KYI: Know Your Island Walks…

Posted October 9, 2018 at 5:50 am by

There­sa Simendinger, in the cen­ter, rid­ing her horse Zanz­ibar — pho­to by Dean­na Osborne

by There­sa Simendinger…
KYI Walks are Great Events to Find New Areas and Trails on San Juan Island

On Sep­tem­ber 22 sev­en brave folks, in spite of morn­ing-long rains, met at Horse­trail Road for a tour of the Mitchell Hill area …led by a horse! The mare above is Zanz­ibar, a Ten­nessee Walk­er who did a fine job of lead­ing the way and stop­ping to wait by her own com­mand, if any­one got too far back.

Turn­ing around to make sure all were present before pre­ced­ing, Zanz­ibar had brought along a human nar­rat­ing friend to describe the his­to­ry of the area, and to point out the small bridge, pic­tured below, built by local user groups. Work­ers back in Decem­ber 2011 includ­ed: eques­tri­ans, hik­ers and moun­tain bik­ers all under the guid­ance and help of the Nation­al Park Ser­vice (NPS) main­te­nance crew.

Also point­ed out on the Sep­tem­ber walk were places in spring to look for Fawn Lilies, AKA: Trout Lilies, which lay like white stars in the deep, bright green moss on this, one of Zanzibar’s favorite trails.

After reach­ing Brig­gs Lake, the group was led back along the Lake Trail where a huge ancient Gar­ry Oak was point­ed out with drag­on-like bark. And where to look for Indi­an Ghost Pipes, a Sapro­phyte that looks exact­ly like its name and is mild­ly tox­ic but fun to see.

Brave fun hik­ers who came out on a rainy day for a won­der­ful hike — Pho­to by Zanz­ibar who for­got to write down names.

The group told Zanz­ibar and friend none of them had ever been to the Mitchell Hill Area which is part of Eng­lish Camp and San Juan Nation­al His­tor­i­cal Park. Zanz­ibar and friend have heard this many times when offer­ing direc­tions or com­ment­ing on the beau­ty of the area to new friends met in the park.

This group added they loved the trails we marched along. Along the way the group passed through the Roche High­lands area and then back into NPS lands. Roche Har­bor Resort was award­ed a Nation­al Trails Des­ig­na­tion from Amer­i­can Trails Assn. This hon­or was award­ed because of the allowed pub­lic use of the area by Roche Har­bor, and the fact it neigh­bors the NPS lands which make end­less oppor­tu­ni­ties to hike beau­ti­ful trails.

The area is beau­ti­ful with well main­tained trails, thanks to the NPS. Many of the trails are kept open by the same vol­un­teer user groups that built the Pun­cheon (low bridge) in the pho­to at right. But when this walk was planned last spring a mas­sive group of trees had fall­en and were block­ing the trail. A quick call to the NPS and they cleared it in time. Thanks to the NPS, a favorite trail was open all summer!

KYI Walks are arranged by Bill Sev­er­son of the SJ Trails Com­mit­tee, under Island Rec, and hap­pen at dif­fer­ent times dur­ing the year. A great way to dis­cov­er great hik­ing areas all around the island. The Sep­tem­ber walk was the last one sched­uled for this year. Watch for them to start up again next spring.

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Categories: Environment, Nature, Recreation

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