Those of us fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest expect lots of rain. It’s what makes western Washington so green and mountain streams flowing year-round. But boy, this year, the rain has seemed neverending. I read recently the last full week without rain was last September. The dry days have been few and far between, so when the last day of winter dawned clear and bright, Mr. Adventure and I took advantage of Washington State Parks’ fee-free day and headed to Millersylvania State Park for a little vitamin D.
The 842-acre park has plenty of amenities and is popular year-round. During warm weather, families pack the shores of Deep Lake to enjoy picnics, swimming, and fishing. Hikers can park at the entrance and start on a trail system that circles the entire park. Just keep taking the right fork, and you’ll end up walking about six miles.
Signs of spring are everywhere. Indian plum is one of the earliest bloomers in Pacific Northwest maritime forests, and we saw many bushes already in leaf and some in flower. The native salmonberry is leafing out, and skunk cabbage (back East, we called this jack-in-the-pulpit) announces its presence with vibrant yellow blooms and a pungent odor.
Evidence of the wet, wet winter abounds. Just look at the trail! This is a short section of about a half-mile across some wetlands, emphasis on “wet.” Most of the trail in this area was underwater, but intrepid hikers had dragged some logs along the edges to provide a somewhat drier toehold. Getting through this area required patience and willingness to get our feet wet.
The Civilian Conservation Corps worked in the park during the 1930s, building trails, shelters, and cabins. The National Park Service listed the park on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 in recognition of its CCC landscape, most of which still exists.
Our hike through Millersylvania was an excellent way to bid winter farewell, at least on the calendar. More rain is headed our way, but it’s only a matter of time before our gorgeous Pacific Northwest summer is upon us again. Happy spring!