Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking & Backpacking

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Mount Rainier Infinity Loop: Bringing a Vision to Life

“You’re doing what?!” I gasped. It was a typical Monday evening in July and we were sitting at the Elliot Bay Brewery for the launch party of The Mountaineers first peer-to-peer adventure based fundraising campaign, Our Parks | Your Adventure. Being the year of the National Park Centennial, we hoped our campaign would inspire individuals to seek an adventure of their choosing in a National Park while fundraising for The Mountaineers youth programs. Read more…

Trail Tails: Gumbo

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

Peak Fitness | Gamify Your Hikes: Making Family Adventures Fun for Everyone

Our twelve-year-old daughter loves to pester us with, “Are we there yet?”, “How much longer?” and “Can we take a break?” when we go on hikes. The solution? Bring a friend her age. If that strategy fails, we try to include a cool distraction like having a scavenger hunt, finding a geocache, playing in a snow patch, or identifying birds or plants. I recently stumbled on another technique you can add to your repertoire of distractions that can also work great on your pack carrying workouts. I call it “Gamify.” All it requires is a pair of dice and some creativity. Read more…

Did You Know: Tatoosh Ridge Trail

This summer I’ve been slowly marking off the 100 hikes that Ira Spring and Harvey Manning published in their second edition of 100 Hikes in Washington: South Cascades and Olympics. I completed my 41st as we hiked to the site of the former Tatoosh Ridge lookout on Tatoosh Peak, made famous in Martha Hardy’s book Tatoosh. This hike is neither for the faint of heart nor the causal hiker. It is steep, with some exposure and drop-offs that leave one wondering, “What am I doing this for?” Read more…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Basic Hiking Skills Course - May 6 & 8

Are you an experienced hiker/backpacker? Or maybe a a new hiker/backpacker? Someone who has  hiked or backpacked in the past and wants to become active again? Regardless of where you're starting, this two-evening course has something for you. It's designed for both new hikers or for people who have hiked before but want to step up their game with an introduction to safe hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Read more…

Thirst: 2600 Miles from Home

It takes a whole lot of gumption to take off on a journey by yourself, all the more for a woman on her own striding through the wild. When Heather "Anish" Anderson decided to set the self-supported Fastest Known Time for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, she had the gumption but courage was something she had to work on. The following is an excerpt from her new memoir, Thirst: 2600 Miles from Home. Read more…

Winter's Beauty on the Old Sauk Trail

My knees sank into the snow. I had my face close to the quilt of white that covered the stair-step moss. In a few places, their feathery green leaves showed through. These are one of the biggest mosses in the Pacific Northwest. A new leaf grows each year from the stem of last year’s. An elegant bryophyte, with lacy foliage, it can form a matt a foot or more, thick. The combination of snow and moss made the forest floor look like a thick and fluffy winter comforter had been thrown across it. The leaf tissue looked frozen and shriveled, but it smelled alive; vibrant life was just waiting for a warm day. Read more…

Did You Know? Hole in the Ground & Crack in the Ground

Two geological wonders are hiding in Fort Rock State Park. Learn more about these hidden gems in our second installment of a blog series we're calling "Back-Road Adventures in Oregon". If you haven't, read the first blog about the history of Fort Rock State Park.  Read more…

Trail Tails: Coulson

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