Inspiration!

Been away from blogging for a while. I haven’t been doing as much hiking as I would have liked in the past few months either. I’m slowly getting back out there, so here’s some inspiration for you and me!

Seussperation!

Seussperation!

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A tribute to a hiking buddy

Happy Father’s Day! I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for a few weeks to catch up on school work. Haven’t been hiking much either. I should finish up the semester in a week and then I plan on catching up with my posts and taking some nice hikes. In the meantime check out PNW Trail News and Photos page. Plenty of great hiking-related news and articles there from the Washington Trail Association, Seattle Times, and other contributors.

Some hiking news I’ve been following: Olympic National Park recently re-opened its Enchanted Valley area after the bears were bear-having (ha!) abnormal and coming up to people unafraid. The News Tribune recently reported on some of the best summer hiking and wildflower/wildlife viewing in the Puget Sound. The article’s suggestions include some of my favorite hikes, including the Sunrise Ridge Trail at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP (for great views) and Mt. Ellinor Trail in Olympic NF (for wildlife/goat viewing). Lastly, I went to North Bend, Washington, recently with the family. I mostly biked while there (the John Wayne Pioneer Trail) but would like to return to hike the prominent Little Si and Mount Si peaks. The Seattle Times recently reported on the Boulder Garden Trail, an alternative to the very popular Little Si hike. Both hikes start from the same location.

Finally, I want to say that I’m one lucky guy in that my favorite hiking buddy is also my son. We’ve done lots of exploring in the Pacific Northwest and I hope we have plenty more adventures together. Below are just a few of the photos from our hiking adventures over the past year.

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Lena Lake

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Paradise area, Mt. Rainier NP

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Mt. Rose

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Pack Forest Falls Trail

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McLane Nature Trail, Capitol SF

Memorial Day weekend hiking and camping tips

419187374_244fb2442b_b-2Thanks to arbyreed for the great photo.

Happy Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all those who served or serve in our Armed Forces.

For many people around the country, Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of the summer camping season. If you do plan on camping or hiking this weekend, Washington Trails Association offers some excellent tips and advice on where to go in Washington and how to prepare. Some important takeaways from the WTA article: check the snow levels in the high country and prepare accordingly, especially if you plan on hiking or camping in the Northern Cascades/Mt. Rainier area, where snowpack often exists until mid summer. For finding a camping spot: don’t be afraid to wing-it and try dispersed camping (make your own camping spot) in National Forest lands. Just follow these Forest Service guidelines. If you plan on visiting Olympic Peninsula and find the Olympic NP sites all filled up, check out some of the lesser-known state and national forest campgrounds, such as Cottonwood and Hoh Oxbow (state land) on the west side or Hamma Hamma and Lena Creek (national forest) on the east side. Or try hiking into a wilderness camping site. The WTA article also identifies some great hikes around Washington, from the Columbia River Gorge and Olympic Peninsula to the Central and North Cascades and Washington’s Central and Eastern areas. If you have a to-do list of Washington hiking destinations, definitely check out some of these WTA suggestions.

For more news and information on Memorial Day hiking destinations and all things hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest, check out Pacific Northwest Pathfinder’s PNW Trail News and Photos page. The news page features articles and photography from outdoor-oriented media outlets and blogs based in Washington and Oregon. Each week, the page offers new content to explore and share.

Mixed feelings on the social media shaming of #parkvandals

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The Washington Post recently picked up a story about a dad and his two kids who were allegedly caught vandalizing a railing at Tumalo Falls in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest. The story broke in early May after Oregon resident Brett Nelson snapped a photo of the family and posted it to Facebook, where he called them out for unabashedly damaging NF property. According to Nelson’s account of the scenario in The Oregonian:

Nelson said both the man and the kids challenged him when he objected to their carving on the railing. Nelson asked the man for his license plate number, “so I can carve my name in the hood of your car.” He said the man responded “go for it, it’s a rental car.”

When he asked where they were from, the man responded “California.”

“I was like, ‘Go back,’” Nelson said. “Go carve your name in your own picnic table. Nobody wants you here.”

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Review: Little Mashel River Falls

When I was growing up, my family had lots of traditions involving outdoor activities. For instance, every year around Labor Day we would camp for a week at Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod. I remember always having to touch the U.S. Geological Survey marker at the top of every mountain we climbed for it to officially count – at least according to my dad. Also, for as long as I can remember growing up (and even today), my dad never bought a Christmas tree. We always hiked a mile or more into the White Mountain National Forest to procure the “perfect” tree from what I think was a swamp outside of snow season. It was sort of like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – except without the station wagon. Anyways, another tradition I remember clearly was almost always taking a hike on Christmas and Easter days. On Christmas Day, we would commonly hike across the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as they are right next to my grandparent’s house. However, on Easter, we usually went hiking in New Hampshire. Last weekend on Easter, I continued that tradition with my son and wife. We visited Little Mashel River Falls at the Charles Lathrop Pack Forest in Eatonville, Wa. It was a nice family hike (albeit muddy) and a tradition I hope to keep. Check out my review below and see the short video I put together.

Lower Falls

Lower Falls

Middle Falls (Bridal Veil)

Middle Falls (Bridal Veil)

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New Trail Rating Measurements

Check out new half-ratings for the Trail Difficulty and Trail Conditions assessments:
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These new measurements will allow me to provide greater accuracy in my trail reviews.

Also, I’ve added a new assessment: Trail Biodiversity. Trail Biodiversity will let me review and evaluate the variety of natural elements on trails and in hiking areas that I review. Check out the symbols:
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As always, let me know what you think in the Community Forum. Happy Hiking!