Take a scenic hike and repair the trail while you’re at it

  • By Sharon Wootton / Special to the Herald
  • Friday, April 1, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Rub the sleep out of your eyes and head south to today’s Volunteer Vacations open house at Seattle’s REI, 2 Yale Ave., sponsored by the Washington Trails Association.

Find out about opportunities to backpack into a work site with your tent, sleeping bag and other gear that you can’t stand to leave home. WTA packs in food, tools and other supplies.

Seems like a fair deal: a week of your vacation time for a week of beautiful scenery and like-minded folks and the knowledge that you have contributed to the well-being of our state’s trail system.

To learn more, talk to experienced Volunteer Vacationers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. today and hear about their experiences in Washington’s backcountry.

Volunteers for Outdoors Washington will return to Robe Canyon this year, although at a slower pace than was needed to complete the Lime Kiln Trail last year.

Volunteers will focus on the Old Robe Trail to repair winter storm damage, plus some maintenance work on Lime Kiln. And who knows, maybe there will be time to work on a spur trail to the old limestone quarry behind the lime kiln.

Old Robe Trail work is set for April 17; Lime Kiln dates are April 21, May 17, May 21, May 24, June 9, June 12, July 14, and July 16.

All work parties will meet at Old Robe trailhead for the April 17 session, and at the Lime Kiln trailhead for other dates. For directions, go to www.robecanyon.org.

Crews meet at 8:30 a.m., and are finished by 4:30 p.m. Sign up at VOW’s Web site, www.trailvolunteers.org.

Walkers, check this out. Need some exercise? Want to meet new friends? The Everett Parks and Recreation Department hosts two- to three-hour easy walks that will explore beaches, trails, rivers and other areas.

On April 22, two walks are offered for the price of one, as a group will visit Richmond Beach and the Lowell River from 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $15, or $6 if you provide your own transportation. For more information, call 425-257-8300.

Mount St. Helens is in its quiet dome-building phase, so officials are allowing the public to come closer by opening many trails and facilities that had been closed after the mountain’s rumblings and steam and ash emissions.

Johnston Ridge Observatory, 5 miles from the crater, will reopen in May (it’s normally closed during the winter). Windy Ridge and other viewpoints on St. Helens southern and eastern sides will re-open as snow removal and repairs permit, possibly as early as late May.

Ape Cave, which is outside the latest closure area, reopened last week, but without interpretive staff. Ridgetop trails north of the volcano will reopen as conditions allow, officials said.

The popular climbing route on the south side will remain close, however, with no access above the Loowit Trail, or about treeline. Portions of that trail, and the Truman Trail, will stay closed because of potential mud flows.

Normally closed off-trail areas, such as those north and west of the volcano, will remain close to protect rebuilding flora and fauna communities and for research.

Surfer girls. Take your pick, Rebecca Heller’s “Surf Like a Girl: The Surfer Girl’s Ultimate Guide to Paddling Out, Catching a Wave, and Surfing with Aloha” ($11, Three Rivers Press) or Louise Southerden’s “Surf’s Up: The Girl’s Guide to Surfing” ($15, Ballentine).

Both are written by experienced surfers and include history, tips, hot spots, techniques, etc., but there are fundamental differences.

“Surf Like a Girl” is written with more of an attitude, but at 160 pages, has its informational limits. Consider this Step One.

Step Two is “Surf’s Up,” because at 255 pages, Southerden can tackle topics in depth, as well as include photographs. It was originally published in Australia, and certainly deserves a shot at the U.S. market.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.

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