Hike/Climb

Mt. Baker’s Best Hikes: Five Unforgettable Trails

The Cascade Range extends for 700 miles from Northern California to Southern British Columbia. It is a momentous mountain wonderland, with enough beauty spots to occupy many lifetimes of inspired wandering. But in my view, informed by decades of high-country rambling, the apex of all this high-mountain ecstasy can be found along the Mt. Baker Highway. Here are five special …

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The Bugaboo Effect

Given enough time, tragic events have a way—perhaps once or twice in a lifetime—of turning into something good. Much is learned from the study of great disasters. Because of the Titanic sinking, today’s ships are much safer. Investigations of major air crashes have led to many improvements in air travel safety, and so on. The same is true for wilderness …

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Finding my way on the Pacific Northwest Trail

It has been five years since my thru-hike on the Pacific Northwest Trail  and I’m still trying to figure out how to talk about it. People say things like, “wow, that must have been fun” or “I wish I had time to do that.” They look confused when I can’t give them a simple explanation of what it was like. …

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Reverence, Respect, Reciprocity: A Sustainable Future for Recreation

  Recreate [ rek-ree-eyt ]: verb: to give new life or freshness to, refresh. To restore physically or mentally.   On a trip across the North Cascades Highway this past autumn I witnessed something that I’d never seen before in my lifetime: 700 cars parked at Rainy Pass. The perfect fall day drew larch lovers from near and far to the …

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Fumbling Toward Fulfillment: The Metamorphosis of Colin Fletcher

Colin Fletcher was the world’s most famous walker, an extremely popular author, and dubbed the first thru-hiker and father of modern backpacking. His was an outspoken voice supporting wilderness preservation: when Fletcher had something to say, people listened. Few people realize today that most of his fundamental vision for wilderness travel—and his world view—was kindled in the Pacific Northwest between …

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The Cold Shoulder

The gold Grand Marquis in the ditch was probably a sign. But that was a mile or so back now. Driving up Forest Road 39 has become a death-defying experience. The higher we go, the more the road surface devolves, glazed over in a sheen of glare ice. The first snow of the season has turned against us. I’m joined …

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An Autumn Stroll Around Bagley Lakes

Easily overlooked among the Mt. Baker area’s wealth of great hiking trails, the Bagley Lakes Loop is an autumnal delight. This short, easy trail that traces the shores of the sweet little lakes offers a chance for the whole family to savor the luminous colors of fall in a sub-alpine setting. One could complete the loop in an hour, or …

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Traversing the Pickets with General Weakness

Images stick with me. I’ll often plan a trip around a specific place that I’ve seen either on a screen, a print, a slide, or just in my mind’s eye after looking at a map. Frenzel Camp is such a spot, its draw powerful enough to compel a seven-day traverse from Goodell Creek to the Big Beaver Valley just to …

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The Health Benefits Of Hiking

Contrary to popular belief, hiking is not just about basking in the great outdoors with your friends and family. This activity should be part of your daily routine because it can actually provide countless health benefits. When done regularly, hiking can become your ticket to improving and maintaining your overall wellness. If you have friends or family who usually hike …

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A Beautiful Bad Idea

 I was sprawled out yard-sale style on the Coleman Glacier, high on the slopes of Mt. Baker. One ski was broken. Blood was splattered across the snow. A quick check revealed a perfect circular puncture wound in my thigh from where I’d impaled myself with a broken pole. I was shocked and embarrassed. But mostly, I was crushed. Could I …

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