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Friday, June 29, 2012 - Page updated at 10:00 p.m.
Hike of the week: Head to Mount St. Helens, bring binoculars
By Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times staff reporter
The volcanic landscape and views of Mount St. Helens are well worth the trip, but even more inspiring on this day hike is the recovery of the surrounding wildlife and vegetation.
The South Coldwater Lake Trail hike at the Mount St. Helens National Monument covers 10 miles round trip, and according to the Washington Trails Association it is one of the finest Fourth of July getaways around.
Hikers can trek along a ridge high above picturesque Coldwater Lake and soak in the views (bring along a decent pair of binoculars) of treeless meadows of wildflowers, grassy hillsides, small animals, herds of roaming elk and even a rusting tractor left from the devastating eruption in 1980.
The South Coldwater Lake trailhead parking area is located about one mile from the lake's boat launch.
The hike starts with a short downhill jaunt and then quickly turns into a decent uphill climb with an elevation gain of 2,100 feet to the highest point at 4,600 feet. Keep quiet and you just might hear the distinct sounds of an elk.
About three miles into the hike you will arrive at the rusted tractor. From here hikers will venture south, climbing up the mountain to the journey's end at Coldwater Saddle.
For current trip reports on this trail, go to Washington Trails Association at www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/south-coldwater-trail.
Notes: No dogs are allowed. A Northwest Forest Pass ($5 per day or $30 annually) is required to park at the trailhead lot. For information, visit the National Volcanic Monument Headquarters, 42218 N.E. Yale Bridge Rd. in Amboy or call 360-449-7800; Johnston Ridge Observatory, 24000 Spirit Lake Highway in Toutle or call 360-274-2140; and Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake, 3029 Spirit Lake Highway in Castle Rock or call 360-274-0962. Website is www.fs.usda.gov/mountsthelens/.
Directions: From Castle Rock, head east on Highway 504 for about 43 miles to the Coldwater Visitor Center, and then another 2.2 miles south to Johnston Ridge. At the bottom of the hill, drive past the Coldwater Lake boat launch area for one mile to the trailhead on the left side.
Other upcoming outdoor events:
• The Green Lake Small Craft Center's youth sailing classes are available through August. Open to youth ages 10 to 17, and they must weigh at least 80 pounds. Cost is $200, except $160 for a July 2-6 session. Classes are noon to 4 p.m. each day. Dates for ages 11-17 are July 2-6; July 9-13; July 16-20; July 23-27; July 30-Aug. 3; Aug. 6-10; and Aug. 13-17. Date for ages 10-13 is July 9-13. For details, visit www.arcseattle.org.
• The popular recreational crab fishing season begins this Sunday in most areas of Puget Sound. The crab fishery will be open Thursdays to Mondays only. Crabbing is closed on the Fourth of July. The southern part of San Juan Islands opens July 15, and northern part opens Aug. 16. For details, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.
• The state Department of Natural Resources says a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands begins this Sunday through Sept. 30 to protect from the threat of wildfires. This means all forestlands in Washington under DNR fire protection; the burn ban does not apply to federal lands. One exception is recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds. The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbecues will continue to be allowed under the ban. For details, visit www.dnr.wa.gov.
• The Washington Parks and Recreation summer natural and cultural history interpretive programs are at Larrabee State Park, 245 Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham. Dr. Marilyn Boysen will lead the programs this Saturday, and July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 1. A Discover Pass is required. For details, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events.
• The Mount St. Helens Ranger District is looking for volunteer campground hosts with a motorhome or travel trailer this summer at Lower Falls campground on the Upper North Fork Lewis River on Forest Road 90, 30 miles east of Cougar. Hosts assist with visitor information, restroom cleaning and light campground maintenance. Each is provided with a free campsite, an identifying sign, training materials and information brochures for distribution. Laundry facilities are nearby. Reimbursement for propane will be provided. This is a 30-day commitment and a full season is optional. For details, call Diana Perez at 360-449-7843.
• The International Federation of Fly Fishers is hosting an International Fly Fishing Fair July 12-14 at the Spokane Convention Center. See more than 90 workshops and clinics on casting, fly tying, and on-water fishing techniques taught by well-known instructors. Expert fly-fishing authors will also be signing books, and giving presentations and workshops. In addition, more than 110 fly tiers will be demonstrating their artistic work.
The fair will feature exhibits with the latest in gear, outfitters, conservation information and other topics. There will be a casting pond to try the latest rod and reel as well as kids' activities. For details, visit www.fedflyfisher.org.
• The Northwest Mountain School in Leavenworth offers a variety of climbing programs and extended mountain climbs throughout the summer. For details, visit www.mountainschool.com or call 509-548-5823.
• As the weather warms up and many are headed out for boating on the water it is a reminder that all children 12 and under are required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket on vessels less than 19 feet long. There must also be a life jacket on board for each person older than age 12.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is offering low cost life jackets July 21, Aug. 18 and Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Evans Pool, 7201 E. Green Lake Dr. North in Seattle. Cost for infant to youth large is $20, and for teens to adults is $30. For details, call 206-684-7440 or email at email@example.com.
• The Orvis Store in Bellevue at 10223 N.E. 10th Street is offering free fly-fishing lessons through July. Each class consists of one hour of casting instruction followed by one hour of rigging. Attendees will receive $25 coupon off any purchase of $50 or more toward Orvis gear. Each participant will also get a free Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers membership. For details, visit www.orvis.com/ff101.
• The Washington Waterfowl Association in the Yakima Valley is hosting the Washington State Duck Calling Championship 7 a.m. Aug. 25 at Columbia Park in Kennewick. For details, call 509-786-9196.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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