Outdoors apps to check out before your next trip

Before I begin this post, I should make something clear. I take my phone with me when I hike and backpack.

Don’t give me that look. I promise never to interrupt your solitude with my ringing phone. If I’m on a trail, my phone is off or on airplane mode.

But I still bring it with me on every hike. It’s a perfect resource. For less than 4 ounces, I can carry as many guidebooks with me as I could ever want: birds, wildflowers, trees, animal tracks. It’s brilliant.

I’ve come across a few nifty apps lately worth sharing.

Washington Trails Association’s Trailblazer: This is a great app for anyone who likes to hike. I wrote about it earlier here.

Washington Wildflowers: This app was produced by the Washington Herbarium at the Burke Museum. It’s a lovely app. You can search for flowers using a variety of categories, including flower color, growth habit, location and more. Read more and find links to buy it here.

Bird watching: The Nature Conservancy has a good roundup here of bird guide apps: Audubon Birds, iBird Pro, National Geographic Birds, Person Birds and Sibley eGuide to Birds. I personally use and love iBird Pro, but all of these sound like they’d do the job.

Peaks: This app could be pretty amazing, if it works. The idea is it helps you identify peaks in the mountain ranges you can see. I’m going backpacking this weekend, and I’ll definitely be trying it out. You can read about it here.

Cornell Guide to Bird Sounds: This isn’t an app, but it’s still pretty nifty. Cornell has a mind-blowing collection of high-quality recorded bird calls. My mother owns the CD set, and although it’s amazing, it’s a bit clunky to use. The downloaded version, which also comes with downloadable guides, would be a lot simpler to use. The full version is $49.99 right now ($10 off it’s usual price.) You can also get a set for beginners for only $12.99 ($7 off usual price.)

What about you? What’s your favorite app for the outdoors? Leave me a comment here or send me an email.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Bustling Dublin offers big-city sights and Irish charm

The dynamic city has a great story to tell, and people who excel at telling it.

How is it that some abused children fare well as adults?

By John Rosemond / Tribune News Service In a letter to the… Continue reading

Most Read