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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Hike 3/31  Dosewallips State Park  

The Dosewallips River is one of the major drainages of the eastern side of the Olympics, flowing from high mountain glaciers down into the waters of Hood Canal, Near the mouth of the river is a nice large state park with year-round camping, hiking, beach access, and other attractions. We checked out the 3-mile forest trail loop, and later walked out onto the tideflats on Hood Canal. With a little extra time to spare, we also took a side trip to view nearby Rocky Brook Falls, a little-known 200-foot waterfall just a short walk from the Dosewallips River Road.

Walk 3/29  Green River Trail  

We headed south to the Renton-Kent area to walk a segment of this fine trail along the Green River. A level paved path runs for many miles here in south King County, and we covered a pleasant 5-mile section. The route follows the bends of the river, mostly through nice parkland, golf courses, and quiet neighborhoods. A number of underpasses make for easy connection through the city. The cloudy but dry weather was comfortable, and everyone got in a good healthy walk.

Hike 3/25  Nisqually Wildlife Refuge / Tolmie State Park  

We had a full trip for this journey to the south sound, stopping at two great destination near Olympia to get some exercise and check out the flora and fauna. We began with a morning stroll on a two-mile loop trail in Tolmie State Park that featured some interesting forest treasures and a sweet little beach on a protected bay. From there it was a 15-minute drive to Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Located on the estuary of the Nisqually River, this is a paradise for bird-watchers and anyone who appreciates nature. The trails are flat and wide, and include long stretches of elevated boardwalks that lead you easily out over the tide flats. Hundreds of folks, from families with toddlers to serious nature photographers and birders, were out enjoying the refuge. I could've stayed for hours taking pictures of all the interesting shore birds.

Snowshoe 3/24  Obstruction Point Road  

On a day where the weather offered a mixed bag of rain, snow, sunshine, rain, sunshine, rain, etc., Hurricane Ridge was a great place to be as we enjoyed some great snow and nice views along Obstruction Point Road. The area above 5000 feet on the ridge is still holding about 9 or 10 feet of snow in places, and with a few inches of fresh snow on the surface, conditions could not have been nicer. We went about 2 miles out on the road before turning around near Steeple Rock. Threatening clouds wafted about but always went somewhere else, allowing us a dry tour with ample sunshine and views. 

Hike 3/22  Calico Cupboard / Fragrance Lake  

Although spring began this week, someone forgot to tell western Washington, at least on this chilly, damp day in the Chuckanut Mountains south of Bellingham. It was a good day though for a nice hot breakfast in the comfy confines of the Calico Cupboard in Mount Vernon. After polishing off our omelets, oatmeal, pancakes, and assorted goodies, we drove up Chuckanut Drive to Larrabee State Park and the Fragrance Lake Trailhead. A nice wide, mostly mud-free trail leads up 900 feet in 2 miles to the lake. Not a day for lazing around at the lake shore, so instead we took the nice loop trail around the lake, checking out the sandstone cliff faces above its shores. After that hearty breakfast, there wasn't much need for a lunch break, so we headed back down, finishing in early afternoon shortly before the light showers turned to a dousing rain. 

Snowshoe 3/18  Heather Meadows - Artist Point  

Artist Point, also known as Huntoon Point, is a gentle 5247-foot-high summit above the Mount Baker Ski Area. It's a very popular destination year-round, and is one of the best easy-to-reach viewpoints of the North Casacades. We snowshoed about 2 miles (one-way) and climbed 1,000 feet or so to the top of Artist Point on a foggy Sunday. The views eluded us today, so we settled for a nice tour on the 16-foot-deep snowpack, got in a nice workout, and got to experience the strangeness of total white-out conditions.

Snowshoe 3/17  V.E.S.T.-Very Easy Snowshoe Tour to White Salmon Road  

The V.E.S.T. trips have become a popular option for those wanting to experience snowshoeing with a fairly gentle dose. We go out for about 60-90 minutes on the snow, staying on easy terrain, then pack up and go out for lunch at a nearby restaurant. Today was a stellar sunny day near the Mount Baker Ski Area for out tour on the White Salmon Road. It was a great payoff for a little bit of effort as we got crystal-clear views of Mt. Shuksan and the other neighboring North Cascades peaks. The lunch stop afterwards was at the Chair 9 Restaurant outside Glacier.

Walk 3/14  Olympic Discovery Trail  

Usually the walking trips stay fairly close to home and only take up about a 4 or 5 hour timeline, but occasionally we make an exception to that rule for an extended outing, such as this journey over to the peninsula to walk the wonderful Olympic Discovery Trail. We covered a section just east of Port Angeles, finishing up with a scenic (but chilly) walk along the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Most people walked anywhere from 4 to 7 miles, and after finishing up in port Angeles, we walked one extra block to the Kokopelli Grill for an excellent lunch. We dodged the scattered rain showers and had a very pleasant day.

Snowshoe 3/11  Clara and Marion Lakes  

These lakes are adjacent to the Mission Ridge Ski Area near Wenatchee. This was the first time I'd offered a snowshoe tour to this area, and thanks to the stellar weather and nice snow conditions, it was a very enjoyable outing. Starting from the ski area parking lot, a forested trail climbs fairly steeply for about 900 feet to Clara Lake, where the trees begin to thin out and the open terrain above invites further exploration. From Clara Lake, we continued, passing Marion Lake and on up another 400 feet to some terrific views above the treeline. The winds were light, and in the sunshine, it felt like springtime.  

Snowshoe 3/10 Grace Lakes 

This was one of those rare winter days in the Cascades with clear blue skies and fresh powder snow conditions. In other words, snowshoeing perfection! We started from the Stevens Pass Ski Area and followed a snow cat track into the backcountry, climbing past all four of the small Grace Lakes, and reaching a high point of about 4900 feet. Aside from an occasional out-of- bounds snowboarder or skier, we saw virtually no other people while out on our tour.  

Snowshoe 3/8  Icicle River Road  

It's amazing how some trips just seem to work out so magically. This was a seemingly simple snowshoe along the snow-covered Icicle River Road about 8 miles or so out of Leavenworth, and the forecast looked like nothing but rain. But fortunately, the temps stayed just cold enough to turn it into a lovely snowfall, and by virtue of it being a weekday, we had the entire stretch of riverside road to ourselves the whole time. It was so peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful. We covered close to 5 miles round trip, and capped it off with a warm up at Starbucks in Leavenworth on the way home. Even the Highway 2 traffic was light, allowing for a stress-free drive over the snowy pass coming and going.  

Hike 3/4 Point Whitehorn & Birch Bay  

We decided to check out a couple of beach hikes in Whatcom County, and managed to dodge the scattered showers, finding some nice sunny skies by mid-afternoon. Birch Bay State Park was the first stop, where we checked out a nice interpretive trail leading to a wetland before winding our way to the beach. After a short time there, we headed a few miles away to the Point Whitehorn Preserve, where an easy, well-built path takes you to a secluded beach area. The tide was going out, so we spent a couple hours strolling the shore, watching for wildlife, and combing the beach. Wound up hiking about 4 or 5 miles all together, making for a wonderful winter's day out. 

Cross Country Skiing 3/3 Crystal Springs / Erling Stordahl Trails  

There was plenty of snow underfoot, but the air felt like spring and the skies were a brilliant blue as we enjoyed a few hours skiing these nice groomed trails east of Snoqualmie Pass. The Erling Stordahl Trails feature a good mix of easy trails and more challenging runs, so it's got something for everyone. 

Walk 3/2  Soos Creek Trail  
This paved walking path in the Renton-Kent area is one of the nicer King County urban trails, and that's saying something, because King County has some excellent urban trails-- many of our walks have explored quite a few of them. For this one-way, self-guided walk, I let people choose their start point, to allow for a 4.5-mile section, or just a 3-mile section. Everybody went north to south, winding up at the same ending trailhead. Highlights included some nice views of Rainier, plenty of bird sightings, and some good fresh air and exercise.

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