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Autumn Ecstasy: The Top 10 Fall Color Hikes in Washington

  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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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This Weekend: A Pair of Spectacular Autumn Hikes in the North Cascades

The North Cascades are justifiably famous as a summer hiking Mecca. Emerald green meadows and carpets of wildflowers make for idyllic wandering beneath blue skies. But in autumn, the color scheme changes and the high country is ablaze with warmer hues of red and gold, orange and magenta, yellow and purple. At this time of the year, hikers can feast …

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Higher Education: Learn to Climb this Summer

It is time once again to put down your latte and find your ice axe, climbing harness, and willpower – it may be summer break for the kids, but school is in session on Northwest mountains from the Alaskan Range to the Cascades and there is no better teacher than internationally respected  American Alpine Institute (AAI) of Bellingham, Washington. This …

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Boots and Brews: Pairing hikes with breweries

Beer is a magnificently versatile beverage. It can be enjoyed alone, or it can be paired with foods, moods, seasons, activities and environments. It also makes for the perfect post-hike refreshment, as it aids restoration, encourages relaxation and promotes reflection. Just as beer-and-food pairings create harmonies that elevate the overall experience, visiting a brewery after a good hike enhances the …

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Walking the Edge: Explorations on the Wildest Coastline in America

  The towering headlands, crowned with mist, Their feet among the billows, know That Ocean is a mighty harmonist                                               – William Wordsworth There’s something about spending days and nights beside the sea. Maybe it’s the invigorating wind that blows across it, unhindered for 5,000 miles. Perhaps it’s the rhythm of the waves, like a heartbeat, slowing the pulse and …

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Chasing Silence

Silence is something more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands. In silence, we often say, we can hear ourselves think; but what is truer to say is that in silence we can hear ourselves not think, and so sink below our selves into a …

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