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  2/28  Cedar River Trail & Lunch

Weather looked quite iffy for this trip, with snowflakes flying in Everett and temperature hovering around freezing. We traveled south to the Maple Valley area to walk the "quiet" portion of the 17-mile long Cedar River Trail. A dusting of snow was scattered at trail's edge, but the trail itself was perfect, and the rain and snow held off for us. Most people walked anywhere from 3 to 5 miles, finishing up at a trailhead off Landsburg Road. Lunch was at Panera Bread in Maple Valley, a nice end to a fine February outing.

Ski  2/26  Plain Valley Nordic Trails

We had just been here 22 days ago, and we were supposed to be going to Iron Horse Trail, according to the schedule. After the first trip however, I decided to drop Iron Horse (which hadn't been very popular) and go back for more good skiing at Plain Valley. Nine skiers joined me today. This is a wonderful area that I just discovered this year, and there are miles of nice trails to ski. The weather was relatively mild, and a light snow fell much of the day. Most people covered about 5-6 miles.

Snowshoe  2/25  Grace Lakes

We had some of the nicest snow conditions of the winter for this tour near Stevens Pass. A few inches of fresh, soft powder lay on top of a solid base underneath, making for a pleasant tour among the group of small lakes just west of the ski area. With the snow falling gently on us much of the day, it gave a very peaceful feeling to our time out there. I even caught myself whistling "Winter Wonderland" a couple of times!

Snowshoe  2/23  Crystal Springs Sno-Park

This area features some nice gentle trails for both skiing and snowshoeing, with a good amount of room to roam. Located off I-90 a few miles east of Snoqualmie Pass, the trail system is especially nice on a weekday with few other people around. We did about a 2 mile loop on firm, nearly frozen snow that the snowshoes barely put a dent in. There were some interesting animal tracks-- rabbits, squirrels, maybe even a bobcat or coyote, and plenty of nice views to take in. We passed by the Iron Horse (John Wayne) Trail, and managed to squeeze out a fair amount of sunshine later in the day.

Hike  2/22  Rattlesnake Ledge and Lake

February hiking usually has to stay at low elevations, and even going to around 2000 feet, as we did at Rattlesnake Ledge, carries some uncertainty with the conditions. Snow, ice, mud, and downed trees can be factors, but on this partly sunny day we had very little to hinder our progress. A little fresh snow had fallen on the tree tops, and the emergence of the sun caused the trees to drip on us for a while, but overall the trail was great, the weather was friendly, and the views were wonderful. It's an 1100-foot climb to the top of Rattlesnake Ledge, about a 4-mile round trip. Afterward, we hiked along Rattlesnake Lake at the base of the mountain, and wrapped up our day visiting the Cedar River Watershed Education Center, a fine City of Seattle facility.

Snowshoe  2/19  Mount Rainier for First-Year Snowshoers Only

I was joined by an enthusiastic group of "rookie" snowshoers for a fun romp in the fresh powder at Paradise. Skies were overcast, views were limited, and the snow was coming down pretty heavily at times, but we were all able to make a 2-mile loop route on the deep snow pack (11 feet or more).  After starting out by crossing the Barn Flats area below Paradise, we ascended a bit, passed the Paradise Inn (half buried in snow), had a lunch break overlooking Paradise Valley, checked out a few winter campers who were spending the night out in the snow, and even tried a few short glissades as we descended back to our starting point. Thanks to everyone in the group for your efforts on a somewhat challenging day. I look forward to seeing you all again for more adventures!  

Snowshoe  2/18  V.E.S.T. (Very Easy Snowshoe Tour) to Old Cascade Highway

This was the second V.E.S.T. trip of the season, and there's one more in March at Mount Rainier. This one was up along Highway 2 on the way to Stevens Pass. We started out by following the Old Cascade Highway, which runs parallel to the "new" highway, but on the other side of Tye Creek. The snow conditions were not the best there, so we did a quick turnaround, and instead followed the nearby Iron Goat Trail for a short distance. We wrapped up after about 90 minutes and a little over a mile of snowshoeing. We managed to avoid the rain while out on the tour, surprising since it rained on the drive there and back! After the short tour, we went for the traditional post-V.E.S.T. restaurant lunch stop, this time at Cascadia Inn Cafe in Skykomish.

Cross Country Ski  2/16  Cabin Creek

Mid-week trips are always my favorite, especially to a place like the Cabin Creek Ski Trails, which can get really crowded on the weekends. Conditions were really nice, and the showery weather stayed away for the most part. We got in around three hours of skiing, and only saw two other skiers on the trails! It was a nice peaceful day.

Snowshoe  2/12  Heather Meadows- Artist Point

There have been some weather challenges thrown at us this winter-- bitter cold, high winds, snow storms, you name it. Today we had none of that, and enjoyed a fantastic day in the sunshine at the creme de la creme of North Cascades snowshoe destinations. About 12 feet of snow covers the ground at Heather Meadows, and a fresh blanket of new snow from a couple of days ago had settled onto the surface and made for perfect conditions-- not too hard, not too soft-- juuuuuust right! Everyone in the group made the 1000-foot gain to the top of Artist Point, covering about 3 miles round trip. 

Snowshoe  2/8   Salmon La Sac

Whoa, is there a lot of snow all of a sudden! I thought I had a good handle on the snow depths in most areas of the Cascades, given how frequently I'm out there, but even I was taken aback at how much snow there is in the Salmon La Sac area north of Roslyn. Even though it's only at 2400 feet or so, many areas there have over 6 feet of snow on the ground, much of it having just fallen in the last few days. We took off from the Sno Park area, stepped onto the untracked powder and immediately sank in over knee deep! Fortunately there were some recently packed trails we could follow, and we were able to make it to the Cooper River viewpoint, getting in a round trip of nearly 3 miles. It snowed all day long.

Ski  2/4   Plain Valley Nordic Trails

This was a chance to explore a relatively new trail system that we had never gone to before. And what a nice trail system it is! Located in the quiet valley surrounding Plain, north of Leavenworth, there are miles of gentle groomed trails that offered plenty of nice skiing for everyone. Most people skied mainly on the Beaver Valley Trail, which runs for 5 miles from the starting point at the Plain Hardware Store.  Conditions were great, a little snow fell on us, and it was a fun day out. Skiers, note that we will be returning here on February 26. We decided to change our scheduled trip to Iron Horse Trail (which hadn't gotten many sign ups) and come back here to explore the trails some more. Join us -- the snow is great!

Snowshoe  2/3  Teanaway Butte / Tarzan Butte

We headed over Snoqualmie Pass to the Teanaway River area for a good strenuous snowshoe tour up to a 4300-foot hill top unofficially known as Tarzan Butte. This was a last-minute change of plans because our original destination, Teanaway Butte would have been too long for the time we had. No matter, Tarzan was a delight. We followed a road, snowshoeing on lovely fresh powder, then a steepening route to the top of the forested hill. Along the way were some reasonably nice views on a mainly overcast, snowy day. We logged about 6 miles and 1800 feet gain for the day.

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