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 12/30  Bullion Basin and Peak 

What a difference a day makes-- on Friday, the area near Crystal Mountain experienced drenching rain and wet snow, with wind gusts along the ridge top as high as 82 MPH!  For our Saturday tour to Bullion Peak, dry weather, lots of sunshine and light to moderate winds. We took advantage of the good luck by making the steady climb from the ski area base (4400') to Bullion Basin (5800') and eventually all the way to the top of Bullion Peak (6479'). Great job to everyone in the group for persevering through all the challenges and making the summit. No other snowshoe trip this winter will reach as high an altitude. All told, the trip was 6 miles, 2100 feet gain.

Snowshoe 12/21  White Salmon Road  

It was a great day to head up the Mount Baker Highway and make tracks in some fresh snow. The ski area up there got several FEET of snow in recent days, and they now have the deepest snowpack of any ski resort in North America.  We took advantage by taking a relatively easy tour along a few roads near the White Salmon Ski Lodge.  There were packed trails to follow at times, other times we wound up stomping down the fresh, nearly-knee-deep powder ourselves. Luckily, I had some willing helpers to break trail. Afternoon clouds came in rather quickly to put a lid on the views, but we enjoyed some great views, especially Mount Shuksan, early on. 

Walk 12/19  Tommy Thompson Trail and Gere-a-Deli Lunch  

It was the darkest, rainiest, windiest December day you can imagine-- although not hard to imagine for anyone from western Washington, right? Still, we had 10 hardy walkers come along for our trip in Anacortes on the Tommy Thomson Trail. It's a 3.7- mile route from March Point Road (near the oil refinery), across Fidalgo Bay, along the Anacortes waterfront, and finishing in the downtown area. It was fortunate that the rain taped off to a drizzle for much of the walk, and the strong winds happened to be at our backs most of the time. Everyone finished the route in an hour and a half or so, and capped things off with yummy lunch at the wonderful Gere-a-Deli on 5th & Commercial in downtown Anacortes. It wasn't such a bad day to get out after all!

Snowshoe 12/16  Skyline Lake and Ridge  

We had gone close to two weeks without much fresh snow in the mountains, but fortunately some of the good stuff arrived just in time to make the conditions nice for this tour near Stevens Pass. About 3 or 4 inches of new snow laid atop of the 2 or 3 feet that had accumulated in November, and although the overcast skies didn't allow much for distant views from the high country, the pleasant powder was a great consolation. We snowshoed from the 4000-foot level at the pass up to the lake and eventually the ridge top at near 5400 feet. The group of 12 got to do some challenging terrain at times, and enjoyed some great snowy scenery along the way. 

Snowshoe 12/13  Keechelus Dam and Alpental  

This snowshoe trip was a bit of a spontaneous plan, as we had to adjust to the snow conditions and weather we found in the Snoqualmie Pass region. Although snow covers most everything up there, the eastern end of Keechelus Lake has only a few inches, and it's possible to drive some of the route that we'd planned on snowshoeing. No matter, we made a short loop to the dam along Keechelus Lake, which was unfortunately under a heavy blanket of cloud (while the western slopes basked in sunshine!). That took until lunch time, then we relocated westward up to the pass, specifically to the backcountry trail near Alpental Ski Area, where there was 3-4 feet of snow, and clearer skies. A nice 2-hour tour from there in the afternoon completed our day. We did around 3.5 miles total.

Snowshoe 12/10  Grace Lakes  

It was a frosty, chilly, breezy, and beautiful day near Stevens Pass for this, one of  our nicest snowshoe tours. Snow was about 2 or 3 feet deep in most places, with a nice soft powdery surface. We snowshoed from the pass and up about 600 feet to a pair of pretty lakes, and some continued up to a hilltop viewpoint. We'll return on March 10  for another tour of this gorgeous area. A few spots remain on that tour, but don't wait too long if you want to sign up and join us.

Hike 12/9  Bainbridge Island Tripleheader  

Who knew that Bainbridge Island, a relatively small (27 square- mile) island in Puget Sound, has all kinds of wonderful parks with walking and hiking opportunities.  We took a day to check out four of them, and racked up about 6-7 miles of trekking on a nice sunny December day. Battle Point Park was our first stop, where we circled the park on an easy walking path that included a lovely duck pond. Then it was on to Grand Forest, which has miles of trails through serene woodlands. Next was a short walk to the wetlands at Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve, followed by a stroll along the beach of Rich Passage at Fort Ward Park. Our day was capped off with a scenic ferry ride at dusk into the Seattle waterfront.

Walk 12/7  Ebey Waterfront Trail  

You may have heard about a nice new walking path in Marysville that opened just this year. It's called the Ebey Waterfront Trail, and we headed up to check it out on a foggy morning. There are a couple of segments of trail that don't quite connect, and we covered about 4 1/2 miles to explore them both.  Mostly you walk adjacent to the Ebey Slough and other wetlands of the Snohomish River Estuary system.  It's an interesting place with plenty of good bird-watching, and if you're lucky like we were, the fog burns off for some great views of the Cascades and Olympics.

Snowshoe 12/2  Heather Meadows / Artist Point  

Our first snowshoe tour of the season certainly had no shortage of snow at Heather Meadows near Mount Baker. At one spot, we measured over 7 feet of snow on the ground. On December 2??!! The day was a very snowy one too, and the visibility was fairly limited. It was challenging to take many pictures in the conditions we had, but I got a few to give some idea of the scenery. There will be another tour up here on March 18 (a few spots are open) and another chance to see the spectacular scenery around Artist Point.

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Climbing the trail above the ski slopes at Crystal Mountain