Take this bit, just in time for the 28th McClinchy Mile out of Arlington on March 20.
According to B.I.K.E.S., the bike club of Snohomish County, the first McClinchy Mile had a $5 entry fee, drew 43 riders on five loops (15 to 60 miles), and gave out custom embroidered patches. In 1986, 174 riders participated.
This year, 400 to 500 bicyclists are expected to ride one or more of three loops: an easy 20-miler that includes a section of the Centennial Trail; a flat 34-miler of farmland and valley to Stanwood; or a challenging 47-miler of rolling hills to Machias and then back on the Centennial Trail.
Its the first official training ride for the Ride Around Puget Sound (www.rapsodybikeride.com). The age of riders ranges from the under-20 set to riders in their 70s.
The ride, named in honor of an early bicyclist, Stuart McClinchy, raises money for the club, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, which provides helmets and bikes to low-income kids through Sharing Wheels.
Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for children 17 and under with a paid adult. Everything else that riders need to know is at www.bikesclub.org.
Still buried: The North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) is still closed due to snow. However, the snowpack is lower than normal, and there is some hope that crews can start clearing on March 22. This year the work may take three weeks instead of the typical six weeks.
Construction closures: Hikers can give thanks that the Forest Service, which has closed Mountain Loop Highway until the end of April, but will open it on weekends.
Workers will close various locations from milepost 42, south of White Chuck Bench Overlook, to milepost 35, south of Bedal Creek Bridge. Call the Darrington Ranger District for updates weekdays at 360-436-1155.
Sea lion dinner: And I dont mean sea lions for dinner. For those mammals, the menu is salmon and steelhead, salmon and steelhead, and more salmon and steelhead. The restaurant is the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River where the migrating fish are bunched, angling for next in line up the fish ladders.
Thats convenient for the California sea lions, and their appetites can jeopardize some stocks at risk of extinction. For years, various agencies have tried to solve the problem with little success, although there are indications that efforts are making some progress.
Since 2008, the agencies can use lethal measures to save the salmon, the last resort after capturing (nearly impossible) sea lions for zoos and aquariums.
This month the spring Chinook are returning to the Columbia River and efforts continue to protect them.
On the bookshelf: Thousands of creatures stay alive by their deceptions. Peter Forbes Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage in Nature and War ($27.50). Millions of years of mimicry have saved entire species.
This excellent read takes readers around the world and through the past couple of centuries to explain the wonders but with a new twist. Forbes also shows how natures mimicry and camouflage have affected humans and their wars.
Nick Onken offers a different take on photography in Photo Trekking: A Traveling Photographers Guide to Capturing Moments Around the World ($24.99). Readers can find both photographic philosophy and practical guidance.
Although the book is ultimately about being a travel photographer, once youre past the marketplace information, theres something on nearly every page that can apply to travelers who want to create photographic memories that theyre proud to share.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.
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