Filled with wonderful things to see and do, the Alderbrook community could be the location of your new dream home!

Residents (and Alderbrook Properties homeowners) Tom Druckenmiller and Nancy Pacelli love it here! “Our Alderbrook home is the perfect retirement home built with quality materials, attention to detail and excellent utilization of space and design. Place all that in the beautiful wooded, friendly golf course community of Alderbrook and you have a winning combination. Our first impression brought tears to our eyes at the overwhelming beauty of the Hood Canal, the forest and breathtaking views of the Olympic mountains, all within a two-minute walk of our house. We knew we were home!”

We appreciate Tom and Nancy sharing their experience and want to provide you with a quick look so you can see what you’re missing!

Check out our video!

How to Identify Quality New Home Construction When looking at a new home, it is easy to be swept away as you envision how it will look with your furniture and cherished possessions inside. But taking a closer look to see if it is built with quality construction will pay off in the long run, […]

Life on the Water

 

Whether you prefer fresh water or salt water, there are convenient options available right here in Mason County.  Boating, fishing, kayaking, water skiing, shell fishing, swimming, jet skiing, wake boarding, canoeing & leisurely floating are just moments away, so look no further.

 

The ever beautiful Hood Canal is the closest and most convenient option.  Hood Canal is a fjord forming the western lobe of the Puget Sound.  The entire length of the canal is approximately 65 miles with an average width of 1.5 miles.  The shape, size and location of the canal give it unique geography and topography ensuring beautiful views no matter how much or little you travel it.  There is water access and/or public boat/water-craft launches at the Hood Canal Marina, The Alderbrook Resort & Spa or Twanoh State Park.  Enjoy any of the multitudes of water activities right on the Canal.

 

For fresh water enthusiasts there are a number of accessible lakes and rivers.  Spencer Lake encompasses about 230 acres of clean fresh water and is a full sports lake.  Spencer Lake also provides some of the best fishing around for Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass and Perch.  Mason Lake is approximately 1,000 acres in size, with 10.9 miles of shoreline. The lake is perfect for jet skis, boats, kayaks and canoes.  Occasionally the water is calm enough for water skiing too.

 

For a river fishing experience, visit the nearby Skokomish River.  From beginning to end the river is approximately 49 miles in length.  A portion of the river enters Hood Canal at Anna’s Bay and creates the Skokomish Flats.  The river is good for a variety Salmon fishing and a project is underway to bring Sockeye Salmon back to the river.  There are few other local rivers to visit too which offer a variety of activities including fishing & camping; the Hamma Hamma River, the Duckabush River, the Dosewallips River and the Big Quilcene River.

Where in the heck is Allyn, Washington?!  This is a common question and if you don’t know the answer, you should definitely find out.  Allyn is located in Mason County, right on Case Inlet.  With beautiful views of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier, this little town sure packs a lot of punch!  As a matter of fact, Allyn and all of it’s delightful amenities, was featured on Evening Magazine as a must-see place to visit!  Stand up paddle board rentals, geoduck ice cream and chainsaw carving art are included in some of the main attractions.

Annually Allyn hosts a festival every third weekend in July – Allyn Days Salmon Fest & Geoduck Festival.  The festival always draws large crowds rain or shine.  The celebration really focuses on the best of the Pacific Northwest – seafood!  There is a whole variety of fun and entertainment for all ages from open mic night, to a mud run, to a whole host of food and wares vendors.  Have some baked salmon, touch a live geoduck and best of all, support small & local businesses through this fun and unique festival.

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SNOW LAKE

Although there are pretty much endless hiking opportunities in and around the Olympic Peninsula area, sometimes it’s good to head east for a different perspective and visual stimulation.  The hike to Snow Lake is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near North Bend.  A $5 Northwest Forest Pass is required for this visit.  Park in the Alpental Ski area lot, which can fill up rather quickly on the weekends.  My friends and I decided to make our journey there early on a Monday morning mid-July.  There was plenty of parking, but there were tons of people making the same trek.

I was looking for a hike that wasn’t too terribly far from home.  (Approximately 2.25 hours from Union.)  I also wanted it to be tougher than a paved path, but not so tough I could not handle it.  In addition, it needed to have a view of something spectacular!  Now for a casual, out-of-shape hiker like myself, when a hike is rated average, I have to translate that in to fairly difficult.  After much research, we narrowed down the options to Snow Lake.  7.25 miles round trip, 1,800 ft elevation gain, and fairly easy.  Fairly easy if you’re young, agile, in good shape and were never a smoker!  The first 1.75 miles of narrow, rocky, rugged paths are a steady low incline with moderate elevation gain.  As you climb up these first few miles you get incredible views of the opposing peaks including Chair Peak.  We could see the two chair lifts running up the mountain sides across from us.  As you climb there are occasional breaks in the trees where you can see far behind you the buildings around the Alpental Ski area and the parking lot where your car is just a tiny looking cube.  And as you look at the ground you’ve covered and you look up to see where you still have to go, you wonder how on earth are we climbing to a lake?  It’s also difficult to tell exactly where you’re going up to as the path blends into the visual of the mountain side.  Unless of course there are hikers ahead of you…then you can really get a good idea of how high you’re going to climb!

At the 1.75 mile mark, there is an off-shoot of the trail that leads to another lake.  But Snow Lake was our destination, so we took the path to the sharp right and continued on.  At this point in the journey, the trail gets pretty steep.  It is another mile of steep, rocky switchbacks.  Now remember, this is coming from the mind of an unseasoned hiker.  Other hikers were gliding uphill like it was nothing.  One cool guy was carrying his dog like a baby to protect the dogs paws from rocks!  I could barely get myself up there, let alone carry a full grown pup!  There are not many places along this trail to step off to the side to rest and catch your breath, so if you see one and need one, take it!  All of the hikers we encountered were kind and courteous, encouraging even as I huffed and puffed my way up there.  One kind man on his way down reminded me it didn’t matter WHEN I got there, just that I arrived!

After the mile of steady switchbacks, we reach the end of my journey.  When the ground levels out, the path splits left and right.  To the right there is a path that leads to giant boulders, a dead end.  And to the left, the path curves around and starts to descend.  We went left.  We climbed onto the boulders and were treated with a beautiful and amazing view of Snow Lake from above.  For a 95 degree day down on the ground, the weather up top was extremely different.  It was very windy, cold and damp and a misty, cloudy fog continued to roll across the lake in spurts immediately driven away by the wind to be followed by a new burst of fog.  But the view was stunning.  We sat on the boulder, enjoyed our snacks and lots of water while we watched the weather perform a ballet across the lake.  If you continue on the trail, it will lead you down to the lake itself, but my tired little legs could not handle going all the way down.  Round trip to the boulder is about 6 miles.  And of course, the way down was much easier, although not too gently on the knees.  So while the journey may not have been easy (for me), I will admit it was about as easy as climbing the side of a small mountain could ever be!  And it was most definitely worth the sense of accomplishment and stellar views.

Photo Jul 27, 5 17 55 PM         Photo Jul 27, 4 11 32 PM (1)          Photo Jul 27, 2 52 05 PM

P1040140

The Staircase Rapids Loop Trail

 

If you’ve never been to hike this trail, there may be some confusion in the information & maps available about this trail.  The area is part of the Olympic National Park and requires a $15 entry fee deposited into the drop box at the trail head or of course, a National Park Pass.  On a busy day, you may be required to park a decent “hike” away in the overflow lot, so if you don’t know your license plate number by heart, I suggest memorizing it or at least taking a photo of it to minimize the number of trips back to the car.  You’ll have to make at least one to put the paid slip on your dashboard.  The park rangers there are no joke and take their jobs very seriously, as they should.  Upon our arrival, there was a gaggle of teenage girls being cited for several park violations.

 

The map we’d originally referenced was a map of Mason County Hike & Walks Map and can be found on line.  While the map is slightly outdated and a bit vague in some areas, it was considerably more helpful than the map provided at the park, which merely showed the trail as a single tiny dot on a map that shows the entire Olympic Peninsula.  The Mason County map gives you the general gist of the trail.  After you pay your entry fee, you cross the bridge to begin the loop.  There are a few side trails to the left, but they all eventually dead end and will not lead anywhere.  The Big Cedar branch is worth the sidetrack and will dead end at the base of an enormous fallen cedar tree with upended roots at least 15 feet into the air.  Be sure to have a friend climb into the roots for scale when taking photos, it’s really the only way to convey its massive size.  Once back on track, continue to follow the main trail.  And here’s where we saw some confusion.

 

Apparently, years ago, the trail was a full loop which crossed the river at the mid-point and then followed the opposite side of the river back towards the parking lot.  One year, the force of Mother Nature, or the flooding river, destroyed the bridge and wiped it out.  The hike then just became a hike in-and-back trail.  A few years ago, the park received the funding to build a completely new bridge thus recreating the loop.  Unfortunately for the newbs, most of the literature still describes the hike as it was after the first bridge was wiped out but before the new one was built, including the Mason County Map.  When we started the hike, we thought it was about a mile in and back.  Truly, it’s a 4 mile loop.  We encountered many hikers along the way that were also perplexed by outdated maps, confusing signs and length of the trail.  We were able to help clear things up by chatting with fellow hikers and gazing at the map, but did not realized until we reached it that the bridge was not out, but there in all of its brand new glory.

 

The hike is labeled “easy”.  And if you’re a regular hiker and are fit & in shape, it most likely is.  However, do not be fooled into thinking that this hike is mostly flat or simple to traverse.  The entire loop is mostly an incline.  And there are some steep, rocky, wet areas to conquer.  And while the three of us may have been a bit too out of shape for this hike, it was completely lovely and serene.  The moss covered trees, sound of the rushing water and singing birds provide lush and picturesque surroundings throughout the entire hike.  There are boulders the size of houses, trees that have outlived centuries of people, whirlpools, azure blue water and just a complete Pacific Northwest experience.  Pack up your backpack with snacks, water, bug repellent and camera.  Be sure to give yourself a few hours to make the loop and take everything in.  Enjoy the hike!

HIGH STEEL BRIDGE

 

As the crow flies, the High Steel Bridge is fairly close to the Alderbrook Community.  By car, it is still relatively close by.  As you turn on to Skokomish Valley Rd, the traveling gets a little slower.  Passing by farms, livestock and assorted small or defunct businesses, you’ll wind your way closer to the Olympic National Forest.  The views, especially on a nice spring day are serene and relaxing.  Animals lazily grazing along the road side, deep blue skies overhead and dozens of different trees and plants in bloom.  The scene is idylic until the fork in the road.  The right side heads towards the High Steel Bridge.  The first few minutes are relatively peaceful, as the paved road winds around, steadily climbing.  Then suddenly, and with no warning, the pavement stops and becomes a heavily pitted, dusty gravel road.  Giant dust clouds surround the vehicle as the road continues to climb.  If there is another car on the road, whether in front, behind or passing, count on the dust cloud increasing tenfold.  But slow and steady does win the race in this case.  Once the bumpy, gritty, windy road is conquered and directions have been followed, the bridge will start to appear in the distance.  I recommend crossing the bridge first in your vehicle and parking on the far side because driving on the bridge is an experience unto itself.

 

After emerging from the trees, you’ll find yourself suspended hundreds of feet in the air, among the trees looking out over a vast valley on an extremely narrow, 1-lane, flat concrete bridge. This is not the place to go if one suffers from a fear of heights or vertigo.  Once parked on the other side, stepping on to the bridge without the protection of the car feels very vulnerable at first.  Fresh air, majestic trees, rushing azure colored water, mammoth rock formations and an elegant waterfall will fill your views from each side of the bridge.  Photos from the bridge just cannot seem to capture the impressive views, try as you might.  The views from the High Steel Bridge are truly awe inspiring and make the rocky terrain traversed worth the effort.