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America’s Premier Adventure Race 2014

May 25, 2014 CLASSIC

From Mt Baker to Bellingham Bay • 7 sports • 4,000 racers 500 teams • Over 90 miles of pure fun.

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CONTRIBUTORS Chris Gerston loves it all: climbing, mountaineering, skiing, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, and camping. With a background in social services and wilderness therapy, he has spent his adult life helping folks (and especially young people) to connect with the natural world. He’s still fostering these connections as owner of Backcountry Essentials, an outdoor specialty shop in downtown Bellingham. Dawn Groves is an author and consultant advising on workflow effectiveness, team strategy and communications. An avid sea kayaker and mother of two, Dawn believes that time on the water is time well spent. She manages her energy by paddling and doing tai chi. Visit her blog at Rand Jack has have lived in Nepal, kayaked the Queen Charlottes, bicycled the Outer Hebrides, explored Borneo, banded birds in Peru, visited Tibet, tracked lemurs in Madagascar, paddled the Zambezi River, hiked the Brooks Range, camped in Amazonia, driven to Terra del Fuego and the Panama Canal, and rescued turtles in Trinidad. Brandon Nelson is an adventureloving Bellingham Realtor. He and his wife, Heather are way-of-life kayakers and racers with a passion for the Pacific Northwest. They’ve written for Sea Kayaker and Adventures NW about paddling the Sea of Cortez, Lake Baikal, the Yukon, the Great Lakes and Chelan. They have two kids, Hayden and Jazzy, who’ve both been in kayaks since the day they were born. Laurie Potter creates vibrant paintings that portray her love of the natural world. Using close observation, imagination, and a passion for her subjects, she paints in a manner that reflects her attention to color and detail. Laurie displays her art at galleries, as well as in juried shows nationwide. Craig Romano spent a year and a half hopping, hiking, running, and researching 28 islands for his upcoming book, Day Hiking San Juan and Gulf Islands. When not hiking and running or writing about hiking and running, he can be found napping with his cats, Giuseppe and Mazie in Skagit County. Visit him at


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WINTER | 2013 Volume 8. Issue 4 Ted Rosen is a freelance writer whose wanderings in New Jersey, California, Washington, Europe and Japan inform his worldview. He enjoys long, romantic walks off short piers and playing guitar until someone asks him to stop. Ellen Rubenson is a medical case manager, avid backpacker, parttime travel writer, and lover of anything outdoors. She is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, When You Get Older, Where Will You Live? Visit her website at Dan Rubenson is Professor of Economics at Southern Oregon University and long-time amateur photographer and outdoor explorer. Mark Turner is a Bellingham-based portrait, nature, and garden photographer. His books include Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest, Bellingham Impressions, the forthcoming Trees & Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest, and the smartphone app Washington Wildflowers. His photography has been published nationally for 20 years.

COVER PHOTO: Skiing in fresh snow under Mt. Shuksan © Brett Baunton

A Look Ahead: Our Spring Issue

When Mt. Baker Erupts Overnight Bike Trips Aerial Adventure Park Desperately Seeking Silence

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On a Wing and a Prayer Bud Anderson and the Raptors of Winter

A Promise Kept A Record Broken

A Slippery Slope Mid-Winter on Mazama Ridge

Heather Anish Anderson Speed Queen of the PCT

The Many Moods of Winter The Joys of Winter Kayaking Avalanche Safety Gear Don’t Leave Home Without It

Running Back into Time Trail Running on BC’s Newcastle Island

To Begin The Way to Santiago de Compostela

Rand Jack


Brandon Nelson


John D’Onofrio


Ted Rosen


Mark Turner


Dawn Groves


Chris Gerston


Craig Romano


Ellen & Dan Rubenson


Out & About Cascadia Gear eARTh: The Art of Nature Race | Play | Experience Calendar Advertiser Index Next Adventure

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“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot

Photo by John D’Onofrio


The Secret Of Success Is Not So Much Talent As It Is Determination. MEMBER FDIC

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ADVENTURES nw > FIND Adventures NW is available free at hundreds of locations region-wide: throughout Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties, at select spots in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties, and in Leavenworth, the Methow Valley, Spokane, and Wenatchee. The magazine is also available at all REI locations in Washington and Oregon as well as at numerous locations in the Vancouver, BC metro area and through races and events and at area visitor centers. > SUBSCRIBE Receive Adventures NW

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The ‘A’ Word T

he word, ‘awesome’ is certainly one of the most over-used adjectives in the English language. Yet, in describing what two remarkable local athletes did this August, it hits the nail right on the head.

averaged almost 44 miles a day. Through the desert. Through the Sierras and the Cascade Range. Day in and day out. Remarkably, Anderson is relatively new to hiking. Prior to 2003, she hadn’t done much walking in the woods. She didn’t like to exercise. But when she was 20, Heather got off the couch in a big way. A thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) 10 years ago sealed the deal. Before that, she’d only been out overnight twice. But she blazed the AT. She was a fast learner. She was just warming up. In the early days of her epic PCT hike in the California desert, she averaged 40 miles a day and by the time she got to Oregon she was covering 50, growing stronger and more confident. Of course, much of an effort like this is psychological. The will to continue, the fears and euphoria, the all-encompassing alone-ness of her journey. Powerful medicine. The accomplishments of Heather and Brandon inspire us by exemplifying a crucial lesson: Our limitations are - to a large extent - self-imposed. We’ve conjured them up, woven from the strands of our past experiences, previous encouragements (and discouragements) and our own expectations and psychic baggage. We own them. If we want (and are willing to put out the effort) we can transcend these presumed limitations, reshaping ourselves based not on what we perceive ourselves to be, but on who we actually are. And by so doing, we can experience our true potential and live life to the fullest. This is perhaps our greatest adventure...

On August 7, Heather “Anish” Anderson dropped her backpack in BC’s Manning Park after completing the fastest-ever unsupported thru-hike of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail (60 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes). Exactly two weeks later Brandon Nelson paddled his way into the Guinness Book of World Records by kayaking 151.87 miles in 24 hours on Lake Padden. Awesome? Well, yes, I think we can safely apply the ‘A’ word here. For Nelson, it was more than a world record. It was a promise kept. The Bellingham resident, a real estate professional by day, started his remarkable journey in 2006, when he first set out to establish a new flat-water distance record. But as he was preparing for the effort, his mom Janet was diagnosed with Photo by Andy Dungan ovarian cancer. She died on the day that had been scheduled for the attempt. A few weeks later, a determined Nelson began paddling on Lake Whatcom, seeking the record to honor his mother, the effort now dedicated to raising awareness for hospice and ovarian cancer research. He paddled 147 miles over a 24-hour period, and it looked like he had accomplished his goal. But it was not to be. Unbeknownst to Nelson, three days earlier in California, kayaker Carter Johnson had gone 150.34 miles. Brandon was denied the record. On August 21 of this year, after 24 punishing hours, a semi-conscious Nelson was pulled from his Epic surfski, not knowing up from down, and taken to the hospital, having overcome hardships and fought demons that few of us will ever know. But the record was his. The crowd - gathered on the shore to watch history being made - went wild. The promise was kept. Heather Anderson’s world record was achieved far from the cheering crowds, shortly before midnight in the forest surrounding the US/Canada border. Her record-setting journey on the PCT had counseling our community lasted for two months, during which she

Live the life you choose.

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Out&About Behind the Scenes at Whatcom Events:

thing: Whatcom Events makes all of this happen with a paid staff of one. Mel Monkelis, executive director is the Whatcom Events staff. As executive director, he describes himself as “chief cook and bottle washer”, meaning that he does anything and everything that needs to be done. Event plan-

The Cascadia Region is justifiably famous for the number and diversity of outdoor recreational events that we enjoy. Everything from running to biking to flopping around in the mud. Of course, the Granddaddy of all is the venerable Ski to Sea Race held each Memorial Day weekend. In Tour de Whatcom recent years, this iconic 7-leg Photo by Cesar Cruz relay race has continued to grow in stature and scope, attracting media attention from far beyond Cascadia’s borders. Staging an event of this size is a massive undertaking. Bellingham-based Whatcom Events has been running the show since 2010, after decades in which it was under the auspices of the Whatcom Chamber of Commerce. And in recent years, the non-profit organization has organized other events ning and preparation is a year-round task such as Muds to Suds, a mud race that - during the off season, he’s busy working has become a community favorite in the on a project management plan for the two years since its debut in 2012, and next year’s events, talking to potential Tour De Whatcom, a well- established sponsors, and developing the marketing cycling event now in its eighth year that pieces for the next year. Mel - pure and Whatcom Events began managing in simple - loves his job. February, 2013. The secret to navigating these Each event is a logistical challenge on complicated waters with a single paid a grand scale: Everything from attracting staffer is volunteerism. Ski to Sea uses sponsors, recruiting volunteers, marketapproximately 800 volunteers, Tour de ing, social media, website development, Whatcom has about 250, and Muds equipment maintenance, insurance, perto Suds deploys about 180 each year. mits, and more. Not to mention the ac“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our tual staging of the events themselves with events,” Monkelis explains. “Many of a thousand considerations, both large our volunteers have been with us for (ensuring safety) and small (providing more than 20 years and come back each drinking water). And here’s the amazing year because they love the events. Some 8

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of our volunteers see how much fun the participants are having and become racers the next year. It’s a great way to get involved in the community.” Even Pete Coy, the Race Director, is a volunteer. Coy, also President of the board of directors at Whatcom Events, handles the long-range planning and oversees the details of the company and each event. As the “face” of Ski to Sea, he also speaks to local service clubs and the media about the activities that are under the Whatcom Events umbrella. This is community service, writ large. Coy’s roots in Whatcom County run deep indeed. He came to Bellingham in 1965 as a student at WWU and after graduation was hired to be the Director of Housing and Food Services for the university. He participated in Ski to Sea from its inception in 1973 as a runner, cross-country skier, downhill skier, road biker, canoeist and Hobie Cat captain. He began managing the finish line in 1995. In 2007 he was named race director. Giving back to the community is second nature. And that community is certainly fortunate to have these world-class events. Monkelis speculates that they generate well over $2.5 million in local business, not to mention the integral role that they play in supporting local charities. Whatcom Events introduced Muds to Suds (a family-friendly mud race) in 2012, an expansion that was part of Coy’s vision to take their expertise and organizational savvy and apply it >>> Go to

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to other community events. This year, Tour de Whatcom - one of the region’s most well-established cycling events - became part of that vision when founders Todd and Jody Williams transferred ownership of the Tour to Whatcom Events. Although no new events are planned for 2014, Monkelis says that “we are talking about some new events Muds to Suds for 2015 or 2016... we Photo by Donna James want to grow slowly and deliberately.” All of this hard work is paying dividends. Ski to Sea has doubled in size since Coy took over as race director. And the new events are on solid footing as well. “We increased the number of participants in the Tour de Whatcom in our first year of ownership,” Monkelis points out, “ and doubled the number of racers in

the Muds to Suds race in just our second year.”

Recreation Northwest Expo to Debut Bellingham-based Recreation Northwest (RNW) - those fine folks that bring us such well-loved events as the Bellingham Traverse, Bellingham Kids Traverse, Olympia Traverse, Winthrop Traverse, Padden Mountain Pedal and San Juan Island Quest - are launching

what promised to be an iconic new event on the Cascadia recreation scene next year: Recreation Expo Northwest. The brainchild of RNW executive director Todd Elsworth, the expo will be a tribal gathering for the recreation community, bringing together health professionals, nutrition experts, local gyms, personal trainers, bike shops, running stores, gear shops, paddling outfitters, outdoor media, outdoor activity clubs, stewardship organizations and representatives from local recreation events and races all under one roof. An idea whose time has clearly come, the inaugural Recreation Northwest Expo will be on February 13 at the Best Western Lakeway Inn in Bellingham. Speakers at the expo include Brandon Nelson and Heather Anderson (both featured in this issue). You won’t want to miss this opportunity to dive deep ANW into the local recreation scene.



Visit for complete listings of Outdoor events through 2013






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On A Wing and a Prayer Bud Anderson and the Raptors of Winter Story by Rand Jack


hen Bud Anderson opens his arms wide, you think he might fly. Despite being separated from birds by countless branches of the evolutionary tree over eons of time, Bud is remarkably attuned to the world of raptors. Though lacking a raptor’s eyesight and talons, to a startling degree he can think like a hawk. Living in Skagit County, Bud is a worldrenowned raptor expert, particularly when it comes to Peregrine Falcons, the world’s fastest animal. Right out of high school, Bud, like many young people, was searching for something, searching for who he was. Spending time in bookstores, he picked up a little book, Falcons and Falconry by Frank Illingworth. In it was a picture of a Merlin, a small, beautiful falcon. “This changed my whole life – one little picture in one little book.” Bud still has the book. After befriending a falconer who taught him to trap

and band hawks, he was hooked. As he appropriately puts it, “things took off from there.” In 1976, Bud began work on a five-year project on the Skagit Flats studying Peregrine Falcons seven days a week from dawn to dusk all winter. “We recorded everything they did: How they hunted, what they ate, where they slept.” They put the first radio tag on a Peregrine on the west coast. “The birds,” he observes, “have always been my best teachers.” The young men engaged in the project became so much a part of the birds’ lives that the birds studied them just as they studied the birds. According to Bud, a Peregrine named Sunset, trapped on Sunset Road, “got to know us particularly well.” One day Sunset went missing. After two days of futile searching, Bud looked out of his car win-

Anderson and immature Red-tailed Hawk on Skagit Flats Photo by Rand Jack


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dow and saw Sunset flying along beside his car, one foot dangling. Bud caught her and took her to a vet. Someone had shot Sunset. “It shocked me that someone could shoot such a beautiful bird. It was like defacing a great work of art, a Rembrandt.” Shortly thereafter, Bud formed his nonprofit Falcon Research Group and began teaching his now legendary raptor class so people could learn how beautiful and amazing these birds are. He was, and is, convinced that “once people learned, everyone would become a conservationist.” At Sea-Tac Airport in 2001, Bud started a project from which many of us have benefited. Before Island Girl, Super Peregrine then, at most Photo by Bud Anderson airports, birds near runways were routinely shot in an effort to avoid bird strikes by jets. Since 2001, Falcon Research Group has caught and removed 562 raptors from Sea-Tac. The young birds are especially vulnerable to strikes because of their naivety about the danger of jet airplanes. The raptors are taken 75 miles north to Skagit County where the adults are released and the nestlings are raised until they are ready to fly and learn to hunt on their own. To date, Sea-Tac birds have been spotted as far south as Sacramento and north to Vancouver. Only one to two percent has returned to Sea-Tac. An invitation to participate in a peregrine banding project in Greenland in 1979 ignited Bud’s interest in Peregrine stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

migration. From there he went to Padre Island, Texas, “a Mecca for peregrine trappers and banders interested in peregrine migration.” Two of the birds fitted with radio transmitters ended up in South America, one in Peru and one in Ecuador. For Bud, years of trapping in Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru followed. Of the 19 sub-species of Peregrines, the American tundra Peregrine, which breeds across the North American Arctic, is the most highly migratory. Every September most of these falcons fly south to winter in the U.S. and Central America, but a select few “super” or “deep” Peregrines continue on to central or southern Chile and Argentina, flying as much as 9,000 miles each way every year – the longest raptor migration in the western hemisphere and the longest Peregrine migration in the world. As a Peregrine biologist, Bud was fascinated by the rare “super peregrines” about which little is known. In 2007, he and the Falcon Research Group initiated the Southern Cross Peregrine Project, sending a multinational team to Chile to try to decipher the natural history of these special birds. Despite the first use of GPS satellite transmitters with Peregrines in Chile, the data from the dozen falcons outfitted between 2007 and 2009 was short-lived due to transmitter failure or bird mortality. However

there was one dramatic exception – Island Girl. Fitted in central Chile in March, 2009 with a still-functioning transmitter, Island Girl is currently on her way back to Chile from Baffin Island, completing her fifth 18,000 mile, GPStracked, round trip in her quest for perpetual summer. Given a minimum of two round trips before the transmitter was attached, she has flown some 126,000 migratory miles. With normal daily flight time in Chile and on Baffin Island, Bud estimates that Island Girl has flown at least 150,000 miles. “Although she belongs to no one,” he says, “thanks to the Internet, I think in one sense she now belongs to the entire world.” We are fortunate to live just down the road from ideal winter raptor habitat. “Because of the high density and wide variety of species, the Skagit and smaller Lummi Flats are some of the greatest places in North America to watch winter raptors,” Bud explains. “It’s a chance to

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Anderson with adult Red-tailed Hawk at Sea-Tac Photo by Rand Jack

see not only lots of birds but wonderful behavior.” Way back in 1985, Bud initiated the Annual Skagit Flats Raptor Count, hosted by the Falcon Research Group. During the two-hour census last year, 100 volunteers spotted 882 raptors. It is no coincidence that Bud lives in Skagit County. 2014 marks the 33rd year that Bud has been teaching his raptor class, focusing on identifying characteristics, behavior and life cycles of the raptors that winter in his neighborhood. In addition to five classroom sessions, the class is broken down into smaller groups for a day-long field trip out on the Skagit Flats.

Many of his students return year after year. “The field trip alone is worth the price of admission,” remarks Rick Braun, who will be attending Bud’s class for the tenth time in 2014. “I have learned something new every year.” Jayme Curley took the class in 2013 and was impressed by Bud’s identification with the birds and his passion for what he is doing: “If you’ve ever wanted to witness a large, agile man inhabit the mind of - and impersonate a

raptor - this is the class for you. I loved Bud’s sharing so much information and know-how about these creatures he has been engaged with for decades...really a love story.” Join one of these trips and you’ll get the chance to observe Bud Anderson in his element, among the birds that he has come to know so well. The experience is sure to be memorable. And you may also get the opportunity to see him think like ANW a raptor.


TAKE A RAPTOR CLASS Sponsored by the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, the 2014 Bellingham class will meet 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, January 9, 16, 23, 30, and February 6 downstairs at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth, Bellingham. Time of field trips to be arranged. To register, mail a check for $175 to the FRG, Box 248, Bow, WA, 98232. Include your address, phone number and email address. To learn more, call or email Bud Anderson (360.757.1911 or or Rand Jack (360.592.5169 or The raptor class will also be offered in Tacoma on Wednesday nights and at Padilla Bay on Tuesday nights. Learn more about the Southern Cross Peregrine Project at


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A Promise Kept Story by Brandon Nelson

With a little help from his friends: Nelson on Lake Padden Photo by Jim Belanger

What was I doing in the water, going zero miles per hour towards my goal? Why are we swimming? Should I panic? 14

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y left paddle blade drags heavily across the water as I lean back in my seat and glide toward the beach. At the water’s edge, a 3-foot wide, red digital clock clicks off the time: 22 hours, 8 minutes, 15 seconds and counting. In knee-deep water, a crew of six are waiting for me, and when my surfski reaches them they go to work like a team of part paramedics, part NASCAR pit crew. Peter Marcus and Kirk Christensen hoist me to my feet, Char Waller stuffs an electrolyte tab in my mouth, chased by a watermelon chunk from Nick Cameron, and finally water from my wife Heather. On my boat’s back deck, Michael Medler is checking the two GPS units tracking my speed and distance. I feel my wet hat being pulled off and a dry one pulled on. I hear talk, focused and meaningfulsounding. But at this stage the crew knows better than to expect a conversation with me. My body just wants to sleep, and as my eyes close I let my head fall back. Three seconds. Four. Five. Now GO! My eyes snap open and I’m blinking in an attempt to clear the blur of more than 22 hours worth of sweat, tears and exhaustion. Now Heather is right in my face. What is she saying? One more blink, I focus on her mouth. “Brandon! BRANDON! “ she shouts, as if I were fifty feet away. Unmistakable now, her words hit my brain as I sit back in the boat and reach for the paddle. “Brandon, YOU GOT THIS!” I am on Lake Padden, surrounded and supported by my closest friends and

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Photos by Dougal Brownlie

family, for one reason: To set a new Guinness World Record for the most miles paddled in a kayak, on still water, in 24 continuous hours. It’s not my first time at this. I first tried to break the record in May, 2006, on Lake Whatcom. Project Kayak for Care, I called it, because I was doing it to honor my mom, who had died of cancer less than 3 weeks earlier. I crushed the published record of the time by almost 10 miles, paddling just under 147 miles. But as I was recovering, I learned another paddler had gone a few miles further just days before me. Kayak for Care had raised almost $20,000 for hospice and awareness for early cancer screening. It brought together a huge community of supporters and volunteers who bonded through the lengthy journey, preparing for and supporting the all-day-and-night attempt. And I’d succeeded in hitting my goal distance. But footnotes aside, I’d fallen short of the record. That intersection of grief at having just lost my mom, the exhaustion of the 24-hour effort, and the frustration of having failed lit a fuse inside me. That fuse would burn for the next seven years.

Under Water “I can’t slow down, man! I’m out of control!” I shouted again and again. My arms flailed and I rocked up and stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

back like I was doing sit-ups in the surfski. I felt like I needed to be strapped down. It was 3 a.m., I’d been going for 19 hours straight and was in the throes of full-blown caffeine psychosis. With safety paddlers DJ Jacobson on my left and Michael Medler on my right, we had been cranking along above 7.5 mph, a fast pace for a two-hour race, and way, way faster than I needed or should have been going.

Inspiration: Nelson’s mom Janet

Suddenly, I was out of my ski. The part of my brain that was still functioning raced for an answer. What was I doing in the water, going zero miles per hour towards my goal? Why are we swimming? Should I panic? Suffering during an Ultra is a given, even when things are going well. After tens of thousands of strokes, skin rubs through to open wounds, puffy blisters mark fingers and palms, and darkness and exhaustion bring on hallucinations. As unpleasant as these can be, they’re

all relatively easily managed and pushed beyond. What is far more complicated, and critical, is the stomach, what does or does not go into it, and whether it stays in. During the first eight hours or so I had been following a diet I’d tested three weeks earlier on a ten-hour practice paddle. I’d held the same speed, wore the same clothes, and paddled in the same weather. Back then it had worked flawlessly. For whatever reason, this time was different. My legs began cramping just three hours in. At hour four, I stopped peeing, and wouldn’t pee again until hour 10. I began puking at about the six- or eight-hour mark. To make matters worse, as my energy level and mood sank, I foolishly turned to caffeine - and lots of it. It lifted me up, alright, but way past any reasonable level. That’s how I ended up thrashing in the water, confused beyond definition, with DJ swimming next to me making sure I didn’t drown and, as far as I could tell, shouting something. Seven years of that fuse burning inside me, the white-hot fuse of an unkept promise to my mom. The weight of the goal to achieve not a personal best, not a state or national record, but a World Record. The months of planning and focused training to be 100 percent physically ready and completely confident of success. And that clock, that red, digital clock over on race | play | experience


the far beach, relentlessly banging out the seconds like a sledge hammer on an empty steel drum. These thoughts tore through my brain. But dominating all of this was the thought of the people who were there with me at Lake Padden, right then, supporting me; cheering from the shores, paddling - and now swimming - beside me; feeding me at the stops; changing my clothes and keeping me conscious. My wife and son and daughter. My closest friends. Kids. Grandparents. Strangers. Volunteer judges and safety paddlers, photographers and surveyors, many of them as sleep-deprived and as committed as I was. This was their world record too.

hand on my lifejacket. “Brandon,” he said calmly, “you got this. Just pull your legs up, and paddle easy.” It worked. The swim brought me back to life and I had a few good laps,

The Fuse In the frigid water, in the cold and dark night air, separated from my boat and paddle, my brain compressed these thoughts into a surge of fear, and then perfect clarity. Reaching deep beneath blue skies Photo by Jim Belanger And then action. My paddle found its way to my hand. Michael the psychosis under control. More imMedler held my ski steady as I reached portantly, I had crashed hard but recovboth arms across the cockpit and pulled ered from it, and now I knew I could myself up. DJ was right beside me, his handle it. I knew Ultra and myself well


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enough to know that the good laps would come in waves, and so would more bad laps. Before the sun rose fully, I swam and re-mounted again, but I have no memory of it. By then I was limping around the glassy lake, stopping for food, electrolytes, and rest after every lap. I was mentally long, long gone, and I had put my entire trust and the success of breaking the record in the hands of Heather, Peter Marcus, and the rest of the crew. The beach filled with people. An ambulance was called and waited at the water’s edge to haul me off. Nearly a dozen other paddlers fanned out behind me, cheering and coaching me along as I clawed for each and every stroke. With just over 20 minutes left, the world record mark was one hundred yards in front of me. Tom Brewster, the official surveyor from Wilson Engineering, waited to sound the air-horn signaling success. I scratched at the water one final time but could hold myself upright no more. I had no more to give. A second later, I was in the water for the third and final time.

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Even as I floated, every breath exhausted me further. I could hear nothing. I could see only the side of my ski, floating a few feet away. The compressed train of thought that charged me into action at the first swim was not even a memory. I was a reptile. No logical thought process or desire or a Superbowl’s worth of cheering would get me back on that ski and paddling again. I was utterly, completely, blank. Except, there was that fuse. One spark. One un-kept promise to my mom, the fulfillment of it waiting there, 100 yards away. It

didn’t require thought or desire. It was hardwired over seven years into every cell of my being. I kicked to the ski and pulled my torso up over it, then rested, just floating there, motionless. I swung my leg over, dropped into the seat and took a few strokes. Then I pulled my legs from the water, and paddled on. After 88 laps, some onehundred thousand strokes, and with enough time to crawl another mile and a half, the horn sounded. Promise: kept. ANW

Photo by Dougal Brownlie

Brandon Nelson’s new world record was certified by Guinness on September 5. He paddled 151.87 miles, averaging more than 6.27 miles per hour.

Helping hands: Nelson running on fumes Photo by Dougal Brownlie

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A Slippery Slope


Mid-Winter on Mazama Ridge Story and photos by John D’Onofrio

Alpenglow on Tahoma


am fortunate enough to have adventurous friends.

A cadre of these intrepid souls have made it a tradition to gather each year in the depths of winter for an annual backpacking trip into the high mountains. Over the years, we’ve explored the slopes of Mount Baker, the pristine backcountry of British Columbia and the magical high country on Mount Rainier. Many memorable moments in winter’s embrace, listening to the lullabies of owls and gazing with genuine awe 18

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at the star-spangled night sky. Kindred spirits sharing simple pleasures. There is a unique joy, hard to elucidate, in lounging on a snow-carved recliner beneath the heavens, warm and comfortable despite the sometimes frigid temperatures. Neither the opportunities for unfettered introspection nor the camaraderie of the wilderness can be rendered in mere words. And so it was, that I became involved in a mid-winter excursion up on Mazama Ridge, a rib of Mount Rainier. The idea was simple enough.

Two nights on the spine of the ridge, beneath the epic snow cone of Tahoma. The Gods were with us: a weather inversion lay over the land, creating fog and gloom at low elevations and sparkling sunshine and warm temperatures up high: Hallelujah! Winter backpacking is not for everybody I guess, but the experience of snow-shoeing or skiing in the mountains and spending a few nights away from the busy world has its unique and resplendent joys. Solitude is one. Silence is another. The quiet of a snow>>> Go to

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dampened, moonlit evening in a high mountain meadow is linked for me, somehow, to warm, childhood memories, buried deep in the abstraction of the years, but fleetingly accessible on these sorts of occasions. The key of course, to being able to savor such subtle pleasures, is to be comfortable, no matter what the winter weather may bring. Being cold or wet is no fun at all and tends to shift one’s attention from such delightful introspection to the unwelcome sound of chattering teeth. Over the years I have stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

learned the fine art of layering. It’s true what they say: clothes make the man.

A Slippery Slope We rendezvoused over steaming cups of coffee in early morning at Highlanders Restaurant, a roadhouse on State Route 706 in Ashford, just west of the Longmire entrance to the park. Exactly the right atmosphere from which to launch an expedition: lots of mounted deer heads and platters of scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. A place where the waitress addresses you as “hon”. race | play | experience


winter mountains all around us. The The plan was to head out from snaggle-toothed profile of the Tatoosh Paradise and climb to the crest of Range marked the southern horizon Mazama Ridge, a place that none of and the monumental white cone of us had ever been. After that, we would Rainier climbed the sky to the north, improvise. like a talisman. So far, so good. After loading our backpacks, we Travel was easy now and we made stuffed the excess gear and provisions in dry bags and lashed them to our traditional sledge (a been-around-theblock converted plastic sled that Gary appropriated from his kids many years ago), fastened our snowshoes, and set off on the snow-covered road that would lead us to the base of Mazama Ridge. The Gary Malick beneath the Cowlitz Rocks exact place to leave the road and comour way up the undulating ridge, views mence ascending the ridge was someexpanding with every step. A little bench what obscure, so we ended up climbing surrounded by a welcoming huddle of a wickedly steep slope that led us to an wind-blasted trees presented itself as a even steeper slope. Oops. Much grunting, sliding and wallowing in the deep snow. It has been scientifically proven that the heaviest your backpack will ever feel is when regaining your feet after a tumble in Late, lingering light the snow. Look it up. perfect campsite and we set about to digFinally, after a laborious side-hill ging tent platforms and a “kitchen” out traverse across a steeply-pitched slope, of the snow. By sunset, we were relaxing we made our way to a creek gully, and on easy chairs carved out of the snow, from there, the climbing was straightwatching the sweet northern sky as it forward. Atop the crest, we rested shifted to orange, then pink, then maon the sensuous rolling alp-lands of genta in a blaze of glory. We ate our dinMazama Ridge, the splendor of mid20

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ner appreciatively beneath the emerging heavens, warm in our many layers and happy to be in this magical place. Mere moments after the last of my compatriots had retired to the tent, leaving me alone in the moonlight, I saw something moving across the snow, headed directly towards our camp. As it got closer, the light of the moon revealed it to be a fox. A big one, the biggest I’d ever seen. It came closer, nonchalantly walking past where I was sitting on my snow-carved chair, and stopped about 20 paces away. The fox calmly sat down, it’s back to me, facing the moon. We sat like that for a long time, sharing the silent night before it regained its feet, turned as if to say ‘goodnight’, and ambled down the ridge, disappearing into the darkness below. A good omen.

In a Silent Way The morning chill was vanquished by a spectacular sunrise, illuminating the icy summit of Rainier, and soon the warmth of the sun penetrated our bones through fleece and down. What a joy: a day without schedule or obligation in the throne room of the mountain gods. We wandered higher up the ridge, past the last spindly trees, climbing great sweeping snow slopes beneath the monumental presence of Rainier. Without a word, we split up and traveled our own unique paths across the windswept slopes of the upper ridge in the general direction of Cowlitz Rocks. Snow covered meadows flowed like dunes in the gleaming sunshine. Sastrugi - wind-blown swirls and ridges etched in the snow - lent depth to the scene, their contours accentuated by >>> Go to

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Lenticular clouds over the Tatoosh Range

shadow. Time to think, and time to quiet the mind. A good combination. At day’s end we converged on a promontory, gathering spontaneously to watch the late light illuminate the surrounding country: Adams, St. Helens,

and Hood, rising above the clouds that still blanketed the lowlands. Surreal lenticular clouds crowned Rainier and the Tatoosh Range. Our shadows grew long and the rich last light of day gleamed orange on surfaces now glazed with a

sheen of new ice. As twilight enveloped the mountains in the magical half-light of dusk, we headed back down the ridge to our camp, waiting silently for us beneath the emerging stars. ANW


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Heather Anish Anderson Speed Queen of the PCT

The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the highlands around Hart’s Pass as it nears its terminus at the Canadian border. Photo by John D’Onofrio

Story by Ted Rosen


njoy hiking?

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is 2,650 miles long. Start in an arid desert at the Mexican border where temperatures soar and shade is hard to find. Eventually, you’ll make your way to the high desert of California and into the picturesque peaks of the Sierras. If you have the stamina to go on, you’ll vault over Donner Pass and into the southern Cascade range in northern California. As you head into Oregon, you’ll be re-


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warded with easier days and fantastic vistas. This all leads to Washington State, where the challenging icy passes of the northern Cascades deliver you to the terminus at Manning Park, BC. Of all the people who have attempted to complete the PCT, one stands above the others. On August 7, 2013, Heather Anderson of Bellingham, WA completed the entire hike unsupported (without people meeting her to provide supplies) in 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes. That makes her unsupported

journey the fastest in the history of the PCT: faster than any man, woman or mountain goat has ever attempted the epic adventure. This astonishing accomplishment is made all the more surreal when you spend some time with her. Heather (who took the trail name “Anish” on her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail) is a cheerful young woman with a calm presence and an amiable character. I asked her where she gets the willpower to do such superhuman feats. >>> Go to

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“I have no idea. (laughs). I guess it comes from my Dad. He is the most stubborn and tenacious person I know aside from myself. But doing a hike like this, it’s 90 percent mental. Or maybe even more. Your body will go along with it if your mind is strong enough to keep pushing.” For Anish, that “keep pushing” stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

meant averaging an amazing 44.5 miles per day for 60 straight days. I asked her how she got into such epic hiking. “I didn’t actually do anything in the great outdoors until I was 20 years old. I did some day hikes at the Grand Canyon and I gradually worked my way up to doing a few overnight trips there. They were very hard and very hot and

I made lots of mistakes because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I hadn’t really hiked or backpacked before. But I just loved it so much that when I went back to school that fall I told my family and friends that I was going to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail when I graduated from college. And they were like ‘sure you are!’ race | play | experience


A moment of solitude on the trail Photo by Heather Anderson

“I was inactive at that time, I was overweight and didn’t exercise and didn’t really know anything about hiking. I started going to weight rooms and running and reading anything I could find.” This desire to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) is a common one. Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods offers a fascinating insight into the trail, its hikers, and its rewards. Most AT hikers follow an easy pace, carefully plotting their course and overnighting at the shelters found along the way. But not Anish. On her very first epic journey, she had her own way of doing things. “When I first did the Appalachian Trail there were no other thru-hikers around because I had such a late start. I didn’t have a lot of information about the trail or about thru-hiking beforehand, so I had no concept of what an average hiking day was. To me, in my head, I thought, ‘I guess somewhere between 20 and 30 miles a day sounds reasonable.’ So I’m doing 20-30 miles a day and I’m blowing past everyone and they’re saying ‘What are you doing? Nobody does that! We all

do about 15-20!’ So I responded, ‘Why do you guys only do that much?’ I didn’t have this artificial limitation on myself.” Four months after her late start, Anish was atop Mount Katahdin in Maine. She had thru-hiked the AT on her first attempt. Back then, the success rate for thru-hikers was about 15 percent. The girl who had just discovered hiking did very well indeed. While on her AT hike, other hikers told her about the Continental Divide Trail and the PCT. She had never heard of them before. The girl from Michigan had never been out West at all. But it sounded amazing and she put the PCT on her short list of things to do. In 2005, she and her partner set out to conquer it. Of this first shot at the trail she says, “It was more logistically challenging (than the AT) and we had bad snow in the Sierras. We were using ice axes and route finding, things I hadn’t done before. It was a growing experience, overcoming these new types of challenges.” The challenges were indeed overcome. She and her partner made it to Manning Park alive and well, if a bit knackered. More importantly, she was sold on the beauty of the West. “When I hiked the PCT the first time, I fell in love with Washington and moved here. I hiked it again this year and yeah – Washington is still the most beautiful. I think the Sierras are a very close second.” Living in Bellingham gave her plenty of opportunity to explore new trails and experiment with new gear. I


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asked her if she was a convert to the latest “ultra-light” fashions. “My base weight was nine pounds. I don’t know if that puts me in the ultralight category. But it’s close. I don’t really consider myself ultra-light because I carry more stuff than most of my friends who consider themselves ultra-light. But I do go very light. I have a fully enclosed tent. It’s just Cuben fiber and bug netting. It only weighs a pound. On the other hand, I carry a 28 degree bag all the time because I sleep cold. I don’t want to be cold all the time out there. So I have some concessions to luxury.” With her new gear and carefully planned food drops, Anish set out to do the impossible. “I had maps printed out of the whole trip and I plotted out each day, like Day One I’ll do 42 miles and camp here, Day Two I’ll do 41 miles and camp here, etc. It was like my contract to myself. There were nights where I was a few miles short, some nights I went a few miles further because the terrain was easier or harder than I thought. So I didn’t stick exactly to the itinerary but it was a 60 day itinerary.” The first 700 miles of desert was trying. “In the desert I just didn’t want to eat. My body was under too much stress and it was too hot. I would try to put food in, and I was just not hungry. I’d eat maybe a quarter of a Clif bar. By the time I got to Washington I’d eat an entire Clif bar in two bites!” Nonetheless, she managed to average 40 miles a day in the unforgiving desert heat, and stuck to her plan. “In the Sierras it was the same thing, 40 miles a day because the terrain was so much harder. Then once I get to central California, I wanted to do 45 miles a day. Then northern California, it’s 45 to 50 every day. In Oregon it was 50 miles a day. In Washington I was going to do just 40, but I ended up doing 45 to 50. So it was divided up based on what my body had to do. I knew I would be stronger by the time I got to Oregon, but then stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

I knew I’d be dealing with fatigue once I got to Washington because Washington is pretty hard. But the desert was really the most difficult.” Her epic race to Manning Park wasn’t without its bumps. “I pulled my High hopes: Cresting Forester Pass Photo by Heather Anderson

pleted the fastest unsupported thru-hike of the PCT in the trail’s history. She had broken the previous record by a solid 4 days. The very next day, hiker Josh Garrett completed the fastest ever supported PCT thru-hike (he had a team of helpers providing him with supplies along the way). He completed the trail in 59 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes. Oddly, Garrett and Anderson were not aware of each other’s epic hikes and had not met along the trail. Garrett’s time was impressive, but for me, Anderson’s unsupported journey, with all its insecurity and self-reliance, is the greater accomplishment. I asked her what was next. “I have a couple of ultra-marathons coming up. I have a 100-miler in Hawaii, and a 100K in Virginia in December. I don’t have any more FKT (Fastest Known Time) hiking adventures planned. I’ve considered it. We’ll see what happens.” Godspeed, Anish. ANW

hamstring in northern California. My leg would not bend. I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoes. But I knew I just had to keep walking, hoping it would resolve itself, otherwise I’m going to walk like this for another thousand miles. It took about a week, but eventually it stopped being tight. So, there’s a lot of dissociation between your mind and your body. At night I never got the kind of surge of energy you sometimes feel at the end of a foot race. I’d be like, there’s another mile to go...and just grind it out. The one time I got that huge surge of energy after a long day was at the very end, the last 360-738-6900 day…” As she emerged exhaust1431 N State ed from the dark forest and into the arms of her boyfriend, her tiny entourage confirmed her time. She had com-

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The Many Moods N

orthwest winters have many moods. Gray on gray blizzards famously dump deep snow around Mount Baker, but then we awaken to magical sunshine. Blue sky reflects off sparkling snow, revealing trees morphed into Seussian forms and accessible only by ski or snowshoe. Down near the Salish Sea I find frost the morning after a cold snap. Cottonwood buds and rose hips call for close examination. I’ve been poking around our corner of the country for over 20 years, drawn to winter’s wonders as much as to summer. There’s something about the quiet, the solitude, the simplified palette that I find appealing. Time to head out again. Even familiar subjects look different on each visit.

Visit Mark Turner’s website at

See more of Mark Turner’s magnificent winter images in his gallery at 26

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of Winter

The Photography of Mark Turner

Clockwise from top left: Little Squalicum Beach, Mt. Baker, Black Cottonwood buds, Mt. Shuksan and tracks, Snow-encrusted trees at Artist Point, Red Alder at the edge of Cedar Lake

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The Joys of Winter Story by Dawn Groves

Winter on Lake Whatcom Photo by Gene Davis


like kayaking but I don’t like being cold.

This wasn’t an issue until I became president of Bellingham’s kayak club, WAKE (Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts). Because WAKE meets September through June, club paddles are often scheduled during the coldest months of the year. As president I was supposed to actively promote and participate in these events but I opted out of several because, well, I like to paddle but I don’t like being cold. Kayaking buddies insisted I was missing out on something special, so after weeks of good-natured cajoling, I finally joined the January eagle float down the Skagit River. The eagle float covers an 8-mile stretch of the Skagit from Marblemount to Rockport, a region known for its abundant winter population of eagles. On the day of the trip, Marblemount temperatures hovered in the mid 30’s. Snow covered the ground. I shuffled toward the group of waiting paddlers, 28

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ice crunching under my boots. The last thing I wanted was to launch into that frigid water. “It looks awful cold,” I muttered. Feeling alone in my lack of enthusiasm, I decided to give avoidance one last try. “Anyone want to head off to a warm coffee shop?” The trip leader grinned and patted me on the back. “You’ll love it, Dawn. Don’t be such a wimp.” Resigned, I climbed into my boat and slid into the moving water. The current produced a lazy downstream drift affording plenty of time to take in the sheer mountain cliffs, frozen waterfalls, billowing clouds and occasional shafts of winter sun. Snow-covered cedars stood at the river’s edge. Everywhere I looked there was a bald eagle. Most amazing, I wasn’t cold. Despite sitting below the frigid water line, my drysuit kept me comfortable. My gloved hands were toasty warm, sandwiched inside thick neoprene pogies. I had also wisely added two thin layers of socks for extra insulation inside my zipped neoprene booties. An

occasional sip of hot apple cider kept me hydrated and in good cheer. When we took out at Rockport, I hugged the trip leader, thanking him for opening my eyes. “I didn’t know what I was missing,” I said. “Are they all this spectacular?” “Winter is the best time to paddle,” he said. f f f f f The keys to a successful winter paddle are preparation and comfort. Without preparation you’re not safe; without comfort you’re not having fun. Here’s a short list of preparation and comfort precautions: • Dress for the water, not the weather. Capsizing is never planned and hypothermia is a serious concern. Wear a drysuit or a 3 mil wetsuit and add insulating layers. Wear a neoprene hood or wool cap. • Educate yourself on the mental and physical symptoms of hypothermia. You might not be able to recognize >>> Go to

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the condition in yourself but you’ll be able to see it in someone else. This will make you a better, safer paddling partner. Always wear a PFD (Personal Floatation Device). It keeps your head above water and adds an extra layer of insulation on colder days. Always paddle with another person, preferably more than one. Two people can effectively rescue a third in most circumstances. Make sure at least one of your partners is skilled in rescue techniques, especially in icy conditions. My rule of thumb is to always paddle with someone I know can save me.

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• Being comfortable means of keeping your hands and feet warm. For hands, layer gloves with dry liners or use pogies -- oversized neoprene mittens that fit over the paddle shaft and facilitate a barehanded grip. For feet, wear thick neoprene boots insulated with extra socks. • Always carry the Mountaineers ten essentials. As a kayaker, add paddling essentials including a water pump, paddle float, whistle, extra

paddle, a thermos of hot water, and a vhf radio. I always carry a neck scarf, several hand and foot warmers and a bag of raisins. Unlike warmer seasons with their riots of color and growth, winter in the Pacific Northwest is quiet. Its vibrancy comes not from the flora and fauna, but from the dynamic interplay of weather and water. The land displays a stark, defiant beauty. The water reflects various shades of silver, gray, green, brown, even black. Paddling in the dead of winter takes preparation and a physical and mental investment. When I’m done with a good winter paddle, I feel like my world is bigger. I’ve truly taken advantage of the day. I feel hungry, I sleep like a rock, and the next day my creative energy and focus are spot on. Give me a cold snap and a kayak and I can push through any mental stagnation. Winter kayaking is that good. For an all-season paddler like myself (wimp no more), the Pacific race | play | experience


Lake Whatcom is a sleeping giant known for afternoon winds that build from the south. Together with the lake’s considerable fetch, these winds can generate a chaos of steep, breaking waves. I recall a notorious Lake Whatcom trip sponsored by WAKE when the wind whipped up so fast and furious that four paddlers capsized not far from each other in a very short time period. One of the rescued paddlers never returned to the club.

Capsizing in the Skagit I didn’t expect it; few kayakers do. One second I was enjoying the view and the next I was upside down in the river. The sting of cold against my face triggered an instinctive gasp I could barely suppress. My heart felt like it was pounding inside my skull. I fought panic. Fortunately, I remembered to slap the overturned exposed hull of my boat. In a matter of seconds (it seemed like forever), a kayak bumped into my starboard side. I grabbed at its bow line, heaved upward and snapped my hips. This is known as a bow rescue. It’s a simple, effective sequence I had practiced many times. But sudden icy immersion made me clumsy. I couldn’t synchronize hips with hoist. After a failed second attempt, I hung on to the rescuer’s bow, exhausted and shivering. One more deep breath and with a surge of adrenaline I fully righted myself. It was a sobering experience. Despite diligent preparation, I still had to fight the instinct to panic and inhale. If I hadn’t practiced, if I wasn’t dressed for immersion, if I didn’t paddle with skilled friends, where would I be today?

Northwest is Mecca. The glacial rivers, inland lakes and waterways, San Juan Islands and the variety of salt water locales all offer countless opportunities for paddlers of every skill level. Here are a few of my local favorites, suitable for any paddler with a solid basic skill set.

Bellingham Bay Bellingham Bay is always a good Jen Wells enjoying winter sunshine on the Skagit winter paddle. Clear, Photo by Susan Conrad cold days offer panoramic views of the Lake Whatcom Canadian mountains, the Cascades, the San Juan Islands, and sometimes even During fall and winter months, a faint outline of the Olympics. Loons, few power boats venture out on Lake herons, sea gulls and seals add to the Whatcom. A misty fog sometimes blurs ambiance. Boat traffic is minimal with the glassy surface into the sky above it. plenty of room to play. It’s fun to pracPaddling through that fog is like movtice in whitecaps on the outskirts of the ing through a mystery. Canada geese bay and then retreat into the protected natter in small groups. Occasional cries lee. Some paddlers drape their kayaks of eagles and loons drift in and out of with holiday cheer and participate in the range. But beware: the quiet is deceptive.

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Be Careful out there! Always check temperatures and conditions before kayaking. Winter weather in the Pacific Northwest is notoriously unstable. Sustained southwesterly winds of 20-33 knots are common with gusts up to 50. November, December, and January are the wettest months of the year. At higher elevations this mean snow. Glacier-fed rivers and lakes are icy cold even during spring and summer months, easily dropping into the 30’s. The Puget Sound water temperatures are milder, ranging from a summer high of 53 down to a winter low of 45 with some local variance.

Embraced by the fog Photo by Gene Davis

annual parade of lights each December. Others join WAKE’s January 1 rain-orshine breakfast paddle across the bay from Fairhaven to Squalicum Harbor. Last year it was an easy ride over mirrored glass. A few years earlier the wind gusted so hard that we chased kayaks skittering across the parking lot.

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Chuckanut Bay Chuckanut Bay boasts sculptured sandstone cliffs that look to the untrained eye like fossilized prehistoric palm trees. Located only an hour’s paddle south of Marine Park, it is best visited in the morning before the winds

whip up. Kayakers head for the center of the bay where they take a break on the Nature Conservancy’s tiny preserve known as Chuckanut Island. They tend to steer clear of an equally interesting outcrop rising between the island and the bay’s north shore. Frosted in white, the granite rock is a timeworn sanctuary

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Other Winter Paddling Destinations • Drayton Harbor at high tide, Blaine • Dakota Creek, Blaine. • Fidalgo Bay, Anacortes • Heart Lake, Mt. Vernon • Skagit River Tidal Flats, Mt. Vernon • Deception Pass, Whidbey Island • Bowman Bay, Anacortes • Washington Park, Anacortes • Baker Lake (before access roads close) • Diablo and Ross Lakes (before access roads close) Ben Wells explores Hale Passage Photo by Susan Conrad

for flocks of migratory birds and a popular haul-out for seals. Kayakers respect the rock’s environmental value almost as much as they do its overpowering ammonia odor.

Lake Padden Lake Padden is a tiny jewel with a circumference of little more than three miles. When the air freezes, a delicate ice sheet builds over the shallows. If freezing temperatures remain, the ice advances into the body of the lake, glistening under a sharp winter sun. The lake has several microclimates, making it a great place to practice skills. Strong winds may be blowing across the center of the lake but you can always find a protected spot where snowflakes hang

in the air and catch on your eyelashes.

Whatcom Creek With natural riparian landscaping, picturesque bridges and the occasional beaver dam, Whatcom Creek is Bellingham’s greatest winter paddling secret. Runoff from Lake Whatcom turns the upper creek (north of the Children’s Pool in Whatcom Falls Park) into a class I/II play area complete with jets, eddies and standing waves. Local kayak patriarch John Janney regularly checks the creek’s slalom “gates” - hanging pvc pipes around which kayakers practice boat control. John, a kayak instructor and the picture of health in his early 70’s, paddles the creek up to four times a week. “Its great exercise and the best thing you can do

• Wildcat Cove in Larabee State Park

for your paddle skills,” he says. Olympic kayaker Scott Shipley regularly trained on the creek. Sal Ayob, another world class slalom racer, still drops by on occasion. f f f f f I retired as president of WAKE a few years ago but remain enthusiastic about the sport of winter kayaking. Paddling in cold conditions doesn’t make me shiver, it makes me smile. To anyone reluctant about launching when the temperatures drop, I say, stop being a wimp. You’re missing an outdoor experience that will do more than strengthen your body, expand your mind and refresh your spirit. It will make you feel thoroughly, wholeheartedly and unreservedly alive. ANW


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Avalanche Safety Gear Don’t Leave Home Without It by Chris Gerston


art of the beauty of living where we do is the amazing backcountry skiing. The day touring in the mountains with good friends, good work, and good terrain is a day well spent. But of course, much of this beautiful country is serious avalanche terrain, so before wandering out make sure that you’re being safe and carrying the correct gear. The best thing you can have with you is the knowledge gained from an AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) certified Level 1 avalanche course. The other essentials include a transceiver, shovel, and probe. Here are a few tips on the gear best suited to our snowpack. Probes are erroneously thought of as extraneous, but they greatly improve search times by reducing the amount of digging during a rescue. They come in as little as a 190 cm length, but probes between 270-320 cm are a better match for our deep snowpack. Most probes these days have an instant lockout mechanism, but make sure that you’ll be able to operate it with gloves on. Do not fool yourself into thinking that probe/ski poles are a lightweight substitute for a real probe - they take way too long to set up. You’ll need an avalanche shovel. There are lots to choose from. Considerations include the size of the blade, fixed or extendable handle, and how it’ll fit in your pack. After consulting with several avalanche experts, the conclusion is that for most people, a

Ortovox 3+ Transceiver

Backcountry Access B-1 Bomber Avalanche Shovel

smaller shovel blade will result in more efficient digging over time even though (and because) it throws less snow per scoop. Extendable handles are nice for your back and for snow camping. Flat headed shovels aid pit studies. The transceivers get all the glory. The current standard is a 3-antennae digital model. Each company has put their research and technology advancements into different aspects such as search range, processor speed, or multi-burial functions, but in truth, the training from a good avalanche course and practice are going to make a bigger difference than the nuances that separate most of the 3-antennae transceivers. The best transceiver is the one you are the most familiar with. Have fun - and be safe! ANW American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education training is available locally from American Alpine Institute ( and Mt. Baker Mountain Guides ( Between Milepost 20 - 21 Mt. Baker Hwy., Deming Ph 360/599-BEER (2337)

Black Diamond Guide Probe


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Running Back into Time Trail Running on British Columbia’s Newcastle Island Story and photos by Craig Romano


istory runs deep on British Columbia’s Newcastle Island. Natural beauty and spectacular coastal scenery also run deep in this marine provincial park. The miles of well maintained and groomed trails traversing and circling this 756-acre island allow me to run deep here too - deep into the past and deep into pure maritime splendor.

to a restored charming early 20th century resort. Let me back up a couple hundred

One of the Gulf Islands - an archipelago scattered within the Strait of Georgia separating Vancouver Island from the Lower Mainland Newcastle is easy to get to. Located a mere quarter mile from the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, it’s an easy destination by canoe or kayak. And it’s proximity to Vancouver Island’s second largest city has made it quite a popular paddling destination. But the quickest Lush life: Among the madrona and most convenient way to get to Newcastle Island is by a small passenger ferry years to explain to you just how this all operated by the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry came to be - and what historical surprises Company (summer only), departing await you on the island. Newcastle Island from Maffeo Sutton Park on Nanaimo’s was first settled by Coast Salish peoples. recently redeveloped and beautiful In 1853 European colonists began minwaterfront. ing coal on the island. It was coal that The ferry passage across Nanaimo gave the island its name (after the coal Harbour is a mere 10 minutes. But withfields of Newcastle, England) and for the in that short time period you are whisked next 30 years it helped fuel the economy from a bustling modern city waterfront 34

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of the colony of Vancouver Island (later the province of British Columbia). From 1869 until 1932, sandstone was quarried on Newcastle and was highly sought after for buildings along the West Coast. Japanese immigrants came to the island in 1910 and operated a saltery and shipyard here until 1941, when they were interned during the Second World War. In 1931 the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company bought the island and built a resort that included a dance pavilion, tea house, wading pool and playfields. It was extremely popular until operations were curtailed and ceased during World War II. In 1961 Newcastle became a provincial park. Today the park is managed by the Snuneymuxw First Nation (a Coast Salish people) to preserve and protect the park’s rich recreational, cultural and historical attributes. Much of the island’s historic early 20th century resort has been restored. And while the surrounding structures and pavilions will pique your interest - and the manicured lawns reaching out to the shore beckon you to lie back and embrace the soft breezes - if you’re like me, you’ll want to explore these fascinating surroundings and the rest of the island by foot - trail running in particular. Twenty-two kilometers (13.7 miles) >>> Go to

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of excellent trails traverse and circle the island. Many are old service roads, well-groomed and perfect for running. Mountain bikes are allowed on several of the trails if you want to mix in some running with riding. It’s just over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) around the island - a route that ranks among the most beautiful, interesting, and intriguing in the Northwest; and one that takes you back hundreds of years into the past. Starting from the park dock, walk past a handful of purple martin boxes to a well-groomed path lined with early 20th century light posts. Watch the martins (rare and recovering birds in the Gulf Islands) as you stretch on the inviting lawns. Then start your run bearing right at the 1931 Dance Pavilion where dances are still occasionally staged. Now run across emerald grounds that sprout campers and picnickers half of the year and scads of the island’s resident deer all year long. Follow the Shore Trail beneath a towering canopy held

Along the bluffs

invite exploration in minus tides. Enjoy excellent views of nearby Protection Island with its floating pub (the only one in North America and reason to consider running that island next), Gabriola Island, and snowy north shore peaks across the Strait of Georgia.

up by old and majestic Douglas firs, big-leaf maples, and Garry oaks pushing their northern limits. Soon come to the first of many sandstone-shelved beaches lining the island’s shoreline. The entire route undulates between shelved beaches, sandstone cliffs, and protected coves that

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Bear right at a junction, soon coming to Brownie Bay. Dart across a wooden bridge spanning a lagoon outlet. Then head north along a bluff through beautiful oak groves and old growth firs, savoring sweeping coastal views. The way is fairly level and lined with gnarled and contorted madronas - or arbutuses as they are known in Canada. Round Kanaka Bay (named for the Hawaiians known as Kanakas that worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company) and watch for the some of the golden (albino) raccoons that inhabit the island. Here two trails diverge inland - one back to the south end of the island and the other to Mallard Lake. The latter one makes for a good extension, but note that the earthen dam at the lake’s outlet is currently closed, making a run around the peaceful island pond a much longer affair requiring detours on coastal trails. For the round-the-islandroute, continue right on a rougher track


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Round salal-choked McKay Point before traversing a cool cedar grove. Bear right at a junction unless you want to go to Mallard Lake. Head into the northern reaches of the island, Sweeping coastal views slowly ascending through groves of ancient forest. Come to the Giovando Lookout Loop and take it to pavilion resting atop 170-foot cliffs towering over crashing surf. Enjoy views to the Sunshine Coast and return to the main trail continuing right. Start descending into a grove of old cedars. Bear right once more and work your way on a rugged upand-down path along sandstone cliffs above Departure Bay. Watch seaplanes and ferries arriving and departing in the busy bay and catch good views of Mount Benson in the background. Then descend to the shoreline, past inviting beaches, before crossing a creek near the ruins of an old mining operation. your hydration pack and embrace the Round Shaft Point above Midden Bay. Salish seascape before you. Then get back Keep running if the bay doesn’t on the run! soon coming to Angle Point with its spectacular 270-degree coastal and mainland mountains view. Stop, take a swig from

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lure you away, now following the Channel Trail. Traverse a bluff above Newcastle Island Channel and run along the edge of an old quarry which provided sandstone for the construction of such buildings as the San Francisco Mint. Continue running along the busy channel veering onto the Bate Point Trail. Then loop around Bate Point, traveling through gorgeous oak and arbutus groves and enjoying excellent views of Nanaimo Harbour. Finish up by rounding Mark Bay, climbing back up on the bluff to the dance pavilion. What a run! You just jogged, sprinted, darted, and cruised through hundreds of years of history and some of the most inspiring landscapes in the Northwest. ANW

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To Begin

The Way to Santiago de Compostela

Story and photos by Ellen and Dan Rubenson


et the painted yellow arrows and white scallop shells guide you to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain where the tomb of St. James the Greater lies. Start anywhere. Walk out your door, place one foot before the other, and begin. Look for the arrows on rocks, walls, buildings, curbs, trees, signposts, tiles, barns, sidewalks, and gates. Be mindful. Be present. If you are not watchful, if your mind begins to wander, you may miss a key marking and lose your way. If the local people

see you stray from the footpath leading to Santiago, they will stop their cars, dismount from their bicycles, halt their tractors in the wheat fields, and run from their homes, to say, “Pilgrim, you are walking the wrong way.” Most pilgrims, regardless of nationality, begin the journey to Santiago de Compostela from Saint-Jean-Piedde-Port, France. We did not. As we researched our route, we discovered that there was not one path, but many. One could begin in France, Spain, Portugal,

or anywhere in Europe by walking out their front door, by beginning. Years before, we had visited Spain’s first National Park, Montserrat, as tourists. We stayed overnight in the fabulous Abat Cisneros Hotel to enjoy the quiet evening beneath the towering pink conglomerate rocks. Now, not as tourists, but as pilgrims, we checked into the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, receiving the first stamp on our pristine credenciales. After a restful night, we began our trek, to walk the Camino de Santiago across Spain to the Atlantic Ocean, a total of 1250 kilome-

Fieldwork: On the way to Pertusa


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ters, or 800 miles. Our tentative and somewhat flexible plan involved walking six Caminos instead of staying only with the more popular and heavily traveled, Camino Frances. By starting at Montserrat near Barcelona, we anticipated walking for approximately 70 days, including rest days, along the Camino Catalan, Camino Aragones, then two weeks on the Camino Frances, the Ruta del Salvador, the Camino Primitivo, and then a few more days on the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela. After attending the pilgrim mass in the Cathedral we would walk the final 118 kilometers, first to Muxia, finishing on the Camino Finisterre, the footpath that would lead us to the coastal town of Finisterre, known in earlier times as the end of the earth. As we began our journey, dense morning clouds blanketed the valley below Montserrat. We anticipated a laid-back day, hiking downhill from the serrated mountains of Montserrat to the valley floor. The arrows, however, led us down the road and then up a narrow rock-strewn path, up into the monolithic rocks, scrambling across landslides of dirt and rock, using our hands to pull ourselves up boulders blocking our path. When the path reached a junction, we searched the surrounding rocks and trees for the arrows to direct us. Our first day challenged us, forced us to pay attention to where we were, and jolted our perceptions about the ease of walking the Camino. Many of the Caminos we walked are less traveled. With limited information (mostly downloaded from websites onto a smartphone) and no accurate map, we learned to trust the markers of yellow arrows and scallop shells and occasional signs. We hiked along dirt paths and roads, paved roadways and bike paths, along river tracks, and on trails set in young forests of pine and eucalyptus. Occasionally we came upon several hundred-year old olive groves stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

Near La Pola Gordin

and even more ancient sycamore or oak forests. The path traced the curve of the mountains, leading us up and down steep slopes, and through dense thorny bushes and stinging nettles. We hiked past fertile agricultural areas, walking through wheat and grain fields dressed with crimson and orange poppies, by fruit orchards growing figs, pears, apples, and cherries. The arrows guided us past chicken coops, grazing cows, goat and sheep herds, and working ranches; the air filled with the distinct smells of chicken, sheep, horse, and cow manure. Always, by the end of the day, the arrows led us to a rural village, town, or city, pointing us to the springs and water fountains, bar-restaurants, pensions, rural accommodations, and lodging in the pilgrim hostels, known as albergues. By choosing paths less traveled, we met few pilgrims and many locals. Albergues were empty except for us; the key, handed with instructions to drop it in the basket by the door or

at the village bar when we left in the morning. We filled our evenings by strolling through the streets, sitting on park benches chatting with the local men and women, watching the world pass by, drinking beers and homemade herbal liqueurs with the townsfolk, sampling the crisp spring water from the village fountain, ringing the bells in the church tower. In the evening, the local bar (if there was one) served a simple 3-course meal, augmented with a bottle of local wine. Or we purchased what we could find for dinner, savoring a jar of artichokes, a can of sardines, and crackers. In the morning, we would again begin walking, following the arrows and shells through the sleepy town, seeking the essential cup of coffee. For over 1000 years, Saint James has inspired pilgrims to walk the lengthy distance to his greatly respected tomb. One of the twelve apostles of Jesus, he was beheaded in Jerusalem by the Romans. After his death, his follow-

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ers returned his body to Spain for burial under the field of stars in Santiago de Compostela. Eight hundred years later, during the re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, legend paints the likeness of Saint James mounted on a beautiful, massive white stallion, a distinct white scallop shell visible on his garb, his enormous sword flashing against the necks of the Moorish conquerors. This formidable vision revitalized the battling Christians and terrified the Moors, who then fled, bringing victory to the Spanish resistance and altering the course of history for the Iberian Peninsula. Saint James’ protection of the Christian armies earned him the name, Matamoros, or Moor-killer. Many pilgrims walk because they feel they must. Walking on sore and blistered feet, trusting that Saint James will protect and care for them, it is rare to hear complaints or negative comments. Ask a pilgrim why they walk and you may get an answer. Or not. Only when the pilgrim is ready, will he share his reason for embarking on his journey. For some, it is a personal journey, an opportunity to leave the past behind and step into the future. For others, the call is spiritual, a blend of mind, body, and spirit, a search for the chi or essence of life; the religious walk with the spirit of Saint James, while breathing in the air of historic cathedrals, monasteries, churches, ruins, and wonders. 40

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plate of food and a bottle of wine, a daily routine develops. Expect an early bedtime in the busier albergues. Crawl into your sleeping bag or silk Dreamsack. Wear earplugs if the snoring from your Climbing a 12 percent grade through the Meseta, albergue mates a region of broad and flat-topped hills overwhelms. Time your bathroom use to miss the mad morning rush. If damp laundry greets All pilgrims carry their ‘credenciales’, you in the morning, tie it to the outa passport to be filled with ink stamps side of the backpack. If it is cool, wear from fellow pilgrims, albergues, penpants and a long sleeve shirt; if it is sions, bars and restaurants, churches, warm, wear shorts and a t-shirt. Apply cathedrals, and museums. This imporsunscreen. Perch your sunhat on your head. Fill your water bottle at the public fountain in any town. If the town does not offer a bar, restaurant, grocery store, or bakery, just walk to the next town for breakfast and coffee. Or snack on your meager supplies – nuts, an apple or orange - until you locate food. And remain aware, so you can follow the yellow arrows. The pilgrims we met along the way all had stories to tell. One man, Hans, buried his wife of 40 years in a cemetery in Holland. Rather than fall into despair, he announced at the funeral that he planned to walk to Santiago de Compostela. With his friends and family as witnesses to his proclamaBetween Obanos and Estella tion, he began to train for his walk. A local woman, a widow, joined him as he trained. They fell in love. Hans betant document permits the pilgrim to gan his walk knowing that he would stay at the albergues along the way, use someday return to a new life and love. the showers, bathrooms, kitchen and Others bring a symbolic object with laundry facilities, and sleep in a shared, them - a stone, ashes of a loved one, often co-ed, bunkroom. Embrace the a prayer, a personal item - to leave at bunkroom nighttime sounds and let Cruz de Ferro, the highest point on the the dissonant snoring lull you to sleep. Camino Frances. By leaving this meanWhen you live with only basic ingful item, the pilgrim leaves her past needs – a simple bed to sleep in, a behind, and moves into her future. shower to clean off the sweat and dirt, Each Camino we walked offered a bathroom, a sink for laundry, and a

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in the Fresh Air and Have FUN!

The end of the trail: Celebrating at Santiago de Compostela with song and dance

a unique slice of Spain. Whether we walked alone, with fellow pilgrims, or with the local people, the Camino experience embedded itself into everyone we met. Every morning, as we walked through the empty village streets, following the yellow markers, we listened to the distant ‘Hoo Hoo Hooo’ of the Spanish dove. Every morning I sang with the dove, believing that it was our spirit guide, following us as we followed the path of Saint James. Now, back home in Oregon, we wake to the ‘Hoo Hoo Hooo’ of the Oregon dove. In our kitchen, Spanish padron peppers sizzle in a pan of olive oil with a generous sprinkling of sea salt to be savored with fresh bread toasted with olive oil and a bottle of Spanish wine. We contemplate when stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

we will return and realize that we have brought the Camino back with us. Its gift is the inner calm that has worked its way inside us. So, we remain mindful and place one foot before the other as though we were born to walk great distances. And each day, as we did on the Camino, we ANW begin.

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Cascadia Gear:

Essentials for your next Adventure Arcteryx Altra 65 backpack The Beatles had it right: Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight a long time. And with that in mind, you need this pack. The Altra 65 is a five-day backpack that makes carrying that weight a pleasure, thanks in part to Arcteryx’s pivoting Load Transfer Disc that transfers the weight as you move. That may sound weird, but it makes the pack feel less like dead weight and more a part of your body. This makes a surprising difference. The Altra 65 is light (4 lbs. 14 oz.) yet rugged and boasts a wrap-around bottom zipper that makes accessing your stuff (and efficiently packing it) a snap. More info:

Mountain Hardware Thermostatic woman’s jacket Light as air, yet rugged and warm, the quilted Thermostatic jacket from Mountain Hardware is a mid- or outer-layer solution that is easy to love. Weighing only 10.4 oz., the Thermostatic utilizes Mountain Hardware’s Thermal Q Elite synthetic insulation for a superior warmth to weight ratio. Our gear tester was thrilled with the “cozyness” factor and the range of motion that she enjoyed while wearing the jacket. More info:

MSR Hubba Hubba tent

Mazama Bars

In my view, the perfect 3-season two-person tent is light, roomy, and has two doors. Oh, and two vestibules. And is quick and easy to set up. The MSR HubbaHubba has made this dream a reality. It weighs in at 4 lbs., 4 oz. and, as the name suggests, features an ingenious hubbed pole system that sets up in a flash and yields surprisingly ample headroom. Perfect? Well, it could use more guy points for when the wind gets whipping - otherwise, it’s not far off.

Let’s face it: Energy bars are a mixed blessing. Sure, they do the job and add much-needed fuel to the fire when we’re out on the trail (or bike or kayak). But honestly, they get old pretty quickly. Most of the mass-produced bars have a certain bland denseness that is, at best, an acquired taste. Mazama Bars are produced in Bend, OR by Britt and Derek Manwill, the result of a desire that the couple had for a better bar, one that tasted like real food. They are all-natural, vegan, nonGMO and go easy on the soy products. And the best part is that they’re scrumptious. They are big - twice the size of a lot of bars and filling. The folks at Mazama think of them as meal replacements. I found myself eating a single bar over the course of two days.

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Gear Spotlight:

Voile Universal Crampon

Get a Grip with Ski Crampons by Chris Gerston

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The question is not so much “if ” ski crampons, but which crampons. Whenever possible I’ll drop my boot crampons in favor of my lighter ski crampons. With ski crampons, there are two basic types: those that fix directly to the ski and are static (for example, Voile Universal ski crampons), or those that pivot as the binding and boot make the next step up (for example, dynafit, Fritsche, and BD O1’s). Having toured with the same people on the same routes, but with various people being in front, it looks to me like it largely varies on the conditions of the day as to which is more efficient. Some days, on the more rolling terrain the pivotingcramponed skier is ahead as it’s more efficient on all the terrain other than straight up. On other days, on steeper or double angle fall-lined sections, the most efficient stride came from being able to use the higher heel riser and still have full purchase of the crampon teeth at full length. For instance, I typically ski Black Diamond O1 Tele bindings, and all winter long I want my highest heel risers or nothing. Come spring, solely because of ski crampons, I make sure I have the low heel risers also so that on ups I don’t have to decide whether I want a more restful stride with the tall risers but lose most of my crampon points, or have my points to avoid annoying slippage but have to use more energy to step up. How would you slice it?

Thermarest Altair 4-season sleeping bag Therm-a-rest broke new ground with their integrated “sleep systems” - sleeping bags that attach to their sleeping pads. This innovation allowed for bags that had less insulation on the bottom, against the pad. And thanks to the straps that bond bag to pad, the bottom is always the bottom. The result is a warmer night’s sleep with less weight. And these bags are roomier than you’re used to, so you can turn over inside the bag (what a concept!). The Altair is a 4-season bag (rated to 0F) and it weighs only 2 lbs., 7 oz. On a recent trip to the Canadian Rockies, it kept me cozy and warm on nights where my water bottle froze solid in the tent.

Chris Gerston owns Backcountry Essentials, an outdoor specialty shop located at 214 W. Holly in Bellingham, WA. Check out more gear reviews by Chris Gerston at Sponsored Review


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Black Diamond O1

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Laurie Potter:

Painting the Textures of the Northwest My paintings are an expression of my love for the beautiful natural world and its inhabitants. My artwork is driven by my passion for the infinitely interesting colors and forms that I see while spending time outdoors - wildlife, landscapes and sky. I’m also developing exciting ways of creating a loose, painterly atmosphere or background in my artwork. My most current paintings reflect this exploration in greater diversity of mood and texture. The result is more than just an image but rather a story, a metaphor, or an abstraction of reality. Laurie Potter’s work can be seen at the Allied Arts Holiday Festival in Bellingham and at Clockwise from top: Facing the Day, Sense of Stillness, Into the Sound, and Dining in a Flurry


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Race I Play I Experience DECEMBER >>>

Saturday, 7 December

Thursday, 5 December RUN/WALK Fairhaven Runners Weekly Hit the Trail Run––Fairhaven Runners & Walkers, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. A 45-50 minute run on a variety of local trails led by store staff. Every Thursday except holidays. SPEC Nooksack Nordic Ski Club Monthly Meeting–– Program: Avalanche Awareness, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Friday, 6 December SPEC Illuminations:The Art of Nature––Allied Arts Holiday Festival, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. John D’Onofrio’s photography explores the grand panoramas of mountains, sea and sky, but also the small details and natural abstractions that can be found in our landscapes. Illuminations is an overview of his recent work and includes images of the Pacific Northwest, the American Southwest and the Far North. BIKE Superhero Lighted Bike Parade––Bellingham Public Market, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Don your superhero cape and light up the holiday Art Walk as we parade slowly through downtown Bellingham, visiting the Tree Lighting Ceremony.

RUN/WALK Girls on the Run 5K––Bloedel Donovan Park, 9:00 am – 11:00 am. Join Girls on the Run for a non-competitive, community-wide 5K event! SPEC At The Core: Discovering The History Of Ice And Climate Change––Whatcom Museum, Old City Hall, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Anna McKee, artist in Vanishing Ice and Eric Steig, isotope geochemist The history of our planet’s climate is coming into clearer focus thanks to an 11,171-foot ice core collected by West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide scientists University of Washington Professor of Glaciology and Geochemistry Eric Steig, who has researched polar regions for more than 20 years, is part of this pioneering project that is allowing scientists to peer back 100,000 years into the past. Expeditionary artist Anna McKee also has a fascination for frozen places, and that curiosity led her to visit the Antarctic research site on a National Science Foundation grant. Her paintings and prints reveal characteristics of snow and ice that may not be obvious: “There’s something about the quality of freezing and capturing things like atmosphere, capturing somebody’s breath. I had all these fantasies: does it catch the voices and hold those?” McKee and Steig will share their experiences with the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project and lead a discussion about how collaborations among artists and scientists enrich each discipline and deepen our connection to the natural world. SPEC AAI NWAC Benefit, Rock Rescue Clinics,

Avalanche Seminar, Raffles/Auction!––Vital Climbing Gym, 12:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Free, 2 hour Rock Rescue Clinics at 12:30 and 3:00pm. Doors open at 6pm and Avalanche Seminar starts at 7pm. $1000s in prizes/ raffles and auction items! All to benefit the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (

Sunday, 8 December SPEC Vanishing Ice Speaker Series: Ice, Water And Climate: Why Ice Matters––Whatcom Museum, Old City Hall, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Henry Pollack, geophysicist, author and Nobel laureate. Why should we care about vanishing glaciers and melting polar icecaps? Henry Pollack, author ofA World Without Ice, explains how the history—and future—of global civilization are inextricably linked to our planet’s ice and water. Globally, the distribution of ice and water is critical in setting the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere, governing major weather patterns, regulating sea levels and dramatically affecting agriculture, transportation, commerce and geopolitics.

Tuesday, 10 December RUN/WALK Fairhaven Runners Weekly Tuesday Night All-Paces Run––Fairhaven Runners & Walkers, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Get fit, get inspired and have fun! Every Tuesday except holidays.

Thursday, 12 December RUN/WALK Fairhaven Runners Weekly Hit the Trail






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5 December - 13 February 2014 Run––Fairhaven Runners & Walkers, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. A 45-50 minute run on a variety of local trails led by store staff. Every Thursday except holidays.

Saturday, 14 December RUN/WALK Deception Pass 50k/25k––Deception Pass State Park, 7:00 am – 4:00 pm. Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis––Bellingham High School, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm.

Thursday, 19 December SPEC Greed, Glory and Madness: A History of Mount Baker––Whatcom Museum (Old City Hall), 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm. Mount Baker rises over northern Washington State like a mirage, dominating the landscape like few mountains in the United States. Over the centuries – before snowboards and espresso stands – it served as a beacon to seafarers and a lure for rough-andready men in search of gold, timber and adventure. John D’Onofrio and Todd Warger present images and stories from their new book, Images of America: Mount Baker, published in December, 2013 by Arcadia.

Saturday, 21 December SPEC Salmon and Eagles Field Program–– North Cascades Institute, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. “I have worked twentyfour winters on the upper Skagit River, studying the eagles and salmon, the river and forest and all their interactions,” field biologist Libby Mills explains. “This is something everyone in the Northwest should know about to be ecologically literate.’” Every winter, hundreds of bald eagles migrate to the Skagit River to feast on the Puget Sound’s richest salmon runs. Bundle up, grab your binoculars and join us in celebration and discovery! This trip will focus on the Upper Skagit River as the abundance of chum salmon reaches its apex, and the eagle numbers are building to feed on them. We will examine the intertwined biology of salmon and eagles, their migratory patterns and the impacts they have on other flora and fauna. We’ll also learn about local conservation strategies for these keystone species. Our class will meet in Sedro-Wooley and carpool upriver.

com County, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. For 22 years WLT has protected salmon and eagle habitat along the Nooksack River. Late December is a great time to appreciate the results of this work. Chum salmon spawning on the North Fork lure eagles in large numbers; some have said that it qualifies as one of the best eagle-watching sites in the Lower 48. Join us for a tour of the spawning channels at our Rutsatz Salmon property near Deming. This is a great activity for your holiday guests visiting from out of state. The terrain is quite varied and can be challenging at times for the less spry among us. Considering bringing your trekking poles if you have them. Contact greg@whatcomlandtrust. org (360 650-9470) to register. Greg will circulate contact information among those who wish to carpool, so mention your interest when you call/email.

JANUARY 2014 >>> Thursday, 9 January SPEC Hawk Watching in Western Washington Class––Bellingham Unitarian Church, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. First of five evening classes that meet for two hours, one night per week, for five weeks. Cost ($175.00 per person) includes a full-day field trip to look at wild hawks as usual. The class will also be offered at the Padilla Bay Center in Skagit County and The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Please see the website for more information To enroll, please mail a check to the FRG, Box 248, Bow WA, 98232. For more information, call Bud at (360) 757-1911.

Wednesday, 15 January BIKE Bicycle Travelogue Show – Bicycle Boston and Baja––Old Federal Building Court Room, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

Saturday, 25 January SPEC Fight For Air Stairclimb––Rainier Tower, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.

FEBRUARY >>> Thursday-Saturday, 6-8 February SPEC Roche Harbor Salmon Classic–– Roche Harbor Resort, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Saturday, 8 February SPEC Tubbs Romp To Stomp–– Stevens Pass Nordic Center, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.The Washington Romp. 3k or 5k Snowshoe Walk | 3k Snowshoe Race | Lil Romper Dash Join Tubbs Snowshoes for an energetic morning of snowshoeing and celebration in 2014 at the Stevens Pass Nordic Center. Try Tubbs Snowshoes on our beautiful snowshoe trails, take photos in our photo booth, pick up fun swag, high-five our fun-loving mascot TubbScout and spend a morning in the great outdoors with hundreds of your soon-to-be friends. Earn the chance to take home some awesome gear and prizes by helping Tubbs raise funds for Susan G. Komen®. Romp to Stomp participants come in all ages, genders and

sizes, from the first time snowshoer to the weekend snowshoe warrior, we all have one end goal in mind – to enjoy our winter! Romp Quick Facts––Washington Romp Benefits: Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen®.Year started: 2010. Total # Participants since inception: 3,942. Total raised for Susan G. Komen®: $190,868.Total # of participants globally since inception: 43,000+.Total raised for Susan G. Komen and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: Over $2.5 MILLION. SPEC Frost Eagle 5mi & Half Marathon––Soaring Eagle Regional Park, 9:30 am – 10:00 pm.

Thursday, 13 February SPEC 2014 Recreation Northwest Expo––Best Western Lakeway Inn, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Meet face to face with Health Professionals, Nutrition Experts, Local Gyms, Personal Trainers, Bike Shops, Running Stores, Paddling Outfitters, Outdoor Media, Outdoor Activity Clubs, Stewardship Organizations and representatives from your favorite local recreation events and races. Featured Speakers include Heather Anderson/Pacific Crest Trail Self-Supported Fastest Known Time & Brandon Nelson/Guinness Book of World Records 24 hour paddling record. Free to the public.

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RUN/WALK Seward Solstice 4.2mi & 10k––Seward Park, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm.

Saturday, 28 December SPEC Whatcom Land Trust – Chum and Eagles Special Field Trip––Whatevent listings at

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race I play I experience Sunday, 16 February RUN/WALK Fort Ebey Kettle Run––Fort Ebey State Park, 10:00 am – 5:15 pm.

participate. Just show up on Saturday, March 15th at Noon! Visit for information about the 2014 parade.

Saturday, 29 March

Tuesday, 18 February BIKE Bicycle Travelogue Series – Bicycle Iowa and Tuscany––Old Federal Building Courtroom, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.


BIKE Birch Bay Road Race––Birch Bay Water Slides, Mar 29 8:30 am – 11:00 am.

APRIL >>> Saturday, 5 April

Saturday, 1 March SPEC Lost River Winter Triathlon––MVSTA Trail System, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. SKI. BIKE. RUN. A triathlon Methow Valley Style! This is a cross country ski, bike and run event in the Methow snow and sunshine. It’s a great way to kick off your summer triathlon training. The race is open to iron competitors or Teams of 2 to 3! We have a new, exciting cloverleaf course in Mazama which allows for all transitions in the same location and provides fabulous spectator viewing! Bike 17.2Km-Ski 10.7Km-Run 7.5Km

Saturday, 15 March SPEC St. Patricks Day Parade––Downtown Bellingham, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. The 5th Annual Bellingham’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is a great opportunity to connect with our community! The annual parade is in 20 honor of the 14 Bellingham Police, Fire Departments and Public Safety Personnel but it’s also a chance to green up our community and celebrate all the great businesses, groups, schools and nonprofits that make Bellingham what it is. Everyone is encouraged to

RUN/WALK Cottontail 6- & 12-Hour––Carkeek Park, 6:00 am – 6:00 pm Hop into spring with endless loops on the Sound. 6-hour & 12-hour options.

Saturday, 19 April RUN/WALK Fun With The Fuzz 5k––Bellingham Police Department, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. The 5th Annual Fun With The Fuzz 5k is a road race in Bellingham, WA that supports families of police officers who are killed in the line of duty. 100% of the proceeds are donated directly to the Behind the Badge Foundation. $20 entry fee includes chip timing, t-shirt, and a chance to win some of our great prizes.

Sunday, 27 April RUN/WALK Mt Si Relay and Ultra Runs–– Snoqualmie Elementary School, 6:00 am – 5:00 pm. Relay and Ultra Runs.

MAY >>> Sunday, 11 May RUN/WALK Mudder’s Day Family Obstacle Run–– BPA Trail / Celebration Park / Federal Way Community Center, May 11 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Sunday, 25 May SPEC Ski To Sea Race––Mt. Baker to Bellingham - Limit of 500 Teams. A Relay Race of Seven Race Legs – Seven Different Sports – Over 90 Miles. The Ski to Sea Festival includes a 93.5 mile relay Race of seven venues from Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay encompassing seven different sports. The Festival also includes a community block party with music and food, a Junior Ski to Sea Race, a historical hometown parade, and other special events that provide a wide variety of entertainment and adventure for all who participate.

JUNE >>> Saturday, 14 June SPEC Winthrop Traverse––Pearrygin Lake State Park. Save the Date – June 14th, 2014.We are planning on launching the next Traverse in our series in 2014.Winthrop,WA here we come! 3 mile Run, 12 mile Mountain Bike, 4 mile Paddle, 20 mile Road Ride and a .25 mile Team TREK to finish.


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16 February 2014 - 14 September 2014 Sunday, 15 June SPEC Gerick Sports WASA Triathlon––Wasa Lake Provincial Park, Cranbrook, B.C., Canada, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Sunday, 29 June SPEC Bellingham Kids Traverse–– Civic Field. Join us for the Second Annual Bellingham Kids Traverse! 1 mile RUN, 1.5 mile MTN BIKE, .5 Obstacle Course and Team TREK to Mallard Ice Cream Finish.

JULY >>> Saturday, 26 July BIKE Tour de Whatcom––Whatcom County. 8th Annual Tour de Whatcom, a fun charity bike ride in Whatcom County. 25, 50, and 105 miles. The rides are awesome.You get to see everything: Mt Baker, Lake Whatcom, valleys, rivers, lush farmland, beaches and Puget Sound all in one fairly level ride.

Sunday, 27 July RUN/WALK Eugene Marathon–– Hayward Field, 6:00 am – 12:00 pm. This July the Eugene Marathon moves to be part of a weekend celebration of running in TrackTown USA. Named a ‘Best of the Best Marathon’ by Runner’s World, runners rave about this race. The full and half marathon courses are beautiful, flat and fast – taking participants by numerous parks and miles of riverfront trails before they reach the finish line on the track inside historic Hayward Field.

AUGUST >>> Saturday-Sunday, 16-17 August

Mud Race taking place at Hovander Park in Ferndale on August 16 and 17, 2014.

Sunday, 24 August BIKE Sullivan Shakedown Festival of MTB––Kimberley Nordic Centre, Kimberley, B.C., Canada, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.

SEPTEMBER >>> Sunday, 7 September SPEC Seattle Escape from the Rock Triathlon––Luther Burbank Park, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Sunday, 14 September BIKE Chuckanut Century––Bellingham and Whatcom County, Come join us and ride one of the most scenic rides in Washington. With many routes offered you can pick your distance ranging from 25, 38, 50, 62, 100, or the double metric century of 124 miles. Although all cyclists should be fully prepared when they take to the roads you can enjoy the added security of knowing that there is ride support if needed and food stops with a wide variety of high-energy food and drinks along all of the routes. No Visit for complete listings of Outdoor events through 2014

JM Electric

SPEC Muds To Suds––Hovander Park.You won’t want to miss Whatcom County’s own Muds to Suds event listings at

419 Hemmi Rd. Lynden, WA. 98264

360.410.0328 race | play | experience


race I play I experience

14 September 2014 (cont.) - 25 October 2014 matter which route you choose, you’ll be treated to Whatcom County’s finest roads and sights. As you ride the south loop you’ll have views of the San Juan Islands while overlooking Bellingham, Samish, and Padilla Bays along with stunning views of Chuckanut and Blanchard mountains, also known as “where the Cascade mountains meet the sea.” The north loop offers spectacular views of Mt Baker as it stretches to meet the sky at 10,800 feet, as well as incredible views of the Canadian Cascades, Mt Shuksan, the Twin Sisters, Birch Bay, and Vancouver Island.

Saturday, 20 September SPEC PeaceHealth Bellingham Traverse––Depot Market Square. 5.5 mile GREENWAYS RUN, 6 mile MTN BIKE, 18 mile ROAD RIDE, 3.4 mile TRAIL RUN, 3.6 mile PADDLE and .65 mile TEAM TREK to the Boundary Bay Finish Line and Bellingham Block Party. BIKE Six In The Stix Festival of MTB–– Cranbrook Community Forest, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Where the Locals Go! Coupon Book Save on local products, services, food and fun!




Tuesday, 23 September RUN/WALK Fairhaven

Runners Weekly Tuesday Night All-Paces Run––Fairhaven Runners & Walkers, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Get fit, get inspired and have fun! Every Tuesday except holidays.

Saturday, 27 September SPEC Forest & Wetland Restoration–– Shadow Lake Nature Preserve, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Sunday, 28 September RUN/WALK Bellingham Bay Marathon, 1/2 Marathon & 5K––Bellingham Depot Market, 7:30 am – 4:00 pm. Come experience the natural beauty of Bellingham Bay, San Juan Islands, mountain views and a touch of trail in Bellingham, Washing-

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Bellingham Children's Theatre


Written and Directed by Drue Robinson

December 19 - 22 Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7:00 Sunday (matinee) 2:00

Bellingham High School Tickets sold at Village Books & The Greenhouse

Choose local businesses taking action for a healthy community.


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ton. Enjoy what many runners have commented is “the most beautiful marathon in the Pacific Northwest. 8th Annual Event.

Sponsored by Saturna Capital, Threshold Documents, Community Food Coop, Boccemon, KAFE 104.1, Boundary Bay Brewery, Village Books, The Greenhouse, Friends of BCT

OCTOBER >>> Saturday, 25 October RUN/WALK Carkeek 12-Hour–– Carkeek Park, 6:00 am – 6:00 pm.The original toughest 12-hour out there. Period. Run if you dare. ANW

Advertiser Index

7C Creative.......................................................................................................... 16 Adventures NW.................................................................................................. 32 Allied Arts Holiday Festival.........................................................................Insert American Alpine Institute.................................................................................. 13 Back Porch Wine & Spirits................................................................................ 45 Backcountry Essentials....................................................................................... 42 Bellingham Automotive...................................................................................... 36 Bellingham Bay Marathon.................................................................................. 47 Bellingham Frameworks ................................................................................... 35 Bellingham Whatcom Country Tourism.........................................................46 Bellingham Children’s Theatre..........................................................................48 Boundary Bay Brewery........................................................................................ 9 Brandon Nelson - Re/Max Realty...................................................................... 3 Bruce Cox Motors............................................................................................. 31 Chuckanut Bay Art Gallery................................................................................. 6 Colophon Cafe.................................................................................................... 36 Community Food Co-op................................................................................... 11 D’Anna’s Cafe Italiano........................................................................................ 21 Danne Neill - Muljat Group.............................................................................. 39 Dave Mauro – UBS Financial............................................................................16 Desire Fish Company......................................................................................... 37 Fairhaven Bike & Ski........................................................................................... 13 Fairhaven Pizza & Prawns.................................................................................. 13 Fairhaven Runners & Walkers...........................................................................13 Gato Verde Adventure Sailing...........................................................................32 Il Caffe Rifugio...................................................................................................... 30 Inner Passage........................................................................................................ 24 JM Electric............................................................................................................. 47 Josh Feyen - Re/Max Realty.............................................................................. 30 Klicks Running & Walking.................................................................................. 25 Kulshan Brewery................................................................................................. 51 LFS Marine & Outdoor...................................................................................... 41 Lithtex NW.......................................................................................................... 41 MBBC - Chuckanut Century......................................................................Insert Meridian Tire........................................................................................................ 35 Mount Baker Mountain Guides.......................................................................... 4 Mt. Baker Ski Area............................................................................................... 19 North Cascade Institute.................................................................................... 33 North Cascades Mountain Guides.................................................................43 North Cascades Mountain Hostel..................................................................48 North Fork Brewery.......................................................................................... 33 Northwest Behavorial.......................................................................................... 7 NW European Autoworks................................................................................ 17 Old Fairhaven Association................................................................................. 12 Pizza Pipeline/McKay’s Tap................................................................................. 50 Recreation Northwest EXPO..........................................................................21 The ReStore......................................................................................................... 46 Sally Farrell - Coldwell Bain Real Estate.......................................................... 6 San Juan Sailing....................................................................................................... 6 Skagit Food Co-op.............................................................................................. 31 Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center..................................................37 Superior Automotive.......................................................................................... 43 Sustainable Connections................................................................................... 48 TD Curran........................................................................................... Back Cover Tubbs Romp to Stomp....................................................................................... 44 Village Books........................................................................................................ 12 Whatcom Educational Credit Union................................................................ 4 Whatcom Events - Ski-to-Sea............................................Inside Front Cover Whatcom Family YMCA.................................................................................... 37 Whatcom Land Trust....................................................................................Insert Whidbey Island Bank............................................................................................ 5 Yoga with Susan D’Onofrio.............................................................................. 43 Zaremba Paxton PS............................................................................................ 24

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Winter Moon photo by Joe Jowdy It was late afternoon by the time my friend and I strapped on our snowshoes and climbed the ridgeline above the Mt. Baker Ski Area on newly-fallen snow. Arriving, we found no tracks, no sounds, only trees sporting their winter coats of white. The last of the day’s sun painted the sky crimson. We’d come to photograph the subtle beauty of the season, and nature was smiling in agreement. Our cameras recorded the sky and snow, both now basking in the glow of dusk. Not to be outdone, the moon peeked out above the ridge line and simply stole the show.

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Featuring some of the best Pacific Northwest Microbrews!

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Bottled Beer & Wine To Go Pizza • Subs • Wings & More Hours: Sun-Wed, 11am - 2am Thurs & Sat, 11am - 3am

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(360) 647-3600 Order online @ 50

Adventures NW Winter 2013/14  
Adventures NW Winter 2013/14  

Adventures NW is the region’s favorite outdoor recreation, sports and lifestyle magazine, published since 2006 and focusing on all the area...