Wanderings: Northwest Stream Center

Squinting through the glass, my eyes searched the clear water steeped as brown as my morning tea, looking for movement other than the flowing water shot through with sunlight and the strands of algae waving gently from the shells of freshwater mussels. A few moments later, the form of a small trout materialized, swimming languidly against the current. After pointing the “fishy” out to my two-year-old son and spending a few minutes watching its unhurried progress upstream, we turned from the trout stream and continued along a path leading into the forest.

Fish encounters are not typical of my hikes and nature excursions, but then there are many things about the Northwest Stream Center that are not typical, in the best possible way. On this sunny Saturday morning, my husband, son and I explored this fascinating place that I’d heard good things about, but hadn’t yet visited myself. This particular day, the Stream Center was holding a special event and offered free admission to the public…

Wanderings: Seeking Spring (2019)

I was late to the trillium party this year. Very late, despite the invitations extended seemingly everywhere I looked: in the social media feeds of friends and family, in photos and memories that popped up unbidden on my computer, in the green light of forest-edged roadways as I drove to work. The siren song of those beguiling white flowers was a constant murmur in my ear, and the longer I put off responding as life got in the way, the more anxious and guilty I felt. I missed out last year, and didn't want this annual tradition to gradually fade away with another year gone, forgotten.

My annual trillium hunt typically takes place the last weekend in March, when the trees are still bare of leaves and earth is squishy with mud underfoot; when the only indication of the impending arrival of spring are a few salmonberry blossoms and the bold white petals of trillium flowers contrasting with their drab surroundings.

This year, during the first weekend in May, it was not the arrival of…

Wanderings: Lime Kiln Trail (again)

Wrens warbled their melodious songs from moss-draped branches that hung still and quiet in the windless morning. Sunlight strained to dissipate a thin cloudcover that halfheartedly spat a few raindrops at us here and there. This overcast Sunday morning, I was hiking with my book club friends and revisiting the Lime Kiln trail I had hiked three years ago, in much different conditions!

You can read about my first adventure on the Lime Kiln trail here, but in summary, let's just say it involved a continual deluge, chilly February temperatures, and jackets and boots that unfortunately did not live up to their "waterproof" labels. It was wet, cold, miserable, and exhilarating.

Favorable weather afforded me the opportunity to pay more attention to the scenery around me this second time around, and to ponder the sounds that last time had been drowned out by the hood pulled tightly over my head, and the sights that had gone unseen due to my gaze being preoccupied with navigatin…

Wanderings: Gold Creek Pond

Snowshoeing was a much noisier endeavor than I'd expected. A snow-covered landscape is usually associated with soft silence and muffled noises, the sound of spoken words extinguished as the vapor of your breath dissipates in the chilly air. Instead, as our group tromped along the path toward Gold Creek Pond last Sunday, we were accompanied by the sounds of swishing snow pants, excited voices chattering and laughing, and of course, the loud scrape-crunch of boots and snowshoes themselves, rasping against the icy crust of snow.

By happy coincidence, my birthday fell on the same day as our January book club outing. I had looked forward to this day for awhile, and was eager to finally try my hand (foot?) at snowshoeing. Heavy mountain snow prevented me from attending this same outing last year, and this year I'd been keeping an eye on the weather, warily reviewing the expected snowfall totals as the day approached. However, with the blessing of a favorable forecast, it was amid t…

Looking back at 2018

It's the time of year to reflect on the past twelve months, and to look ahead to what the New Year might bring.

I'll be honest. There was not much excitement in my life in 2018... but you know what? After the last few years I've had, I'm completely fine with that. The year wasn't punctuated by any significant highs and lows, but cruised steadily along, even-keeled and with little rocking of the boat. 2018 was a year of brief local excursions, backyard puttering, canceled plans, and a few last-minute adventures.

Here's a look at the paths my feet wandered this year. And a few they didn't.

January [Insert photo of snowshoeing outing I missed due to a winter storm in the mountains]

March I FINALLY rejoined my friends in the Alpine Trails Book Club for a hike to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie in North Bend. It was a chilly day, but the fresh air, companionship, and gorgeous scenery were blissful.

And also... my trillium bloomed again. I obtained this trillium during…