Apryle and I ventured down to Pack Forest on June 9th after camping overnight at Bonny Lake. Our intention was to see Machel Falls and then head a little further south to Alder Lake State Park to camp. We found a nice spot to park the RV and then began our approach to the falls. It was a cool, pleasant morning as we gingerly picked our way through the narrow overgrown trail. Eventually we came to a wide open stone forest road which again gave way to narrow trail that was clearly frequently traveled. We first made our way to the upper falls, then doubled back to the middle falls and upper falls.
Each set of falls was aesthetic, but I most appreciated the final water fall, the lower falls. We returned to the camper via a horse trail and in our time on the trail the sun peaked out and then upon reaching the camper rain began to fall. Despite the weather change, I continued running along the Hugo Peak Trail. By the time I reached the summit the sun was back out and bathing the summit in light. After tagging Hugo Peak I descended a forest road to the short and long Trail of Giants Loops. These trails were quite overgrown, but carving my way through the dense forest was a worthwhile experience.
I looped around various forest service roads trying to form a logical looping course around the forest. I was able to keep a good pace on the wide gravel forest roads and it was a nice change of pace to the endless climbing of the Issy Alps. With the exception of the series of falls the Pack Forest is rather uneventful, but that is not to say that it is not a beautiful swath of forest that full of trails to explore. It appeared that the sun was there to stay but in the final two miles of the run it began pouring again and I was soaked getting back into the RV. The weather ranged from sunny and hot to cold and rainy all in the time I was running 19 miles. After the run we continued on to our reserved campsite at Alder Lake, where we enjoyed the amenities of our RV.
Pack Forest was donated to the University of Washington by conservationist and East Coast lumberman Charles Lathrop Pack in 1926. The forest has served as an outdoor classroom for SEFS students for over 80 years, but it also serves as a beautiful trail network to explore. The 4,300 acre working forestland serves as learning opportunity for sustainable resource management practices.
Distance: 19.24 miles
Vertical Gain: 3386 feet