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!

Walk  6/29 Big Four Ice Caves & Picnic Lunch

This special trip featured a walk to the Big Four Ice Caves viewpoint on the easy, popular trail just off the Mountain Loop Highway. Then when we returned after the 2.5 mile round trip, we had a barbecue picnic lunch at the picnic area at the trailhead. Sunshine and blue skies made for a delightful day that was attended by 24 walkers. Thanks to everyone for your interest in the trip and for making it a big success.

Hike  6/27 Mount Townsend

There's probably not a better summit trail in the Olympics than this one. Mount Townsend anchors the northern end of the Olympic skyline as seen from Everett, and the wonderfully built and maintained trail leading up it is a delight to hike. Flowers were in bloom, views were found in every direction, and our seven hikers enjoyed a leisurely hour at the 6280-foot summit. The round trip was a bit over 8 miles, gaining close to 3000 feet.

Hike  6/25  Newhalem Area Trails

On a hot and sunny Sunday, we found a perfect easy trip to do in the spectacular North Cascades. Not really a hike, but a series of short easy walks with plenty of scenery to enjoy. We started at the Visitors Center outside Newhalem, hiking the 1.8 mile River Loop Trail first. After that, lunch in Newhalem at a nice shady picnic table, followed by a stroll on the Trail of Cedars, a one mile path among giant old growth trees. A couple more stops at scenic overlooks, then refreshments at Cascadian Farms, and the perfect North cascades day was complete.

Walk  6/23 Lake Sammamish State Park

It was a beautiful sunny day as we walked the paths in this large state park in Issaquah. We covered 3 miles or so on a variety of surfaces, from easy paved path, boardwalks, mowed grassy trails, and some narrow, overgrown tracks through the shrubs. Kind of interesting-- you never quite knew what would come next. We went up one side of Issaquah Creek to reach the lake, and returned on the opposite side. It was a surprisingly peaceful walk considering there was a major sporting event taking place in the park. Right at the sandy beach on the lake, the Pro Beach Volleyball's Seattle Open was underway, with the world's best volleyballers doing their thing for hundreds of fans. 

Hike  6/20 Surprise Creek

We marked the final day of spring with a 5- mile round trip hike into this lovely old growth valley just off Highway 2. Many hikers make the 2300-foot climb to Surprise Lake, but our mission was more relaxing, just hiking the gentler half of the trail and turning around before the steepest sections that lead to the lake. Even at 3000 feet elevation, there were lingering patches of snow, but nothing that seriously impeded our way. The creek was cascading alongside us, the wildflowers were plentiful, and the threat of rain never materialized. A nice day out.

Hike  6/18  Lost Lake via Rock Trail

If there were awards for outstanding trail construction and design, this trail would definitely be in the running. Built in 2014 by volunteers from Washington Trails Association, this path winds through a rugged forest at the base of some tall sandstone cliffs. There are nearly 200 stair steps and numerous switchbacks that are careful crafted to lead you smoothly through the steep landscape. The lushness of the forest, contrasting with the light colored rock, is a beautiful sight to see. A mile or so past the Rock Trail, one reaches peaceful Lost Lake, a narrow little body of water wedged in the valley under the cliffs.

Hike  6/17  Downey Creek

We ventured out to the Glacier Peak Wilderness for this over-looked trail that leads into a lush old growth valley adjacent to the Suiattle River Road. Giant trees, nice forest wildflowers, and a well-built trail were the key features of the hike. Even though a difficult stream crossing 2.5 miles out meant that we lost the chance to go any farther down the trail, we still had the opportunity to spend many hours in this remote area. 

Hike  6/12  Lake Dorothy

Lake Dorothy is one of the largest and easiest to reach lakes within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness south of Skykomish. A well-built trail with hundred of stair steps climbs 900 feet in a little less than two miles to reach the northern tip of the mile-long lake. Our hike featured grand old growth forests, plenty of spring wildflowers including dogwood and false solomon seal, and a scenic bridge crossing at the cascades of Camp Robber Creek and Miller River.  The gray weather limited the views from the lake somewhat, but enhanced the peaceful setting on this quiet Tuesday outing.

Hike  6/10  Panther - Thunder Traverse

This hike featured a one way trek through two of the finest creek valleys in the North Cascades. Beginning from near the south end of Ross Lake at Panther Creek, we climbed the valley alongside the creek for many miles, passing huge trees, raging rapids, and the remnants of a huge avalanche that still had snow piled 20 feet deep in the valley bottom. Eventually we topped out at Fourth of July Pass, enjoying some partial views of the huge mountains in the area, before dropping into the Thunder Creek valley for the remainder of the hike. All told, we covered nearly 12 miles and climbed well over 2000 feet of elevation.

Walk  6/7  Iron Goat Trail

It was a lovely sunny day for our walk on the old railroad trail near Stevens Pass. Starting out from the Iron Goat Interpretive Site just off Highway 2, we followed the grade of the Great Northern Railroad where the "Iron Goat" used to roar over 100 years ago. The trail is very gentle and smooth, perfect for a relaxing walk through some wonderful scenery. We spent close to 3 hours on the trail, with folks covering up to 6 miles. Great exercise, interesting history, and no difficulties.

Hike  6/4  Monte Cristo Ghost Town

From the 1890's until around 1920, Monte Cristo was home for as many as 2000 hardy souls trying to make a living mining the rugged mountainsides of the region 50 miles east of Everett. Nature eventually won out, and not much remains of the old town, but the spectacular mountain valley and towering peaks are as striking as ever. We drove to Barlow Pass, the high point of the Mountain Loop Highway, and set off walking an old road for four miles to the Ghost Town. The results of a recent environmental cleanup operation were in evidence in places, and many of the decades old building that still stand could be found. We even managed to turn the old locomotive turntable that was in operation way back when.

Hike  6/3  Pilchuck Tree Farm Sunset Hike

The privately-owned Pilchuck Tree Farm spreads across many thousands of acres in eastern Snohomish County, and the landowners graciously allow hiking and horseback riding on some of the gated roads and trails. We hiked an area near the Pilchuck Glass School, sandwiched between I-5 and highway 9, arriving at a hiltop overlooking Lake McMurray south of Mount Vernon. Our route eventually reached a beautiful view point that faces west, perched 1200 feet up with a grand vista toward the Skagit River delta and Puget Sound.    

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A pleasant peaceful stroll along the old railroad route on the Iron Goat Trail