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 and February-- 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
Snowshoe 1/30  Grace Lakes

A generous dose of sunshine and good views at Stevens Pass helped boost this tour to the top of the standings for "best snowshoe trip of the season so far." Add in the nice fresh snow conditions, the eight-foot deep base of snow, and the near total lack of other people in the area, and you had a near-perfect trip. We started from the ski area lots (largely empty on a Thursday) and snowshoed steadily uphill to the area of several small lakes at nearly 4900' in elevation. The air was nearly calm and temperatures hovered in the low 30's, making for very comfortable conditions-- a bit of a rarity this winter, it seems. We did about 3.5 miles, 800 feet of elevation.

Walk 1/28  Paradise Valley Conservation Area

It's no secret that it's been pretty soggy around here lately. We headed out to this forested Snohomish County Parks property near Maltby, fully expecting some wet and sloppy trail conditions, and some of the trails certainly lived up to that. There was even some doubt that we'd stay, if the conditions were bad enough. But fortunately, much of the area was in relatively good condition, especially the Mainline Trail and Southern Traverse, which accounted for 3/4 of our walking.  A few large puddles required careful detouring, but in general the going was good. A section of the Forest Ridge Trail on the way back was plagued with blowdowns and frequent large puddles, but we persisted and finished out 3.5 mile tour of the area. The showers stayed at bay, and it was a nice morning stroll. 

Snowshoe 1/26 Lake Wenatchee State Park, South Unit (alternate for Anderson Creek Road)

We were scheduled to go snowshoe Anderson Creek Road, a forested road walk off the Mount Baker Highway in Whatcom County. The forecast called for steady rain and windy conditions there, so a last-minute decision was made to re-route and go instead to seek drier conditions in the Lake Wenatchee area. We did indeed find dry weather, and even a fair amount of sunshine as we did the snowshoe trail around the southern unit of the state park. The snow was good, the trail had few difficulties, and the scenery was wonderful, including some fine views of the lake, the Wenatchee River, and Nason Creek. 

Snowshoe 1/25  Introductory Tour to Lake Wenatchee State Park, North Unit

A spirited group of 13 (mostly) beginning snowshoers joined me for a tour around the loop trail at the North Unit of Lake Wenatchee State Park. About 2 feet or so of snow sits on the ground there, and the snowshoe trail is nice and easy to follow most of the way.  We had clouds and a light shower much of the day, but it didn't dampen our enjoyment of the snowy environment. The trail had a nice variety of terrain and scenery, allowing the first-timers to quickly increase their confidence and skill on the snowshoes. Everyone did great, and also enjoyed the stop at Galaxy Chocolates on the way home. Hope to see you all again for more snow adventures.

Hike 1/20  Maury Island Marine Park (and more)

This was an exploration of a nice King County Park with some beach and bluff trails overlooking the south Sound. Maury Island is connected to Vashon Island, which we reached via the ferry from West Seattle. We began with a 3-mile hike around the Maury Marine Park, once the site of a gravel mining operation, and now a pleasant natural area. Since we were finished by noon, there was time to check out some other scenic spots on the island. Point Robinson Lighthouse Park was our lunch-time stop, and we also squeezed in a walk in the woods at Burton Acres on Vashon. The day was mostly overcast but stayed dry and had a few doses of filtered sunshine.

Cross Country Skiing 1/18
Leavenworth Area Trails

After a bit of a slow start, skiing is in full swing in the Leavenworth area. The three nordic trail systems are now all operating, and we did some skiing at all three on a nice pleasant, storm-free day. There's around a foot or two of snow in most places, and the grooming has been done each day. Trails at the Leavenworth Golf Course had some fresh snow atop the groomed tracks, making for slow but scenic skiing. The Icicle River Trails were in good shape, and the Leavenworth Ski Hill nordic trails let everyone have a crack at doing some nice hills and curves. Most people got in around 3 to 3 1/2 hours of skiing on the day.

Walk 1/17  Stimpson Family Nature Reserve and Breakfast at Calico Cupboard

The winter blast kept the lowlands in white for a few days, but we were still able to get up to the Bellingham area with a group of 8 walkers for a 3-mile stroll in the snow at the Stimpson Reserve. The beautiful forest walk was made all the more special by the presence of anywhere from 1" to 4" of snow on the trail. Many people used traction devices to help with the footing, and all in all it was actually a pretty straight-forward walk. A few fallen tree limbs slowed us up at times, but there was nothing that couldn't be overcome. Before the walk, we had a nice breakfast in Mount Vernon as everyone helped me celebrate the big 5-8.

Snowshoe 1/12  Mount Rainier - Rampart Ridge (alternate for Paradise Valley)

The major winter storm caused the Mount Rainier road from Longmire to Paradise to remain closed for the third consecutive day, so rather than snowshoeing at Paradise Valley as planned, we took off from Longmire and went about 2 miles up the Rampart Ridge Trail. On the plus side, we had beautiful fresh snow and a nice well-defined trail to follow up the hillside under the old growth trees. The downside was that there was SO much fresh snow on those old growth trees, it caused frequent "tree avalanches" as the snow fell down from the limbs high overhead, pelting us with "snow bombs" and showering us with powder. The heavy load of snow also caused numerous fallen trees, both on the trail and on the road leading out of the park. Fortunately, we managed to complete our tour and get out of the park safely. Then, for good measure, we returned to Everett and were greeted by the convergence zone snow storm, which made it rather challenging for everyone to get home. A big thank you to everyone in the group for persisting in the face of some very difficult conditions, and for staying safe.  

Snowshoe 1/11  Introductory Tour to Gold Creek

The major winter storm brought us some gorgeous fresh snow and basically doubled the snow pack in the Cascades, but it made for quite a challenge to get up there to enjoy it. Snoqualmie Pass was open when we left Everett in the morning, but had to be closed due to multiple accidents when we were just passing North Bend. We were finally able to reach the pass around noon (5 hours after we left Everett!). It wasn't easy finding a place to start our trip because the roads to the Sno-Parks were impassable. We wound up parking under I-90 at the Gold Creek exit, and did an abbreviated tour on the road near the exit. It was short but sweet, and gave our first-timer snowshoers a nice taste of the winter wonderland conditions. My thanks to the 7 new snowshoers who joined me today. I appreciated your patience and your willingness to let the trip run a couple hours late so we could get some snowshoeing in. 

Hike 1/9  Rockport State Park

This was a pleasant mid-winter hike through the old growth forest in this state park in Skagit County. A light dusting of snow accented the lush greenery, making for some nice scenery along the way. We hiked a loop through the park on the Evergreen Trail, and added in a short loop across Highway 20 on the Skagit View Trail. The trail was in very good condition aside from a few soggy sections, so we had no difficulties racking up a total of about 4 miles hiking. After the hike, we made a few stops along the Skagit in search of bald eagles, but there weren't many to be seen, owing to the high water conditions on the river. As a consolation for the lack of eagle sightings, we stopped at the 5 B's Bakery in Concrete for hot drinks and tasty goodies. 

Skiing 1/5  Stevens Pass Nordic Center

Another full van, this time for a day of skiing at the Nordic Center just the other side of Stevens Pass. It was a very snowy day, with chains required to get over the pass, but that didn't keep away lots of ski fanatics, both of the downhill and cross country variety. We spent close to 4 hours skiing the trails and enjoying the comfort of the day lodge, and everyone from first-timers to seasoned veteran skiers managed to get in some good time in the beautiful fresh snow.

Snowshoe 1/4  Monahan Mountain

This was a trip to a small, little-known mountain near Easton off of I-90.  The promise of some nice views and no crowds enticed a group of 13 to sign up, and we all made the 6-mile, 1600-foot climb (round trip) to the mountain top. Snow cover was pretty sparse in places, so we carried snowshoes part of the time, but the 'shoes did help on some of the higher elevation spots. Windy and snowy conditions predominated, however a brief partial clearing at mid day did allow some views from our turnaround point. This is one I hope to try again on a better weather day. 

Walk 1/1  Guemes Channel Trail & Washington Park

We had a nice full group turn out for the first trip of the new decade, and enjoyed a sunny day in Anacortes as we sampled some great walks near the saltwater. We started at the relatively new (2017) Guemes Channel Trail, a paved walkway right at the water's edge that runs  for about a mile toward the city center. From the same parking area, we went the other direction on the short but sweet Ship Harbor Trail, which is adjacent to the San Juan Ferry terminal. From there we made a short drive to Washington Park, had lunch at the picnic shelter, and then walked the scenic loop drive that circles the park. Lots of great scenery, bird-watching, and of course--sunshine. A fine way to kick off the year. 

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Great vistas from the snowy high country around Stevens Pass