Adventures Northwest Magazine Summer 2021

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HIKING MT. BAKER The 5 Best Trails to Hike this Summer Ordeal on Bugaboo Spire A River Like the Sea Nooksack Salmon Going it Alone


Whatcom Arts and Culture Guide Inside!

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Back on Track

ANW Staff


John D’Onofrio


Robert Wehrman


The Fleeting Moment Floris von Breugel


Races & Rides Set to Resume

Mt. Baker’s Best Hikes Five Unforgettable Trails

The Bugaboo Effect When Lightning Strikes

Once More, With Feeling Fartleks Offer Runners a Low-Stress Workout

Talking to Yourself Me, Myself and I

Nicole Christiano


Bill Hoke

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Mortal Poles Lawrence Millman A River Like the Sea Paddling the Columbia River Trail


Neil Schulman


The Middle Ground Janiene Licciardi Nooksack River Stewards Inspiring Deep Connections “If one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Sarah Brown & Lorrraine Wilde

Serving Northwest Washington Adventurists For Over 50 Years. Since 1967 LFS Marine & Outdoor has served the Pacific Northwest community. Now, with several stores in Western Washington and Alaska, LFS maintains its roots in Whatcom County with our flagship store and corporate office at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham. The secret to our 50+ year success story has been dependable and reliable service through the most challenging times. We understand that our customers rely on us to help them navigate a successful boating and outdoor experience. That is why we’re here for you, and that is why we’re here to stay.


DESTINATIONS The Journey Out & About Letters to the Editor 3 Great Hikes ... for Summer Mountain Haiku eARTh: The Art of Nature Bright Lines Field Trip: Dead Vlei Cascadia Gear The Next Adventure

8 10 10 11 27 37 47 54 56 58

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Volume 16. Issue 2


SUMMER | 2021

James Bertolino lives a life filled with poetry and art as a teacher, mentor and writer. His 14th volume of poetry, Sun Rising Into Storm, will be available soon. He is proud to note that the new Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest was one of his students! Learn more at

After attending Carnegie Mellon University and Long Island University, Lorna Libert graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in 1989. In 1997 she received an MFA from Central Washington University. Her work has been featured in galleries and museums across the continent. Visit her at

Poet and artist, Anita K. Boyle makes paper, books, art, and poetry. Her most recent book of poetry, Why Horses, was published in August of 2020. Visit her at

Janiene Licciardi has been exploring woods and waters since she was seven years old, when she went on her first backcountry canoe trip. A veterinarian by profession, a biologist at heart, she is happiest with one of her favorite accoutrements in hand: a paddle, a backpack, or a hand lens.

Sarah Brown serves as Stewardship Coordinator at Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. Originally from Texas, Sarah has a passion for marine and freshwater science and loves finding new and creative ways to engage and educate the community about salmon and stewardship. Seattle-based marathon runner and running coach, Nicole Christiano currently lives in Seattle, Washington. When not running or coaching, you can find Nicole on the trails of the PNW or absorbed in a book. Learn more at www. Ainslee Dicken is a freelance writer, poet, and aspiring novelist. Born and bred in the Pacific Northwest, she harbors an obsession for fantasy and science fiction. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s moving; whether on hikes, travel, or walks around the neighborhood. Bill Hoke is a retired advertising agency creative director, has self-published several books including two volumes of Olympic Mountains Haiku and recently updated the newly published fourth edition of Olympic Mountains Trail Guide for Mountaineers Books.

Always planning his next adventure, usually with the help of a local IPA, Steve Trent spends his spare time dreaming of slide alder and scree skiing. He is close to his lifetime goal of completing the elusive Repulsive 69 climbing list. In his landscape images, Floris van Breugel seeks to capture the feeling of solitude, the peace and quiet, and the freedom that the wilderness offers, far from the ever-encroaching crowds of civilization. Floris is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. A rewarding career as a geologist allowed Dennis Walton to live in many corners of the world and travel to many more, experiences that fueled his interest for photography, a passion that continues to this day. He is glad 2020 is over so traveling can begin again.

Lawrence Millman is the author of 18 books, including Last Places, Our Like Will Not Be There Again, Lost in the Arctic, A Kayak Full of Ghosts, Fungipedia, and—most recently—Goodbye, Ice. He has a fungal species named after him, Inonotus millmanii, and keeps a post office box in Cambridge, MA.

Lorraine Wilde has been a freelance writer since 1998, having published more than 250 pieces in blogs, magazines and books. She’s also been a teacher, actor, filmmaker, environmental scientist, mother and owner of the publicity business, Wilde World Communications. Learn more at ANW

Neil Schulman is a writer, photographer, and conservationist based in Portland, OR. He was a member of the original Water Trail Planning Committee back in the days of Netscape Navigator and Comet Hale-Bopp. You can see more of his work at


Adventures Northwest magazine John D’Onofrio

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ith this issue, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Adventures Northwest. Back in May, 2006, when Issue #1 rolled off the press, it would have been hard to imagine the road which we would travel together. From that very first edition, our mission of inspiring deep connections to the joys of outdoor recreation and the transformative beauty of Cascadia has been our guiding light. Right from the beginning, we aspired to be a little different than most outdoor magazines with their emphasis on adrenalin rushes and the latest outdoor gear (although we include a bit of that too). We’ve always been more interested in life-affirming experiences than death-defying exploits. We are grateful to our readers, for whom this niche has resonated all these years—like-minded folks who love both a good adventure and a quiet moment of contemplation. And we owe a deep debt of gratitude to our stalwart advertisers. From the beginning, we’ve been deter-

mined to make the magazine available to readers for free, believing as we do that inspiration is a much-needed public service. Our advertisers—many of whom have been with us for the duration— make this labor of love possible. During this last difficult year, our mission has become only more relevant as the pandemic, stress and social turmoil have made the grace and illumination offered to us by the natural world all the more valuable—and necessary. Fifteen years ago, it would have been hard to imagine how many people would now be seeking solace and inspiration in the wilderness. In 2006, 30 million people took a hike in the United States. By 2019, the number had risen to 50 million. Last year, according to a study released in February by and, the number grew by a staggering 135%. These numbers speak eloquently to a new era of outdoor recreation; an era that we believe bodes well for society. Connecting to the natural world makes us better people—healthier, happier and

more inclined to protect what we love. It fosters compassion and an affinity for the big picture. But it also calls out for a new emphasis on wilderness etiquette and respect for the great outdoors, lest we imperil the very attributes that drew us in the first place: the pristine quality of our shared lands, the soul-nourishing joys of solitude, and the opportunity to gain perspective with respect to our frequently over-developed sense of self-importance. The wilderness, after all, is not there simply for our enjoyment. Open spaces are vital, supporting the rich mosaic of life (that in turn, supports us). When we visit them, in a very real sense we are going home. What a joy it has been to bring this magazine to life each quarter—the best job I’ve ever had. The depth of expression from our contributors constantly amazes me. As a new summer unfolds around us in Cascadia, I am more excited than ever about the road ahead…

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Lummi Story Pole will Travel to DC The House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation have created a 24-foot tall totem pole hewn from a 400-year old red cedar that will embark on a cross-country tour in July, eventually destined for Washington, D.C. as a gift to the Biden Administration.

a great opportunity, citing the new federal administration—including the first Native American to lead the Department of the Interior, recent Supreme Court decisions affirming tribal rights, and the urgency of the climate crisis. Their mission is to Photo by Freddie Lane This “Red Road to DC” will make numerous encourage “the implementation of stops at sacred sites along the way (including policies to protect, restore, and renew sacred places, lands, and places like Bears Ears National Monument—sacred land for the waterways; and redefine the principles that shape land and water Navajo People—where the Trump administration slashed the regulation and management in the United States on the basis of monument size by 85%) where blessing ceremonies will be tribal sovereignty and Nation-to-Nation relations,” according to the performed. These ceremonies will be live-streamed. The pole is carvers. adorned with Chinook salmon, a wolf, a bear, an eagle, and seven tears—symbolic of the seven generations of trauma suffered by indigenous peoples as a result of European colonialism.

Upon completion of its journey, the pole will be displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

The master carvers have seized upon this moment in history as

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Wander in Wonder at Price Sculpture Forest By Ainslee Dicken For many of us this past year, the outdoors served as a haven of mental wellness and barely-kept sanity as we navigated each new hurdle. We said goodbye to indoor entertainment and turned our attention to trails and mountains. Scott Price, a resident Pentillium by Gary Gunderson of Coupeville, Washington, found a way Photo by Colleen Case around this divide and decided to turn his 15.1 acres of lush green forest into something more–a hybrid of fine art and therapeutic nature. Price bought his land on Whidbey Island in 2008 with the intention of building a family home, but after changing his mind, was hesitant to sell for fear of development and destruction of the peaceful forest. Instead, he partnered with Whidbey Camano Land Trust to help preserve the land and bring a newly realized dream to life–the Price Sculpture Forest. Though it started out small, it has since become a fully-recognized Washington state nonprofit, hosting sculptures from artists across the country on its 0.6 mile, 2-loop trail. The forest boasts a self-guided tour, accessible with QR codes, in which each sculptor provides audio background to their artwork as you stand in front of the pieces. “Wander in Wonder” is the mantra carved into the wooden entryway at the start of the trail, and indeed you can. Price Sculpture Forest is open every day from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (or sunset, whichever comes first), and admission is free. Price and his family are huge advocates for the healing aspect of nature and want everyone to experience their unique approach to it.

Letters to the Editor Share your thoughts!

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Just a quick note to say how much I appreciated the article on Colin Fletcher (Fumbling Toward Fulfillment, Winter 20). I was an avid reader of his books back in the sixties but I knew little about the man himself except what one can infer from reading his books. So thanks for publishing this great story and thanks to Robert Wehrman for enlightening us. - Jim McCann, Bellingham, WA I so appreciate your efforts and the results. Pages filled with images that piqué the yearning and love for our great outdoors on Mother Earth. Thank you! - Paddy Bruce, Victoria, BC I checked the NOAA site for weather conditions. There was a high wind warning with gusts up to 55 mph. Gads. I phoned Village Books. Adventures Northwest had arrived! I decided to brave the wilds of Fairhaven. It seemed calm outdoors. I bundled up like a dog-sled driver and walked the 12 blocks to glean the prize. Ah! Behold! A stack of freshly printed issues lay before my grateful eyes. Selecting one... I held it closely as I traversed the concrete trail back up the hill. The weather cooperated. I’ve yet to open the Spring Treasure...but plan to do so after pressing the send button… - Lydia Stone, Bellingham, WA

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AAI Launches ‘Leave No Trace’ Training The American Alpine Institute (AAI) has always been an outlier when it comes to best practices in the mountains. Founder Dunham Gooding was involved in establishing the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics back in 1987 and this summer AAI has introduced several courses designed to instruct educators, guides and rangers in the seven principles of the Leave No Trace ethos. Leave No Trace trainings will be offered in two-day sessions held at Ruth Mountain and Blanchard Mountain in June, August and October. More in-depth programs are offered in their Leave No Trace Master Educator courses, with five- or six-day programs focused on backpacking and alpine climbing in July, September and October. These classes combine classroom instruction with field work in the Chuckanuts, the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the Twin Sisters, Sahale Peak and Mt. Baker. Designed for people who are actively teaching backcountry skills or providing recreation information to the public, these programs qualify attendees to be recognized as Leave No Trace Master Educators by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. AAI is one of only 11 companies that are accredited to provide the Leave No Trace Master Educator curriculum.

3 Great Hikes for Summer Green Mountain

Oh how green! Here’s a picture-perfect place: a verdant ridge top with million dollar views of iconic North Cascade peaks: White Horse, White Chuck, Buckindy, Baker, Dome and dozens more. Glacier Peak, rising above flower gardens, invites worship. A historic lookout (6500’), built in 1933, graces the top, saved by an act of congress in 2014 after a legal threat to tear it down. The trail begins in the woods and then, after a mile, emerges into lavish meadows—if your timing is good, you’ll be treated to one of the finest wildflower displays in the North Cascades. The final mile to the lookout is unrelentingly steep but the whistlesongs of marmots will inspire you upward. All told, it’s four miles and 3200 feet to the lookout, with the possibility of camping among some delightful tarns about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Trailhead: On FR-2680, 6 miles from FR-26 (the Suiattle River Road), 20.2 miles east of WA-530 near Darrington.

Scott Paul Trail The North Cascades are defined by glaciers, both past and present. As glaciers recede, they leave moraines, ridges of glacial till that rise above the margins of the ice flows. The Scott Paul Trail affords hikers the opportunity to spend some quality time traversing the crest of the Metcalf Moraine, enthralled by spectacular views of the Squak and Easton Glaciers sprawled beneath the close-at-hand icy ramparts of Mt. Baker. If you like glaciers, you’ll love the Scott Paul Trail. In addition to the big views, you’ll cross a succession of sparkling streams, enlivened by gardens of incandescent purple monkey flowers in summer. The loop covers 8.2 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain and makes for a full day of satisfying subalpine reverie. One word of caution: When the creeks are running high, crossing them can be challenging —or impossible. In this situation, simply return the way you came and enjoy the journey twice. Trailhead: The end of FR-13 (the Sulphur Creek Road), 5 miles from FR-12, 3.5 miles from the Grandy-Baker Lake Rd. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead.

Lyman Lakes

“The Leave No Trace Master Educator course is about so much more than trashing your trash–It’s about connecting your heart to your actions and recognizing there are many small actions we all can take to minimize our impact on the finite resources that make recreating outdoors so sublime.”

Looking for some primeval drama this weekend? A backpacking trip to the Lyman Lakes in the Glacier Peak Wilderness might be just what the doctor ordered. These austere lakes can be found 10.5 miles up the Railroad Creek Trail, high above Lake Chelan. You’ll climb 2800 feet on this scenic trail, passing lovely Hart Lake and spectacular Crown Point Falls along the way. There is fine camping at Lower Lyman Lake and sublime wandering beside the upper one, set among rubble and ice in a lonely, windswept basin beneath the complicated face of Chiwawa Mountain. The upper lake is a brilliant turquoise, the result of suspended silt from the surrounding glaciers. From the camp at the lower lake, a side trip to the luscious meadows of Cloudy Pass makes for a magnifiCooling off at Upper Lyman Lake cent diversion, boasting awe-inspiring views Photo by John D’Onofrio of the surrounding peaks and down over the lakes. Several glorious days could be spent here, exploring the lakeshores, flower gardens and high meadows and contemplating the diverse beauty of the North Cascades. Getting here requires some logistical planning—the Railroad Creek Trail begins at Holden Village, a Lutheran summer camp, which is accessed via the camp’s shuttle bus from Lucerne on Lake Chelan, which in turn is reached via the Lady of the Lake, the venerable foot ferry that departs from the south end of the lake. Reservations for the boat and bus are essential.

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Trailhead: Holden Village

“The Leave No Trace Master Educator course is a really wonderful course because it takes a deep dive into the why of outdoor recreation,” says Erin-Leigh Hardy, Permitting and Programs Coordinator for AAI. “Why do we love being in nature? Why do we feel upset when our natural world is disrespected?

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Back on Track

Races and Rides Set to Resume

Story by ANW Staff


fter more than a year of exclusively ‘virtual’ events, local outdoor recreation event organizers are cautiously planning a return to honest-to-God in-person events this summer and autumn, albeit with new COVID-19 precautions and protocols. Pacific Multisports has announced the return of two of their popular events, the Lake Whatcom Triathlon (July 10) and Bellingham Traverse (September 11). The locally-owned company also supports 30-40 race events annually throughout the greater Bellingham area with registration, results, and timing, and has been focused on helping event organizers move safely back from virtual events to in-person events. “Our goal is to be able to safely offer athletes the experience of inperson racing again,” says Race Director Brooke Larrabee. “Even though racing might look a little different this year, we hope we can help bring the same spirit of competition and fun to every event that we’re a part of.” COVID protocols will likely include things like wave starts, pre- and post-race zoom meetings (in place of the post-race party), masks requirements prior to the race start, and limitations on the number and location of spectators. Learn more at The adventurous spirits behind Bellingham-based Quest Races have announced a plethora of upcoming events for summer and fall, including Bellingham SwimRun (June 6), Seattle SwimRun (August 1), Orcas Island SwimRun (September 26), and Island 12

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Quest Adventure Race (October 3). The SwimRuns are perennial favorites, offering participants the opportunity to “run in a wetsuit and swim in running shoes.” Numerous COVID precautions will be in place, including starting the races in pre-scheduled waves of 20 racers. Learn more at

When it comes to the kids, Bellingham Parks and Recreation has stepped up and announced the return of the venerated Bellingham Youth Triathlon on August 1. This event has been inspiring kids age 5-13 since 1999. Learn more at races/bellingham-youth-triathlon. Also for kids, the beloved Girls on the Run camps are back. Geared to girls from 3rd-6th grade, these week-long camps organized by the Whatcom Family YMCA might just be the highlight of the summer for local girls. Camps are June 21-25 and July 26-30. Learn more at: girls-run-camp.

Whatcom Lake Triathlon Photo by Darren Steinbach

The iconic Tour de Whatcom bike ride is scheduled to return on July 17. Marking its 16th year, the Tour has four different routes of varying lengths from 22 to 100 miles (Century Ride) and offers something for every level of cyclist and every member of the family. The event will follow all CDC guidelines and state mandates to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including a one-hour window start time in order to stagger riders. “The Tour de Whatcom has built a reputation as a spectacular ride,” says Whatcom Events Race Director Anna Rankin. “You get to see everything: Mt. Baker, Lake Whatcom, valleys, rivers, lush farmland, beaches and Puget Sound all in one fairly level ride.” Learn more at

Snohomish Running Company (SRC) Race Director Grant Harrington has already pulled off several races in the past few months employing COVID protocols, so confidence runs high with respect to this year’s Bellingham Bay Marathon, slated for the weekend of September 2426. The marathon consists of a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon and Relay, and is a Boston Marathon Qualifier. Snohomish Running’s Courtney Olsen says, “we believe that the opportunity to sign up for, train for, and race is a benefit that prompts not only health— physically, mentally and socially —but a way to step out from the gloom and hardship of the past year and into something that celebrates, supports and honors community, our local youth programs, and all those we’ve lost.” Amen. Learn more at >>> Go to

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Mt. Baker’s Best Hikes Five Unforgettable Trails Story and photos by John D’Onofrio


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Skyline Divide and Mt. Baker

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and the facility to use it. But when the snow is (mostly) gone you can do this as a rapturous day hike—every step is out in the open with awe-inspiring views of high peaks on all sides. From the busy Artist Point parking lot, you’ll be treated to remarkable mountain views immediately—no toiling up through the woods here! Hike out beneath the precipitous cliffs of Table Mountain, staying left at the Chain Lakes junction. Mt. Baker is front and center. Drop down into a bowl of polished rock, hop across a few lovely little creeklets (monkey flowers in summer) The trails and climb up scree or snow to Ptarmigan are exceptional. Ridge proper. The trail continues along Providing access the ridge with moderate ups and occasionfrom the road sysal downs. If you encounter snow in any of tem that climbs the steep sections turn back and hike the the river valleys, Chain Lakes Trail instead. If the way is the trails here allow clear you’ll pass a beautiful little tarn, only one to readily reach a few decades old, borne of the retreating the alpine without ice, cradled in a glacially-scoured basin. undue huffing and Coleman Pinnacle, a black fang, looms puffing. Unlike the overhead. Coast Range of BC The official trail ends at a place called or the mountains Camp Kiser, a saddle on the ridge with of Alaska, elevation expansive views. The return hike features gain is mostly modnearly non-stop views of Mt. Shuksan. erate. High country Time your hike right and you might enjoy rapture is easily alpenglow on its dramatic ramparts. obtainable. Details: Drive the Mt. Baker Highway The season is to its end at Artist Point. The trail exits short but intense. from the west side of the lot, traversing Most of these trails the slopes of Table Mountain. At the juncare buried in snow tion with the Chain Lakes trail, bear left. for nine (or ten) Coleman Pinnacle, Ptarmigan Ridge Trail Round-trip to the end of the trail is about months of the year. 14 miles, with an elevation gain of 1600 Seize the day: life is short and opportunities like these are precious. Go now. Here are five special trails that represent the best of the best in this northern mountain kingdom, chosen for their scenic delights and superior reward-to-effort ratios. So strap on your boots, throw some snacks in your pack and discover what locals already know: The trails around Mt. Baker are some of the finest mountain trails on Planet Earth.

he Cascade Range extends for 700 miles from Northern California to Southern British Columbia. It is a momentous mountain wonderland, with enough beauty spots to occupy many lifetimes of inspired wandering. But in my view, informed by decades of highcountry rambling, the apex of all this high-mountain ecstasy can be found along the Mt. Baker Highway.

Ptarmigan Ridge The hike to Ptarmigan Ridge is perhaps the easiest hike on this list. Elevation gain is minimal and the views are extraordinary, starting right at the parking lot. But this route holds snow longer than any of the others mentioned here and is frequently inaccessible until late summer (or autumn). When snow-covered, it can be dangerous without an ice axe 16

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feet, but no need to hike it all if time or open ridge. From here you’ll enjoy miles motivation is in short supply: this excurand miles of gorgeous alpine meadows and sion is more about the journey than the Heather, Skyline Divide destination.

Skyline Divide There are a few days every year when Skyline Divide is quite likely the most beautiful place on Earth. Fields of wildf lowers—primarily deep purple lupines— carpet the slopes, and the ice of the surrounding high peaks gleams in the sun. But no matter what, the Skyline Divide Trail dishes up superlatives. The trail is short— some grunting, sure—but after only two miles in the trees, you’ll crest the wide-

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astounding views. Mt. Baker (10,781 feet) and Mt. Shuksan (9,131 feet) dominate a horizon of lofty peaks.

Savor every moment on this undulating ridge. If you have the time and the inclination, follow it until the green slopes give way to shattered rock beneath the gothic wall of Chowder Ridge. Details: Drive the Mt. Baker Highway and turn right near milepost 35 onto Glacier Creek Road (FR 39). Make an immediate left on Dead Horse Road (FR 37) and follow it 12.8 miles to the trailhead. The hike is six to nine miles round-trip (depending on how far along the ridge you wander), with an elevation gain of 2100-2400 feet.

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Details: Drive the Mount Baker Highway. Take a left on Twin Lakes Road (FR 3065), near milepost 47. Go 4.5 miles to the trailhead on the left. At a trail junction (about 1.5 miles in), turn left. The hike to Yellow Aster Butte is seven miles round-trip with an elevation gain of about 2100 feet.

Winchester Mountain Lookout How good is the hike to the Winchester Mountain Lookout? Backpacker Magazine proclaimed it the Best Day Hike in America in 2017. Once you see the jaw-dropping views from the summit, it’s doubtful you’ll disagree. The trail is spectacularly scenic from the first step, beginning on an isthmus between two gorgeous subalpine

Yellow Aster Butte Yellow Aster Butte is a well-known and much-beloved hiking destination. The top of the Butte is magical, an alpine fantasy brought to life. The magnificent Border Peaks are front and center, while Mt. Shuksan, Mt. Baker, the Pickets, and an infinity of ragged peaks are revealed in all their glory. The trail winds up through a beautiful forest, breaking out of the trees at 1.5 miles (bear left at the junction with the Tomyhoi Lake Trail) and traverses gorgeous meadows and rocky slopes the rest of the way with constant views of mountain splendor. One gully holds snow late into the summer but generally presents Mt. Baker from the Yellow Aster Butte Trail no significant difficulty to cross. The trail rounds a shoulder of the butte and passes tarns (aptly named Twin Lakes) and immediately climbs several tiny tarns, reflecting pools for the great peaks. Turn right tilted meadows toward the sky. for the final climb to the top of the Butte, as steep as it is aweSwitchbacks transport you to a rocky notch—if snow is inspiring. Be sure to allocate some quality time here to take in present, turn around unless equipped with an ice axe. It’s a the panorama of the surrounding icy summits.


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long way down if you slip. If the way is clear, round the notch and continue around the shoulder of the mountain where you’ll be greeted with staggering views of the mighty Border Peaks: Larrabee, American Border, and Canadian Border, arguably as dramatic a sweep of mountains as you’ll find in the North Cascades. A few tight switchbacks deliver you to the summit plateau and the lookout cabin, available for overnight use on a first-come, first-served basis. We can thank the Mt. Baker Club for maintaining this historic structure. The views here defy superlatives: The wild Picket Range, Mt. Redoubt, Goat

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The Border Peaks from Winchester Lookout

Mountain, Tomyhoi Peak, Mt. Shuksan, the list goes on and on. Mt. Baker fills the sky to the southeast. Far below, Twin Lakes gleam a dazzling blue. Details: Drive the Mt. Baker Highway. Take a left on Twin Lakes Road (FR 3065), near milepost 47. The first 4.5 miles are easy (to the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead) but the final 2.5 miles often require a high-clearance 4WD vehicle to road-end at Twin Lakes. The hike to the lookout is 3.6 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1300 feet. stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

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Lake Ann


Mt. Shuksan is unquestionably the poster child of the North Cascades. It graces calendars, T-shirts, and refrigerator magnets. The classic view is from Picture Lake in Heather Meadows but the view of Shuksan from Lake Ann is something else again. The Upper and Lower Curtis Glaciers hang like immense prayer flags on the north face of this great peak, reflected in the waters of the lake. This hike is unusual in the North Cascades in that it begins with a descent into the Swift Creek Valley, a luxurious sub-alpine vale of beguiling meadows, fragrant Lake Ann reflections forest, and mossy streams. After 2.3 miles, rock hop across Swift Creek and climb to a shoulder of Shuksan Arm. The views expand with every step. From a saddle, the trail drops into the lake basin, where you’re sure to have lots of company. Details: Drive the Mt. Baker Highway) 23 miles east of Glacier, turning right at the

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upper ski area towards Artist Point. The trailhead at Austin Pass is obvious with a parking lot that is often full. ANW

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A Federal Recreation Pass is required at all of these trailheads, available at the Glacier Public Service Center, 10091 Mt. Baker Highway in Glacier Note: Not so very long ago, these trails offered opportunities for solitude and loneliness. Not anymore. The popularity of hiking, of seeking communion with the natural world, has exploded. This is a good thing. Those who have found connection with nature tend to be advocates for wilderness—and better people generally. This is a demographic that should be enlarged. But the crowds put a lot of pressure on these fragile beauty spots and thus the importance of the ‘Leave No Trace’ ethic is magnified. Obviously, don’t litter. But don’t walk on vegetation either. Practice the Four R’s: Reverence, Respect, Reciprocity and Resonance. And please, leave the Bluetooth speaker at home.

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The Bugaboo Effect Story by Robert Wehrman

Photos by Steph Abegg

Bugaboo Spire


iven enough time, tragic events have a way—perhaps once or twice in a lifetime—of leading to something good. Much is learned from the study of great disasters. Because of the Titanic sinking, today’s ships are much safer. Investigations of major air crashes have led to many improvements in air travel safety, and so on. The same is true for wilderness adventuring. But there are some tragedies where it wasn’t clear how much they influenced major events which followed, until many years later. 22

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Such was the case regarding the horrific lightning strike on Bugaboo Spire in August of 1948 that killed two climbers and seriously injured two others. Yet, as sad and unfortunate as the accident was, it was indirectly responsible for one of the most famous backpacking journeys of the twentieth century. Bugaboo Spire rises 10,400 feet in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains. The spire itself—a near-vertical tower standing 2,000 feet above the surrounding area—has long been a climber’s destination. Lightning strikes, common on such pinnacles, have been a bane to those on mountaintops since we first began seeking the heights, but such storms have

become an acceptable risk to modern climbers. On August 4, 1948, four climbers—Rudolph Pundt, 41, Robert Becker, 21, Ann “Cricket” Strong, 18, and Ian MacKinlay, 21—were just beginning their descent down the vertical rock face of the spire when an extremely powerful lightning storm blew in, forcing them to take shelter in a shallow cave just below the summit. It struck with an intensity that could not be anticipated as they sat trying to eat lunch while contemplating the truth which lurks in the back of every mountaineer’s mind: there is little one can do on a high mountaintop during a lightning storm. It is a hazard you must accept. >>> Go to

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Suddenly a bolt from the sky hit near the cave’s opening, rendering all of them unconscious. Ian MacKinlay recovered first. Still quite dazed, badly burned, and paralyzed from the neck down, he watched helplessly as Pundt—convulsing in the opening of the cave—plunged over the precipice to his death far below. By now Cricket was regaining consciousness but was suffering from third-degree burns. Ian slowly recovered the partial use of his extremities, but his left arm hung uselessly at his side. After checking on Becker, they decided he was too injured to move and tied him to the rocks, left all their food and water, and prepared to descend. The faces of Bugaboo Spire are sheer, dropping several thousand feet to an ice field below. The known route, in 1948, was to rappel and climb down a vertical, sawtoothed knife-edge ridge. Below this was a steep ice-slope followed by the ice field crossing. Normally it’s a three hour descent, but badly burned and in shock, it was clear to both of them that their chances of making it at all were slim. When they thought the worst of the storm had passed, the two finally began the painful descent, injured and terrified, toward base camp far below. About 50 feet below the cave they found a rope-sling, left by previous climbers, for the long rappel down the cliff face. But when Ian tried to tie the rope into his own harness, he couldn’t lift his left arm high enough to pass the rope over his shoulder. This was when he understood that he was more injured than he’d realized and knew then that it would take all of their climbing skills, combined, to get down alive. At the bottom of this first rappel, they saw the storm bearing down on them again. The acrid scent of ozone filled the air along with something that smelled like a hot iron scorching wet cloth. Electrical charges built from the lower parts of the spire and raced up the needle with an increasing voltage that ended in a lightning strike. “There was a slow, inevitable rhythm about it,” Cricket said. “After each strike, we moved in silence for a while, with only the tearing wind and slashing rain. Then the rocks began a shrill humming, each on stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

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a slightly different note. The humming grew louder and louder. You could feel a charge building up in your body. Our hair stood on end. The charge increased, and the humming swelled until everything reached an unbearable climax. Then the lightning would strike again—with a crack like a gigantic rifle shot… After each strike, we would grope forward in silence. Then the humming would begin again.” Now the ridge dropped away leaving them on the edge of a terrifying open space at their feet. So Cricket fixed a rope—Ian’s left arm was still dangling uselessly—and climbed down after Ian’s one-handed descent. She noted that electricity was humming along the wet nylon. As they worked their way down, the route grew a little easier and the storm seemed to diminish somewhat. But they both fell a couple of times and when they finally reached the ice-slope, Cricket slipped and plunged down the steep ice on her back. Just before losing her grip,



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lightening was again blasting the spire’s summit. Even so, two climbers left immediately to rescue Bob Becker. The team’s first-aid expert saw that the left side of Cricket’s long johns was burned away leaving 3rd-degree burns along her charred leg. Coins in Ian’s pockets, and his zippers, were fused. His sweat-soaked T-shirt was torn and tattered. When the medic removed the shirt, the source of the scorching smell was discovered: the back half of his shirt was gone—burned into his flesh. The medic later said, “It was as if somebody had been at Ian’s back with an arc-welder.” For two days the storm continued to blast overhead, sending each rescue attempt scurrying for cover. Eventually, two


her ice-ax slowed her fall. But it dislodged snow, ice, and rocks which hurtled down on top of her. Ian watched, horrified and unable to help, as she slid, 40 miles per hour, down onto the dark, crevasse-sliced glacier. He was certain she was dead. Then, miraculously, she came to a halt a few hundred feet down, and directly below a rock avalanche poised to crash into the chute she was in. She crawled to the edge of the glacier and waited for Ian who found her sitting against a rock and grinning. They were both bloody and covered in cuts but walked arm in arm down the glacier to base camp just as darkness began to blanket the area. It had been seven hours since the strike, and

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brave men climbed up to the cave and found Becker dead; the food and water untouched. He was still tied in but when they undid the ropes, his body slipped over the precipice at the cave’s mouth A New Art, Decor & Furniture Gallery and tumbled away. Neither Probst’s nor Inspired by the Pacific Northwest Becker’s bodies were ever recovered. From the Proprietors of The Wood Merchant Three days passed before MacKinlay and Strong received professional medical attention. With two dead and two badly injured climbers, this trek could only be declared a tragedy. But then in 1962, it became the catalyst for something quite good. By then Colin Fletcher was nearly finished writing The Thousand-Mile Summer, the chronicle of his legendary solo walk through the deserts and moun701 S 1st St, La Conner, WA tains that make up California’s eastern 360-399-1202 spine. He’d finally returned to the Western U.S. after his disastrous second marriage had derailed, stranding him at Starve Crow in Devon, England, for a couple of years. For over 38 years offering the Northwest’s best selection of fine It was on this 100% American-made woodcrafts. return trip to the west coast when Gifts • Furniture • Salad Bowls Jewelry Boxes • Wood Carvings he caught his first Cutting Boards • Custom Designs Available glimpse of the 709 South 1st Street • La Conner, WA 98257 • Grand Canyon. 360-466-4741 • • He was still an

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Rope and rock

obscure author and made his living penning nature articles for Field and Stream, Readers Digest, and other periodicals. Fletcher, while searching for story ideas, came across an old Saturday Evening Post clipping regarding the accident on Bugaboo Spire, fifteen years earlier. He was then planning what would become his celebrated first Grand Canyon journey and tucked the clipping into a folder he kept for future writing projects. The fall of 1962 and early winter of 1963 were slow for Fletcher and he became financially stressed. He needed to sell more articles to finance this first thru-canyon solo trip, so he wrote three stories and submitted them to Readers

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Mountain Haiku By Bill Hoke

Early camp at Royal Lake My first time alone What do I do now?

Photo by John D’Onofrio

Digest. These were D-Day Twenty Years After, Rattlesnakes – Fact and Fancy, and Lightning Strikes on Bugaboo Spire. The Digest published all three articles. The first one published was the story of Bugaboo Spire and it was the money

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earned from this piece that funded the famous solo canyon trek. Without the Bugaboo article, he would not have had the means to undertake the journey. The Man Who Walked Through Time and The Complete Walker might not have been written, Fletcher would have remained an obscure writer, and someone else might have become the ‘Grandfather of Modern Backpacking’. Without Fletcher’s enormous fame, most of those people in the 60s who took to the road with their backpacks, or embraced the back to the land movement, would not have learned of these ideas when they did had Fletcher not made his gamechanging Grand Canyon trek; which, in turn, would not have been possible without the Bugaboo Spire story. As for the survivors of the Bugaboo Lighting disaster, Ian and Ann “Cricket” MacKinlay spent the rest of their lives raising five children and downhill skiing in their free time. And that is a happy ending! ANW

Feel the Love in La Conner This Summer!

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The Fleeting Moment The Mountain Photography of Floris van Breugel


n my images I strive to capture the sense of solitude, curiosity, and freedom I feel when exploring the wilderness. Summer is one of my favorite seasons to set off into the mountains. For a fleeting moment, the

snow is melting, the flowers blooming, and the warm sunshine illuminates the rugged landscape. My favorite images capture scenes that extend beyond the visual sense, evoking memories of the scents and sounds

that such pristine wild places offer. Visit to view an extended gallery of Floris van Breugel’s photography.

Top Row (L to R): Cascade Spire; Flowers for Olympus Middle Row (L to R): Painting the Mountains Mystery; Moonrise, Rainier; Mountain Dreaming Bottom Row ( L to R): Cascade Reflections; Alpine Bliss; Cascade Fountain


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Once More, With Feeling Fartleks offer Runners a Low-Stress Workout Story by Nicole Christiano


rom novice runners to experienced marathoners coming back from an injury or starting a new training cycle: Fartleks should be a staple of your training plan. In Swedish, Fartlek means “speed play” – which is exactly what a Fartlek workout should be: an unstructured interval run where either the distance of the interval, the pace of the interval, or both, are not specified. Instead, you simply surge ahead based on feeling. For instance, a Fartlek for a beginner may be running every other block and walking the blocks in between. For an experienced runner, it may look more like sprinting for a minute, then recovering for a minute, repeating 10 times. Physically, the benefit of speed play is that it targets both aerobic and anaerobic systems as you shift between different paces—in other words, you are improving both speed and endurance. Mentally, Fartleks remove the stress of pace targets like one would have in a track workout and also strengthen willpower amidst discomfort. Also, there are endless variations of speed play, so they are good workouts for those of us that get bored of


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doing the same 800m workout season after season. Finally, another benefit is that Fartlek workouts are generally capped at 20-30 minutes, and are thus great for days where you are strapped for time but want to get those legs moving and that cadence up. Fartleks are generally used at the start of a training season as a way of getting your mind and body primed for the hard efforts of interval runs and tempos ahead of you. Although I have been running for over a decade, the Fartlek workout here can be used for all experience levels—I know because I gave a workout with even longer intervals to one of my coaching athletes, and she loved it. I hope you do too!

Fartlek Workout: 4-3-2-1-2 15-20 Minutes Warm up with an easy walk or jog, progressing to a faster pace by the end. 4 Minutes rush at a hard push. 90 seconds recover at a walk or jog. 3 Minutes rush at a hard push. 1 Minute recover at a walk or jog. 2 Minutes rush at a hard push. 1 Minute recover at a walk or jog. 1 Minute rush at a hard push. 1 Minute recover at a walk or jog. 2 Minutes rush at a hard push. 10-15 Minutes Cool down with an easy walk or jog.

Tips for a great workout

Why Fartleks?

• Don’t check your watch for your pace. Simply push hard, hold on, and enjoy the ride.

• The second two-minute push tacked on at the end is great for testing your grit, as you will likely run your fastest interval in the one-minute, and your brain will think it’s time to stop! Digging in like this is good practice for races.

• Visualize yourself sprinting towards the finish line chute of a race during each interval. • Get off the track and onto a new route.

• The mix of interval lengths helps build endurance and speed.

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Celebrating 15 Years of Deep Connections.

WINTER 2016/17







Free. take enjoy share




Free. take enjoy share





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Talking to Yourself Me, Myself and I Story and Photos by Bill Hoke


oing hiking by yourself is one thing. Going solo for three, four, five nights—or more—will open new doors to your outdoor adventures. Thanks to Cebe Wallace, local climber, and hiker, who went into the mountains by himself for one week every year, I thought, Why not? I asked Cebe what it was like and he said two things: “You’ll see” and “You’ll talk to yourself.” I did see, and Bill and Bill became well-acquainted, discussing every meal, every trail dead end, where to place the tent, whether we should attempt to solo Heart Peak. We did not always agree but thankfully it never got to the point where we split up. My first overnight was to Upper Royal Basin, eight miles in, and when I arrived at 4:30 p.m., I was alone, no one in sight. I set up camp—sorry


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no campfires allowed—fluffed up my sleeping bag, wandered the area, fixed dinner, did the dishes, hung my bear bag, kept looking down the trail halfwanting for there to

ht, Royal Basin. ? ig n r ve O o ol S First night alone bring st r fi he t l il w t Wha be others. After checking my watch: 5:45 p.m., I fluffed up my sleeping bag again. Now what? This first night alone was memorable. I had my Deliverance fears, imagined bear attacks, snakes, cougars,

even an abduction. Asleep at 10 p.m., awake at midnight, awake at 2:10 a.m, and this time an epiphany hits me: I am alone for the first time in my life, eight miles from my car, 20 miles from a main road, thirty miles from a payphone. Alone. Finally back to sleep. First morning alone, feeling cocky, I climbed Mt. Fricaba, returned to camp, and hiked out, passing a few hikers coming in. One night behind me, I was still alive, a little wiser, and ready for more. After several solo attempts on the 44-mile roundtrip Skyline Trail (one an admitted chicken-out at Kimta Peak), my climbing partner Terry MacDonald and I finally pulled it off in four nights, one of the best hikes ever. After a full day to hike the four miles between Kimta and Lake Beauty (aptly named), Terry said to me, “bet you can’t solo this.” He was beginning to make fun of Bill talking to Bill, as they bent over a topo map like they knew where they were.

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Three weeks later I did it solo, in Day One to the (now removed) three nights; the trail between Kimta shelter at Home Sweet Home—13.5 and Lake Beauty freshly brushed out, miles, followed by a memorable night Kimta to 16-Mile Camp on the North climaxed by a shooting star over Mt. Fork, my first 17-mile day. Whew! Hopper. It was raining at How about four nights down the Elwha? Went well, got into a staring contest with a yearling bear at Chicago Camp, and was an hour early to meet my wife hiking up to Wolf Bar two days later. Then a three-nighter down the Elwha, now with a lightweight load. You can really sail with a 30-pound pack. When I mentioned to Robert L. Wood my plan to hike Day Five above Hea rt Lake. A big plac from Dosewallips to Staircase e to be alone. via Heart Lake and LaCrosse Basin, Bob wisely advised, “Go in the other direction and the sun will Marmot Lake, big be at your back. And promise me you drops. A huff and puff uphill took me will spend one extra night at Heart to Heart Lake. No one else there. I Lake. Camp on the tombolo.” Five pitched my tent on the tombolo. Bob nights. was right. Just perfect.

The art of nature

The next day, totally alone, I explored Lake LaCrosse and the basin, and if Bill or Bill find a prettier spot we will let you know. I spent one of the best days of my life, wandering, climbing most of Heart Peak, sleeping, and trying to eat what turned out to be way too much food still in my new bear cache. I came out over O’Neil Pass in the rain, the Enchanted Valley over my shoulder, hiked Anderson Pass in heavier rain, and spent a dispiriting last night camped at dripping Camp Siberia. And then—lo and behold—in perfect weather cruised three hours down the west fork, nine miles to Elkhorn where I hitched a ride to Brinnon. Two locals offered me a ride to Highway 104 and as I swung my pack into the back of their pick-up, I heard one say, “Looks like we got us a tree hugger” and I yanked my backpack from their truck as they roared off, all


In Celebration of the Sublime

The Evocative Paintings of Lorna Libert The Pacific Northwest offers endless inspiration with every twist of the tiller or turn in the trail. Sunlight bounces across the water. Madronas dance. The mountains turn colors. The picture constantly changes. My process begins with an adventure on a trail or on the sea. I carry art supplies and a camera. Small paintings are done on location while the larger pieces are created in the studio. Bold colors and exaggerated perspective invite the viewer to step into the painting, feel the peace or experience the energy and be reminded of the beautiful yet fragile environment we care for. See more at: Far right: From the bluff (Patos Island), Top row: Two trees on the trail; Mesmerizing , Middle row: Winding around Fossil Bay; Twisting along the trail, Bottom row: Winchester Glow before the snow; Active Cove

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of us laughing. Bill and Bill enjoyed a big gulp in Brinnon, and Jefferson County Transit got us home, eventually. Lessons? Many. Every night a new

cast of night noises. You definitely will from…Eugene, Oregon. talk to yourself and you must positively You never know what you will run allow enough time (like a into out there going solo, one night day off at Heart Lake) to take it all in. Yes, being frightened is part of it. The night sky has stories to tell. You might write a haiku. I got lost a few times and once found myself crawling up from Home Lake, dehydrated (careful!), and fainted at the top of Constance Pass. A few years later, Day Six at Anderson Pass. Time to hea d home. alone on the Abel Tasman Track working my way to Separation Point at the top of New Zealand’s or five or more. Bill and Bill have South Island, I stopped at Mutton had some splendid times alone in the Cove and was eating freshly cooked backcountry. mussels picked from the rocks, when a hiker approached me, asked if he could Go see by yourself. ANW share the campground, said he was Experience the freshest seafood, delivered to your home. Healthy for you, healthy for the planet. Celebrating 35 years!

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The Whale Museum Friday Harbor San Juan Island

We’re open daily and within walking distance from the mainland. The Whale Museum: promoting stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education & research. 62 First St. N., Friday Harbor, WA 98250 • 360-378-4710 ext. 30 • stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

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Mortal Poles Story by Lawrence Millman


The animals carved onto the poles were not monsters, Wanegan said. Nor were they deity figures worshipped by the Haida, contrary to the opinion of outsiders who visited Haida Gwaii in the 19th century. Instead, they were crests of social identity and rank similar to a European coat-of-arms. The animal on a particular crest told the story of how the deceased person’s ancestors had initially made contact with that particular animal a long, long time ago. I asked Wanegan if he could tell me one of these stories, but he shook his head. The stories had disappeared with the Kunghit themselves, he said. We approached the stumps of several poles whose carved sections had been cut off and I was accompanied by shipped to museums in Canada a middle-aged Haida man and the U.S. some years ago. To named Wanegan. He was the Wanegan, this was not unlike local Watchman, so named wrenching a person from his because his job was to keep home and clamping that person the island’s ancestral artifacts in jail for no apparent reason. safe from plundering outsiders. “Those poles were born here,” Wanegan had been coming to he declared, “and they should be this now uninhabited chunk allowed to die here.” of land for more than twenty The poles that remained years, usually by himself, yet were in fact dying here, bufhe told me he never felt like feted by the wind, scoured by salt Photo by Charles F. Newcombe/Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of History he was alone here. The ghosts spray, consumed by fungi, and of the past always seemed to eaten by wood-boring insects. hover nearby, gathering shellmification —would be placed in a cedar Most Haida think this is as it should be, fish, dancing, shouting, laughing, crybox, then that box would be put in a rectsince these towers of wood weren’t created ing, stripping bark, or carving a totem angular chamber at the top of the pole. to last forever. Indeed, when one of them pole. He assured me that none of these He pointed to a cluster of bones thirty or toppled over in the old days, it was simply myriad ghosts bothered him in the least. so feet above my head. How nice to expepushed away so it could return happily to As we moved from pole to pole, rience a portion of one’s eternal slumber the earth from which it came. ANW Wanegan said that the phrase “totem perpetually aloft like this, I thought. pole” is actually a misnomer for these

ituated in the southern part of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), Anthony Island dangles on the very edge of the continent, seemingly poised to be swallowed by the Pacific. Shortly after I set foot on this 395-acre tract of rock and Sitka spruce, I found myself being stared at by a bestiary of faces—eagles, black bears, killer whales, beavers, ravens, and mountain goats. These were not the faces of the local wildlife, but faces carved onto totem poles by the Kunghuit, a group of Haida who once lived here.


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poles, for they were mortuary poles. They were erected to honor a deceased family member or perhaps a chief whose remains—after a suitable period of mum-

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A River like Paddling the Lower Columbia Water Trail Story and Photos by Neil Schulman


’m dozing when high-pitched screams followed by angry whistling tugs me away from my nap on the warm sand. Through binoculars, I spot three crow-sized birds, taking turns dive-bombing a bald eagle perched in a tree on the nearby point. Each dive-bomber lunges, screaming, at the eagle, only to pull up at the last moment, and fly back up to the heights while its buddy takes a turn. An adult Peregrine falcon is teaching two fledglings how to hunt and asserting territorial rights in the bargain. The eagle, refusing to leave its nest unattended, whistles in anger while

enduring the harassment. The show continues all afternoon while we swim in the warm river, read books on the sand, and watch giant container ships go by. Welcome to another trip on the Lower Columbia River Water Trail.

The Trail That’s a Non-Trail The Columbia is one of North America’s defining rivers, along with the Mississippi, Mackenzie, and Colorado. Its waters have been paddled since time immemorial, first by Native Americans, then fur trappers, explorers, sail-rigged ships, fishing boats,

and now by barges, container ships, kayaks and canoes. The Columbia rises in the icefields of the Canadian Rockies and tumbles into the eastside drylands. After a few hundred miles of being throttled by 14 massive hydropower dams, it finally breaks free at Bonneville Dam, where the Lower Columbia Water Trail begins. This remarkable water trail stretches in a double arc northwest through the Columbia Gorge from Bonneville Dam, 144 miles to the sea. It takes paddlers from giant cliffs carved by the Missoula Floods of the Pleistocene, through the Portland-Vancouver metropolis, past mazes of islands and riv-

Dave Trageser paddling in dense fog near Lord Island


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the Sea erside forests teeming with wildlife, to a miles-wide estuary where the mighty river merges with the world’s largest tempest-tossed ocean. It’s hard to discern where the river ends and the sea begins at the Columbia’s wide and wild mouth. The Water Trail is full of tides, sandy beaches, big views, and a paddling experience as varied as the river itself. The journey comes with healthy doses of wildness, history, container ships, big cities, small towns, eagles, salmon, and wind. Unlike a typical trail—where you put your feet or your paddle where the path goes—the Columbia River is a wide, meandering set of routes that

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gradually work their way between the Columbia Gorge and the sea, with detours behind islands, up or down tributaries, loop routes, and plenty of options that aren’t limited to a “Bonneville to the Sea” linear journey. The shape and seasonal river current make it more linear than the Salish Sea’s Cascadia Marine Trail, but the vibe is similar: choices abound between beelines and wandering, mileage and meandering, endorphins and exhaling.

Reach for the Sea The Trail has five reasonably separate reaches, each with its own character. The Columbia Gorge starts

at Bonneville Dam and extends to the mouth of the Sandy River, east of Gresham. Massive cliffs soar on either side, sometimes coming down to river level. Campsites are relatively rare in this vertical landscape. Wind is not. A strong current emanates from releases at Bonneville Dam and whisks you along, especially in spring. At the mouth of the Sandy River, you’ll enter the Portland-Vancouver reach, the urban section of the trail. This section takes you under freeways, and past houses, urban marine shipping terminals, and the airport. But forested mid-river islands and the confluence with the Willamette keep you in touch with nature.

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Downstream of Portland, the river becomes a broad floodplain, with many islands offering side routes. Campsites on islands and banks thick with cottonwood, ash, and willow are com-

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mon, as are bald eagles gathering to feed on salmon in the summer and waterfowl in the winter. The river takes a Northward bend, which means this stretch is the most protected from upstream winds that blow Waterfalls at Cape Horn from the west. When the river turns west again, you’ll enter the Refuges and the Lower Gorge, the riv-

er’s most diverse section, traveling from west of Longview to the old cannery at Altoona on the Washington side. On

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the river’s south side, a maze of marshy islands creates infinite meandering routes through two wildlife refuges teeming with waterfowl. The north side is the Lower Gorge, a series of basalt

Tips for the Trail

Go Big, Go Small, Go Early The Water Trail is equally amenable to day trips or 2-3 day routes and longer onedirectional paddles from Bonneville to the sea. The full trip typically takes 4-6 days. Either way, it’s to your advantage to go early, in more ways than one. Going early in the season avoids the most challenging condition on a westbound route: west winds. By June, they can get strong enough to create pounding whitecaps when they meet the outgoing current, especially in the Gorge, near the mouth, and in the afternoon. The strongest outgoing currents—the spring freshet of water pumped through the dams to mimic snowmelt and flush salmon smolts out to sea—are in late April and May. So if distance and speed are your thing, then spring is your friend. The other way to avoid the winds is to paddle early in the day before westerlies strengthen. On summer days, westbound paddling is often done by the early afternoon. Camp as You Wish…Mostly Camping along the Water Trail is mostly primitive camping on islands owned Maria Scanelli paddling near by the Oregon Division of State Lands, Beacon Rock Washington Department of Natural Resources, or on shoreline private property where it’s allowed on a good stewardship basis. A few state or local parks are located in places such as Beacon Rock, Cathlamet, and St. Helens. Most of the islands are “nourished” with sand scoured by dredging to keep the shipping channel clean, so expect sand in your shoes and some carries to high ground. Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ camping: bury human waste, keep fires below the high watermark, and pick up some river litter while you’re at it. Tides and Wakes

Near Brookfield Point

cliffs that are invisible from land. Here waterfalls drop into the river, offering paddlers a light in-kayak shower in the summer, or a raging torrent in winter. The river grows miles wide. Tide and wind strengthen, and it’s easy to un-

Tide is always a factor on the Lower Columbia, even well inland. Tide changes water levels all the way up to Bonneville Dam. The interplay between dam releases, current, and tide is complex, but typically the river flows consistently west most of the time until west of Longview, where current becomes a factor in route planning. Be sure to tie your boats up at night…and further up than you think. I’ve woken up many times to move people’s boats. The big container ships create huge wakes, so you’ll want to make sure one doesn’t steal your boat in the middle of the night… especially if you’re camped on an island. How the Trail Came to Be The Trail has existed for millennia, a trading and cultural thoroughfare for Columbia River tribes in wooden canoes. In the age of fiberglass and Kevlar, the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership led the effort to document camping sites, inspire stewardship, and work with landowners and local governments to improve access in a few key places. Many small towns along the river are still feeling the pain of declines in the timber and fishing industries. The trail can be a source of environmentally-friendly economic development. The Estuary Partnership maintains a website with an interactive trail map and trip and safety recommendations at water-trails/columbia-river.

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derstand how Meriwether Lewis got confused back in 1803, thinking he had reached the ocean. But that’s still a couple of days away. West of Altoona, the river is vast.

It’s time to start thinking about where you want to end your trip. At Astoria, the river gapes five miles wide. Here, currents reverse the river’s flow, and barnacles climb the pilings. Expect to

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be barked at by a sea lion or fifty. Potential trail endpoints are on both sides, at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon and Cape Disappointment in Washington. You’ll also have to weigh exposure to the sea—the further you venture west, the more ocean-like conditions will be. Surf typically starts around Jetty A on the Washington side and Jetty Lagoon

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on the Oregon side, but patterns shift with swell size and direction. There’s a reason kayaking instructors use the mouth of the Columbia for roughwater skills training: the combination of swell, wind and current is as interesting a puzzle as sea kayaking offers. But if temptestuous water isn’t your thing,

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The Middle Ground

Photo by John D’Onofrio

Story by Janiene Licciardi


hat I would really like, what I hope and dream for, is that people try to think outside of themselves when they are in wild places, or when they are in nature in any context, even in a backyard! What is our place here? How do we share our planet with the other creatures who call it home? Do we give them enough space to live their lives? It’s all about survival to them: finding food, finding mates, raising young. How does our presence impact what they need to do to simply survive? Does our spiritual quest, the testing of our bushcraft, or whatever other reason we’re out there supersede or have more importance than their right to live and thrive? I am a recreationist too. I have hiked long trails (the Appalacian Trail, the John Muir Trail) and I have paddled long distances in Southeast Alaska and know the transformative process and the unspeakable bliss that comes with living day-to-day with nature at your fingertips, from sunup 46

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to sundown, open spaces filled with beauty that evoke a feeling of awe from moment to moment. It’s an exquisite experience when you can taste life in every breath. The problem is how to square that with the state of the planet in 2021. How much of Earth do we need to set aside from human modification (as much as that is possible)? 50% like E.O. Wilson proposes? Will that be enough elbow room for our non-human brethren? Should we go into these sanctuaries to do things like climb mountains, ride snowboards, ride mountain bikes? Should we treat these places like shrines, and tiptoe around or not go at all? Leave the creatures their space, and keep to ours? There’s got to be a middle ground, and I think that’s the hardest question to answer—what does that look like? Meanwhile, how should we treat the wild spaces that we have now? What does wild even mean? So, we have circled back to the question of point of view. Is the world our playground and place of spiritual renewal? Well, yes, maybe. Is the world a place to be shared with non-human life, and are

there some places humans should leave alone, not trample with our feet or bring our accoutrements into? Well, yes, maybe. Two summers ago, I canoed with three friends down the Marsh Fork/ Canning Rivers in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. We meticulously practiced ‘Leave No Trace’ principles. But twice, we unintentionally left things behind. Both were made of plastic. One was a map case and the other a watch. Both times I had a shouting fit; both times I broke down in tears. I was to blame because I was on camp-sweep and had neglected to see them. I also left a tiny plastic bottle filled with biodegradable soap way up on a talus slope (we carried water far from the river to bathe). Upon returning to camp, I realized my mistake. Everyone was packing up, but I asked them to wait while I went back to search for the tiny bottle of clear plastic among an enormous jumble of grey rocks. I did a grid search and had nearly given up when I saw a semipalmated plover hopping around, and I remembered seeing that bird when I was bathing, and >>> Go to

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sure enough, that little plover led me to the plastic bottle. I guess I’m telling you this story because it shows that wherever we go, even with the best intentions, there we are. We leave our traces. We are part of nature, after all, but we come now with a new kind of permanence and impact. It fills me with gratitude and wonder that this wild bird met me on middle ground, with grace. ANW

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Oratorio By James Bertolino & Anita K. Boyle the chorus is deafening … 1. The Spawning Frogs find quiet in the midst of cacophony and finally the hawk takes flight. It’s near dusk. Rain begins to infiltrate the snarl of branches nearest the island. Drops spread in new directions, creating a map of the stars across the calm water.

the splashing frogs, the shadow of duck, of heron … 3. A Comprehension The most prominent presence is the island willow: a flower, a gown, a home. A pond with its own island must always carry a willow on its back to receive an applause from the gnats and the lily pads.

If the wood ducks stay the night, they will awaken hungry in the darkness before first light. … the chirping is sporadic … 2. A Benevolence At the pond, in this hour’s downpour— though it is cold, and wet, and a little windy— the birds zip like bees from branch to branch. A tiny hummer stops mid-air, then disappears into the deep grey sky. …

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Nooksack River Stewards Inspiring Deep Connections Story by Sarah Brown & Lorraine Wilde


f you spend any time at all in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll see evidence all around that wild salmon are the backbone of our environment, culture, and economy. Yet many salmonbearing streams have been degraded by past land-use practices—the removal of large woody debris and riparian vegetation, the straightening and ditching of stream channels, and the installation of poorly designed stream crossings to name just a few. Since the first white settlers, Henry Roeder and Russell Peabody, arrived in Bellingham in 1852, those practices have endangered the quantity and diversity of salmonid habitat regionally and specifically within Whatcom County watersheds. But local nonprofits today are making a difference—one stream and one person at a time. Photo by Brett Baunton/Wild Nooksack


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Over the past 30 years, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) has worked diligently with the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, federal, state, and local agencies, and hundreds of private landowners to restore these streams by removing fish passage barriers and improving existing riparian and instream habitat. But restoration efforts alone are not enough. Without public education and continuing community action, we risk losing our wild salmon populations and their fundamental role in the food web and our shared maritime heritage forever. That’s why NSEA has developed three education programs to provide place-based science education and stewardship opportunities for students, educators, and the entire community. NSEA’s Students for Salmon program combines nearby field restoration activities with two classroom visits for all fourth graders in Whatcom County. NSEA’s Future Leaders of Whatcom Waters (FLOW)

Internship program allows interns to gain valuable real-world professional experience while increasing on-the-ground work capacity. But the way that most locals and thousands of visitors encounter NSEA is through its Nooksack River Stewards Program. Each summer NSEA partners with the U.S. Forest Service in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to foster enthusiasm for salmon while respectfully recreating in the North Fork Nooksack River to ensure this special area remains an ideal habitat for salmon. While the specifics of the program change from year to year depending on the needs of the community and NSEA’s community partners, the objective remains the same: increasing knowledge and awareness of how to protect Pacific salmon and their habitat through fascinating, family-friendly educational opportunities. Each unique event allows NSEA to engage with a larger variety of community members


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and visitors while providing a memorable opportunity to learn more about salmon and stewardship.

Deep Roots in the Community The organization hired its first staff in 2001. Since then it has grown to include a team of more than 20 staff, interns, and crew members with support from a diverse array of 16 Board members representing a wide range of community interests. Nooksack River Stewards first began in 2005 as a monitoring program— focused primarily on protecting spring Chinook. But over time the program evolved into a community-focused

outreach initiative where staff and volunteers engage with an average of 2,500 individuals each year, totaling nearly 38,000 contacts over the last 15 years. The glorious Nooksack River, the program’s focus, is one of only two rivers in Washington State that supports runs of all five Pacific salmon species. Its headwaters lay in the magnificent Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, among the most visited national forests in the country.

Nooksack River Stewards in Action By maintaining a consistent presence in the National Forest each summer, Nooksack River Stewards fosters

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a deeper connection between the local residential communities and the critical habitat in their backyards, while also increasing the U.S. Forest Service’s capacity to educate visiting recreationalists about salmon in our area. Nooksack River Stewards reaches out—and hooks—summer vacationers through entertaining hands-on activities. For example, one of the most appreciated summertime activities may be sitting by a campfire and roasting marshmallows. The River Stewards have embraced this tradition by hosting campfire stories. Through partnerships with nearby campgrounds and local businesses, they invite campers and local residents to listen to a salmon storybook or the history of the Nooksack River while enjoying free s’mores around the campfire. Right across from one of these popular campgrounds is the Horseshoe Bend Trail which runs parallel to the North Fork of the Nooksack River for

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a little over a mile before ending in a horseshoe-shaped loop. This relatively short, accessible trail makes for an ideal guided river walk, providing a close-up look at water quality on a picturesque gravel bar. Through collaboration with local rafting companies, River Stewards interns also connect with whitewater rafters River Stewards Intern Anna Arensmeyer shows a just before they guest the micro invertebrates that salmon fry eat, Nooksack River. put in. The rafters Photo courtesy NSEA learn about the significance of the habitat they are about to float through. Within this two-minute informal presentation on the five types of salmon, these groups gain a better understanding • Multi Day Adventures • Sunset Cruises • Day Trips Low Guilt Wildlife Viewing Aboard a Quiet, Sustainable Vessel!

and connection to the river that is home to these critical and endangered species. Although most 2020 events were cancelled by the pandemic, Nooksack River Stewards is looking forward to another summer in the forest this year. Because it is an odd year, the Nooksack River pink salmon that return every two years will be spawning. Although the specific programming schedule for summer 2021 will remain flexible in response to the uncertainty imposed by the pandemic, Nooksack River Stewards plan to host guided river walks, campfire stories, community work parties, and salmon sighting events.


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Looking Back to Guide What’s Ahead This year’s summer celebrations will be extra special as NSEA celebrates its 30th Anniversary. Their legacy lives on each day in local streams. Since 2000, NSEA’s Restoration Program has improved over 35 miles of stream riparian habitat by removing 128 fish passage barriers, improving fish access to over 115 miles of upstream habitat. NSEA also maintains and monitors a mini-

mum of 30 riparian projects each year. NSEA and the Nooksack River Stewards Program are poised to continue this important restoration and education work in the decades to come. In 2021, NSEA will remove 13 fish passage barriers, improving access to over 20 miles of upstream habitat, as well as installing 17 large woody debris structures and planting over 21,000 native plants along 7,900 feet of stream channel in Whatcom County. “We are just visitors here ourselves and all of this hard work feels more like a reward than an effort,” says NSEA

Executive Director Rachel Vasak. “Hearing a community member describe the wonder they experienced as a child over 20 years ago learning about salmon and habitat from NSEA is just one of many rewards. It is a true joy looking up at a tree we planted—once just a tiny seedling but now over 50feet tall—that shades the stream we’ve cared for. It is here that the Chinook acclimated to the wild as juveniles and now return each spring to spawn a new generation. It just doesn’t get any better ANW than that.”

NSEA’s Impact Over its 30 years, NSEA has completed over 450 restoration projects, planted well over 100,000 trees, and educated more than 25,000 students and 38,000 community members and visitors about wild salmon in Whatcom County. You can NSEA River Stewards Intern Lauren Murphy learn more about the upcoming Nooksack River Stewards Program events, future work parties, and 30th Anniversary celebration events, or make a donation at or by calling 360-715-0283.

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Field Trip Adventures beyond the PNW

Dead Vlei, Namibia Story and photo by Dennis Walton


amibia truly has it all as a travel destination. There are unique tribal cultures and beautiful landscapes populated by the amazing African fauna. To me one landscape region stands out above all others—the Namib Desert. The founders of this young country felt the same way and actually named the country Namibia after this amazing desert.The Namib is one of the oldest and driest ecosystems in the world. Its sands originated in the famous Kalahari Desert. The region called Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft Park is a highlight and also one of the few accessible areas. It is an amazing place con-


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sisting of giant dunes of fine red and orange sands interspersed with dry areas called vleis. One of the most iconic is Dead Vlei. Scorched black skeletons of long dead camel thorn trees add an evocative element to the desolate landscape, especially at sunrise. The trees are not technically petrified—they are believed to have died only 600-700 years ago. It is just so dry that the wood does not decompose. If you decide to visit, seek lodging inside the park. That is the only way you can depart your hotel comforts in the dark and arrive at one of the many vleis before sunrise. A 4WD vehicle gets you closer and makes the walk shorter. Enjoy the trip. ANW

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Cascadia Gear: Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp ®

Headlamps just keep getting better and better – smaller, lighter, brighter, more versatile. Even in this context, the Black Diamond 350 really, er, shines. With 350 lumens on the bright setting, it’s bright enough for most any situation from pre-dawn trekking to late-night stove repair. Features? How about both a spotlight and a wide beam—and a dimmer that remembers your light level when you turn it off. Red setting to protect your night vision? Check. A button to provide a burst of highintensity light when you need to identify the source of that rustling sound in the brush? But of course. More info:

Arc’teryx Rho LT Zip Men’s Base Layer The Rho LT base layer from Arc’teryx delivers amazing fleecy warmth and comfort in a lightweight (7.6 oz.) package. Rare for a base layer, it’s cut long —no riding up—and the moisture wicking Torrent™ brushed polyester blend fabric is stretchy and cozy enough to sleep in. And like everything manufactured by Arc’teryx, it’s well-constructed to provide years of service. More info: https:

Ravean™ Electric Hand Warmer Powerbank This little gizmo comes in handy when the temperatures dip (a recent spring visit to the rim of the Grand Canyon). The cork-wrapped aluminum shell delivers three heat settings (up to 140˚F) to keep you cozy and it doubles as an on-the-go power charger for your phone. Small, light and rugged: what’s not to like? More info:

GCI Brute Force Chair™ Looking for the ultimate, durable, rugged, bombproof camp chair? Look no further than the Brute Force Chair from GCI Outdoor. This chair is nearly as sturdy as your living room furniture. It’s extralarge and heavy-duty with rigid arms and a mesh beverage holder. It ain’t light at more than 10 pounds, but it sure is comfortable. More info:

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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 REI locations across Washington and Oregon as well as at numerous locations in the Vancouver, BC metro area, at races and events, and area visitor centers.

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Luci® Solar String lights by Rachel Thody The Luci Solar String Lights ($44.99) are one of my top essentials for any escapade! The string light packs up neatly within itself making it easy to toss into a gear bag with no worries about getting the string tangled or caught on anything. It charges either via solar power or through a charging port and also functions as a battery to charge electronics if you need to power up. The lights themselves have three modes which is awesome for really lighting up an outdoor space or providing a little bit of ambient glow in a tent or van. I take my Luci Solar String Lights with me to bike race weekends when I’m camping. Cooking meals, working on bikes, and staying up late reading are a lot more doable when you can actually see what you’re doing and these lights have been the perfect solution for that. Smith Basecamp ChromaPop™ Green Mirror Sunglasses by Chris Gerston For years Backcountry Essentials has exclusively carried Smith goggles because they’re the only ones that consistently don’t fog. Finally, this summer we have also brought in a variety of Smith sunglasses to offer that same great quality. I’ve been testing the Basecamp glasses with chromaPop lenses ($179) and I definitely see better with them due to their amazing clarity. The lenses are polarized which helps cut glare in areas of bright sun reflection and anglers rave about how they help them see through flat water. The lightweight frames are designed for a medium fit with medium coverage around the eyes, and the nonslip nose pads keep them in place. And they don’t create any pressure around my temples, providing all day comfort for casual or technical endeavors. Backcountry Essentials, owned by Chris Gerston, is an outdoor specialty shop located at 214 W. Holly in Bellingham, WA.

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“What I especially love about Adventures Northwest, besides its fine writing, stunning photography, the great breadth of topics and landscapes, and the poetry, is the unusual way in which it seeks and often finds real intimacy with the rest of the natural world. So many outdoors publications seem to want to subject some mythic “Nature” to the exploits of the Human, and with gusto. Adventures Northwest recognizes that people are truly a part of nature, and that an adventure worth having should celebrate our wholeness with the lands, waters, plants, magazine and creatures, rather than subordinating them to our own bravado.” Subscribe for Home Delivery at - Robert Michael Pyle


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Rendezvous New for 2021

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Sunday September 26th, 2021

Adventure Races San Juan Island, WA Saturday October 3rd, 2021

Multi-Day, Multi-Distance, Wilderness Celebrations. Mountain Trails by Day, Feasting, Fire, and Song by Night. Mileage Options for EVERY Runner


Girls on the Run Camps

For girls entering 3rd-6th grades in Fall 2021 WHATCOM FAMILY YMCA stories & the race|play|experience calendar online.

The heartbeat of Cascadia





Morning Fury photo by STEVE TRENT The primary objective of our close-knit climbing group on this backcountry trip was the seldom-visited summit of West Fury in the Picket Range. The Pickets have a reputation for difficulty and isolation, and they did not disappoint. It took us four days to reach this point after contending with less than optimal weather and tricky route finding. This morning we had started our traverse along the summit ridge from East Fury to West Fury early to ensure that we could return with daylight to spare. Occupying my usual spot of anchorman, I had a great view of the crew heading out in the morning light.


The heartbeat of Cascadia

Clara "Grandma Joe" Anderson

David Syre

Amy Healy

Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations Please join us at our Gallery. "Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations" features the works of the Anderson/Syre family members outlining their surprising similarities. Our gallery is spacious and allows 6-feet distance at all times. We also provide free masks to every visitor.

We are open to the public Tues-Thurs 11-4 and by appointment. 465 W. Stuart Rd. Bellingham, WA 98226 (360) 746-8745

Gallery Syre is a member of Allied Arts, the Bellingham Whatcom County Bureau of Tourism and Jansen Art Center.

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