Hiking

At the Top of Mount St. Helens

Written & Photographed by Mitch Maxson

What’s it like at the top of Mount Saint Helens this time of year? Mitch Maxson and his family found out with a late June hike to the summit.  Mitch is the Director of Marketing for The Nature Conservancy in Oregon but as these pictures show, he might have a serious case of Washington-envy.

If you want to take in the amazing sights around Mount Saint Helens but are not up for the rigors of a 5000 foot, five mile climb, visit the north side of the mountain where you can drive to various visitor centers and experience the power of this volcano.

Explore Our State's National Parks


Ancient Lakes in Vivid Color: The June Photo of the Month

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Guest Blog: A quiet beauty hidden in Quincy, Washington

Written and Photographed by Mitch Pittman, Northwest Photojournalist

More vivid than the colors of the sunset are the memories that surround it. Rain was forecast for the Western side of the state, so my friend Erin (pictured) and I headed towards Quincy, Washington and a little cluster of lakes we’d heard about on social media.

Ancient Lakes is unlike any other place I’ve been to in Washington - towering cliffs conceal the farmlands above and take you back in time, coyotes scamper through sage brush, waterfalls appear out of nowhere to spill down the walls and fill the air with a soft roar, and at the back of this broad valley are the lakes.

After exploring an upper valley, we started to head back to the car just before sunset and found ourselves on top of the main waterfall right as the real show began. My mind, let alone my shutter finger, could hardly keep up with the brilliant, glowing air around me. Within minutes, this shot appeared out of the dull desert grey. After I snapped this, Erin shouted for me to turn around - a rainbow against a tangerine sky! From there the pinks, purples, blues, and yellows just kept coming.

I realized a few minutes in that even trying to capture the full beauty of what was happening around me was pointless, so I eventually set down my camera and simply enjoyed the rest of the show in silent awe with my dear friend.

Those are my favorite images of the day.

Mitch Pittman lives in Seattle and works as a reporter and photojournalist for KOMO 4 News, but many of his favorite stories to tell are during his time off exploring the beautiful areas of this state. You can follow his trips on Instagram (@mitchpittman) or on his website.