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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Looking across Rattlesnake Lake toward the formation known as Rattlesnake Ledge.

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Looking across Rattlesnake Lake toward the formation known as Rattlesnake Ledge.

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Walk 4/29 Rattlesnake Lake and Iron Horse Trail

It was a very pleasant spring morning for this walk near North Bend. Skies were blue and the trails were gentle and easy. We first walked along the shore of Rattlesnake Lake, with occasional views toward the surrounding mountains, and then connected with the Iron Horse Trail (the old railroad line), taking that for a mile or so. Got in around 4 miles of walking, a nice stress-free way to spend a Monday morning. 

Overlooking San Juan Island from atop Mount Grant

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Pulling into the ferry dock at Friday Harbor

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Cattle Point area from Mt. Findlayson

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Overlooking San Juan Island from atop Mount Grant

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Hike 4/25  San Juan Island 

Spent a nice sunny Thursday exploring a number of hiking opportunities on San Juan Island, focusing on a number of Land Bank acquisitions that have saved some special natural places from future development. After our scenic ride on the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, we made our first stop at the Mount Grant Preserve, and walked up the 736-foot tall mountain (hill?) to some great views on top. We made subsequent stops at Westside Preserve, Lime Kiln State Park, and Third Lagoon Preserve to sample the scenery on the west and south sides of the island. We saw some nice wildflowers and lots of birds on the trip, and were able to spend a little time in Friday Harbor prior to our return. Hike about 5 miles total on the day.

Springtime on the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth

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Oregon Anemone (?)

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The glorious colors of balsamroot in bloom

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Springtime on the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth

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Hike 4/22  Leavenworth Wildflower Tripleheader 

We did three short hikes near Leavenworth to check out the wildflowers and scenery. First off, a quick jaunt on the Tumwater Pipeline Trail along the Wenatchee River, then a walk up a forest road to some viewpoints above Camas Meadows off Highway 97, and finishing up with another nice view hike along Mountain Home Ridge just south of Leavenworth. Flowers were still a couple weeks from their best peak, but we spotted numerous blooms anyway. The rain that soaked the west side of the mountains didn't make it over to Leavenworth, so we enjoyed plenty of sunshine and blue skies. We hiked about 6 miles all told.

Visiting the high country of the Olympics on Mount Townsend.

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Viewing the Olympics from the Edmonds ferry. Mt. Townsend is the snowy peak farthest right.

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Descending some steeper, mushy snow

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Visiting the high country of the Olympics on Mount Townsend.

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Snowshoe 4/20  Mount Townsend 

I guess technically I should call this a hike, not a snowshoe, because we carried snowshoes but never used them on this trip. Mount Townsend is a 6280-foot summit in the eastern Olympics. A long forest road out of Quilcene leads to the trailhead at about 3400 feet. In this area, there's virtually no snow until you get to about 4500 feet, so we hiked up the well-maintained trail quite a ways before encountering snow. A track was easy to follow up the snow patches (traction devices came in handy), and the partly cloudy skies made for some nice views as we climbed higher and higher. Only thin patches of snow remain at the top, so we enjoyed the rocky summit and watched the views change as the clouds drifted about. The total round trip was 8 miles, 2900 feet gain.

The Skagit River was swollen with spring runoff as we hiked the trails near Newhalem.

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Walking among the giants on Trail of the Cedars

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River Loop Trail scenery

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The Skagit River was swollen with spring runoff as we hiked the trails near Newhalem.

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Hike 4/19  Newhalem Area Trails 

Another showery day in western Washington, but that didn't deter us from sampling 5 different trails near Newhalem. This is rugged North Cascades territory around here, and it was impressive to view all the water gushing down the gorges and creating waterfalls everywhere you looked. While in the area, we hiked the beautiful forest on the Trail of the Cedars, visited a historic Native American camp on the Rock Shelter Trail, took the loop trail at Gorge Creek Falls, walked along a raging creek on the Stetattle Creek Trail, and strolled through an interesting forest mix of ancient trees and recent fire-impacted trees on the River Loop Trail. We hiked about 4 miles in all, and made it a fun outing despite the soggy conditions.

Walking toward the old barn and farm house at Hovander Farm near Ferndale.

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The old Hovander Farm house, built in 1903

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Walking toward the old barn and farm house at Hovander Farm near Ferndale.

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Walk 4/18  Hovander Farm and Tennant Lake  

One of the many wonderful Whatcom County Parks, this pioneer farm property once owned by a Swedish family has been beautifully preserved and makes for a fine walk, even on a rainy April day. The old farm house and barn date back to the early 1900's when the Hovander family worked this land along the Nooksack River near Ferndale. We walked a few miles of trails near the old farm and also checked out a nice garden, lookout tower, and boardwalk trail at nearby Tennant Lake.

Resting along the shore of Baker Lake on a chilly gray spring day.

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A perfectly-formed skunk cabbage sprouting it's colorful bloom

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The delicate form of the step moss decorating a fallen log

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Resting along the shore of Baker Lake on a chilly gray spring day.

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Hike 4/14  Baker Lake East Bank  

The pattern continued on our April trips, as cloudy, showery weather greeted us in the North Cascades along Baker Lake. Fortunately, another pattern held: very little rain fell out of the solid ceiling of clouds. The hike along the east side of the lake is a gorgeous forest walk on an excellent trail with plenty of bridges over all the substantial streams. A few fallen logs had to be stepped over or under, but mostly we enjoy gentle trail and fine scenery. We went about 3.5 miles each way, reaching the Maple Grove Campground on the lake shore as our turnaround point. No views of Baker or Shuksan today, but we did see the fresh snow on the mountainsides not far above us. The high country is still in the grips of winter.

The sagebrush country on Umtanum Ridge near Ellensburg

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The basalt rocks that are characteristic of the canyon country of this region

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Apologies for the poor quality, but there WERE some mountain sheep in the canyon.

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The sagebrush country on Umtanum Ridge near Ellensburg

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Hike 4/13  Umtanum Ridge  

Time to head over the Cascades to see how it's looking over on the dry side. This hike near Ellensburg starts along the Yakima River off the Canyon Road at 1300 feet. After crossing the river on a long footbridge, we went up the sagebrush hillside to the ridge top at over 3600 feet. A solid overcast persisted most of the day, but rain mostly stayed well to the west. Early wildflowers were popping out in abundance, and in another 2-3 weeks there should be lots more in bloom. During the last half hour of the hike, some partial clearing gave us some very welcome sunshine. We saw and heard lots of birds along the trail, and even spotted some bighorn sheep on the hillsides in places. The hike totaled about 7 miles, 2400 feet gain.

The Lower Falls of the Little Mashel River, thundering with runoff on a rainy day.

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Mashel River flowing high with spring meltwater

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Trail was wet but in good condition

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The Lower Falls of the Little Mashel River, thundering with runoff on a rainy day.

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Hike 4/11  Little Mashel Falls  

The Little Mashel River begins up in the foothills near Elbe in Pierce County. It flows for less than 10 miles before joining the (Big) Mashel River, which eventually joins the Nisqually on the way to Puget Sound. But this fairly short, little-known river plummets through a steep canyon producing three impressive waterfalls. A short hike from Eatonville on some recently-built and improved trails reaches the falls. The water levels were high and fast owing to the recent rainy spell, so the falls were gushing strongly. Our hike included views of the lower, middle, and upper falls as we got in about 5 miles hiking and "several" hundred feet of elevation gain.

Lower Falls

Middle Falls

Upper Falls

Overlooking the Snoqualmie Valley from a vista point above Carnation.

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Peaceful forest trails were the main feature of this large county park

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Looking downstream toward the nearby road bridge

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Overlooking the Snoqualmie Valley from a vista point above Carnation.

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Hike 4/7  Tolt - MacDonald Park  

A gray and cool early spring day was a fine time to explore the trail system in another of King County's wonderful regional parks. We drove to Carnation in the Snoqualmie Valley and parked at the edge of town along the Tolt River. A nice winding paved path led to the footbridge over the Snoqualmie River, and into the main backcountry area of the 575-acre park. We climbed 400 feet up to a plateau and then hiked a large loop of nicely-built trails with very few other people around. A logged area provided a clearing for sampling the views, and the various park amenities like the nice yurts and camp area provided some interest as well. All told, we hiked nearly 7 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain.

The Trillium Trail lived up to its name as we walked in lovely forest near Redmond.

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To an avid northwest hiker, nothing says spring like this happy blossom

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Wildlife in the parking lot!

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The Trillium Trail lived up to its name as we walked in lovely forest near Redmond.

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Walk 4/3  Trillium Trail - Redmond Watershed Preserve  

Just east of the busy suburb, the Redmond Watershed Preserve provides a marvelous haven for escaping the noise and crowds nearby. An excellent trail system of smooth, wide paths gives a gentle means of enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Spring was very much in evidence this day, as we strolled for 4 miles or so, spotting wildflowers, birds, a deer, and plenty of fine forest. The trillium were most definitely out, a sure sign that spring has arrived at last.