It’s like speed dating, but for hikers

I went to the WTA’s Hike the State event yesterday. They fondly referred to it as speed dating for hikers.

Basically, avid hikers extol the virtues of seven different regions around the state. They get 7 minutes to make their pitch, then the audience gets up and moves to the next speaker.

It was a lot of fun. I learned about some great hikes I can’t wait to try. I also got some great tips. A few highlights:

  • If you want to hike the Olympic coast, or really anywhere on the coast, check out Protides.com for really useful tide tables and charts.
  • The Olympics National Park has a nice map (on their site that shows little dots where you need to beware of the tides while hiking — for instance headlands that are underwater at high tide. Scroll down and click on “View park map” on the left-hand side of the page. You can zoom way in on the map.)
  • Lake Ingalls in the Alpine Lakes area sounds like a really great hike. It’s longish, 9 miles with 2,500 feet of gain, but the payoff is some gorgeous scenery. If you time it right, the area is great for wildflowers or larch color.
  • The Kettle River Range is now on my to-hike list. Author Craig Romano made a compelling case to make the drive to Eastern Washington. It sounds perfect for anyone wanting some solitude.
  • I am hiking Heather-Maple Pass Loop this year. I’ve missed hiking it several years in a row, but I’m determined to make it happen this year. It’s a 7-mile loop in the North Cascades near Rainy Pass. The scenery is stunning. The North Cascades Institute is working on research on butterfly populations in that area. They’re looking for helpers. If you’re interested, check it out here. The training is free.

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