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!

Walk  3/30  Burlington Dike Trail

At the eastern edge of the city of Burlington, bordering the Skagit River, a nice high wide dike is built up, and the gravel path/roadway atop it makes a nice easy walking surface. The river is in view nearly the whole time, and in this case it's a very swollen river flowing strong with the drainage from a large area of the North Cascades. We had our customary March drizzle and gray skies, but it still made for some very pleasant exercise as our group covered about 3.5 miles total by going end-to-end and back. With a little extra time left over after the walk, we made a side trip out to the Skagit Valley flower fields to see how the colors are looking. Definitely no tulips yet, but several lovely fields of daffodils were there to enjoy.

Hike  3/28  Double Bluff Low Tide Walk

The beach walk at Double Bluff, on the south end of Whidbey Island, is one of the best on Whidbey. With a low tide, there's a nice wide beach with few obstacles, and you can go for over two miles westward from the parking area. The high bluff that hangs over the beach is fascinating to gaze at, with it's interesting layerings of sand, clay, and rocks. On this particularly day we had overcast skies and a strong breeze, but fortunately no rain. Most people walked about 3-5 miles total.

Snowshoe  3/26  Yodelin Ridge

There are several nice snowshoe tours in the Stevens Pass area, including this one that we had never offered before. Starting from the parking area near Yodelin, 1.5 miles east of the pass, we climbed up an old road through a long-abandoned ski area, eventually reaching a ridge at over 5000 feet elevation. The visibility was limited due to an incoming snow storm, but the fresh falling snow was a nice touch. Everyone reached the high point of Yodelin Ridge at about 5240 feet, climbing nearly 1700 feet to get there.

Hike  3/25  Discovery Park

Most people are aware of the large park in North Seattle that sits on a peninsula along Puget Sound, though few are aware of the many hiking trails that criss-cross the park's 540 acres. We started from the park visitor center at the east entrance and hiked a nearly 6-mile loop that sampled most of the best attractions in the park. There were nice forests, ponds, beach-front, upland meadows, and historic sites to see. A special highlight was during our lunch break along the beach, as a veritable parade of sailboats, perhaps 50-60 of them, passed by into Shilshole Bay.

Snowshoe  3/21  Heather Meadows-- Bagley Lakes

We journeyed one final time this season to the deep snows at Heather Meadows near the Mount Baker Ski Area. Clouds and a little rain were factors, but fortunately not too bad. We snowshoed a loop route of around 2 miles or so, meandering the meadows and crossing Bagley Lake along the way.  Being a Tuesday, late in the season, with marginal weather, we nearly had the place to ourselves. Quite a contrast from a few weeks back on a sunny Sunday when hundreds of people mobbed the same area.

Hike  3/19  Anacortes Tripleheader

It was a lovely spring-like day in Anacortes as we sample some of the many great trails on the ACFL (Anacortes Community Forest Lands).  We started with a short but steep hike to the top of 1044-foot-high Sugarloaf, attaining some terrific views from the semi-open hilltop. Next was a 3-mile loop walk around Heart Lake, and finally another lake loop at Little Cranberry Lake. It felt so good to be out under the sunshine, seeing the signs of the changing seasons.

Snowshoe  3/18  Hurricane Ridge - Obstruction Point Road

We had one of those days where the weather changed every 10 minutes, or so it seemed. From fog to snow to sleet to sunshine and back over again, it was an interesting day on the high country of Hurricane Ridge. We snowshoed the peaceful road route toward Steeple Rick and back, covering about 4 miles and 700 feet of elevation gain. Snow formations on the ridge were fascinating, and the clouds parted just enough to provide some nice views for a while. 

Walk  3/15  Springbrook Trail

We took a rainy day walk on this City of Renton trail that wriggles its way between the heavily developed areas at the south end of I-405. Some nice features have been built along the way, including a nearly 1/2 mile long section of elevated boardwalk that carries you through a wetland, and a trail through the Waterworks Gardens, which the nearby water treatment plant has put in to serve as an environmental artwork and wildlife habitat area. We walked about 3 miles under our umbrellas for a nice bit of exercise in an unexpected location.

Snowshoe  3/12  Pinnacle Peak Basin

For the fourth trip in a row, the destination was in Mount Rainier National Park. This time it was some high country snowshoeing to some challenging terrain in the Tatoosh Range. Beginning from Narada Falls Parking Area, we snowshoed to Reflection Lake, then on up toward Pinnacle Peak and the Castle, topping out at around 5800 feet in elevation. Fog and limited visibility seemed to be locked down around us for the day, but around 1:30, as we prepared to head back down from the basin, some partial clearing happened and provided some thrilling views of the area. All told, we covered about a 5 mile round trip with 1600 feet gain.

Hike  3/11  Carbon River

There aren't many places in Mount Rainier National Park where one can do snow-free hiking this time of year, but we were able to locate one--sort of. The Carbon River entrance is the lowest elevation in the park, at about 1800 feet, and it currently snow-free. An easy hike along the former road leads through an outstanding old growth forest. After a couple of miles, with only a slight rise in elevation, a few inches of snow covered the road, but it was still fairly easy to walk in the packed-down footprints. We wound up going about 3 miles out and 3 miles back, with most people turning around at the Green Lake Trailhead, 

Snowshoe  3/10  V.E.S.T. (Very Easy Snowshoe Tour) to Mount Rainier

We journeyed to Mount Rainier on a misty, quiet Friday to do some easy snowshoeing in the park. The planned tour at Ricksecker Point had to be abandoned because the road to Paradise was experiencing some avalanching, so we parked at Longmire and strapped on the snowshoes there. Our leisurely morning tour consisted of a short out-and-back on the Wonderland Trail, and a trip around the 1/2-mile Trail of the Shadows. Most of the Longmire area had a couple feet or more of snow. After the snowshoe walk, we went to the National Park Inn Restaurant at Longmire for a very enjoyable lunch.

Snowshoe  3/4-5  Mount Rainier Snowshoe Overnighter

On Friday, in advance of our weekend overnighter, Mount Rainier got 20 inches of fresh snow. Just the right recipe for some beautiful snowshoeing on smooth, pristine white powder. We did a Saturday tour in the Nisqually Valley starting from the highway bridge, and a Sunday tour in Paradise Valley, starting from Narada Falls and following the river valley to Paradise. Conditions could not have been better, and although the clouds never quite allowed us clear views of the mountain, what we could see was spectacular enough. Our overnight accommodations at the Nisqually Lodge were excellent as usual, as was Saturday evening dinner at Copper Creek Inn. 

Snowshoe  3/1  White Salmon Road

What a treat it is to be the first tracks in the powder snow after a sizable accumulation of fresh snow. That was the case at White Salmon Road near Mount Baker Ski Area, as about 9" of snow fell the night before, and the snow continued to fall gently on us all day. We ran into no other people while out on the tour, although we did decide to have lunch in the ski lodge with several hundred other folks on hand. Although the views were limited today, we did get a nice dose of winter wilderness to soothe our souls.

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