Posts tagged: hiking
PUBLIC LANDS — Progress!
Groups reach agreement on protecting Idaho area as national monument
The Idaho Conservation League, Wood River Bicycle Coalition, International Mountain Bicycling Association and The Wilderness Society have hammered out a proposal to submit to President Obama on designating the Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument in Idaho.
— Idaho Statesman
PUBLIC LANDS — The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act, sending the measure to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
The bill, which passed in the Senate in June, will protect more than 32,500 acres in Michigan, including pristine shoreline and forests on the coast of Lake Michigan.
It will be the first new wilderness designated during the 113th Congress.
Meanwhile the wilderness debate is going on across the country. Here are examples from publications in Montana and Utah:
USFS chief discusses divide on wilderness debate
As part of the “Room to Roam” Wilderness Issues Lecture Series hosted by the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana in Missoula, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell talked about the need for untrammeled wild areas, provided his agency's perspective on current wilderness proposals before Congress and the agency's ability to respond to change.
Quote of the day:
“It's hard for me to say the 'w' word, but I believe the state can do a better job and there are areas that need to be protected. They are special areas for people.”
Rep. Mike Noel, the chair of the Utah House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, about the Utah Wilderness Act the panel approved on Tuesday.
- Salt Lake Tribune
CAMPING — Urine management is required on rivers, but it's also worth consideration on virtually any camping trip where a vault toilet isn't close by camp.
I thought about this several times a day — not to mention a few more times at night — during my recent rafting-hiking adventure in Grand Canyon National Park.
Rafters on heavily used rivers such as the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, as well as on Idaho's wilderness rivers such as the Salmon and Selway, are asked to pee in the river rather on shores.
Dilution is the solution to pollution.
Peeing on shore ultimately stinks and makes the campsite less appealing to those who follow. Urine also attracts critters who crave the salt. This can be cute at first but menacing to those who follow.
The pee bottle for men or a pee bucket with a lid for women is a highly recommended item I've used for years — during snow storms climbing Mount McKinley, during late night nature calls while sleeping in the back of my pickup at hunting camp, in my tent in campgrounds…. you get the idea.
On river trips especially, you can store the pee in the bottle for an entire evening and through the night and make one trip to a flowing section of the current to dispose of the urine rather than making numerous trips during the course of a camp.
The best bottles are wide-mouth plastic bottles with tight-sealing lids.
My time-tested favorite is the 48-ounce (bigger is better) Nalgene Canteen — a flexible wide-mouth container that collapses flat for storage while traveling.
There, I'm relieved to have shared this with you.
Quote of the day:
“It's truly amazing to think that in a country as beautiful as Canada — renowned the world over as Canada is for its natural beauty and world-class parks system and green space in abundance — that we would ever house a population that spends 90 percent of their time indoors, but that's exactly what the numbers are telling us.”
Richard Starke, Alberta's minister of tourism, parks and recreation, discussing a recent report from the Canadian Parks Council that said 80 percent of Canadians now live in urban areas, and that they spent just 10 percent of their time outside.
- Calgary Herald
HIKING — Spokane has a choice snow-free place for a winter walk at Palisades City Park thanks to a maintenance issue that prompted plowing of Rimrock Drive overlooking Spokane Falls Community College area.
After Monday's snow storm, Fairchild Air Force Base crews plowed the road, which is gated to prevent public vehicle traffic. The Air Force has a pump in the area that delivers water from the Spokane River to the base.
Cross-country skiers out to take advantage of the rare winter windfall were disappointed to see the mostly snow-free pavement on Wednesday, but the rare plowing event is a boon for winter walking on a flat surface with one of the best views you'll find overlooking Spokane.
The trailhead is off Greenwood Road up from Indian Canyon Road. (See Hike 78 in Day Hiking Eastern Washington.)
OUTDOOR RECREATION — The Outdoor Industry Association has high praise for Gov. Jay Inslee's recent executive order creating a blue-ribbon task force to support outdoor recreation in Washington state.
Inslee’s task force demonstrates the state’s commitment to supporting and expanding the outdoor recreation and tourism industries, says the group based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C.
Inslee announced this new effort last week with the Big Tent Outdoor Coalition, which includes Kent-based REI and other organizations representing the outdoor recreation community.
“Outdoor recreation is an untapped economic opportunity that can benefit every state in the nation,” said Kirk Bailey, Vice President of Government Affairs for OIA. “This task force will develop recommendations to strengthen and grow outdoor recreation and tourism, as well as examine opportunities in funding sources for recreation lands. OIA will be excited to see their report due out in the fall of 2014.”
The nation’s network of public lands and waters are the foundation of the $646 billion outdoor recreation industry, the group says, noting that in Washington, outdoor recreation generates $22.5 billion in spending, 227,000 jobs and produces $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue.
ADVENTURING — My recent multi-week winter rafting-hiking adventure on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (see story here) prompts a few hints to people planning similar river trips as well as to anglers planning multi-day trips to places such as Alaska:
CARE FOR YOUR HANDS. River trips suck the moisture out of your skin, especially your hands. I've come home with cracked, bleeding hands after week-long float-fishing trips in Alaska, my fingers so sore it was difficult to stuff a sleeping bag in its sack.
Colorado River rafters emphasize this point and recommend preventive treatment.
Based on a recommendation from an experienced Canyon boater, I started using ProKera lotion (available at RiteAid stores) twice a day several days before we launched.
During the trip, I wore paddling gloves as much as possible while on the boat and especially while loading and tending bow lines.
And I applied the extreme-care ProKera lotion two or three times a day. This is the kind of lotion (Tiger Balm also works well) that takes several minutes of rubbing to absorb into your hands. The time is well spent. My hands came out of the desert river trip in excellent condition.
ADVENTURING — My recent multi-week winter rafting-hiking adventure on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (see story here) with a private group prompts me to share some observations to people planning similar group river trips. For example:
BAG THE GROUP KITCHEN: If your trip is long and the group is larger than about six members, rafting guide Brian Burns recommends letting every rafter, couple or family bring and prepare their own meals on their own cooking equipment.
“The group kitchen thing can cause problems on trips longer than a week or so,” he said. “People eat different quantities and have different food preferences and the chores can become a sense of friction if some people think others in the group are slacking.”
And it can be a big bummer to get up at 5 a.m. on a bad-weather day to get the group meal going so the coffee's ready by 7 — especially if several in the group want tea.
The do-it-yourself method worked beautifully on our Grand Canyon trip. It gave people time to chill on their own and then mingle as they wished during breakfast and dinner, sometimes sharing with the group treats such as cocktails, chocolate, smoked oysters and wine before and after mealtime.
Even after a couple weeks, the only person you could blame for inadequate food was yourself.
HIKING — Geologists with the Ice Age Floods Institute are organizing a rigorous full-day hike to explore the geology of the Palouse Canyon from Lyons Ferry State Park upstream to Palouse Falls on March 15.
Gene Kiver and Lloyd Stoess will lead the eight-mile hike near Washtucna emphasizing the impact of the great Missoula floods in shaping the landscape as well as the history of native Americans and settlements in the area.
Pre-register by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (509) 235-4251.
Tuesday, March 18, 7-9 p.m. Spokane Community College, Free Public Lecture “Geologic Crossroads in Central Washington” by Nick Zentner, Geology Professor at Central Washington University.
This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Science at Spokane Community College and the lecture is scheduled at SCC’s Lair Auditorium, Building #6, 1810 Greene Street, Spokane. Zentner will discuss that Central Washington is a crossroads for many important geologic forces—Ice Age Floods from the northeast, Columbia River Basalts from the southeast, and Cascades Ice, ash, and mudflows from the west. Photos, maps, and short videos will be featured.
TRAILS — The big effort recently invested in updating Spokane County's 2008 Regional Trails Plan has resulted in maps and details important to everyone from hikers to developers.
The Spokane County Commissioners approved the updated plan on Tuesday.
The goal of the plan has always been to develop an interconnected system of trails, whether they're simple single tracks or major rail-trail projects such as the Fish Lake Trail. The plan also seeks to assure adequate maintenance and high standards while promoting the growing trail system as an economic development tool.
The updated plan, with input from Spokane County Parks and Recreation staff and the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition, includes a mapped inventory of 677 miles of trails, new trail strategies, an analysis of demand and needs and much more detail throughout.
ORIENTEERING — The Eastern Washington Orienteering Club's first event of 2014 is set for Saturday, Feb. 22, at Manito Park (18th and Grand) in Spokane.
This is a great map, compass and exercise activity for the whole family. Using maps and compass, you must find your way to check points around the park. Top orienteers will run the course. Others can map it a group problem-solving trek.
Registration starts at 10 a.m. The event starts at noon.
Cost: $5 for anyone on the beginner course and for members on any course and $7 for nonmembers on advanced courses; $3 for each additional map for a group or family.
Info: John Harbuck, (208) 263-9894; John Beck, (509) 838-7078, or e-mail email@example.com.
ADVENTURING — Before I write my stories about winter adventuring in the Grand Canyon, I have to decide which I enjoyed more, the view up from the river or the view down from the rim!
About 50 hours ago I snapped this photo after hiking out 10 miles and nearly a mile in elevation to the Grand Canyon's South Rim Village.
I'd been rafting the Colorado River and exploring the side canyons for two weeks. But I had to leave my rafting buddies and return to Spokane as they continue downstream on one of the greatest 30-day adventures one can have in the USA.
Two things motivated me to put the pedal to the metal for the 1,240-mile return drive from the Canyon:
Stories to come. Stay tuned.
BACKPACKING — It's time to make your application for a coveted permit to backpack into the Enchantment Lakes area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Leavenworth. Here are details from the U.S. Forest Service:
Rugged, beautiful and unique, the nationally known Enchantments are contained within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascade Mountains of north central Washington State. With such wide popularity, many people are already planning for the 2014 season and hope to obtain one of the limited entrance permits that are required for either day or overnight use in this special area.
Overnight Users: It is essential that all overnight visitors have one of the limited entry FEE permits for trips planned from June 15 - October 15, 2014.
Day Users: Day users must obtain a free self-issue wilderness permit available at any of the three trailheads accessing The Enchantment Permit Area.
Demand for overnight permits far exceeds the number available and a pre-season lottery will be held in February to allocate the majority of permits. Following the pre-season lottery, any remaining permits are available on a first come, first served basis through the www.recreation.gov advance reservation system. Only a few unreserved permits are available on a daily “walk-in” basis held at the ranger station.
The 2014 Enchantment Permit Area pre-season Lottery period is open February 15th (3:01 ET) - March 3rd (2:59 am ET) through this website: www.recreation.gov. Not all dates and zones for the season are taken during the lottery and any open dates available can be reserved after the lottery ends. Lottery results will be released March 6
HIKING — Hikers looking for a long winter walk where they can let their dog romp a bit might consider the shores of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area that are away from houses and buildings.
Be smart: If there's anyone around — anglers, walkers or anyone else — use a leash.
Snow rarely lingers long on the Roosevelt shoreline after a storm, and the water level is low from winter through early spring leaving a large beach area for roaming.
Local hiker Karen Jurasin snapped the photo above of her dog, Scout, during a romp on the shore line at the Hawk Creek area northwest of Davenport (page 315 in 100 Hikes of the Inland Northwest).
PUBLIC LANDS — Federal land managers offer free entry to parks, forests, U.S. Bureau of Land management lands, refuges and other national interest lands where fees are charged on certain holidays scattered through the year.
The next freebie date of the year is Presidents Day Weekend, with fee-free days at all federal lands that charge an entrance fee.
Following is a list of all the 2014 free-entry dates and participating federal agencies, which vary by holiday:
Washington State Parks also offer 11 days in which the Discover Pass is not needed for entry in 2014:
Read on for details about year-round free or discounted passes for military, disabled and seniors.
BACKPACKING — If you're thinking about packing a gun on your next hike into Yellowstone, Glacier Park or other areas of grizzly bear habitat, read this story first.
Then check out the video above on how to effectively use bear spray.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — In December, Parks Canada posted this time-lapse video from a trail camera in Waterton Lakes National Park spanning over a four-month period when the area was closed to hikers as a result of flood damage.
See how the animals took advantage of a human-free trail and used it for an easy travel route.
How many species do you count?
PUBLIC LANDS — John Roskelley, a Spokane mountaineer and former county commissioner, will be the keynote speaker at the first annual meeting of the Riverside State Park Foundation.
The public is invited to the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Mountain Gear retail store, 2002 N. Division.
The foundation, a nonprofit group that supports Riverside State Park, also will feature Chris Guidotti, park manager, and Lucinda Whaley, Washington State Parks and Recreation commissioner from Spokane, speaking about the status and future of Riverside and the state's century-old parks system.
Riverside, which borders the city of Spokane, is Washington's largest state park with two rivers, several campgrounds, an equestrian area, ORV area, cultural sites, boating and paddling access, miles and miles of mixed use trails, plus wildlife and stunning scenery. Riverside rangers also manage the Little Spokane River Natural Area, Columbia Plateau Trail and the Centennial Trail, among other duties.
Now is a great time to join the Riverside State Park Foundation as it introduces its newly created membership packages. The Foundation is instrumental with the fundraising for Riverside State Park through project support, education, volunteerism and events. For more information about the Riverside State Park Foundation, visit .
BACKPACKING — Most of us have marveled at the Radical Reels-type films of hard-bodied and sometimes weak-thinking adventurers challenging themselves to the limits of life and death to climb mountains or plunge off waterfalls in kayaks or cliffs on skis… whatever.
That's why I find this flick, “Mile…Mile & a Half” produced by The Muir Project so refreshing. It's about people with average outdoor skills taking on the 25-day, 219-mile John Muir Trail through the Sierra-Nevada Range of California.
It's truly refreshing, and I hope it inspires others to do the same.