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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Mount Baker takes on a ghostly look in the hazy air at Scott Paul Trail.

Temporary bridges are placed to provide passage over meandering glacial streams

Mount Baker takes on a ghostly look in the hazy air at Scott Paul Trail.

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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.

A smoky sunset on our evening walk to River Meadows Park near Arlington.

Sand sculpture at River Meadows Park

A smoky sunset on our evening walk to River Meadows Park near Arlington.

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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.

Having fun exploring the forest trails at Staircase in Olympic National Park

A pre-trip bonus: checking out the Dahlia Show in Floral Hall

My new hiking buddy

Having fun exploring the forest trails at Staircase in Olympic National Park

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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.

Getting set to head out from Barlow Pass for a 20-mile evening ride down to Verlot

Taking a break at Big Four

Crossing the Red Bridge on the way to Verlot

Getting set to head out from Barlow Pass for a 20-mile evening ride down to Verlot

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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.

Nice views of Mt. Larrabee and lots more from the top of Winchester Mountain.

Starting up the trail in field of flowers above Twin Lakes

Nice views of Mt. Larrabee and lots more from the top of Winchester Mountain.

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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.

Sign of the times in the central Cascades-- access to Spider Meadow closed 8/13

Entering the wilderness area on Poet Ridge

Nice to have these colorful companions along the trail

Sign of the times in the central Cascades-- access to Spider Meadow closed 8/13

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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.

Beach walking on Whidbey Island at Dugualla State Park.

Some impressive Douglas Fir along the trail to the beach

and a huge 160-pound dog

Beach walking on Whidbey Island at Dugualla State Park.

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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. 

Hiking high above Ross Lake on the Desolation Peak Trail in the North Cascades.

The trip starts by hiking one mile down from Highway 20 to Ross Dam

Finished off the boat ride with a nice rainbow back by Ross Dam

Hiking high above Ross Lake on the Desolation Peak Trail in the North Cascades.

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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.

Crossing Deception Creek on a unique log bridge

Huge mossy boulder near the log bridge crossing

Rocky river bed on Deception creek

Crossing Deception Creek on a unique log bridge

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77*

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!           

Remains of a railroad log dumping dock at Woodard Bay near Lacey

Started out on a loop trail through very nice forest

Easy walking back down the access road

Remains of a railroad log dumping dock at Woodard Bay near Lacey

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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.

The view from Barlow Point, overlooking the South Fork Stillaguamish Valley.

A view of Sheep Mountain from Barlow Point

Thanks Harold!

The view from Barlow Point, overlooking the South Fork Stillaguamish Valley.

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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.

Nice summer scenery at Hyas Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

The morning stroll around Gold Creek Pond at Snoqualmie Pass was gorgeous

Pink Paintbrush

Nice summer scenery at Hyas Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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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.