There is such a thing as free lunch. Just walk about a mile up Mount Pilchuck Lookout Trail with a few supplies on Sept. 27 and spend the rest of the day restoring the trail.
Lunch and snacks will be provided and each volunteer will receive a commemorative poster for working near the 5,324-foot summit.
The hike-and-help event is in celebration of National Public Lands Day, honoring the public accessibility to millions of acres of land. The Mount Pilchuck event is sponsored by the Northwest Interpretive Association and the U.S. Forest Service.
“We’re going to lead a volunteer crew of folks almost to the top; we’ll go pretty far up there,” said Jim Adams of the NIA.
The trail has been widened by use and erosion has washed away many native plants, Adams said.
He said volunteers will try to restore some areas and define the trail better.
“We’ll be laying down special biodegradable mats that protect the area and get it ready for planting,” he said. “And we’ll be putting up some interpretive signs that explain what we’re doing.”
Up to 20 volunteers will be put to work from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information or to register, go online to www.nwpubliclands.org/volunteer_opportunities/earth_day2.html or call the Northwest Interpretive Association at 206-220-4140.
Free days: Northwest Forest Pass fees will be waived Sept. 27 and 28 to celebrate National Public Lands Days at Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
“Help from volunteers is essential for us to provide a quality recreational experience for the public,” wilderness and trails specialist Gary Paull said.
Paull said volunteers contribute more than 60,000 hours of work every year to maintain trails, provide educational services and staff lookouts, work at visitor centers and patrol wilderness areas.
Here are some opportunities for volunteers next weekend:
Iron Goat Trail: Help with trail restoration and maintenance from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Sean Bulthaup, Volunteers for Outdoor Washington, at 206-517-3019 (www.trailvolunteers.org).
Bare Mountain Trail (North Bend): Help maintain a trail leading to the fire lookout and views of Baker, Rainier and the Olympics. Call Alyssa Kreider, Washington Trails Association, 206-625-1367 (www.wta.org).
Heather Meadows (Mount Baker): Do trail work on one or two trails leading from this area. Work one day or the weekend with car camping and a barbecue on Saturday night. Call Alyssa Kreider, Washington Trails Association, 206-625-1367 (www.wta.org).
Crow tale: Pilchuck Audubon Society’s Judy Alles was counting Vaux’s swifts in Monroe when a crow landed on the school roof, then looked down the chimney that the swifts had been entering for the night roost.
“Then he took a second look, probably trying to figure out how to reach them,” Alles said.
“Then here came more swifts down the chimney, and more bobbing up and down. They went right on by him and he couldn’t get them.
“Crows are opportunists, and other animals do feed on the swifts. The third day he (the crow) came he caught one. And then he ate it. He caught them five or six times. Then several crows stopped and grabbed them.
“It’s just another facet of nature. I don’t blame the crows.”
On the bookshelf: “Fallen Giants” ($40) is for those with an interest in history as well as Himalayan mountaineering adventure, a good choice for a reader who wants to delve beyond just the physicality of extreme climbing.
Two historians have written an indispensable reference that covers pioneers to the modern extremists, minimal equipment to high-tech “necessities,” politics and changing cultures, and success and disasters for more than 100 years.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.