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Golden Larch March in the North Cascades

Golden Larch March in the North Cascades

It’s an annual tradition in the Northwest: the golden larch march. Hikers, tourists, and outdoor enthusiasts flock to the mountains in early- to mid-October to see larches as their needles turn bright yellow in the autumn. Tove and I are among the many who head to the hills, traveling to the North Cascades to enjoy the golden larches. On our recent golden larch march, we tackled two hikes in the North Cascades. We first strolled to Lake Ann, and then we followed that up with a trek to Blue Lake. Here’s a quick breakdown of each hike: Golden Larch March in the North Cascades Lake Ann Starting from the Rainy Pass Picnic Area (map), the hike to Lake Ann is just 3.7 miles round-trip with a 700-foot elevation gain. In other words, this is a hike for all ages and all experience levels. Start on the main trail and moderately climb for about 1.25 miles. You’ll run into a Y in the trail. The path to the left leads...

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Harry’s Ridge | Mount St. Helens Hiking

Harry’s Ridge | Mount St. Helens Hiking

Hiking at Mount St. Helens is unlike any other experience in Washington. It’s haunting. It’s beautiful. It’s fascinating. It’s downright awesome. And I say that in the truest sense of the word – it leaves you in awe of Mother Nature. The hike to Harry’s Ridge provides stunning views, a nice workout, and a journey through the unique landscape. First off, I want to provide a brief history lesson. Mount St. Helens famously erupted on May 18, 1980. The explosion devastated the surrounding area and killed 57 people, including a crotchety curmudgeon named Harry Truman. He was the owner and caretaker of Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake, and he stubbornly refused to evacuate his home despite the pending eruption. This hike – Harry’s Ridge – is named after him. Now to the hike itself. Harry’s Ridge is a 8.2-mile round trip adventure with a 970-foot elevation gain. It starts from the Johnston Ridge Observatory parking lot along No. 1 Boundary Trail, and you actually stay on this...

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Cutthroat Lake | Easy Hike, Beautiful Payoff

Cutthroat Lake | Easy Hike, Beautiful Payoff

As an adjective, the word cutthroat is defined as “(of a competitive situation or activity) fierce and intense; involving the use of ruthless measures.” Luckily, Cutthroat Lake in the North Cascades is named after the colorful trout found in its waters, not an excruciating hike to get there. In fact, “fierce and intense” are the last words that come to mind. The hike to Cutthroat Lake is pretty darn easy, and it has a beautiful payoff. I want to make this clear from the start: Cutthroat Lake is more of a destination hike than a day hike from Seattle. The trailhead (map) is located 164 miles from downtown, all the way on the east side of the North Cascades. If you’re going to hike Cutthroat Lake, it’s best paired with a trip to Winthrop (27 miles from the trailhead) or anytime you’re driving the North Cascades Highway. Driving to the trailhead is the hard part, hiking to Cutthroat Lake is not. There are some ups and downs along the trail,...

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Wenatchee Crest Snowshoe at Blewett Pass

Wenatchee Crest Snowshoe at Blewett Pass

Longtime KOMO-TV news anchor Dan Lewis is a guest contributor to Seattle Bloggers. Since his retirement from television, he’s found a passion for hiking, snowshoeing, and traveling. If he can go somewhere with his camera — that’s where you’ll find him. Not to mention, he’s also Tim’s dad. In this post, Dan writes about his experience on the Wenatchee Crest snowshoe. Wenatchee Crest is located at Blewett Pass. At first, I thought it was too far away from Seattle — but it’s not really. From downtown, the drive is just a little more than an hour and a half. From the eastside, say Sammamish or Issaquah, it’s 1:15. And if you’re looking for a winter wonderland, this definitely fits the bill. The views are unlimited and awesome. On a clear day you’ll be able to see Mount Rainier to the south, Glacier Peak to the north, the Enchantments to the west, and for most of the trail you will have views of the Wenatchee Mountains. The day I went...

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Heather Lake | Winter Hiking in Washington

Heather Lake | Winter Hiking in Washington

There’s not shortage of stunning winter hikes near Seattle. But, there are some winter hikes that simply trump the others. Heather Lake is one of those hikes. The payoff is a stunning, snowy landscape at the base of Mount Pilchuck. The Heather Lake trailhead (Map) is located 56.6 miles from Seattle off the Mountain Loop Highway (you’ll see a sign pointing you down the Mount Pilchuck Access Road). Most of the trip is freeway or highway driving, but the last section to the trailhead is a forest service road. Check the latest Washington Trails Association trip reports for recent road conditions. The hike to Heather Lake is listed as either easy or moderate. It’s a 4.6-mile jaunt with an elevation gain of 1,034 feet. You can make the Heather Lake hike anytime of year, but I think it’s especially beautiful in the winter. The trail can be conquered as a hike or a snowshoe. When I was recently there with my dad, most of the trail was snow free...

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WhirlyBall | Fun for All Ages in Seattle

WhirlyBall | Fun for All Ages in Seattle

What happens when you cross bumper cars with lacrosse and basketball? You get WhirlyBall, of course! It’s easily some of the most fun we’ve ever had in Seattle. Here’s the gist about WhirlyBall: Teams are made up of five players apiece. Each player gets their own bumper car and “scoop” (like you use in Trac Ball). The goal is to toss a Wiffle Ball into an elevated basket; all while being bumped around by the opposition. Check out the video below to get a better understanding: Easily the most fun we’ve had in a long time! #WhirlyBall pic.twitter.com/jHNRCNsoXp — Seattle Bloggers (@SeattleBlgrs) January 8, 2017 When we played WhirlyBall, games lasted anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes. Depending on where you shoot from on the court, you get different sums of points for scoring. The team with the most points at the end wins. To add to the excitement, one of the WhirlyBall Seattle employees acts as the public address announcer, keeps score, and even calls penalties. It might sound...

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