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Hikers longing for a life-brightening dose of fall colors need to look no farther than the aspen grove that caught their attention as the wind rattled leaves in July or the last huckleberry patch they grazed in August.
An aggressive mountain goat was shot and killed by a hiker in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness last month bringing new concerns about the threats that outdoor recreation poses to the normally docile white ghosts of rocky peaks. A woman from Lincoln County, Montana, shot the nanny with a .357-caliber handgun on July 19 at the top of a switchback on a narrow, cliffy section of the trail to Leigh Lake.
A woman fiercely attacked by a black bear near the Priest Lake visitor center on July 4 had no time to use bear spray even if she’d have had it, her brother says.
WILDLIFE -- An aggressive black bear was reported Thursday along the popular national forest hiking-biking trails of Canfield Mountain near Coeur d'Alene, the Idaho Fish and Game Department says. "We have varying second-hand reports that a black bear with at least one cub has been...
HIKING -- Summer "snow drifts" of blooming beargrass are luring hikers to trails at Mount Spokane State Park this week. Named by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, beargrass isn't a grass. It's a plant that can have numerous basal rosettes on a common...
TRAILS -- Washington Trails Association, the voice for hikers in Washington state, is looking to add to its Board of Directors with representation from the Spokane area. This is an honor for our region to be welcomed under the wing of a group that has...
TRAILS -- Montana has launched a statewide online hiking guide. Montana Wilderness Association, with a grant from the state Office of Tourism, has gone live with Hikewildmontana.org, Montana’s first online, statewide hiking guide, which already features more than 200 trail descriptions. More than 70 MWA...
OUTDONE – A Seattle woman, 34, has set an unsupported speed record for hiking the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail through 14 states from Maine to Georgia in 54 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes. Heather Anderson (trail name “Anish”) is no fleeting moment in trail-record history. In 2013, she set the unsupported backpacking speed record for the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes.
A 100-mile backpacking trip is a good start for sizing up a wilderness area. The Spokane Mountaineers, celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, honored the centennial at the end of July 2015, with a week-long horseshoe-shaped route through Washington’s Pasayten Wilderness. ( Read story.) The area includes 531,539 acres hugging more than 50 miles of the U.S.-Canada border north of Winthrop. The plan called for hiking most of east-west Boundary Trail 533, which includes sections of the Pacific Crest (PCT) and Pacific Northwest (PNWT) national scenic trails. The Newby Lake fire closure prevented them from starting at Irongate Trailhead in the southeast portion of the wilderness and hiking the through the scenic Horseshoe Basin. So they started from Thirtymile Trailhead, picked up the Boundary Trail at Cathedral Lakes and headed west into incredible scenery mixed with drudgery in downfall prompted by 2006 wildfires. Relief came when they merged into the Pacific Crest Trail and headed south on the well-groomed scenic route to their shuttled vehicle at Harts Pass. Follow their trip in these photos by Outdoors editor Rich Landers.
OUTLAWS – The flu season is fading, but the poo season appears to be reaching epidemic levels in some popular urban trail systems around the region. The Pend Oreille Bay Trail was an offensive mess when the snow first melted last month, prompting a group of volunteers to glove up and bag the piled evidence of poor pet management.
Fall is a stunning time to walk through the region's wildlands, from the scablands to the national forests. Following are six walks, especially appropriate for autumn, all of which are detailed in my latest guidebook, “Day Hiking Eastern Washington,” co-authored with Craig Romano:
Lynn Smith, 64, takes as much pride in the region’s public lands as he does in his Hayden-area backyard. During the Spokane Mountaineers’ Wednesday evening hikes he’s led for 15 years, Smith often wears a large frame pack, leaving the top open and lined with a garbage bag. Like a roving recycling center, he invites hikers on his treks to pick up litter as they go and deposit the debris in his “bin.”
An effort to rebalance wildlife’s share of the Dishman Hills Natural Area has been getting mixed reviews as workers try to scale back the web of unofficial trails. About 200 volunteers showed up April 21 to initiate a new plan, two years in the making, to decommission miles of trails that crisscross almost every niche of the jointly managed Spokane Valley nature preserve.
Heading out on a trail for a day or even a few hours is one of life’s simplest active pleasures. Craving fresh air, wildflowers, wildlife and healthy exercise? Taking a walk is the universal alternative whether you’re young or old, rich or poor.