Sunshine and wildflowers - Amy Schmitz

Sunshine and wildflowers

May 12, 2019

If you'd rather click through the photos in a gallery, go here.


I could have just quickly posted these photos on Instagram, but I've missed creating on my site. I have had a hard time finding/creating time for The Winnelspot since moving to Washington, and I'd really like to fix that this summer. 

Part of that will be sewing more, too. I do have photos of a pair of pants from this winter, but otherwise I've been stuck on a shirt muslin for Mikey since we got back from KC. I've done a few small repairs and projects but nothing much.

In the meantime, this little trip an hour from home will do. :)


Mikey had a work conference at Alderbrook Resort on the Hood Canal this week, so I tagged along for a free stay! While he hung out with a bunch of engineers, I took the mutts for a run in the Olympics.

We set record highs and have had sunny, clear skies for days, so even the drive to Dry Creek's western trailhead was beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed the Rover's high clearance on one road that would have eaten the Element.

I had hoped for about 6 to 8 miles if Winston could keep up in the heat. We crossed several creeks, including one I carried Tully across. The trail was a bit more exposed than I expected, and I became a little concerned I'd get sunburned. 


The trail primarily followed an old, steep logging road, but finally some single track shot off into the tree cover. I stopped a few times to clear small downed limbs and climb over larger trees. But when I scrambled my way over one that obscured the trail, the dogs refused to follow. We turned back and tried to follow the old road a little farther, but new growth and snow at 3,300 feet finally stopped me.

So much derp tongue.


We tried to add on a little more mileage on a forest service road, but Winston was toast. It has been a long time since he ran in 75 to 80 degrees. We ended up a little shy of 5 miles with almost 1,200 feet of elevation gain.

Our hotel staff had delivered a dog bed while we were out, and Winston immediately plopped in it upon our return. He then passed out.


I took the mutts back to the hotel to relax and cool off, taking them for a walk around the grounds and reading with some tea on our room's little patio.

The next morning Mikey went to Day 2 of his conference, and I took the dogs to Dry Creek's other trailhead. I had wanted to get to the creek ford, so I figured we'd attempt it from the more popular end.

View of Lake Cushman on our drive to the eastern trailhead.


We had much more success this day. This end was shaded the whole way, and we started earlier, so the temps stayed in the 50s and 60s. Plus, I don't take Winston on back-to-back runs anymore, so I completely let him set the pace. When he wanted to run, we ran; when he needed to walk, we walked. After all, he did just turn 13.

We got more than 1,100 feet of elevation gain again, including an accidental trip down to the creek by the lake. 


We made it to the creek ford. It would be a little tricky to cross with the two dogs. I'd definitely want poles and another human there for an attempt. 

The run back down was easy peasy. My watch showed just more than 7 miles, but according to the forest service sign and website, it's 4.2 miles just to the creek crossing. And we accidentally added the half-mile side trip down to the lake, so I figure we ran at least 8.5 miles. Winston walked probably only a mile of that. Not bad for an old dog.


Mikey finished his conference that afternoon, so we all took a nap and walked to a nearby deli for supper. The next morning, I let both mutts sleep in, and I ran the trails on Alderbrook's property. I was surprised to get a third consecutive day of about 1,000 feet of elevation gain. 

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Before heading home, we headed back to the forest, this time with Mikey. We picked a short trail with just 200 feet of elevation change.

Another reason I wanted to get back to posting on The Winnelspot is permanence. Notice all the videos are vertical? That's because I've gotten into a habit of posting on my Instagram stories. Which is fine for videos, but I've posted some beautiful photos that just disappear after 24 hours. So below are a few favorites from the previous weekend, when we traveled to Hood River, Ore., for the wedding of our friends, Leslie and Erik.

The old man proving himself on some of Hood River's trails/Tin Roof Barn in White Salmon, Wash., where Leslie and Erik got married. It was beautiful!/Running along the Columbia River Gorge/Twin Tunnels near Mosier, Ore./Wildflower explosion along the gorge.



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