Making New Trails: Breaking the Pandemic Routine

EvCC staff suggests breaking screen fatigue with local nature exploration.


U.S. Forest Service

Views from the Heather Meadows hike.

Just months away from the milestone of an entire year of lockdowns and restrictions in Everett, some of us may be glued to our couches, stuck in a mindless scrolling atrophy. Itching for an escape, people in the community have started exploring many of Washington’s natural attractions. 

 According to the United States Department of Agriculture, substantial forests cover more than half of Washington state. To be so lucky to live in a hotspot of natural attractions like the Pacific Northwest, it’s easy to overlook the potential in the greenery that is right outside of our windows.

“There is nothing like fresh air and being away from the material world to make you appreciate how much beauty is all around us and how fortunate we are to be in it,” says Laura Wild, instructor in EvCC’s Nutritional Science Department. With a 2,560 mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail under her belt, Wild has found ways to get outdoors daily and says, “any time spent on a trail is a gift.” 

Although EvCC professor Laura Wild has been spending more time indoors than she’d like, she says that she sleeps best in a tent and has found ways to get outdoors daily. (Courtesy photo from Laura Wild.)

Wild urges students to check out Raptor Ridge or Chuckanut Ridge located in the Bellingham area, stating “the mix of trees and views is stunning.” A roughly 10 mile round trip for both Raptor and Chuckanut Ridge, these trails offer mountain and wildlife views, waterfalls and allows visitors to bring their leashed furry friends to explore with them. 

EvCC geography instructor, Kerry Lyste, describes his perfect day spent in the PNW being up in the high mountains. One of his favorite spots is Lone Fir Campground in the North Cascades. 

The USDA website says this campground has a two-mile trail round trip and is located in the Okanogan National Forest in Wenatchee making for a relaxing road trip, and perfect socially-distanced fun. 

“I am planning on doing Heather Meadows soon, which amazingly enough, I have not done yet,” says Lyste. 

Located in the Mount Baker area, Heather Meadows has many open areas to explore and hiking trails that are designed to be wheelchair accessible. Check out this link to Accessible Nature that details plenty of local parks, trails, forests and other information regarding accessible outdoor activities: Washington Accessible Easy Nature Trails

A blogpost from Dec. 11, 2020 on EvCC’s sustainability blog titled “Trail Work At Little Mountain” details the recent trailwork at Little Mountain Park in Mt. Vernon. The blogpost shares that the park has many trails to hike and bike, and that a new mountain bike skills park is in the works. 

Although we may be eager to experience life the way we used to, COVID-19 restrictions still require us to follow proper safety precautions when leaving our houses as not to put ourselves and others at risk. The Center for Disease Control recommends wearing a mask and avoiding crowded areas when visiting all parks and recreation areas, but these protocols do not make Washington’s parks and trails any less enjoyable.  Sprawling out on the couch will feel more rewarding after a long day of exploring the natural beauty of the PNW. 

More information about proper safety guidelines for outdoor activities can be found on the Daily Activities and Going Out page on the CDC website:

Daily Activities and Going Out | COVID-19

The EvCC Sustainability blog can be found on the EvCC website or by following this link: EvCC Sustainability – Raise Sustainability Awareness