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September 21  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Teton Crest Trail is a classic backpack showcasing the mountains' best  "Well, that's the closest I've ever been to a bear in my life."

My husband, Jerry, and I were standing in a backcountry camp on the Teton Crest Trail. We'd just abandoned our actual tent site to make way for a black bear. Bear spray in hand just in case, we watched the bear, who couldn't have cared less that he'd just kicked us out of our site.

He ambled past our tent, strolled through a meadow, across a stream and then started digging around in...

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September 18  |  Jessi Loerch
Voracious: Learn about the fascinating, if gruesome, eating habits of dragonfly larvae before a showing of the 1954 film "Creature from the Black Lagoon." It's at the Northwest Stream Center in McCollum Park on Friday. Reserve your tickets by calling 425-315-8592; $5 for members, $7 for nonmembers.



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September 18  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team shared this video of a recent nighttime rescue.



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September 17  |  By Jessi Loerch
Stevens Pass Bike Park's Turn N' Berm summer bike festival is Friday to Sunday. Sounds like it's going to be a ton of fun.

There's the usual stuff, plus fun offerings such as a keg-drag, wheelie competition and races on kids' bikes.



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September 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
What's that creature chewing outside our tent? The sound of chewing woke me up. Again.

My husband and I were backpacking the Teton Crest Trail, and something was nibbling away outside our tent.

"Gnaw gnaw gnaw. Gnaw gnaw gnaw."

The critter, whatever it was, was persistent. The first time I'd heard it, I discovered it'd pulled my sock out of my boot and gnawed it.



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September 14  |  By Aaron Swaney, Herald Writer
Halfmile PCT app good for planning — or appeasing whiny kids "Are we there yet?"

That was the question my son Charlie posed to me midway through our recent hike on the Pacific Crest Trial. Taking a 7-year-old hiking can be a frustrating experience. The whining, the lolly-gagging, the incessant questions. Charlie isn't a grumbler but he, like all young children, can be a bit impatient. Normally I'd have no answer, but on our recent trip it was nice to have an exact answer to his query.

The Halfmile PCT app...

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September 12  |  
The annual Outdoor Youth Connections gala is Sept. 18.

The Lake Stevens nonprofit organization connects youth to outdoor programs to encourage love and respect for nature, education, leadership and community involvement.

This year's theme is "Youth Mentors with Star Power." The lineup includes Michael Jackson, former Husky and Seahawk linebacker; Peter Athans, Himalayan guide; Michele Benoy-Westmorland, expedition leader; members of the Expedition...

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September 2  |  By Jessi Loerch
The longest 1.75 miles of my life  At first, it was hard to tell whether we were hearing thunder or just the sounds of more planes. We were camped at Minotaur Lake, a short hike near Stevens Pass, and the lake is clearly under a flight path.

It was the afternoon, we were flopped in the shade and enjoying a nap. Slowly, the thunder drew close enough to be clearly thunder.



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September 1  |  Herald staff
Pilchuck Audubon Society has a number of birding trips planned in September. For more information on any trip, call the trip leader.



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September 1  |  Sharon Wootton
The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act will be marked by free admission to Olympic National Park on Sept. 6 and free activities will be available Sept. 5-7.

Events include a diverse panel of speakers discussing wilderness, including author and port Tim McNulty and Janine Ledford, director of the Makah Cultural and Research Center; wilderness photo display, film festival, talks and walks.



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August 28  |  By Jessi Loerch
Labor Day hikes and last-minute camping ideas It's almost Labor Day weekend. I don't want to say it, but for many that means the end of summer. Or at least the beginning of the end. So you really should make the most of it.

If you'd like to head out for a camping trip but don't have reservations, here are some ideas.



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August 27  |  By Jessi Loerch
Work on the Cascades River Road, which offers access to Cascade Pass, Horseshow Basina and Sahale Arm trails and popular climbing area, will remain open until closed by weather. Work planned on the road has been delayed.

Press release from the North Cascades Park:



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August 27  |  By Sharon Wootton
Registration is now open for Washington Outdoor Women’s annual fall workshop, dedicated to bringing together women and girls for a weekend of fishing, hunting and outdoor-skills education.



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August 25  |  By Jessi Loerch
Visit a fire lookout, swim in two mountain lakes August is an amazing time to visit Mount Rainier. It’s usually warm and sunny, the berries are ripe and many flowers are still blooming.

This weekend, two of my favorite hiking buddies and I took a trek up to Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout, on the northwest side of Mount Rainier.



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August 21  |  By Jessi Loerch
Should grizzly bears be restored to North Cascades? The National Park Service will began the process of considering whether grizzly bears should be restored to North Cascades this fall. It's a long process and nothing will be decided for years.



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August 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Everett man finishes big journey to visit 92 fire lookouts Craig Willis of Everett just finished an impressive journey.

Willis has visited all of the Washington fire lookouts still standing at their officially used locations. That’s 92 lookouts, and he visited nearly 40 of them this year alone. From all indications, Willis is the first person to complete that list.



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August 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Work is planned on the Cascade River Road to make extensive repairs. The road has been washed out many times, including a washout last year that stranded people overnight.

The road offers access to Cascade Pass, Horseshow Basina and Sahale Arm trails and is also a popular climbing area.



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August 19  |  Herald staff
Check out this video of an orca pod shared to our Facebook page. It was shot from the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to Motio Media of Mukilteo for sharing!



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August 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
Forest fun: A number of events are planned throughout the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, including campfire talks, guided walks, historical talks and more. Check out what's going on here.



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August 13  |  By Jessi Loerch
More impressive photos of recent lightning storm Yesterday, I asked you to share photos and videos from Monday's storm. And a number of you did. I was happy to see I'm not the only one who gets excited about lightning.

I received a few more photos that I can share with you.



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August 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Videos and photos from Monday's lightning storm I spent an extremely enjoyable evening last night watching the lightning show. From the lawn chair in my back yard, I could hear that several of my neighbors were doing the same thing.

For a bit of fun, I tried to see whether I could capture video of the flashes with my phone. I managed to catch a few and created this extremely amateur video (above).



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August 10  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Edith Farrell has been hiking the trails of the Mountain Loop for decades. She started hiking when her kids were young as a way to improve her health.

She's kept it up, and now she's a passionate advocate for the Mountain Loop area. With that in mind, she has created a series of water-proof trail cards. Sixteen decks feature trails, and there is also a deck each for waterfalls, lakes and wildflowers.

For the deck featuring trails, each pack includes a card...

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August 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
The night skies are putting on an extra show starting on Sunday.



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August 5  |  By Jessi Loerch
A day and a night in a fire lookout I've always wanted to spend a night in a fire lookout. Thanks to a friend, I finally have.



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August 1  |  Herald staff
The Bureau of Land Management Spokane District Office released new, expanded restrictions prohibiting campfires on public lands in Okanogan County on Friday.

Here's a bit from a press release from BLM:

BLM Expands Restrictions to Limit Campfires in Okanogan County



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July 31  |  By Jessi Loerch
Saturday, Aug. 2, has been proclaimed Washington Trails Day. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the proclamation to recognize the day.



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July 24  |  Jessi Loerch
Bubbles: Make your own bubble wand and some really big bubbles from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday at Cama Beach State Park. Get more info here. A number of other fun events are planned at that park and others. Check out a list here.

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July 23  |  By Jessi Loerch
The final installment of The Mountaineers' Be Wild series is Thursday evening.

I've attended two of them so far, and they've both been fantastic. (I was out of town for a third, Tami Asar's talk, and I'm still bummed.)



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July 20  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
3 ways to sample the wonders of the North Cascades In Diablo Lake, there is an island where monkeys once roamed.

J.D. Ross, the second superintendent of Seattle City Light and an enthusiastic proponent of the three dams on the Skagit River, put them there to entertain visitors he hoped would support the power project.

The monkeys are long gone, but gimmicks were never necessary to impress visitors to the North Cascades. Towering peaks, unbelievable turquoise waters and a fascinating cultural and natural...

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July 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Crowd-sourced effort shows off beauty of the U.S.  America is a beautifully varied canvas, dotted with swamps, desserts, tundra, rainforests and so much more.

A clever campaign is highlighting that beauty using art. Inspired by the New Deal art projects of the 1930s and '40s, the See America project is showcasing the nation's most amazing places.  It’s organized by the Creative Action Network and

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