Musings by the River: Tipping Points and Climate

We pull into the near-empty gravel lot and park the car in front of a clump of snowberry bushes. Extracting ourselves from my compact vehicle, my husband and I pull our son Lucas from his carseat, bundle him up, and set him loose on the trail on this foggy October morning, hurrying through the dew-wet grass to keep up. After being sick and stuck in the house for the past four days, an acute case of cabin fever sent us running for the outdoors, even though all of our noses were still running as well. That's what sleeves are for, right?

We made the drive out to the Chinook Bend Natural Area in Carnation, a place I'd long wanted to visit after regularly driving past it for years. This 59-acre area wrapped on three sides by the Snoqualmie River is popular with birders and fishing enthusiasts, and is also a nice place to walk and stretch your legs. Once a piece of land degraded by cattle grazing, Chinook Bend is now an example of how thoughtful restoration can bring back the land&…

Wanderings: Blue Lake (again)

More and more of my Wanderings are including (again) in the title, and I'm grateful to have found so many lovely places to which I can return over the years. I first hiked to Blue Lake in September of 2015, and since that first magical trip into the land of larches and fall colors, I've longed to go back for a second experience.

My chance came when my sister asked if I'd like to hike Blue Lake with her, because she HAD to see the larches. She'd been eyeing the trip reports for the last few days, and those much-pursued trees were now sporting their golden foliage in the North Cascades. A scant few days later, we were on the road at bleary-eyed 6am (okay, 6:30am after the obligatory stop for coffee and the return trip home to retrieve the lunch I'd forgotten in the refrigerator) headed north on the long 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead. After traveling north on a nearly-empty I-5, we cut eastward and drove toward the sunrise on highway 530. As we moved upward in lati…

Wanderings: Bagley Lakes... and the Clouds

Hello dear readers! Or reader. Or perhaps I'm talking to myself here. I've been away from the blog for awhile, but am back to share a recent adventure. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to hike the Bagley Lakes trail with my book club friends. For this month's outing, we read Maria Mudd Ruth's A Sideways Look at Clouds, and the author herself joined us on the trails!

I've been absent a lot lately - from the blog, the book club, and many other things that used to be so important in my life. However, it is long past time to reconnect, so that's how I found myself standing at the trailhead on Sunday morning in forty-two degree weather with rain coming down sideways. My nose was numb and cheeks red and stinging within minutes as the cold wind buffeted my Gore-Tex clad body. I was gloriously excited.

Despite the weather, our all-women group was enthusiastic as we set off on the Bagley Lakes trail. Autumn hues were beginning to warm the landscape with reds and yel…

Looking back at 2017: Top 5 most-read posts on the blog this year

Here we are once again, in the last few days of the fading year, reflecting on the past twelve months and looking forward to what the New Year will bring. Admittedly, I was preoccupied much of the year with caring for my son who was born in May, so I wasn't able to keep up with the blog as much as I'd have liked. However, as is tradition, let's take a look back at the top five most-read posts on the blog this year:

1. Environmental Issues: Plastic Pollution While holding the title as the singular material responsible for the convenience and ease of our daily lives, plastic is also causing an ecological disaster. It's time to consider a new approach to our lives that involves less plastic. Much less. No plastic, if possible.

2. Wanderings: Saint Edward State Park (again) One of the best things about hiking is that you can return time and again to the same place, and not once will you have the same experience. Here, I introduce my son to one of my favorite places.


Evergreen State Shirts are Here!

This Nature Nerd decided to take on a fun project this holiday season, and I'm excited to share with you the very first shirt design from A Day Without Rain! This design idea has been in my head for a few years, and I finally found a way to make it happen.

I'm very excited to sport my new shirt on the trails next year, and I hope you all will join me in showing your love for our Evergreen State!

Shirts are on sale now through December 14th.


Environmental Issues: Plastic Pollution

Salty sea breezes, crashing waves and footprints in wet sand. A visit to the beach brings back nostalgic memories of youth, offers opportunities for discovery, and leaves one with a refreshed perspective as we stand before the frothing tide and gaze outward at the vast ocean. When we look at the ocean, we see an immense body of heaving water stretching to a horizon we'll never reach. What we do not see is the alarming volume of plastic churning within those waves.

While holding the title as the singular material responsible for the convenience and ease of our daily lives, plastic is also causing an ecological disaster. I recently attended a workshop put on by the King Conservation District, Horses for Clean Water, and Plastic Ain't Our Bag on the subject of reducing our use of plastics. Although this is an issue with which I've long been familiar, even I was surprised at the information that was presented on the issue as I sat in horrified awe in the classroom at Brightwa…

Wanderings: Saint Edward State Park (again)

One of the best things about hiking is that you can return time and again to the same place, and not once will you have the same experience. The landscape changes with the seasons, the weather, the time of day. What you notice - hear, see, and smell -  will vary depending on your companions, mood, the pace at which you're walking.

Saint Edward State Park has long been one of my favorite places to visit, and has been featured in many posts here on the blog. It was the place where, on a field trip with my college ecology class, I first forged a connection with nature in a way that piqued my curiosity, commanded my respect, and fostered a sense of stewardship. It was the first place my older sister and I hiked together, the beginning of our adventures which have since taken us to some pretty spectacular places. It was the place my husband and I frequently visited to escape the summer heat when we lived in a condo nearby. It was the first place I took my son for a hike …