Blog

I Love to Tell a Tale of a New Trail

January 17, 2016

I am often asked how I find trails for my guidebooks. A legitimate question. After all, folks buying my books are trying to find trails too. I try to do all the hard work for you so all you need to do is enjoy the hike. So, okay, this is how I find/research trails–incorporating any one…

Check in at one of Washington’s Snotels!

December 27, 2015

This winter’s heavy snowpack is certainly making things interesting at Washington’s snotels. And before you head out to an area to do some backcountry skiing or snowshoeing—you just may want to check in online at a snotel or two to get an accurate reading of what you can expect out there. What’s a snotel? No…

Five North Cascades Privies where the views don’t stink!

December 6, 2015

There’s no shortage of phenomenal outdoor scenery in Washington’s North Cascades. Some of the most breathtaking backcountry in the country can be experienced by taking to one of the region’s excellent hiking trails. And among resplendent wildflower meadows, ancient cathedral forests, sparkling alpine lakes, and glacier covered craggy peaks—you’ll find some of the most scenic…

Washington’s Top Three White-knuckle Trailhead Roads

November 29, 2015

It’s nice when we can reach our favorite trailheads via nice paved roads—or at least wide, well-graded and regularly maintained gravel roads. But unfortunately that’s not usually the case—and we are often faced with the dilemma of having to drive a harrowing road to get to the trail. While some of us drive pickups and…

“We Need the Tonic of Wildness”

November 23, 2015

“We need the Tonic of Wildness,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in the 1840s while living on Walden Pond. Back then, Walden Pond was an island of wild surrounded by farms and a newly industrializing landscape. Thoreau constructed a tiny cabin in a grove of pine and oak above a cove on the placid kettle pond.…

Three Western Washington Bursting with Autumn Colors Hikes without the Crowds

October 18, 2015

Seasoned Northwest Hikers know that the best fall foliage hikes in the region involve larch trees. Washington’s larches are legendary when it comes to gorgeous colors. But many of Washington’s larch hikes are also quite popular. It can get downright crowded at places like Maple Pass, Lake Ingalls, and Cutthroat Pass. Fortunately there are quieter…

Glacier Meadow’s “Ladder of Doom!”

October 14, 2015

There is nothing like the element of surprise while heading off into the backcountry. And I generally welcome surprises—especially if they are of the positive order. An unexpected viewpoint–a rare or unique wildlife sighting—a pleasant encounter with a fellow backcountry traveler. But sometimes surprises can be unnerving—finding a trail unmaintained—an encounter with a belligerent animal—or…

Larch Madness

October 4, 2015

October is one of my favorite months to hike. I love the cool nights—warm days—and vibrant foliage. But this is the Evergreen State, where Douglas-firs, western hemlocks, and western red cedars make up most of the vast forests of western Washington. I pine for the deciduous forests of the northern Appalachians where the hillsides turn…

Ninety Years Young and an Inspiration to All!

September 27, 2015

I hit the trails for inspiration, redemption, and rejuvenation. A primeval forest grove, placid lakeshore, flowering alpine meadow, and a summit view of a sea of serrated summits can have quite an effect on a restless and anxious soul. The natural world is my opiate, my muse, and my motivator. It has never failed me.…

A Hitchiker’s Guide to the National Parks

September 25, 2015

As I stuck my thumb out and watched several cars drive by, I kept plodding up the busy and unsafe roadway. Finally a park ranger arrived — more specifically a law enforcement agent. Cool, I thought, I’m going to get a ride. That didn’t happen. Instead I got hassled! The law enforcement officer rolled down…