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Explore NW
November 25  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Edmonds endurance hiker went off trail to train for record-setting hike When Heather "Anish" Anderson was preparing for a record-setting attempt on the Appalachian Trail, the Cascades were a ready-made training ground.

Not the trails, though. They were too easy.

To prepare for the rugged Appalachian Trail, Anderson, who lives in Edmonds, climbed many of the highest peaks in Washington.

Her work paid off. In September, Anderson finished the...

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November 24  |  By Jessi Loerch
Stevens Pass purchases snow maker for base area Stevens Pass Mountain Resort has purchased a snow maker for use in the base area.

The chairlifts at the ski area are built for mid-season snow depths, not early season conditions. This has always been an issue*, said Alysa Hetze, communications and social media manager for Stevens Pass.

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November 20  |  Jessi Loerch
Winter is clearly here. After the recent storms, it seems like a good time to check in with some safety basics.

Don't let winter keep you indoors, but before you go out to play, make sure you're prepared to do it safely.


Leave your plan of travel with someone before you go. Give them a time to call 911 to report you missing if you don't return. WTA has a form at

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November 20  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Last week's storm with heavy rain, strong wind and snow caused widespread damage to roads and trails throughout Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, rangers say.

U.S. 2 is closed at Skykomish due to erosion under a bridge. That blocks access to some trails, including Necklace Valley and the East Fork Foss trails. U.S. 2 is unlikely to reopen before Wednesday.

Off U.S. 2, the road to Lake Dorothy is closed by blow-downs and a washout. Crews were working to...

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November 18  |  Jessi Loerch
Mount Baker Ski Area will open for the season on Thursday. 

The ski area reported that it had 37 inches of snow at the base and 60 inches at the top of Pan Dome. Check out the snow report. 

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November 18  |  By Gale Fiege
Author Greg Johnston will visit the Mountain Loop Books and Coffee shop from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 21 to talk about his new book, "Washington's Pacific Coast: A Guide to Hiking, Camping, Fishing and other Adventures."

The shop is located at 1085 Darrington St., Darrington.

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November 17  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest sent out a press release today reminding people to be prepared for severe weather.

The tips are, of course, relevant to the current storm system but they also are good advice for all winter travel in the forest. 

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November 16  |  
The Northwest Avalanche Center will present a session to help you make better decisions in the backcountry from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19 at REI in Seattle.

Human factors lead to more than 90 percent of avalanche accidents. Lynne Wolfe, editor of The Avalanche Review and an avalanche class teacher, will talk about using a systems analysis approach to stay safe in the mountains.

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November 15  |  
Sharing Wheels is looking for donations of single-speed children’s bikes in good condition. The bikes will be refurbished and donated to Christmas House for kids in need.

They also need volunteers to help spruce up the bikes. Volunteers with all levels of experience welcome. Work parties are 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22.

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November 13  |  
Mount Rainier National Park is working on a Wilderness Stewardship Plan to guide the use and preservation of wilderness in the park.

A public meeting is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Seattle Public Library, 2300 E. Yesler Way. You can learn about the plan and offer input.

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November 11  |  
Kate Ambrus, a habitat steward, will discuss local mushrooms and good mushrooming areas around Camano Island and the Cascades at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Camano Multipurpose Center, 141 N East Camano Drive.

The presentation will include information about types of mushrooms and how they reproduce, and, if possible, display local fungi finds.

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November 10  |  
The Langley Whale Center will celebrate the grand opening of its new location from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14 at 115 Anthes Ave, Langley, Whidbey Island.

Authors David Neiwert, "Of Orcas and Men;" Sandra Pollard, "Puget Sound Whales for Sale;" and Orca Network co-founder Howard Garrett, "Orcas in our Midst," will be available to sign books and answer questions.

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November 9  |  Jessi Loerch
On Wednesday, state parks won't have a fee for parking and national parks will not charge an entry fee in honor of Veterans Day.

Additionally, any Forest Service sites that usually require a recreation pass will waive that requirement for the day. 

It's the last fee-free day of the year. 

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November 8  |  
The Forest Service is looking for volunteers for the Eagle Watchers Program along the Skagit River.

Volunteers will staff information stations near eagle viewing areas along the Skagit River and look at eagles through spotting scopes while educating the public about bald eagles and the river system. This is the 23rd year for the Eagle Watchers Program.

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November 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
Update on snow at Stevens Pass, other ski areas in region Snow has begun falling for real at higher elevations in the Cascades.

If you're a skier or snowboarder, that's great news. If you're a hiker, that means you need to plan your excursions more carefully to stay safe. Check conditions before you head out and be sure to bring the 10 essentials.

Here's a roundup of some conditions around the area.

Stevens Pass

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November 1  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Hike it Baby helps parents get outside with their kids Shanti Hodges had a baby in 2013. She was a new mom and didn't have friends who were parents. So she joined moms' groups, which were great, but they were all indoors.

It was summer and Hodges, who lives in Portland, wanted to be outside. So she invited parents to come for a hike and bring their kids. That first hike, five parents came. Then it was 15. It grew some more and was so popular she created an email newsletter. Soon, even that wasn't enough. She was getting so...

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October 30  |  
Winter classes: See what classes are coming up through the Everett branch of The Mountaineers at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller, Everett. Representatives from the alpine scrambling, avalanche, back-country skiing, climbing, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing courses will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

Wolverines: Keith Aubry, a scientist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest...

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October 28  |  By Jessi Loerch
Rower finds his passion in adventure and education I got a chance to talk recently with Jordan Hanssen of Oar Northwest, a nonprofit devoted to adventure and education. He is the author of "Rowing into the Son" and, with three teammates, is a record-holder for the fastest row across the Atlantic Ocean. Hanssen will speak about his book and his many adventures at a Mountaineers banquet in Everett on Nov.

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October 27  |  
A public meeting from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 5 in the gym at College Place Elementary, 20401 76th Ave. W, Lynnwood, will discuss the Bike-2-Health project.

The project is an effort by the cities of Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds to improve bicycling connectivity and make bicycling safer and easier.

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October 26  |  By Jessi Loerch
In the 1940's, The Idaho Department of Fish and Game dropped beavers into the backcountry by parachute.

It was a simpler time. And also a bizarre time.

I wrote about the parachuting beavers a little less than a year ago when the story first resurfaced. It delighted me, and it still does.

Now, to my complete glee, there's a video to go with the story.

The 14-minute...

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October 26  |  
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will offer a hunter education class for women and girls Nov. 1 in Black Diamond.

The class, the first offered by WDFW specifically for females, is a field skills evaluation for those who have completed the online hunter education course.

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October 23  |  By Jessi Loerch.
Photos and video: Drone captures stunning images of local orcas Researchers with NOAA Fisheries and the Vancouver Aquarium have captured some gorgeous photos of the Southern Resident killer whales using a hexacopter, a type of drone.

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October 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Why the Everett wastewater treatment plant is totally worth a visit My mother is in town visiting.

So I took her to the wastewater treatment plant.

I really know how to show my guests a good time.

Really, though, Everett's wastewater treatment plant, and surrounding areas, is one of my favorite things about Everett.

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October 18  |  
See what Mountaineers have to offer: Learn about The Mountaineers courses, activities, youth programs and meet members of the club, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Seattle Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle;

Bees: Learn about mason bees and how you can bring the useful pollinators to your yard at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Marysville Library, 6120 Grove Street or 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Stanwood Library, 9701 271st...

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October 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Take an interactive trek across Mars with NASA and 'The Martian' When my husband and I hiked a section of the PCT this summer, he brought along "The Martian" on his phone.

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October 11  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Three Fingers fire lookout has a new roof, thanks to brave volunteers Recently, volunteers replaced the old, leaky roof on the building, which was built in the early 1930s. Keeping the lookout standing is a brutal chore. Just getting there is a challenge — about 16 miles and 5,000 feet of gain. Most hikers need two days.

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October 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
Fast bikes, disc golf and bear tracks at Stevens Pass First, I need to begin with an apology. I'm sorry. I'm going to write about something really cool, and then tell you you can't go do it for months.

For the last weekend of summer operations at Stevens Pass, my family and a friend tried the disc golf course for the first time. We rode up the chairlift, which seems like a rather fancy way to begin a round of disc golf.

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October 7  |  By Jessi Loerch
Q&A: How photographer created stunning image of the Enchantments Mitch Pittman likes to explore. I've written about him before as one of those industrious skiers who makes a point of skiing every single month. Mitch is a Seattle-based photojournalist who spends all of his free time exploring the Cascades. He got a bright idea while climbing a crazy-steep slope in the Enchantments, a cluster of lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The result is the...

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October 5  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Rescue Team shared a video demonstrating ways to help rescuers find you if you're lost in the backcountry at night.

The video shows methods of illumination and how well they show up on night-vision goggles. The clear winner was a small fire. Just a little 6-inch fire shows up like a bonfire on the goggles.

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October 4  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Mount Dickerman and six other trails to hike right now Fall is an excellent time for hiking. The air is cool, the bugs are gone and trails are quieter.

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