SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2015

SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015

Field reports: Mineral Ridge trail temporarily closing

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. 

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Stuntman invents backpack to prevent bear maulings

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.

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Spokane cyclist Steve Weinberger rides the Odessa trail. (Rich Landers)

Scabland trails: Smell of sage lures hikers, bikers in March 

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.

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Photo from the first winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail completed in March 2015 by Shawn Forry of Midpines, Calif., and Justin Lichter of Truckee, Calif. (Courtesy)

Out & About: First winter hike of PCT completed

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:

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SUNDAY, FEB. 22, 2015

SUNDAY, FEB. 15, 2015

A fire lookout removed from Mount Spokane in 2001 has been restored and relocated on Quartz Mountain. (Rich Landers)

Some outdoor trips require advance planning 

Winter is the season for thinking ahead to summer adventures that require a special permit or reservations. Campers seeking to stay at popular national park or national forest cabins, lookouts and campgrounds generally can make reservations up to 180 days in advance of the date of arrival.

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SUNDAY, FEB. 8, 2015

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Reese Witherspoon in a scene from the film, "Wild." (Anne Fox / Fox Searchlight)

Field reports: New hiker permit quotas help spread ‘Wild’ influenced Pacific Crest Trail crowd

HIKING – Growing numbers of hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Mexico-to-Canada route made increasingly popular by the movie “Wild,” have led officials to take steps to alleviate traffic. The Pacific Crest Trail Association announced on Wednesday a new permitting system that will limit to 50 the number of long-distance hikers heading north each day from San Diego County.

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SUNDAY, FEB. 1, 2015

SUNDAY, JAN. 18, 2015

Waves powered by winter storms cleanse the sand for beachcombers along the Oregon Coast, including Cannon Beach.

Winter road trips ideal offshoot of low gas prices 

The plummeting price of gasoline has made this winter prime time for an outdoors-inspired road trip. With the exception of a couple of months in 2008, drivers haven’t enjoyed gasoline so cheap across the continent in 10 years. Prices in the U.S. have decreased nearly 60 percent since late June. A gallon of unleaded regular was $1.74 at some stations in Spokane last week.

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THURSDAY, JAN. 1, 2015

Reese Witherspoon was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress in a drama for her role in the "Wild." (Associated Press)

Movie ‘Wild’ generates more interest in Pacific Crest Trail

PORTLAND – The popularity of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” has led to increased awareness and use of the trail that runs from Canada to Mexico through Washington, Oregon and California. There are more thru-hikers – people who, like Strayed, attempt to hike the entire trail – and more day and overnight users of this incredible national resource. Now “Wild” has been made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, and resource managers expect another surge of interest. Jack Haskel, a trail information specialist at the Pacific Crest Trail Association office in Sacramento, California, answered a few questions about the trail.

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SUNDAY, DEC. 28, 2014

2014 Outdoors: high achievers

Mount Rainier speed record recaptured by ski mountaineer Eric Carter, 3 hours, 51 minutes. Partner Nick Elson dropped back after losing a ski in a crevasse. Their former Paradise parking lot round-trip record for climbing 14,411-foot Rainier and descending on skis set in 2013 was surpassed about a week later by another team.

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Barbara Washburn, right, poses with her husband, Bradford Washburn during the 1947 Alaska expedition on which she became the first woman to climb Mount McKinley.

2014 Outdoors: lists

100, Lake McDonald Lodge; Glacier National Park. 75, Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, first in Washington; Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge; Mont. State Parks system. 70, Smokey Bear. 50, Wilderness Act; Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap. 40, Boldt Decision: court ruling gave Indian Tribes right to 50 percent of Pacific salmon returns. 30, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. TRANSITION

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Rock climber Alex Honnold was featured on the cover of National Geographic in May 2011 and then on 60 Minutes in October 2011.

2014 Outdoors: milestones

Clif Bar dropped sponsorship of rock-climbing sensation Alex Honnold and four other athletes because the California organic energy food-maker says it’s no longer comfortable with the death-defying extremes of BASE jumping, high-lining and free-solo climbing. Stevens Pass Ski Area, record season for guests, 406,000, and total snowfall, 463 inches.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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