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!

Hike 10/28  Lower Big Quilcene River Trail  

It was a pleasant fall day for a walk in the forest on the Olympic Peninsula. The Big Quilcene River flows down from the eastern front of the Olympics to Hood Canal, and a trail follows it for many miles, intersected by two roads. This allows a great one-way hike from the upper to lower end, a distance of about 6 1/2 miles. The nicely maintained trail featured plenty of fall colors and frequent views of the river. A nice bonus was a great ferry ride over to the peninsula as the sun was rising in the morning.

Walk or Bike 10/27  Whitehorse Trail  

The 27-mile trail corridor from Arlington to Darrington has been in development for some time, and a complete opening should happen within the next year (hopefully). In the meantime, the 7- mile stretch from Fortson to Darrington is open, and makes a nice walking or biking trail, especially on a gloriously sunny fall day like today. Somehow we managed to cram 15 people and 6 bikes into our little bus, and everyone got to explore the trail either on foot or on two wheels. The trail was often carpeted underfoot with golden maple leaves, not to mention the canopy of leaves that was overhead. Most folks walked about 6 miles, while a few bikers went as much as 14 miles.

Hike 10/24  The Kettles & Fort Ebey  State Park  

It was a nice clear day on Whidbey Island as we headed over for some hiking south of Oak Harbor. Our first stop was at the iconic Deception Pass Bridge, always a treat on such a lovely day. Then we headed for The Kettles Trail System, just west of Highway 20, which features all kinds of nice forest trails with amusing names. By connecting to Fort Ebey State Park, we were able to reach a great viewpoint on the open bluff above the Strait of Juan De Fuca, in full view of the Olympic Mountains.  It was hard to leave that sunny scenic spot. By looping back to our start point on another series of connecting trails, we completed a 5-mile route for the day.

Hike 10/22  Margaret's Way 

This is a relatively new trail (2014) that climbs up through the forest on the west side of Squak Mountain, south of Issaquah. It's a very well-build trail with a nice surface, and hardly any muddy or wet areas-- even after the dousing we took on the day before this hike. You climb about 1500 feet over the course of three miles or so, ending at a spot called Debbie's View, which looks out towards the south. Mount Rainier can be seen on a clear day, but that wasn't quite the case today. Still, it was a nice soothing hike, we stayed dry, and got to discover a good close-in trail that offers a decent workout without being rugged or sloppy.

Hike 10/21  Peshastin Pinnacles and Horan Natural Area 

Today was basically the wettest day around these parts in the last six months or so, but our intrepid group of eight made the most of it, hiking a pair of drastically different yet equally scenic areas east of the Cascades. After a snowy drive over Stevens Pass, we stopped at Peshastin Pinnacles, about 8 miles east of Leavenworth. It features a bunch of other-worldly-looking rock towers on a hillside above the apple orchards of the Wenatchee River valley. After a short loop hike around the pinnacles, we continued on to Wenatchee to walk a portion of the Apple Capital Loop Trail with a side trip through the Horan Natural Area. Here you can walk along the Columbia River and pass wetland habitat with plenty of bird-watching and some impressive cottonwood groves in golden fall color. We capped off our rainy day out with a stop at the Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee, where a variety of shops and eateries provided a bright spot in the gray day.

Hike 10/15  Eight Mile Creek Trail to Squire Creek Pass 

We had a mild, crystal-clear autumn afternoon for this challenging hike to a seldom-seen view off the Mountain Loop Highway near Darrington. A rugged trail climbs about 2300 feet to an unusually broad pass with extensive rock slabs and stunted trees. Along the way, views of fall colors and surrounding valleys were seen, and a couple inches of snow was encountered near the top. The pass has not only the outstanding view of the east wall of Three Fingers, but also look out at Whitehorse, White Chuck, Glacier Peak, Shuksan, and some striking rock walls that have a Yosemite-like quality. Another bonus: all day long we encountered only 5 other people.

Hike 10/14  Skookum Flats & Tipsoo Lake 

This turned out to be a spur-of-the-moment doubleheader hike. We started with the 6-mile trail along the White River south of Greenwater known as the Skookum Flats Trail. It was a chilly, shady walk on an excellent trail through forest with occasional glimpses of the river. We completed it well ahead of schedule, so decided to take a drive to the nearby high country near Chinook Pass to check out the snow conditions. There is most definitely snow up there! The road was plowed and plenty of people were out enjoying the early dose of winter scenery. The trail around Tipsoo Lake was nicely packed down snow, making for a nice 30-minute loop. 

Walk 10/11  Big Finn Hill Park 

Located on 220 acres of forest and wetland along Juanita Drive in Kirkland, this King County park has a plethora of trails for hiking, biking, and running. We linked up several trails to walk a 3-mile route that featured some scenic groves of maple, cedar, fir and madrona.

Hike 10/10  Thunder Knob & Washington Pass 

We had a very fall-like day in the North Cascades for this one, with overcast skies, chilly temps, and an incoming system of showers and snow. Fortunately for us, we got in our 3.6-mile hike on Thunder Knob, as well as short hikes to Washington Pass overlook and Early Winters Basin, finishing up just as the snow and rain started to fall. The views from Thunder Knob of peaks like Colonial, Davis, Jack, and Logan were nice, as the clouds stayed high enough to allow us to see everything. Later, up at the crest of the highway at Washington Pass, we got spectacular views of Liberty Bell and neighboring peaks, as well as the magnificent golden larches .

Hike 10/8  French Cabin Creek 

Seasons are changing! Thanks to a cold and wet weather system that moved through the day before, we got to do our French Cabin Creek hike in 2-3 inches of snow. It was easy enough to drive to the trailhead at about 4200 feet, but just above that level, the snow began. The trail was a mix of wet, slushy, muddy, and snow-covered surface, but our sure-footed group managed just fine, even on some steeper, more challenging sections. We reached a 5766-foot ridge top view point, and although our timing was a little off-- the clouds didn't clear until we had returned to the trailhead-- it was still a delight to be out witnessing the first signs of winter on it's way.

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Hike  10/5  Ingalls Lake 

The Jolly Mountain Fire had rendered this trail inaccessible for many weeks this summer. Although the fire didn't reach this area, it threatened the access road, so no one was able to hike here since late August. Fortunately, the road reopened just a few days before our trip-- just in time for the wonderful fall colors, featuring the golden larches. The hike is fairly long and rocky, with over 2600 feet of elevation gain over the round trip of 9 miles or so. But the beautiful was worth every bit of effort. Capping it off was the sightings of about 10 mountain goats.

Bike  10/1  Suncadia Trails 

The trails at Suncadia Resort near Roslyn wind through ponderosa forests with gentle hills and curves that are a delight to ride. Add in some brilliant colors from the maples and cottonwoods along the way and you've got a very nice fall bike ride. We covered most of the paved trails (sometimes twice) and also sampled some unpaved roads and trails during our 18 mile tour.

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