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Neve Camp | North Cascades Backpacking

Neve Camp | North Cascades Backpacking

Over the river and through the woods to Neve Camp we go! Located just 2.5 miles down Thunder Creek trail in North Cascades National Park, Neve Camp (pronounced nev-AY) is a backcountry backpacking adventure that doesn’t require much effort. Sure, it’s not for everyone – being such a short hike and all. But it was perfect for Tove and me over Memorial Day weekend. We’re beginners when it comes to backpacking, so Neve Camp was a great place to get our feet wet. Although it’s less than three miles from Colonial Creek Campground (where you park for this backpacking adventure – map), you still feel like you’re out in the wilderness. The path down to Neve Camp is well off the main trail and it sits right along Thunder Creek (the video above shows that it runs more like a river than a creek). There is only room for five tents at Neve Camp, and the designated camping spots are spaced out so it doesn’t feel crowded at all....

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Franklin Ghost Town | A Trip Back in Time

Franklin Ghost Town | A Trip Back in Time

It’s not everyday you get to take a walk back in time, but that’s what happens when you visit Franklin ghost town just outside of Black Diamond. Located 37 miles from downtown Seattle (map), Franklin was a once bustling coal mining town. The community was established in the 1880s (before Washington was even a state), and it survived until mining jobs dried up there in 1919. The land was most recently mined between the late 1940s through 1971. If you’d like to know more about the history of Franklin click here. The most infamous moment happened on August 24, 1894, when 37 workers suffocated in mine fire. It’s still one of the deadliest mine disasters ever in the state of Washington. All that’s left in the area now is Franklin ghost town, which is an overgrown, green hillside with several ruins. There is a parking lot near the site, which costs $5 per vehicle. It’s then a short trek up the hill (past the yellow gate at the end...

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Keechelus Lake Snowshoe Trail

Keechelus Lake Snowshoe Trail

When the weather turns cold in the winter, it’s time to head for the hills – er, mountains of Snoqualmie Pass. There’s no shortage of snowy fun just outside of Seattle. Take the Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail for example! I’ll start by saying this: if you’re an experienced winter adventurer, the Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail probably isn’t for you. If you’re just getting started on snowshoes, or you simply want to stomp around in the snow, then this place is perfect. If this sounds like your type of adventure — here is a map to the trailhead. Depending on the driving conditions, it’s about an hour drive from Seattle. The Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail is groomed and it’s mostly flat. It runs along the Iron Horse – John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which was formerly a rail line. There’s an avalanche shoot about two miles into the trail, and that’s where most people recommend you turn around, making it about four miles roundtrip. There’s a mere 200-foot elevation gain along the way, meaning...

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Best Time to See Skagit Valley Bald Eagles

Best Time to See Skagit Valley Bald Eagles

If you’re like me, you love to see bald eagles. They can be soaring in the sky or simply sitting in a tree. It’s just always a treat to see our national bird. And if you live in or visit Seattle around late fall and/or early winter, you can see your fill of Skagit Valley bald eagles. Bald eagles begin to flock to Skagit Valley in late October. They come from all over to feed on salmon in Skagit River, with the eight-mile stretch between Rockport (map) and Marblemount the best place to see them. You can click here for suggested viewing sites around that area. If you’re lucky, you can see more than 100 bald eagles on your visit! According to the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center, the number of bald eagles increases throughout November. But the best time to see Skagit Valley bald eagles is December, with the number of bald eagles usually peaking the week of Christmas. The bald eagle count then starts to thin through January....

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Rainier Glass Studio Blow-Your-Own Glass Activity

Rainier Glass Studio Blow-Your-Own Glass Activity

As the seasons change in Seattle, so do the activities. When fall rolls around, everyone tends to head indoors. There are only so many times you can go bowling, though. That’s why we offer a fun alternative – Rainier Glass Studio blow-your-own glass activity. While October through December are considered the peak season for Rainier Glass Studio (map), the blow-your-own glass activity is actually offered year-round. During the peak season, activities can be booked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, while days vary during the offseason (but are typically offered on Saturday). Each blow-your-own glass activity takes about 20-30 minutes, and you can only book one person at a time. When Tove and I went  to Rainier Glass Studio with our friend Kyle, we reserved three consecutive activities. Members of your party are encouraged to watch and take pictures, so it can be done as a fun group outing. If you’re curious, the blow-your-own glass activity is open to all ages. When you first arrive at Rainier Glass Studio, you get to pick an...

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Best Time to See Golden Larches in Washington

Best Time to See Golden Larches in Washington

Leaves change colors every autumn. It’s one of those really special times to live in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, we don’t get the same incredible colors as the Midwest or East Coast, but we get something even better – golden larches. You have to know the right time to enjoy them, though. So (a question we often hear)…when is the best time to see golden larches in Washington? The obvious answer is: there is no exact time every year. Mother Nature works on her own schedule. But there is definitely a certain time frame to keep an eye on. Golden larches are typically at their peak anywhere from late September to mid-October. I know that’s pretty broad, so here are some more precise ideas: + We’ve been to the North Cascades to see golden larches twice (click here for two great hikes to check out). Both times we were there on October 7th – both times the larches were in fine form. + According to this Seattle Times article,...

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