March is a tough time of year for planning hikes, but this year with plenty of snow still lingering from February’s epic snowstorm it proved especially challenging. At the last minute, I wound up switching up our plans to avoid steep icy trails, choosing the Line Kiln Trail based entirely on the fact that a recent trip report mentioned zero snow. Lime Kiln is one of several trails that I very well may have hiked as a child, but have no memory of, so I went in to our March Alpine Trails Book Club hike with fresh eyes.
Paired with The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben as our book for the month, I’d been hoping for hike through mossy old growth, and the Lime Kiln trail did not disappoint! Even during the dregs of winter, the forest we wound through was lush and verdant. Many of the trees we passed were covered not only in a variety of mosses, but in hundreds of delicate licorice ferns. After what felt like a winter that might never end, I was especially relieved to see indian plum, skunk cabbage, and even some budding trillium all promising a change in seasons. As we settled down for lunch on the banks of the South Fork Stillaguamish River, we found ourselves unable to hold a conversation of the river roaring with early spring snow melt. Instead of our traditional book discussion over lunch, we listened to the river, soaking in the scents and sounds of the crashing water and fragrant forest. All around, it was a day that proved to be an excellent way to mark the shift - finally- from winter into spring!