Exploring Nature

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The Little Things: Moss Blankets and Raining Lichen

As the mountains brighten with a blanket of fresh white on its highest hills, and evening alpenglow illuminates the distance with shades of pink and orange, we are allured by snow: tossing on snowshoes and skis to venture into the fantastic. Naturalists, searching for flora and fauna, turn to the foothills — and their manuals. We flip past the names of flowering meadow plants, summer mammals and autumn berries. We're reminded of the little things that flourish year-round in the temperate rainforest that makes up the Pacific Northwest — and especially in its wettest seasons — moss and lichen. Read more…

Making the Most of Your Ancient Forest Hike

Going for a hike in an ancient forest is a lot more interesting if you are armed with an inquisitive attitude, a little knowledge and context, and some extra time to enjoy the special place you are in. Here are a few tips that can help you have the best experience. Read more…

Did You Know? Butte Camp Via Loowit Trail

I’ve been slowly marking off the 100 hikes that Ira Spring and Harvey Manning published in their book 100 Hikes in Washington: South Cascades and Olympics. I recently completed my 40th hike from this well-used and much-loved trail book, enjoying a beautiful trip from Butte Camp to the Loowit Trail. Read more…

A Trip on Island Time

Recently, Mountaineers Richard Burt, Lynn Graf, and I took a canoe-camping trip to Long Island in Willapa Bay, an uninhabited five mile long, one mile wide National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Washington. Despite bucking a headwind as we paddled for an hour or so on an outgoing tide, we became ensconced in a sheltered, secure waterfront site that allowed us to observe the endless mudflats that are exposed after the tidal retreat. Read more…

The Types of Ancient Forests in Oregon

Oregon’s ancient forests are one of the region’s most precious treasures, providing not only vital habitat for fish and wildlife but also some of the most amazing hiking experiences in the state. In Oregon’s Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide, author Chandra LeGue of Oregon Wild highlights these incredible places with 91 awe-inspiring hikes from across the state.  Read more…

2nd Annual Baker Lodge Summer Weekend - Aug 9-11

The photography and naturalists committees are teaming up again this year for our second annual at Baker Lodge. Last year was so much fun, in spite of the rainy weather, so we're doing it again! This is a great opportunity to share our love of the outdoors together and develop an enhanced sense of connection, and we hope you'll join us! Read more…

Did you know? Snafflehounds

One of the more unusual pieces of climbing jargon, the word ‘snafflehound’ fails to strike fear into the heart of the uninitiated. However, snafflehounds have ruined more than a few climbers’ days, and for good reason. Read more…

Birds of the West - Exploring Wetlands

Birds accompany us daily in our neighborhoods with their songs, bright colors, and energetic activity. We seek them out, from urban wetlands to wilderness trails, following the sound of a distant twitter or song. In Birds of the West: An Artist's Guide, award-winning artist Molly Hashimoto captures the likeness of nearly 100 species using different media. Read more…

Did You Know? Wynoochee Lake

Wynooche Lake is a remote, hidden gem in the southern Olympic Peninsula. Framed by steep, rugged peaks, the lush conifer and hardwood forested shores of Wynoochee Lake provide many opportunities for recreation. With just over 13 miles of shoreline, two campgrounds, boat access, Roosevelt Elk, a river, and many waterfalls, Wyoonchee Lake will be your next weekend getaway. Read more…

Nature's Way | Seabirds Abound in Puget Sound

Sometimes a seabird is simply a bird that lives on the sea; other times it can lead you to a deeper connection with the world around you. For Joe Sweeney, that magic happens every time he visits the shore. Read more…