The Herald of Everett, Washington
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July 11  |  By Jessi Loerch
Check out sea creatures during low tides this weekend This weekend, the tides are extra low and conveniently timed for around noon when the weather is forecast to be warm and glorious.

Sounds like a great time to get out to one of our local beaches and take a look at some of the fascinating critters that low tides expose. Events are planned at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park on Friday through Monday.

Beach Watchers will be on the beach each day around low tide to share their knowledge with visitors. They'll talk about...

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July 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
Book giveaway: Two new guides to some of the best trails I went hiking three days in a row this weekend. For our third hike, we chose an easy-sounding trip. Four miles, 800 feet of gain and family friendly.

At least, that's what the out-of-date guidebook we were looking at said.

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July 6  |  Herald staff
Mountain biking: Stevens Pass Bike Park has upcoming gravity clinics. Riders spend time at their bike park while receiving expert coaching from Jill Kintner and Bryn Atkinson. Instruction is for intermediate to advanced riders and includes info on technical skills, bike set up, reading the terrain, race strategy and individual instruction. Clinics are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 12 for women and on July 13 for men; $250. Call 206-812-7844 to...

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July 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team helped a hiker who had become stuck on a steep rock face above Melakwa Lake on Monday.

The hiker was worried he wasn't going to be able to hang on until ground teams were able to reach him. The helicopter crew was able to lift him out.

Check out this video, which gives a rather amazing perspective on the work the Helicopter Rescue Team does.

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July 2  |  By Jessi Loerch
After a day of hiking, biking, skiing or other outdoor adventuring, a celebratory beer is the common cap to the day.

But while you were out killing it, how many beers did your exertion earn you?

Turns out, there’s now an app for that.

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June 30  |  By Jessi Loerch
Trail crew: Pulaskis, brush saws, shovels (and a few sequins) The rules for the weekend were straightforward:

1. Be safe.

2. Have fun.

3. If the top two are managed, then get some work done.

I spent the weekend with the North 350 Blades working on the Pacific Crest Trail north of Stevens Pass.

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June 26  |  By Jessi Loerch
Learning how to make a map, in the gorgeous N. Cascades I love maps. I don't know many outdoor lovers who don't.

A map is all about possibilities. Staring at one, the options feel endless — so many chances for exploration and adventure.

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June 25  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Stevens Pass Bike Park will open for the season Friday. All the trails that are currently built will be open.

Check out the video above for an update on the conditions.

The park is open Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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June 23  |  By Jessi Loerch
Why an island on Diablo Lake is called Monkey Island I spent the beginning of summer in the North Cascades. I can't imagine a better way to kick off my favorite season.

Seattle City Light, along with the North Cascades Institute and the National Park Service, offered a sampling of some of the activities on Highway 20.

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June 16  |  By Jessi Loerch
Hummingbirds: See the film "A Mother Hummingbird's Story" at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Northwest Stream Center in McCollum Park, 600 128th Street SE, Everett. The 45-minute film follows a mother hummingbird and her young. At the end of the show, you'll get a chance to look at a real, tiny hummingbird nest and learn more about hummingbirds. The event is free, but registration is required by calling 425-316-8592.

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June 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Green Lake: A long ramble followed by a short climb near Mt. Rainier I have a weakness for Mount Rainier National Park.

My first long backpack was there, on the Wonderland Trail. My husband and I took our daughter on her first backpacking trip there when she was a year old. I've been there every summer (and some winters) for years running and I always crave more time there.

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June 11  |  By Jessi Loerch
Aerial survey finds where terns might have gone Update: Michelle McDowell, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, emailed me today. She says that Bird Research Northwest just completed an aerial survey and noticed possible new colonies. Here is an excerpt from their website:

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June 5  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Experience the thrill of whitewater on the Sauk River Brian Pernick knows the Sauk River. He's floated it more than 200 times and talks about it like it's an old friend — one he never gets tired of visiting.

He knows each rapid, each boulder. He knows which are friendly and fun and which should be avoided.

The Sauk is a powerful, wild and free-flowing river — a river with some fabulous white water.

"As guides, we do multi-day wilderness trips, in the Grand Canyon, in Idaho. The Sauk...

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June 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
Hiking: Learn about the basics of hiking at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The course is designed to answer questions that a novice hiker may have about how to get out hiking. Learn from experienced hikers what to put in your pack and how to dress for comfort and safety. Free. The talk is in the conference room in the Snohomish Count East Administration Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett. Enter through the door on the north and look for...

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June 2  |  By Jessi Loerch
Lena Lake: An easy hike on the Olympic Peninsula I have a new hike suggestion for you, although I may be the last person in the Northwest to do this trip.

I hiked to Lena Lake on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula recently. Lena Lake is a hugely popular hike, and crowds are common on the trail.

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June 1  |  Jessi Loerch
Fees are waived on various public land sites on a few days this month. Here's what's coming up.

June 7: State parks will be free for day use to celebrate National Trails Day. Visitors will not be required to display a Discover Pass. National Forests will also be free. Northwest Forest Passes will not be required.

June 7-8: Free fishing weekend. Fishing licenses are not required for anyone to fish in Washington. All other...

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May 30  |  By Jessi Loerch
Highway 530 to open, plus where to find fun near Darrington If you haven't been out to Darrington recently, this weekend would be a great time to visit. Highway 530, which has been closed since the devastating mudslide in March, will open at noon on Saturday. Traffic will be restricted to one lane, with a pilot car and flaggers. The schedule will be determined by traffic. There will not...

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May 29  |  By Jessi Loerch
Get a taste of rafting on the Sauk River on Saturday I am embarrassed to admit I had never been whitewater rafting until a few days ago.

I finally remedied that problem with a trip with Adventure Cascades, based in Darrington.

I'll write more about the trip in a longer story soon. (In short: Whitewater rafting is AWESOME.)

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May 27  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
A Q&A with 'Wild' author Cheryl Strayed Cheryl Strayed's book "Wild," is the story of her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail while her life was in shambles.

Devastated by the death of her mother, her marriage fell apart and she fell into destructive habits, including drug use. The trail helped her put her life on a different path.

The book was hugely popular and is now being made into a movie staring Reese Witherspoon. Strayed...

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May 23  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
3 easy hikes you can do right now After the long days of winter, nothing feels better than getting out for a spring hike.

Here are three hikes that you can do right now. All are easy, giving you a good warm up for harder hikes later in the season.

Ashland Lakes

The hike to Ashland Lakes is a pretty stroll through the woods, with a couple of mountain lakes to enjoy at the end.

It's also less crowded than other nearby hikes along Mountain Loop Highway.

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May 22  |  By Jessi Loerch
Last-minute camping tips for the long weekend Planning to go camping for the long weekend? Here's a roundup of the status of campgrounds in the county.

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest:

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May 22  |  By Jessi Loerch
Tent caterpillars: What's their story, what do the moths look like? If you've walked outside anytime in the last few weeks, you've probably seen tent caterpillars.

They're the ones making web-like nests in trees and bushes. By now, the caterpillars are pretty big, and they gather on the tents, all waving around together in a somewhat creepy manner.

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May 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Gorgeous John Muir Trail documentary now on Netflix Whatchya doin' this evening? Got any plans? Might I suggest you cozy up with a movie?

Not just any movie, a gorgeous and entertaining story about a group of friends hiking the John Muir Trail in the high Sierras.

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May 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Everett Mountaineers will offer a free course on hiking basics at 7 p.m. on June 4.

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May 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
Using watercolor to capture scenes of the Northwest Molly Hashimoto makes watercolor look easy. With a simple watercolor set, the kind you almost certainly used a kid, she can make a beautiful watercolor sketch in a matter of seconds.

Molly taught classes recently through Sno-Isle Libraries. I took one of her classes on using watercolor for nature journals.

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May 14  |  By Jessi Loerch
Time for camping: Forest Service campgrounds open Friday Most campgrounds in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will open on Friday.

A few campgrounds will remain closed for a time. Gold Basin Campground, 14 miles east of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway, will remain closed for a safety review.

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May 13  |  By Jessi Loerch
Upcoming outdoor events: Paddling film fest, birds, wetlands, more Get on your bike: Friday is Bike to Work Day. There will be commute stations around the county. Get details here.

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May 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
A family-friendly trip to scenic Heybrook Lookout My little family had a hiking breakthrough this weekend. My daughter, nearly 4, hiked up and down the Heybrook Lookout Trail. By herself. With only the tiniest bit of whining.

I am over the moon.

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May 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Author Craig Romano will speak from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Monday at the Sultan Library, 319 Main St. Romano is the author of many hiking books in Washington state.

He will be speaking about hikes in Snohomish County, from the beaches to the slopes of Glacier Peak.

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May 2  |  By Jessi Loerch
Free, family friendly events to celebrate migratory birds Spring is a busy time for birds. They're migrating to their summer homes or busy building nests. This makes it a great time to get in some bird watching. They're likely to be very active, and you may spot some species you won't see the rest of the year.

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