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Yearning for adventure and beauty, longing for moment of peace, hoping for a breath of fresh air.
Announcing our 2020 Photography calendars, with stunning photos telling of these incredible precious and fragile places we call the wilderness of the West.
Where America’s longest free-flowing River leaves the nation’s first National Park, you find Paradise Valley. Flanked by towering summits, high-alpine lakes and a lifetime of backcountry exploration, this small section of Montana truly is one of the last best places around. Known for hot springs and fly fishing, backpacking and grizzly bears, this region is often the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Beautiful beyond words, Paradise Valley lives up to the name, but if mining interests have their say, that might not be the case for much longer.
Just like in late July 2016, the waters of the Hood Canal are turning a brilliant blue, causing many residents and visitors to wonder what had happened to the usually dark waters of Washington State’s most famous fjord. The answer is actually a pretty simple one- the water color changed due to a phytoplankton bloom. Thanks to satellite imagery, we are able to see just how impressive the bloom is, as it was visible from space. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory website, the bloom turned the waters a milky blue color, due to microscopic plankton called Coccolithophores that are plated with white calcium carbonate. The plates can impart a milky, turquoise hue to the water that is often visible from space.
In the most recent and blatant attempt to strip Americans of their Public Lands, the Trump Administration is expected to issue an Executive Order on Wednesday, April 26th that calls for a review of all National Monuments designated since 1996.Trump’s executive order on will attack 1,018,114,328 (over one billion!!!!!) acres of our most special National Monuments.
On January 27th, we reported that Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz had introduced a bill titled HR 621, which would open up 3.3 million acres of Federal Land across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. The outrange was immediate. All around social media, at protests in Montana’s Capitol and flooding the emails and answering machines of Congress, the American people stood up against the attack on Public Lands. Now, it appears like our message was victorious.
Olympic National Park is known for numerous awesome natural wonders. From moss-covered rainforests in old-growth forests to cascading waterfalls plunging into rough, salmon stocked rivers, we have it all out here. When we want a hike along the ocean to look at sea-stacks, the Olympic National Park has us covered. Neah Bay to Ocean Shores and from Olympia to Port Angeles, the Olympic Peninsula is full of awesome sights that inspire millions each year. Sadly, one of the sights that have been consistent for thousands of years is slowly leaving the region, and it might be too late to stop it from vanishing for good.
As a resident of the Puget Sound Region of the PNW, I never expect a White Christmas. If you are a resident of Western Washington, you shouldn’t either. Over the last century, the city of Seattle has only had four Christmas Days with snowfall. In outlying areas, the total is higher, but not much. In the Pacific Northwest, snowy holidays are what we see on Instagram or what we hear crooned on our holiday Pandora station. Around the Puget Sound, Salish Sea and wilderness coast, if we crave a snowy Christmas experience, we usually head to the mountains. This year, with an above average snowpack for the entire Pacific Northwest, you can have a white Christmas with ease. While my last two snowpack articles have been full of data and a bit long winded, this is going to be short and sweet so we can all enjoy the holidays.
It should really come as no surprise.
Leading up to this nearly 8,000 foot mountain in the center of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, the Hoh River Valley is known for endless rain that creates the Hoh Rainforest. Receiving over 14 feet of rain a year, the Hoh region of Olympic is one of the wettest spots in the contiguous United States. While most who visit this popular wilderness National Park fall in love with the endless green the rain produces, the mountains above are filled with more glaciers than Glacier National Park and get slammed by endless, powerful moisture-filled storms rolling off the Pacific Ocean. For the past two weeks, Mount Olympus, the highest summit in the Olympic Mountains, has been getting the brunt of this incredible winter weather.
The last week of fall is here, meaning that true winter is just around the corner. For most of the Olympic Peninsula, winter has been in full force for the better part of December. After a wet and wild fall, cold air is sitting on our region, giving our mountains a well-deserved blanket of snow. While the past seven days have been snowy in places, the majority of the snowpack around the Olympic Mountains has seen small, incremental growth. No major storms rolled in, but the current snowpack is still a whopping 170% of normal for this time of year. This is awesome!
In the mountains of the Olympic Range, much like the mountain ranges across the west coast of the United States, signs of a low snowpack and climate change are all anyone seems to be talking about. Whether on the snow free trails on Hurricane Ridge, summiting classic Olympic Mountains like Mount Ellinor, or experiencing the beauty of Lake of the Angels, hikers on the Olympic Peninsula are shocked by the staggering lack of snow on some of the most popular trails.