Photos from recent trips I've led for Everett Parks and Recreation.  Photo captions are under each picture.  Navigate through the photos by clicking the arrows on the sides of the photo.  Clicking on photo will expand the size.  Enjoy!

A Zebra Finch, one of 200 birds found at the Bloedel Conservancy in Vancouver, BC

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Entrance to the Conservatory, in Queen Elizabeth Park

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A Zebra Finch, one of 200 birds found at the Bloedel Conservancy in Vancouver, BC

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Trips & Tours  4/30 Bloedel Conservatory & Granville Island

A rare non-hiking trip for me today as I filled in to lead this tour to Vancouver, BC. We first went to the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park, home to a large glass dome that houses hundreds of tropical and exotic plants and birds. What a fun place for photography. Outside, in the park, were many lovely gardens and sweeping overlooks of the city of Vancouver and surrounding mountains. The group then traveled to nearby Granville Island to enjoy the shops, restaurants, and big city ambiance. It was a very pleasant, sunny spring mini-getaway.

Vista of Saddle Rock, high above Wenatchee on the Jacobsen Preserve.

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Vista of Saddle Rock, high above Wenatchee on the Jacobsen Preserve.

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Hike  4/29  Saddle Rock - Wenatchee

Public lands are such a wonderful thing to have for an escape from our crowded world. Thanks to the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, there are thousands of acres of public lands available for recreation right on the edge of  the bustling city of Wenatchee. We hiked from the city's edge right into a beautiful sagebrush habitat flourishing with colorful wildflowers, eye-catching rock formations, and panoramic views. Trails lead nearly 2000 feet above the city and the Columbia River flowing through. We did about a 6-mile round trip.

A relaxing stroll through the forest on the Suiattle Trail, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness near Darrington.

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A relaxing stroll through the forest on the Suiattle Trail, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness near Darrington.

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Hike  4/28  Suiattle River Trail

This seemed to be the week for hiking along grand rivers of the western cascades (see last three trips). The Suiattle, flowing off of Glacier Peak in eastern Snohomish County, has an excellent trail along it for many many miles. We took in the first three or four on a nice quiet weekday escape. Had some sunshine, great trail conditions, and fine scenery along the way. A nice low-stress day out in the wilderness. 

After a showery morning, the sun brightens the Baker River Valley

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Channels of the braided river spread around islands covered with alders

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A glimpse of Mount Hagen

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After a showery morning, the sun brightens the Baker River Valley

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Hike  4/26  Baker River Trail

One of the best spring hikes near Mount Baker is this lowland trail that follows the mighty river sharing the volcano's name. The old growth forests are a sight to see here, with numerous giant firs and cedars lining the trail. Morning showers gave way to partial afternoon clearing and some pleasantly warm sunshine. A swift-running creek halfway there proved a bit too much to cross, so we backtracked and explored some of the Baker LAKE trail on the opposite side of the river. Different trail, same great scenery. Wound up doing over 6 miles total. 

Using the rocks steps to cross a stream on the Middle Fork Trail

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Trail crews were busy at work on improvements to some bridges along the route

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Using the rocks steps to cross a stream on the Middle Fork Trail

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Hike 4/23  Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail


The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River area outside North Bend is undergoing numerous improvements and construction projects to enhance the recreational opportunities. New trails, new trailheads, a newly paved road, and a campground have all been built in the last few years, so it's really a great place for hikers to check out. We hiked the Middle Fork Trail, a grand forest walk with stellar views along the river in places. It was rainy but not too rainy, and the trail was sloppy but not too sloppy, and we got in a good 6-mile round trip.

Riding a restored trestle bridge over Morse Creek near Port Angeles on the Olympic Discovery Trail

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Gearing up at the rest area along Highway 101 at Blyn.

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View from the observation deck on the pier

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Riding a restored trestle bridge over Morse Creek near Port Angeles on the Olympic Discovery Trail

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Bike  4/22  Olympic Discovery Trail


Our bike trips are underway again for 2017. We mainly do easy rides on trails that are separated from traffic. We loaded up the bike trailer and went over to the Olympic Peninsula to enjoy one of the finest and longest paved paths in the state, the Olympic Discovery Trail. A wonderful ride of about 28 miles can be done from Blyn (near the Seven Cedars Casino) to the waterfront in downtown Port Angeles. Aside from a few blocks through a resisdential neighborhood in Sequim, you never have to ride in traffic! There are several scenic bridges, lots of rural scenery, and a great finishing stretch of four miles along the Strait of Juan de Fuca coming into Port Angeles. Showers threatened but mostly stayed away.

Walking the beach at South Indian Island County Park, with a distant Mt. Rainier just visible in the background.

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The bridge to Indian Island crosses Portage Canal

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Walking the beach at South Indian Island County Park, with a distant Mt. Rainier just visible in the background.

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Walk  4/21  South Indian Island

It was time for a nice extended day trip with the walkers group, so we crossed the sound and headed over near Port Townsend to a nice county park along the shore of Indian Island. The sun smiled on us and gave us a picture-perfect day to stroll the beach. There's about a 2-mile section open to the public, so we walked down and back for a 4-mile outing. A few shore birds were seen, and views of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics were great too.

Umtanum Falls, an unlikely treat in the dry country south of Ellensburg.

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On the trail to Umtanum Falls, surmounting a rocky step

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I think it's called Oregon Sunshine

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Umtanum Falls, an unlikely treat in the dry country south of Ellensburg.

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Hike  4/17  Umtanum Falls and Ridge


We took our first east-side trip of the spring, heading over to Ellensburg and out south of town to do sort of a "high and low" doubleheader of hikes. We started with the low hike, along Umtanum Creek, heading for lovely Umtanum Falls, which spills over a 40-foot cliff of volcanic basalt. The wet spring was really in evidence, as the creek flowed strongly and the trail was a wet muddy mess much of the time. Still we persisted and reached the falls viewpoints. Later, after a bone rattling drive up a rough rocky road to the ridgetop, we strolled the wide open plateau on Umtanum Ridge, enjoying distant views and just finishing up before an approaching storm cloud arrived. Most people hiked around 6 miles or so on the day. 

An old moss-covered stump catches a little sunlight along the White Chuck Bench Trail near Darrington.

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Nice relaxing travel through a pretty forest

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Where do YOU wanna go?

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An old moss-covered stump catches a little sunlight along the White Chuck Bench Trail near Darrington.

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Hike  4/15  White Chuck Bench Trail


The Darrington area has a number of nice river valley trails that make great spring hikes, and our group got out on an overcast but dry Saturday to check out one of the best ones. This was once a 6-mile-plus trail that meandered above the northern bank of the White Chuck River connecting a trailhead at each end. Now the trail has lost its middle, but is hike-able at each end. We explored 2.5 miles at the west end and about a mile at the east end. Such a fine and fairly easy forest walk-- hopefully it will reconnect to become a complete trail again someday.

A sunny day walk along the Sammamish River through Redmond.

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A sunny day walk along the Sammamish River through Redmond.

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Walk  4/11  Sammamish River Trail


For the first time in a while, it seemed, our walking group was treated to sunshine and fairly mild temperatures for their morning stroll. It was a fine morning to walk the popular paved trail along the Sammamish River between Woodinville and Redmond. By starting at various points, everyone was able to find a comfortable walk, ranging from about 3 to 5.5 miles one way to Marymoor Park.

Exploring the beach near Thompson Spit.

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Exploring the beach near Thompson Spit.

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Hike  4/8  Miller Peninsula / Thompson Spit


This was our first hike at this state parks property on the Olympic Peninsula. The Miller Peninsula is located between Discovery Bay and Sequim Bay, and there's a 2800-acre area on undeveloped land with numerous trails and gated roads to walk. Starting from a nice new trailhead parking area, we hiked through nice forests of fir and madrona, eventually reached a narrow beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By carefully following the rocky beach a few minutes eastward, we reached Thompson Spit, a small sand strip enclosing a lagoon. Plenty of shore birds were seen. Clouds were dominant but the showers stayed elsewhere, and it was a nice comfortable day for some new discoveries.

Pileated Woodpecker on the trails of Tradition Plateau at the foot of Tiger Mountain

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Pileated Woodpecker on the trails of Tradition Plateau at the foot of Tiger Mountain

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Hike  4/6  Maltby Cafe / Tradition Plateau


This was a "breakfast hike," starting with a great meal at the famous Maltby Cafe, and then heading out to Tiger Mountain just east of Issaquah. Rather than try to drag our full bellies up the mountain, we took a leisurely hike on the gentle trails criss-crossing Traidtion Plateau, at the mountain's base. We had the trails nearly to ourselves on this quiet Thursday, and the showers at the beginning gave up and gave way to some nice sunbreaks by the end. We covered about a 5 mile loop by joining several different trails.

Nice views over Samish Bay from the top of Oyster Dome

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Nice views over Samish Bay from the top of Oyster Dome

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Hike  4/2  Oyster Dome


It was a pleasant early spring Sunday, and lots of folks were out enjoying the trails south of Bellingham. We started from Chuckanut Drive (elevation 100 feet), and climbed up the steep but nicely maintained trail for about 3 miles to the vista point at the top of Oyster Dome (elevation 2050 feet). Views out over the bay toward the San Juans and beyond were outstanding.

Spring snowshoeing around Lanham Lake

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Spring snowshoeing around Lanham Lake

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Snowshoe  4/1  Lanham Lake (alt. for Eunice Lake/Tolmie Peak)


Plans were adjusted because of the small turnout and the challenging weather conditions, i.e. lots of rain at Mount Rainier, so a tour to Lanham Lake near Stevens Pass fit the bill for this day. Not much sunshine, but not much rain either, and fairly good snow conditions, so the three participants got in a good workout, saw some nice scenery, and stayed dry.