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! 

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Overnighter 4/28-30  Eastside Hiking Overnighter to Yakima & Tri-Cities

A group of 8 joined me for some wonderful spring hiking in central and eastern Washington. We stayed in the Tri-Cities at the comfy Quality Inn, and enjoyed hikes each day on the dry side of the state. The hikes included Yakima Rim Trail near Selah, the Juniper Dunes Wilderness near Pasco, and the White Bluffs of Hanford Reach near Othello. We had perfect partly cloudy weather, temps in the 60's, and logged about 17 miles hiking over the course of three days. There were interesting wildflowers, fantastic scenery, some cool sand dunes, great bird watching, some interesting geology, and many more delights on this very rewarding getaway.

Hike 4/27  Taylor River / Otter Falls

Not far from North Bend is an old road turned trail that follows the Taylor River for many miles into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. About 4.5 miles in, one turns off the trail at an unsigned junction and goes up a short forested slope to a jaw-dropping view of the unique Otter Falls. This 1200-foot falls is more of a slide down an angled rock face, and as incredible as it is, you only see the bottom portion of it. it didn't hurt that we had nice blue skies and comfortable temperatures, a perfect day for relaxing and marveling at the sights.

Hike 4/22  Baker Lake East Bank Trail

Spring really turned on its charms as we enjoyed a delightful day on the trail along Baker Lake. We hiked the mildly undulating path along the east side of the lake, going about 3 1/2 miles to the Maple Grove Campsite area, where we had a nice relaxing lunch in full view of Mt. Baker. The trail was in fairly good shape considering some of our recent sloppy weather, and aside from a few minor blow downs and the occasional muddy spot, it was easy going the whole time. Lots of other hikers and backpackers were out taking advantage of the sunny skies, and most everyone we met had sometime to say along the lines of "what a great day for a hike, huh?"

Hike 4/21  Baldy - Yakima Canyon 

It's that time of year when we head east for the open country, sunny skies, and spring wildflowers of the sagebrush country. This trip started from a campground on the Yakima River, about halfway between Ellensburg and Yakima. We headed up, up, and up for nearly 2000 feet in the course of 2 1/2 miles, topping out on the 3200-foot high summit of Baldy. Views extended from Mt. Stuart to Mt. Hood, and included a huge swath of central Washington. Oddly enough, this region has been relatively dry in recent months, so the flowers were a bit subdued, but still nice if you kept your eyes open. The steep rocky trail was a challenge at times, and a strong wind blew much of the day, but all 13 of our hikers persisted to the top. 

Walk 4/19  Snoqualmie Valley Trail 

The 31-mile rail trail that passes through the Snoqualmie Valley from Duvall to North Bend is a real treat for walkers and bicyclists, and the secluded 5-mile stretch between Carnation and Fall City may be the best of the best. Winding through a wooded corridor well away from any busy roadways, the trail provided a relaxing and scenic stroll, and a great bit of exercise on a pleasant spring morning.

Hike 4/15  Coal Creek Falls  

This is a wonderful strip of wilderness right in the heart of suburbia. Just off 405 on the Coal Creek Parkway, a nice trailhead gives access to the Coal Creek Natural Area, where a popular trail leads through nearly three miles of forested ravine that makes you forget you're in the middle of Bellevue. Much of this area was the heart of a long ago coal mining region, and nature has largely reclaimed it's dominance, and the well-built trail and numerous bridges and staircases make for a pleasant trek along the creek, leading to the pretty falls at the end. Thanks to the soggy April weather, the falls and creek were swollen to impressive proportions. Our round trip was almost 6 miles, 500 feet gain.

Hike 4/14  Grand Prospect 

Just off I-90 before you get to North Bend, the Snoqualmie Point Trailhead gives access to the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail, an excellent path that climbs steadily up to various viewpoints overlooking the Snoqualmie Valley. Unfortunately no views on this rainy day, but the group was strong and persisted for the 9-miles, 2100 feet of elevation gain to reach Grand Prospect and back again. There's still some patchy snow as you get up to about 3000 feet, but the trail was easy to follow and didn't slow us up. 

Hike 4/12  Lopez Island  

It was time for a nice one-day island getaway, so we headed for Anacortes and took the ferry to Lopez to check out some of it's best hiking parks and trails. This popular trip wound up with 24 participants, so I was joined by a second trip leader (and my future supervisor) Euan Robertson. We took our groups to three great areas: Spencer Spit State Park, Agate Beach/Iceberg Point, and Shark Reef Sanctuary. Each offered a mix of short forest trails with sea-side paths along the shores and a generous amount of sunshine. Highlights included sighting of sea lions, seals, plenty of shore birds, a few spring wildflowers, and stunning views that included some blue skies!  We even had time for a drive through the Skagit Valley tulip fields, and a nice short walk on the interpretive trail on Guemes Channel by the Anacortes ferry. A wonderful time was had by all.

Walk 4/10  East Lake Sammamish Trail  

An old rail line runs through a narrow corridor along the shore of Lake Sammamish offering an 11-mile route from Redmond to Issaquah. We walked about a 3-5 mile segment of it, finishing up at Lake Sammamish State Park. The trail is in various stages of development, with some newly paved and landscaped sections and other unpaved, soon-to-be improved sections. The rain and sunshine turned off-and-on, off-and-on, so we took the best advantage of the sunny parts and enjoyed a nice morning stroll.

Hike 4/8  Taylor Mountain / Holder Knob & Snoqualmie Falls

I had 13 courageous hikers show up in spite of the promise of an all-day rain, and we headed out to Taylor Mountain, in the Cascade foothills near Tiger Mountain. We followed a mostly good but occasionally muddy trail for 2 miles and managed to reach Holder Knob, an 1100-foot-high vista point in an old clearcut. Without much to see and a steady rain showing no signs of letup, we keep going back down a couple of logging roads and made quick time back to the trailhead.  With extra time to spare after lunch, we stopped off at Snoqualmie Falls to catch a glimpse of the giant falls thundering impressively. 

Snowshoe 4/7  Blewett Pass (alternate for Glacier Creek Road)  

A fairly strong, wet weather system was bearing down on most of Washington this day, so in hopes of catching a break, we ditched plans to go near Mount Baker and headed east over to Blewett Pass near Cle Elum.  There wasn't a lot of snow on the ground at the start, so we carried snowshoes for a bit before it gradually got better. Climbing up from the highway at 3800 feet, we snowshoed in steady  rain, then some sunshine, then a hard, wet snowfall before giving up at about 5200 feet. We got a good workout, and probably stayed a lot drier then we would have at Mount Baker.

Snowshoe 4/4  Heather Meadows / Bagley Lakes  

We headed to the area that claims the deepest measured snow pack in all of North America, at Heather Meadows next to Mount Baker Ski Area. Current measurements showed 198" of snow (over 16 feet), and with a nice soft powdery surface on top of a fairly solid base, it was just right for snowshoeing. We did a short loop past the summertime visitors center and down to the two Bagley Lakes, finishing up as the next weather system was starting to make it's presence known. Fortunately we did get a few nice views early in the day, stayed dry, and covered a good 2 miles or so.

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