Seattle has so many parks and outdoor spaces to offer, so I’ve compiled some recommendations for you! These are great spots to spend your summer outside, are beautiful year-round, and can be reached easily using public transportation. Continue reading
I have lived close to the ocean for my entire life and I can’t imagine ever living more than a few miles from the coast. Listening to the crash of waves triggers nostalgia for my childhood. As a child, my family felt it was their duty to expose me to as much of the Pacific Northwest as possible. Despite all my whining (“are we there yet?”, etc.) on our family road trips, I will be forever grateful for all the memories they gave me. The countless summer days I spent at Orcas Island, whether I was swimming (a.k.a. taking my chances with the jellyfish) or watching the sunset, are some of the best memories of my life. This week, the In My Backyard Team traveled to San Juan Island, a close neighbor to Orcas. On our way to our campsite by San Juan Island National Historical Park’s American Camp, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the ocean. We were close enough that I could smell the saltwater and instantly I felt a familiar calmness sweep over me. It was almost as if the ocean was welcoming me back to my second home.
Early Monday morning we, the interns, piled into cars to drive up to Denny Creek in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (MSNF). After a groggy shopping stop in North Bend, we arrived at the Franklin Falls trailhead. There we met Marta, a former telephone company employee who after retirement joined the Forest Service and now leads trail work parties. Marta instructed us on how to use a totter (mechanical wheelbarrow) since we were spreading gravel along the trail. We worked with a Student Conservation Association high school trail crew to fill the totter and buckets with gravel. When the gravel was dumped on the trail we raked it out which was surprisingly tiring. We ate lunch on a rock overlooking the river which only became a problem when a plastic cap fell in. Luckily we were able to save it with some quick maneuvering. After lunch we continued with the gravel work but took turns removing roots from the trail. I find trail work very gratifying since it’s easy to see the progress I’ve made.
This weekend, I wanted to go camping. However, between my two friends and I, we barely had enough money to fill up a tank of gas and buy some mac-and-cheese. The question was, where could we go that would be beautiful, cheap, AND available last-minute? After much last-minute scrambling for food and supplies, we started driving south with no plan other than to find a good camping spot. After some detours to various state parks where all the campsites were full, we decided to make our way down to Mount St. Helens. On our way into the park, we realized that to go to the official campsites, we had to have a Northwest Forest Pass. At the time, we were pretty unaware that it only cost $5 for the day and that you could pay with a card (none of us had thought ahead and brought cash…).