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April 16  |  By Jessi Loerch
Photo gallery: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Have you seen the tulips yet? If not, head up there soon. As of Tuesday, the fields were in glorious full bloom, but they won't last forever. (And don't let gray skies deter you, the gentle light makes for some lovely photos.)

A friend told me recently that she'd never been to see the tulips in the 10 years she's lived here. That couldn't stand, so we planned a trip. It ended up being two trips. We stopped on a sunny Sunday at Tulip Town. Then we...

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April 15  |  By Jessi Loerch
Little wonders of the forest stand out in the rain The forests of the Northwest are beautiful in the rain. I've argued before that you can't really call yourself a Northwest hiker until you've hiked in the rain, on purpose.

Recently, I spent a day helping teach a navigation course with the Everett Mountaineers. The course was at Camp Pigott, near Monroe. The...

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April 14  |  By Jessi Loerch
The story behind gorgeous photo of poodles in the forest Rick Olsen has two photogenic poodles. And a good eye for some spectacular light in the forest.

Olsen of Camano Island shared this photo of his two standard poodles in our reader photos gallery. It caught my eye, so I dropped him a line to ask about it. Here's what he said.

Where did you take the photo?

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April 11  |  By Jessi Loerch
We've lost our view but gained avian entertainment Two weeks ago, we all said goodbye to The Herald's home since 1959. I'd worked in that building since I was hired, nearly 10 years ago.

The building was nothing special in and of itself, but it had a glorious view. When I was interviewing for my job there, the executive editor at the time, Stan Strick, talked to...

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April 10  |  Associated Press
A Bozeman man's 3-minute video of hundreds of elk hopping a fence and crossing a road east of Bozeman - and the perseverance of one straggler to keep up with the group - is an online hit.

The videographer, Austin Stonnell, 19, is from Camano Island.

"I was very surprised," Stonnell told the Bozeman...

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April 10  |  By Jessi Loerch
Trout: The film "The Way of the Trout" will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday at The Northwest Stream Center in Everett. After the movie, you can go on a short tour of the NW Stream Center's Trout Steam Exhibit – the newest trout stream in the State of Washington. Call 425-316-8592 to reserve a spot.


Loons: The Pilchuck Audubon's Society's monthly program is Loons of the...

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April 9  |  By Jessi Loerch
If someone was badly injured in the backcountry, would you know what to do? Could you stop a person bleeding from a large wound? Could you splint a broken leg? Would you know how to treat a patient with a head wound?

I wanted to be able to answer "yes" to those questions, so last weekend I spent 16 hours in a wilderness first aid course taught by Remote Medical International.

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April 4  |  Associated Press
Bill to save Green Mountain lookout unanimously passes Senate Here's an update on the Green Mountain lookout, from a story by Gale Fiege about landslide recovery efforts:

"When asked by Sen. Patty Murray what she could do to help, (Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin) Rankin told her that Darrington could use a little good news, like saving the fire lookout on nearby Green...

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April 1  |  By Jessi Loerch
Go outside.

That's the basic message of The Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers are, of course, well known for climbing. But they also offer a variety of different activities, such as sea kayaking and a naturalists course.

A new speakers series, Be Wild, begins on April 15. It's intended to interest regular adventurers and encourage more people to get outside.

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March 30  |  
Photo contest winners show the glory of winter Winter is over. Before it's forgotten, though, we want to share some of the beauty of the season. We asked you to share your best winter photos with us. We collected some of our favorites and then let Herald readers vote on them. Here are the five winners.
See all of the contestants.

Ken...

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March 21  |  By Jessi Loerch
Final round of voting for winter photos contest We've reached the final round of voting for our winter photo contest. This round is all about animals in the snow.

Go vote for your favorite in Round 5.


And if you missed it, you can still vote in

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March 20  |  By Jessi Loerch
Vote for your favorite winter photos We're down to the second-to-last round of voting in our winter photo contest. This round is all about gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.

Go vote for your favorite in Round 4.


And if you missed it, you can still vote in

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March 19  |  By Jessi Loerch
Outdoor events: Orcas, hiking, backpacking, amphibians, more Whales: Learn more about the orcas and other whales that live in the Salish Sea at 7 p.m. Thursday in Mukilteo. Howard Garrett of the Orca Network will speak and present a slideshow. There will be a door prize for a pair of whale watching tickets. Get more info here.

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March 19  |  By Jessi Loerch
Cross-country skiing even more fun in the dark Skiing in the dark is magical. When I signed up to take a cross-country ski course this year, I was remembering moonlit skis when I was in middle school. On one trip, we saw a fox floating along like a ghost and heard a frozen lake cracking with eerie, musical tones.

So, when a trip leader said she was heading a nighttime ski, I signed up immediately.

We headed out to the Mountain Loop after work on Monday, a...

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March 19  |  By Jessi Loerch
Help us pick the best winter photos We want your help to pick the winners in our photo contest.

We're posting some of our favorites for you to vote on on our Facebook page. The photos with the most likes will be published in the paper and the winners will get a prize.

Go vote for your favorites in Round 3.

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March 17  |  By Jessi Loerch
Help us pick the best winter photos We asked you to share your favorite winter photos with us, and you came through brilliantly.

Over the next week, we'll be posting some of our favorites for you to vote on on our Facebook page. The photos with the most likes will be published in the paper and the winners will get a prize.

Go vote for...

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March 14  |  By Jessi Loerch
In memory of Edward Abbey, 25 years after his death Edward Abbey, a cantankerous writer and advocate for protecting the environment, died 25 years ago today.

Abbey was a character. He was passionate and brilliant and grumpy and he wrote truly beautiful books.

Not surprisingly, he was also extremely quotable.

Here are five of my favorite quotes from Abbey:

"Benedicto: May your trails be...

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March 13  |  By Jessi Loerch
Help us pick the best winter photos We asked you to share your favorite winter photos with us, and you came through brilliantly.

Over the next week, we'll be posting some of our favorites for you to vote on on our Facebook page. The photos with the most likes will be published in the paper and the winners will get a prize.



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March 13  |  By Jessi Loerch
Local climber invites others to join trek to Kilimanjaro for charity Kyle Bingham of Everest Endeavor has big plans for the next several years. Or perhaps tall plans.

Bingham, of Camano Island, plans to climb five world-class mountains, ending with Mount Everest, while raising money for the Children's Cancer Association. I wrote about Bingham and his plans a few months...

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March 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
State will begin clearing Highway 20 on March 31 The state plans to begin clearing the North Cascades Highway at the end of the month. Here's a press release from the DOT:

The effort to reopen the North Cascades Highway will begin Monday, March 31. Despite the heavy late season snowfall, those responsible for the annual reopening effort are optimistic that State Route 20 could be open by early May.

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March 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Check out this pretty video of standup paddleboard trip around Jetty Island and the ship graveyard. Darrell Kirk of Ballard made the video on Jan. 18.

In case you're wondering, the ship graveyard is a breakwater of sorts made using old ships. It's fascinating and eerie.

And about that bird, because once you watch the video I'm sure you'll want to know, Kirk set it on a protected area on the shore.

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March 12  |  By Jessi Loerch
Show us your best shots for winter photo contest Want to enter our winter photo contest? You still have time. We'll be accepting photos until Monday. Show us your best. Photos of mountains, photos of ice, photos of rich, green forests.

To enter, submit a photo here.

We'll select a number of the images and let you vote on them. The...

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March 10  |  By Jessi Loerch
'Mile ... Mile & a Half' a gorgeous, charming film about John Muir Trail "Mile ... mile and a half."

1. The hiker's answer to how much farther.

2. Always farther than 1.5 miles.

In a 200 percent snow year, a group of friends set out to hike the John Muir Trail, a 211-mile trail through the high Sierras.

They planned to document their trip, showing the beauty of the...

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March 8  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Pacific Crest Trail is calling to me. It's been a quiet voice in the back of my mind for a long time. It started as a whisper. Now it's more like a scream. I'm entranced by the idea of hiking from Mexico to Canada.

I won't be doing it this year. (Has anyone every hiked the PCT with a 3-year-old?) So, while I'm dreaming a scheming until I actually can do the trail, let me share my obsession with you.

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March 7  |  By Jessi Loerch
The Snohomish County helicopter team is searching for way to keep operating, as they've lost a major source of funding.

The helicopter team is someone you never want to need. If you do, though, you'll be very grateful they exist.

A couple events are coming up where you can support the team.

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March 5  |  Herald staff
It’s a two-hour tour. No, not on the good ship Minnow, but paddling a kayak, on Lake Sammamish for an on-the-water presentation about the wildlife in and along the shore.

The guided tours take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. March 15 and 16 at Lake Sammamish State Park, 2000 NW Sammamish Road, Issaquah, and registration is being taken now by Kayak Academy at 206-527-1825 or online at KayakAcademy.com.

Paddlers can expect...

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March 5  |  By Jessi Loerch
Pack light: Get tips on how to pack light when you hike, backpack or climb. Learn about packs, sleeping bags, tents, cook sets and more. It's at 7 p.m. today at the Mountaineers program center in Seattle. Get more info here.

Oceans: Learn about how marine debris affects the...

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March 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
Little Si is a short, sweet trail you can do nearly year-round "How does she look?" I asked my friend, Michelle.

She looked at my daughter Hazel, who was on my back in a backpack.

"Miserable," she said.

"But not blue or shivering?"

"Nope."

"Well, that'll have to do. We'll just walk fast. She's ready to be done."

"I'm ready to be...

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March 3  |  By Jessi Loerch
Show us your best shots for winter photo contest We want to see your winter photos. Photos of snow, photos of ice, photos of drippy green forests. Show us what you've got.

Submit your best winter photos by March 12 to enter our winter photo contest. To enter, submit a photo to here.

We'll select a number of the images...

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February 28  |  By Jessi Loerch
Audubon butterfly app is free today Audubon Butterflies -- A Field Guide to North American Butterflies is free today. It's usually $9.99.

The app is an interactive field guide to butterflies. Wondering what that butterfly in your front yard is? Just enter a few variables, such as your location, the habitat and the color, and the app will give you options on what it could be.

The app's pretty easy to use, and it's absolutely beautiful. The color...

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