Squak Mountain Hike

We came back from Ocean Shores late last night, so today I went on a three hour hike on the trails of Squak Mountain.  The Bullitt Family gifted 590 acres to the public in 1972 as a permanent wilderness preserve.  Today, state and county acquisitions have helped this state park grow by 2500 acres.

The “Issaquah Alps”, as this area I went to today is unofficially called, are comfortably close to home. They are only a half-hour from downtown Seattle, 40 minutes from Fremont, and if you live in Issaquah they are practically in your back yard (as we saw on our hike from the yoga day retreat at Cathy’s house and yoga studio in Issaquah).

The “Issaquah Alps” have a vast network of trails on three peaks — Cougar, Tiger and Squak mountains. Cougar and Tiger are the two mountains everyone hikes, but Squak somehow gets overlooked.  Could it have to do with the poor signage? The trail names have recently changed and don’t correspond to my guide book, making for a bit of confusion while on the hike.

The trail and surrounding forest are lush with sword ferns, cedar boughs, firs,  moss, Oregon grape with its new glossy foliage,  and freshly blossomed trillium flowers that make you believe there are many indescribable shades of white.  So much to delight the senses on the way to the top of Squak Mountain at 2,024 feet high.

Maybe one of the reasons why this hike is not so popular is because of the microwave towers at the very top. I think they are used for cell phone service.  It is super strange to see them!  All of a sudden, the towers  loom overhead, a bit of  modern monstrosity amid the emerald forest.  I tried to photograph them as objects of beauty?  Not sure I managed to capture that.  It was while taking photos, that I noticed SNOW falling on my lens and on my face!  Yes, snow on April 17th.  It has been an unusually cold spring.

View of the cell towers

Cell Towers at the top of Squak

Too bad the snow flakes dont show on the photo: Snow Falling on Towers

Along the path, there are some “ruins”.  The fireplace and chimney are all that remain of the old Bullitt family summer cabin that used to stand on the upper portion of Squak Mountain:

Sole remnants of the Bullitt summer cabin: fireplace and chimney

Chimney against blue sky

I have become more interested in the Bullitt family of Seattle. Dorothy Stimson Bullitt was the founder of KING Broadcasting.  She distinguished herself both in community service and in philanthropy.  Dorothy’s father arrived in Seattle in 1889, 9 months before Washington statehood.  Her father (Stimson) made his fortune in the lumber industry.  Dorothy’s family home, the brick and stucco half-timbered Tudor Stimson Green Mansion at 1204 Minor, still stands, fully restored, and can be rented out for weddings and gatherings.  She came from wealth and married into wealth.  Dorothy was an unseen presence in politics.  She was liberal, Democratic, a progressive thinker, incorruptible, a leader in civil rights, and a strong leader in the protection of wildlife.  She loved classical music and owned Seattle’s classical music station, KING FM.   Dorothy was one of the first women in the USA to buy and manage a TV station, KING TV.  She was one of the most respected philanthropic citizens of Seattle.  After today’s hike, I am once again thankful for her family’s generous contribution of Squak Mountain as a public state park!

Forest against sky

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