Harold Engles - NF Sauk Trails

After a day of hiking and barbecuing in Darrington we headed home on Sunday. On the way we squeezed in another couple of hikes. I had never stopped at the Harold Engles Cedars Trail. There is only room for two or three cars. That was our first stop. Kim has been there many times and she led the tour. Part of the trail has been taken by the NF Sauk River. What remains is short but passes some huge trees and goes over to the river. Right off the road is one o the biggest trees. This cedar is enormous. We went a short way to a spot surrounded by big trees. Lots of good photo opportunities.

There were also some huge wild ginger plants. Most of them were flowering. The flower is under the leaves and you have to go looking to see them. Very strange looking.  We also saw some trillium, columbine, bluebells, Salmonberry, bleeding hearts, and more in bloom. The hike is very short but the trees are very big. Next we headed down the road to the NF Sauk Trail. I was afraid that the parking lot would be full on a three day weekend. It is too early to hike to White Pass in May. Except this may it might not be. Not much snow at all.

When I have hiked this trail it has been either on a long day trip up Pilot Ridge or a multi day backpacking trip to Pilot Ridge and White Pass. This time distance and speed were not part of the plan. We went very slow and took in all that I have missed while hiking fast up or down this valley. And there is a lot to see. A short way in we went off trail to a big bog of skunk cabbage. No blooms yet but some big leaves. The water was bright orange providing a great contrast with the bright green leaves.

We found lots of mushrooms and other fungus. Early season wildflowers were in bloom. Among them were spring beauty, bleeding hearts, star flowers, a couple asters, a patch of lupine, a bunch of bunchberries, and more. We met several groups coming out. No snow seen by one group that went up to near the PCT before running out of time. Mostly we had a lot of solitude on what is a very busy trail, especially in the summer. The day was mostly overcast but dry. We only went in a mile or so but we took a lot of time enjoying the deep dark forest.

I'm sure I'll be back for more backpacking on this trail but I really enjoyed a rare slow paced day enjoying the forest not racing for the high country. We stopped at a good sized creek for lunch and headed out. Out trip back was much faster than the hike in. The drive back to Seattle was easy as the middle day of the three day weekend had few folks out on the road. It was a fun weekend along the Mountain Loop.

Harold Engles Trail
First Big Cedar
Big Wild Ginger Leaves
Many Mossy Branches
One Huge Cedar
NF Sauk River
Reaching For The Sky
Opening Flower
Orange & Green
Kim & Skunk Cabbage
Wilderness Boundary
Devil's Club
Great Lighting
Spring Beauty
Star Flower
Bleeding Heart
Wild Ginger
Glowing Mushroom
False Solomon's Seal
Many Flowers
Turned Around At Creek
Lots Of Green
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015