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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Snowshoe 2/27 Moonlight on the Mountain Loop
Sure, the clouds prevented us from walking in the moonlight, but it was still a fun adventure going out for an evening tour to the Big Four area on the Mountain Loop Highway. We had 17 enthusiastic folks join us for this trip (2 vans), which featured a 2-mile snowshoe trek from the Mountain Loop closure gate to the picnic shelter below Big Four. We hauled in a dinner featuring hot soup and chili, with fresh bread, hot beverages, and brownies for dessert. A veritible feast in the mountain backcountry! After our dinner, as day turned to night, we took a short stroll on the Ice Caves Trail as far as the bridge over the Stilly River, then made the journey back. Most people covered close to 5 miles total.
Overnighter 2/24-25 Snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge
The Hurricane Ridge area, high in the Olympics above Port Angeles, offers the best snowshoeing opportunities on the peninsula, and it certainly did not disappoint on this fun weekend adventure. We went up Saturday in fairly nice partly sunny conditions to the Obstruction Point Road, covering 4+ miles and venturing up the side of Steeple Rock for some great views. On Sunday, we returned in snowy overcast conditions to wander out toward Hurricane Hill Trailhead, logging another 2.5 miles or so. The snow was terrific, and certainly plenty of it. Our overnight stay was in Port Angeles at the Days Inn, with a nice Saturday dinner at Fiesta Jalisco's. Thanks to the great group of 9 that made the journey.
Snowshoe 2/21 Steppin' Stoker Trail
We had some beautiful fresh snow conditions for this tour on the snowshoe and ski trails at the Stevens Pass Nordic Center. Our group was fairly small, and the trails were basically empty on this quiet weekday, so we had very a peaceful journey around the area. We explored not only the Steppin' Stoker Trail, but also checked out the Coal Burner Trail, and made it to the hut near the biathlon course for a nice relaxing lunch in relative luxury. All together we covered about 4 miles or so, enjoying some of the nicest forest snowshoe trails around.
Snowshoe 2/17 Amabalis Mountain
Amabalis Mountain rises roughly 2000 feet above I-90 in the area near the east end of Lake Keechelus near Snoqualmie Pass. There are forest roads that zig-zag up it's slopes, and the ski trails of the Cabin Creek area are found along it's base and lower slopes. We happened to pick a very wet and windy day for our trek up the mountain, but a strong group of 10 gave it a gallant effort until we turned back about a half mile shy of the top. We still wound up covering about 8 miles round trip, climbing about 1600 feet of elevation.
Walk 2/12 Evans Creek Preserve
What a fine little trail system this is, located in the Samammish area off of Highway 202. There are numerous interconnecting trails in a setting of forests, meadows, and wetlands, and everything is well-built and free of obstacles. We made a leisurely loop of about 2 miles or so, stopping to enjoy plenty of small delights along the way. Once again, the sunshine made it's appearance-- three days in a row!
Snowshoe 2/11 Smith Brook Valley
This trip didn't start out as a Smith Brook Valley tour, but wound up going there after finding very poor snow conditions at the intended destination, Lake Wenatchee State Park. A very mild mid-winter spell of weather wound up melting much of the snow at Lake Wenatchee (which had been fine a week or so previous). So, after walking around there for 20 minutes, and taking a couple nice pictures at the lake, we re-packed the van and headed to higher elevations and deeper snow at Smith Brook. It was a great way to salvage the day and get to do some snowshoeing, and the sunny weather certainly helped also.
Hike 2/10 John Tursi Trail
We discovered a relatively new trail on Fidalgo Island, not far from the Deception Pass Bridge. Named for a former CCC worker who was a long-time Anacortes resident and supporter of natural areas, the Tursi Trail runs from Lake Campbell to Pass Lake, following an up-and-down route partly along a ridge with some nice views of the surrounding area. We decided to make it a one-way trip, finishing at Pass Lake and continuing down to the nearby beach at Bowman Bay. The sunny weather made for a very pleasant day out.
Hike 2/6 Umtanum Canyon and Ridge
This was intended to be a snowshoe trip to the dry side of the mountains near Ellensburg. Normally snow can be found here, not in great amounts, but generally it is pretty reliable in early February. Not this winter. So we turned our snowshoe trip into a hike, and took advantage of the unusually mild temperatures and much-needed sunshine. The Umtanum Recreation Area, on BLM land, has a nice large trailhead and camping area, and a long footbridge leads across the Yakima River and into the Umtanum Creek Canyon. We hiked up from the canyon onto the hillsides above, with most of us doing about a 4-mile round trip.
Snowshoe 2/4 V.E.S.T. (Very Easy Snowshoe Tour) to Iron Horse Trail
Oh, the many moods of winter weather in the northwest mountains. I get to see them all! On this particular day, we had a balmy 48 degrees at Snoqualmie Pass, with the accompanying sheets of rain adding to the ever-growing puddles along the sides of the trail. Still, lots of folks braved the elements and spent a little time playing in the snow at the Hyak Sno-Park and Iron Horse Trail. Our tour was designed to be fairly short and easy (probably a good thing), and we managed to get some nice exercising (2 miles in 90 minutes) and socializing (a fun group lunch afterward at Riverbend Cafe in North Bend). When life hands you a Pineapple Express, make pineapple juice (?)
Walk 2/1 Lake Wildernesss Trail
Driving through the busy, rapidly-growing suburb of Maple Valley in south King County, you'd never imagine there's a quiet, tree-lined trail just a few blocks away. Portions of it go by different names, but we walked a section often referred to as the Lake Wilderness Trail, named for the park and body of water that's passed along the way. A soft rain fell throughout the morning, adding an element of tranquility as we enjoyed a respite from the hustle-bustle. Most people walked a 4.3-mile stretch, conveniently finishing at the Starbucks in south Maple Valley.