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!
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Feeling those mid-winter doldrums? Lots of fun activities going on in January-- snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hikes, and walks. Most trips have openings, so ward off that cabin fever and join us for a nice day out in the great outdoors. See the Parks Registration site.
Hike 12/28 Chanterelle Trail, Lake Whatcom Park
This was a hike in a Whatcom County park on the outskirts of Bellingham. A wonderful trail system is in development on this former DNR land that covers thousands of acres on a 3000-foot high foothill just east of Lake Whatcom. The first 2.4 miles of the Chanterelle Trail were finished in 2017, an another 2.6 miles was added in 2019. The trail climbs from near Lake Whatcom on a nice smooth, gradual incline up to a marvelous vista point 1000 feet up the hillside. It's a great hike that has quickly become quite popular with the locals up there. We hiked to the vista point and then continued a short ways further up the brand new trail section, totaling about 6.5 miles round trip and climbing 1400 feet.
Snowshoe 12/27 Smith Brook Road (alternate for Big Four Picnic Area)
Our planned trip to Big Four had to be scrapped due to the lack of snow in that area, but we enjoyed an excellent alternative on this nice easy road off of Highway 2 near Stevens Pass. There's about 3 feet of snow in this area, and the walk along the forested road is a very peaceful and pleasant escape. We went about 2 miles up the road, found a nice spot along Smith Brook for a lunch break, and made our way back again. Only encountered a half dozen other people the whole time out.
Snowshoe 12/22 Skyline Lake and Ridge
We headed to Stevens Pass to take a pre-Christmas tromp in the deep fresh snow leading up Skyline Ridge. About 5 feet of the white stuff sits on the ground now near Skyline Lake, and it made for some beautiful conditions as we toured some on-trail and off-trail routes. Our group of eleven climbed to a high point of around 5300 feet, and although the overcast and patchy fog limited the views somewhat, there was no shortage of eye-catching snow sculptures surrounding us throughout the day. The tour was about 3 miles, 1300 feet of gain-- a nice workout on the first full day of winter.
Snowshoe 12/20 White Salmon Road
It doesn't happen very often, but this was one of those days when it precipitated (rain or snow) for every minute of the entire trip, from Forest Park departure, to the trailhead, the trip destination, and all the way back to Forest Park. Fortunately for us, the lowland rain changed over to mountain snow up at White Salmon Road. Also fortunate, the White Salmon Road leads more or less right to the White Salmon Ski Lodge, part of Mount Baker Ski Area. On a stormy day like this, it was nice to take our lunch break inside the lodge. As for the snow conditions--wow! We've gone from being way behind in our snow depths to now having beautiful deep snow everywhere. It was a bit of a challenging day to go out, but everyone in our group showed up and made it a great day, snowshoeing for about 3 miles in the winter wonderland.
Walk 12/19 Leque Island - Stanwood Levee and more
This walk turned out being far more than just the originally planned destination. Although Leque Island, between Stanwood and Camano Island just off Highway 532, can be a great place to watch birds, there has been some recent restoration work to remove some dikes and bring the tidal bay back, and the walking trail is now fairly short. We covered it in 20 minutes or so, saw a few birds, but then carried on to make a couple of nice discoveries on Camano Island. We walked a mile and a half at the Iverson Spit Preserve, which had a nice mix of shoreline, forest, and wetland trails. Then we did a quick exploration of Barnum Point, a brand new park that the county land trust was able to preserve. What a nice place! We will be back to hike more of it's trails in 2020, I'm sure.
Snowshoe 12/14 Mount Rainier - Paradise
With a fresh dump of over 2 feet of fresh snow, it was almost too much of a good thing at Mount Rainier today. We drove up to the parking areas near Paradise, elevation 5400 feet, and found the snow depth was nearly 4 feet out in the meadows. Trail breaking was quite a chore at times, and so many little trees and other obstacles were hiding under the snow surface that we had to step carefully to avoid finding all the holes. Still we managed to make a 2-mile loop in the overcast, foggy conditions, a nice return to the white wonders of Rainier.
Walk 12/10 Puget Power Trail - Tiger Mountain
With nearly 100 miles of trails, Tiger Mountain outside of Issaquah has something for everyone. We chose a nice gentle loop of trails near the High Point Trailhead just off I-90. The Puget Power Trail leads out past Tradition Lake and passes a scenic overlook, then connects to other trails that wind through lush forests and wetlands. We did about 3 miles, and finished up ten minutes before the rain arrived!
Snowshoe 12/8 Heather Meadows -Panorama Dome
Believe it or not, we did get in some snowshoeing at Heather Meadows in spite of the slow start to the winter season. Only a trace of snow at the trailhead, but we went high enough to get some decent depths of snow and were able to use the 'shoes for most of our tour. Because the ski area wasn't operating, I decided to alter the route from the intended Bagley Lakes area, and climbed to the 5000-foot top of Panorama Dome instead. Thank you to the group for taking on the extra elevation gain, but hopefully it was worth it to get up to the nicer snow and views. Clouds and sunshine battled it out most of the day, and although we never got totally clear skies, the views were quite nice most of the time.
Hike 12/7 Guemes Island
We headed across on the small ferry to Guemes Island just north of Anacortes for a rainy day adventure. A well-built trail takes you up to the island's highest point, 688-foot Guemes "Mountain." A few views were had through the mists, and the 2.6- mile round trip was just about right for the soggy conditions of the day. After the short hike, we toured the island by van, and then settled in at the Guemes General Store and restaurant, which made for a much more comfortable lunch option than the top of the mountain. A short detour in Anacortes to the pleasant viewpoint at Cap Sante Park capped off our day. We even saw over a dozen deer-- in the middle of Anacortes!