Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking & Backpacking

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Hiking With Pre-Existing Health Conditions

I live with two realities that are mostly hereditary: aging-related hypertension and type II diabetes. My paternal grandfather died from diabetes complications in 1958 (he was 6'4" and thin as a rail). My dad has diabetes (he's 5'3" and only 107 lbs.). So, while I'm fatter than I'd like, my weight was not the determining factor in my diabetes. Read more…

Top 10 Trip Reports of Summer 2019: Part 1

Unsurprisingly, The Mountaineers community takes an astounding number of trips all around the Pacific Northwest in the summer months, and many of those yield great write-ups and photos.  That makes aggregating reports for these Top-10 posts a lot harder. After looking through every report dated between June 1 and July 31, I pulled out the best of the best, which left me with about 50 reports - way too many to turn into a top-10 list. Therefore, I dub the reports below the "best of the best of the best." Read more…

Ins and Outs of Women's Backpacking Gear

Purchasing outdoor gear can be a daunting experience. I understand. We’ve all been there, standing in the middle of a gear shop, surrounded by dozens of sleeping bags, a pile of backpacks, and enough sleeping pads to stack to the ceiling. It’s all a bit much. Read more…

Making the Most of Your Ancient Forest Hike

Going for a hike in an ancient forest is a lot more interesting if you are armed with an inquisitive attitude, a little knowledge and context, and some extra time to enjoy the special place you are in. Here are a few tips that can help you have the best experience. Read more…

Staying Prepared For the Best Kind of Adventures

Unprepared adventurers, if they’re not lucky, can find themselves struggling out in the dark, under deteriorating conditions — or worse. Perhaps they leave without appropriate clothing or gear. Or they go without being cognizant of weather or available daylight. A few face difficulty because they chose an objective they were not physically ready for. And some expose themselves and others to risk because they decide to continue the climb even though objective information suggests they would be safer turning around or choosing another destination. Read more…

Behind the Scenes: Pooping in the Wilderness

By the end of the day, I was finally able to look squarely into the camera and say, “poop” without laughing. Our film team let out a collective sigh of relief. We were officially finished with one of the most challenging storytelling tasks of the Backcountry Impact Series film project: human waste. Read more…

Trail Tails: Raven

Trail Tails is a special feature showcasing the mutts of The Mountaineers! This month we recognize Raven, owned by Mountaineer Carlanna Livingstone.  Read more…

Did You Know? Butte Camp Via Loowit Trail

I’ve been slowly marking off the 100 hikes that Ira Spring and Harvey Manning published in their book 100 Hikes in Washington: South Cascades and Olympics. I recently completed my 40th hike from this well-used and much-loved trail book, enjoying a beautiful trip from Butte Camp to the Loowit Trail. Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Christina Buckman

Meet Foothills volunteer Christina Buckman. Christina was raised in Yakima and started hiking after her daughter went to college - and never stopped! She loves volunteering and is excited to be a part of our community.  Read more…

2nd Annual Baker Lodge Summer Weekend - Aug 9-11

The photography and naturalists committees are teaming up again this year for our second annual at Baker Lodge. Last year was so much fun, in spite of the rainy weather, so we're doing it again! This is a great opportunity to share our love of the outdoors together and develop an enhanced sense of connection, and we hope you'll join us! Read more…

Did You Know? Harry's Ridge & Devils Point

Harry’s Ridge and the Devils Point at Mount St. Helens are two hikes with jaw dropping views accessible out of the Johnston Ridge Observatory, named after David Alexander Johnston the volcanologist who was killed in the 1980 eruption. Visiting is both a monument to destruction and death and renewal and rebirth. Read more…

A Multigenerational Hike Through An Oregon Gem

When I get to the top of a summit, I have an inexplicable urge to stretch my arms wide open, put my palms up toward the sky, and soak it all in. Like being one with nature through osmosis! My soul is breathing it in. Innate and metaphysical, ritual with nature calls me, and it can only be fed atop a mountain. I found it again on Saddle Mountain in Oregon. Read more…

Staying Safe on Remote Day Hikes

Outdoor activities have the tendency to escalate into bigger and more complex pursuits, and hiking is no exception. Even if you start with only an interest in moderate day hikes, you may soon be eyeing longer and more difficult trails. With long hikes, you assume more risk than on a day hike near town, and you may find yourself in remote places without cell service and few people on-trail to help if something goes wrong. Follow these tips to navigate this middle ground between hiking and backpacking responsibly: Read more…

How To: Day Hiking 101

Hiking is a great way to appreciate our lush forests, mountains, and rivers in the Northwest, especially if you’re just starting to explore the outdoors. Learn about how to choose gear, select hikes, practice trail etiquette, and more, to make the most of your time on the trail.   Read more…

Safety Stories | Beware of Slugs

Last May, what started out as a straight forward backpacking trip turned into a harrowing ordeal for Mountaineer member Michael Kelly. With humor and grace, she recounts the good, the bad, and the downright ridiculousness of having to travel five miles without the use of her right leg. Read more…

Top 10 Trip Reports - May 2019

I have to say, Mountaineers seem to be an excited bunch when the weather gets nice. With summer on the horizon, the number of trip reports you posted in May went WAY up. These reports have been wonderful, and it looks like it's bound to be a good summer for The Mountaineers community. This month, we have six climbs, one scramble, two hikes, and one sailing report to highlight from our favorite trip reports. Read more…

Adventure Hacks for the Over-Stoked and Under-Prepared

Luxuries that we take for granted in our homes – the convenience of a kitchen, the comfort of a light switch – are nonexistent once you’re off-grid. The need for self-sufficiency is part of the appeal of the outdoors, but it also offers the opportunity to find yourself in a position where you didn’t pack as efficiently or appropriately as you should have. The time will come when you open your pack and realize that you forgot an item integral to your comfort or sanity. It’s happened to all of us, and is often a sign that your stoke outweighed your preparation. Read more…

How To: Cross-Promote Other Committees as a Trip Leader

I belong to several committees in The Mountaineers (photography, naturalists, and hiking), and I work hard to integrate the work of all of our committees into each of my trips. I do this because participants, like leaders, have varied interests, and the more we showcase the great offerings of The Mountaineers, the more engaged our participants will be! Read more…

Secret Rainier | Copper and Iron Peaks

Mount Rainier National Park has over 100 climbable peaks (not counting Mount Rainier itself) either within or immediately adjacent to the Park boundary, and most are seldom visited and underappreciated. In this sense they are “secrets” and worthy of being featured in this Secret Rainier series, where we outline the benefits of these 76 scrambles, 15 hikes, and nine climbs. In this issue of Secret Rainier, we describe Copper and Iron Mountains. These two gems in the park require an arduous day but are well worth it. Read more…

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home: An Interview with Speed Thru-hiker Heather “Anish” Anderson

Last November, on a southern point along the Continental Divide Trail in New Mexico, Heather Anderson, known as “Anish” on the trail, became the first woman and sixth person overall to complete one of thru-hiking’s ultimate feats: the “Calendar Year Triple Crown.” Read more…

Top 10 Trip Reports - April 2019

A little more dirt and a little less snow are filling the pages of our trip reports now that we're well into spring. You all promptly stepped into your hiking boots this month too, it would seem. But regardless of the trails clearing up, I still see plenty of rain jackets! Hooray for indecisive weather and unreliable forecasts through the next month or two! Read more…

Celebrate Spring With Birds, Flowers, and Mounds - May Events

Our Mountaineers naturalist committees offer opportunities to learn about the plants, animals, marine life, and geology of the Pacific Northwest. To help you get involved, the Olympia Naturalist Committee is offering new activities in May and June to help you learn more about the birds of our region. Read more…

Tell Me About: Trekking Poles

You’ve seen them around: whether with a speed walking grandpa, that youngin’ plowing down the path, or the ultrarunner in the video of the Rocky 100, trekking poles (also called hiking poles or walking sticks) are an outdoor accessory almost as old as hiking itself. But… why would you use them? Read more…

The Baby Peakbagger: Exploring Mount Rainier National Park with my Daughter

When most people think of Mount Rainier National Park, they think of the park’s namesake peak, a towering 14,441-foot stratovolcano that’s famous the world over. But Washington State’s iconic mountain only scratches the surfaces of the area’s summit possibilities. Longtime Mountaineers Gene Yore and Mickey Eisenberg identified the 100 peaks surrounding Rainier and set about climbing these lesser-known gems. Gene, who took on the challenge at age 72, overcame cardiac arrest and a broken femur on his way to reaching all 100 peaks. Read more…

Three Generations Outside: A Love Letter to my Sons and Granddaughters

Our small town in rural Pennsylvania didn’t have a community center. Or a swimming pool. The only thing for us children to do when we weren’t in school was hike the surrounding hills and mountains. My family was poor, so we never went on vacations that didn’t involve a tent or camper. My strongest and most vivid memories growing up are from experiences in the outdoors. Spending time in the forests and mountains is as natural to me as breathing. Read more…

Car Camping and Backpacking Gear Comes to the Gear Library!

Our new Gear Library is committed to helping the next generation explore the outdoors. Since launching in August 2018, we have partnered with local youth-serving agencies to offer free access to outdoor gear to help increase access to our wild places.  We are excited to announce that car camping and backpacking gear are now included in our gear offerings! Attend our upcoming Gear Library orientation on April 8 to learn more. Read more…

Southcentral Alaska Goal Hikes

Hiking goals in Alaska are as diverse as the people you meet out on the trail; they come in all shapes, sizes and ambitions. But one thing is pretty universal: The ideal of an end-of-summer “goal hike” that you train for all summer long. Read more…

Top 10 Trip Reports - March 2019

Spring has sprung! Can't you tell? T-shirts and sandals are trickling back into our lives, people are sitting outside just for the fun of it, and all of a sudden it makes sense to buy sunscreen again. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Gordie Swartzman

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Gordie Swartzman, a naturalists leader with the Seattle Branch who encourages new leaders to lead out of their passion! Read more…

DIY Organic Snacks To Bring On Your Next Hike

Enjoying the great outdoors can definitely work up an appetite. Packing the right amount of food and water on a hike is essential. Not only will you need energy, but it allows you to go further down the trail when it’s so easy to turn back. Seasoned hikers know the common snacks you can quickly throw in a bag, like beef jerky and nuts. But there are more options available. Consider these DIY organic snacks to bring on your next hike. Read more…