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Dang! Now that’s cold!

December 18, 2013

Last weekend I entered a cross-country run on Whidbey Island. It was a refreshing 23 degrees out and I stripped down to run in my shorts. Just like I had been doing all week during our Northwest freeze. And per usual many a passerby, runner and non runner alike inevitably asks me, “aren’t you cold?!”…

Sugar Maples and Joshua Trees–On the Trail in 2013

December 16, 2013

I love this time of the year. The short days and long nights of the Winter Solstice prompting me to slow down, recharge, reflect, and relax. The spiritual and joyous nature of Christmas instilling in me hope, renewal and an appreciation of family, friends and blessings. And the excitement of the New Year allowing me to…

Merry Christmas Bird Count!

December 13, 2013

There was a great front page story today in my local newspaper, the Skagit Valley Herald on the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts in the county. Skagit County is one of the best places in Washington state for bird watching and this region is known for its thousands of wintering snow geese, trumpeter and tundra swans,…

Natural Skagit

December 12, 2013

Natural Skagit: A Journey From Mountains to Sea This new book designed to celebrate and help protect wildlife habitat and rural landscapes in Skagit County, Washington was launched to an excited crowd of over 300 at Skagit Gardens on November 13, 2008. Published by the Skagit Land Trust, the book was a major collaborative effort consisting of eight main authors, several…

Day Hiking Central Cascades

December 12, 2013

Day Hiking Central Cascades: Stevens Pass / Alpine Lakes / Lake Wenatchee Author: Craig Romano | Photographer: Alan Bauer | Publisher: Mountaineers Books | Price: $18.95 Close to Seattle, many of these trails will get big-city dwellers into the wild and back home for dinner or are in vacation destinations such as Chelan that you…

Save the Whistler Canyon Trailhead!

December 11, 2013

The Whistler Canyon Trail (Hike no. 2 in my Day Hiking Eastern Washington book) is a gem. Located just south of Oroville, this Okanogan River Valley Trail is part of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. One of the best places in the state to see California bighorn sheep, this trail also offers stunning valley…

Of Swans, snow geese, and eagles

December 10, 2013

I absolutely love this time of year in the Skagit Valley. While western Washington lacks the distinct hard seasonal changes that I loved back east–the seasonal changes here are measured differently-and they are distinct. Winter begins in November with the arrival of tens of thousands of wintering snow geese and trumpeter and tundra swans. A…

I love the Cold! It brings warmth to my heart!

December 4, 2013

Well, here we go again with another sub-freezing blast for Western Washington. I love it! Why you ask as many of my fellow Northwesterners are hunkered down in their toasty homes? Nostalgia for one. While I have been living in Western Washington for 24 years now, I still miss my native New England from time…

What an October!

November 6, 2013

Last week was the first week since May that I did not head off for a 2-4 day trip to research trails for writing and mapping projects. While I welcome the reprieve over the next few months from constantly being-on-the-go, I must admit that I am going through hiking withdrawals. Yes, I have lots of…

Wagonwheel Lake-You’ll bust an axle on this one!

October 27, 2013

I recently returned to the Staircase Area of Olympic National Park to tackle (actually track for a new Green Trails Map) one of area’s steepest trails-Wagonwheel Lake. The sign at the trailhead warns that you’ll climb 3,200 feet in 2.9 miles. Which isn’t entirely true as the first .4 mile you’ll gain only 200 feet and…