Forum Index > Trip Reports > Squires Lk (Alger Alps @ Skagit/Whatcom county line) 7-8-07
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSun Jul 08, 2007 8:38 pm 
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Managed to get some free time this weekend for a short, close-to-home hike today.  Kids were invited... but opted to stay home to play with the puppy.  Oh well... at least I invited them.

Squires Lake is located along the I-5 corridor at the Whatcom/Skagit county line and is a Whatcom County Park that has a couple loops around a small lake and also a pond created from a beaver dam.
Trailhead map
Trailhead map
Squire Lake Map2
Squire Lake Map2

My route today led me in a counter-clockwise direction.  The route is pretty well marked simply due to the obvious trail itself, but there were also painted blazes on trees.  One blaze appeared to mean 'continue straight' and two blazes indicated a switchback.
Lower Trail
Lower Trail
Tunnel of greens
Tunnel of greens
Switchback marker
Switchback marker

After about 1/3 of a mile, you reach Squires Lake and choose whether you go clockwise or counterclockwise (or turnaround).  The lake is scenic, but has lots of lillypads around the majority of it - doesn't seem to be a swimming destination by my preferences.
Squire Lake
Squire Lake
Squire Lake
Squire Lake

At this point, the flies and mosquito's came out in full force.  Wow!  Out came the Deet... which helped to a minor degree only.

Continuing counterclockwise, I headed up the South Ridge loop trail which of course follows along at the top of a standard Alger Alp cliff.  Views westward were limited.  After a short while, you reach the park boundary.  However, the trail splits here:  to the left takes you back to the main Squires Lake loop trail and the 'forward' fork takes you further south along a higher ridge with improving views (kind of).

Unsure of what was straight ahead at the time, I choose to go straight simply because there was a single blaze just down the trail.   uhh.gif  I can only conclude that this is part of some longer 'Pacific Northwest Trail' project that isn't well signed.

This ridge trail continued along a ridge, gaining elevation and also becoming more overgrown.  Suddenly you break out into a gravel clearing that is obviously the end of an old logging road.  At this point there is a sign marking this trailhead (end?) as "1130".  Across this clearing is an identical sign reading "1140".  At the 1140 sign it appears there once was an ongoing trail but it is almost completely overgrown at this point so I didn't try to follow it past the blackberry bushes.

Turning about 130 degrees allows you to follow this logging road upwards.  After a short while it comes to a 'Y' with a road labeled "1110".  Another sign indicates the road I'm following is "1100".  I don't see these on my Topo maps.

I followed 1100 for a ways further south until it reached my highest elevation (almost 900 feet) before it began an ongoing descent.  At this point I turned around and chose the 1110 spur.  This spur deadends after a short distance, but provides some peek-a-boo glimpses of Lake Samish to the northwest but more notable are the eastern views of Lake Palmer and distant peaks which must be the Sisters range.
Fireweed (of course) over Lake Palmer
1 label
Fireweed (of course) over Lake Palmer
Palmer Lake
Palmer Lake
silly_traveller  ;=)
silly_traveller  ;=)

From here I backtracked to the Park Boundary sign and rejoined the Squires Lake loop, stopping amid the aggravating insects for some nature photos.
Foxglove
Foxglove
Foxglove
Foxglove
not foxglove
not foxglove
Needs better strategy...
Needs better strategy...
Nature's details
Nature's details

Finally, continued onward to the Beaver pond Loop which brings you right up to the beaver dam... I mean right up to it.  Poor picture due to insect aggravation.  I suspect they have worked out some kind of deal with the beavers.
Beaver dam
Beaver dam

Finally, I continued along the loops and returned to the vehicle.
There were about 10 other people that I saw on the trail today... some on bikes, some with dogs and using deductive reasoning based on a big pile on one trail, horses are allowed here as well.

This winter I'll have to come back when the bush is a bit thinner and the bugs are gone.

If you can't handle driving I-5 without traffic jams you might want to take the Alger exit or the South Lake Samish exit some day and give this trail a visit.

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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jackchinook
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 649 | TRs
Location: Winthrop
jackchinook
Member
PostMon Jul 09, 2007 1:17 pm 
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Cool TR.  I used to kick around Cain Lake when I was learnin' in B'ham...mostly drinking heavily and puking off the dock though...not out exploring cool beaver ponds and vistas of the Alger Alps.

Looks like a neat place.

BTW, your purple loosestrife looks more like fireweed to me.
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yew
non-technical



Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1162 | TRs
Location: Bellingham
yew
non-technical
PostTue Jul 10, 2007 2:05 am 
squires lake hiking
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Elvis:

Thanks for posting this TR.  I've been thinking about going to Squires Lake for a long time after seeing it on the Wash. DNR map but wondered what it looked like and what the trails are like.

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostTue Jul 10, 2007 7:09 am 
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JackC - maybe it is fireweed... I'm not familiar with the similarities or differences between them.  I used to live in the Alger area and our neighborhood hot topic was the invasion of the noxious purple loostrife so it seemed a plausible deduction.

Yew_betula:  Yew bet!  Glad it could be of service.

My whole excursion took less that two hours - but I really want to follow that road 1100.  A bicycle would be really helpful.

FWIW, over the last 10 years I explored a few logging roads in this area:

One started in Alger and headed northward to the first NE peak which had some firepits at the summit - likely a local teen-redneck hangout.

Another logging road started further north of Squires Lake and north of the S. Lk Samish I-5 onramp which headed E/NE.  The views of the San Jans available looking across Samish Lake and the Chuckanut range was spectacular!  At the time there were lots of clearcuts but I think those have greened-up a lot in the last five years so your foreground will be a bit more lush than what I saw.

Finally, I followed a road south from the N. Lake Samish exit area, just south of the rifle range.  It went down to the bridge over the creek that you can see from I-5, but it had a beefy fence on it which clearly  was intended to keep all passerby out of the area.  It would be possible (without a bicycle) to go down the valley, cross the creek and ascend the other side, but I opted out.

All my excursions on these logging roads were empty of people.  Complete solitude (except for the I-5 noise).

Happy trails.

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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yew
non-technical



Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1162 | TRs
Location: Bellingham
yew
non-technical
PostTue Jul 10, 2007 11:34 am 
hikes in Whatcom County
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Quote:
FWIW, over the last 10 years I explored a few logging roads in this area...All my excursions on these logging roads were empty of people.  Complete solitude

I'm totally down with these kinds of hikes...atleast on weekdays in the spring!

The gated gravel road up the hill from the Hertz Trailhead on Lake Whatcom is a nice hike too.  There's a real trail on the bottom which ties into the gravel road which steeply ascends up through a powerline corridor.  It tops out up on a high saddle with views of Bellingham, Ferndale lowlands, the water, east side of Lookout/Galbraith Mtn and much more.  The road and powerline corridor keep on going to Acme.  It's mostly DNR land.

There's also logging road hiking on DNR land on the "Y Road" trailhead.  One route goes up a logging road with new clearcuts which ends berm where a horse trail begins in mature forest.  The trail goes to another clearcut and bermed-off logging road on the noth end of Stewart Mtn which has great views of the lowlands in between Nuget's Corner and Bellingham and Squalicum Mtn.

There are a few other hikes.  Anybody can send me a PM for more directions.

on plants:

I think the "not fireweed" is Spiraea (Spiraea douglasii).  "Purple loostrife over Lake Palmer" is definitely fireweed.

--------------
"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Squires Lk (Alger Alps @ Skagit/Whatcom county line) 7-8-07
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