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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Making the final approach to Cascade Pass in the heart of the North Cascades

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Views start at the parking lot, with neck-craning views of Johannesberg Mtn.

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...and a little wildlife

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Making the final approach to Cascade Pass in the heart of the North Cascades

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Hike 7/30 Cascade Pass

We took the long long road out of Marblemount leading to the beautiful Cascade Pass Trail, sneaking out there on a sunny Monday when "only" 75-100 people would be on the trail. But this trail deserves it's popularity, as it leads gently upward to the historic pass set in one of the most spectacular spots in the North Cascades. Luckily, the road had only recently opened all the way to the trailhead, so our timing was good. The trail was in great shape, with only one short snow patch to cause any concern. It was another scorching hot day (95 degrees back in Marblemount) but everyone paced themselves and we all got to enjoy the grandeur of America's Alps.

Riding a shaded corridor on the Burke Gilman on a warm morning in Seattle

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Sammamish River passes through this nice oasis at Wilmot Landing Park in Woodinville

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So many fun things to do on a sunny July Sunday in Seattle

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Riding a shaded corridor on the Burke Gilman on a warm morning in Seattle

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1/7
Bike 7/29 Sammamish River & Burke Gilman Trails

As Puget Sound residents, most of us tend to overlook a lot of the really outstanding recreational opportunities that are so abundant in our back yards. Many of us are familiar with these bike trails that connect Marymoor Park in Redmond with Gas Works Park in Seattle. They're very popular and well known, but they also happen to be a pair of the best urban trails in the country. The 25 miles of trail makes an excellent bike tour whether you're a casual or serious cyclist. I took four seriously casual  bikers for a sampling of these trails, enjoying the great scenery and trail-side amenities along the way. 

We ran into a few of the local residents at Lake of the Angels in Olympic National Park

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Carefully negotiating a rocky steep stretch of trail

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More rugged terrain on the way down.

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We ran into a few of the local residents at Lake of the Angels in Olympic National Park

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1/14
Hike 7/28 Putvin Trail / Lake of the Angels

With it's intriguing name and promise of spectacular alpine scenery, Lake of the Angels in the Olympic Mountains is a much-sought-after destination for many hikers. But the path to walk with the angels involves going through a fair bit of hell, The 3.5 mile trail climbs over 3300 feet, including some steep pitches that are more scrambling than hiking. Throw in a mid-summer heat wave and copious bugs, and yeah, it was a challenge. Making it to the lake, walking in fields of wildflowers, taking a dip in the icy-cool waters, and seeing a dozen mountain goats was sure a nice reward though.

Downtown Index, at the foot of the sheer cliffs of the Index Town Wall

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Taken from the road bridge over the North Fork Skykomish at the entrance to Index

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Index panorama

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Downtown Index, at the foot of the sheer cliffs of the Index Town Wall

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1/11
Walk 7/26 Index History Walk

It's the smallest incorporated "city" in the state of Washington, and it may be the most spectacular setting of any city in our state as well. Home to about 150 residents, Index sits on the North Fork Skykomish River and is surrounded by rugged mountains. The quiet little town makes for a great leisurely walk down the main streets, with great views the whole time. The town has a rich history, with mining, logging, and tourism playing the major roles. We walked about 3 miles round trip, making it to the base of the Town Wall, an area of sheer granite cliffs popular with rock climbers.

The aptly-named waters of Blue Lake, south of Mount Baker.

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Shadow of Sentinels Trailhead on Mount Baker Highway

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Any of you recognize this feature?

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The aptly-named waters of Blue Lake, south of Mount Baker.

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1/20
Hike 7/25 Blue Lake & Shadow of the Sentinels

This pair of short, relatively easy trails fit the bill nicely of this hot summer day, and gave us a great day of exploring the area near Baker Lake in Whatcom County. We started with a mini-hike on the 1/2-mile Shadow of the Sentinels interpretive trail just off Baker Lake Road. It showcases the old growth forest with a barrier-free walking path among the tall firs, hemlocks, and cedars. We next took a drive to the Baker Dam, where you get excellent views of Mount Baker from the top of the 312-foot structure that holds back the waters of Baker Lake. Lastly, we drove up a long gravel road to the Blue Lake Trailhead and hiked the 3/4-mile trail to the lovely mountain lake. Even though there are still a few snow patches near the lake, some of us even braved the chilly waters for a nice refreshing dip in the lake.

The view of the 4,000-foot-high walls of Mount Stuart from Longs Pass

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Toiling up the trail to Longs Pass as Mt. Rainier pops into view to the south

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What a wall of granite ridges and gullies

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The view of the 4,000-foot-high walls of Mount Stuart from Longs Pass

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1/10
Hike 7/24 Longs Pass

This trail has arguably the best view of 9,415- foot Mount Stuart, the most prominent mountain on the east slopes of the Cascades. You have to earn the view though, as the trail climbs steeply from the end of the Teanaway River Road for 2,000 feet. The summer heat made it a bit more challenging, but our group of 8 did quite well in reaching the pass in just 2 hours of hiking. The lightly-forested terrain makes for abundant views, lots of nice flower meadows, and plenty of colorful, interesting rocks. We spent some extra time roaming the high ridges near the pass, sampling all the vantage points and keeping cool thanks to the refreshing breeze in the high elevations.

At the top of the Hope Lookout Trail, 1500 feet above the town.

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Start of the trail is just a stone's throw from Hwy 1

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This construction cost $300,000 in 1914, at the time the most expensive mile of rail in Canada

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At the top of the Hope Lookout Trail, 1500 feet above the town.

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1/20
Hike 7/22 Hope Lookout Trail & Othello Tunnels

We traveled north of the border to do a pair of trails near Hope, BC. The Hope Lookout Trail is a short but steep trail starting right at the edge of the town that leads up to a nice overlook about 1500 feet up. It was a good challenge, with some rugged sections and attention-getting drop-offs, but everyone got up to the overlook just fine. After that we drove a short distance to Coquihala Canyon Provincial Park, where the star attraction s the site of the spectacular old rail tunnels carved through the canyon. The railroad is long gone, but the scenery and the wonder of such a colossal construction project remain. All told we hiked about 5 miles on the day.

The Meadow Creek Trail near Skykomish took us into a pair of wilderness areas.

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First part of the trail is in the newly created Wild Sky Wilderness Area

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Meadow Creek

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The Meadow Creek Trail near Skykomish took us into a pair of wilderness areas.

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1/13
Hike 7/21 Meadow Creek

Sometimes it's nice to hike a trail that doesn't really go TO anywhere in particular, but just soak up all the scenery along the way and enjoy the journey. Meadow Creek Trail north of Skykomish is like that. This trail ascends into a forested creek valley, delving into quiet wilderness without the weekend crowds so common at other close-in trails. There were nice flowers, birds, big trees, occasional views, and the sound of the creek far below. In other words, a nice relaxing walk in the woods. Round trip was around 6-8 miles.

Up high in the North Cascades on Hannegan Peak Trail

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A nasty road washout just before the Hannegan Trailhead

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Startling walls flanked the valley

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Up high in the North Cascades on Hannegan Peak Trail

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Hike 7/19 Hannegan Pass & Peak

This was a hike to a 6187-foot high summit in the Mount Baker Wilderness. We had a strong group that managed the 10-mile, 3100 feet of gain round trip with seemingly no difficulty. The day was very pleasant-- great views, wonderful wildflowers, not too hot, not many bugs, not many people, and even a bear sighting while we were driving up the Mt. Baker Highway. All ten hikers reached the top of Hannegan Peak. A successful day on all accounts!

Beautiful day in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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Entering the wilderness area

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Rosy Spirea

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Beautiful day in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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1/11
Hike 7/17 Tonga Ridge / Fisher Lake

This was a challenging hike to a lovely lake in the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We started at the seldom used back way to the Tonga Ridge Trail, hiking a steep 1.5 miles to Sawyer Pass, where an unmaintained fisherman's path continued on to the lake. Along the way we had some nice glimpses of Glacier Peak and other peaks in the area. 

Thunder Creek is one of the main rivers of the North Cascades, draining over 50 glaciers

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The trailhead in Colonial Creek Campground is a busy spot for backpackers and families.

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Thunder Creek is one of the main rivers of the North Cascades, draining over 50 glaciers

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1/9
Hike 7/15 Thunder Creek

This made for a great hike on a 90 degree day-- an easy walk on a well-maintained trail in an old growth forest near a cool rushing stream. Located in the heart of the North Cascades, Thunder Creek is a major drainage for a large area of high glaciers and snowfields to the south of Highway 20. It has that distinctive bluish-green color that's characteristic of glacial-fed waters, and it pours into Diablo Lake and gives the lake its eye-catching color as well. Our hike was a little under 5 miles round trip, featuring a nice lazy lunch break along the creek at Neve Camp. Afterwards we drove up to the Diablo Lake Overlook to enjoy the views of the surrounding peaks. 

Endless views on the 6800-foot summit of Rock Mountain.

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Crossing a stream early on

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The forest service road to the trailhead is badly overgrown, so not many do this trail

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Endless views on the 6800-foot summit of Rock Mountain.

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1/18
Hike 7/14 Rock Mountain via Snowy Creek

Nothing like a summit hike on a clear day, and this was an especially nice one as we climbed to over 6800 feet in the area just east of Stevens Pass for some commanding views atop Rock Mountain. The route up the Snowy Creek Trail starts in forest, goes through meadows and flower fields, and culminates on the rocky top. We did about 9 miles, 3200 feet gain, and amazingly only saw one other party on the trail on a perfect July Saturday.

Big trees, colorful flowers, and a variety of unusual plants are all features of the Arboretum.

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On the newly-built paved Arboretum Loop trail

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Water Lilies on a wetland

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Big trees, colorful flowers, and a variety of unusual plants are all features of the Arboretum.

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1/14
Walk 7/13 Washington Park (UW) Arboretum

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens, otherwise known as the Washington Park Arboretum, is a 230-acre treasure in the U-district that makes for a delightful walk any time of year. This time, we went to discover a new addition to the park, a 1.2 mile paved path recently opened in April of 2018. The path provides another way for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the grounds, and by joining with existing paved trails, an easy 2 1/2-mile loop can be done. We walked that loop and added on a trail to Foster Island that reaches a nice viewpoint on Lake Washington. It made for a fine summer morning walk in Seattle. 

This spotted owl made for a special sighting in Washington Park in Anacortes

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This spotted owl made for a special sighting in Washington Park in Anacortes

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1/12
Hike 7/7 Washington Park (Anacortes) Evening Hike

For this trip, we headed to Anacortes, to the jewel at the tip of Fidalgo Island that is Washington Park. Starting out at dinnertime, we began with a light dinner of sandwiches, fruit, and chips, then hit the trail to loop around the park. The mostly sunny skies made for great views and comfortable temperatures. A special treat occurred when a pair of spotted owls perched in front of us in the forest, pausing long enough to allow a few good photos to be taken. We finished our 2.5-mile park loop just as the setting sun hit the horizon.

Playful marmots in the meadows on Hurricane Ridge

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Playful marmots in the meadows on Hurricane Ridge

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1/19
Hike 7/6 Peabody Creek Trail
& Hurricane Ridge

Once again it was time to check out a trail I'd never hiked before, even though it's right near a busy visitor center near Port Angeles. Peabody Creek Trail runs through a pretty forested ravine not far from the first few miles of the Hurricane Ridge Road. The well-built trail has several nice bridges and undulating sections that give a good workout in a short distance. Along with the 3 or so miles we hiked on Peabody Creek, we logged a mile or so on the trails up at the top of Hurricane Ridge. Wildflowers, views, and wildlife were all plentiful.

Wonderful walking on the wide beach below Double Bluff on Whidbey.

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Wonderful walking on the wide beach below Double Bluff on Whidbey.

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Hike 7/3 Double Bluff

Over to Whidbey Island we went on a sunny Tuesday with a nice low tide which made for great walking on the Double Bluff beach. Starting from the park at the end of Double Bluff Road, we walked about two miles on the sand and rocks before returning the same way. Plenty of shore birds were spotted, and lots of interesting life in the tide pools as well. There were views of the Cascades and Olympics, and even the Seattle skyline rose up in the distance.

Beginning of the trail in the Howard Miller Steelhead Park on the Skagit River.

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Beginning of the trail in the Howard Miller Steelhead Park on the Skagit River.

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Hike 7/1 Skagit-Sauk Reach Trail & Rockport State Park

We checked out a new trail near Rockport on a warm sunny Sunday. Actually, the Skagit-Sauk Reach Trail is nothing new-- it follows the route of the old railroad that ran along the Skagit River toward the Ross Dam construction site. The trail has a few nice sections near the Skagit and Sauk River confluence, but many parts are in need of some trail work as well, so we cut the hike a little short after a mile and a half. With a little extra time, we went over to nearby Rockport State Park to enjoy some of the trails through the old growth forest there.