Hiking & Backpacking

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Rebuilding History & Hearts

"What are those?” I asked, pointing to the four hikers who had pulled off the trail to don microspikes and crampons. It was a frigid, late Saturday in February 2015 on Mount Pilchuck. At this point in my outdoor career I was a sport climber, a casual hiker (at best), and had only backpacked a handful of times. You can imagine my reaction to seeing people take these grizzly-bear like claws from their packs and attach them to their boots. Read more…

Top Nature Hikes in Tacoma

You may not immediately look to Washington’s third largest city for a walk in the wild. So be prepared to have Tacoma surprise you. Within the hustle and bustle of this metropolitan area are some large natural areas laced with excellent trails that invite walkers, hikers, and runners of all ages and abilities to explore and be wooed. So no need to head to the backcountry this weekend if you're looking for a great place to do an all-day hike, long run, or get-back-to-nature stroll. Check out these three urban wildernesses in and near the City of Destiny from my new book Urban Trails: Tacoma instead.  Read more…

Armchair Adventures For Fall

It's that time of year when the mercury plummets, the rains arrive, and we want to wrap ourselves in a warm blanket and cozy up with a book. But that doesn't mean we're going to stop exploring! How does traveling Italy by bike, venturing into the Alaskan wilderness to photograph wildlife, or joining the thru-hiking community on the Appalachian Trail sound? How about making a ground-breaking ascent of Mount Everest via the West Ridge, becoming the first North American woman to do so? All this and more is available for your reading pleasure, so settle in, pour yourself a hot beverage, and enjoy our armchair adventure recommendations. Read more…

Did You Know: Summit Lake Trail

If you’re eager to find a place to take in the beauty of the natural world, the Summit Lake trail ought to be on your list. Bringing you to a crisp alpine lake with spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, this trail is a treat for hikers and naturalists in any weather. Read more…

Trail Talk: Better than the 10 Essentials, Pack Plenty of Knowledge on Your Next Hike

One of the biggest highlights of my career as an outdoors writer so far was being flown to Los Angeles last spring for a TV shoot on the Weather Channel’s SOS How to Survive. The program is hosted by Creek Stewart, a nationally renowned survival instructor and author. Each episode of SOS How to Survive spotlights true life stories involving folks who have dealt with life-threatening situations (often in the wilderness) interjected with segments on survival tips and skills. Read more…

The Seattle Photography Committee Needs Your Input

The Photography Committee encourages members to develop their photographic skills and creative visions through various activities and programs offered throughout the year. Monthly potlucks are held the third Wednesday of each month. It's a opportunity to socialize and share images. We also have classes and field trips, and we're looking for your feedback to determine what we offer moving forward! Read more…

Devilish Trails for Halloween

Many hikers in Washington state have encountered – to their dismay – the prickly spines of devil's club, Oplopanax horridus, a shrub which grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest as well as near Lake Superior. While the origins of the name of this bane of bushwhackers seem quite obvious given its notorious thorns, Washington state is home to many more "devils". In honor of Halloween, here is a sampling of the "Devils" in our state, from north to south. Read more…

Three Easy Hikes to Enjoy in Joshua Tree National Park

Featuring stunning, easy hikes to explore three distinct regions of Joshua Tree National Park (Lost Horse Valley, Queen Valley, and Pinto Basin), the following is excerpted from Scott Turner's Hike the Parks: Joshua Tree National ParkExcerpt edited for space and clarity. Read more…

Stories from the Cloud Forest of Western Panama

Keow-kowee keow k’loo keow k’loo keeloo came from right over our heads, making us stop abruptly. Jeffrey, my hiking companion, whispered, "Quetzal, courtship." My head was already crunched all the way back so I could stare directly into the canopy of this tropical forest. Resplendent Quetzals were in courtship. The male flew from one branch to another, his long tail waving behind him; the female also was moving back and forth, twigs swaying with her activity. My parabolic reflector pointed right at them, I was capturing their courtship on my sound recorder. Read more…

Exploring Swift Creek and the Lake Ann Trail at Mount Baker

"See that ledge that runs to the right from Lower Curtis Glacier?” Stewart pointed to the far slope behind him. “That is the intersection of two terranes. Shuksan greenschist is above the line, and Darrington phyllite is below it. A thrust fault runs between them." Stewart (his geology training evident), stood in front of us, pointing at diagrams in his notebook and then the cliff. We had stopped for lunch near Lake Ann. I stood off to the side, letting him talk. He teaches several courses for The Mountaineers, and I’d hoped he’d come on my trip. He could master this geology that I’d found so confusing. We’d seen so much thanks to him. Read more…