough rocks, preparing for the next dousing. A few anemones straggled along beneath them. Further down the beach I could see a waterfall, but it was time to head back. Next time I'll explore that direction. Second Beach had most of what it has to offer right as you exit the trail, with the seastacks and their wave-carved greenish stone footings. Surfers were coming out of the water for the night when we arrived, as the sun was preparing to set. It was that sweet light, deep and gold, and we made the most of it, dancing in the surf and shooting pictures right and left. These beaches are sandy, curving slices of heaven to me. The only thing that would make them perfect is if they could be two hours away from me instead of six.
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