Mountaineer Magazine

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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…

Secret Rainier | Wonders of Wonderland

This issue of Secret Rainier describes four wonders of the Wonderland (just off the main trail), each well worth a short detour to visit. The Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier is aptly named: the entire 96-mile trail is a feast to behold. Though the trail doesn’t fully open up until July and become snow free until late July, now is a good time to plan a trip and make reservations via the Mount Rainier National Park web site. Read more…

Impact Giving | One Good Idea, Many Great Adventures

A climb-a-thon. Now, that’s an idea. I can’t take all the credit though. Gavin Woody was president of the board in 2012 when he asked me if I’d thought about doing some sort of climb-a-thon as a fundraiser to give members a fun way to support our new youth programs. This made sense as Mountaineers put in a lot of vertical feet all year round, but at the time I had just completed my first year as director for a new development program. We were already in early-stage planning for our next “first ascent,” a fundraising dinner in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jim Whittaker’s historic summit of Mt. Everest. Read more…

The Little Things: Moss Blankets and Raining Lichen

As the mountains brighten with a blanket of fresh white on its highest hills, and evening alpenglow illuminates the distance with shades of pink and orange, we are allured by snow: tossing on snowshoes and skis to venture into the fantastic. Naturalists, searching for flora and fauna, turn to the foothills — and their manuals. We flip past the names of flowering meadow plants, summer mammals and autumn berries. We're reminded of the little things that flourish year-round in the temperate rainforest that makes up the Pacific Northwest — and especially in its wettest seasons — moss and lichen. Read more…

Nature's Way | Orcas of the Salish Sea

Resident orcas of the Salish Sea may be wild creatures, but satellite tags, drone images and individual health profiles are making them as familiar as family to researchers. The distinctively marked, largest members of the dolphin family that comprise the J, K, and L pods, also known as killer whales, are being studied inside and out. While scientists monitor the whales’ whereabouts, new babies, and what’s happening with food sources, they’re also analyzing the whales’ feces and blubber to better understand the health of individuals. Read more…

Celebrating Cancer Freedom: An Adventure in the North Cascades

When Hannah Grage was four years old, she found herself face to face with a cancer diagnosis. Life stopped for Hannah, her mom Carrie, and the rest of her family. Thanks to a heroic fighting spirit and modern medicine, after three brutal years she beat it! 2017 marked Hannah’s five-year anniversary of being cancer-free. Read more…

Last Word | Awe

An American Dipper does her dance on a rock on the bank of the Cowlitz River. High above, Mount Rainier shreds the winter clouds. This tiny bird and this looming massif are connected. They are awesome. 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…

The Big Beach Cleanup

The breeze on my face contained the chill of an early spring day, sunny warmth trying to shaking off the last of winter. On this day, with the task at hand, the chill was welcome. I rested on a bleached log long stripped of bark, the waves filling my ears with swaying sound. A member of my Mountaineers group came into view along the water-line, his body bent as he dragged a line of buoys behind him. Smiling, I picked up my garbage sack and started looking for that piece of plastic I noticed earlier. Today was turning out to be a good day. Read more…

Family Playtime At Kitsap Forest Theater

Last spring, I saw The Wizard of Oz at the Kistsap Forest Theater. When the first notes of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” hit, I was floored at the depth and talent coming out of the young woman singing. Everyone in the show impressed me, but the person playing Dorothy was so young and yet so professional. Where did she get her training, I thought? Where did she get her confidence to be on stage in front of hundreds of people? I learned a lesson I’ve learned many times in The Mountaineers: never underestimate the skill and dedication of volunteers. Yes, the Kitsap Forest Theater is run entirely by volunteers and is a part of The Mountaineers. Read more…