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 9/28 Southwest County Park
Don't be fooled by the mundane-sounding trip name, or the fact that it was a "mere" walkers' trip that was just four hours from departure to return. We packed quite a bit into this beautiful September morning. Starting out at Southwest County Park, the largest tract of green space in Edmonds, we strolled around the loop trail system-- not once, but twice (once in each direction). From there we traveled a short distance to Lynndale Park (City of Lynnwood), and roamed the trails throughout that park. As if that wasn't enough, we then took a drive down to the Edmonds waterfront and walked along Sunset Avenue, enjoying the view of the sound, the Olympics, and the incoming ferry. We totaled about 4 miles of walking-- AND got back to Forest Park 5 minutes early!
Hike 9/26 Barclay Lake
It only takes a little imagination to view the massive north wall of Mount Baring and feel that you're in Yosemite Valley, gazing up at Half Dome or El Capitan. But this is less than 50 miles east of Everett. How fortunate we are to have a relatively easy hike that leads to such spectacular scenery. After just 2 miles walk through an enchanting forest, you come out at tiny little Barclay Lake-- even tinier this year, thanks to the dry summer. Crane your neck to stare up at the 3000-foot-plus face above you. Another amazing fact: we went on a gorgeous Tuesday and almost had the place to ourselves.
Hike 9/24 Park Butte Lookout
It was 5-star fall hiking conditions near Mount Baker for this one: pleasant temps, no bugs, nice colors, lots of ripe berries for the picking, and views galore. Our trail climbed to the 5460-foot high lookout cabin which is just a short distance from the glaciers on the south side of Baker. The 7.5-mile round trip gained about 2200 feet of elevation.
Bike 9/23 Lummi Island
Whatcom County runs a small ferry service to this island of about 900 residents located across the bay from Bellingham. The ferry departs from Gooseberry Point on the Lummi Indian Reservation. We rode our bikes along some scenic reservation roads to reach the ferry, then crossed to the island to do a 7-mile loop before returning. The ride totaled close to 20 miles all together.
Hike 9/20 John Wayne Pioneer Trail
The former rail line that operated through the Cascades via Snoqualmie Pass from 1914 through 1980 is now a recreational trail popular for hiking and biking. Also known as the Iron Horse Trail (not to be confused with the Iron Goat Trail near Stevens Pass), the trail was named for the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders Association, who greatly assisted with development of the trail. We walked a 6-mile stretch of the trail on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass, just south of I-90. The wide level trail makes for easy walking with plenty of scenery and history. We added an extra short hike to Weeks Falls along the Snoqualmie River.
Hike 9/16 Elwha Valley, Olympic National Park
We journeyed to the heart of Olympic National Park, returning to a scenic and historic valley trail that had been rendered inaccessible for some time until recent road and bridge repairs re-established access. From the large trailhead parking area at Whiskey Bend, a wide easy trail leads into the valley, where numerous side trails give access to a number of points of interest. We visited the Goblin Gates, a rocky gorge area where the Elwha squeezes through a narrow passage, and saw the restored cabins of the former Humes Ranch and Michaels Cabin, relics from a century ago. The hike totaled about 6 miles, and we capped off the day with a stop at the former Glines Canyon Dam site, where a short walk along the old dam foundation leads to a scenic overlook above the canyon the dam once spanned.
Hike 9/15 Lake Ann
The Lake Ann Trail near Mount Baker features a spectacular trail through forest and meadow that leads to the lake set in the shadows of Mount Shuksan. The scenery is stellar throughout, with views of Mt. Baker, wildflowers, sparkling creeks, lush forest, bountiful berry bushes, to say nothing of the climactic vista at the lake. On a sunny day like we had today, it's hard to top this hike. All told, we covered about 8.4 miles, 1800 feet of gain.
Walk 9/12 Meadowbrook Farm Preserve
What a delightful bunch of trails are found here, right on the boundary between North Bend and the city of Snoqualmie. The farm, once a gathering place for native tribes of Snoqualmie people, honors its past and serves as an open space for today's people to relax and reflect. Surrounded by the soaring forested hills of the Cascades, and featuring a mixture of meadows, forest, and open fields, the farm is often frequented by herds of elk. We walked about 3 miles or so of flat, easy trails, and although we saw no elk today, it was a very pleasant spot for a morning stroll.
Hike 9/10 Melmont Ghost Town
Decided to check out the site of a long lost coal mining area in Pierce County on the way toward Mount Rainier. Melmont was founded in 1900, and operated for about 20 years or so, taking coal from the hills along the Carbon River. There's not a lot left expect for a few foundations and stone walls, but the old railroad grade through the valley makes a nice gentle hike. Along the way, we passed under the Highway 165 (Fairfax) bridge, which is still in use and, at 250 feet above the river, is one of the highest bridges in the state. Our hike totaled about 7 miles round trip.
Hike 9/9 Marmot Pass
Marmot Pass sits at 6000 feet in the heart of the eastern Olympic Mountains near Quilcene. There's a lengthy but well-maintained trail up the valley of Big Quilcene River to get there. Our strong group made the 11-mile, 3500-foot-gain round trip hike to the pass and back in overcast, showery conditions. The lower sections of trail along the river were beautiful, as were the upper sections when we broke out in meadows, although the clouds kept the visibility somewhat limited. Turns out this is a very popular backpacking destination, as we saw dozens of people heading in to overnight at various camp sites located below the pass.
Hike 9/7 Elliot Creek
Elliot Creek Trail is off the Mountain Loop Highway and is better known as the trail one takes to get to Goat Lake. Our goal today was not the lake, but a scaled-down variation just covering the first 2.5 miles of the trail. Much of the way is along the creek itself, and is classic northwest forest, with huge trees, lots of greenery, and the constant sounds of the cascading creek. The skies above were gray with the spreading smoke of the region's fires, but that did nothing to dim the beauty of the trail today.
Hike 9/5 Bagley Lakes / Heather Meadows
Normally this area of the North Cascades near the Mount Baker Ski Area has spectacular long distance views, but today we got a different twist thanks to the persistent covering of smoky air from the region's fires. No fires were nearby, so the trails were safe, but the views were rather muted. We were able to enjoy the setting at pretty Bagley Lakes, and were surprised at all the wildflowers still in bloom. Our walk at Artist Point was a bit of a bust, with nothing much to see, but for many who hadn't been in the area, it was still a good introduction.