Photos from recent trips
Hike 6/4 Talapus and Olallie Lakes
This was an alternate hike to take the place of the scheduled trip to Goat Lake. Unfortunately, a section of the Mountain Loop Highway remains closed, making the Goat Lake Trail inaccessible. I chose a comparable hike that also went to a pretty subalpine lake-- two of them actually, and we had a great day out in the sunny weather. These lakes are just north of I-90, not far from Snoqualmie Pass. The trail is very popular, especially on a nice weather weekend like this, so there were hundreds of folks out enjoying the lakes with us. I packed my inflatable boat up to the lakes, and several in the group were able to paddle around Talapus Lake. We also took a side trip to Gold Creek Pond, to check out the great views and soak in a little more sunshine.
Hike 6/3 Teanaway Community Forest
This was a trip over to the eastern slopes of the Cascades near Cle Elum. The Teanaway Community Forest is a large (50,000 acre) tract of lands managed by the state DNR that offers all sorts of recreational opportunities. We hiked on a mixture of trails and gated roads to see a pair of unusual sandstone exposures called Cheese Rock and Bible Rock. These are reminiscent of some of the rocky areas in Yosemite and the Sierras. It was a warm day, with much of the way being out in the open, but we took our time, and everyone was able to enjoy the great views and unique landforms.
Hike 5/31 Baker River & Lake
I took a group of 10 to the North Cascades for a hike in the shadows of Mount Baker to view the grand forests, sparkling clear waters, and wild terrain at the north end of Baker Lake. The sun rarely shone, but no matter, we were surrounded by fascinating sights the entire time. The hike features three impressive footbridges, including the one over Baker River than might be the longest hiker bridge in the state. Our trail had been recently maintained, and the mostly gentle route we walked made it possible for some in the group to cover nearly 10 miles. The solitude was great also-- we saw only 3 other hikers in our 6 hours or so on the trail.
Hike 5/28 Icicle Ridge
The Icicle Ridge Trail takes off just outside Leavenworth, and is a terrific trail for three main things: 1) The wildflowers! So many colorful varieties in bloom right now, with the lupine, ceanothus, tweedy's lewisia, and mariposa lily bein especially nice. 2) The views! You get a bird's view view right down into Leavenworth, and panoramic views of the Wenatchee and Icicle River valleys. and 3) The workout! We all climbed up over 2000 feet (and some did over 3000 feet) and got a vigorous workout on a warm day. Burned a lot of calories, for sure.
Hike 5/27 Pratt Connector / Pratt River Trail
This is one of the many fine low elevation trails along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River outside of North Bend. We hiked about a 2.7-mile section from the Middle Fork Trailhead, going downstream alongside the river. The trail eventually ascends the valley of the Pratt River, although we didn't actually go that far. Still, we had lovely forest hiking on a blue sky day, with plenty of spring wildflowers, river views, and glimpses of the surrounding peaks. Lots of folks yound and old were out enjoying the trails on this holiday weekend.
Walk 5/25 Semiahmoo Spit and Point Whitehorn
This trip visited two scenic walks in Whatcom County not far from the border. We first stopped at Semiahmoo Spit, site of a former salmon cannery that is now a resort, luxury community, and marina. There were nice seaside views as we strolled along both sides of the narrow strip of land, covering around 3 miles before our lunch break. After lunch, we traveled a few miles to Point Whitehorn Marine Preserve, walking a beautiful forest path that led to a rocky cobblestone beach with views of the San Juans and Gulf Islands. The pleasant sunny weather made for a fine day out.
Walk 5/9 Spada Lake & Lunch in Sultan
We went to visit the reservoir north of Sultan, from which most of Snohomish County gets their drinking water. The PUD manages the area around the reservoir, and has done a marvelous job of developing a number of recreation sites where one can enjoy this very scenic area. It was a fairly cloudy day for our visit, so some of the viewpoints didn't quite have the impact they might have, but we enjoyed exploring a pair of nice walks, and came upon a work crew in the process of adding three new bridges to the Greider Lakes Trail. After the walk, we stopped back in Sultan for a terrific lunch at Sultan Thai.
Hike 5/7 Sage Hills
It was a wildflower utopia on the hills outside Wenatchee this weekend. We came at the right time, as the balsamroot, lupine, brodiaea, and other blossoms were at their peak. A number of trails wind their way up from the west side of Wenatchee, offering lots of options and levels of difficulty. We did about 7 miles, and 1000 feet of gain on the day.
Hike 5/6 Lower Gray Wolf River
The Gray Wolf River tumbles out of the northeast corner of the Olympic Mountains south of Sequim for almost 25 miles. A trail ascends the river valley for much of that length, and we sampled about a 2-mile section of that. Spring was in evidence all throughout, with lots of drippy moss, big trees, and happy wildflowers. Our travels were interesting too (it's a long story), but we were all able to enjoy the day regardless.
Walk 5/4 Stanley Park / La Casa Gelato
An idyllic spring day in Vancouver, perfect for visiting one of the WORLD'S greatest city parks. We walked a 6-mile loop around the park, mostly on the Seawall Trail, and took in numerous sites and points of interest along the way. After the walk, we headed for nearby La Casa Gelato and checked out their 238 flavors.
Hike 4/30 Ross Dam to Diablo Lake
This was a one-way hike from the Ross Dam Trailhead on Highway 20 to the Diablo Lake Trailhead, roughly a 5.5-mile route. The sun was out and the views of the North Cascades were excellent. Particularly scenic are the sections leading down to Ross Dam, and the views from the top of the dam itself. The water level in Ross Lake is exceptionally low, but will rise quite quickly as the snow melts in the surrounding mountains. We walked a road that connects Ross and Diablo Lakes, one that uniquely does not connect to the highway. It is used to haul boats, visitors, and cargo between the two lakes, which are about 500 feet different in elevation. The final 4 miles are on the Diablo Lake Trail, often spent traversing high above the lake with terrific views of the mountains.
Bike or Walk 4/28 Apple Capital Loop Trail
Sunny and 75 in Wenatchee, a fine day for riding or walking along the wonderful Apple Capital Loop. This 10-mile paved trail spans 5 miles on each side of the Columbia River, with bridges on each end to connect the loop. What a gorgeous trail, and what a treasure for the people of Wenatchee, and those like us who make the journey there to enjoy it. It's Apple Blossom Festival time over there, with lots of beautiful trees in the orchards, and lots of activities in town to celebrate the season.
Walk 4/25 Bloedel Reserve / Bainbridge Island
It's not hard to see why this special site on Bainbridge Island is rated as one of the best botanic gardens in North America. It was lovingly crafted by Prentiss and Virginia Bloedel when they lived there from 1951 into the 1980's, and has been preserved for the public enjoyment since 1988. Our group took a leisurely 2-mile stroll around the 150-acre grounds, taking in all the wonderous displays, and feeling the restorative power of nature's beauty in all it's forms. After the visit to the reserve, we went to nearby Fay Bainbridge County Park and enjoyed a sunny lunch spot and short walk along the beach there.
Hike 4/22 and Hike 4/23 Umtanum Creek Canyon
There was lots of enthusiasm for a late April trip to hike in the sagebrush country between Ellensburg and Yakima, so I made two seperate trips on consecutive days, with a total of 21 hikers, to check out the sights along Umtanum Creek Canyon, covering about 5-6 miles of the trail there. The trail is accessed from the highway through Yakima River Canyon, about 12 miles south of Ellensburg. A lovely, long (and bouncy) footbridge carries you easily across the Yakima River to the beginning of the canyon. Weather on both days featured a mix of sun and clouds, with comfortable temps that edged up to around 60 or so. Much in evidence are the effects of a large wildfire that occured here in 2020, as the trail passed sections of charred tree trunks, and sections that are over-grown with sapling trees looking to gain a foothold. The anticipated wildflower peak is still a few weeks in the future, but with sharp eyes, we could still spot several nice flower species showing their colors. The hike challenged everyone with a pair of tricky creek crossings on precariously-balanced logs, but I'm glad to say we all survived without even a single wet toe!
Hike 4/19 Dugualla State Park & Preserve
This wonderful area on Whidbey Island is over-shadowed by nearby Deception Pass State Park, but is a fine hiking destination in its own right. You'll find no spectacular vistas here, but neither will you find jam-packed parking lots and crowds of people. It's 200 acres of protected forest, purchased by WA State Parks in 1992 to save it from logging. A trail system weaves throughout the park, a mixture of old roads and constructed trails. The Beach Trail takes you down to a secluded beach on Skagit Bay, right across from the mouth of the Skagit River. The highlights on this nice partly cloudy spring day included some majestic old-growth fir trees, pleasant open deciduous forest that let lots of sunshine in, a nice sunny (but windy) beach walk on the low-tide exposed beach, a separate visit to the Dugualla Bay Preserve to learn about restoration efforts that have greatly benefited the salmon and other species that frequent these waters, and last but not least, a stop at The Farm Stand on Highway 20 for a delicious scoop (or two!) of ice cream.
Hike 4/15 West Elwha Trail
The mighty Elwha River flows for 45 miles, from a source in the heart of the Olympic Mountain wilderness to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It's one of the most important waterways for northwest salmon, not to mention a whole host of other plant and animal live. The once-wild river was dammed in the early 1900's, but as you may know, the dams were removed in the 2010's, and the river has triumphantly returned to it's wild state. We journeyed to just west of Port Angeles to hike a trail that follows the western bank of the river, enjoying not only the frequent views of the rushing river, but also some lush old growth forests, some beautiful tributary creeks and streams, a variety of spring wildflower blooms, and lots of songbirds serenading us from the tree tops. Oh, and a nice pretty waterfall too. We hiked about 6.5 miles, over 1000 feet elevation gain, and even managed to stay rain-free despite the ominous forecast.
Hike 4/13 Lopez Island (overflow trip)
Another fine day on Lopez Island, with some scenic short hikes to Chadwick Hill and Shark Reef Sanctuary. A few more wildflowers on Chadwick this time, and a few more harbor seals on Shark Reef. We were also able to make quick forays to Fishermans Bay Preserve and Upright Head Preserve. An unplanned bonus was the nice sunset we got to view from the ferry as we returned to Anacortes.
Hike 4/11 Lopez Island
The forecasted rain showers all moved out before noon, and nice blue skies held over Lopez for our afternoon tour of the island. We did hikes to Chadwick Hill and Shark Reef Sanctuary, enjoying some great views of the surrounding waters and shorelines. Other highlights included the rope swing on top of Chadwick Hill, some fun/challenging/terrifying* rock scrambling, and sightings of a colony of harbor seals off the shore at Shark Reef.
* don't worry Thursday group--we won't do anything terrifying
Snowshoe 4/8 Surprise Lake
This was the last snowshoe trip I'm leading for the season, a challenging trek into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to a high country lake that's still under 10 feet of snow. Our weather was a mixed bag of clouds, snow and rain showers, but for the most part it held off it's worst effects until the end of the day. This route had a wilderness feel most of the way-- tracking through mature forests, under and around huge trees and boulders, through a narrow valley, along a cascading creek, up some moderately steep snow slopes, and finally getting the payoff of seeing the lake in a huge bowl nearly surrounded by rugged peaks. The group handled all the challenges splendidly and made the trip go quite smoothly, all 8+ miles and 2300 feet of elevation gain. Congrats to all.
Hike 4/6 Teneriffe Falls
This was a moderately chalenging hike to a 225-foot waterfall on the slopes below Mount Si, near North Bend. This is state DNR land, and they have done a fabulous job developing a nice large trailhead parking area, and creating well-built trails that take hikers to the falls and to many other possible destinations. The rain stayed mainly off to the west of us, and we got to enjoy relative solitude at the falls (normally a pretty popular spot). We hiked about 5.5 miles, gaining 1600 feet along the way.
Walk 4/5 Walking Ebey's Trail System & Lunch
We did a whirlwind tour of Whidbey Island with a whole host of interesting stops along the way. First, heading up there, we did a drive-by to see how the flower fields in the Skagit Valley are coming along (daffodils, no tulips yet), and made a stop at Deception Pass Bridge (OK, mainly to use bathrooms). We then found the Walking Ebey's Trail System outside Coupeville. This brand new (Fall of '22) walking route was preserved by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, and offers a pleasant stroll on a nicely built-path across the open fields, pasture-lands, and forest of the central part of the island. Our one-way route covered about 3.5 miles. We then stopped at the nearby Price Sculpture Forest, a unique and fun forest walk of about 0.6 mile adorned with around two dozen nature-inspired art works. Lunch in Freeland, and a ferry ride brought us back and completed a delightful day out.
Hike 4/2 Discovery Park
Seattle's largest park is a fantastic place with a rich history and a great variety of natural charms. Today we hiked a 6- mile route, looping around the park to take in it's many sights and attractions. The highlights included a visit to Daybreak Star Cultural Center, where the first inhabitants of this area can gather and celebrate their culture. Another highlight was a nice lunch spot along the beach near the West Point Lighthouse (Seattle's westernmost point), and a pause along the trail on the bluff above the beach where we were transfixed by a trio of bald eagles circling just above our heads. Throw in the "better than expected" weather, and it was a very enjoyable day out.
Hike 3/29 Kitsap Tripleheader
We had a beautiful sunny day to explore the trails on Kitsap Peninsula, making three stops for mini-hikes at each spot. We started at a county park called Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve, where we took a nice forest path down to a secluded little bay off Hood Canal. Next, it was on to Twanoh State Park, a 100-year-old park on Hood Canal with a nice waterfront and gorgeous forest trail following a creek. Our final stop was in Belfair at the Mary Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve, where we took some short, level paths out to the estuary of Union Creek where it enters the Canal. We did about 6 miles walking on the day.
Hike 3/26 Thunder Knob
Winter is slowly losing it's grip in the North Cascades. It was a gray chilly day up near Diablo Lake off Highway 20, a nice chance to see how that area is recovering from the last few months of winter. Thunder Knob Trail is one of the few that are easily hikeable this time of year, and though there were still a few messy areas, most of the trail was in great condition, and the views were not too bad either. The hike is fairly short, just 3 hours or so, which allowed some extra time for other explorations in the area. We drove to the road closure gate at Ross Dam Trailhead (just a little snow on the roadside, none on the highway itself. We also stopped at North Cascades Institute and had a nice chat with the director, and took a short walk to the Ladder Creek Falls in Newhalem.
Walk 3/21 Soos Creek Trail
This wonderful urban trail follows a greenbelt for almost 6 miles in south King County between Renton and Kent. It's a paved route that is mostly enjoyed by locals for a running or dog-walking path, but even out-of-towners from Everett and go and enjoy it. There are forested areas, wetland areas, occasional views, and plenty of birds and small wildlife. In summary, a nice peaceful place to take a morning walk on the first full day of spring.