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Andy Dappen | Celebrating trails: NCW has variety of options for walks, runs, hikes

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Question: What day has occurred annually on the first Saturday of June since the late 1980s and is meant to motivate us to get out and connect with nature the slow way — via a dirt path?

You didn’t get this one? Obviously the answer is ... the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, held this year on Saturday.

Conservatively figured, there are over 200,000 miles of trails nationwide that bring us recreation; adventure; a connection to nature; mental, physical and spiritual health; and more. National Trails Day is about celebrating all this by getting off our collective duffs and hitting the trail.

Naturally you can celebrate trails year-round, but there are a number of events happening around North Central Washington during this accentuated weekend that will help our regional trail users get into the spirit of the day.

1. Saddle Rock Guided Hike

Saddle Rock Trailhead at the end of Circle Street; 9 a.m.

As part of the 2014 Hiking Challenge created by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, Foothills Ambassador Jose Luis Marquez will be leading a guided hike up the iconic Saddle Rock trail. Knock off one of the five trails involved in the hiking challenge while also learning history and natural history of the Wenatchee Foothills.

2. Guided Nature Walk

Leavenworth Fish Hatchery; 9 a.m.

Although this event is hosted by the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery, Wenatchee Valley College students will be its guides. The Icicle Nature Trail at the Hatchery provides an easy one-mile loop, perfect for families and nature watching. Each student present has a topic of expertise and some of this expertise will be shared in a rambling fashion as you ramble.

3. Echo Valley Trail Runs

Echo Valley Ski Hill; 9 a.m.

Echo Valley Ski Hill and Vin du Lac Winery in Chelan will be hosting the Echo Valley Trail Runs made up of jaunts ranging from 1K (kids) to 10K (normal mortals) to half marathons to marathons (studs) to 50K to 50 miles (mutants). Sample the endless sunshine and endless trails of Chelan with any one of these events.

4. Washington State Park Free Days

Any Washington state park; all weekend.

In honor of National Trails Day, Saturday and Sunday are ‘free days’ at any of the Washington state parks, meaning no Discover Pass is needed. That’s joyful enough to want to take a hike.

5. Celebrating Trails in the Methow

Sun Mountain Lodge near Winthrop; all weekend.

In collaboration with Sun Mountain Lodge and MVSTA, The Mountaineers are putting on a full weekend of trips that are open to the public. Join them for full day, half-day or morning hikes around the Methow Valley.

6. Red Devil Challenge 25K & 10K Trail Runs

Sandcreek Trailhead near Cashmere; 8:45am for 25K and 9 a.m for 10K.

While this event is technically being held the day after National Trails Day, why quibble about petty details? Get out there and enjoy the company of hundreds of other trail runners who arrive to run this scenic course.