Hike/Climb

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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A Mt. Baker Circumnavigation

As I stumbled down the rocky Swift Creek Trail in the dark, every side creek, ravine, and small gully was simply gushing—all tumbling into Swift Creek in the valley bottom below.  Soon I would have to ford this creek at a notorious crossing, and my apprehension was on the rise—was it my imagination or did Swift Creek sound louder every …

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Inspiring Passion: A Conversation with David Guterson

David Guterson’s writing is well-known to readers in the Pacific Northwest. His 1994 novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, which won the PEN/Faulkner and the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award, sold four million copies and was adapted for the screen. He has written 10 other books, including novels, non-fiction, short stories and poetry, and has published numerous articles …

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Up the River: Autumn Splendor in Twisp River Country

Autumn! For me, savoring the peak of fall color on the eastern slopes of the North Cascades is like a trip to Mecca or the Wailing Wall. A religious observance. At this special time of year, the mountains are ablaze with the orange glow of larches, those unique and exceptionally beautiful deciduous conifers that pepper the high country with luminous …

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The Finest Kind of Madness

Origin — a beginning. We all start somewhere. This is where the Madness begins, I suppose; In random passing, a glancing blow. Driving the sinuous byway of Washington State’s North Cascades Highway, some three hours after turning east from the high-test thrum of the Interstate corridor and onto the only road to cleave the wilderness of the North Cascades National …

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Redemption on Mt. Shuksan: Lessons Learned on the Northwest Rib

  In 2017, I experienced a failure that I did not expect. I have been working as a mountain guide for the last twenty years. I’ve guided throughout the Western United States and have also spent time working in both Alaska and in South America. I was an American Mountain Guides Association Certified Rock Guide, a guide trainer at the …

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Far Above the Beaten Path: In Praise of the Alpine Traverse

My heavy boot balances on a small ledge just below the crest of the knife-edge ridge. Before fully weighting each step, I check my footing by gently tapping the rock. A misplaced step or broken hold would send me tumbling down the cliff. With a 70-pound pack throwing off my balance, I strain to move without tipping sideways. Finally the …

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Luna Peak…er…Creek!

In the wood there are paths, mostly overgrown, that come to an abrupt stop where the wood is untrodden. – Martin Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track (1950) Having been away from the Picket Range for more than 40 years, I was eager to try my hand at the much vaunted bushwhacks for which it is famous. The managers of the …

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An Ocean Hymn: The Seductive Pleasures of Shi-Shi Beach

Some sophisticated folks that I know visit Paris every year. Some enjoy a yearly trek in Nepal. I find myself returning to a much-loved locale over and over too.  The lingua franca of my favored destination is the rhythmic unspooling of the ceaseless surf. I return to Shi-Shi Beach. How many times? I’ve lost count. Will I go again? Absolutely. …

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