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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Hike 8/23 Scott Paul Trail
This was another trip that was heavily impacted by the smoky air that blanketed the region for most of a week. Still, the show went on, and there were some interesting views to be had. The Scott Paul is a loop on the south side of Mt. Baker, named in memory of a young trail builder who was instrumental in it's design. We roamed through a mixture of forest, meadow, and glacial moraines, and had some interesting stream crossings along the 8-mile journey. Views were limited by the smokiness, but at least Baker could be seen. Strangely, we encountered virtually no one for the last 6 miles of the hike.
Walk 8/22 River Meadows County Park
As the northwest was in the grips of smoky, unhealthy air, we went ahead with our evening walk at this pleasant park along the Stillaguamish River. We started with a chicken dinner at the picnic shelter, and then strolled around the perimeter of the park. A combination of walking along trails, grassy meadows, and dirt roads led us to sample a number of nice features. A special surprise was a giant sand sculpture built in conjunction with the Festival of the River, which had recently been held there. We saw the yurts that are offered for overnight lodging, and spotted a deer along the way as well. The orange sunset was striking in the smoky atmosphere too.
Hike 8/19 Staircase Rapids Loop
It was a nice day for a hike along a cascading river in the old growth forests of Olympic National Park. The Staircase area features easy trails with plenty of impressive scenery, giant trees, a big picturesque lake, and is a great family hiking area. We took a driving tour around the south sound rather than ferrying today, and got to see what seemed like half the state of Washington, visiting 6 counties in the process.
Bike 8/18 Mountain Loop Evening Ride
On a nice warm summer's evening, we had a fairly leisurely ride down the Mountain Loop Highway from Barlow Pass to Verlot. The route descends about 1400 feet in close to 20 miles, making for a pleasant tour without having to work too hard.
Hike 8/17 Winchester Mountain
Although wildfire smoke continues to have an impact on the air quality throughout the northwest, we were pleasantly surprised today to find some fairly nice views from 6500-foot Winchester Mountain. Located in the Mount Baker Wilderness, the trailhead sits way up at Twin Lakes at 5200 feet, reached by one of the roughest, steepest, and most harrowing roads we can take the van on. But once you get there, it's beautiful every step of the way. Flowers in bloom, views of the lakes, and mountains on both sides of the international boundary. The only downside was we only had 6 people! Wish YOU would've been there.
Hike 8/14 Poe Mountain (alternate for Spider Meadows)
The much-anticipated hike to Spider Meadows was a casualty of the wildfires in the Entiat area. The Cougar Creek fire has grown to over 25,000 acres, and the Chiwawa Road access to Spider Meadows was closed the day before our trip as a precaution. We hiked another trail a few miles away, along Poet Ridge, west of Lake Wenatchee. Starting from a high trailhead, a nearly 3-mile trail leads along Poet Ridge to the 6015-foot summit of Poe Mountain. Visibility was only about 3-4 miles because of the smoky air, but the group made the best of it and enjoyed the day nonetheless.
Hike 8/12 Dugualla State Park
Decided to try and escape the crowds on a summer weekend and hiked this little-known park area on Whidbey Island. It's not far from Deception Pass, and actually is managed by the Deception Pass State Park, but has only a handful of visitors, compared to the thousands that crowd around the famous tall bridge. Is it as spectacular? No, not at all. But it is relaxing, quiet, and peaceful, and very easy to find a parking spot! We hiked through nice forest on good trails for a little over a mile, then dropped down to the beach and walked along the rocky shoreline for maybe 3/4 of a mile. The tide was out, but unfortunately the tidelands here are muddy, so no venturing out toward the water. Saw several little oddities in our 4 miles of walking, got some nice exercise, and kept our stress levels low.
Overnighter 8/10-11 Desolation Peak Lookout
A group of eight very strong hikers joined me for a journey to one of Washington's most remote and historic mountaintop lookout cabins. Desolation Peak tops out at 6102 feet, rising high above the eastern shore of Ross Lake in the North Cascades. By using the water taxi service from Ross Lake Resort, we took a 12-mile ride on a speed boat from Ross Dam to Lightning Creek Campsite, where we spent the night. The hike to the lookout is a 14-mile round trip climbing over 4500 feet, so we started before dawn in order to reach the lookout by late morning and return to camp for our late afternoon water taxi back. Clouds limited the views from the top, but we enjoyed meeting with Ranger Jim from the National Parks Service, who was working at the lookout and welcomed us into the cabin.
Hike 8/8 Deception Creek
This trail starts just off Highway 2 a few miles west of Stevens Pass and follows a forested wilderness valley for many miles to the south. Because there's no lovely lake or panoramic views at the end, it's a somewhat overlooked trail, and indeed, we hiked it for 6 miles without seeing any other people. The forest is it's own reward however, as you walk past huge trees, striking large boulders, and a vast variety of plants. The trail is a little rough at times, and on this very warm and buggy day, it was a challenge to make it the 3 miles each way. Compliments to the group for persisting and making it a successful day.
* This trip was the 77th in a row that I have led since we had to cancel one for lack of sign- ups! That is amazing-- Thank You!
Walk 8/7 Woodard Bay Conservation Area
This is an 800-acre area on the south sound near Lacey. The State of Washington DNR took it over in 1987 and have turned it into a haven for migrating birds and other wildlife. It was once the site of a Weyerhauser logging railroad, where trains full of logs were brought to the sound to be gathered and towed to the mills in Everett. As you can imagine, a major clean-up and restoration process was needed, but it was highly successful and makes for a special little bay. On our short walk, we went through a lovely forest, saw thousands of birds including tons of cormorants, mergansers, and ducks, and got to see harbor seals resting on the man-made piers and platforms left from the logging days.
Hike 8/4 Barlow Point
My quest this summer has admittedly been to hike trails that the crowds tend to overlook, and the Barlow Point Trail was a great example of that. It begins on the Mountain Loop Highway about 30 miles east of Granite Falls at Barlow Pass, which is also the trailhead for hundreds of people hiking the Monte Cristo area trails. We took the short and steep, but mostly fairly smooth trail to the viewpoint at the top, and encountered maybe 6 or 8 people the whole time. A few clouds flitted about, but we got glimpses of many of the surrounding peaks: Dickerman, Big Four, Pugh, and Sheep to name a few. Our hike was finished before 1pm, so we added a drive around the rest of the Mountan Loop, also stopping for a quick walk to the Harold Engels Memorial Cedars Grove, home of some of the most impressive trees you will ever see.
Hike 8/2 Hyas Lakes
This was a journey to a trail tucked up in a long valley on the eastern slopes of the Cascades north of Roslyn. You go well past the Salmon La Sac area, all the way to the road's end at the edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. A relatively easy trail leads two miles or so to the large lake, right at the foot of Cathedral Rock and several other rugged peaks. The area is popular for easy and more extensive backpacking trips, as evidenced by the dozen or more cars we saw at the trailhead on a weekday. Too bad we were only spending the day, so we made a quick in-and-out jaunt to the first lake, enjoying the flowers, the views, and all sorts of butterflies along the path. In Addition, we made a stop on the drive over there to hike the short Gold Creek Pond Loop Trail by Snoqualmie Pass. We totaled close to 6 miles hiking for the day.