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Wilderness 50

Adventure and rain await Olympic Peninsula hikers

Although the Olympic Peninsula is a short day’s drive from the Inland Northwest, it’s a different universe for local backpackers and hikers. The contrast isn’t simply about the fact that Olympic National Park and adjoining forest receives anywhere from 2 to 12 times as much rainfall as most inland hiking destinations. It’s about the environment all that water from the sky creates.

Scotchman Peaks group finds common ground for wilderness

In the often-divisive arena of wilderness policy, the Scotchman Peaks straddle many boundaries. The scenic mountain range between the Clark Fork and Bull rivers has more geopolitical lines dotting its map than a United Nations seating chart. About 20,000 of Scotchman’s 88,000 roadless acres lie in the Panhandle National Forest on the Idaho side of the border. The Kootenai National Forest in Montana has the rest. Three counties in two states have jurisdiction of the area.

Seven Devils: Hikers approve of God’s work above Hells Canyon

Three seasons of major forest fires have remodeled the scenery for backpackers who might be revisiting Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountains for the first time in a decade. But the Devils continue to be a heavenly destination for adventurers with the muscle power to get there.

Glacier Peak Wilderness hikers find nature untamed near hidden volcano

Holly Weiler was blunt in the Spokane Mountaineers calendar item about the August trip she was leading through the Glacier Peak Wilderness: “We’re hiking a loop –Trinity Trailhead (near Lake Wenatchee) to Buck Creek Pass, out to Image Lake, back past Lyman Lakes, and up and over Spider Gap to Spider Meadows. It’s beautiful AND it’s tough. Participants must be capable of hiking 10+ miles a day with a fully loaded pack while going up (and down ... and up again) over some tough mountain passes. Limited to six experienced backpackers. Bring the good camera equipment for this one! Also bring an ice axe for Spider Gap (and knowledge of how to use it).”

Glacier Peak Wilderness hikers find nature untamed near hidden volcano

Holly Weiler was blunt in the Spokane Mountaineers calendar item about the August trip she was leading through the Glacier Peak Wilderness: “We’re hiking a loop –Trinity Trailhead (near Lake Wenatchee) to Buck Creek Pass, out to Image Lake, back past Lyman Lakes, and up and over Spider Gap to Spider Meadows. It’s beautiful AND it’s tough. Participants must be capable of hiking 10+ miles a day with a fully loaded pack while going up (and down ... and up again) over some tough mountain passes. Limited to six experienced backpackers. Bring the good camera equipment for this one! Also bring an ice axe for Spider Gap (and knowledge of how to use it).”

Olympics: Ozette Triangle perfect intro to hiking Olympic beaches

Nine miles of hiking – sea level most of the way – three days to do it. Sounds like an easy backpack trip on Washington’s Olympic coast near Ozette.  But maybe not.   Hopping over or diving under Sitka spruce toppled by winter storms while skipping across boulders slippery with seaweed makes the coast segment of the outing a bit tedious. Some hikers will find it a test, although seasoned backpackers will find it a breeze.

Great Burn Wilderness remains subject of debate

The 1910 fires – and significant wildfires that followed into the 1930s – had a devastating hand in bestowing rugged portions of the Bitterroot Mountains with new life.

Expansive lands bill establishes trails, wilderness in Northwest

Recreational trails through the Northwest and a wilderness area in Idaho are part of a massive public lands bill that passed the U.S. House on Wednesday and awaits President Barack Obama’s signature. The Omnibus Public Lands Bill, which combined nearly 170 measures into a single package, establishes a wilderness area in Idaho’s Owyhee Canyon and a hiking trail that extends from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast.

Claiming trails: mountain bikers, hikers confront wilderness

Mountain bikers are gearing up to stay on track in backcountry areas being proposed for federal wilderness designation in the Inland Northwest and throughout the nation. Most people know that motors are prohibited in official wilderness, but federal wilderness rules also ban "mechanized equipment." That term has been interpreted to include mountain bicycles, which had not yet been invented when Congress approved the Wilderness Act in 1964.

Grinding through The Bob

The late-July fishing-floating trip Edwin Hill helped organize on Montana's South Fork of the Flathead River turned out to be a drag. The Spokane adventurer and his extended family hired an outfitter to mule-pack their rafting gear into the Bob Marshall Wilderness as they hiked 18 miles to a traditional put-in on Youngs Creek.