Hike/Climb

The Most Beautiful Beach in the World

The Olympic Coast is a sublime strip of wilderness beach that stretches for 60 miles, from the mouth of the Hoh River in the south to the legendary Shi-Shi Beach in the north. It is widely acknowledged to offer some of the best ocean-front hiking on Planet Earth, including three glorious point-to-point traverses that are, each in their own way, …

Read More »

Autumn at Snowy Lakes

After a delightful evening spent camped on the Pacific Crest Trail beside Porcupine Creek, Jesse and I crest Cutthroat Pass in mid-morning, and instead of the mountain goats that one often encounters at the pass, we encounter Kevin Murphy, the beloved poet from Bellingham, camping among the rocks by his lonesome. Unlike the goats, he doesn’t inquire about salt. Could …

Read More »

The Colors of Cascadia

There are many lists of the “Best Places in the USA” to see fall colors. A typical list consists of 20 ultimate destinations with no mention of the Cascade Range. This is truly wonderful as it means more blueberries for the bears and us without busloads of tourists. Despite capturing many beautiful images of colorful deciduous forests in the Northeast …

Read More »

Off-Piste in The Pinnacles

Having survived the tangled vegetation of Washington State’s Picket Range, my climbing partner Rick and I decided to set an entirely different goal by choosing a trip that started at or near treeline so we could avoid bashing our shins and having our glasses knocked off our heads while enjoying the outback. Rick did a deep dive into the mountaineering …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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. …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »