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Explore NW
September 2  |  By Jessi Loerch
Photo gallery: Baby orcas continue to put on a show Four orcas, all born this year, appear to be doing well, according to crews from the Pacific Whale Watch Association. 

Crew members shared recent photos of the babies, including J50, who is the only female and the most boisterous of the youngsters.



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September 1  |  By Jessi Loerch
Hike up to Benchmark Mountain for 360-degree views By Jessi Loerch

"Did not mean to climb it, but got excited and was soon on top."



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August 31  |  
Outdoor Youth Connections, a group that helps underserved youth get outdoors, has a fundraising gala at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Edmonds Yacht Club.

There will be dinner, drinks and dancing with a live band. There will also be a live and silent auction.



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August 30  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
How — and why — backcountry skiers find snow all year When Kristina Ciari climbed Mount Rainier in 2013, she saved herself the effort of hoofing it back down the mountain. She stepped into her skis and bombed down the tallest volcano in Washington. While wearing a pink tutu. When Ciari, the membership and marketing director for The Mountaineers, isn't at work, her enthusiasm for skiing keeps her looking for snow all year. She's not alone.

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August 29  |  
Learn how to take better nature photos with photographer Andy Porter. The course will cover how to make the best use of your camera, manual operation, composition, depth of field, focus and more. The course is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Marysville Community Center, 514 Delta Ave.



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August 28  |  
Celebrate the end of the summer climbing season at the Mount Rainier Festival, Sept. 19 to 20, just outside Mount Rainier National Park at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford.

There will be climbing presentations, including personal accounts from Everest this year, gear demos, entertainment and food and drinks.



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August 27  |  By Jessi Loerch, Herald Writer
Boardman Lake is a short, easy trail to pretty mountain lake Looking for an easy hike? How about some swimming? Might I suggest Boardman Lake?

I took my daughter to Boardman Lake recently for a quick hike. The lake, which is off the Mountain Loop Highway past Verlot, is less than 2 miles round trip.



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August 16  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Kids learn about water and science at Everett Parks summer camp Chance Loudenback, 10, stared into a microscope aboard a boat on Possession Sound.

"You gotta see!" he told a fellow student. "It's cool! It looks like a bug."

Loudenback was aboard the Phocoena, a research vessel for the Ocean Research College Academy, as part of a partnership with Everett Parks and Recreation.

Everett Parks offers two summer camps that focus on science. The first, Aquanauts Science Camp, is a week...

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August 16  |  
Puget Sound Bird Fest: The Puget Sound Bird Fest is a yearly celebration of birds and nature along the Edmonds shoreline. The event, from Sept. 11-13, includes speakers, guided walks, land and water-based field trips, exhibits and educational activities for all ages. More at: www.pugetsoundbirdfest.org. A photography exhibit to commemorate the festival is on display through Sept. 18 at the Edmonds Library and in the Frances Anderson Center display case.

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August 7  |  Herald staff
The U.S. Army has extended the public comment period on a plan to conduct off-base mountain training over the North Cascades and southwest Washington for helicopter pilots to practice flyovers and landings.

The original comment period closed July 30 with hundreds of individual comments and dozens of letters from organizations. The comment period has been extended to Sept. 4.


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August 6  |  By Jessi Loerch
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, guides from Northwest Mountain School will offer half-day rock climbing trips near Darrington.

Students will learn to belay, learn the basics of climbing and get a chance to climb a variety of routes.

All equipment will be provided. The program is open to those with no experience as well as experienced climbers.



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August 4  |  By Jessi Loerch
Field work is rough. It's long, hard hours often in inhospitable climates. But it's also comedy gold, as is evident on Twitter with the #fieldworkfail hashtag. Warning. If you click on the hashtag, you can kiss goodbye to at least the next 20 minutes.

If you don't have 20 minutes, here are a few to keep you entertained for now.



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August 4  |  By Jessi Loerch
Forty-five years ago, orcas were herded into Penn Cove. The young orcas were captured in nets and taken to theme parks around the world.

Orca Network is holding several events to commemorate the captures, in which 13 whales died.



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August 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Suiattle Pass north to High Bridge due to a fire that has burned 25 square miles near Lake Chelan.



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August 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
The classic film "The Way of The Trout" will be shown at 10 a.m. Aug. 11 and 4 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Northwest Stream Center, 600 128th St. SE, Everett.

The 30-minute film was one of the first films to advocate catch-and-release fishing. It shows the daily scenes of a rainbow trout with underwater video.



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August 2  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Long weekend in Foss River valleys highlights the area's endless charms We knew we wanted to go backpacking — we just couldn't decide where.

Over a glass of wine, in the dark days of winter, my friend Michelle and I put a three-day trip on our calendars. For months, we guarded the days aggressively and debated where we wanted to go. We wanted to get out of town. We wanted to hike without being rushed. We wanted to have time to sip sweet tea vodka and stare at a mountain lake.

We wanted wilderness, mountain lakes and old...

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July 31  |  
Fire danger is extremely high right now. If you're going to be going outside, please be extremely careful to avoid sparking a wildfire. If a fire does get started right now, it has the potential to get immense very quickly.

 

Here's a press release from the Department of Natural Resources:



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July 26  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Enjoy a low-key family weekend at Buck Creek Campground For more than a decade, Buck Creek Campground on the Suiattle River Road has been closed. Now, though, it's open again for the best part of the year. There's lots of great hiking in the area. But really, don't make too many plans. You'll enjoy lazing around the camp too much.

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July 24  |  By Jessi Loerch
A section of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness will close Saturday due to the Blakenship fire, which is burning near Agnes Creek.



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July 21  |  By Jessi Loerch
Best shots: Some of my favorite recent outdoor photos I am an enthusiastic but mediocre photographer. I love a good photo, though, and so I have fun looking through our readers photos.

Recently a number of nice outdoor photos caught my eye, so I emailed the photographers and asked to feature them here.



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July 20  |  
Photographers catch baby orca 'leaping for joy' Four baby orcas in the Salish Sea continue to do well. According to crews from the Pacific Whale Watch Association, J50, J51, J52 and L121 — all born since December 30th of last year — have been seen almost every day and appear to be healthy and, in some cases, putting on quite a show.



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July 19  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Student learn leadership, love of nature on trips in North Cascades Kang Pu stood at the back of a boat in a narrow, winding canyon off Ross Lake. Before him, a group of adults waited to hear his story. Kang, 16, began by saying he had been in the United States for just a year and that it was hard for him to speak in front of a group. His story, his eagerness to learn and his poise blew his listeners away. Kang was part a program that takes kids backpacking or canoeing in hopes of instilling a love and appreciation for wild places.

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July 16  |  
Fisheries: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is offering public workshop as part of its effort to create a draft environmental impact statement on steelhead fisheries. The effort is related to hatchery programs producing early-returning winter steelhead in the Stillaguamish, Dungeness and Nooksack watersheds.



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July 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
A star-viewing party is scheduled from 9:45 to at least 11:45 p.m. (weather permitting) on Saturday at the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park, in front of the Jackson Visitor Center.



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July 9  |  Sharon Wootton
An annual weekend workshop for women, presented by Washington Outdoor Women (WOW) and led by experts, is set for Sept. 18-20. WOW, now in its 18th year, is dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills and natural resources stewardship.



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July 9  |  
The Pilchuck Audubon Society's July meeting is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Stanwood Library, 9701 271st NW, Stanwood. (A new location for this month only.)



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July 8  |  
Kevin Manning, an astronomer and former consultant to NASA, will speak from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Mukilteo Library, 4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd.

Manning will take guests on a virtual journey to visit the sun, planets, their moons, and debris left over from the earliest times of the solar system’s formation.



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July 5  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Darrington-area lookout being restored, will be available to rent The North Mountain fire lookout near Darrington is unusual. It's a fire lookout you can drive to. A crew is working to restore the lookout so people can visit it again and even spend the night.

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July 1  |  By Jessi Loerch
6 places to see 'extravagantly beautiful' flowers at Mount Rainier Have you ever been to Mount Rainier for the wildflower season? If you haven't, I can't recommend strongly enough that you make it up there soon.

I just spent a short but very satisfying weekend at the park and was blown away by the flowers. You really should go.



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June 30  |  By Jessi Loerch
How to find a campsite for Fourth of July weekend You know what sounds good this weekend? Heading to the mountains. Or a forest. Or a lake. Anywhere to escape the heat that is forecast.

If you'd also like to go camping but don't have reservations or a firm plan, here are some ideas to get you a spot.

Go early: If you arrive early at a campground, you have a much better chance of getting a spot. If your whole group can't go, consider sending a single person ahead early to save a spot. (Read...

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