Archive for the ‘Things to Do’ Category

Two Wonderful Day-Hikes

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Spray Park Big Waterfall I love it when my guests go up to The Mountain, or out to an island on one of our ferries.  The Pacific Northwest is so blessed with natural beauty.Spray Park Little Waterfalls

This summer has been spectacular, and I wanted to share a couple of glorious hikes I did.  The first was on the northwest flank of  The Mountain – Mt Rainier – to Spray Park.

It’s just a 2-hour drive to the trailhead at Mowich Lake – then about 4 miles of hiking along a pleasant forest trail.  Even in this dry year, moisture weeps in shady spots.Spray Park Flowers in FG

Then you suddenly break out into the park. “Parks” on the mountain are wide-open spaces just below treeline where glaciers have recently retreated.  There, the lupines, Indian paint brush, and several other wildflowers whose names I don’t know, greet you with their short-lived frivolity.

On another day, I went a bit farther, up north to Cascade Pass off Highway 20.  These mountains are even more rugged – sharp peaks, steep slopes, glacial cirques everywhere.

Cascade Pass 1

A friend and I drove up to Marblemount on the Skagit River and stayed in a rustic cabin the night before, expecting a tough hike up to the pass.  I’m sitting on the pass there,  with Sahale Arm in the background.

But that part was actually pretty easy.  If we’d gone up to Sahale Arm, that would have been really strenuous.  Annie at Cascade PassAs it was, we did the steep switchbacks at the beginning, but then at 3:00 we figured we should turn around so as not to get caught by the now-shorter August days.

Thanks for sharing these two wonderful mountain experiences with me.




September’s here…

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

…bringing the prettiest sunsets to Soundview.  People who’ve stayed here will recognize this view from the deck.  Usually things start slowing down about now, but not this year. The cottage is booked solid through October!  But I’m offering the low-season special anyway – 20% off for stays between November 1 and May 15 – because I enjoy my guests.

I’ve been up on The Mountain recently.  The last post was a hike to Spray Park on the northwestern flank, and a couple of weeks ago I hiked with a friend out of Sunrise.  The Sunrise road goes up to 6400 ft., the highest road in the Park, and it will close soon for the winter.  This was a beautiful view looking south across the terminus of the Emmons glacier.

And, looking far to the southeast, the Tatoosh Range pokes its pointy peaks into the sky.

Another fun recent Northwest happening for me was an informal fundraiser concert in a Bremerton backyard – for the local symphony.  Yummy BarBQ, amazing music performed live in a clearing in the woods, pleasant people supporting the arts – what more could one want?

Well, I guess if you really take that question seriously, you could answer world peace; freedom from hunger, disease, want and fear for everyone; a loving home for every child; and a true democracy for our country – washed clean from the corrupting influence of money in politics.

A glorious day on Mt. Rainier

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

We’ve had a spectacular summer, and last Friday I took an 8-mile round-trip hike into Spray Park on the Northwestern flank of Mt. Rainier.  It’s been warm, so a lot of the snow has melted, but there were still some patches left.  Water was gushing everywhere, and Spray Falls was brim-full.  What a day!

Look Up, Washington! Walking Tours of 3 Towns In The Evergreen State

Monday, February 18th, 2013

There is no better way to see Washington towns than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a self-guided walking tour. A walking tour can be many things. Interested in heritage tourism? Looking for an educational day trip for the kids? Need a fun exercise plan? Want to find subjects to take great pictures? Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a Washington walking tour from is ready to explore when you are.

Each of the 4 walking tours in LOOK UP, WASHINGTON! describes a mix of historical, architectural, cultural and ecclesiastical landmarks. Street addresses and step-by-step directions lead the way. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on Washington’s streets is included. So look both ways before crossing the street and LOOK UP, WASHINGTON!

Tours Included:

Seattle – Pike Place Market
Seattle – Pioneer Square

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Goat Rocks Backpack

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I had wanted to backpack in the Goat Rocks Wilderness for years. The Pacific Crest Trail (“PCT”) runs through it – and this is one of the highest stretches.  In fact, this year (2011) summer came so late that when we went in August, there were still snow fields to cross and a cornice to scale!  The incredible wildflowers were peaking, and streams, lakes, and waterfalls were full.  Mosquitos were having a field day, and the sun was really strong – that’s why I’m wearing the Lawrence of Arabia headgear.

That is water, not wine, in the bota bag.  (just a funny-shaped canteen)

Goat Rocks (so named because it’s home to herds of mountain goats) lies between Mt Adams to the south and Mt Rainier to the north, about a 4-hour drive from the cottage.  We were a group of 5, and we went in on Friday and came out on Monday.  I celebrated my birthday there!  Noplace else I’d rather be than sitting around a campfire with friends on a clear, starry night up in the high country.

Discovering Whistler

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Whistler Mountain is only a few hours away from Soundview, across the border into British Columbia.  But I had never been there, winter or summer.  It’s a spectacular resort – refurbished and enlarged for the recent winter Olympics, with beautiful shops and common areas, respectful of the fantastic landscape.

The natural obelisk you see on the horizon is Black Tusk – the ubiquitous landmark of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Blessed with two peaks, lakes, forests, meadows, and waterfalls, the area is a mecca for mountain lovers like me.  In the summertime, there are free outdoor concerts in the village almost every evening.  We totally enjoyed Jason Mraz – just him – acoustic and personal – with one other musician, a fabulous guitarist.  What luck!

To get oriented, we took a chairlift up Blackcomb Mountain, then boarded the Peak-to-Peak Gondola which sweeps across a deep abyss to Whistler Mountain, and then walked down (you could have ridden down instead).  Normally in the summer there are many trails open at the top for hiking, but this year summer came late, and even in August snowfields blocked most of the higher paths.

So we hiked to Lake Cheakamus (lower elevation) and drove to a couple of spectacular waterfalls.  Our weather was splendid, and we had a great time.

Another Splendid Day-hike!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Saturday I hiked to Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the continental US.  It’s on the east side of Mt Rainier and very easy to get to.  It’s about a 2-hour drive from the cottage to the Sunrise entrance of Mt Rainier National Park.  Then you drive to the White River Campground, park your car, and start walking UP.

But the trail is easy, punctuated by delicate waterfalls, and before long you are straddling the ridge of the glacier’s lateral moraine.

Emmons Moraine trail is the most bang for the buck I’ve experienced around these parts! (the most spectacular mountain wilderness scenery, for the least amount of effort to get there.)

Spectacular Spring Hike to Wallace Falls

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Last week I took a spectaculNorthwest Streams Are Full This Springar hike up a series of waterfalls on the way to Stevens Pass, Highway 2.  It’s a state park called Wallace Falls.  The hike is pretty easy – 5 or so miles up to a picnic point, then turn around and come back.  On this brilliant spring day, the trail was crowded with exuberant hikers of all ages and abilities, thrilling to the rushing water, suddenly blue sky, and the impudent, luscious green.  The trail is out of the hamlet called GoldBar, on the way up to Stevens Pass, and it’s less than a 2-hour drive from the cottage.

Winter at Soundview

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The  full moon woke me up Thursday night, shining on the Sound through the wispiest little clouds.  I love winter here. Sometimes it snows, but usually the snow melts pretty quickly. The views are even more amazing in the winter, because some of the trees are bare now and you can see more of the water.

(this photo is from a few years ago – this much snow is really unusual!)

But a couple of weeks ago, when I was supposed to lead a group of middle shool girls on a snowshoe trip, the weather turned warm and rainy and we had to suddenly switch to Northwest Trek instead of going up to Snoqualmie Pass.

NW Trek was a lot of fun and a perfect Plan B.  We were able to stay out of the drizzle most of the time, riding the heated trams that carry you through the wildlife habitat in the foothills of Mt Rainier, to observe deer, bison, moose, elk, swans, geese – totally oblivious to the human visitors.  In other places in the park, separated from the grazers, are predators like wolves and bears. My favorite are the beavers, which you get to observe swimming underwater through a glass wall.

The girls were adorable – they loved taking photos of each other, and kept pulling me into the picture!  This day was an activity of the Sierra Club Inner City Outings program, where I’m a volunteer leader for two Tukwila schools.  Tukwila is just on the other side of the airport, and it’s said to be the most diverse school district in the nation.  I believe it!

A day in the snow

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I took a friend up to the mountains at Snoqualmie Pass last week – just for the day.  It was glorious.  Lots of fresh, clean snow, azure sky.

The Pass is only about 1.3 hrs away, and there are 4 downhill ski areas, snowshoe and cross-country trails, restaurants, lodges, gas station, 2 little markets, a delightful gift shop, and ranger-led snowshoe tours on the weekend. There’s a bigger, higher ski area called Crystal Mountain on the east shoulder of Mt Rainier, but it takes another hour to drive there.  A little farther still, Seattleites can also ski at Stevens Pass, Mt Baker, Mission Ridge, and White Pass – and there’s even a little rope tow at Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic Peninsula.  I love Seattle!  It’s so close to so many different kinds of recreation.
Coming home to the hot tub at Soundview on a clear night is the best!   I keep the hot tub ready for guests all year, and sometimes if the cottage is vacant I use it myself.

The full moon was shining on the Sound that night, with little wispy white clouds glowing all around it.