There’s no need to go out of state to visit a destination on one of Fodor’s Travel’s best-of lists. The travel blog has chosen Lime Kiln Point State Park as one of the top 10 state parks in America.
Thank the orca pods for the honor. The San Juan Island park, perched on the rocky bluffs on the west side, is one of the best land-based places in the world to see orcas and other marine mammals, including humpback, gray and minke whales and seals, sea lions and porpoises.
The park has more than 350,000 visits a year. During migration season, volunteer guides and researchers can help identify mammals; an interpretive center and listening station are part of the charm.
One of my favorite parks is Ginkgo Petrified Forest at Vantage.
Take a little side trip to the gem among the sagebrush. If it’s a quick break, there’s an interpretive center and a quarter-mile paved loop trail to whet your appetite with petrified logs from several species, including ginkgo and sequoia trees from about 15 million years ago. There’s also a longer trail.
Seaquest State Park is connected by a pedestrian tunnel to the Silver Lake Mount St. Helens Visitor Center. The park’s visitor center is worth the stop, along with its naturalist-led hikes. Seaquest staff is joining the Mount St. Helens staff for a summer of programs that explore the May 1980 eruption of the volcano.
Programs include interactive talks and hands-on demonstrations on the region’s history and the eruption, guided walks through the wetland ecosystem of Silver Lake and Junior Ranger evening activities for kids of all ages. There are also 35-minute guided wetland walks along a boardwalk and gravel trail in the Silver Lake ecosystem.
For more information on dozens of state parks, go to www.parks.state.wa.us. The site offers information on all of its parks and activities, as well as park maps. Check out the blog at www.adventureawaits.com.
Hummer question. Reader Tamara Pidgeon has been making all the right moves with the hummingbirds who last fall had found her yard copasetic. But …
“They were here in cold weather, even when their feeders froze solid. We haven’t seen any since the second week of April. The feeders are kept clean and the solution is changed every few days as needed. They have disappeared. Is this normal?”
Tamara, we can follow all the rules and still scratch our heads at the vagaries of birds. Some birdwatchers swear that they have had generations of returning hummingbirds in their yards. Others, like yourself, or like me, are sometimes rewarded, or not.
There are reasons why hummingbirds come and go. They are short-lived, fragile creatures. They may have been weakened by the winter weather and thus more easily susceptible to disease or cats. Or someone in your neighborhood may have a row of flowering shrubs that have stolen your hummers’ affection.
Keep doing what you’re doing. They may come back, or some others may wander by and you’ll be ready for them.
Summer trail work. Summer is a great time to be outdoors for trail and road crews, which can be an inconvenience for visitors. Grousing about it doesn’t help. Go with the flow. Find an alternative, have a good time.
Repairs to Mora Road cut off access to Rialto Beach on the coast for several weeks except on Memorial Day weekend. The Mora campground will remain open.
Olympic National Park crews are working on the Boulder Creek Trail, which begins at the end of Olympic Hot Springs Road in the Elwha Valley. There will be no access above the Glines Canyon Overlook on Olympic Hot Springs Road.
Wherever you go, have fun.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or firstname.lastname@example.org.