Seeking the best views on a rare, clear winter day

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Precipitation in Seattle is falling about 30% ahead of average for 2012, and much of that has been over the last month or so. While that hasn’t keep me from running errands on my bike, it certainly has kept me from enjoying bike rides as I normally do.

So when the sun blasted through some thinning high clouds on Friday, I packed up and headed to a place where I  could enjoy the views.

My destination was King County’s Tolt MacDonald Park, which sits at the edge of Carnation on the confluence of the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers. A privately owned forest sits at the top of a steep climb behind the park, but the owners allow mountain bike and hiker access.

One of the logging roads at the top of the hill leads to a spectacular overlook of the agricultural Snoqualmie Valley below and the snow-capped Cascades to the east (photo above). The logging and slash piles gives the area a look of desolation, but it does afford wonderful views to the east.

Looking between two of the slash piles, some of the Cascade peaks look close enough to touch.

Considering the amount of rain we’ve been getting this month, most of the trails were in pretty decent shape. I came across a couple of seasonal boggy areas, but the trails were well-packed.

The only trouble came from roots that criss-cross some of the trails. They’re highly polished from bicycle tires and the moisture turns them real greasy. I dumped the bike a couple of times as I slid laterally when heading down a trail, but luckily I never crashed badly.

The days end too quickly this time of year, especially the dry days. I spent more time than I expected up on the mountain and found myself crossing the bridge back to my car as the Cascades caught the evening colors.

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