Showing posts from 2015

Looking Back at 2015 - Top 5 Most-Read Posts on the Blog This Year

Here we are, already counting down the last few days of 2015... where has the year gone?! Looking back over the past 12 months on the blog brought up fond memories of new places explored, new friends made, adventures and hikes aplenty, and musings on drought, climate change, and our place in nature. Here's a roundup of the top five most-read posts on the blog this year:

1. Conifer Confusion? Learn to identify these PNW trees

2.Deciduous Determinations: Learn to identify these PNW trees

3. Wanderings: Cedar River Watershed

4. Musings: Missing Washington

5. Nature Nerd Wednesdays - Earth Day Edition

Stay tuned to A Day Without Rain for more writing on Pacific Northwest nature and environmental issues. Here's to a shiny new year, and many more adventures in 2016!

You can also follow along on Twitter @LaineyPiland, or on Instagram @a_day_without_rain_blog.

Musings: Opting Outside on Black Friday, and why we need to go further

The frigid, damp air reddened my nose and stung my cheeks, and the weak sunshine spilling through the tree trunks did little to offer any warmth. Frosty dirt crunched beneath my boots, releasing an earthy scent of humus and decaying leaves. Birdsong trilled overhead, and the eardrum-piercing high-pitched call of a varied thrush resounded through the forest, followed by the persistent tap-tap-tap of a pileated woodpecker determinedly searching a dead maple trunk for insects. This was how I spent the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday. It was glorious.

As I hiked through the Redmond Watershed Preserve that afternoon, pausing frequently to take photos while my patient husband waited shivering in the nearest sunbeam, I could hear not only the sound of birdsong and tapping woodpeckers, I could also hear the sound of other hikers, runners and cyclists who also decided to hit the trails that day. There was a sense of community, a sense of satisfaction knowing that rather tha…

Going Green: Tips for a less-waste, eco-friendly move

Moving is not fun. For most of us, I'm sure "moving" is battling with "going to the dentist" for the top position on our list of most-dreaded activities. It's overwhelming to think of packing up an entire household, loading box after box and struggling to maneuver heavy furniture items into a truck, then unloading and unpacking everything at the new residence. The process of packing and moving can also be extremely wasteful. In the overwhelming chaos of it all, we can be tempted to indiscriminately toss things in the trash, and if we're not careful, we can end up needlessly sending an alarming amount of waste to the landfill as we move our belongings from once residence to another.

I know what you're thinking. Moving is already awful enough, and who wants the added stress of worrying about being environmentally friendly on top of everything else? Trust me, I recently tried this myself as my husband and I packed up our small condo (crammed full of b…

Wanderings: Blue Lake

I nervously eyed the temperature display in the truck as it quickly dropped from a near-balmy 59 to a bracing 47 degrees as we climbed up Highway 20 in a cold, steady rain. My husband and I were headed home from a brief visit to the Methow Valley, and had planned to stop for the short hike up to Blue Lake, but the weather didn't appear to be cooperating. We parked at the trailhead and sorted through our things to see if we had the appropriate gear to hike safely in this weather, and ultimately decided we should be okay. With hoods pulled tightly over our heads, we splashed across the wet parking lot and headed out on the muddy trail to make the 2.2 mile ascent to Blue Lake.

Truth be told, I was actually excited to finally have an opportunity to test out the waterproof hiking pants I received as a Christmas gift from my husband last year. Yep, it's been that long since I've hiked in the rain. Thanks, drought...

We set out onto the trail, following a few sets of rain-sodden…

Wanderings: Adventures in Forest Ecology

These forests each have their own ecological stories.
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend an Adventures in Forest Ecology program at the Cedar River Watershed with my older sister. Led by forest ecologists Rolf Gersonde and Bill Richards, the program allowed us a rare opportunity to see up close the work being done under the Watershed's Habitat Conservation Plan to restore healthy forests, water, and wildlife habitat to this landscape historically altered and degraded by logging.

Although I was already familiar with many of the forest ecology concepts discussed during the program, it was a marvelous experience to get out in the field and see it firsthand, standing in the cool damp shade of the trees, smelling the fresh air, going off the trail to climb through the forest and getting an uncomfortable amount of conifer needles in my pants... but more about that later.

After checking in at the welcome center and making a brief visit to the rain drum installation, my sister an…

Musings: Environmental Issues and Reasons to Care

How do we get people to care? This is an enduring challenge in regard to environmental issues and the central question of an excellent article I came across today.

The Messengers, an article published in the current issue of Pacific Standard Magazine, explores messaging in relation to environmental issues, and how that messaging either inspires action or sinks us into a defeated state of depression. Do we focus on hope, or do we take a chance on forcing people to face grief over what's lost and cross our fingers that they'll be propelled forward into action rather than down into defeat? The need for hope seems like a no-brainer, but this article suggests that both tactics - including grief - may actually be necessary.
What we might do and what we might change, were we to stop hiding from grief and instead face the profoundly painful, profoundly beautiful truth of all that we’re losing. The subject of this article is artist and photographer Chris Jordan. I'm sure most of…

Wanderings: Snow Lake

Every once in awhile, it's good to push yourself outside your comfort zone, just to prove that, in fact, you can do the very things you tend to dissuade yourself from even attempting. This was exactly what I did over the weekend, as I loaded my backpack into my car and drove east along I-90. Alone. It was still fairly early in the morning when I reached Snoqualmie Pass. The morning sun was just starting to warm the forested slopes, and fluffy clouds were sailing upward, lifting from their night's slumber clinging to the Cascade mountain peaks. My objective for the day: hiking to Snow Lake, one of 700 lakes found in the aptly-named Alpine Lakes Wilderness within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

I glanced at the clock on the dashboard and was pleased to see that I was just about on time. I took exit 52... and then drove five miles down the wrong road and ended up being half an hour late by the time I finally arrived at the parking lot for the Snow Lake trailhead, whe…