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!

Snowshoe 1/27-29  Overnighter to Methow Valley

We spent three days snowshoeing the winter wonderland located in the eastern Cascades in the Methow Valley. A world-class system of trails provides an abundance of great tours for skiers and snowshoers, and the proximity of nice lodging and dining nearby makes for a comfortable place to relax and refuel. We snowshoed one day at Sun Mountain, one day in the Mazama area, and the final day near Patterson Lake. All trails were nicely tracked and easy to follow, and we logged over 10 miles on snowshoes over the course of the weekend. Thanks to a fun and enthusiastic group for making it a successful trip.

Snowshoe 1/25  Smith Brook Valley

This was a very pleasant mid-week escape to the wonderful valley of Smith Brook, just off Highway 2 east of Stevens Pass. Our small group enjoyed the solitude of being the only people in the entire valley all day. As is normally the case here, the journey was more important than the destination, as we meandered through snowy forests and meadows, and alongside the creek. The main attractions were the amazing snow formations, the bird-watching, the occasional nice views, and the wonderful quiet. We covered about 4.4 miles and 700 feet gain.

Hike 1/22  Little Mountain Park

Just five minutes from Mount Vernon and I-5 is a great trail system on the aptly named Little Mountain. We were able to link up a series of forested trails to cover about 6 miles, most of which was very relaxing walking on easy grade and well-maintained paths. How nice to be on a totally dry, smooth forest trail in the middle of winter! The misty weather made it a nice setting, and although the views from the two vista points at the top were somewhat limited, it turned out to be just the thing for a sweet Sunday saunter. 

Snowshoe 1/21  Introductory Tour to Smith Brook Valley

I was joined by 10 enthusiastic beginner snowshoers for a day out on the snow near Stevens Pass. The snow was about 5-6 feet deep, and the scenery was delightful. We took a route that sometimes followed the snow-covered Smithbrook Road, and other times wound through the forests alongside. It was a great experience for everyone, getting the feeling for various types of snow conditions, and learning about some of the hazards and attractions in the winter landscape. Most people did about 2-3 miles on the day.

Walk 1/17  Langus Riverfront Trail

We didn't have to travel far, only about 8 miles from Forest Park in fact, to enjoy a nice little walk along the Snohomish River outside Everett. The paved Riverfront Trail offers a chance to exercise and take in some wetland scenery. Wintering birds along the river and at Spencer Island made for a very active scene, and the distant snowy mountains provided a pleasant backdrop. After walking about 4-5 on the chilly gray morning, we returned to the comfortable confines of the meeting facility at Langus Park, where hot lunch was served, and the group helped me celebrate my birthday. Thanks everyone so much for making it a great day!

Snowshoe 1/15  Lanham Lake

What a string of absolutely gorgeous snowshoe trips we've had! Lanham Lake Trail, near Stevens Pass Nordic Center, offers a good workout as you climb steadily for 1,100 feet through forest to a pretty wilderness lake at the foot of a towering Cascade peak. It was another chilly day, around 15 degrees, but enough sun shone through at mid-day to make for a pleasant warm-up sitting on the frozen lake surface. Dozens of snowshoers and skiers made the trek up there on the well-marked trail, but few of them explored beyond the lake to the foot of Jim Hill Mountain as we did. This extra side trip was a highlight of our day, according to several in the group. All told, we covered about 4.5 miles and 1400 feet of gain.  

Snowshoe 1/14  Hurricane Ridge

After weeks of frigid temperatures, what a relief to head up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains to enjoy a 40 degree day with sunshine and light winds. Of course, there were LOTS of other folks doing the same. I was joined by a spirited group of 13 as we explored the mile-high terrain accessed from the National Park Visitor Center on Hurricane Ridge. The snow was gorgeous and deep, the views were breathtaking, and the weather felt oh so nice. A great day out on the snow.

Snowshoe 1/12  V.E.S.T. -Very Easy Snowshoe Tour to Leavenworth

It was a cold but crystal-clear sunny day for a trip over the mountains to Leavenworth. Our V.E.S.T. trips are a great opportunity for our less nimble patrons to get out and enjoy the snow, and today presented near-perfect conditions. We toured around the Icicle River Trails, next to the Sleeping Lady Resort, and covered a mile or so on the gentle terrain. The temperature even warmed up to 8 degrees or so!  After snowshoeing, we crossed the road from the trailhead to O'Grady's Pantry at the resort for a tasty lunch in a warm cozy restaurant. 

Snowshoe 1/10  Steppin' Stoker Trail

We couldn't have come on a better day to enjoy this scenic path through the forest at the Stevens Pass Nordic Center. The center is not officially open during the week, but the trails are accessible and very few people are there. The snow-pack is around 5 feet deep, and the trees are all deeply covered in snow. There had been a few inches of fresh snow a day or so before which put a nice soft, clean surface on everything. We were the first snowshoers to walk the trail since the fresh snow fell. It was a serene, sublime walk in the snow. 

Snowshoe 1/8  Introductory Snowshoe Tour to Gold Creek Valley

Whoa, it was stormy day at Snoqualmie Pass, with cold temps, high winds, and blowing snow-- a perfect day for a big group of beginning snowshoers to join me for a trek around Gold Creek Valley, right? Actually, it turned out to be quite a fun trip. We stuck to the most heavily forested areas where the wind was not so bad, and embraced the wintry setting with all the fresh snow falling, the animal tracks, the birds settling in on Gold Creek Pond, and all the odd snow formations on the trees and rocks. My thanks to the group for being up to the challenge, and here hoping you can join me again soon on a somewhat nicer weather day!

Snowshoe  1/7  Lake Wenatchee State Park

We bundled up to face the chill on a day when the temperature started out at right around 0 degrees. Fortunately there was no wind at Lake Wenatchee, and by afternoon it "warmed up" to a balmy 14 degrees. Still, it was an enjoyable outing with some excellent snow conditions. We did a mixture of trail- and off-trail routes, with some nice views of the lake, the Wenatchee River, and Nason Creek. We did a morning loop route through the North Park area, then drove to the South Park area (with lunch in the cozy van) and did another loop in the afternoon.

Hike 1/6  Port Gamble Trails

We often drive right through Port Gamble, the quaint little town near the Hood Canal bridge, on our way to other destinations on the Olympic Peninsula. This was a day for exploring the town and some of the hiking opportunities located on its outskirts. An area of some 3,000 acres south of the town contains miles of trails and roads through forest that give some nice peaceful walking. After a chilly trek covering about 4.5 miles in the morning, we reached Port Gamble and went out for lunch at the General Store Cafe. Following lunch I led a narrated history tour of the town. Founded in 1853 as a mill town and preserved in 1966 as a National Historic District, there's an abundance of interesting history to discover.

Walk 1/1  New Year's Walk on the Larry Scott Trail

We kicked off 2017 with a frosty stroll on a multi-use trail outside of Port Townsend. The Larry Scott Trail is the eastern end of the 100-mile+ Olympic Discovery Trail that crosses the peninsula. It's wide, gentle surface makes for a very easy walk. We started a few miles outside PT and walk to the town, a distance of about 5.5 miles. Given the cold weather, everyone walked pretty briskly, and finished early enough to have time for lunch afterward at a waterfront "hole-in-the-wall" called Sea-J's Cafe. It made for a great warm-up after being out in the invigorating January air.

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