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Volunteer Vacations p.17 Waterfall Hikes p.41 Lost and Found p.50 Explore Your State Parks March + April 2012 » A Publication of Washington Trails Association » $4.50 WASHINGTON TRAILS Honoring our Park Rangers Road Trip: Quimper Peninsula Stay Dry in New Rain Gear


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Volunteer Vacations p.17 Waterfall Hikes p.41 Lost and Found p.50

Explore YourState Parks

March + April 2012 » A Publication of Washington Trails Association » $4.50


Honoring our Park RangersRoad Trip: Quimper Peninsula

Stay Dry in New Rain Gear


Mar+Apr 2012

News + Views The Front Desk » Karen Daubert A fortunate occurrence » p.4

The Signpost » Eli Boschetto Honoring our park rangers » p.5

Trail Talk » Sarah Rich From volunteer to crew leader: Q&A with Arlen Bogaards » p.7

Hiking News » State parks fee-free days » p.8Wilderness permits available now » p.9

Perspective » Andrew Coghill A closer look at the lives of park rangers; a tribute to Margaret Anderson » p.10

WTA at Work Trail Work » Sarah RichFun on the job: Joining a Volunteer Vacation or BCRT this summer » p.14

Youth on Trails » Krista DooleySpring break trips are coming » p.18

Action for Trails » Kindra Ramos Hiker Lobby Day wrap-up » p.19

Volume 48 Issue 2

This Month’s Cover »Balsamroot at sunset, Steptoe Butte State Park

Photo by Kevin McNeal

Find WTA online at or call us at (206) 625-1367. © 2012 Washington Trails Association


NW Explorer Our State Parks » John FlobergExplore the hidden gems within the State Parks system and plan to visit a few this spring » p.20

NW Weekend » Lauren Braden Hidden hikes, good eats and so much more around Marrowstone Island » p.25

Reflections » Stacy CzebotarDreams are dashed when economic recession hits state park rangers » p.28

Backcountry The Gear Closet » Rain Gear Get ready for soggy spring hikes with this selection of high performance wear » p.32

Nature on Trail » Sylvia FederFrom the rivers to the sea, there’s otters in the water » p.36

Snapshot » Buff Black Capturing silky waterfall images » p.39

Trail Eats » Sarah Kirkconnell Don’t cook in the rain—try one of these easy no-cook meals » p.40

Take a HikeWhere the Water Falls » Early spring river and waterfall hikes across the state » p.41

Featured Trail » Arlen Bogaards Check out the new tread in Larrabee State Park » p.49 A Walk on the Wild Side » Tami AsarsThe backcountry lost and found » p.50




March+April2012»WashingtonTrails About Us « 3


Washington Trails Vol. 48, Issue 2 Owner & Publisher


Washington Trails (ISSN 1534-6366) is published bimonthly by the Washington Trails Association, 705 Second Ave, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104. Annual membership dues, which include asubscription to Washington Trails magazine, are $40. Single copy price is $4.50. Periodicals postage paid at Seattle, WA and at additional mailing locations. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Washington Trails Association, 705 Second Ave., Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

Board of DirectorsPresident ROB SHURTLEFF

VP, Advocacy STEPHEN TANVP, Board Development CRAIG MCKIBBEN VP, Fundraising CAROLE BIANQUIS – Bryce and Zion Canyons, UTTreasurer DOUG BRECKEL Secretary KATE ROGERS



StaffExecutive Director KAREN DAUBERT – Lewis & Clark Trail, WA

Advocacy Director JONATHAN GUZZO – Badlands, Black Hills and Wind Cave, SDBookkeeper DEB HEMINGWAY – Yachats, Cape Lookout, Oregon Coast, ORChief Crew Leader MIKE OWENSCommunications & Outreach Director LAUREN BRADEN – Staircase, Escalante, UTDevelopment Director REBECCA LAVIGNE – Pacific Rim Reserve, CanadaEditor ELI BOSCHETTO – Yoho, Banff and Jasper, CanadaEngagement Manager KINDRA RAMOS – Redwoods and North Coast, CAField Director ALAN CARTER MORTIMERMembership Manager KARA CHINMembership Assistant KIM BROWN – Republic, Sanpoil River, Grand Coulee, WANW Washington Crew Leader ARLEN BOGAARDSOffice Manager JULIE CASSATA – Chicago, Badlands, Yellowstone, SeattleProgram Assistant SARAH RICH – Glencoe Highlands, ScotlandProject Coordinator TIM VAN BEEK – Pariah Canyon and Canyonlands, UTSW Washington Regional Coordinator RYAN OJERIO – Pictured Rocks, MIVolunteer Coordinator ALYSSA KREIDERWeb Editor SUSAN ELDERKIN – Ice Age Trail, WAYouth Programs Manager KRISTA DOOLEY – Hell’s Canyon, OR


WTA Highlights »A few items we just had to share.Staff Picks: What was your all-time favorite hiking road trip?

Winds, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, WY

Mt. Shasta, Lassen and Castle Crags, CA

Crescent Lake, Sol Duc, Rialto Beach, WA

Point Reyes, Giant Redwoods, CA

Over 50 hiker activists came out on a blue sky Hiker Lobby Day on February 1.

Harts Pass, North Cascades, WASt. George, Bryce and Zion, UT

WTA Fireside Circle members on a winter hike in Twin Falls State Park with Executive Director Karen Daubert.

Washington Trails Association was founded by Louise B. Marshall (1915–2005). Ira Spring (1918–2003) was its primary supporter. Greg Ball (1944–2004) founded the volunteer trail maintenance program. Their spirit continues today through contributions from thousands of WTA members and volunteers.

Our MissionWashington Trails Association is a volunteer-driven nonprofit membership organization working to preserve, enhance and promote hiking opportunities in Washington state through collaboration, education, advocacy and trail maintenance.


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

The Front Desk »News+Views

KarenDaubertExecutive [email protected]

As I sat at my desk in WTA’s downtown office just after the new year, a dark realization crept over me. Since I had come on board as executive director in October, I had not set foot on a single trail. My avid love of hiking was the primary reason I was drawn to the job.

Like many of you, I turn to WTA’s online Trip Reports for inspiration on where to go. A report on the Ruby Beach Trail on the west Olympic Peninsula caught my eye, and soon my husband, Jared, and I were off for a weekend of exploring. Saturday, we walked the beach from Kalaloch Lodge, enjoying the sights of the rugged Olympic Coast. That evening it snowed. Rising before sunrise, we found the beach covered in a blanket of white. With coffee in hand, we retraced our steps from the afternoon before in a transformed landscape. Then, to our amazement, the clouds parted and sun shone through.

Marveling over the sun-drenched coastal snowscape, we came upon a fellow hiker who had visited Kalaloch every winter for the last fifty years. She told us that in all those visits, she had never seen it snow on the beach there. We told her it was our first visit to Kalaloch—and she suggested that we run out and buy a lottery ticket!

Good luck must be following me around lately. These past few months, I feel very fortunate to have met so many of you—over

coffee, at Volunteer Appreciations, at Hiker Lobby Day and at WTA’s Open House. You have let me pepper you with questions, given me invaluable feedback, and made me feel so welcome at this terrific organization. Thank you. I also feel lucky that the individuals on WTA’s board and advisory board have provided a wealth of support. I have had the pleasure of meeting with and learning from them all.

And lest I forget the numerous land managers throughout the state—and I have met many these past few months. These dedicated professionals care deeply about our public spaces, the visitors and their employees, and they are constantly working to improve the outdoor experiences we have on these lands.

Indeed, every day as WTA’s new executive director has been a pleasure. Yet as the winter months are passing and the days are stretching longer and longer now, my boots are once again itching to get out onto the trail.

I’ve just started a monthly “Hike with Karen.” Yes, it is a ploy to get myself out hiking, but it’s a ploy to get you out, too! I hope I will meet many of you in the coming year on one of these hikes. If you’d like to go hiking with me, drop me a line at [email protected]

Back on the Trail





[email protected]

The Signpost »

News + Views « 5

This is my wife Mitzi’s exclamation at the conclusion of most any interaction with a park ranger—from the one who kindly assists us with our wilderness permit, to the one who takes the time to explain the intricate details of the construction of a 12,000-foot pass on the John Muir Trail. Interpretive hikes in Glacier, nature programs in Yellowstone, campfire chats at the bottom of the Grand Canyon—she loves them all. And I completely agree.

When I was growing up, I never idolized sports figures—though Dusty Baker was my favorite Dodger. And movie stars, whatever—but what I wouldn't have given to be Han Solo for a day—except for that whole frozen-in-carbonite episode! My heroes were the forest rangers. They got to work outdoors with the trees and animals and mountains and rocks. They got to take care of nature and inspire people—me!—to appreciate it and learn from it. They stepped up to help people in trouble, often putting themselves in harm's way for the safety of others. These were the real heroes.

As the new year started, events were unfolding rapidly across Washington for state and national park rangers. Some of them were braving the elements to rescue lost hikers and climbers amid blizzard-like conditions on Mount Rainier, and tragically, one was killed at what should have been a routine traffic check. But far from the media spotlight, more than sixty were suddenly pondering life in the unemployment line following massive layoffs within the state park system.

I was relieved when the lost hikers were found and all came down off Mount Rainier safely. I was saddened by the death of Margaret Anderson, but know that her memory will live on forever, both with her loved ones and on The Mountain. But what about the sixty-plus state park rangers who suddenly

“I Love Rangers!”faded into obscurity, no longer stewards to their parks, and icons to the public?

When we lose a ranger, we lose an invaluable resource. There's one less person to assist us with our questions or camp sites; to explain the behaviors of bats or bears or eagles or bugs; to lead us on interpretive hikes, detailing the geography, geology or history of our surroundings; to educate our children in being good stewards of nature; to assist in finding lost hikers on mountains; or to help maintain the areas we love to hike in and camp in so we can escape the rigors of our workaday lives, if just briefly, and get back to the heart of what really matters.

As I prepared the contents for this issue you're now reading, I was forwarded a link to a blog post written by Stacy Czebotar, one of the rangers whose job was being eliminated. The post was solemn, with touches of humor, conveying her remarkable journey, from beginning to unsuspected ending. The astonishing thing was her incredibly positive attitude, even in the face of losing her job as a park ranger—something she had aspired to since childhood. Moved by her story, I realized that it needed to be shared.

So I invite you to read Stacy's story (p.28), and the stories of many other rangers throughout this issue. Then I urge you to support our state parks, and the rangers that serve in them. Visit them, learn from them, purchase a Discover Pass. Only then can we continue to enjoy our outdoor experiences, have our safety ensured, our parks maintained, and give our children their own heroes to look up to in a top-notch state park system.t

On a lighter note, you've probably noticed a few changes in the pages of Washington Trails—new features, new departents. We've got some exciting things in store, so stay tuned...


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

You Said

Katy & Andrea Baines

Meet Our Members!

6 » News + Views

She’s been a WTA member since she was in the womb—although, technically speaking, it’s her mother who pays the dues. Whether they are going out on work parties together, using WTA’s Trip Reports to find good hikes, or attending Hiker Lobby Day in Olympia, Katy Baines, age eleven, and her mother, Andrea, love WTA.

A friend introduced Andrea to WTA’s website, and she quickly joined up. When Katy was born, Andrea took to bringing her out on hikes with her, carrying her daughter in a backpack before she was even a year old.

Having instilled a love of the outdoors in her daughter from a young age, Andrea began bringing Katy out on WTA work parties and volunteering together with WTA at events like Hike-a-Thon and the Issaquah Salmon Days.

“I don’t usually do a whole lot of work,” Katy says of the work parties, “because I’m not as strong as the adults.” She does however enjoy “the opportunity to work with other people—whether they’re older or younger than me—who share the same interests.”

Andrea explains that WTA membership is important to her on a broader level, too. “I’m an avid hiker,” says Andrea. “And I know that the state budget is limited, so this is my way of ensuring that the trails I love stay open. A big reason we still have many of our major trails open is because of WTA.”

For Katy, WTA’s impact hits close to home, and she wants to support the organization that sustains her recreation opportunities. “I really like that a lot of the trails that the work parties are on are really close to where we live,” says Katy. “It’s really cool that my favorite trails get to become even better.”

– Sarah Rich

In a recent Facebook poll, we asked you to share how park rangers factor into your outdoor experiences, and some of your favorite memories “I have many memorable experiences with climbing rangers at Mount Rainier. They keep camps organized, provide helpful information and they look for people who are lost—and that’s just the start of the list!” – John Colver

“The breadth of their knowledge of their territory is always impressive. As a former Scout leader, I relied on their expertise to educate the Scouts on countless topics from wildlife to soil conservation.” – Liem Bahneman

“I once faxed in a request for a backcountry permit at Mount Rainier and five minutes later, a ranger called me to tell me the area was full, but made some alternate suggestions. Excellent service!” – Louise Kornreich

“My wife and I were hiking MRNP and came across a elderly man who was dehydrated and fell and cracked his head, bad enough to need serious attention. After assisting the man, we notified a ranger and they were very quick to respond. They are there in need for all.” – Doug Shafer

“Coming to Snohomish County from a flat, barren area of Texas, we find the park rangers an invaluable source of information! We try to get out and explore every weekend and stopping at a ranger station is always one of the first things we do!” – Trina Farris

“They do lots of planning and regulation enforcement that keeps the park beautiful for my visit, and keeping people from tromping on the wildflowers. I’m also comforted knowing they are nearby if I am injured.” – Dorothy Gist

“I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face when he became a junior park ranger at Mount Rainier. The ranger was well-spoken, perfectly serious, respectful, and proud—an excellent example to my son.” – Sarah McGann

“We were on Mount Rainier when the Tacoma man went missing in January. They closed the road and the only people getting up were rescue personnel following snowblowers and plows. The park was considered closed, but they let us wait in the visitor center while coordinating the incoming searchers. It was very nice that they let us wait in there while the blizzardlike conditions raged outside. Later, a ranger came over and had arranged for a snowblower to escort us down the mountain so we could get home. It felt like they really went above and beyond when they were obviously very busy.” – Ken Jackson

“Watching my daughter, an interpretive ranger at Mount St. Helens, give a fabulous presentation to a huge group of people on the geology and history of the area. She also does junior park ranger programs with kids in a phenomenal way. So proud of her.” – Leslie Franzen

Connect with WTA on Facebook at



Write to Us »Send a letter to 705 Second Ave. Suite 300, Seattle WA 98104 or email [email protected]

Chat With Us »To discuss trail issues online, visit the Signpost Blog at or follow WTA on Facebook or Twitter.

Q&ANews + Views « 7

Sarah Rich chats with Arlen Bogaards about going from volunteer to crew leader, and some of his most memorable moments on trail

How did you first become connected with WTA, and then how did you make the step from being a volunteer to being a crew leader?

I have a great friend who actually found out about WTA by running into crew leader Pete Dewell and other happy volunteers while rabidly hiking to keep sane from his office job. He babbled about how fabulous it was, and I just had to find out for myself. I joined a day trip at Heybrook Lookout late in the fall that was truly amazing—I got to build rock steps even though I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was so much fun that I signed up for one of the Moore Point weeklongs in the spring and fell in love with the crosscut saw and all of the great folks who give their time to help out on trail. After that I started going out on weekends for the rest of the season up in the Mount Baker area. I began learning some new skills and had tons of fun meeting some truly great people. Before long I became an assistant crew leader.

The next season, and a couple of weeklongs later, the Mount Baker district crew leader left mid-season, and I jumped into the role of volunteer crew lead on an amazing puncheon-building project up at Anderson and Watson Lakes. In 2007 I was offered the district position. Through the organic process of moving from volunteer to crew lead, I’ve used my experiences to be the best crew lead I can be.

What are the different responsibilities you have as a crew leader?

My responsibilities are fairly broad. I schedule trail work for the Mount Baker Ranger District and the off-season work at Larrabee State Park. I also determine BCRT and Volunteer Vacation locations. Over the years I’ve developed a great relationship with the various land managers through solid work by WTA volunteers, and outstanding training and experience. My love of the outdoors and dedication to making a difference on trail really helps me to do my job.

What is it like working with different people almost every day?

I think that since I was a volunteer before becoming a crew lead helps in my relationship with folks; I truly appreciate them giving time to our trails. I think the caliber of people who volunteer is a real draw for me too—not many mean people take the time to do this. I’ve met doctors, lawyers, cancer survivors, military masterchiefs and a whole host of others. Some of these people are now

friends of mine, and all of them I greatly appreciate. I believe treating all people equally has helped me succeed in gaining those regular volunteers. Seeing that light in their eyes at the end of the day when they walk over a fantastic section of trail that they recently built or maintained is what makes me love this job.

What has been the most memorable moment on the job?

Memorable moments have been numerous, and it’s hard to pick just one. There was the time after working on the Scott Paul Trail when I pretty much had to tell people to leave, because we were all just sitting around, not wanting such a fantastic day to end. Then there was the time that a land manager, Gary Paull, was hiking by with his family, and I heard folks telling them who we were and that they too could be out here working on trail. I remember the rough, swear-word-dropping fellow taking care of the panting, out-of-shape first-timer, and the 90-pound girl showing the crew how a drain dip should look. In all of these, I find an overall concern by every volunteer for the well-being of others.

What is your favorite trail you’ve worked on?

The trail I am most proud of is Yellow Aster Butte. It was transformed from an outsloped and slid-out avalanche chute to a nice, wide and sweetly benched trail. I’ll never forget the looks of disbelief on volunteers’ faces as I waved my arms to indicate where the trail had been in its prime and how we were going to right it by re-treading. The looks of amazement and pride on people’s faces at the end of the day as folks walked down to their cars over a nearly perfect section of trail—that was a nearly magical moment.

Is there an end to your crew-leading days in sight, or do you expect to keep on for a while? As long as I can get that feeling, sometimes much bigger than words can describe, I don’t really see an end in my desire to be a part of this great organization. While every day on trail isn’t always like this—some days feel a bit more like work than others—I believe the mission of WTA is a win-win for all concerned. t


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails8 » News + Views

Hiking News »

WTA Receives Grant for Catherine Creek and Coyote Wall

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) recently awarded a $15,000 grant to WTA to plan and coordinate a series of work parties at Catherine Creek and Coyote Wall in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Bingen.

In January 2011, the U.S. Forest Service completed a recreation plan for the area, which has suffered from a proliferation of user-built trails that threaten some of the unique plant and animal communities found there. Mountain biking in the area has grown exponentially in the last decade and is often cited as the root cause of the rogue trail developments. NFF and WTA will work closely with the International Mountain Bike Association, local mountain bike clubs, trail users and wildflower enthusiasts to plan and construct reroutes and upgrade user-built trails to standard specifications.

This project continues the ongoing partnership between WTA and NFF to improve and steward recreation opportunities in the Columbia River Gorge. Trail work parties will begin in April 2012.

– Ryan Ojerio

State of the Free stuff doesn't come along that often. Enjoy one of these weekends at any state park—free! Discover Pass not required.

March 18-19 Honoring Washington State Parks' 99th Birthday

June 9 National Get Outdoors Day

September 29 National Public Lands Day

November 10-12 Veterans Day Weekend

Discover Pass holders—and those waiting to purchase your new pass—may soon have reason to celebrate. Two bills are working their way through the House and Senate, striving toward an eventual agreed-upon Discover Pass bill. These are good bills that will be good for hikers.

SB 5977 is very simple. It adds space to the Discover Pass for a second license plate number and is retroactive. Current passholders can just write another plate number on their Discover Pass. This bill has passed the Senate and is working its way through the House.

State Parks 2012 Fee-Free Days!Just before this issue went to

press, HB 2373 had been rewritten to remove the worst provisions, and now includes a bevy of advantages to Discover Passholders: two vehicle transferability, allowing the designation of a pass start date, clarifies that Sno-Park passholders do not also need a Discover Pass and adds a $50 family Discover Pass that is infinitely transferable.

Contact your state Legislator today and urge them to support these two bills for a new-and-improved Discover Pass. Then get out and enjoy your Washington state lands!

Catherine Creek Trail, by Bob Griffiths


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails News + Views « 9

Get Your 2012 Wilderness Permits Now!Forget crossing your fingers and sacrificing your old hiking boots to the mountain gods in hopes of scoring the elusive walk-in permit. Reservation applications are now being accepted for Washington’s top hiking destinations. Here’s the low-down on securing your wilderness permit reservations for Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and the Enchantments—so you can plan your summer trip with peace of mind, and no entry-day surprises.

Mount RainierThe Mount Rainier Wilderness Information Center will begin taking permit reservation applications on March 15, for all trips starting through September 30. Applications can be downloaded from their website and faxed to their office. Application processing will begin in random order on April 1. Confirmation letters are usually sent by mid-May.

The key to securing your Mount Rainier permit reservation? Flexibility. Include alternate dates and camps on your appli-cation. For camping in Mount Rainier’s backcountry, you’re required to indicate where you intend to camp each night—and only established camps are permitted.

Improve your chances of securing a permit reservation by selecting a weekday entry, or if attempting to do the complete Wonderland Trail circuit, avoid weekends in high-traffic, low-capacity campsites.

Mount Rainier fills 70 percent of its permit quota via advance reservation. Walk-ins are available, but have several options in mind—and hope for a last-minute cancellation.

Get all the details at

Mount St. HelensPermits for the 2012 season on Mount St. Helens went on sale February 1, but there are still plenty of dates available—including some weekends in June and September. Permits can be purchased for $22 per person (limit 12) by visiting the Mount St. Helens Institute website.

The Institute grants only 100 climbing permits per day. It may seem like a lot, but don’t wait too long before selecting your date, as permits start disappearing fast once summer weather is on the horizon. Plus, guided trips snatch up large numbers of permits, so check your calendar and make your plans early.

Climbing Mount St. Helens is challenging—from the Climber’s Bivouac trailhead, you gain over 4,000 vertical feet in 4 miles—but not technical. The first 2 miles are along forested trail, but once you hit treeline, the next section is a steep, rocky climb over jumbled lava rock, with the final ascent up a soft, sandy slope. The views from the rim on a clear day are stunning!

Carry plenty of water and be prepared for rapid weather changes.

Purchase your permits and get additional info at

The EnchantmentsLast year, the Wenatchee River Ranger District moved all permit applications for the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the website. You can create an account and enter the permit lottery from February 22 through March 13. Permits will then be awarded by random drawing, with confirmation letters being emailed after March 15.

When filling out your permit application, you must select the Enchantments Zone(s) where you wish to overnight, including entry and exit dates. Entering alternate dates and/or zone preferences will improve your chances of securing a permit if drawn.

If you miss the lottery round, any remaining availability will be awarded on a first come, first served basis after March 16.

Seventy-five percent of Enchantments area permits are available via lottery and advance application. The remaining walk-in permits are available at the Wenatchee River Ranger District Office for day-of entries. Arrive before 7:30 a.m. for the first drawing; a second drawing is held at 9:00 a.m. for cancellations and no-shows.

For more info and a link to the permit application website, visit



March + April 2012 » Washington Trails10 » News + Views

Carissa Black stood atop Angels Landing, an exhilarating 5-mile hike in Utah’s Zion National Park, admiring breathtaking red rock canyons when she noticed something peculiar. Nearby, amid fantastical 360-degree views and a gaggle

of other hikers, a man in a National Park Service uniform was stooping over to pick up a piece of litter. Inspired by his example, Black not only stuffed trash into her lunch bag as she hiked out, she decided she wanted to work for the National Park Service.

Rangers make a career of leading by example. This example often leaves last-ing impressions on visitors that extend far beyond park

boundaries. In doing so rangers have become icons of stewardship and public service. Yet much of what park rangers do is not as visible as a guided walk or campfire program. In a career most cherish as much as the parks they protect, they face terrific sacrifices, as we have recently seen with the loss of park ranger Mar-garet Anderson at Mount Rainier and job cuts across Washington’s state parks.

Growing up on Kodiak Island, Alaska, Josh McLean’s parents taught him that if you feel a connection with the land, you should shoulder some of the responsibility of caring for it. Today McLean works as an educational and interpretive ranger in Olympic National Park where he often asks children, “Who owns National Parks?” They point to him, the man in the uniform. He points back at them. The children’s eyes grow wide at the thought of being part owners of something as magnificent as National Parks.

“It’s not just about recreation and education, but making people feel the same passion for the park that you do,” says McLean.

Not all rangers are educational and interpre-tive. Many are trained law enforcement officers, charged with protecting both park resources and visitors. As federal agents, rangers with the National Park Service have the same authority as the FBI, CIA and U.S. Border Patrol. Aside from typical law enforcement duties, rangers participate in search and rescue, emergency medical services and wildland firefighting.

Before attaining permanent status within a park, rangers work seasonal positions, often moving great distances between parks, but gaining valuable training and experience along the way. Since 2008, law enforcement ranger Logan Stevenson has put over 30,000 miles on his car crisscrossing the country, traveling between jobs. He’s nearly covered the map, having worked in Yellowstone, Sequoia, and Acadia National Parks before landing at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.

“That’s what draws a lot of folks into becoming U.S. park rangers—the opportunity to decide what skills you want to focus on,” explains Stevenson. “If you want to be a master at high-angle search and rescue, the opportunity is there. If you want to become an EMT-paramedic, a firearms instructor, or a master at boat operation, the National Park Service has that potential,” says Stevenson.

Their Loss Is Our LossRangers form strong ties to their parks while

studying their history and ecology, hiking its trails, and getting to know their wildlife and visitors. Stacy Czebotar worked at Twanoh State Park on Washington’s Hood Canal for seven years. Last month, due to budget cuts within State Parks, she lost her job. She had dreamed of being a park ranger since age eleven. (Read Stacy’s own story on page 28.)

“I have a hard time imaging myself as

anything other than a park ranger,” remarks Czebotar, now concerned that visitors will see lower standards in state parks, many of which host campers year-round—and where maintenance won’t always wait for spring and summer staff.

Through a trying time she’s been encouraged by the outpouring of support from park visitors and campers. In one email she received, a camper expressed that changing rangers was the equivalent of changing doctors or barbers. “For them I’ve become just as much of the park as the park itself,” says Czebotar.

As with most Washington State Parks rangers, Czebotar was a fully commissioned law officer and dealt with what most people think of as police work. Working in the unique state park setting, rangers are not called to

The Life of a Park RangerRecent events have prompted us here at WTA to take an in-depth look at the lives, motivation and dedication of our state, national park and forest service rangers, and salute them as true heros and stewards of our natural areas.

“It’s not just about recreation and education, but making people feel the same passion for the park that you do.”

– Josh McLean Olympic National Park


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails News + Views « 11

In MemoriamOn New Year’s Day, we lost a true friend of

The Mountain. In a senseless act of violence, a disturbed individual shot and killed Ranger Margaret Anderson.

Ranger Anderson began her career for the National Park Service in 2002 at Bryce Canyon in Utah. This is also where she met her future husband, Eric. They were married in October 2005, and became the proud parents of Annalise Rose in 2008. In December 2008, the Andersons were relocated to Mount Rainier National Park. They welcomed their second daughter, Kathryn Paige, in 2010. On January 1, 2012, Ranger Anderson’s life came to a brutal end.

At her deeply emotional memorial service, her father spoke of her early love of nature and her deep commitment to duty. These beliefs greatly influenced her love of all creatures and her desire to protect them. She took great joy in spending time on her family’s property, exploring the nearby woods or relaxing by the pond. Margaret will always be remembered as a beautiful, loving wife and mother. She deeply loved her family and was adored by her husband and little girls. She was a good friend to all, known for her smile and dedication to doing the best job possible.

Attendees at the service included Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Gov. Christine Gregoire, Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis, and Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park Randy King, as well as over 2,000 law enforcement officers, outdoor organization representatives and volunteers.

When the service began, Mount Rainier was shrouded in a cloak of clouds, as if in mourning itself. When the service concluded, The Mountain was shining in the sun, reminding everyone of what Ranger Anderson loved so dearly, and will forever be a part of.

dangerous situations as much as they walk right into them. This can be problematic in remote parks like Twanoh, where as the only permanently assigned ranger, Czebotar could wait up to thirty minutes for backup to arrive. With fewer rangers in the field, backup could be even farther away, lengthening the time rangers—and the public—wait for assistance.

Those services, and the personal touch rangers bring to parks, are not lost on Adam Stone. This past New Year’s Day Stone returned to Twanoh State Park, as he often has over the years, to visit a memorial bench dedicated to a close friend. “When I arrived I was shocked to not find the bench,” recalls Stone.

Unknown to Stone, Czebotar removed the bench’s seat and back boards to protect them from winter weather—as she has done for seven years. Each year she cleaned the bench’s boards and restained them. When the plaque began dulling with age and exposure she bought a new one. Each spring, with shiny new bolts, she put the bench back together.

After exchanging emails with Czebotar, Stone learned of the care she had given the bench. As Stone says, Czebotar took care of the bench “as if she knew my friend and was a friend as well.”

It’s been an eye-opening experience for Stone. “I can only imagine all of the other tasks that she and other rangers are performing on a day-to-day, month-to-month and year-to-year basis which we are seemingly unaware of.”

With Czebotar no longer at Twanoh, Stone now wonders who will care for his friend’s bench. “You look beyond the numbers. Twanoh State Park will be losing not just a ranger but a friend and a caretaker of the parks and someone who has performed her job above and beyond.”

The next time Stone visits Twanoh State Park he’ll remember not only his friend, but also Czebotar and other rangers who do so much for our parks.

A Passion for ParksSince her life-changing hike in Zion, Carissa

Black has worked in Glacier, Yellowstone and Sequoia National Parks. Last summer, as a law enforcement ranger in Sequoia, she patrolled trails on horseback, monitored poaching, and participated in marijuana cultivation patrols.

Black, who worked as an interpretive ranger before completing her seasonal law enforcement training in Mount Vernon, Washington, continues to see her role as that of a public educator.

“The best way to educate the public is to get out of your patrol vehicle,” says Black, who still admonishes litterbugs with, “If it doesn’t grow here, it doesn’t go here.”

Black is thrilled with her career choice, but she has yet to obtain permanent status. For many rangers beginning their careers, years of seasonal employment, low pay, no benefits and a seemingly endless application process test their resolve to dedicate themselves to parks.

“You better make sure this is what you want to do because it’s a huge sacrifice,” says Black, who is substitute teaching in Anacortes while applying for a permanent position.

“The parks changed my life,” says Black. “That’s why I want to be part of the National Park Service.”t

– Andrew Coghill

Margaret Anderson, 2011

“I have a hard time imagining myself as anything other than a park ranger.”

– Stacy Czebotar Twanoh State Park


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

In late 2008, the Bush administration made a rule change to remove longstanding restrictions on the carrying of loaded, concealed firearms in national parks and national wildlife refuges. Surrounded by controversy, the rule dismantled longstanding Reagan administration regulations that allowed guns in national parks only if they were unloaded and inaccessible. President Bush’s rule change required national parks to comport with the gun laws of the states in which they were located. Currently, 48 states issue concealed carry permits, and Washington is among them.

Bush’s rule was included by Congress as a rider to the credit card reform act of 2009, which President Obama signed in May of that year. On February 22, 2010, the twenty-six-year ban on loaded and concealed firearms in national parks came to an end.

For nearly two years, the controversy around allowing guns in national parks quieted. But that all changed early this year. The shooting death of Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson by Benjamin Colton Barnes on New Year’s Day immediately reignited discussion around this issue in the media, from USA Today to Time magazine. Debate sparked on Internet forums, too, including our own Signpost blog and Facebook page.

Would the ban on guns in National Parks have deterred or changed the result of Barnes’ rampage?

We don’t know, though given the circumstances it is unlikely that any federal policy banning guns in parks would have kept this tragedy from occurring.

We reached out to Nick Herring, deputy chief ranger at Yellowstone National Park, for his take, and he agreed. “Regulations on firearms in National Parks would have had no bearing on that situation,” he said.

Barnes was wanted for the shooting of several people at a house party near Seattle earlier on New Year’s Day. It is reasonable to assume that anyone intent upon violence like that would not have been deterred from carrying an accessible, loaded weapon into a National Park had the prior gun ban been in effect.

But Bill Wade, who began his National Park Service career as a ranger at Mount Rainier and is former chairman of Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, spoke with The Associated Press in the aftermath of the Rainier tragedy. “The many congressmen and senators who voted for the legislation that allowed loaded weapons to be brought into the parks ought to be feeling pretty bad right now,” he said.

Guns in Our National ParksDid the recent lift of the firearms ban in national parks play a role in the tragic shooting at Mount Rainier National Park in January? We take a look at the debate.

Rep. Norm Dicks wants Congress to overturn the law allowing loaded guns in National Parks. “I’m not sure that would have prevented this incident, but it makes me worried about the future and other possible tragedies,” Dicks told the Seattle Times after the shooting. “I hope this will at least garner some attention and remind people that there are victims and tragedies like this where somebody loses their mother, and a man loses his wife, and parents lose their daughter—and it’s because of violence and guns.”

So far, Congress and the Obama administration have declined to take up the National Parks firearms ban in the wake of Ranger Anderson’s death.

Since the ban on guns was lifted in February 2010, rangers and other National Park managers have grappled with complex enforcement issues. In the case of Yellowstone, it is up to visitors to determine whether they are in Montana, Idaho or Wyoming, in order to assess whether they are in compliance with the laws in their location. States may occasionally make changes to their concealed carry laws, forcing National Park rangers to stay on top of a shifting statutory landscape.

The enforcement of poaching laws has been made more challenging by the lift of the concealed firearms ban. Prior to February 2010, “during hunting season, if we were on a boundary patrol and encountered a citizen with a firearm, they were already in violation,” said Ranger Herring. “Now, if you’re going to cite someone for an illegal hunting violation, the mere possession of a firearm is not sufficient. From a poaching standpoint, it’s definitely made our job more complex.”

National park rangers are federal law enforcement officers charged with protecting the public and park resources. Regardless of one’s views on concealed carry laws, the evolution of regulations around firearms in national parks has created a layer of complexity that requires more of our rangers than ever before.

“Rangers put themselves in harm’s way every day somewhere across the country handling serious, complex law enforcement situations far beyond what you might imagine in a national park,” said Ranger Herring. “They take their duty to protect people and parks very seriously. I hope that lawmakers and the public understand what’s at stake and what’s important, because Ranger Margaret Anderson sure did.”t

– Jonathan Guzzo & Lauren Braden

A Closer Look »

12 » News + Views



Do you love talking with people about hiking? Want to help others discover the joy of volunteering on trail? WTA’s outreach volunteers help out at local events, talking up hiking and WTA to the general public. This is a great way to check out local festivals, get to know other outdoor enthusiasts and help spread the word about all that WTA does for hikers.

Like to write? Pretty good behind a camera too? The WTA communications department is always looking for Trip Reporters and photo contributors. Do you really have the editorial bug? Then sign up to be a regional correspondent for Washington Trails, or inquire about magazine or website intern opportunities.

Just like the U.S. Postal Service, WTA’s Helping Hands never miss a mailing. Unlike USPS, though, our Helping Hands work for treats and trail talk. Join WTA staff and volunteers in the downtown office the first Tuesday of every month to help keep our membership program wheels turning.

Big things happen in the WTA office. And sometimes, we just can’t make them happen without YOU! WTA is seeking long-term relationships with computer-savvy, detail-oriented, data-entry-loving individuals in our development office, helping to keep our membership database in tip-top shape.

Hike-a-Thon is coming! What could be better than going hiking? Knowing that every mile you hike means more money for trails! And winning awesome hiking gear too! We’ll be looking for volunteers to assist this summer. Visit for information.

Without the 2,600 trail work volunteers putting in nearly

100,000 hours of volunteer service,

we could never get all the work done on more

than 150 trails that we maintain each year.

But did you know that we couldn’t produce

this magazine without volunteer help? And

without the helping hands of volunteers, the

WTA office just couldn’t support our 9,500 members or our amazing website.

We certainly rely on volunteers to be effective

ambassadors out in the hiking community,

but we’re also in need of volunteers to assist

behind the scenes.

Interested? Here’s how you can get involved.

To volunteer or get more information,

email [email protected].

News + Views « 13

Volunteers are the backbone of WTA

Money earned while volunteering in the WTA office: $0

Supporting the outdoors and being part of WTA's inner circle: Priceless


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails 14 » WTA at Work

Trail Maintenance »WTA at Work

SarahRichProgram [email protected]

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve got one week of vacation this summer. You’ve

probably dreamed of spending that week lying motionless on some sun-drenched beach far away, on an island whose name is one long string of vowels—but ugh, the cost of plane tickets. Maybe you’ve thought about going to visit your great-aunt Esther in Kansas (it’s been years since you’ve seen her)—but blech, it’s so flat in Kansas. Or maybe you’ve simply resigned yourself to staying home and doing the laundry—come on, really?

But what about this: spending your week off volunteering. Making a difference for trails. Enjoying beautiful natural surroundings that hint at that island paradise of which you’ve dreamed, while meeting interesting, like-minded folks in a fun and rewarding environment—something great-aunt Esther would be proud of you for. And leaving laundry for another time.

Just picture yourself on the flanks of Mount Baker, or staring off into the bay at Vendovi Island, a pair of stout loppers in hand, a shiny WTA hard hat on your head. If you sign up to spend a week, or even just a few days, on one of WTA’s Volunteer Vacation or Backcountry Response Team (BCRT) trips this summer, you'll be doing critical work by improving trails, yes—but you’ll also be making friends and having fun in beautiful locations across the state.

WTA Puts the Vacation in Volunteering

“Strangers become friends with whom you work, laugh, and enjoy good times in a wonderful outdoors setting,” says Ken Vandver, a Volunteer Vacation veteran. “Is there a better way to spend a week in the woods?”

But before you object, arguing that you haven’t been physically fit enough to do trail work since your middle-school basketball days, consider this: WTA trips come in all shapes and sizes, catering to all levels of experience. Young or old, big or small, strong or scrappy—WTA has a trip for you.

Years later, when you look back at your weeklong Volunteer Vacation on the shore of Lake Chelan or in the Hoh Rain Forest, it won’t be the trail work you’ll remember. Now, that’s not to say that the work you do won’t be important. On the contrary, your work will benefit hikers—and Washington’s wilderness areas—for years to come. But what will stick with you will be the people you meet, the crystalline waterfalls you see, the hours you spend lolling around the campfire dining on plates of grilled salmon, and the crimson sunset you watch beyond the mountain next to your campsite.

Plus, one of the most rewarding aspects of going on a Volunteer Vacation is that you’ll get


Volunteer Vacations


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails WTA at Work « 15

to spend your entire week in one place. Unlike hiking or backpacking trips where you’re always on the move and just passing through, a Volunteer Vacation lets you really get to know the single natural space that you choose to inhabit for that week. You’ll be amazed to discover how much more you’ll observe and learn about the flora, fauna and geology of your surroundings.

Whatever your interest and ability, WTA offers a variety of different locations for Volunteer Vacations. If backpacking into a remote backcountry campsite sounds right up your alley, there are trips in areas like the Pasayten Wilderness. If easy access is better for you, frontcountry locations like Sawtooth Ridge allow you to drive right in to your weeklong campground. Or if soft beds and hot showers at the end of each workday are calling your name, consider a site like Holden Village, where you’ll take a boat, and then a bus, to reach the historic bunkhouse you’ll reside in.

Once you’ve decided how and where you want to spend your week, any trip you choose will provide the same kind of crewmember camaraderie, helpful and dedicated leadership, adventure in nature and rewarding work. And because this is still your vacation, workdays usually end in the midafternoon, after which you’ll be free to take a dip in a nearby lake

or stream, explore a trail to a stunning lookout, or enjoy time lounging around

camp with a good book or chatting it up with your new mates.

Anywhere you go, you’re bound to have fun.

“A job well done, a splash in

the creek,

a well-sited tent, and a nice nap before supper is a combination hard to beat,” says Janice VanCleve, a repeat volunteer. “Washington Trails Volunteer Vacations are a treat even a city girl like me can get into.”

And then there’s the food. Dinners on Volunteer Vacations are consummate feasts, so you can count on being well fed for the week—from buttery pancakes and piled-high ham sandwiches to tasty grilled salmon and steaks. And best of all, WTA brings it all in for you, by stock or vehicle. You don’t even have to carry in any of the gourmet food you’ll be eating, or the tools you’ll be using on the trails. All you need to bring are your own personal items.

Midweek, you’ll even have an entire day off from work. This will give you the chance to take a longer hike, climb to the top of a nearby peak, go fishing at a mountain lake, or just soak in the sights, sounds and smells of your wilderness setting—alone, or with new friends. Whatever activity you choose to enjoy on your day off, you will invariably be remembering these stories for years to come.

This may all sound great, but perhaps you’re looking for a little more challenge and a little less padding on your week off. If this is the case, try a BCRT. Usually three to eight days of moving from camp to camp, restoring trails as you go, these are the perfect trips for avid backpackers who appreciate more remote wilderness locations. If you’re not so keen on moving camps quite as much, WTA also offers BCRTs that are based at one site and move out from there daily to work on surrounding trails.


A job well done, a splash in the creek, a well-sited tent, and a nice nap before supper is a combination hard to beat.

– Janice VanCleve

Fishin' time on a BCRT at Black Lake.

Photo by Trev Cookson


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails16 » WTA at Work

Because BCRTs pay special attention to backcountry trails that have a tendency to be neglected, they are particularly invaluable. BCRT crew leader Mason White explains, “BCRTs are a great way to make sure that backcountry trails stay open in an era of declining trail maintenance budgets. Unmaintained or poorly maintained trails deter users and eventually get dropped from trail inventories and maps.”

On a BCRT, as in backpacking, you’ll carry with you everything that you need to survive in the wilderness—including the tools needed for your work on the trails. The labor can be strenuous, but the payoff comes at the end of each workday, when you’ll enjoy the same opportunities as other Volunteer Vacations: dining with your crew, playing games and sharing stories, hiking and swimming, or just hanging around a campfire and relishing your wilderness surroundings.

You’ll find yourself in spectacular remote locations, sharing them with only a handful of fellow volunteers, where you can truly appreciate Washington’s backcountry in all its splendor. And when the stars fill the night sky in all their wild glory above your campsite, you’ll blink a few times to make sure it’s real. And when you find that it is, you’ll store that image in your mind forever.

Similar to adult Volunteer Vacations, youth trips are weeklong outings for high school students ages fourteen to eighteen. If you’re a teenager looking to make friends with other people who share your love of the outdoors, a week of maintaining hiking trails with other youth will undoubtedly be the highlight of your summer.

“WTA trips are amazing!” says Riley Coleman, a WTA youth volunteer. “In a week’s time you can make great friends who you will want to keep in contact with for years to come. And the work is always fun.”

From the time you arrive on-site, you’ll cook meals with your fellow crew members, learn how to build turnpikes or saw logs, then toss a Frisbee around in the meadow next to your campsite in your down time. By the end of the week you’ll have nicknames for all of your crewmembers and a pocketful of new jokes and stories to carry home with you too.

WTA offers youth trips in both frontcountry and backcountry locations. Check out the youth section of the WTA website to learn more about eligibility for these trips.t

Youth Volunteer Vacations

To find more information on Volunteer Vacations, BCRTs or Youth Volunteer Vacations—or see the summer 2012 schedule for all trips—visit

The good times await at this year's Volunteer Vacations, BCRTs and Youth Volunteer Vacations. Sign up now before they're gone!

Chris Wall

Sandra Hays

Elise Evans

Sarah Rich



There is nothing like working on a National Treasure, and that’s just what Mount Rainier is. The Wonderland Trail from Ipsut Creek

campground to Carbon Glacier has sustained much damage in the past few years, and needs your help to be put back together. You'll spend a week working in the shadow of a giant. May 26–June 2; June 2–9

Sullivan Lake in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness sparkles below the slopes of Hall Mountain and is famous for one of the largest bighorn

sheep herds in the state. This 3-day trip will focus on treadwork and rock walls along the northern half of the lakeshore trail, and offers easy access for a fun and rewarding weekend. June 23–25

At Pear Lake you’ll work on the Pacific Crest Trail heading north. The hike in is challenging, but the destination is worth the sweat you'll

leave on the trail. Spend your afternoons off taking a refreshing dip in one of the nearby lakes, go for an easy climb up Fortune Mountain, or perhaps meet up with a PCT thru-hiker. July 28–Aug. 4

Near the headwaters of the Little Wenatchee River, Meander Meadow bursts with summer wildflowers. Here in the Glacier Peak

Wilderness you will work on the Pacific Crest Trail headed towards Indian Pass. On your day off go fishing in the nearby creek or venture up to the aptly-named picturesque Kodak Peak—and don't forget your camera! Aug. 18–25; Aug. 25–Sept. 1

In the shadow of Mount Daniels, you'll camp alongside Deep Lake. Your work day will be on the PCT switchbacks just underneath the

magnificent Cathedral Rock. Spend your off-time picking huckleberries in the neighboring meadow, and make sure to make it up to the magical Peggy’s Pond on your day off. Sept. 1–8; Sept. 8–15

WTA at Work « 17

There's Still Room for YouVolunteer Vacations and BCRTs are in high demand this year. Here's just a sampling of some of the great trips still available this summer. Get your spot today before they're gone!






Space is limited, so don't delay. For more information, or to reserve your place on one of these, or one of the many other exciting Volunteer Vacations or BCRTs WTA has planned for this summer, visit












March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

Youth & Families »

18 » WTA at Work

The grass is growing, the birds are chirping, branches are dappled with new buds. What does this mean? Spring is on its way—and that means spring break will soon be here.

Parents, have you been asking yourselves, “What am I going to do with the kids during spring break this year?” We have your answer.

Students, are you thinking of days filled with friends, headed to the beach, and late nights with your Xbox trying to reach the highest score on Dance Central? We've got something even better.

How about getting dirty outside with WTA, enhancing hiking trails and earning community service hours? WTA invites teens to spend a day outside with us this spring break. And parents, you can join a work party too. Families are always welcome on any trail work party.

Ok, why would you want to do this? Well, it’s a great way to get out of the house and do something fun and active. The work is extremely satisfying, and by the end of the day you’ll feel good about all that you accomplished. There will be opportunities to use tools like a Pulaski or grub hoe and to learn about tread repair. Plus, there are always sweet treats midmorning and snacks and refreshments at the end of the day.

Last year, Max Benson volunteered for two days with his son Andrew, a student at The Bear Creek School in Redmond. “It was one of those few times that Andrew and I could participate together,” Max explained. “We both have pretty busy weekends during the school year and could not volunteer together except during his school breaks.” Benson shared that working alongside his son “was super. As a dad, I was proud that he worked hard the whole time.”

Teens (and their parents) can join a one-day work party, or volunteer all week and earn their very own personalized hard hat. And if you were looking forward to spending time with friends this spring break, encourage them to join you on trail. You’ll also make new acquaintances with the people working alongside you.

“If you go [on a work party],” continues Max Benson, from his experience with his son last spring, “you will have the privilege of working together with people of a variety of ages and backgrounds, where everyone is working towards a common goal. I came home with renewed optimism about people. You will too.”t

– Krista Dooley

— WTA Style

Coming for spring break 2012:April 9-13: Spring Lake/Lake Desire Park, near Renton

April 16-20: Cougar Mountain, near Issaquah

For more information on how to join WTA for spring break, visit, or call (206) 625-1367.  

Additional weekend work parties for teens: March 24, April 14, May 12, June 2 family work party (Nat’l Trails Day)

Spring Break!

Andrew and Max Benson at work on the trails at Evans Creek Preserve.Photo by Krista Dooley

Are you looking for ideas on where to go hiking with your kids?

Sign up for WTA’s Families Go Hiking e-newsletter.

Here’s what you’ll get:

u The best information on hiking with kids

u The latest family trip reports

u Tips and tricks for planning your next family camping trip

u Featured seasonal hikes by Joan Burton, author of Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & The Cascades

Sign up online at to get this seasonal e-newsletter exclusively for families.


WTA at Work « 19WTA at Work « 19

Action for Trails »

Hikers from Anacortes to Vancouver gathered in Olympia for WTA’s Hiker Lobby Day on February 1, sending a message to legislators that recreation is a core public value and our state lands need to be funded accordingly.

We kicked off the day with WTA’s advocacy director, Jonathan Guzzo, briefing the group on the latest recreation funding issues—the good, the bad and the ugly. The hot topic: changes to the Discover Pass that would make it transferable between two vehicles. The goal: improved sales revenue for state agencies by increasing customer satisfaction.

Advocates had their work cut out for them though, as a group of legislators feel State Parks and the Department of Natural Resources recreation lands should be funded solely by Discover Pass revenue. Activists needed to make clear that Washington should fund and protect the state lands that make our state such a great place to live.

The activists’ enthusiasm grew when guest speaker Rep. Hans Dunshee engaged them in a lively conversation on how easy it is to meet with elected officials, and provided helpful tips on how to best deliver our message.

Off to the capitol, almost 50 strong, hikers met with their representatives, sharing stories of recent hikes on state lands, and why these public places are so important. Many of Washington’s legislators, also hikers, shared some of their own stories from the trail.

At the end of the day, the outlook was promising for an improved Discover Pass. But it's not over. We need to continue speaking out for trails, and urge our representatives to continue public funding for our state recreation lands.

– Kindra Ramos

Lobby Day 2012

From top left: Martin Barney (right) meets with Sen. Ranker (D-40); Pat Campbell (left) chats with Sen. Benton (R-17); Rep. Dunshee (D-44) speaks with the WTA lobbiests; John Floberg, Sue Olson and WTA’s Tim Van Beek outside the Capitol

March + April 2012 » Washington Trails


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

by John Floberg

State ofBlis

Golden sunset at Deception Pass State Park, by Mike Morrison



by John Floberg

You might pinch yourself, but this is no dream.For those who visit Washington state parks, startled amazement is

an understandable response when you find yourself surrounded by such

natural beauty and grandeur. Our blessings spill over with lifetimes of

adventure—from the rugged and wild Pacific Coast to Puget Sound and

the San Juan Islands, from the Cascade and Olympic ranges to the vast

openness of the Columbia Basin.



March + April 2012 » Washington Trails22 » NW Explorer

At first glance, state parks might seem to fall off the radar in the context of so much public land. State parks represent less than

2 percent—only 250,000 of the 15.5 million acres—of public land in Washington. But this is a park system that’s full of surprises. This relatively small land base boasts more visitors than any other type of public land in the state, including Washington’s national parks. In fact, just one state park, Deception Pass, receives more visitors each year than Mount Rainier National Park (1.8 million vs. 1.2 million). And there’s no lack of love for the other parks in the state system, with more than 40 million visitors each year. Yet many are unaware of what state parks have to offer. Perhaps, you might ask, with such premier hiking destinations throughout Washington, what’s the value of state parks?

Location, Location, LocationState parks, as a whole, are more widely distributed and easier to

access in Washington than any other recreation-based public land. Parks are situated both relatively close to urban areas as well as in unique, remote locations. Fort Simcoe, for example, is accessible only at the end of a 27-mile drive through the Yakama Indian Nation. The 200-acre interpretive park showcases some of the original buildings from when it was built in 1855—when the area was still Washington Territory, not Washington state.

More “frontcountry” parks—closer to cities and towns—provide gateway experiences that instill lifelong wilderness values and ethics. Wallace Falls in the Cascades is a 4,735-acre camping park with hiking and wildlife viewing amid old-growth forest and numerous lakes and rivers (check out the hike on page 48); Camp William T. Wooten on the Tucannon River in the southeastern Blue Mountains offers mountain hiking trails and canoeing on Donnie Lake; Beacon Rock on the Columbia River boasts 5,100 acres of year-round camping, rock climbing and numerous hiking trails—some recently renovated by WTA.

In this way, state parks represent a vital link to the larger, more remote lands of national forests and parks. These locations are key in offering first-time camping and hiking experiences, and are thus fundamental to cultivating a lifelong love of the outdoors and to building support for protecting and maintaining access to hiking destinations throughout Washington and beyond.

Diversity AboundsWashington’s state park system offers a tremendous range of

landscapes and habitats, and cultural and historical destinations. Visitors are invited to explore and experience coastlines to mountain peaks, old-growth forest to shrub-steppe, and coulee canyons to fjords. Unlike most

Hiding in Plain Sight“Often without even noticing, people drive right past Federation Forest State Park. Unknown to them, this fantastic 619-acre park offers quiet picnic areas and 12 miles of easy, secluded hiking trails, all under stately forest along the banks of the White River.

My favorite time to visit is on crisp autumn days, when the forest turns golden, overhead and all over the ground, with gorgeous sunlight streaming in through the trees, and the White River flowing past like molten silver.”

– Goldie Silverman

Love at Curlew Lake“Nestled in the Okanogan Highlands, Curlew Lake State Park is 123 acres of golden, grass-covered hillsides and groves of majestic ponderosa pines adorn the shore of long and slender Curlew Lake.

Here, I took my girlfriend, Heather on her first camping trip. We spent the days hiking the lonely Kettle Crest and the nights at our lakeside campsite. We enjoyed morning visits by docile deer and evening gatherings by inquisitive quails, savoring the sweet serenity of the park. In 2006 we were married at Curlew Lake, where we return each summer, extoling in the beauties and charms of our favorite park.”

– Craig Romano

Federation Forest State Park, by Ray Meuse


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails NW Explorer « 23

public recreation land in higher Cascades regions, many state parks such as Larrabee near Bellingham or Cape Disappointment on the Columbia River are unique low-elevation sanctuaries that help sustain the winter hiker until the subalpine melts to meadow each year.

Before that glorious-yet-fleeting alpine bloom starts in late July, state parks offer up many months of wondrous wildflower displays each spring, from Potholes and Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Parks in Eastern Washington to Blind Island and Patos Island Parks in the San Juans. On the flip side, state parks present some of the earliest skiing and snowshoeing in the state each year at Mount Spokane State Park, and some of the latest opportunities for mountain biking and trail running at Saint Edward State Park on Lake Washington.

Yes, state parks are vital. They not only build a bridge between seasons and activities, they also nurture us as a stepping-stone to wilderness. From the little tyke learning to camp to the accomplished hiker scrambling up a rock pinnacle, or the senior trail-walker breathing in the syrupy scent of cottonwood buds in the spring, there’s something here for everyone.

Crown Jewels of WashingtonWhile you may be familiar with beloved parks such as Peace Arch

and Deception Pass, state parks also include hidden gems like the Goldendale Astronomical Observatory, Gardner Limestone Cave at Crawford State Park, world-class whale watching at Lime Kiln Point on San Juan Island and some of the most exciting windsurfing in the world at Doug’s Beach in the Columbia River Gorge.

State parks also possess the longest and most impressive rails-to-trails system in the state, including the Iron Horse (100 miles) running through Snoqualmie Pass, the Columbia Plateau Trail (130 miles) between east Pasco and Spokane, and the Willapa Hills Trail from Chehalis to South Bend (56 miles). But perhaps the most impressive trail of all is not in a single park but in a network of connected state parks, like jewels in a necklace, that make up the backbone of the 150-mile Cascadia Marine Trail from Olympia to Point Roberts near the Canadian border. This unique marine trail itself connects with premier island hiking destinations, some of which are accessible only by small boat, such as Sucia Island, Hope Island and James Island State Parks.

State Parks Belong to YouWhile our state parks suffer an embarrassment of natural riches, real

funds to support staff and programs have been impacted as a result of the recent local and global recession. General fund support from

Snowshoeing in Mount Spokane State Park, by Holly Weiler

Kayaking off Jones Island State Park, by Steve Weileman

Curlew Lake State Park, by Craig Romano


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails24 » NW Explorer

the state budget once made up the majority of backing for state parks, but some decision-makers would like to see all general fund support eliminated entirely by 2013. Ironically, 2013 is also the year of the state park system’s centennial anniversary. You can help support parks by purchasing a Discover Pass for $30, which gives you year-long access not only to state parks, but also to recreation lands of the Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Discover Pass purchases are now the most important kind of support in keeping parks open, rangers on staff, and the public programs you appreciate ongoing.

But that’s not all. Without spending a cent, you can provide enormous value to state parks. Of more than 100 state parks, only 27 have volunteer support groups (often called “friends” groups) currently established. These groups carry out special events, fundraising, educational programming and much more every day to support state parks. You could choose to join a friends group at your favorite park or even start your own. In fact, there are people at the Washington State Parks Foundation (WSPF) ready to help steer you in the direction of your interests. In addition, you can join with Washington Trails Association and the WSPF to advocate on issues that are important to hikers and state parks in general—or join a WTA volunteer trail work party hosted in a state park near you.

But most importantly, get out and enjoy your state parks. Take a hike, climb a mountain, have a picnic, walk on a beach, chat with a ranger, watch a sunset, camp overnight, or just kick back and relax. Whatever you choose to do, you can experience your own state of bliss.t

John Floberg is the executive director of the Washington State Parks Foundation. He moved from NYC to Seattle in 1995 after looking at a map of the United States and asking, “Where would I most want to live?”

The Washington State Parks Foundation mission is to support state parks by cooperating with organizations, and encouraging gifts to support and improve state parks. For more information, call (206) 437-6086 or visit

Best of the State Parks:Hiking: q Mount Spokane q Moran q Larrabee

Family camping: q Deception Pass q Pearrygin Lake q Lake Wenatchee

Coastal Beaches: q Cape Disappointment q Dugualla q Leadbetter

Wildlife viewing: q Bay View q Damon Point q Point Riverside

Wildflowers: q Columbia Hills q Fields Spring q Steamboat Rock

Waterfalls: q Wallace Falls q Olallie q Palouse Falls

Rock climbing: q Peshastin Pinnacles q Beacon Rock

Interpretive program at Deception Pass State Park, courtesy of WSPRC

Deer at Steamboat Rock State Park, courtesy of WSPRC

Dugualla State Park, by Mike Morrison



From Seattle, catch a ferry across Puget Sound, then head over the Hood Canal Bridge onto SR-104. Take a right on SR-19, Beaver Valley Road, and head north. This is the Quimper Peninsula.

First up, make a stop at the (1) Chimacum Corner Farmstand ( and pick up a deli sandwich for lunch later. This new community store stocks a healthy sampling of the agricultural bounty of the Quimper Peninsula. Load up your cooler with fresh produce, local meats, artisan cheeses and wine.

Time to hit the beach! Head for Jefferson County’s (2) South Indian Island Park. The 4-mile round trip trail starts through madrone woods with a carpet of salal, then spills out onto a long, sandy beach with piles of strewn driftwood. On a clear day, Mount Rainier will greet you as you come out of the woods onto the beach. Keep an eye on the lagoon as you hike if you want a chance to spot common loons, bufflehead and other diving waterfowl. On the way to the park, you’ll pass (3) Chimacum Cafe; make a note to stop here for some terrific post-hike pie.

After your hike, hit the tasting room at (4) Finnriver Farm and Cidery ( and get ready for an experience in the art of hand-crafted

Fort Flagler State ParkPhoto by Lauren Braden

Inset: Northwest Fisherman's Stew at Ajax CafePhoto by Rina Jordan

Watch flocks of seabirds

on rocky shores, hike along

a beach or historic fort,

tour a cidery, browse local

farmers markets and enjoy

delicious local cuisine.

From Marrowstone Island

to Port Townsend, the

Quimper Peninsula has

something for everyone—all

in a Northwest Weekend.

AA SoundSound EscapeEscape



by Lauren Braden


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

cider. This 33-acre working farm produces fruits, whole grains and veggies, along with chickens, goats, ducks and pigs. In 2010, farmers Keith and Chrystie Kisler bottled their first small batch of artisan hard apple cider on the Finnriver label, and now produce a variety of tasty sparkling ciders and fruit-infused brandies. They also produce a méthode champenoise that’s nice for more festive occasions. Try as many varieties as you like (don’t miss the sparkling pear, black currant, or citrusy dry-hopped cider—these are all hiker favorites).

If the foot traffic is light in the tasting room, Keith or Chrystie will gladly give you a short tour to show you their

equipment and how they produce their hand-crafted ciders, a process that takes many months. Walk about the farm, too, and see the acres of vegetables grown here, visit with the animals and marvel at the rows of more than 1500 heritage apple trees they’ve planted. You can buy ciders in the tasting room by the bottle or the case.

For dinner, head straight to the nearby (5) Ajax Cafe ( where the menu is inventive and the ingredients are fresh and locally-sourced. Once seated in the funky-chic dining room, have a look around at your fellow patrons. Are they donning silly hats? There’s an entire wall of splendid hats from nearly every era to choose from in the back hallway, and regulars head straight there to select a headdress to wear throughout the meal. Feel free to join them. Your menu may at first look like an old record album. Peek inside and you’ll see that it is, in fact, a menu printed with creative, seasonal dishes such as chanterelle and crab bisque with local Dungeness crab, or Provence-style roast chicken from a local, sustainable farm. On Saturday nights, you’ll be tapping your foot along to local music while you enjoy your meal.

After dinner, turn in for the night at the (6) Beach Cottages on Marrowstone ( This ecological resort is set on one of the most stunning locations on Puget Sound—the southern tip of Marrowstone Island (accessible by bridge, no ferry required). Bring binoculars to peep a plethora of shorebirds and seabirds easily viewed

through the wall of windows in your cozy waterfront cabin. Relax with hot cocoa out on your deck,

where the panoramic view of the snowcapped Olympics might compete with the sight of a

bald eagle fishing for salmon right in front of you. Set aside time for beachcombing on their 10 acres of private tidelands. All cottages have full kitchens and are heated with woodstoves.

Feel like roughing it? Nearby (7) Fort Flagler State Park on the north tip of Marrowstone Island has more than 60

tent campsites and is open to camping year-round (

The next morning, wake up with the sunrise. Your beach cottage has a full kitchen, so

cook up breakfast there and enjoy the spectacle while you have it. Although you may be tempted to linger with that view of the sun coming up over Rainier, there are hiking trails calling your name.

26 » NW Explorer

Chimacum Cafe sign, by Francine Rose; Finn-river ciders and apples, courtesy of Finnriver Farm; Farm Burger with bleu cheese and carmelized onions at Ajax Cafe, by Rina Jordan; South Indian Island Park, by Craig Romano

March + April 2012 » Washington Trails



Head north on Marrowstone and make a quick stop at the (8) Nordland General Store (or as chatty locals jokingly call it, the Nordland Mall). This is your morning spot for coffee, snacks and communing with the locals. For a general store in the middle of an island, it has an impressive selection of gourmet goods like fresh pastas and fancy crackers.

Time for a hike with a history lesson. At the northern tip of Marrowstone is (7) Fort Flagler State Park (Discover Pass required), one of five impressive military installations that were established in close proximity to protect Puget Sound from invaders during times of war. In the 1950s, all five were converted to state parks, giving the public access to thousands of near-shore acres and miles of prime coastline. Fort Flagler is the largest of them all. Park at the north end of the campground and start your 5-mile loop hike on the stony beach, enjoying the views across to Port Townsend in one direction and Whidbey Island in the other. To your right are towering bluffs, atop which is another trail you can take later if there is time.

Dress in warm layers, as this trail wraps around Marrowstone Point and the wind intensity may change on you. At 2.25 miles, leave the sandy beach and climb the bluff, hike around a lagoon, and eventually make your way back to your starting point. Along the way, you’ll pass a handful of historic buildings and other structures. Bring binoculars to spot bald eagles on the bluff and dabbling ducks in the lagoon.

By now you’ll have worked up an appetite. Head back to Chimacum, where the (3) Chimacum Farmers Market (, Sundays May–October) will please with more than a dozen booths and food carts. Try a freshly boiled bagel or loaded taco, and stock up on jams, honey, grass-fed beef and local cheeses. Off-season, head back to the (3) Chimacum Cafe for a burger and slice of pie before heading back to the ferry.

If you’re in no hurry to get home, spend your afternoon browsing the streets and shops of the Victorian city of (9) Port Townsend. In addition to antique shops and bookstores, top stops include the Northwest Maritime Center and Fort Worden State Park. If staying for dinner before catching your ferry back, try the (9) Silverwater Cafe (, where sumptuous meals are delicately created with locally-sourced ingredients, and paired with fantastic wines and cocktails.t

NW Explorer « 27 March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

Nordland General Store on Marrowstone, by Lauren Braden; Blufftop trail at Fort Flagler State Park, by Craig Romano

PoRT AnGeleS


duNgeNess bay






To huRRicAne RidGe

To queeTS

To olYmPiA








March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

I remember visiting the local library, where I paged curiously through an aging, water-stained book that described the rewards

of being a park ranger. That year, I began volunteering with the National Park Service as an interpretive guide at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, near Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. I loved working with the rangers. I loved their uniforms, their hats, their badges. I loved that rangers could answer visitors’ questions and help solve their problems. What a wonderful job that must be.

Years later, in the pressure cooker of college, I found myself struggling to figure out who I wanted to be. One day at Hopewell, the superintendent stopped by to chat with me. When I shared my career woes, he asked quite simply, “What do you love to do?” Without hesitation I responded, “I love being here.” My answer was right there in

front of me. I called my dad on my drive home, and I told him that I was going to apply to a law enforcement academy and become a park ranger.

I sent in my application to the Parks Law Enforcement Academy in Mount Vernon, Washington. I couldn’t believe my luck that there was an academy so close to my parents’ home in Maryland. When I received my acceptance letter, I was ecstatic. I tried numerous times to call the commander of the academy, confused as to why he was not working at 8 a.m. and why the area code looked odd. Uh-oh. Then it occurred to me—Mount Vernon is in Washington state! (Typically, for anybody living on the East Coast, the only “Washington” that we acknowledge is Washington, D.C.) I was not deterred. And with that, I began packing for the most ridiculously wonderful error that has ever happened to me.

of a Park RangerReflections

By Stacy Czebotar




“When I was 11 years old, I told my parents that I wanted to be a park ranger.”

Moonrise over Twanoh State Park; Inset: Washington State Parks ranger hat.Photos by Stacy Czebotar


March + April 2012 » Washington TrailsMarch + April 2012 » Washington Trails30 » NW Explorer

I flew to Washington (state), having never set foot in the Pacific Northwest. I instantly fell in love with it, knowing this was where I wanted to live and work. At Mount Vernon, I completed my 100,000-page (not really, but it sure felt like it) ranger application, in which I admitted anything wrong that I ever did in my entire life—including an incident at the age of thirteen, when I accidentally walked out of a store holding a 69-cent beach ball (I later returned it, realizing my mistake—but I still felt guilty about “stealing” it). I then became an official park ranger applicant with Washington State Parks.

I interviewed for the park ranger position at Twanoh State Park in September of 2005. I was so nervous. I had never wanted anything so badly in my entire life. Two hours after my interview, I received a phone call from Ranger Joel Pillers. “Well, you did pretty well on the interview, but we were a little concerned about some of the answers to your questions. Some of the other candidates just really wowed us.” I could feel a lump forming in my throat, and I started to panic. I frantically tried to recall the answers I had given to the interview questions. Sensing my alarm, Pillers’ voice melted from solemn and serious into hysterical laughter. “I’m just kidding—you did great! You’ve got the job. You’re a park ranger.” It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

I will always cherish the day that I received my commission. It was a very cold day in Olympia. This was the ceremony where I took my oath of office and received authority from the state to enforce the law. It was a big deal—despite the hideous female dress bow tie I wore. As I raised my right hand and took my oath I felt like I was getting married. Being a ranger wasn’t just going to be a job—it was going to be my life. It wasn’t something to take


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails March + April 2012 » Washington Trails NW Explorer « 31

in my badge, saying goodbye to co-workers who were more akin to family, and letting go of a special park that I loved was heartbreaking. I thought about how much I had wanted this job, how hard it was to earn this job, and how hard it was going be to give up this job—this life.

As the end of my ranger career loomed ahead, I was walking through Twanoh at dusk one evening. The water of Hood Canal was as still and as smooth as I have ever seen it; the deep blue of the darkening sky created an azure glow. The full moon shone brightly in the sky and reflected perfectly in the water below. After uttering an audible “Wow!” I stood and stared at the view in silence. It was a perfect moment—a moment in which I realized that not many people have had the chance to work each day in a place so special and beautiful.

I am so fortunate to have been a ranger with Washington State Parks. Without a shadow of a doubt, I loved my job. There were days that were difficult, frustrating, frightening, inspiring, surprising and thrilling. For the chance to fulfill the dream of an eleven-year old girl, the adventure had been better than I could ever have imagined. As I reflect on the badge that once glistened on my uniform, I am struck by how much meaning such a small object can have. When I first received my commission, I read that an officer wears a badge over the heart to symbolize the pledge that they have made. When I was commissioned as a ranger, I swore my oath of office with a full heart. I realize now that my badge has left its own lingering impression. Last month, when I was asked to turn it in, what I handed over was merely a piece of metal attached to a pin. The true meaning of that badge, and the memories of my life as a park ranger, are mine to keep—locked in my heart forever.t

lightly—it permeates the soul and flows in the veins. I was so proud of my new badge, and what it represented, that I left my winter coat unzipped and pulled slightly to the side so that the emblem could shimmer in the sun for everybody to see.

Being a park ranger was special. It was not just a job, but rather an identity. I developed a habit of telling people that I was a park ranger in conjunction with telling them my name, “Ranger Czebotar.” The two pieces of information were virtually inseparable from each other. I got used to hearing, “You have the best job in the world.” I would agree—because it was true.

I loved performing the duties of a park ranger—and I found that these were often the subject of many a photograph. (As many rangers would attest—myself included—we loved our jobs so much that we even loved looking at photos of our parks—and of ourselves at work.) As such, I started compiling my own park ranger photo resume: interacting with children, presenting at campfires, holding or using a chainsaw, operating a boat, training with firearms and, of course, posing for the standard dramatic photo in front of a patrol vehicle. Life was good.

On December 30, 2011—after more than six years of service at Twanoh—I was handed a pink slip. Due to the ongoing budget crisis that Washington State Parks has been facing, my job was eliminated—along with more than 100 others. Crushed, I was forced to perceive the end of my career as a ranger. I tried to be rational. “I’ll find another career. Something good will come out of this. I’ll be OK.” But then, because I am fueled by emotional passion, my true feelings took over. The thought of turning

Stacy Czebotar, state park rangerPhoto by Erielle Flores

Location photos courtesy of WSPRC.

“The thought of turning in my badge, saying goodbye to coworkers...letting go of a park I loved was heart-breaking.”


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails


32 » Backcountry

The Gear Closet »Backcountry

Ahh, spring. Slopes of frosty white give way to luxurious mossy greenery along quiet, forested trails. Budding wildflowers prepare for their annual parade, and misty waterfalls gush over rocky precipices. Oh, and there’s the occasional downpour.

For the last six months, the Washington Trails gear team has been hard at work testing the latest in rain gear offerings—from jackets and pants to hats, gloves and gaiters—in efforts to help prepare and protect you from the damp spring elements while out on the trail.

It was a challenging test among the many brands and material types we sampled. The criteria ranged from effective water-repellency, comfort and breathability, weight and packability, pockets and other features, to the all-important price factor. In the end, we narrowed our choices from the amazingly economical to the best of the high-tech.

You really can’t get more bang for your buck out of a waterproof shell jacket than with the MontBell Thunder Pass Jacket. This rugged three-layer waterproof jacket is

ideal for shrugging off our soggy Pacific Northwest weather; keeping the elements away from your body, while releasing the moisture your body produces through its ventilated pockets and full pit zips. Not weighed down with lots of bells and whistles, the Thunder Pass has exactly what you need: pack-friendly pockets, a roll-back hood large enough to accommodate a climbing helmet, cuffs and waist that can be cinched down, and a flap that goes over the front zipper to help seal out rain. It also comes with its own stuff sack. Fit-wise, it offers ample room in the waist to go over your hips, and the proportions of the jacket are made perfectly for women. If you’re in the market for a tough, affordable rain shell, this is it. $99

Gear tester Patrick Leahy is totally RAB–knocking back the elements in the Demand Pull-On Jacket and Sawtooth Pants


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails Backcountry « 33

Q: What is the best way to restore waterproof characteristics to a garment that has been washed with detergent or just gotten dirty?

— Ken Giesbers

A: Washing with detergent isn’t necessarily bad for the material, just be sure it’s a powder, not a liquid. There are detergents specifically made for waterproof, breathable items, such as Nikwax Tech Wash. After washing, use a wash-in waterproofing product (like Nikwax TX Direct) and be sure to dry your garment in a dryer—the heat helps to activate your garment’s proofing properties.

— Cheri Higman & Patrick Leahy

Got a question for our experts? Send an email to [email protected] and ask.

If your question is selected for the next issue, you could win a piece of trail-tested hiking gear.

This month, Ken Giesbers has won a Primus Polaris Lantern.

You want a lightweight, waterproof, breathable, full-featured jacket and pant combo that won’t break the bank and doesn’t skimp on the details? Look no further than Mountain Hard-

wear’s Stretch Cohesion Jacket and Pants, utilizing the new Dry.Q Core technology. The Cohesion jacket has both core and pit zip vents for excellent breathability, a superbly designed hood large enough for a climbing helmet, and two chest pockets perfect for access with a pack on. Our female tester was impressed that the women’s jacket flared at the waist, allowing a much better fit over the hips, while the men’s version allows for broader shoulders with simple, straighter seams along the torso. The slight stretch of the Ark 30D fabric provides a full range of motion, whether in high alpine endeavors or just reaching up to pull down your bear bag. We noticed the stretch even more predominantly in the Cohesion pants. Instead of the typical clammy and sticky feeling of most rain shell pants, these pants stretch smoothly with every monster uphill step you take—brilliant! The three-quarter zips allow for critical ventilation and easy removal, even with crampons. Combine the impenetrable water resistance with that little bit of stretch and you’ll wish you had this performance in all of your outerwear. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better jacket pant combination. Jacket $170; pants $130

When we first tried on the Sherpa Resham Jacket, we immediately noticed the feel of the surface material: soft, silky and flexible—highly unlike most other rain shells out

there today—making it decidedly comfortable to wear while allowing complete freedom of movement. And light! At just 12.6 ounces, the Resham is extremely compressible and easily packable, perfect for day hikes and backpacks. Comfortable on moderately cool days, the roomy-yet-not-frumpy fit allowed a heavy midlayer to be added without uncomfortable bulking when the temps dropped. When the rains came, the unique three-layer polyurethane laminate proved both extremely rain-repellent and breathable, utilizing fully taped seams. The extra-large, pack-friendly hand pockets also double as vents to maintain comfort. For its weight, function, comfort and performance, the Resham was a go-to favorite. The only thing we had to get used to was the European-style reversed zippers—but that’s just us. Available in men’s and women’s sizes. $199

U.K. manufacturer RAB has designed a superlight alpine jacket for all your favorite outdoor pursuits in the RAB Demand Pull-On. Constructed of three-layer eVent, this coat

is absolutely waterproof and extremely breathable, despite having no pit zips (the deep three-quarter zipper provides plenty of ventilation). Even during heavy wind and dumping rain on the Esmeralda Peaks loop, we were extremely impressed with the protection provided by this 10-ounce jacket, due in part to the lower-cut back, with just enough added coverage. The helmet-compatible hood with wired brim was our favorite feature, hugging the head exactly where it should, and still allowing for excellent peripheral vision. Combine the jacket with RAB Sawtooth Pants, and you’ll have a combo you’ll absolutely love—we sure did! In our female tester’s words, “With an athletic build—smaller waist and a rear that can kick any mountain’s butt—it’s tough to find a pant that fits well. The Sawtooths are it!” From hiking, climbing to snowshoeing and Nordic ski trips, they did not disappoint. Two zippered thigh pockets contain small items, while the zippered and ventilated cargo pockets are perfect for maps, food, gloves or a hat. Fabulous in all seasons, the Sawtooths can be pushed to their limits by simply adding a base layer. With excellent water repellency, tons of stretch, and an absolutely superb, comfortable fit, you don’t have to be a technical climber to appreciate all the features this bomber RAB combo has to offer. Jacket $290; pants $110


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

We were pleasantly surprised when we first tried on Columbia’s Peak Power Jacket. Light and easy to wear, it was exceptionally comfortable with the rapid release of heat going uphill, with under-arm vents that provided ample

cooling airflow. The large, lined and reinforced main pockets—which can also be opened for additional venting—are perfect for keeping the hands tucked, while roomy inside pockets let you stow small items. The Peak Power jacket employs a unique feature: the shoulders are dotted with non-slip material to help keep pack straps in place. The new Omni-Dry material performed superbly—very breathable, waterproof and windproof. For spring 2012, the Peak Power jacket is being upgraded to the Peak 2 Peak Jacket (pictured). It will have the same design and construction as the former, but feature two additional zippered chest pockets, improved Invizzip zipper construction and bold new color combinations. This is not the Columbia we’re used to—and we’re happy to see where they’re going. $350

When it comes to high-tech water-repellency, the Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket is a hands-down winner. It’s on the spendy side, but this technical, trim-fit rain shell will keep you dry through the worst of temperamental weather, and it packs so many features we

can’t even begin to list them all. For an athletic-cut style, we found the Beta AR to be remarkably giving in its freedom of movement, with articulated elbows and gusseted underarms, hence no bulking up under pack straps. The full, high-back collar and helmet-compatible Drop Hood help to keep the chills out with the hood up or down. Roomy pockets? The Beta’s got ’em, in addition to an internal chest pocket, all with laminated WaterTight zippers. And performance is impeccable. In pouring rain in the Olympics, the Gore-Tex Pro Shell surface had water rolling right off it, and the fully seam-sealed construction ensured no leakage. The jacket was highly breathable overall, but when things really heated up, large pit zips allowed for additional venting. Sleek and lightweight, the Beta AR is the Ferrari of weather-resistant outerwear. Available in men’s and women’s sizes. $450

These are but a handful of our team’s favorite items. There’s a wide selection of quality products out there, in a variety of fabrics, fits and styles, available to suit every rainy season activity, interest and budget. So for hiking, biking, climbing, trail running or just adding new gear to your Ten Essentials, try any one of these and stay dry this spring, mile after mile.t

Visit for additional selections of quality rain gear by more of your favorite outdoor brands: The North Face, Patagonia, Outdoor Research and more.

Coming in April: Keeping the gear team dry was just half the battle. Keeping their gear dry was another effort altogether. Watch for April's Trail News exclusive where we highlight the team’s favorite water-repellent accessories—packs, pack covers, dry bags, cases and more—to help you get the most out of the rainy season, with dry self and dry gear.

The Washington Trails gear team is Cherie Bevers, Cheri Higman, Patrick Leahy and Eli Boschetto

34 » Backcountry

The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero is the hat to own in the

Northwest. Its versatile design protects you from rain, snow and sun. Taslan Gore-Tex in the crown makes it waterproof and breathable while WickLine lining whisks moisture away. It features an internal cinch band, letting you create the perfect fit. $55

A durable, waterproof, breathable gauntlet glove is a must in the backcountry for full pro-tection from the elements, and Mountain Hardwear’s Typhon Gloves are a bombproof choice that puts up with all the abuse you throw at it. Wear just the

While you may employ a solid jacket-pants combo on your rainy-day adventures, remember the remaining unprotected areas: head, hands and feet. These key parts of the body lose heat rapidly, so adding coverage—hats, gloves, even a little extra on the boots—will provide a dramatic increase in wet-weather comfort.

shell in mild temps, or if the mercury drops, add the included wool-blend liner. $140

When slogging down a trail in the rain your boots are exposed to the most moisture—mud, puddles, wet vegetation—and even the most waterproof boots can start to feel damp and clammy. Not while wearing Outdoor Research’s Salamander Gaiters. These seam-taped gaiters offer full coverage of your hiking boots. $45



We extend our thanks toWTA’s Corporate Partners

Rainier - $25,000+

Olympic - $10,000-$24,999

Cascade - $2,500-$9,999

Alpine - $1,000-$2,499, Hilleberg the Tentmaker, The Mountaineers Books,

The Noble Fir, Outdoor Research, Orthopedics International, Seattle

Outdoor, Therm-a-Rest® and MSR®

To find out how your company can support WTA’s work for trails, please call us at (206)

625-1367 or email [email protected].

Early rain gear was not very pleasant for hikers. It usually relied on a polyurethane (PU) layer within the garment’s material to move moisture through diffusion, a two-step process similar to “wicking” (the process by which moisture is transported away from the body). With traditional PU fabrics, a person needed to both perspire and be warm for the process to be activated. The downside was a buildup of perspiration during heavy exertion, leaving the wearer wet and cold going downhill or resting.

Then came Gore-Tex, or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Fabricated with the inclusion of billions of tiny pores per square inch, it allowed water vapor to escape outward—before the buildup of perspiration—while keeping water droplets (rain) from entering. (The smallest water droplets at 10 microns are still a billion times larger than water vapor molecules.) It also employed an ultra-thin layer of PU to protect the PTFE layer from damaging dirt and oils.

Today, waterproof breathable rain gear fabrics commonly consist of up to three separate layers of unique material, often employing an outer face fabric, a waterproof breathable layer (either an ultra-thin, weblike membrane or a liquid polyurethane coating) and an optional lining. The outer layer is usually treated with a durable water repellence (DWR) finish. Typically, the more layers, the better the construction, the higher the price (though there are exceptions).

Manufacturers of waterproof breathable fabrics are constantly searching for the ultimate material. While the technologies are a guarded secret, new materials are being designed lighter, and more breathable—some even eliminating the PU layer entirely—giving the original Gore-Tex a run for its money. Here’s a some of what you’ll find in many outerwear products now.

The original water-repellent breathable membrane, Gore-Tex now produces the high-tech ProShell and the new ActiveShell. They are fabricated with an oleophobic (oil-hating) substance to prevent the penetration of body oils and bug repellents that could affect performance.

On the heels of Gore-Tex, eVent is an advanced technology that is similar to PTFE in composition, but without the need for the protective PU layer. This allows faster moisture-vapor transport than a PTFE-PU combo. Its unique composition allows millions of tiny pores to breathe at their full potential. Sweat vents directly to the outside of the fabric in one easy step.

Mountain Hardwear’s new Dry.Q family of waterproof breathable materials comes in the form of Dry.Q Core, combining performance with value; Dry.Q Active, a stretchy, lightweight fabric for active sports; and Dry.Q Elite, made for ultimate durability, waterproofness and breathability that starts working the moment you put it on.

In select Columbia styles, Omni-Dry circulates air through the fabric, helping to regulate the conditions in the garment and keep excess moisture from collecting inside. This is achieved by the material’s being highly air permeable and extremely thin and lightweight.

A new contender this year, Polartec NeoShell is produced with an exclusive membrane that engages convection to move moisture vapor away rapidly. Even at extremely low levels of pressure, air flows in and out of the fabric, pulling moisture out to keep the wearer dry, even during high-exertion activities. The new fabric is almost 100 percent windproof, and offers light stretching for comfort during high output activities.t

– Cherie Bevers

To maintain their water repellency and prolong their lives, waterproof garments must be cleaned and periodically re-proofed. Nikwax and Gear-Aid offer products specifically formulated to keep articles performing at their best—and keeping you dry on the trails season after season.

The Evolution of Waterproof Fabrics

Detail graphic of Mountain Hardwear’s Dry.Q Core in action.

Backcountry « 35


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails36 » On Trail

It’s dawn, and you’re strolling along the Discovery Trail from Sequim to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. As the trail turns north, you’re walking just a few feet from the water. Out in the surf, you spot small brown animals bobbing in the waves. Their whiskered faces, dark bodies and flat tails undulate through the water.

These are otters. But are these sea otters or river otters? While the two species may look similar, they have actually taken different approaches to their aquatic life.

Otters are members of the mustelid (weasel) family, which also includes mink, ferrets, badgers, martens, wolverines and skunks. This diverse family occupies a variety of niches from the water (otters) to the trees (martens and fishers) to the ground (badgers, weasels), and can be found from the arctic to the tropics. The sea otter is among the largest mustelids; males can weigh 70 pounds or more. The river otter is smaller, reaching only up to 30 pounds.

From the River …Of the two species, the river otter (Lontra canadensis) has the most

widespread range, historically native to each of the lower 48 states and Alaska. River otters are impressive travelers. In Washington, they may live anywhere there is water, including venturing into the urban jungles of Seattle and Tacoma. The normal range of an adult may include 10 miles of streamfront, yet there are stories of live-trapped and translocated otters finding their way home over distances of 70 miles or more.

River otters are powerful swimmers and do much of their foraging in water, but unlike their seafaring cousins, they also spend a great deal of time on land, including sleeping, grooming, giving birth and nursing their young. Interestingly, young otters are not born knowing how to swim, but must be coached into the water and taught.

While the name suggests a preference for freshwater, river otters often forage in brackish or even salt water. They are opportunistic hunters, dining on a variety of foods from fish and crustaceans to beetles, birds’ eggs and small mammals. They have sensitive whiskers for murky water and a keen sense of smell to detect prey.

Unlike most mustelids, otters are social creatures, living in family groups consisting of an adult female, her offspring, and often one or two unrelated “helpers.” Social bonds are strengthened by group hunting, grooming and play. Young otters take play to an art form, spending hours sliding, chasing and wrestling with each other. Even the unbiased observer would have a difficult time not seeing the joy and exuberance in a group of playing otters.

Otterin theWater

By Sylvia Feder

Below: A mother sea otter and pup float off Washington’s Olympic Coast. Opposite: A curious river otter rests on a log in Rattlesnake Lake.Photos by Tami AsarsIllustrations by Sylvia Feder

March + April 2012 » Washington Trails36 » Backcountry


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails On Trail « 37

While Washington appears to have a healthy population of river otters, the species still faces potential threats from urban sprawl, development and increasing levels of pesticides that leach into our waterways.

… To the SeaWashington’s other otter species, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris), spends

virtually its entire life in the ocean. Graceful in the water, it is slow and awkward when forced onto land. Sea otters forage by diving to the sea floor, where they gather clams, mussels and other invertebrates. They often use rocks to smash shells to obtain the tender meat inside, making them one of the few mammals that use tools. Although adults generally forage alone, they rest together in large groups called rafts, which may contain up to 100 individuals.

The sea otter’s adaptations to living in cold seawater are many: it has big lungs, a very high metabolic rate, and a nose and ears that can close to exclude water. Sea otters have large kidneys to be able to process salt water; they also derive at least some of their water from the metabolism of their food. And since they lack the insulating blubber of other marine mammals, sea otters have evolved a denser fur coat than any other mammal—reportedly one million hairs per square inch. Between the waterproof guard hairs and the soft undercoat, the skin of a healthy and clean otter never gets wet.

It was this thick, soft, luxurious coat that intertwined sea otters with Pacific coastal history. Starting in the mid-1700s, when explorer Vitus Bering returned to Russia with sea otter pelts, this “soft gold” provided the primary incentive for explorations up and down the Pacific coast. Eager buyers from China to Europe fueled the demand for sea otter fur. As the years went by, Russians, Canadians and Americans each took their turn hunting, extirpating and then searching for new otter populations. By the mid-1800s, sea otter populations were so reduced that commercial hunting was no longer viable.

By then, many naturalists believed that the sea otter was on an inexorable path to extinction. Even though as many as 1,000 individuals were thought to survive, they were in small, isolated and vulnerable populations scattered along the coast from the Aleutians to California. Finally, in 1911, a fur treaty between Russia, Japan, England and the U.S. gave protection to sea otters, and although poaching was an occasional threat, the otter population gradually began recovering.

In 1969, small groups of otters were relocated to Washington from Amchitka Island, on the Aleutian chain. These otters have now reached a sustainable population of over 1,000 animals, mostly from Neah Bay to Destruction Island, are beginning to venture into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and have been sighted near the town of Sekiu.

Not all species have been so lucky. About the same time that the sea otter was being pursued for its pelt, a similar campaign was being conducted on the Atlantic coast with the sea mink, a large, unique coastal-living animal with thick reddish fur. A testament to hunting efficiency and lack of conservation, the sea mink was exterminated by 1860.

Back on the Discovery Trail, the sun is bright on the water. The trail is filled with walkers, joggers and bicyclists, and the otters have disappeared. These were likely river otters, probably an extended family of a female and her pups. To complete your otter odyssey, you need to drive only another couple of hours to the coast. There, you have a chance to view sea otters, foraging and resting in offshore kelp beds. These remarkably curious and playful animals represent a species that nearly disappeared, yet are now making a dramatic comeback, proving to be a clear example of successful conservation at work.t

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March + April 2012 » Washington TrailsMarch + April 2012 » Washington Trails38 » Backcountry

There’s something romantic about the 2,655-mile long* Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Strewn with dreams, soul-searching endeavors, and ghosts of the past, the PCT seems to tingle with the spirits of those who have traveled here before: Federal Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas; Triple-Crown hiker Eric Ryback; Ann Marshall, daughter of WTA’s founder, Louise Marshall; as well as countless others that have been inspired by or undertaken the exhausting yet unforgettable trek from Mexico to Canada.

The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader, Oregon and Washington, is a collection of essays by dreamers, thru-hikers and section hikers of the PCT, allowing you to enjoy traveling portions of the PCT in the form of delightful vignettes, chosen by Rees Hughes and Corey Lee Lewis. Stories of high-water crossings, stubborn horses, near-disasters and misjudgment keep you turning the pages with firsthand passages by William Sullivan, Amanda Carter, Eric Ryback,† and many more.

Mixed in with the deeply personal essays, humorous tales and moving poetry, the volume also touches on the legislative history of the PCT, the spotted owl controversy, and the story of the Naches Wagon Road, all making this an excellent read, by fireplace or campfire. Just pick through the many essays and choose the one that fits your mood until you’ve read them all. And when you’re finished, you can sit back and dream of your own trip—whether you’ve done it in the past, or planning it for the future.

The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader, Oregon and Washington; Adventure, History and Legend on the Long-Distance Trail, Rees Hughes and Corey Lee Lewis, editors. Published by The Mountaineers Press. Also available: The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader, California.t

Book Review » Kim Brown

The Pacific Crest Trailside Readers contain several highly detailed woodcut illustrations by Amy Uyeki. Here, the PCT approaches the Northwest's jagged Cascade Mountains.

*The trail grew by 5 miles this summer, thanks to the new bridge over Washington’s Suiattle River and trail reroute.

†Eric Ryback is credited with the first successful completion of the PCT in 1970. Unlike most present-day PCT-ers, he started from Canada in June and spent over a month struggling through snow, heading south to Mexico. There are some that contest his achievement.

Hike the PCT(From Anywhere)


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

Snapshot » Buff Black

Backcountry « 39

If gray, rainy days are the investment, then streaming waterfalls are the abundant dividends. Waterfalls so define our Northwest landscape that our central mountains are named for them—the Cascades. Yet capturing evocative portraits of water in freefall is more than a snapshot; it’s a calculated and creative process that combines the technical with the artistic.

But before you reach for your camera, be mindful that circling waterfalls can be a wet, slippery and exposed endeavor. Wear water-repellent gear (check out some of the options in this issue’s Gear Closet) and waterproof footwear with good tread. The only thing that should fall is the water.

Well clad and well shod, explore different angles around the falls: from above or below, from the banks and from downstream, or even midstream (remember, good footwear). Once you’ve selected a scene, set up your tripod. This three-legged companion is a mission-critical accessory for capturing airbrushed waterfalls, because it holds the camera still for long exposures. Vantage stable, it’s now time to liberate your camera and dial in the settings.

1. Go low on ISO. Set your ISO speed at 100 or less. This makes the sensor (the digital “film”) less sensitive to light so that you can keep the shutter open longer. In brighter scenes, you can attach a neutral density or polarizing filter to sufficiently dim the incoming light.

2. Quiet your camera. You want the falls blurred, not your whole picture. To prevent camera shake, use a wired or wireless remote shutter release. For the quietest of cameras, use your camera’s mirror lockup in combination with its self-timer; this allows the clunking vibration of the mirror movement to dissipate by the time the shutter releases.

3. Expose exceptionally. The waterfall itself is typically the brightest portion of the composition, and it is relatively easy to overexpose it, resulting in a featureless, white streak. To capture all the interesting detail of the blurred falls, set your camera’s highlight alert so you can tell when your exposure is going downriver with the water.

4. Take lots of shots. Once you’ve got it all dialed in, don’t skimp on the captures. Experiment with varying shutter speeds. An exposure needs at least 1/8 of a second to reveal a waterfall’s silky veil. Longer exposures—1/2 second, 1 second, even 4 to 8 seconds—can deliver a plush velvet.

As compelling as the photographic process is, be sure to step out from behind the lens now and then to experience the scene in all its natural splendor: listen to the thundering downrush, feel the mist, and see the cascade in a way that only the nondigital eye can.t

Buff Black has been chasing the light with a camera for a quarter century. At home in Bellingham, his local and regional artwork is featured by eclectic cafes, businesses, nonprofits, campaigns and the City of Bellingham. Visit his expanding online gallery at

Buff captured this photo of Upper Whatcom Falls after January’s big snow event. The high water runoff created a rare twin-falls panorama. These are the uppermost falls at Bellingham’s Whatcom Falls Park, where Whatcom Creek plunges from Lake Whatcom toward Bellingham Bay.This photo was shot at 22mm, ISO 50, f/22, at 1.3 seconds.


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

Trail Eats » Sarah Kirkconnell

PER WRAP: u 1 burrito-size flour tortilla

u 1 Tbsp. ranch dressing

u 2 slices cheese

u 3 slices deli meat

u 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained

u 1/4 cup baby spinach leaves

DIRECTIONS:1. Lay out tortilla and brush on the dressing. Lay down the cheese and deli meat.

2. Take two artichoke hearts from the can and squeeze gently to remove all water; chop up and sprinkle on top. Lay the spinach on top, and roll up tightly.

3. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Carry to the trailhead in a cooler.

Spinach Artichoke Wrap

40 » Backcountry

FOR THE SALAD: u 1 1/2 cups couscous

u 1 Tbsp. dried onion

u 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

u 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

u 1/4 cup diced pistachios

DIRECTIONS:1. Bring the broth and onion to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous. Take

off the heat, cover tightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork into a large bowl; toss with rinsed chickpeas.

2. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Let chill overnight.

3. Before heading out, stir in the pistachios and then pack into lightweight sandwich containers (such as Glad or Ziploc) with tight-fitting lids. Makes 2-3 large portions.

INGREDIENTS: u 1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal ¢ 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

u 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats ¢ 1/2 cup pure maple syrup*

u 1/4 cup raisins* ¢ 1/2 cup peanut butter*

u 1/4 cup shredded coconut ¢ 1 tsp. vanilla extract

u 1/3 cup chocolate chips, frozen

DIRECTIONS:1. Spray an 8x8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Mix the first five

ingredients in a large, heat-safe mixing bowl.

2. In a medium saucepan bring the sugar and syrup to a boil; take off heat and add peanut butter and vanilla; stir till smooth.

3. Quickly add the hot syrup to the dry ingredients, mixing while pouring in. Once thoroughly coated, dump mixture into the prepared pan. Pack down firmly.

4. Let sit until cool, then slice into bars with a thin knife. Wrap tightly for carrying.

* Substitute your favorite dried fruit or nut butter; use honey instead of syrup.

Chewy Granola Bars

Pistachio Couscous Salad

Sarah Kirkconnell is the author of Trail Cooking Made Simple. Find more trail-worthy recipes for your next adventure at

FOR THE DRESSING:u 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

u 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

u 1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar

u 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

u 1/4 tsp. dried basil

Don’t cook in the rain—eat gourmet with these no-cook trail meals

NOTES:Look for gourmet tortillas in fun flavors like sun-dried tomato or jalapeño.

Water-packed artichokes can be found at Trader Joe’s.

Try a variety of cheeses like Swiss, Havarti, Muenster or pepper-jack.



Safety Notice Neither Washington Trails magazine, the Washington Trails Association, nor their personnel accept any liability for accidents or injuries in connection with articles, trail or road reports published in Washington Trails magazine. The reports provide updated infor-mation of interest to the region’s trail users; readers are cautioned to supplement the reports with other sources of information when planning a trip. Additionally, readers should be aware that reported conditions may change, that there may be errors in the re-ports, and that certain hazards are inherent in backcountry travel.

Elk Creek Falls, Colville National Forest

Otter Falls, Snoqualmie Pass

Ingalls Creek, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Murhut Falls, Olympic National Forest

Snoquera Falls, Chinook Pass

Where the Water Falls »






Take a Hike!1










Upper Siouxon Creek, Gifford Pinchot N.F.

Wallace Falls, Wallace Falls State Park

Old Sauk River Trail, Mountain Loop Hwy.

Ancient Lakes, Quincy Recreation Area



Are your trail legs twitching waiting for summer to come? While your favorite routes may still be under snow, try one of these lower-elevation trails, just right for early spring, when all that early snowmelt cre-ates some dazzling cascades and waterfalls. Don’t forget your rain gear!


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails 42 » Take a Hike!42 » Take a Hike!

u Northeast Washington Location: Colville National ForestTotal Mileage: 2.1 milesElevation Gain: 300 feetHighest Elevation: 2,820 feetMap: USGS Topo: Metaline FallsPermit: NoneDirections: From Metaline Falls, drive east on SR-31 for 2 miles. Turn right on Sullivan Lake Road for 4 miles to the Mill Pond Historic Site.Post Hike: Check out the Mill Pond Historic Site. Here, early settlers dammed Sullivan Creek, creating a reservoir from which a 4-mile-long flume diverted water to a hydroelectric plant downstream. This plant provided the first power to Metaline Falls. A 0.7-mile interpretive trail showcases several historic structures, including the remains of the old flume.

Hike: Elk Creek Falls Hike through cedar, hemlock and aspen forest on this family-friendly loop to a pretty cascade in Colville National Forest.

From the upper parking area at Mill Pond Historic Site, immediately cross Sullivan Lake Road and commence climbing through open forest. Serviceberry shrubs arc over the undergrowth; above sway paper birch and aspen. Come autumn this forest feels reminiscent of eastern hardwood forest, yellow and orange leaves accumulating in drifts on the trail.

The trail ducks into a draw lorded over by enormous western redcedar and western hemlock before angling up and out onto a shrubby bench. From here, peer down upon Mill Pond and Sullivan Lake, the latter of which is among the largest natural lakes in the Washington Selkirks and an excellent base for exploring the nearby Salmo-Priest Wilderness. (This area has been proposed as an addition to the Salmo-Priest Wilderness, the only designated wilderness in northeast Washington.)

From this vantage point, gradually descend to the highlight of the hike, Elk Creek Falls, which tumbles down and around massive, mossy boulders and cedar roots; a bridge crossing in front of the falls allows a face-to-falls view. To return, descend along gurgling Elk Creek through hemlock forest. Cross Sullivan Lake Road once more, and turn right at the trail junction for a short jaunt back to the trailhead.

Hike and photo by Aaron Theisen—Spokane, WA


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Hike: Otter FallsA wonderful easy walk through lush forest allows one to appreciate the best of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie watershed.

From the Dingford Creek trailhead, hike south, following the Taylor River Trail. Along the way, marvel at the surrounding trees, moss, lichen and a forest floor bristling with mushrooms. At 3 miles, pause at pretty Marten Creek. New bridge material strengthens the ancient-looking original structure. Continue on to the Big Creek bridge at about 4.5 miles. This trail was once slated for a road-building project up the Taylor River drainage, which thankfully never came to fruition.

Continue on another quarter mile to an unsigned trail on the left, where a boot path has been created by visitors of Otter Creek Falls. Typically there is a cairn to mark the trail, but test your tracking skills first and try to spot it yourself. Up, up, up through the woods and over tangles of roots—it is fairly steep—come to a lovely viewpoint of Otter Creek Falls spilling into Lipsy Lake. The water streams down a towering granite wall, looking like a thin white sheet of gauze with tendrils intermingled throughout.

Otter Falls makes a great turnaround spot for those happy with a 10-mile round-trip day; to add a little more to your day, continue another quarter mile past the side trail to Big Creek Falls.

Hike by Kim Brown—Seattle, WA • Photo by Lisa Green—Seattle, WA

March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

u Snoqualmie Pass Location: Middle Fork SnoqualmieTotal Mileage: 10 milesElevation Gain: 650 feetHighest Elevation: 1,750 feetMap: Green Trails 174: Mount SiPermit: NW Forest PassDirections: Drive I-90 east to exit 34, turning left on 468th Street. Turn right onto FR 56 and continue 12.5 miles, then left onto Taylor River Road to trailhead parking.Post Hike: On your way home, drop into the town of Snoqualmie and take a short walking tour of the Northwest Railway Museum. Stomach rumbling? Hit up the North Bend Bar and Grill. Relax by one of the fireplaces and enjoy some good eats and a refreshing local brew. Try the Trail Burger: an angus patty topped with bacon, Swiss and sautéed mushrooms, then finished off with their house-made chipotlé bbq sauce. Mmm.



March + April 2012 » Washington Trails 44 » Take a Hike! March + April 2012 » Washington Trails44 » Take a Hike!

Hike: Ingalls CreekThis popular trail parallels a thunderous creek on a gentle grade, making for an excellent springtime river romp.

The Ingalls Creek Trail features a variety of scenery that includes big pines, boulder fields, granite cliffs, old growth and occasional views of the mighty Stuart Range. The primary attraction in the later spring is the proliferation of wildflowers, some of which are uncommon. Be prepared for the cool breezes that flow down the valley, and carry an extra layer.

The trail is an excellent day hike and a good place to spend the night, especially if you plan to hike the entire trail, which leads to Stuart Pass (16 miles one way) and beyond. There are many excellent sites for resting or camping beside the creek—but you’ll have to wait until the snow melts before attempting to reach higher elevations via this trail.

There is a gravel bar at Falls Creek and a log that tempts crossing. This can be extremely dangerous during high runoff in springtime, and should be forded only during the summer months. If you want to see more beyond Falls Creek, continue up the Ingalls Creek Trail 2 miles and 300 feet to Cascade Creek, snow permitting.

The Ingalls Creek Trail is best enjoyed by hiking slowly in both directions and looking along the trail carefully for small flowers and fungi—but do look up and around at times because you might see an elk in the spring.

Hike and photo by Dennis Graver—Camano Island, WA

44 » Take a Hike!44 » Take a Hike!

u East Cascades Location: Alpine Lakes WildernessTotal Mileage: 11 milesElevation Gain: 1,450 feetHighest Elevation: 3,450 feetMap: Green Trails 210: LibertyPermit: NW Forest PassDirections: From Yakima, drive 88 miles north on I-82 to Ellensburg, continuing onto US-97. Near milepost 178, turn left on Ingalls Creek Road; proceed 1.2 miles to road’s end and trailhead parking.Post Hike: Visit the Bavarian town of Leavenworth. Stroll amid quaint European-styled shops, and visit the Nutcracker Museum, with more than 6,000 modern and antique nutcrackers. Then stop in at Gustav’s Pub and dine on German sausage and wash it down with one of their signature Icicle Ales.


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails


March+April2012»WashingtonTrails Take a Hike! « 45

Hike: Murhut Falls This short and easy trail in the Hood Canal Ranger District on the east side of the Olympics takes hikers to a relatively unknown waterfall.

If “no pain, no gain,” is your mantra, you might want to skip this trail. But if you like a short trail that delivers its reward—a captivating 130-foot plunging waterfall—in just under a mile, then this is the hike for you. What is more, you’ll hardly break a sweat in the easy climb of 250 feet elevation gain to reach the tiered falls. And amazingly, you’ll probably not have to put up with many other hikers along the way, as the trail is still relatively unknown.

The well-maintained Murhut Falls Trail begins with a gradual ascent, then flattens out before the final ascent to your 1,050-foot destination. This is Pacific rhododendron country, so if you hike it in late spring you’ll find yourself surrounded by pink bursts of bloom splashed against the surrounding green forest. You may or may not notice that the trail was converted from an old logging road, hence the easy, well-smoothed tread. The roar of the falls will be with you for the final stretch of trail as you descend into a hidden ravine that shelters the tiered falls. Exercise caution and hold small hands in the final stretch where the trail narrows and there is a dropoff to one side.

If you like a lot of bang for very little buck, this trail is definitely for you, and makes a wonderful family outing.

Hike by Lauren Braden—Seattle, WA • Photo by Kelsie Donleycott—Belfair, WA

u Olympic Peninsula Location: Olympic National ForestTotal Mileage: 1.6 milesElevation Gain: 300 feetHighest Elevation: 1,050 feetMap: Green Trails 168: The BrothersPermit: NW Forest PassDirections: Drive Duckabush Road west from milepost 310 on US-101 6.3 miles to a fork. Veer right another 1.3 miles to trailhead parking.Post Hike: Satisfy that before- or after-hike hunger by stopping into the Logger’s Landing in Quilcene for hearty breakfasts and tasty burgers and fries. If you're looking for more in the area, check out the Olympic Game Farm. Get closeup views of grizzly bears, bison and elk from the comfort and ease of your own vehicle. Kids will love it!

March + April 2012 » Washington Trails



March + April 2012 » Washington Trails 46 » Take a Hike! March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

Hike: Snoquera FallsWith a trailhead so easily accessible, there’s no excuse not to visit Snoquera Falls. Best in early spring, this lush, forested trail features a pretty fantail cascade plunging down a sheer, rocky wall.

From the roadside trailhead you immediately plunge into rainforest, more in tune with what you would expect to see in the Olympics. The first half mile is a casual stroll amid mossy and dripping cedar, western hemlock, big leaf and vine maple, and a forest floor occasionally carpeted with western Washington’s harbingers of spring: skunk cabbage and trillium. At the first junction veer right, where the trail begins climbing in earnest up the lower flank of Little Ranger Peak.

A little over a mile in, the trail drops into a small basin where the streaming cascade of Snoquera Falls plunges down a rocky face. The volume in the falls changes dramatically with the seasons. In springtime, when heavy winter snows are melting rapidly, the falls can be roaring, filling the basin with cold spray; in the later summer months the falls may reduce to but a trickle, eventually picking up again with autumn rains.

From the falls, continue north another 1.5 miles, descending a few switchbacks to the next junction. Turn left, now heading south lower down on the slope. You'll pass a camp location, the reconnect with the first junction in 1.3 miles. Turn right, back on familiar trail, and return to your starting point.

Unlike many waterfall hikes in western Washington where you may risk life and limb for a clear glimpse of plunging water by clinging to trees and skirting cliffs, views of Snoquera Falls are right in front of you. Witness the many moods of both water and forest by hiking to Snoquera Falls in spring, summer and fall.

Hike by Kim Brown—Seattle, WA • Photo by Paul Raymaker—Seattle, WA

u Central Cascades Location: Chinook PassTotal Mileage: 6 milesElevation Gain: 2,800 feetHighest Elevation: 5,000 feetMap: Green Trails 238: GreenwaterPermit: NW Forest PassDirections: Drive east on SR-410 to the town of Greenwater. Continue south another 7 miles, past Dalles Campground, to trailhead parking on the north side of the highway.Post Hike: For a sweet treat on the way home, stop into The Pie Goddess in Enumclaw. Featuring a variety of mouth-watering fruit and cream pies, there's a flavor for everyone. Bring cash.

46 » Take a Hike!




Hike: Upper Siouxon CreekThis excellent early-season romp heads up a lush river canyon boasting three gorgeous waterfalls—with riverside campsites for an overnight, or a longer, more challenging loop.

From the trailhead at the end of FR-5701, descend to a T-junction and turn right (east), heading upstream toward Siouxon Creek (turning left heads downstream and connects to longer Huffman and Siouxon Peak Trails). The trail mostly stays above and alongside Siouxon Creek through shady Douglas-fir and red cedar forest. Along the way, spot primitive backcountry campsites, most with fire rings and log benches.

Just under a mile along, look for the Horseshoe Ridge trail, breaking off to the right. This 6.9-mile spur climbs to the 3,200-foot viewless crest of Horseshoe Ridge before descending to meet up with the Siouxon Creek trail farther up. After another half mile, the trail turns slightly south of Siouxon Creek to cross Horseshoe Creek Falls on a sturdy wooden bridge; 60 yards past the falls, look for a spur that descends to a couple of secluded campsites below the falls. A quarter mile farther brings you alongside Siouxon Creek Falls, a 40-foot plunge down a narrow S-shaped cleft. Two campsites and a small, primitive shelter can be found opposite the falls; a short side trail above the falls allows for water access.

Continue up the canyon for 2 more miles to a wide stream cascading across the trail. Use caution on the slick rocks during the early season high runoff. Just beyond the crossing, fork left over another wooden bridge, this time over a deep gorge cut through the rock. Now along Chinook Creek, pass a couple more campsites, and arrive at 50-foot Chinook Creek Falls. A ford is required to connect to the other side of the trail to continue on to Huffman and Siouxon Peaks, so this makes an ideal lunch and turnaround spot below the misty falls.

Hike and photo by Eli Boschetto—Portland, OR

u South Cascades Location: Gifford Pinchot National ForestTotal Mileage: 8.4 milesElevation Gain: 700 feetHighest Elevation: 1,570 feetMap: Green Trails 396: Lookout MountainPermit: NW Forest PassDirections: Drive I-205 north or south to exit 30. Turn east onto SR-500, turning into SR-503, for 26 miles. Turn right on NE Healy Road, continuing 9 miles to a fork. Veer left on FR-57 for 1.2 miles, then left again on FR-5701 4 miles to the trailhead.Post Hike: If you’re heading back to Portland, stop in for a burger and milkshake at Jim Dandy’s, off I-205 at Sandy. Serving since 1937, Jim Dandy’s is one of Oregon’s oldest—and best—drive-ins.

Take a Hike! « 47


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

Location: Wallace Falls State Park Total Mileage: 5.5 milesElevation Gain: 1,200 feet Highest Elevation: 1,500 feetMap: Green Trails 142: Index Permit: Discover Pass

Hike: Wallace FallsWallace Falls State Park may draw the crowds, but for good reason. The thundering Middle Falls is a springtime spectacle.

From the trailhead, begin hiking under power lines with decent views of Mount Index and Baring Mountain. After a quarter mile, enter hemlock forest, where the sound of buzzing wires is replaced by the rushing waters of the Wallace River. Veer right onto the Woody Trail, keeping alongside the river as you continue to head up the valley. Pass the upper junction with the Railroad Grade Trail, then cross a sturdy bridge over the North Fork Wallace River. Continue eastward another 0.8 mile to the viewpoint of 265-foot Middle Falls; Upper Falls is another half-mile farther. For your return, turn your route into a loop by detouring onto the Railroad Grade Trail for a little change of scenery.

48 » Take a Hike!

Location: Mountain Loop Highway Total Mileage: 6 MilesElevation Gain: 150 feet Highest Elevation: 800 feetMap: Green Trails 110: Silverton Permit: NW Forest Pass

Hike: Old Sauk River Trail Maybe no waterfall, but this nearly flat riverside stroll, lets you peep for bald eagles along the Wild and Scenic Sauk River.

Starting at the Murphy Creek trailhead, work your way through maple and cottonwood forest northward to the river’s edge. Start searching for bald eagles in the trees, as more than 100 of them commonly make the area their winter and spring home. The trail bends northwestward, following the river as it makes its way toward the Skagit. Visit later in the season for an explosion of wildflowers. Cross a small tributary bridge at 1.25 miles, then divert around a washout area at 2 miles. At nearly 3 miles, you turn away from the river again, now in mature Douglas-fir forest, back to the highway. This makes a good point to do an about-face and enjoy the view doubling back to where you started.

Location: Quincy Recreation Area Total Mileage: 4 milesElevation Gain: 10 feet Highest Elevation: 860 feetMap: USGS Quad: Babcock Ridge Permit: Discover Pass

Hike: Ancient Lakes Beautiful year-round, the Ancient Lakes on the floor of Potholes Coulee make a fantastic early-season hiking destination.

The Ancient Lakes are water-filled depressions scoured away during the various Bretz, or Missoula, floods from thousands of years ago. Today, the waterfalls that tumble down from the top of the coulee wall are year-round, but nicer for viewing in late spring and early summer. Desert flowers and sagebrush abound here, and the lakes are home to many species of birds. The trail to the end of the coulee is short and easy. While it’s not necessary to do anything but sit on the grassy slope and gaze at the waterfall, it is possible to scramble around the lake on the boulder field and clamber to the top of the coulee wall—a great place to watch the lovely cloudscapes during unsettled weather.





Shahid durrani

lindsay leffelman



Featured Trail Project »WTA’S Trail Work Parties in March and April

To sign up for one of WTA’s day trip work parties, head over to

Larrabee State ParkWashington’s first state park, Larrabee, is the only place where the Cascades reach the ocean, where big trees contrast with towering sandstone cliffs and beautiful beaches—and some super-sweet hiking trails, thanks in part to WTA volunteers.

Established in 1915, Larrabee’s 2,683 acres contains more than 8,100 feet of shoreline along Samish Bay. Contained within are 80 campsites and more than 15 miles of hiking trails, from sea level to 1,940 feet. And all in close proximity to Bellingham and the Chuckanuts.

One weekend last summer, a WTA work party listened to one of Larrabee’s dedicated and passionate rangers, Amber Forest, talking about the park she lived, loved and worked in. It made me think of all the trails and time WTA has spent working—and hiking—in this diverse and extremely special place.

As northwest district crew leader, I’ve had the pleasure of working with WTA volunteers in Larrabee for the past four years, identifying and fixing chronic problem areas, replacing bridges, brushing and improving drainage. They’ve helped improve drainage along the Clayton Beach Trail, allowing hikers to access interesting rock formations and quiet beaches without slogging through muddy trails. They’ve brushed and widened and installed a reroute on the Two-Dollar Trail, a sweet little 1.5-mile connector from Cleator Road to the northwest shore of Fragrance Lake. And let’s not forget about the new turnpikes on the Fragrance Lake Loop, with the excitement of buckets of soil and rock screaming down 110 feet of zipline to fill over 200 feet of raised walkway through a formerly messy area.

Our state parks are an important resource and offer a wonderful opportunity to get out on trail any time of the year. Come on out and take a hike or join one of our weekend work parties, and help support Washington’s state parks.t – Arlen Bogaards

Hikers on the North Lost Coast Trail in Larrabee State Park. Photo by Jessica Bush.

Date LocationMar 1–4 Evans Creek PreserveMar 1 Notch PassMar 2 Leadbetter State ParkMar 4 Dosewallips Bypass Mar 6 - 11 Evans Creek PreserveMar 10, 11 Larrabee State ParkMar 10, 11 Leadbetter State ParkMar 11 Dosewallips State ParkMar 13–18 Evans Creek PreserveMar 15 Cape HornMar 17 Cape HornMar 17 Mount WalkerMar 17, 18 Deception Pass State ParkMar 20–24 Cougar MountainMar 22 Cape HornMar 24 Evans Creek Preserve–YouthMar 24, 25 Soda Peaks LakeMar 25 Tiger MountainMar 27–31 Grand RidgeMar 29 Cape Horn Mar 31 Liberty LakeApr 1 Tiger MountainApr 2 Liberty LakeApr 3–7 Grand RidgeApr 5 Cape HornApr 7 Cape HornApr 7, 8 Larrabee State ParkApr 8 Tiger MountainApr 9–14 Spring Lake/Lake Desire (SB)Apr 10–14 O’GradyApr 12 Cape HornApr 15 Tiger MountainApr 16–21 Cougar Mountain (SB)Apr 17–22 O’GradyApr 21 Liberty LakeApr 22 Dishman HillsApr 22 Tiger MountainApr 24–27 Wallace Falls State ParkApr 27–29 Middle Fork SnoqualmieApr 28, 29 Catherine Creek/Coyote WallApr 28, 29 Larrabee State Park

Take a Hike! « 49


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

A Walk on the Wild Side »

50 » Wild Side

I was two campsites and umpteen trees away but, at last, relieved. We’d been scouring every shrub, trail and hillside for nearly an hour, hunting for my camera’s misplaced lens cap. When the mountain goat family showed up a few feet from our backcountry camp, the mad-scrambled excitement caused me to lose track of the protector, and recovering it was nothing short of a miracle. Seeing Sasquatch in the backcountry was more probable than finding a small round camouflaged disk wedged in subalpine heather. But there it was, and I danced a giddy jig in celebration.

It wasn’t my first rodeo with the unofficial Backcountry Lost and Found. One summer, after a challenging climb to the false summit of Mount Adams, my father fished around in his pack for his brand-new red fleece. It had arrived as a birthday gift a few months earlier, and he was excited to give it its maiden mountain voyage and test its ability to fend off the high alpine chill. The more he searched, the deeper the furrow on his brow became. Nothing. The fleece was missing in action despite his insistence he had it when we started. On the way down, we asked everyone we met about the red fleece. Their predictable response: “sorry.”

A weathered old mountain man worked his way up the peak and received no exemption to the question. He gave the familiar head shake, then thought a minute and uttered profoundly, “The mountain taketh, and the mountain giveth back.”

Months later my husband and I were on the top of a cold windy peak in the North Cascades. Gloves adorned my fingers, but his had been misplaced when we’d stopped for lunch on a backpacking trip weeks earlier. We had just been discussing the nip in the air when we eyeballed black fabric smiling at us between boulders. The mountain had given back a pair of windproof gloves, in just his right size. It was an “aha” moment, and the words of the mountain man became crystal clear.

Odds are, if you’ve ever spent any time roaming the backcountry hills, you’ve experienced the mountain taking or giving up various items. Recently a wedding ring missing for nearly four months was found and returned to its rightful owner. As luck would have it, a twelve-year old boy had spotted the shiny band near a bench on the Wallace Falls Trail as he waited for his parents who were steps behind. Returning home, a web search led the boy’s family to discover that the owner had posted about the missing band on a Trip Report on WTA’s web site. WTA was able to put the family in contact with the ring’s owner, and on Christmas Eve it was returned. The mountain had given back.

To this day, when I stumble across unusual objects on trails or discover items missing from my pack,

I can’t help but think of the words of the mountain man and feel enlightened.

The Backcountry Lost and Found’s complexity can be summarized in those

simple words, “the mountain taketh, and the mountain giveth back.”t

– Tami Asars

“Here it is!”

Illustration by Kara Chin



HIKE IT>>Wilderness Peak Trail

Location:Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Distance:4 miles round trip

Elevation Gain:1,200 feet

Map:Green Trails 403S: Cougar & Squak Mountains

Permit: none

Featured Landscape »

Back Page « 51

The Wilderness Peak Trail can be torturous, rising 485 feet in the first half-mile from the SR-900 trailhead. In this short stretch of trail, it is the sound of Wilderness Creek that stands out, especially in the spring. As the trail twists and turns upwards, the sound of falling water replaces the noise of the busy highway below.

On every hike I take a camera, sometimes two or three, depending on what I think I might see. I also take a small tripod just to take advantage of falling water along the way. I love waterfalls. They don’t have to be hundreds of feet tall to attract me. They can be measured in a handful of inches and I would still pause to take a look.

As I came to this small cascade at the end of a switchback, it was more than just plunging water. I noticed a single pink salmonberry blossom, dancing gently in the light breeze created by the nearby cataract. It added a perfect 'splash' of spring color to the falling water beyond.

It was a tricky shot since the blossom was moving slightly, as I wanted to use a very slow shutter speed to capture the flowing form of the water behind. It took a lot of patience and a great number of exposures to get the flower and water in sync, with the leaf and blossom in sharp focus. The final image has become a favorite of mine, speaking volumes about the beauty of spring in the Northwest.t

– Story and photograph by Robb Mitchell

Out with the cold, in with the new

Cougar Mountain

March + April 2012 » Washington Trails


March + April 2012 » Washington Trails

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