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A Walk in the Park: Hidden Lake Peaks

North Cascades National Park is home to some of North America’s most awe-inspiring hiking trails. It’s truly a hiker’s park, sharing it’s most transcendent charms only with those willing to meet it on its own terms. The trail to Hidden Lake Peaks epitomizes this pay-to-play scenario, although in this case, the payment in sweat equity is moderate. In truth, you ... Read More »

The Best Hikes in North Cascades National Park

Ten Trails That You’ll Never Forget… Stunning views, towering summits, prolific wildlife, primeval forests, glistening glaciers, resplendent wildflowers, and one of the largest wilderness areas in the Lower 48; celebrate the North Cascades National Park’s 50th anniversary with a hike. Here are ten of my absolute favorites—from easy day hikes to challenging backpacking trips in the North Cascades National Park ... Read More »

Top Ten Winter Hikes in Whatcom County

Winter has descended upon us. Skyline Divide, Yellow Aster Butte, and all of your other favorite high country romps are now— thanks to a thick shroud of snow—pretty much off limits until next summer. But there’s no need to put away your hiking shoes. There are scores of low country hikes that for the most part remain snow-free all year ... Read More »

New Beginnings at Kukutali

Thanks to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Washington State Parks Department, we have new public access to a beautiful coastal forest and shoreline beside the Salish Sea. The Kukutali Preserve, located on Swinomish Tribal lands in Skagit County, was opened to the public just three years ago, the result of a ground-breaking alliance of Tribe and State. An ... Read More »

Above & Beyond: The End is Just the Beginning

The North Cascades are a hiker’s paradise. The trail system that we enjoy in these northern mountains provides access to spectacular places and ranks among the world’s supreme networks of footpaths. Two of the finest routes in the Mt. Baker area are the Ptarmigan Ridge and Yellow Aster Butte trails. Both transport boot-clad acolytes across landscapes of unforgettable grandeur. Both ... Read More »

Olympic Crossing: An Aging Climber Discovers his Inner Thru-Hiker in the Olympic Wilderness

I quoted Tennyson, “My mariners…you and I are old,” when I proposed the Olympic Crossing to my friends. Quoting Tennyson was standard for me, but proposing a mere hike was not. We were climbers. For thirty years, every wilderness trip we’d taken had set a mountain summit as its goal. But I’d capped last summer’s climbing season with my fourth ... Read More »

Mountain Stewards: Angels of the Backcountry

On a bright summer day in the North Cascades, a father is hiking along with his two sons, their mother trailing far behind sporting flip-flops. The uneven terrain makes her feet look painful, and a passing man offers that flip-flops probably aren’t the best footwear for the trail. “Oh I know, my husband—that idiot— said we were going to the ... Read More »

San Juans in Spring: Hiking the Outer Islands

Mention hiking on the San Juan Islands and Moran State Park instantly comes to mind. While this large popular park on Orcas Island with its 30 miles of trails certainly is a supreme hiking destination, there are scores of great hiking spots throughout Washington’s stunning archipelago. The outer islands, beloved by boaters, paddlers and sailors also contain some exceptional hikes. ... Read More »

The Weight of Time: A Rescue on Denali

August 2015 – Ruth Glacier, Denali National Park, Alaska The Talkeetna Air Taxi scenic flight circles the massive south face of Denali which rises 8000 feet from its glacial foundations. The plane – with ten passengers on board – drifts over the Matterhorn-like peaks around the Ruth Glacier, then throttles down and lands. One by one, the passengers climb down ... Read More »