Beautiful weather was my buddy for the day. Everyone else was busy with other Memorial Day plans.
Enjoyed a leisurely departure from Mt. Vernon at about 8:15am and cruised out Hwy 20 to the Ross Lake/Dam trailhead. Traffic was lighter (and faster) than I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise.
Loaded up the new pack (testing an Osprey Stratus 40) just as the ranger showed up to do 'facility maintenance' and presumably check for forest passes.
Hiked down to Ross Dam, took some pictures and talked to a group of three hikers headed out to Big Beaver Campground. The lake is approx. 40 feet below the spillways on the dam.
Started hiking along the west side of Ross Lake just to see what there was to see. Stopped to take some more pictures. Realized the ISO was set to 1600 instead of 80 and took some pictures... again. The trail along the lake generally stays pretty high above the water, even when the reservoir is full.
Hiked past the turn off to Ross Lake Resort (not open until June per their website) and continued onward to the turnoff for Green Point Campground.
I had been to Green Point Campground once before, but had arrived via boat and only to pick up some buddies for a day hike up to Desolation Peak... back in 2004. Ever since, I've been wanting to hike out to Green Point and here was my opportunity.
As you descend and progress toward Green Point the trail offers a nice viewpoint of the resort, the dam and numerous peaks.
This segment of the trail was quite interesting as it traverses across a pretty steep slope, made predominately of slate or shale... I don't know, but it's a little loose. I'd hold on tight to any little ones. Then the trail crosses directly below a couple cliffs that tower 100 feet or higher above. One section of the trail actually goes underneath a portion of the cliff that is hanging out over/above the trail. While it didn't make me stop or turnaround, I did count my blessings and pray that gravity keeps looking the other direction until I'm well clear of the area.
Once at Green Point Campground I was shocked to see that every one of the campsites was vacant. I had the place to myself. Whoa. So, I scouted around just checking things out. The lake is still pretty low so the dock is still high and dry. There was a group in canoes (likely the boy scout group that was rumored to be in the area) heading northward.
After satisfying my curiosity at Green Point I began the return journey, meeting numerous groups head in to camp for the rest of the weekend. The last couple I talked to before arriving back at Ross Dam indicated they had picked up the last backcountry permit for Green Point that morning.
Spent some time standing in a creek along the trail for a few water works snapshots.
Crossed the dam again and headed down to the guard station where I had a nice comfortable shaded shelter to enjoy lunch.
Poked around a bit more and then ascended the final mile back up to Hwy 20, stopping for one more picture at the creek crossing:
GPS claims 7.3 miles total distance.
Elevation is debatable as walking across the dam caused some wide swings in the elevation readings.
I had a lots of daylight to spare, but was a bit tired and felt the need to be home for a dinner party at our house doh.gif but really wanted to get a sample of the Colonial Creek Campground and Thunder Creek Trail since I've driven by there so many times but never stopped.
Drove through the campground twice (looking for a parking spot) and then made a no-frills speed hike out to the 1.1 mile mark where the trail crosses the creek. Snapped some pics, returned to the car and hustled home for socializing. Some of our guests are hikers and they completely understood my tardiness.
The day was the perfect temperature and bugs were almost nonexistent.
Love this weather!!