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The Ice Caverns of Mt. Rainier: Bill Lokey Dives Deep


Most adventurers struggle mightily to reach a summit peak or a distant destination in some wild and forbidding place. Once there, they can enjoy the view, snap some photos, snack on some granola bars, and revel in the satisfaction of a job well done. Then, after a short interlude, it’s time to head on back from whence you came. …Unless ... Read More »

How to Achieve a Period of Deep, Uninterrupted Sleep

Mark Harfenist4

Begin by accumulating long-term sleep deficit. Join persons more vigorous than self for an outdoor adventure. Over-estimate abilities. Under-prepare. Get a late start. Remain optimistic. Push harder than accustomed. Admit inability to achieve desired objective only when dehydrated, fatigued, and threatened by imminent darkness. Get separated from partners. Make incorrect route choice. Down-climb approximately 800 vertical feet chossy, exposed, class ... Read More »

The Assiniboine Traverse: A Tale of Unrivaled Splendor, Grizzly Bears and Condiment Soup


For Europeans, the Matterhorn defines alpine beauty. At 11,870 feet, Mount Assiniboine, in the Canadian Rockies, is a similar momentous horn, cleaving the sky. The difference is that the Matterhorn is surrounded by tourist accommodations while Assiniboine rises in country that is by-and-large wilderness. Switzerland without the gondolas. Our intention is simple. We plan to traverse the high country across ... Read More »

When the Mountains Send You Home: Lessons from Liberty Ridge


The Chinook helicopter hung low over Mt. Rainier, its massive rotors hammering wildly at the thin air. From the edge of the Carbon Glacier, 5000 feet below, we could make out a second, smaller helicopter running sweeps up and down the mountain. Two black dots moved slowly in a grid pattern across the upper route, presumably climbing rangers looking for ... Read More »

The Journey Home: Embracing the Wild Within


Let’s begin by walking. It hardly matters where we go, but today we follow the gravel road to its end on Ruth Creek. Many of us have been to this trailhead before, hiked in this valley more than once, perhaps even climbed the glaciers that feed this creek. But today we aren’t hiking to a destination or climbing to a ... Read More »

Autumn Ecstasy: The Top 10 Fall Color Hikes in Washington

Adventures_NW_Craig Romano-1179-2

  With crisp air, deep blue skies, no bugs and vibrant foliage—fall is my favorite time to hit the trail. I’ve hiked over 18,000 miles in Washington State from the wild Olympic Coast to the grizzly-harboring Selkirk Mountains. And while most of the peaks, forests, lakes, and river valleys I’ve trudged across make great autumn destinations; the ten below represent ... Read More »

The High Divide: Walking the Green Horizon


The High Divide, that long sinuous ridge that stretches from Excelsior Peak to Welcome Pass has long been a favorite autumn backpacking destination. I’ve spent some glorious October days and nights on the Divide when the sweeping alpine meadows are positively lurid with the golds, reds and yellows of the season. But my visits in mid-summer flower season have been ... Read More »

Sophia’s First


The partially occluded, but dramatic view of Mt. Shuksan catches me by surprise. The hike thus far had been shrouded by the dense second-growth forest, squelching any hope of finding any inspiring mountain views. I point out the view to my daughter Sophia, who has followed me to the river to get water. “Ooh, pretty,” she says, and quickly refocuses, ... Read More »

The Wild Pacific Trail: Finding Awe on BC’s New Coastal Route


There is something about the edge of the sea. The unbounded energy of waves crashing on sculpted rocks with its attendant deluge of negative ions, the wind-lashed trees, the profusion of life – aquatic, terrestrial and avian. In the Pacific Northwest everybody loves a walk beside the ocean. Accordingly, there is a plethora of well-known trails along these northern coasts ... Read More »

Three Great Winter Hikes


Hole in the Wall The Olympic Coast is magical in winter. The crowds are gone, the sea is tempestuous, and the broad expanse of Pacific Ocean and open sky is a tonic for the winter-closeted soul. From the trailhead at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park it’s an easy two-mile hike north up the beach. The only obstacle is Ellen ... Read More »