Photos from recent trips
Walk 11/29 Tolt-MacDonald Park
We walked 4 miles in this nice King County park near Carnation. Located along the Tolt and Snoqualmie Rivers, the park features plenty of easy paths, lots of bird sightings, an impressive 500-foot-long foot bridge over the Snoqualmie, surprisingly nice mountain views, and numerous park facilities like yurts and campgrounds. On this chilly November morning, much of the trailside vegetation was tinged with frost, adding a nice touch to the scenery. We then warmed up after the walk with hot soup and other treats from Sandy's Espresso in Carnation.
Hike 11/25 Tumwater Mountain
Tumwater Mountain sits just outside Leavenworth, rising about 3000 feet above the NW side of town. It's somewhat overlooked by hikers in favor of other popular destinations nearby, and possibly due to the fact that there are forest roads that climb nearly to the top. Usually snow arrives here in November, and they gate the roads shut, so I envisioned this as a part hike, part snowshoe trip following the forest roads to the viewpoints on top. We got the clear weather which made the views great, but the snow hasn't really arrived, so the snowshoes stayed at home, and the road gate was open, allowing us to drive up the lower half of the mountain. Taking advantage of the "head start," we were able to make a loop route, going up one side, traversing across the 1.5-mile long summit ridge, and descending a different side. It all added up to about an 8-mile trek with around 2000 feet of climbing, and the strong group of 6 handled everything just fine.
Hike 11/19 Saratoga Woods - Whidbey Island
Nothing fancy today, just a nice walk in the woods on Whidbey. Got some fresh air and good exercise meandering the trail system near Langley. There's three adjacent natural areas here: Putney Woods, Saratoga Woods, and Metcalf Trust Trails. We did a 6-mile loop and enjoyed the dry weather. Along the way, we saw lots of pretty forest, numerous dog walkers, a few mountain bikes, a horse named Ranger, and a HUGE glacial erratic boulder. It was a fun day out.
Hike 11/18 Lily Lake
Had a pleasant day hike in the Chuckanuts near Bellingham, taking a good forest trail to a peaceful little lake and a scenic overlook. The Lily Lake Trail is in the Blanchard State Forest on Washington DNR land, and numerous improvements over the years have made this an excellent place not only for hikers, but the occasional mountain bikers, trail runners, horse riders, and even parasailers. We covered about 6 miles of trails on our journey, managing to catch some sunny skies and good views along the way.
Hike 11/17 Deception Pass State Park
Sunshine and blue skies, not bad for the middle of November. We traveled to Deception Pass to enjoy the rugged beauty of the popular seaside state park, sampling three different hikes to reap the rewards of the great weather and fabulous scenery. Our five miles of hiking included treks to Goose Rock, Hoypus Point, and Rosario Head. Then, for good measure, we stopped off at the top of Mt. Erie on the way home.
Walk 11/14 Puget Sound Troll Hunting
Thomas Dambo is an environmental artist from Denmark who has created over 120 whimsical trolls around the world in an effort to promote recycling and sustainability. Five of these trolls are in the Puget Sound region, and on this trip we were able to travel to all five. They're completely made of recycled natural materials, and are located in public spaces, usually parks of some type. With a minimal bit of walking, you can view them all. Our journey took us to Issaquah, West Seattle, Vashon Island, Bainbridge Island, and Ballard. It was a long day (thank you, Washington State Ferries) but was a lot of fun, and a reminder that there is an alternative to just throwing everything in the garbage. NOTE: I'm offering this trip again in a couple of months, in case you'd like to see the trolls for yourself. There's only a few spots left.
Walk 11/9 Palouse To Cascades Trail at Cle Elum
We walked a scenic section of the Palouse to Cascades Trail near Cle Elum on a chilly, gray sky day. Fall colors were actually better on the WEST side of the mountains, 'cause over on the east side, many of the trees are now bare. We enjoyed a peaceful stroll on the wide, level trail, and had views of the Yakima River much of the way.
Walk 11/1 Bellingham History Walk
This was a fun day spent walking around Bellingham and learning about the history of the city. We did two history tours, starting with a 2-mile stroll around old downtown Bellingham, and then doing a one-mile route around the Fairhaven district. There were over 60 historic buildings and other noteworthy locations to take in. Much of the city's history dates back to the late 1800's and early 1900's, and it was especially fascinating to view some of the many architectural styles. We had lunch at the Mount Bakery Cafe in Fairhaven.
Hike 10/28 Cowiche Canyon
This was a long trip all the way over near Yakima to hike a gentle scenic canyon along a small creek. Cowiche Canyon features typical shrub-steppe habitat, with an assortment of colorful small trees and shrubs, a few pines, and plenty of dry, sagebrush country. The rock formations were especially beautiful, and the 6-mile out-and-back route along an old railroad line was good exercise without being very taxing. An added treat was on the drive over there, as we stopped at Chinook Pass for a short walk in the snow around Tipsoo Lake.
Hike 10/26 Green Mountain - Kitsap Peninsula
This was a hike to the top of a 1600-foot hill west of Bremerton in the Green Mountain State Forest. There's a fine system of trails managed by the DNR, and lots of great terrain and views. We took the Gold Creek Trail for about 2.5 miles to reach the viewpoints at the top, and took in the vistas of the Olympic Mountains as well as the Puget Sound and Seattle. Recent improvements here include a nice new picnic shelter and rest area near the top.
Walk 10/24 Ruston Way - Herbert Trail
Ruston Way hugs the shore of Commencement Bay in Tacoma, and the walking path alongside it is a delightful walk with great scenery and plenty of interesting features. We took a morning walk along the length of the path, squeezing it in just before some rain showers arrived. We passed a number of parks, and finished on the Frank Herbert Trail, a newly-developed section leading to the Dune Peninsula adjacent to Point Defiance Park. Afterwards, we had a great lunch at Katie Downs Restaurant on the waterfront before heading for home.