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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Walk 5/30  Mount Vernon River Walk & Lunch

We went strolling along the river and on a couple of other pleasant trails in the city of Mount Vernon today. Started out at the Trumpter Trail, a short paved path leading around a couple of ponds off LaVenture Road. Then we walked the loop path around the Skagit Community College Ballfields, which included some nice forest sections also. We then parked down along the river front and walked the length of the Riverwalk Trail, conveniently ending our walk at Calico Cupboard where we had a delicious lunch. Our total was 4.5 miles walked, xxx calories consumed (number redacted to protect the guilty).

Hike 5/25  The Kettles And Fort Ebey State Park

For the second time in four days, I traveled with a group to Whidbey Island to enjoy some trails not far from Coupeville. This time it was a hike through The Kettles Trail System, a rolling forested area just off Highway 20. We connected a series of trails to the adjoining state park at Fort Ebey, eventually reaching the blufftop trail overlooking Admiralty Inlet. Showers entered the picture after noon, so the views were limited, but we had fun taking a lunch break at the state park picnic shelter. A Ranger program was taking place for kids, so we got to eavesdrop on their nature learning activities. All told, we hiked around 5 miles for some good exercise on a holiday weekend.

Hike 5/23  Thunder Knob

It was a warm and mostly sunny day in the North Cascades as we took to the trail near Diablo Lake for one of the nicest easy hikes in the national park complex. Thunder Knob is only an 1800-foot-high hilltop, but by virtue of it's position and the relatively thin tree cover, views are terrific. We spied Colonial Peak, Davis Peak, Jack Mountain, and many others, as well as finding plenty of wildflowers, birds, and colorful mosses. A bonus feature was a short stroll on the Ladder Creek Falls trail in Newhalem to view the landscaped trails and  waterfalls behind the Gorge Powerhouse.

Walk 5/22 Rhododendron Park

We discovered a beautiful little forest tract near Coupeville with about 2 miles of trails through a quiet, seemingly unremarkable second-growth forest. Ahh, but in May, the Pacific Rhododendron come to life, and what a lovely sight to behold. It's not as splashy as some domestically-grown varieties, but the native rhodies really brightened these woods. Before returning home we also stopped at Fort Casey State Park to savory the views across the sound toward Port Townsend and the Olympics.

Hike 5/15 Bridal Veil Falls

We had another nice sunny spring day for a trip out toward Index to one of the area's most-loved waterfalls. A trail of about 2 miles or so leads upwards, sometimes quite steeply and roughly, to a close up view of an over 200-foot drop of the falls. Bridal Veil actually consists of 7 separate drops, but the nature of the terrain and the thick forest is such that many of the drops elude easy viewing. No matter, the vista from the top of the trail is quite impressive, with the spray of the falls washing over you, and a sweet panorama overlooking the Skykomish River valley below.

Hike 5/11  Ingalls Creek

On a very warm May weekend where temperatures in Leavenworth approached 90 degrees, we set out to hike one of the prime wilderness valleys of the eastern Cascades. Beginning a short ways off the Blewett Pass Highway, the trail along Ingalls Creek extends for over 15 miles, eventually reaching Ingalls Lake in the shadow of Mount Stuart. I let our hikers decide how far they wanted to go today, with most going out about 3-5 miles before turning back. The creek was flowing fast with spring melt, and the wildflowers and bird sightings were highlights as well.

Hike 5/9 Barclay Lake

This short, easy, and popular trail near Index made for a perfect little hike on a warm May day. Only 2.5 miles each way, the hike has gentle ups and downs, lots of beautiful forest, and stupefying views of Mount Baring and it's near-vertical north wall. The sunny and 70 degree weather, lack of bugs, and few other people around made for a very relaxing setting that was difficult to leave.

Walk 5/7  Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Northwest Trek near Eatonville is run by the Metro Parks District of Tacoma, and features most of our northwest native animals in a natural setting. A tram tour takes you through a 450-acre "free-roaming area" where you see mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, bison, moose, and caribou. Later we walked through the rest of the park where the predator animals like bears, cougars, lynx, wolves, foxes, badgers, and other animals are kept in spacious enclosures. Highlights of our day included seeing a new-born bison calf (1 day old), and watching two grizzlies play and cavort around their enclosure just 50 feet away from the viewing stand.

Hike 5/5 Teanaway Community Forest - Dickey Creek and Cheese Rock

The Teanaway Community Forest was designated by our state legislature a few years ago to manage a huge (50,000-acre) area of land in the upper Yakima and Teanaway River basins near Cle Elum. The Washington DNR, Fish & Wildlife Department have partnered with local interests to carefully protect, preserve, and provide for the people and other creatures who enjoy these lands. We took a day to hike in a couple of areas typical of the TCF's settings. At Dickey Creek, we walked a mixture of old road, trail, and off-trail areas in pine forests to some nice views. Later, we discovered Cheese Rock, featuring some amazing sandstone formations and even more amazing views overlooking the Teanaway region.

Bike 5/4 Palouse to Cascades Trail (aka Iron Horse Trail) - Cle Elum to Ellensburg

The trail running across our state on the old railroad line used by the Milwaukee Road is now known as the Palouse to Cascades Trail. Many sections are great for casual bike rides with little or no nearby traffic. Our ride today started at South Cle Elum and proceeded eastward toward Ellensburg through some lovely country. The gravel trail is fairly level and easy riding for a hybrid or mountain bike. Several people made the full distance of 25 miles, while others covered a good portion of that. Scenery along the way featured the Yakima River, hillsides in bloom with wildflowers, and a number of fields and pastures.

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