The Herald of Everett, Washington
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September 2  |  By Jessi Loerch
The longest 1.75 miles of my life  At first, it was hard to tell whether we were hearing thunder or just the sounds of more planes. We were camped at Minotaur Lake, a short hike near Stevens Pass, and the lake is clearly under a flight path.

It was the afternoon, we were flopped in the shade and enjoying a nap. Slowly, the thunder drew close enough to be clearly thunder.



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September 1  |  Herald staff
Pilchuck Audubon Society has a number of birding trips planned in September. For more information on any trip, call the trip leader.



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September 1  |  Sharon Wootton
The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act will be marked by free admission to Olympic National Park on Sept. 6 and free activities will be available Sept. 5-7.

Events include a diverse panel of speakers discussing wilderness, including author and port Tim McNulty and Janine Ledford, director of the Makah Cultural and Research Center; wilderness photo display, film festival, talks and walks.



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August 28  |  By Jessi Loerch
Labor Day hikes and last-minute camping ideas It's almost Labor Day weekend. I don't want to say it, but for many that means the end of summer. Or at least the beginning of the end. So you really should make the most of it.

If you'd like to head out for a camping trip but don't have reservations, here are some ideas.



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August 27  |  By Jessi Loerch
Work on the Cascades River Road, which offers access to Cascade Pass, Horseshow Basina and Sahale Arm trails and popular climbing area, will remain open until closed by weather. Work planned on the road has been delayed.

Press release from the North Cascades Park:



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August 27  |  By Sharon Wootton
Registration is now open for Washington Outdoor Women’s annual fall workshop, dedicated to bringing together women and girls for a weekend of fishing, hunting and outdoor-skills education.



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August 25  |  By Jessi Loerch
Visit a fire lookout, swim in two mountain lakes August is an amazing time to visit Mount Rainier. It’s usually warm and sunny, the berries are ripe and many flowers are still blooming.

This weekend, two of my favorite hiking buddies and I took a trek up to Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout, on the northwest side of Mount Rainier.



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August 21  |  By Jessi Loerch
Should grizzly bears be restored to North Cascades? The National Park Service will began the process of considering whether grizzly bears should be restored to North Cascades this fall. It's a long process and nothing will be decided for years.



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August 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Everett man finishes big journey to visit 92 fire lookouts Craig Willis of Everett just finished an impressive journey.

Willis has visited all of the Washington fire lookouts still standing at their officially used locations. That’s 92 lookouts, and he visited nearly 40 of them this year alone. From all indications, Willis is the first person to complete that list.



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August 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Work is planned on the Cascade River Road to make extensive repairs. The road has been washed out many times, including a washout last year that stranded people overnight.

The road offers access to Cascade Pass, Horseshow Basina and Sahale Arm trails and is also a popular climbing area.



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August 19  |  Herald staff
Check out this video of an orca pod shared to our Facebook page. It was shot from the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to Motio Media of Mukilteo for sharing!



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August 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
Forest fun: A number of events are planned throughout the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, including campfire talks, guided walks, historical talks and more. Check out what's going on here.



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August 13  |  By Jessi Loerch
More impressive photos of recent lightning storm Yesterday, I asked you to share photos and videos from Monday's storm. And a number of you did. I was happy to see I'm not the only one who gets excited about lightning.

I received a few more photos that I can share with you.



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August 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Videos and photos from Monday's lightning storm I spent an extremely enjoyable evening last night watching the lightning show. From the lawn chair in my back yard, I could hear that several of my neighbors were doing the same thing.

For a bit of fun, I tried to see whether I could capture video of the flashes with my phone. I managed to catch a few and created this extremely amateur video (above).



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August 10  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
Edith Farrell has been hiking the trails of the Mountain Loop for decades. She started hiking when her kids were young as a way to improve her health.

She's kept it up, and now she's a passionate advocate for the Mountain Loop area. With that in mind, she has created a series of water-proof trail cards. Sixteen decks feature trails, and there is also a deck each for waterfalls, lakes and wildflowers.

For the deck featuring trails, each pack includes a card...

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August 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
The night skies are putting on an extra show starting on Sunday.



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August 5  |  By Jessi Loerch
A day and a night in a fire lookout I've always wanted to spend a night in a fire lookout. Thanks to a friend, I finally have.



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August 1  |  Herald staff
The Bureau of Land Management Spokane District Office released new, expanded restrictions prohibiting campfires on public lands in Okanogan County on Friday.

Here's a bit from a press release from BLM:

BLM Expands Restrictions to Limit Campfires in Okanogan County



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July 31  |  By Jessi Loerch
Saturday, Aug. 2, has been proclaimed Washington Trails Day. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the proclamation to recognize the day.



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July 24  |  Jessi Loerch
Bubbles: Make your own bubble wand and some really big bubbles from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday at Cama Beach State Park. Get more info here. A number of other fun events are planned at that park and others. Check out a list here.

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July 23  |  By Jessi Loerch
The final installment of The Mountaineers' Be Wild series is Thursday evening.

I've attended two of them so far, and they've both been fantastic. (I was out of town for a third, Tami Asar's talk, and I'm still bummed.)



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July 20  |  By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
3 ways to sample the wonders of the North Cascades In Diablo Lake, there is an island where monkeys once roamed.

J.D. Ross, the second superintendent of Seattle City Light and an enthusiastic proponent of the three dams on the Skagit River, put them there to entertain visitors he hoped would support the power project.

The monkeys are long gone, but gimmicks were never necessary to impress visitors to the North Cascades. Towering peaks, unbelievable turquoise waters and a fascinating cultural and natural...

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July 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Crowd-sourced effort shows off beauty of the U.S.  America is a beautifully varied canvas, dotted with swamps, desserts, tundra, rainforests and so much more.

A clever campaign is highlighting that beauty using art. Inspired by the New Deal art projects of the 1930s and '40s, the See America project is showcasing the nation's most amazing places.  It’s organized by the Creative Action Network and

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July 16  |  By Jessi Loerch
A surreal light show in the North Cascades I made a whirlwind trip last night to see Ladder Creek Falls at the Gorge Powerhouse in Newhalem.



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July 15  |  Associated Press
Lightning strikes have killed two tourists and injured others in recent days in Rocky Mountain National Park. While lightning storms are a bit less common on the west side of the Cascades, they are still a serious concern. Here are some tips to keep you safe.

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July 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Coolest cooler is hottest ice box ever invented Apparently the world is ready for a better cooler.

Have you see the Coolest? If you haven't yet, you will soon.

The Coolest is a cooler with a blender, bluetooth speaker, LED light and a half dozen other fancy and useful features.



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July 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
Take a look at what low tide exposed on Mukilteo beach On Sunday, the tide was extra low. I took the chance to go explore Mukilteo Beach with my family.

My mom is in town visiting and she has a sort of extra-sensory perception for cool critters, so I knew we'd have fun. My daughter and husband came with us, but after a few minutes abandoned the slippery rocks for the fun of scrambling around on the driftwood.



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July 14  |  By Jessi Loerch
Kids head outside to study Oso slide and natural resources Adventure Cascades, which I have written about before, is teaming up with partners to get kids into the outdoors to study natural resources and reinforce STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) concepts.



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July 11  |  By Jessi Loerch
Check out sea creatures during low tides this weekend This weekend, the tides are extra low and conveniently timed for around noon when the weather is forecast to be warm and glorious.

Sounds like a great time to get out to one of our local beaches and take a look at some of the fascinating critters that low tides expose. Events are planned at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park on Friday through Monday.

Beach Watchers will be on the beach each day around low tide to share their knowledge with visitors. They'll talk about...

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July 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
Book giveaway: Two new guides to some of the best trails I went hiking three days in a row this weekend. For our third hike, we chose an easy-sounding trip. Four miles, 800 feet of gain and family friendly.

At least, that's what the out-of-date guidebook we were looking at said.



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