The biggest peak in Spokane’s backyard is so familiar, yet so unknown. The number of people informed that it was Mount Baldy before being renamed Mount Spokane in 1912 could be higher than the sum of visitors who understand whether a Discover Pass or Sno-Park vehicle permit is required for access this week.
Outdoors stories and blogs published by The Spokesman- Review often strike a chord that prompts readers to reflect or react. When I get wind of that, I wave my internal “mission accomplished” banner. I’m not thinking so much about the gasbag who scorned me in front of the crowd at a sportsman’s club meeting Tuesday night for not meeting his narrow-minded expectations in hating wolves.
OUTCLIMB – Jess Roskelley of Spokane departed for Nepal this week with climbing partner Benjamin Erdmann and a film crew to attempt an ascent of the world’s 10th-highest peak. Roskelley, who climbed Mount Everest as a 20-year-old in 2003 with his father and internationally acclaimed mountaineer John Roskelley, has been specializing in difficult ascents and ice climbs in recent years.
Dawes Eddy, 72, continues to rewrite the physical limitations of growing older, most recently during a butt-kicking hike in Grand Canyon National Park. The outdoor adventurer had a brush with worldwide fame in 2009 when he became the oldest American to climb Mount Everest. Eddy was 66 and held the title for just two days before it was claimed by a 67-year-old Californian.
Gary Trautman took a break from cleaning his late father’s ranch near Nine Mile Falls on Tuesday to watch the wind twirl wheels on a weather vane fixed to a fence post. “He called that ‘Farmer John,’ ” said Trautman, pointing to the tin silhouette of a farmer sitting atop a tractor. Hours before, county commissioners signed off on a sales agreement with the heirs of John L. Trautman, a former schoolteacher and rancher who died last year.
While “hitting the trail” is a year-round activity for hikers, runners and cyclists, Saturday has been dubbed “Opening Day.” Spokane area groups are riding the coattails of a national event by organizing guided hikes and bike tours to connect trail users with the area’s wealth of opportunities.
HIKING – The Mineral Ridge Scenic Area off the northeast portion of Lake Coeur d’Alene, including the popular Mineral Ridge Trail, will be temporarily closed this week for hazardous tree removal, U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say. The Beauty Bay-area closure is scheduled for Monday through Thursday.
It may sound contradictory, but the people taking the biggest risks are usually the most safety conscious. Take Billy Lucas. For 30 years, the 57-year-old former Marine has been a Hollywood stuntman – part of that acting as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stunt double in films like “True Lies” and “The Terminator” series of films. He is aware of ways to mitigate danger. So the fact that Lucas brainstormed a design for a new way to deploy bear spray from a backpack actually makes sense.
Great horned owlettes are hatching, coyotes are denning and rattlesnakes are still groggy – all signals that it’s prime time to hike, bike or ride a horse through the sagebrush country of Eastern Washington. Wildflowers are just beginning to bloom if you need more incentive, and songful meadowlarks are back. With snow still blocking the high country, savvy pedalers are taking their mountain bikes to the prairie. They’ll find plenty of challenges in these channeled scablands, as they’re called because of the way the Ice Age Floods scoured the soil to expose basalt outcroppings.
OUTDONE – Two California men on Monday completed the first winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail after 132 days of walking, skiing and snowshoeing along the 2,650-mile route from Canada to their finish at the Mexico border. Never mind that they took time off the trail at Christmas and were blessed with an extremely low snowpack in the Cascades and Sierras this season:
OUTGOING – Hiking is a simple, healthy activity that gets much more complicated when a baby comes along. But an Oregon mom not to be deterred created a hiking support group that’s inspiring parents across the country.
OUTLEARN – Long- distance hikers can take the mystery out of planning a trek on, say, the Pacific Crest Trail by taking advantage of a special event on Saturday in Coeur d’Alene. • Are you planning to hike hundreds of miles in one trip?
I had a rafter of wild turkeys scoped out late Tuesday afternoon just 12 hours before the opening of the spring gobbler hunting season. The situation was right out of the Successful Sportsman’s Textbook: