Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking & Backpacking

All posts

Backpacking Courses Spring 2021

Although we’re still in the heart of winter, it won’t be too long before the skies begin to lighten and we’re planning our spring and summer adventures. Get a head-start on your summer plans now by signing up for one of our upcoming introduction to backpacking courses, an excellent way to develop your skills and confidence on the trails before heading out on your first over-night or multi-night trip. Read more…

Trip Report: Windy Ridge at Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens is an exciting place to explore; a true-to-life science experiment, fun for both children and adults alike. My hiking partner and I decided to hike and explore the seldom traveled Windy Ridge Side of Mt. St. Helens. Here you get an up-close and personal view of the destruction done by the lateral blast that rolled over the landscape on May 18, 1980. Read more…

Upcoming Olympia Branch Courses and COVID-19 Accommodations

As we navigate COVID-19, our priority is to keep our members safe and engaged in the outdoors. The Olympia branch is excited to offer three upcoming courses in January and February; hear from the course chairs on the safety adjustments made, and what you can expect to learn.  Read more…

Rainy Season Tips for the Summer Hiker

I grabbed my antique wooden snowshoes and headed for the door. Growing up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, solo adventures every weekend were the norm as a kid. Winters were my favorite; a blanket of snow transformed the world into a black and white vintage photo from December through April. My brothers and I would skate on the lake and wander the empty woods surrounding our small cabin until dusk. Read more…

Running a Course in the Middle of a Pandemic

This story starts back in 2019 when, as the Hiking Chair for the Tacoma Hiking and Backpacking Committee, I had the idea of offering a Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) in Tacoma. The goal of a series like this is to help casual or new hikers increase their mileage and elevation gain in a fun, community-oriented way, and I had a feeling it would be popular at our branch.  Read more…

Trip Report: Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Zion is a national treasure that begs to be explored. It is not only famous for its many hiking trails, including the most dangerous, Angels Landing, but for the milky green Virgin River that shapes what we see today. Read more…

What Are The Ten Essentials?

The Mountaineers Ten Essentials™ dates back to our climbing courses of the 1930s. This widely respected safety and packing system was formalized in the third edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, released in 1974. Each of the nine editions of Freedom, as it is affectionately known, was written entirely by volunteers and reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of outdoor skills instructors. The list has always sought to answer two basic questions: Read more…

How To: Entertain Kids While Hiking & Backpacking

Backpacking with kids is an exciting and eye-opening experience for both parents and children. Sharing the love of nature, exploration, and adventure is special, but not always the easiest thing to get kids exited about. These activity ideas will help you have a great time the next time you head into the backcountry with kids. Read more…

How To: See Golden Larches This Fall

Crisp days and bright fall foliage call hikers out onto the trails each autumn, but few trees draw crowds like our much-loved larches. Located primarily on the sunny eastern slopes of the Cascades, larches are deciduous conifers whose needles turn a rich gold each year. Their stout frames and bristling branches dot hillsides with color each October, and make alpine scenes all the more magical. Read on to learn more about these unique trees and the best hikes to spy them on. Read more…

Trip Report: Lake Ingalls

Lake Ingalls in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is one of the most striking hikes for fall foliage. In fact, this area is stunning no matter what time of the year you go. In the spring the blooming flowers make a striking contrast against the craggy mountains, and in the fall the huckleberries are ripe, juicy, and delicious. Do not wait to hike this trail! Read more…

Leave No Trace Tips for New Hikers

Hiking is a wonderful way to get outside, stretch your legs, and see the best of what the Northwest has to offer. However, it’s important to be mindful of the impacts that we can have on our public lands by doing our best to keep the places we visit wild and pristine. Read more…

Trip Report: Bench Lake, Snow Lake, and Box Canyon Overlook

There is so much to see an explore in Mount Rainier National Park that sometimes it's temping to trail hop. That's exactly what we decided to do one hot summer day, and I'm happy to share with you a detailed report of our adventures so that you can plan your own trip to this gorgeous part of the park.  Read more…

Secret Rainier | Goat Island Mountain

Many of the 100 peaks in Mount Rainier National Park are seldom visited and we believe under appreciated. In this sense they are “secrets” and worthy of being featured in this series. In this chapter of Secret Rainier we describe Goat Island Mountain, one of our favorite scrambles. Notable are the views of Little Tahoma looming above Rainier. It’s is a super summer scramble and a great destination to plan for in the midst of winter. Read more…

Getting Yourself and Your Human in Shape: Summer Edition

The sunny season is here, and we all know what that means! It's time to get in shape for climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling, paddling, playing fetch, and shedding.  Read more…

Secret Rainier | Huckleberry Creek Trail

Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP) is filled with glorious places to visit. Its visitors justifiably flock to the well-known destinations: Sunrise, Paradise, Camp Muir, Summerland, Spray Park and Comet Falls to name just a handful. But there are dozens of other wonderful places — less well known and perhaps a bit more difficult to find — that have a beauty all their own. Longtime Mountaineers trip leaders, Gene Yore and Mickey Eisenberg, call these places “Our Secret Rainier.” This is the sixth of a periodic installment from Gene and Mickey on these gems in the park.  Read more…

Trip Report: Mima Mounds Preserve Trail

The word "Mima" in Mima Mounds is derived from a Native American language meaning “a little further along” or “downstream.” Modern scientists argue about what causes these unusual land formations, but what I find fascinating is that the Mima Mounds are not unique; mounded forms are found across the United States. In California they're called “HogWallow Mounds,” and New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming have “prairie mounds.” In the Northern Great Plains they're known as “Pimple Mounds.” Read more…

Raising Adventurous Kids: How We Survived the Early Years

The fourth time my 6-year-old fell down on the muddy trail and screamed like there was no tomorrow, I thought, “hmmm… maybe we should turn back.” Then I figured he’ll be fine - it’s all part of getting outside. To be fair, he kept falling because he was wearing his mom’s (giant for him) rain boots, because he’d forgotten his own boots. He also forgot his shoes, and we didn’t drive an hour to not go for a hike because our kid forgot his boots when we had a perfectly good pair of rain boots in the car. Lesson learned: double-check footwear for all family members. See also: socks, pants, gloves, hats… you get the idea. Read more…

Trail Tails: Oliver

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

Secret Rainier | Bald Rock

Bald Rock is infrequently visited but it makes for a lovely
forest hike with great views of Rainier and Little Tahoma.
The peak is named for it smooth treeless summit. Read more…

Did You Know: Steamboat Rock State Park

Steamboat rock is composed of Miocene Columbia River basalts, and sits 800ft above the desert floor. This monolithic basaltic rock overlies a much older intrusive igneous rock, and it sits in the channeled scablands in Eastern Washington, known as the Grand Coulee. Hiking the trail towards this magnificent rock you are walking on a soft, deep, sandy trail reminiscent of the beach. Steamboat Rock sits on a sand dune, a remnant from the past massive floods. Read more…

My COVID-19 Experience

On February 26, 2020, I hopped on a plane and flew to Australia. I was a tad nervous about the flights because of the news I kept hearing about a new coronavirus, but I also heard that Australia had stopped all flights departing from China and southeast Asia. International travel was not yet restricted, and at the time there was no reason to delay my trip. Little did I know what was in store for me. Read more…

Backcountry Hygiene 101: You Don't Have to Smell Bad to Smell Better

Hello gorgeous! You - yes, you! With the messy hair, dirty legs, and that certain wilderness glow about you. You look fabulous! Read more…

Trail Tails: El'Bug

Trail Tails is a special feature showcasing the mutts of The Mountaineers! This month we recognize El'Bug, owned by Mountaineer Kate Tegeler.  Read more…

Apply for a Backpacking Skills or PCT Mileage Badge

While you're waiting to get back out on the trail solo, with family, or with your favorite Mountaineers backpacking buddies, check out these opportunities to get credit for your backpacking skills and experience with one of these fun badges for your Mountaineers profile! Read more…

Armchair Global Adventures - Explore the World From Your Favorite Armchair

Did you know that The Mountaineers have been leading international adventure activities since the 1960s? Since our beginnings we've taken members on 220 different adventures, trekking, hiking, backpacking, climbing, scrambling, and skiing to over 25 different countries and on nearly every continent. Read more…

Gear Love

Forget about that special someone – let’s focus on that special something! We all have the pieces of gear we love above the rest. Things that keep you warm, safe, and comfortable. Take a moment to think about that piece of equipment you just couldn’t live without, and enjoy these love letters written by Mountaineers to gear they adore the most. Read more…

Preparing for the Worst: A Chaplain’s Perspective

On August 14, 2018, I received the phone call. A climber had died, and my mountaineering friend had just gotten the news. He needed assistance with what to do next. In seven years as an emergency services chaplain, I’ve lost count of how many death notifications I’ve given, and I was the right person for my friend to call. Only, when I realized that the climber he was talking about was Stephen Kornbluth, my best friend and “mountain husband,” I felt my world shatter into a million pieces. None of my experience had prepared me for this moment. Read more…

Backpack in the Patagonian Summer - In February 2021

Backpack for eight days far off the beaten track across the Andes through Argentina’s 'Switzerland'. Join us to explore  Nahuel Huapi National Park in northern Patagonia as part of a Mountaineers Global Adventures trip in Feburary 2021. It'll be winter here, but you can enjoy the sunshine of the summer in the southern hemisphere! Read more…

Hit the Trail With a Day Hiking Course - Begins March 30

With spring around the corner, we want to help you get ready to hit the trail with the Olympia Branch's new Day Hiking Course! Are you new to hiking, or haven't been out in a while? Do you wonder about gear, clothing, or backpack weight? Want to get better acquainted with our local area? This course is for you!  Read more…

Adventure Wellness Weekend at Meany Lodge: June 5-7

The Mountaineers would like to welcome you to our first annual Adventure Wellness Weekend! Sponsored by the Foothills Branch Trail Running Committee and located at Meany Lodge, the weekend hosts a multitude of activities designed to allow participants to experience nature in a new way. You can forage for wild plants to eat or grow at home, hike at night, try yoga in natural settings, and more! Read more…