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

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This Bud’s For You [Insert Favorite National Park Name Here]

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According to an article by Jason Blevins of The Denver Post, the National Park Service (NPS) has waived its restrictions on partnering with alcohol makers to raise money and awareness for the “Find Your Park” campaign. The NPS established a two-year, $2.5 million deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev that will allow the beer manufacturer to use NPS logos and park images (specifically the Statue of Liberty) on bottle wrappers and caps and to organize “Bud-branded events such as summer concerts inside yet-to-be-named park properties”. The NPS established a directive in 1998 that prohibited it from receiving donations with questionable product and service providers, such as beer and tobacco manufacturers.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the NPS earning some advertising dollars from beer makers. I’d have a problem with the agency partnering with a tobacco business but not so much with a beer company. The NPS needs money badly to keep open and maintain national properties – this gives it some of the capital to do so. I just wish the NPS was partnering with a better beer maker, like Sierra Nevada or another, similarly outdoorsy brand. It seems to me that the only reason Budweiser wants to partner with NPS is to legally use the image of the Statue of Liberty on its beer cans. That seems far less promotional for our beautiful national parks and far more patronizing towards diehard nationalists.

Hiking the Cascades in Sky Valley, Wa.

Chris Hendrickson of The Monroe Monitor & Valley News recently posted about five hikes in Washington’s Sky Valley and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Skykomish Ranger District. Sky Valley in Washington includes the South Fork Skykomish River watershed between the cities of Monroe and Skykomish. I haven’t been hiking in this area but the images in his article show a beautiful and serene wilderness area. The hikes Hendrickson writes about include Lake Serene, Barclay Lake, Deception Falls, Wallace Falls, and Heybrook Ridge.

If you like hiking to waterfalls and live in the South Puget Sound, check out this video review of Pack Forest and the Little Mashel River Falls in Eatonville, Wa.

What’s Your National Park?

Recently the National Park Service rolled out with a neat and informative campaign called Find Your Park, which focuses on redefining the traditional definition of “national park”. I agree with the campaign purpose and its aim to reduce typical stereotypes of what qualifies as a national park. I do it too. National recreation areas include much more than just the big parks. For instance, check out this list of national recreation sites and trails in Washington alone. It includes way more properties than the three big parks (Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades) that immediately come to my mind. Based on just this list, I have a lot more exploring to do in the state. The NPS campaign is expected to last until the organization’s Centennial in 2016. Lastly, the NPS campaign nicely incorporates social media – and who doesn’t love that :).

Also, Bill Nye: