Ken Wilcox crossed the mighty Cascades into the amazingly green and drizzly Western Washington the first time with his parents and five siblings July 4, 1967.
I didnt know for several years that this is such a good place to hike, Wilcox wrote in the foreword of this second edition of his book, Hiking Snohomish County.
From the wild bluffs and beaches of Port Susan and Possession Sound to the flowery alpine meadows of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, Snohomish County is a wonderful place to walk Wilcox wrote in his introduction.
I will vouch for the book, as I have used the first edition extensively in the past 10 years.
Wilcox will be signing the new edition at BookWORKS bookstore in downtown Marysville starting at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21.
He also has hiking guides about the San Juans and Whatcom County, said the owner of BookWORKS, Mary Burns.
Wilcox has lived in Bellingham for 25 years.
For this happy camper, Utah was history, Wilcox wrote.
The Wilcox family found a home in Alderwood Manor when Kens father was working in downtown Seattle but they soon moved out into the country, smack dab between the north and south lanes of I-5 near the Stanwood exit, Wilcox wrote.
The traffic was about as bad as a dead end street in Mukilteo, reports the foreword.
Wilcox works by day as a trail consultant, planning trail systems for city and county parks departments.
I have to do the trail work, he said. I couldnt live on the income from the books.
His Whatcom County book is in its fifth edition, released in 2005.
The first edition of Hiking Snohomish County was released in 1998 and was out of print for two years when Wilcox started reworking it.
It needed a complete overhaul and I really had to check out the condition of the trails, he said.
Wilcox spent two summers rehiking all the trails in the book and it was released at the end of last summer.
It was a bit of a challenge due to the 2003 storm damage, Wilcox said.
Sometimes even the forest service couldnt answer my questions about trails and road conditions.
When he went up to the North Fork of the Sauk River, the road was temporarily closed so he sent the book off to press with old information.
Luckily the road opened before the book was printed and I was able to send in a correction, he said.
From Mount Higgins and North Mountain across the Snohomish County border in Skagit County to Deception Falls and the Iron Goat Trail, just across the county border to the south, along Highway 2, the book describes 93 walks and hikes along the beach, in the foothills on the Mountain Loop Highway and in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the east with some in the North Cascades as well.
Wilcox added a few new hikes, although the book was so comprehensive there werent too many new ones too add. One of his favorite new additions is a urban walk.
The North Creek Trail in the lowlands of Mill Creek is a nice stroll, he said.
He also likes the waterfront walk in Edmonds.
I think that people dont realize they can walk almost the entire coast of the county, as long as they keep track of tides, said Wilcox, who also mentioned the new stretch of the Centennial Trail from Lake Stevens to the 152nd Street trailhead between Arlington and Marysville.
Personally I prefer biking on the Centennial Trail, but its a wonderful walk for moms and their kids in strollers, he said.
While the western beach walks at Kayak Point and Tulalip Bay are the easiest and most accessible to Marysville, the hikes in the foothills arent that far away either, or even those in the Cascade Mountains proper.
Thats the charm of this place where we live the incredible Snohomish County.
Since the book was released at the end of the hiking season last summer, Wilcox is now busy booking talks at bookstores around the area, from BookWORKS in Marysville to Third Place Books and REI in north Seattle.
He plans to release a new edition of his Hikes in the San Juans book in 2009, and then will update the Skagit book.
Unfortunately, I cant spend all my time hiking, he said. If so, he said he would have been able to do all the 93 Snohomish County hikes in a few months. Instead it took two years.
He created the entire book himself, including the layout, the maps and the photographs.
I had fun doing it, he said. I hope people will enjoy it.
With another 6,000 copies on hand he expects they should last several years.
I believe as more trails are developed, people will go out and walk more and then they will use my book more, too.
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