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Inland Northwest BIKING GUIDE  MAY 2018 // FREE




May Hikes

Northrup canyon & Colville Mountain

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T M / D ROA Spring into FITNESS FANATICS for ALL Your Bike and Triathlon Equipment Bikes by: CERVELO  KESTREL



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DEPARTMENTS 11 | Spotlight 12 | Race Report 13 | Run Wild 14 | Nature 15 | Hiking 18 | Provisions 20 | Urban Outdoors 21 | Gear Room 22 | Outdoor Living 23 | Watersports



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Intro: Tekoa to Spokane SETTING UP CAMP in the dark with driving wind

and rain and temps in the low 40s was a fitting end to our first day of bikepacking along the John Wayne Trail. The route is wild and rough in places, with few people or amenities along much of its length. We were glad to be off our bikes for the night, but the intense weather made getting a tarp hung up and a small fire going more challenging than normal. Eventually, the tarp was up, giving us some protection from the drenching, dime-size raindrops that had been relentlessly soaking us, and we were able to get a fire going to dry out our gear with firewood a friend had stashed nearby (thanks Kevin!). We were maybe 75 trail miles from downtown Spokane, but the pitch-black

skies, and roaring creek near camp made it feel like we were far, far away from civilization and lost in time in a world dominated by ancient basalt. The sun and wind greeted us for our second day of riding, and we soon left the John Wayne Trail for the Columbia Plateau Trail (CPT). Heading back towards Spokane, this middle section of the CPT is legendary in the minds of anyone who has ridden its rough and loose railroad ballast surface. These are the conditions that truly warrant our fat bike setups. Later that day, we reach the improved section of the CPT that’s suitable for normal mountain bikes, and eventually, with some farm road detours, our camp for the night. Our third and final day of riding carried on along the CPT through the scablands and Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and eventually the

Cheney trailhead, where the crushed rock trail surface gave way to pavement as we approached the end of the CPT at Fish Lake. The home stretch was on a section of the Cheney-Spokane Road, then on the paved Fish Lake Trail all the way into downtown Spokane where we navigated busy city streets and shrugged off surprised looks from passing motorists to finish off the trip with beers in the sun on a north Spokane front lawn. A 130 bikepacking trip like this certainly isn’t for everyone, but being able to ride from Tekoa to Spokane like we did, or Seattle to the Idaho border, Pasco to Spokane, or Seattle to Spokane and beyond to Coeur d’Alene, which are all possible on rail trails and paved paths with a few detours, is pretty sweet. Whether you dirtbag it and return home smelling like a wild animal, stay in style at hotels

and B&Bs, or ride the most scenic and well-developed sections as day trips and sleep in your own bed, the potential for world-class, bike-based adventure here in the Inland Northwest is unbelievable when you start adding up the miles of amazing trails nearby. Several of these trails, many of which can be linked up, are highlighted in our first-annual Biking Guide (page 26): the John Wayne Trail, Columbia Plateau Trail, Fish Lake Trail, Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Route of the Hiawatha, and the Ferry County Rail Trail. It doesn’t take a sufferfest to experience the magic of these trails. Find a trail and a section that inspires you, even just a few miles, and go. // DERRICK KNOWLES, PUBLISHER

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Dispatches NEW GUIDEBOOK: DAY HIKE! SPOKANE, COEUR D’ALENE & SANDPOINT SEABURY BLAIR SPENT 30 years as the outdoor editor of the “Kitsap Sun” newspaper in Bremerton, Wash., but this Spokane native never forgot the trails that transformed his younger years. After already writing nine guidebooks, he spent 2016 hiking 75 glorious trails around Spokane and North Idaho, and compiled them into the region’s newest hiking guide. “I tried to bring a different perspective from other day hiking books about this neck of the woods. My hope was to provide the information in an entertaining manner, to try to engage readers

who perhaps have never set foot on a trail. For the most part, the hikes I chose to include are closer to the urban centers, which makes the hikes easy to reach for most anyone,” Blair says. Seventy-five hikes seemed like the right number for this book. Some of Blair’s previous books, like “The Creaky Knees Guides to Washington or Oregon,” run a little long. However, this latest hiking guide is perfect for anyone who lives in town and wants to find an easy hiking trail escape. (Jon Jonckers)

GONZAGA COLLEGIATE CLIMBER CRUSHES THE COMPETITION HANNAH TOLSON just might be the best allaround female collegiate climber in the nation. In 2017, she won the National Championship in the women’s collegiate sport climbing division. This year, she set her sights on sport climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering, and she stunned the judges by finishing third, third and fifth. By entering all three categories, she committed to a 15-hour competition day unlike any previous day of climbing in her entire life. This 2018 climbing success is even sweeter because her overall scores qualify her for the US Climbing Team, and she has been invited to travel to the 2018 World University Championships taking place in June in Bratislava, Slovakia. “The pressure was definitely on because I knew Slovakia was on the line. Last year, I chose to specialize in one discipline and try my hardest at it to take the gold. I wouldn’t trade that win for anything, but making top five in all three disciplines this year has felt even more special,” says Tolson. The difference for climbers competing in all three disciplines is they essentially complete three competitions in the time every other climber finishes one. It’s mentally and physically exhausting, and it’s especially difficult climbing next to fullyrested climbers. After all the scores were tallied, Tolson learned she was the only US climber (male or female) to qualify for Worlds in all three disciplines. “I owe it all to the constant support from Gonzaga University, and the help from my trainer, Travis Knight,” she says. “He does the training for several Gonzaga teams. Next stop, WORLDS!” (Jon Jonckers)




WASHINGTON’S CONSERVATION community was understandably concerned when rumors began to circulate this spring that U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would be visiting the North Cascades to make an announcement about the proposed restoration of grizzly bears. Zinke hasn’t exactly been a champion for nature since he ceremoniously arrived at his first day of work on horseback, and overturned a ban on lead ammunition in national parks and national wildlife refuges only hours after climbing out of the saddle. However, he apparently holds a special place in his heart for grizzly bears, and on March 23, he endorsed the recovery planning process for grizzlies in the North Cascades. The North Cascades Ecosystem remains one of the wildest places in the Lower 48, with 6.1 million acres of mostly public lands connected to additional wildlands in British Columbia. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) added the North Cascades to its national Grizzly Recovery Bear Plan in 1997, but recovery lay dormant for years despite tena-

cious efforts by grizzly bear advocates to move the process along. Then, beginning in 2010 and over the next several summers, a team of more than a dozen field biologists patrolled the region’s alpine landscape with hair-snagging stations designed to detect bears. The result? They found hundreds of black bears and zero evidence of grizzlies. Right now, there are four options for pursuing grizzly bear recovery: a “no-action” alternative (maintaining the status quo), and three “action” alternatives for achieving the ultimate goal of restoring “a self-sustaining population of at least 200 bears” over the next 25 to 100 years. The estimated speed of recovery will depend on the option selected. According to Jack Oelfke, Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources at North Cascades National Park, they have a lot of work to do to move the process along in the near future. Grizzly supporters are cautiously optimistic that, in the not-toodistant future, the bears will once again roam free in the North Cascades. (Jon Jonckers)

THE NORTH FACE AND GIRL SCOUTS PARTNER ON ADVENTURE BADGES GIRL SCOUTS has been blazing the trail for girls’ leadership in the outdoors for more than a century, and their Outdoor Badges continue to be one of its most popular badge categories. Spring of 2018 is an especially exciting time as they announce a national partnership with The North Face through which girls will challenge themselves, learn about their natural world, and continue the Girl Scout tradition of having life-changing outdoor experiences. By partnering with The North Face as it launches its first-ever global initiative focused on women, Girl Scouts is taking its outdoor programming to the next level. Over the next couple of years, 12 new Outdoor Adventure Badges will be added that could range from mountaineering and climbing to backpacking, hiking, and trail running. The new badges will encourage and instruct young women in the Girl Scouts of Eastern WA & Northern ID (GSEWNI) about the benefits of exploration as

they build outdoor leadership skills. But girls in Eastern Washington and North Idaho don’t have to wait for the new badges to experience the outdoors or to take their outdoor adventures to the next level. With a slate of outdoor adventure programs at Camp Four Echoes and outdoor programming offered throughout the year, girls can experience a wide range of outdoor adventure in the immediate area. “Girls don’t need to be a Girl Scout to attend our camp or any of our summer day-camp programs,” says Lani Nachtseim, Girl Experience Director for GSEWNI. “Whether it’s your first time getting outdoors or you’re a seasoned pro, our outdoor programs are designed to grow with you. Our programs are designed for girls of all skill levels.” To learn more about their outdoor programming, please visit their website,, or contact their council headquarters at (Jon Jonckers)


allocations to fight wildfires have fallen short. Year after year, in the face of significant wildfires, the Forest Service has been forced to raid funding from other programs in the midst of wildfire season in order to meet its budget. The new 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill will cut the current practice of “fire borrowing” by providing designated federal funds for wildfire management and allowing Forest Service budgets to be spent as they were intended—on recreation, services, and programs. Since 1995, the cost of wildfire management and suppression has surpassed the projections almost every year, resulting in major cuts to other programs. Fewer and fewer dollars have been spent on programs such as wildfire prevention efforts, trail and road maintenance, and infrastructure updates.

In 2017 alone, the Forest Service spent more than $2 billion on wildfire suppression, which equates to 55 percent of the agency’s entire budget. Under the new bipartisan bill, wildfire management will receive a comprehensive funding solution for major forest fires from the federal government. Rather than drawing from the Forest Service budget, wildfire funding will receive an additional fund—on top of their regular budget—to aid in fire management. The disaster relief budget will begin in 2020 as an additional $2.25 billion and will ramp up to $2.95 billion by 2027. Quite frankly, this means less money is diverted from the Forest Service budget to fight fires, more funding will be available to keep forests healthy, and conduct regular trail maintenance and complete necessary trail restoration work after a fire sweeps through. (Jon Jonckers)


scholarships by hiking the Dave Brittell Memorial Trail on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in Okanogan County on National Trails Day, June 2. This fourth-annual hike is in memory of a great lover of hiking, trails and wildlife. Dave Brittell was a wildlife biologist and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) leader whose work over 38 years left a legacy of public lands for wildlife habitat conservation and recreation. The eight-mile trail on the Sinlahekin, one of Dave’s favorite places, was dedicated in his name in 2014 after his death from cancer at the age of


61. Every year since then Dave’s family and friends have conducted a scholarship fund-raising hike on the trail on National Trails Day. To date, more than $9,000 has been raised and scholarships awarded to five wildlife biology students enrolled in four different Pacific Northwest colleges. Participants receive commemorative t-shirts with original designs by Brittell family or friends, and can end the day with a barbecue and evening campfire. More hike details and required pre-registration can be acquired from using “Attention Brittell Hike” in the subject line. (OTO)





City of Colville, Wash. // By Holly Weiler

I FIND MYSELF PASSING through Colville on my way to

nearby recreational access points several times each month. It’s a great place to stop for a quick snack or a cup of coffee on my way to elsewhere, but until recently it lacked a good close-to-town soft-surface hiking or biking trail. Despite housing the headquarters for the Colville National Forest, the nearest trail has always been at least 20 minutes out of town. That has changed with the recent development of the Colville Mountain trail system on the outskirts of the city. Volunteers with the Northeast Washington Trailblazers (NEWTs) hiking and mountain biking group worked closely with the City of Colville to create single-track trails on the edge of town. The loop trail system consists of 3.5 miles that offer visitors good views of the Colville Valley, including a bird’s-eye view of Main Street. Visitors can choose to extend their visit by ascending old logging roads above the loop trail. This is the route to the big cross on the hillside above town, and there’s a small picnic shelter nearby that’s great for a rest break before continuing the circuit and returning to the base of the mountain. May is the perfect time to visit, as the hillsides are covered in arrowleaf balsamroot and other spring wildflowers, even as the surrounding mountainsides may still be coated in a layer of snow. The trail system is a moderate hike that’s great for the entire family, or a challenging mountain bike ride with some good climbs and descents.



From the parking area at the end of May Road, begin the circuit by starting up the old road bed. Approximately a quarter mile from the start, the single track trail drops just below the roadbed. Pick up a copy of the trail map at the small trail kiosk at this location. Then hike, run, or ride the contouring trail as it darts in and out of small drainages along the edge of the mountain Distance: Up to 4.5 miles round-trip Rating: Moderate Getting There: Take Highway 395 north to Colville, Wash. When Highway 395 makes the bend west onto 5th Ave. just north of downtown Colville, continue north on Main Street. Main Street turns into May Road and dead-ends at the small parking area for the Colville Mountain trail system.

Give Back to Your Trails: Join Washington Trails Association for spring trips to Manressa Grotto on May 12, 13, and 15; register at Holly Weiler is a hiker, backpacker, trail runner, and skier. She writes the Hike of the Month column for Out There.

Spotlight ADVENTURE WITH FLOW // By Lisa Laughlin


FOR JON WILMOT, it’s all about helping folks have

a good time. If you find yourself sitting on a landstranded kayak waiting out a thunderstorm, he’ll be the one cracking the jokes.

Wilmot owns and operates the Spokane outfitter and guide company FLOW Adventures. With Wilmot or one of his FLOW Adventures guides, you can raft or kayak the whitewater rapids of the

Spokane River or Salmon River, rent tubes for floating the Spokane in style, and more. “My overall goal is to create memories for people in the outdoors. If you can create lasting memories, people are much more likely to protect the natural resources that we have,” says Wilmot. Wilmot grew up in Cheney, traveled around a bit, and settled in Spokane, a city he loves in part because of the wild but accessible river that churns through downtown. By now Wilmot knows the ins and outs—where a beginner might try paddleboarding and where the class II and III rapids begin. This summer will be Wilmot’s 20th year on the river. “I just love the water. Period,” says Wilmot. He admits, however, that his dirty pleasure is trail running. It’s part of what makes Spokane such a great place for Wilmot and FLOW Adventures—he doesn’t have to choose between Class III rapids and running a marathon distance on trails. Wilmot worked as the rental coordinator at EPIC at Eastern Washington University, and has a degree in recreation, but for him it’s always been about something more fundamental. “I’ve always liked to tinker. I love to play with equipment. I like to modify gear and repair it and give it a go,” says Wilmot. He started FLOW Adventures with his wife Jeanie in 2005, and has been tinkering to create great adventures for people ever since. Wilmot says there are two elements that make for a good guide: clear knowledge of client expectation and a sense of humor. “There are those experiences when you get caught in Mother Nature, or the van breaks down, where you have no control over it. That can ruin someone’s trip. A good guide who has some humor can see the moment and paint the canvas for the

client that they’re still having a good time,” says Wilmot. Some of Wilmot’s favorite adventures are when Mother Nature is on clear and powerful display. He once led a group on an autumn hike on the Pacific Coast. He prepared to move to higher ground when he saw a large squall coming in from the Pacific Ocean. The storm pulled in about a mile off the coast and just sat, says Wilmot. His group watched the lightning storm throw a magnificent tantrum. In the spring, Wilmot checks the weather often. He pays close attention to the water spike from spring melt. He knows the best time of year to catch Class III rapids, and the best time for a leisurely float. The variety of the Spokane River is one of its great characteristics. Through adventuring, Wilmot hopes people will love the river as much as he does so they care about preserving it, too. “I want my great-grandkids to be able to float the Spokane River, and I want there to be enough water in it for them to do so,” says Wilmot. One of Wilmot’s most gratifying tours has been helping a longtime Spokane resident learn to kayak. “She’d always been told to stay away from the river, and she was like, ‘I can’t believe this is down here. I’ve lived here 60 years and I’ve never been down here,’” he says. You can call Wilmot at FLOW Adventures to book a customizable river adventure or take advantage of a self-guided float. Wilmot says no matter your method of getting on the water, you should buy a personal floatation device that’s comfortable enough that you’ll wear it. Learn more about FLOW Adventures at and Spokane River conservation efforts at //

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// By Allison Armfield



If you live in Spokane, you are most likely familiar with Bloomsday. If you are a runner in Spokane, chances are you’ve heard of other local races, such as the Spokane Marathon and St. Paddy’s 5 miler. But did you know that these races, along with several others, are all connected as part of a race series? The Bloomsday Road Runners Club (BRRC) coordinates an annual race series, free to members, that spans almost the entire year. The mission of the series is, “to promote and reward consistency in running in a variety of distances throughout the year.� These races vary in distance from 5K to a marathon and are also designated for “motivating competition.� In order to participate in the race series, you must be a current BRRC member; memberships expire every year on Bloomsday.

After Bloomsday, the next race in the series is the Windermere Marathon or Half Marathon on May 20. This course is scenic, with the route going along the Spokane River on the Centennial Trail, and is also flat, with net negative elevation. Windermere is USATF certified and a Boston Qualifier, and appeals to both runners who are looking to qualify or set personal records. During prime racing season, the Windermere Marathon or Half Marathon is the perfect race to train for; the scenery is great, and with the fast course, your results will most likely be impressive. For a full list of the race series, please visit Some of the most popular races in the BRRC series include: • Partners in Pain—a 5K scheduled close to Valentine’s Day where partners enter as a team and place based on combined age and time • Rapid Rabbit

• Recycle Run • Windermere Half and Full Marathon • Sundae Sunday—a 10-miler sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s, which provides runners with ice cream after a longer run. FARRAGUT TRAIL RUN (MAY 19)

Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to hit the trails! The Trail Maniacs coordinate a series of trail runs each year that take participants through our local parks. The majority of these runs are challenging in elevation, but rewarding with their views. I am constantly amazed by the beauty we have right here in our own backyard, and the Trail Maniacs runs never fail to reveal it to me. Their next event is the Farragut Trail Run on May 19. Farragut State Park is located on the Southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille near Athol,

Idaho. Once a World War II naval training station, this route offers history in addition to stunning scenery. In typical Trail Maniacs fashion, there is the option to camp, have a potluck dinner the night before, and refuel at post-race BBQ. Their events aim to be family-friendly and fun; they focus more on the joys of trail running and spending time with good friends and family than on awards. For a killer run with beautiful views and a fun after party, the Farragut Trail Run (or any Trail Maniacs event) is guaranteed to be a good time! // Allison Armfield enjoys running, as well as exploring and backpacking around the beautiful Inland Northwest. She wrote about Winter Warriors Running in February.




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// By Sarah Hauge


IS IT AN ADULT RITE OF PASSAGE to start disliking crowds? Maybe it’s just an introvert thing. In any case, well into my 30s, I’ve found that many seemingly-great events are simply not worth enduring all the people. Browsing with strangers pressed up against my elbows, long bathroom lines, and impossible-to-find parking? No thanks. For me this has ruled out quite a few street fairs (with free bouncy house!), home and garden expos, and three-on-three basketball tournaments (always held on an asphalt-meltingly hot June day). If left to my own devices, I’ll just stay home. By my own logic, this would steer me clear of Bloomsday, with its tens of thousands of runners,

walkers, and wheelchair racers, buses shuttling participants in and out, buildings locked and roads blocked, dozens of people at arm’s length or closer, stretching and retying shoes and standing around on Riverside waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the race to start. When it comes to Bloomsday, though, none of that bothers me at all. Bloomsday was my first-ever race, and it’s still my favorite. The crowd is exactly what makes it great. I didn’t know what to expect as I lined up on Riverside for the first time in 2004, having moved to Spokane the fall before. I watched people bat around beach balls and toss their extra warm-up

layers into the trees lining the street. Many (many, many) minutes went by waiting for the starting gun to go off. When my section finally got the all-clear to start running, the wave of people around me slowly shifted into jogging pace and I was swept up with them. It was miles before I could move easily, without checking over my shoulder and weaving carefully to clearer ground. I was part of a crush of strangers, united by a common mission. I knew about the infamous Doomsday Hill, but was blissfully unaware of the ascent out of Peaceful Valley, and the subtle but never-ending slope stretching up Fort George Wright Dr. I had clearly not trained enough to thrive during the race, but I survived. And, I loved it—the bands and solo musicians dispersed along the course, the nuns cheering on runners by shaking plastic hand clappers at the descent before Doomsday, the people watching from their front porches in Browne’s Addition, the kids selling popsicles and hosing off overheated runners in West Central. Since moving here, Bloomsday is the only Spokane event I’ve never missed. Some years I’ve “raced” more than others, training hard and pushing myself for PRs. Those times I focus less on the music and the costumes, until I cross the finish line and wind back through the starting area, passing by the thousands of Bloomies still waiting their turn to begin the race, in an atmosphere that feels much more like a block party than it does nearer the front of the pack. Other years, like the time I was nursing an IT band injury, or when I did an ungraceful, long Bloomsday jog at eight months pregnant, I’ve started farther back and taken it slower, stopping more along the way and simply

enjoying the day as it unfolds. What’s great about Bloomsday is that it’s for everyone (and still a steal at $20 for a well-run race with plenty of volunteers and an iconic shirt). It’s for the international elites as much as it is for the people ambling along in jeans and flip-flops. It’s for the grandmother who walks it every year with her granddaughters. For the kids running their first-ever race alongside mom or dad, the tweens who stroll as a pack, flirting and snacking all along the way and finishing in well over three hours. It’s for Gonzaga’s ROTC, chanting and keeping a steady pace over the 7.46 miles, for the women in superhero costumes or Raggedy Ann attire, the inevitable guy (or 2 or 3 or 20) in a grass skirt and coconut bra. It’s for the wheelchair racers who will finish in under half an hour, and for the perennials, those stalwart participants who haven’t skipped a Bloomsday since its inception in 1977. Bloomsday is the exception that proves my crowds-aren’t-for-me rule. It’s good to be part of something bigger than yourself, and Bloomsday reminds me of that each year. It’s never quiet, and certainly never serene. And though that’s not usually what I look for in a run, the palpable energy and all-are-welcome atmosphere are what make my adopted home’s hometown race unmissable. // Sarah Hauge is a writer and editor who lives in Spokane with her husband and two children. She’ll be running in her 15th consecutive Bloomsday this May, and running alongside her daughters in the Marmot March kids’ race the day before. She wrote profiles of several local runners in the April issue.





ONE OF THE SURE SIGNS of spring is the return of our seasonal birds. Many people think of the robins out in the yard pulling worms after a rain or flocks of red-winged black birds calling as they establish territory in the cattail and tule marshes. But when I think of bird behavior in the spring, I think of fish heads in my front yard, arm-sized branches falling at random from the sky, and the aerial courtship of osprey. Sitting in my front yard is a large ponderosa pine with a broken top that rises above the nearby willow, cottonwoods, and agricultural fields, making it an excellent nesting spot for my seasonal neighbors: a pair of osprey. I get a front-row vantage point to watch these fish-hunting hawks progress through the season. Osprey are the ultimate snowbird, spending the warm months near lakes and rivers up north, and in the winter, finding warmer waters in Mexico and even as far as South America. Each spring, osprey make the long flight back north to their previous year’s nesting site, and in my case to a ponderosa near the banks of Hangman Creek. Upon their return, they have some housekeeping and courtship activities to attend to around their nest sites. Males will get busy finding sticks to refresh their nesting sites. As the male gathers stick of the correct size, it will slam them into other tree branches, causing the cascade of branches to fall seemingly at random in my yard. The female takes on the task of arranging those branches. Nests will start about three feet in diameter, but over several years can reach ten feet wide. Ospreys have a couple unique behaviors in the hawk world. Their long, slow wing beats allows less maneuverability and prevents them from hunting and flying in forest. This, and safety from predators, is why osprey prefer to nest in open areas. As a way to discourage them from nesting on utility poles, many companies install taller nesting platforms. Like some neighbors, they can get a little loud at times. During this nest-building period, a magnificent courtship display occurs, often referred to as the “sky dance” or “fish flight.” With legs dangling, males will fly and hover—sometimes up to 600 feet above the nest—with fish or nesting material clasped in their talons. They will utter a screaming call as they swoop and hover, losing altitude until they reach the nest. Unlike other birds of prey that feed on fish, the osprey’s diet consists almost entirely of fish. Watching osprey hunt is an exciting experience in aerial maneuverability. Unlike other fish-hunting raptors, osprey will dive head and talons first into the water, completely submerging. Osprey also

have specialized pads on their toes that allow them to hold on to slippery fish. During the nesting period, males do the majority of the fishing and will feed both the female and the hatchlings. Once they have a fish, they will hold it straight under their bodies like a torpedo. Males will frequently sit on branches below the nest to devour their meals and make them ready to share, discarding the less appetizing head and backbone, leaving them for me to find strewn about the yard. They do have to deal with pesky neighbors of their own. Both males and females will fiercely defend their nest site. When they first arrive to my ponderosa, they usually have to kick out a pair of geese that like to hang out in the nest, which is odd because geese nest on the ground. During the rest of the season, I frequently hear the defensive call of osprey chasing after magpies and sometimes redtail hawks. This behavior makes them good neighbors as the osprey’s ability to chase off other hawks




keeps our free-roaming chickens a little safer. In late April or May, the females will lay one to four eggs, which will hatch in three weeks. My osprey neighbors will then spend the next six weeks raising their young till they are ready to fly. The young will spend the next two months with their parents learning to fish, before the whole family makes their way south again. The numerous lakes and rivers in the Spokane area make this region excellent seasonal habitat for osprey and give us ample opportunity to watch their unique behaviors. I for one am glad that they are my neighbors, even if they occasionally leave fish heads in the yard. // When Adam Gebauer is not teaching skiing or summiting a mountain, he is wrangling his herd of goats and running Syringa Ecological Consulting. He wrote about bat condos in the last issue of OTO.




THE FIRST TIME I HIKED into Northrup Canyon

of drowning (beware of the rattlesnakes, though) it I was purposefully off course. It was the day after takes only a few minutes once you start walking into an old friend’s funeral on Vashon Island, and the ravine to see dramatic evidence of what, at least the lure of solitude was much stronger than the in geologic time, is a very recent natural explosion. pull of whatever else was piling up alongside the When he explored Northrup Canyon nearly unopened mail back home. a century ago, the famous American geologist J Under those circumstances, the detour onto the Harlen Bretz knew exactly what had happened. primitive road leading to a hanging gorge east of “One can stand on the brink of Northrup Canyon and aver with confidence that it can never be satBanks Lake was a near-perfect choice. Within a isfactorily explained except as an extinct Niagara,” few minutes I was walking into a majestic rip in he wrote. the earth. We’d probably all know more about this spectacWhat Bretz first termed “the Spokane flood” (there were actually dozens) roared 150 miles ular ravine if it weren’t so close (3 miles) to another west before excavating Grand Coulee and what epic eastern Washington landmark, Steamboat Rock. Steamboat is a massive anvil that rises 800 is now Northrup Canyon. Upon arrival, the torfeet above the surface of the water in upper Grand rents blasted through the basalt and began to Coulee. You can’t miss it. expose the underlying granite—and not just a few pieces here and there. Near the canyon mouth is a You can very easily miss Northrup Canyon because its mouth is hidden from the highway massive gumdrop of exposed granite, nicknamed (State route 155, linking Coulee City to Grand “Gibralter,” that rises well over a hundred feet from Coulee dam) by a formidable bulwark of bedrock the canyon floor. It’s a jaw-dropping sample of the and ancient flood deposits. same granitic bedrock that anchors the footings If you’d started your day driving from Pasco or for Grand Coulee Dam, eight miles to the north. Portland, the only rock outcrops your eyes would The classic great floods canyons, like Grand Coulee, have met for hours heading toward Grand Coulee are U-shaped. Northrup Canyon is actually shaped are those of basalt, the bronze lava layers of eastern more like a W, with a gleaming ridge of granite Washington bedrock that—just beneath our topbetween the basalt outer cliffs. soil—cover tens of thousands of square miles. Drill No river was involved in the creation of the cana hole near Pasco and two miles down you can still yon, but there is a small stream, Northrup Creek, that waters aspen and dogwood and sinks beneath be drilling into wedding cake layers of basalt like those on display at Steamboat Rock. its cobbles in late summer. A central trail follows When you get near the mouth of Northrup the creek a couple miles east to the abandoned Northrup homestead, then doglegs northeast Canyon, however, the road cuts gleam white, and toward a plunge-pool lake. A climbing trail on orange, and pink with granite. Because granite, unlike basalt, can only form deep in the crust, it the south side of the canyon (off limits in winter always takes tens of millions of years of uplift and months so as not to disturb large numbers of nesttedious erosion for the shoulders and spires of a ing bald eagles) offers panoramic views from the batholith to appear at the surface. Well, almost top of the rim rock. always. What’s somewhat mind blowing about the To be sure, the rocks have a great story to tell granite in the Northrup Canyon area is just how here. But on any given day, as time drifts forward, so do the pines, the aspen, the nesting raptors and suddenly and recently it was exhumed. It was essentially a modern event. Scientists the ever-present ravens whose calls echo against believe Northrup Canyon was formed during the the cliffs. It’s like walking into an unfinished, epic poem. // very last stages of the most recent ice age floods. This means it is likely the canyon didn’t even exist when the earliest North Americans arrived in the Tim Connor is a regional and national award-winInland Northwest. If people were here to witness ning investigative reporter who specializes in complex BUY Huckleberry’s Market |legal, Pilgrim’s Market the forces that LOC createdAL the canyon, they almost| Main environmental, and public corruption stories. He wrote about Frenchman Coulee certainly perished minutes of Food the wit-Co-op OR AMA ZON.COMin March. Winterwithin Ridgea few | Moscow nessing. Though modern hikers are in no danger



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KIDS +++




// By Amy S. McCaffree


EVERYONE HAS A NOSTALGIC STORY about how it all began. “I’ve been fishing my entire life but began fly fishing when I was 19 years old. I saw how much fun my father and his buddies were having and couldn’t say no,” says Josh Mills, who grew up in Spokane and a Wild Steelhead Coalition board member. Now 37 years old and father of two sons, ages 7 and 4, he says, “My biggest tool for teaching my kids is exposure to the sport…and keeping it as fun as possible.” Most important, he advises, is allowing a child to learn at his or her own pace. “I’m trying my best to not force my hobbies on my children, but encourage them where I can to foster the ‘fun’ element,” he says. “That means not having to just fly fish, but to fish traditional gear at the lake and focus on a fishery that provides a ton of opportunity— anywhere there’s panfish, like perch and bluegills.” For general trout fishing season, Mills recommends Fishtrap, West Medical, and Williams lakes. “Local lakes that are heavily stocked are often good bets to get a lot of action,” he says. As for technical fly fishing instruction, Mills advises starting with “the basics of the cast.” For young children, Mills recommends using the Echo “Gecko” rod, made by a Portland-based company. He’s been using it with his sons. “It casts a normal fly line, but all the add-ons are made for smaller



hands and physique,” he says. Echo’s Micro Practice Rod is another teaching tool he recommends. Kids can “easily practice in the house, park, or backyard and get exactly the same feeling as casting a real rod,” Mills says. “From a teaching perspective, it’s always going to be easier to try and cast a dry fly as opposed to a weighted nymph or streamer.” He

suggests putting targets on the grass to increase the fun. For online help, Orvis provides instructional videos that focus on teaching children at On the water, he teaches his kids “how to read the water, where fish live, and what to do when a fish hits,” Mills says. When fly fishing with his sons,

SPOKANE KIDS FISHING DAY (MAY 4): The 4th annual Spokane Kid’s Fishing Day at Clear Lake

(west of Spokane near Cheney) is sponsored by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Neis Family Memorial, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Each participant gets to fish with help from seasoned anglers and take home a t-shirt and a rod and reel, included in the $10 per child cost (free for all current and former Ronald McDonald House kids and their families).

KLINK’S ANNUAL FISHING DERBY (MAY 20): Klink’s Resort on Williams Lake south of Cheney, Wash. hosts this annual fishing contest with prizes going to the three biggest fish caught in adult and children’s divisions. Entry into the derby is $10 per person, and Klinks is a family-friendly resort with a restaurant, RV hookups, boat rentals, and fishing equipment and supplies for sale. All proceeds benefit Shriner’s Hospital for Children. NATIONAL FISHING AND BOATING WEEK (JUNE 2-10): State fish and wildlife departments offer no-license Free Fishing Days for one or more days each year. In Idaho, it’s June 9 (always the second Saturday in June); in Washington, it’s that entire weekend, June 9-10; and in Montana, free fishing is during Father’s Day weekend, June 16-17. Check each state’s website for complete details. National Marina Day is also June 9 and a good time to explore a new lake or river.

for now, he typically does the casting but lets them “fight the fish when the take happens.” Perch, bluegill, bass, and similar species, according to Mills, provide good experiential-learning opportunities. “They are super aggressive and are more willing to hit a lot,” he says. After a successful catch, “it’s about teaching respect for the fish,” says Mills. For catch-andrelease, children need to be shown “how to safely handle the fish, revive it, and let it go.” For keeper fish, Mills teaches his sons how to quickly and humanely “put it down.” Mills doesn’t want to overwhelm his young sons. “There’s more to it than just the fishing part. It’s a lot of fun to just turn over rocks and look at the bugs, and connect the relation between those bugs and the flies we’re using. Also, my sons can row our raft when it’s safe on the river. Keeping the trip well stocked in cookies and candy always helps!” As for his kids gaining proficiency in the sport, Mills is not concerned. “Casting a fly rod will come with age,” he says. // Amy S. McCaffree is special section editor and compiled the Family Outdoors & Summer Activity Guide for the April issue. She enjoys camping and hanging out along the river while her husband teaches their two children about flyfishing and catch-and-release.











(n.) food, drink, or equipment, especially for a journey.




APERITIF IT’S FARMERS’ MARKET TIME BY S. MICHAL BENNETT A FARMERS’ MARKET IS a community space where local farmers, producers, and crafters sell their fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy products, baked goods, and other value-added products to the public. It is an opportunity for customers to buy fresh foods, get to know your farmers, and connect with small producers in your area. It also allows farmers and vendors to bring their wares to a larger number of people than they would be able to impact on their own. One summer, I took on the challenge of purchasing 90 percent of my diet from Kootenai County farmers’ markets. Each week for two months, I discovered new foods and ingredients, challenged my culinary creativity, sipped locally-roasted coffee, and enjoyed a hot slice of artisan pizza. I also took home fresh flowers picked that day, savored the wide variety of live music, and built relationships with my neighbors. Many markets also offer cooking demonstrations, kids’ activities, massage therapy, and more. Our farmers’ markets also make healthy foods more accessible to everyone. Some markets even have specific programs, like “Fresh Bucks” at the Emerson Garfield Farmers’ Market, that make it easier for financially-challenged families to buy healthy foods. All markets also accept debit/credit cards and some take EBT cards, WIC, and Senior Nutrition Farmers’ Market Coupons. There are nine weekly markets in Spokane and the Valley, with additional markets in Cheney, Colville, Newport, and Chewelah. The Liberty Lake Farmers’ Market is one of the most popular in the Inland Northwest, and the Kootenai County Farmers’ Markets in Coeur d’Alene and Hayden are the largest in North Idaho. There are also fantastic markets in Sandpoint, Rathdrum, Post Falls, and Athol. 18





1 large bunch of curly green kale 1 medium carrot 1 medium yellow or red bell pepper 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1 Tablespoon honey or agave nectar 1/2 cup sunflower oil 1/4 cup freshly ground peanut or almond butter (no added sweeteners) 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Rinse kale, carrot, and pepper. Remove kale leaves from ribs and chop roughly. Grate carrot. Cut pepper into thin slices. Combine all three in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until emulsified. You can also pulse gently in a food processor or blender. Should be drizzling consistency, not thick. Pour dressing over the vegetables and massage into the kale with clean hands until everything is coated. Let it sit for no more than 5 minutes, then serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings. (S. Michal Bennett)


The Voodoo Ranger series from New Belgium Brewing stands among the best IPA craft beers in the country, and the brewery actually improved on a masterpiece when they introduced the Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA. The Juicy Haze IPA is an American Style IPA. The unfiltered appearance is what draws some people to the hazy-IPA category, but there are many characteristics that accent this beer including dry-hopping, the use of highprotein grains, certain CO2 levels, the type of yeast strain, as well as other brewing techniques. This beer was created with the goal to provide hoppybeer drinkers with a specialty option packed with tropical aromas and citrusy flavors. Although this isn’t an Imperial IPA, it does feature a 7.5% ABV and a mild 42 IBU. Admittedly, some trends come and go, but the IPA is a pillar in the craft beer community, and this unique IPA resonates with anyone looking for more taste, more refreshment, and moderate sweetness. With a medium-dry finish, the Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA is intentionally imbalanced towards a hoppy aroma, without the harsh or bitter aftertaste. Cheers. (Jon Jonckers)

When it comes to finding delicious, solid recipes, the internet can be an overwhelming source with its extensive recipe databases, magazine sites, cooking shows, and food blogs. There are several blogs in Spokane that review and recommend restaurants and eateries, such as Spokane Eats and SpoCOOL, but food and recipe blogs are a rarity. My local online favorite is called “Feasting At Home: Where Healthy Meets Delicious.” Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner, former caterer, and current chef. With a partner, she opened Mizuna in Spokane back in 1996, then ran Feast Catering for many years. She started “Feasting At Home” as an outlet for her catering recipes and was soon hooked on the blog life. “This is way more fun than catering,” says Fountaine. “I can do it in my pajamas at home!” Fountaine’s recipes and blog posts focus on seasonal ingredients, flavorful combinations, and healthy cooking for a fast-paced world. As we head into the growing season and look forward to the opening of the farmers markets, her blog will be one of my first stops for dinner ideas. “A big part of seasonal ingredients,” says Fountaine, “is going to the farmers’ markets, seeing what’s there, and coming up with food to make from those ingredients.” With each post, she aims to help her readers find a balance in their kitchens and families. “Some people who come to my blog are vegan, some are vegetarian, and some are paleo,” explains Fountaine. “I try to find the common denominator among those groups, and that is plants.” Although she owned a vegetarian restaurant for 10 years, she is married to a carnivore and doesn’t hold to the belief that “one diet fits all.” Her pages are filled with foods that cover a wide spectrum, from vegan and gluten-free, to ethnic, fish, and rich meats. Her blog’s accessibility, practicality, and presentation have opened her up to a whole new world of people. “It’s a really cool business,” she says, “because you are reaching a huge market with the internet, not just Spokane. It’s interesting and fun meeting people from all around the world.” (S. Michal Bennett)


When Ammi Midstokke is not chasing her first love (trails), she is preaching her second (food) as a Nutritional Therapist. She wrote about carboloading in April.


S P O K A N E .C O





Y 8 AM - 2 P M NDA






tain our health. The small things make a big difference: Having some vegetables in all of your meals, choosing to have water instead of wine some days, moving your body regularly, or establishing real breakfast routines instead of coffee and an energy bar. If you have a moment while you’re driving or pedaling to work today, think about the daily habits that contribute to or distract you from your optimal health. Could you have a quick veggie omelet instead of a Kind bar? What if you did not hit the taco truck for lunch every day but just some days? Little changes make a big difference over time. And they are far less intimidating than going Ketogenic, trust me. Also, you don’t have to scrape the barbecue sauce off your chicken all summer.


“I WAS JUST THINKING, we ought to go on a cleanse,” says the septuagenarian sitting across from me with her decade-older husband. I blink. Really? This human has survived 70 years without contracting deathly illness, developing heart disease, or getting run over by a reindeer. I figured when we make it that far, we get to just live on cinnamon rolls and anything in the pastry family while we play bridge on Thursdays. Her husband looks surprisingly supportive, like he’s maybe done every diet ever with her already. I bet he secret eats at Cinnabons when she’s getting her hair done. Upon further inquiry, I discover they have wintered in Arizona where they had a diet of mostly bread and margarita mix. “I don’t put any tequila in it,” he says. Suddenly the whole aging thing is less appealing. They’ve gained a considerable amount of “belly fat” over the last few months and have read how unhealthy that extra roll around the midsection can be. In and of itself, the tire is not unhealthy as much as it is an indicator of other unhealthy habits, such as a sedentary lifestyle with a dramatic increase of refined carbohydrates. Or margarita mix. It reminded me of when my grandmother made margaritas and we’d find two little single-shot bottles of Cuervo in the trash. We’d add a fifth or so of tequila when she wasn’t looking and then kick her ass at bridge for a change. Nothing is as funny as a drunken Granny losing nickels while bragging about her golf game. The truth is, this dear couple doesn’t need to go on a cleanse or start a diet at all. They have just developed a few unhealthy habits that have gradually had an impact on their weight and other health concerns. Health does not require drastic deprivation or self-punishing diets or regular coffee enemas (although, if I were going to get an enema…). Health, like many things in life, requires balance. It requires that we objectively observe what might have contributed to an imbalance, and merely shift a few small things to allow the balance to be reestablished. These people have a small farm most of the year. They are outside chasing chickens and picking up fainting goats, repairing fences, and gardening. They drink a glass of wine in the evening and have a couple of squares of dark chocolate after dinner. This is balanced: For those nine months, their bodies are leaner and more flexible, they sleep better, they have more energy. There are ways to maintain balance even when we travel or get out of our normal rhythm—unless you’re going on a cruise. I’ve never known anyone who has the super human powers of self-control on a cruise ship. Sure, we might get a little gluttonous, the cocktails (or straight up grenadine syrup perhaps) might flow a little more, but there’s no need to panic, order swimming-pool sized drinks, or make promises to yourself that you will never eat a carbohydrate again after this last piece of pie. Just like our homes are familiar and safe places, if we can make our healthy habits familiar and safe places, simply returning to them regularly will sus-

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Downtown Spokane Urban in nature

Get outside at

Dec 30: Resolution Run 5K

lilac bloomsday run - May 6 wild goose chase - may 19 221 N. Wall St. 509.624.7654 10208 N. Division 509-468-1786



WHAT DOES IT TAKE to make a four-day descent of the Spokane River on a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)? An adventurous spirit, a lifejacket and helmet, and the gumption to paddle 25-30 miles a day, come smoke or low water. Jed Conklin, Allison Roskelley, and Grace Robison set out at the mouth of the Spokane River on Lake Coeur d’ Alene and paddled four consecutive days (August 4-7, 2017) to the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers in Two Rivers, Washington. While Conklin had some experience riding a SUP as a rescue swimmer at Ironman competitions, and Roskelley had used a SUP a handful of times for leisure, they both had room to learn. The trio faced the late-August challenge of thick wildfire smoke and low water levels. “I truly had no idea what I was getting into, which was both empowering and absolutely terrifying,” says Roskelley. “I experienced many moments of ‘I can’t do this,’ and ‘What the hell am I doing out here?!’ I had to actively fight through those thoughts because I wasn’t going to let myself quit.” The see-itthrough mentality paid off as Roskelley and her SUP pals got to experience the diversity of the Spokane River, from the calm and meditative waters through Spokane Valley to the rough whitewater near Riverside State Park. “We’re fortunate having the Spokane River right here,” says Conklin. “The first night we were paddling in the dark with headlamps through rapids. And the smoke sucked. The dams were a real pain, too. But not everyone can just jump on a paddleboard and go 112 miles.” As the trio set out in the dead of summer, they took only the essentials. Jed had a puffy jacket, board shorts, some food and beer, and a toothbrush. The crew spread sleeping bags on their paddleboards and slept on land. They used a small Jetboil stove to cook backpack dinners. Conklin says it was similar to packing ultra-light for an overnight backpacking trip; things just went into a dry bag instead of a pack. Despite being an “urban” adventure, as Roskelley puts it, where they paddled through civilization, the crew came up against some challenges. “I didn’t think I needed [a helmet], which definitely stemmed from my own ignorance and lack

of experience,” says Roskelley. “I will never go on a long-distance paddle again without a helmet. I ended up having my in-laws meet me at a section of the river before the Bowl and Pitcher rapids to drop it off, and I was so thankful. I had a pretty big topple through a set of whitewater thereafter.” When the water level gets low in late summer, the fast-moving and shallow water creates a risk of injury from falling on rocks. The challenging whitewater turned out to be Conklin’s favorite stretch of the trip. “We did have to portage around the Devil’s Toenail. It was un-runnable. That whole section of Riverside State Park, the Bowl and Pitcher area, was just killer. If you had to narrow it down to one point, that section was the most fun. High adrenaline and super fast. It was cool,” says Conklin. Conklin and Roskelley both recommend going minimal in terms of gear. Roskelley recommends first aid for yourself and your board, a few layers of clothing, and a water purification system.

“I ALWAYS SAY YOU START EACH NEW ADVENTURE WITH SOMETHING CALLED A ‘SUFFER BUCKET.’ AT THE END OF EACH ADVENTURE, THAT SUFFER BUCKET GROWS, AND THEN IT’S AT A LARGER CAPACITY TO START THE NEXT ADVENTURE, TO MOVE YOU ON TO SOMETHING GREATER.” During the trip, she especially enjoyed the MSR TrailShot Microfilter, as it allowed her to drink straight from the river. She also recommends a pair of polarized sunglasses attached to a pair of floatable Croakies, and a pair of water shoes that are sturdy enough to trek over rough land. The best way to adventure, according to Roskelley, is to give it a shot with the knowledge that you’ll be better prepared next time: “I always say you start each new adventure with something called a ‘suffer bucket.’ At the end of each adventure, that suffer bucket grows, and then it’s at a larger capacity to start the next adventure, to move you on to something greater.”// Lisa Laughlin is a long-distance runner who also likes paddleboarding. She wrote about trail running in the April issue.


Crazy Creek, the Montana-based purveyors of classic backpacking and camping chairs, also make a mean DWR-coated ripstop nylon camp tarp. It’s a piece of gear that should be in any car camp kit, especially if you’re still rockin’ an old, duct tape-patched blue tarp in camp. And it’s light enough at 2.5 pounds (including guy lines) to take

along on shorter backpacking or bike packing trips. The 10 by 14 foot size is big enough for a small group or family to escape the elements. I set mine up recently in the wind and rain under thorny tree branches, which amazingly didn’t lead to any tarp puncture wounds, and there was room for four guys to cook and keep dry out of the rain. MSRP: $130. (Derrick Knowles)


This Spokane-based company has come up with an innovative, sanitary solution for anyone in the outdoors or on the road who may end up in a situation where they are unprepared to properly answer the call of nature. While I describe how they work below, you really should check out the website and click on the “One Sleeve Steve” video. It’s super funny and totally worth watching, ideally with uptight, non-camping co-workers or relatives, just for laughs, but it also has some reasonable scenarios where this product would come in handy. Basically, the Potty Glove is a zip-bag with two blue, medical-style gloves, one of which has a small pack of five moist wipes attached to the back of it. Say you are out on a spring hike in the Columbia Basin and the taco

truck breakfast burrito you had back in Moses Lake starts setting off alarm bells in your guts and there’s no water or place to properly clean up after taking care of business the responsible way in a deep hole away from trails. Time to deploy a Potty Glove: put on gloves, open and use wipes, ball up the used wipes in the wipe glove turning it inside out with contents contained inside, then put that balled-up glove in the palm of the other glove and take that one off by turning it inside out. For the final sanitary step, put the gloves back inside the zip-bag, seal it, and pack it out to the nearest garbage can. Keep a few in your car, your backpack, diaper bag, and stroller. MSRP: $12.99 for a 4-pack. (Derrick Knowles)

Opening Day Saturday May 12 Wednesday Market Starts June 13th

Come See Us

Every Saturday

·veggies ·eggs ·meats ·breads ·honey ·bedding plants

8a.m. to 1p.m. 5th Avenue between Division and Browne


This compact, light-weight (21 pounds), and durable 9-foot kayak from the Folding Boat Company is an ideal boat for anyone who wants the ability to get on the water without having to store and transport a larger, heavier hard-shell kayak or canoe. With so many lakes and mellow stretches of river around the Inland Northwest, the K-Pak Folding Kayak seems like it was made for anyone in our area who loves paddling or kayak fishing without a bunch of set-up hassle (it goes from backpack to the water in minutes) or spending an arm and a leg. The durable skin zips up around the internal, folding frame and air compartments make the boat rigid when pumped up. You can fit several of them in the trunk of most cars, bring them along on your next tropical vacation, or hike with one down to your favorite backcountry lake or the urban waterfront in your backyard. Sale Price: $660. (Derrick Knowles)

We accept: Visa/Mastercard, Food Stamps (EBT), WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Coupons


I discovered this amazing handlebar-mounted bag from Watershed Dry Bags just in time for a wet, early-spring bikepacking trip across a remote stretch of the Columbia Plateau. The McKenzie never bounced or hinted at coming loose thanks to the stretchy handlebar strap system that flexed to absorb the repeated blows from the trail without flopping all over the place.

It kept my clothing, jacket, and electronics dry even in pounding rain and wind. The waterproof closure is like an industrial-strength Ziplock bag and the fabric stood up to scratchy desert brush and thorns. There are several compression straps for making sure everything will fit in the 15-liter bag and hard lash points too if needed. MSRP: $129. mckenzie (Derrick Knowles)


For the coffee lover who abhors instant coffee crystals, the Nanopresso is a game changer. Although it requires a few more steps, the process is very intuitive, and the quality shot of espresso is brilliant. Obviously, the quality of the coffee will have a major bearing on the taste of espresso, but once the grounds are tamped, and the water chamber is full, you can have a gourmet drink in about 30 seconds—no batteries required, just a few hand pumps on the Nanopresso. MSRP: $79.90. (Jon Jonckers)


I loved the idea of a shirt made of 100% recycled materials that was also synthetic, light-weight, and breathable enough that you could sweat in it out on the trail, but was skeptical it wouldn’t feel right or would look weird. But it slid out of the box like it was made of clouds and is so soft and comfortable that I’ve fallen asleep in it a few times. We were so impressed by the quality of Recover Brand shirts and their commitment to using recycled materials that our next round of Out There shirts for sale at the Bloomsday Trade Show will be printed on them. MSRP: $29. (Derrick Knowles) MAY 2018 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM




I BOUGHT MY HOUSE two years ago and worried

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about meeting my neighbors. Basically, I lacked the traditional ice-breakers that dissolve personalspace bubbles and inspire conversation; I had no baby to disarm strangers with a gooey smile, and no puppy to lumber over and say hello with happy licks. It would be up to me to figure out how to connect with these intimate strangers—the people who can see into my brightly-lit kitchen during twilight hours, who know what time I race to work each morning, and who witness the number of packages left at the door by the mailman. I wanted to know my neighbors because I wanted to feel like I had people on my team. During my first year in the house, a low-grade anxiety thrummed at the base of my skull after some hooligan chucked a rock through my bedroom window, just to see the glass shatter. The incident put me on edge; I didn’t like leaving the house empty, and felt nervous there alone at times, too. Having people to check in with and check in on felt really important. I didn’t want to live in fear, and knowing my neighbors seemed the only way to work through the negative emotions. Like many north Spokane neighborhoods, mine is a mish mash of demographics. Some houses have been restored, with clean porches and manicured lawns. Others have suffered decades of neglect. Foreclosed on and vacant for two years, my house was somewhere in between. It needed a lot of work, but it had good bones. The overgrown side yard was a prime example of this. The southwest-facing patch of weeds and rocky soils had potential and, with a little money and a lot of sweat, would be enough space for a garden bigger than the footprint of my house. During my first year working the garden, I felt

a little bit crazy and on display. Some folks had a handful of vegetables growing in raised beds or on their back patios, but no one else had turned over their entire yard and raked it into 50-foot beds. I planted everything from lettuce and tomatoes to kohlrabi and okra, along with tons of flowers to attract bees and ladybugs. I completely gave up all other home-improvement projects and dedicated every scrap of spare time into weeding, arranging irrigation, solving pest problems, and putting up the harvest. Now I’m gearing up for the second season of my ridiculously-large urban garden. While eating local and fresh is a bonus, it’s not the primary benefit. I love that my garden pulls me outside most afternoons in the spring and summer, even if the weather is rainy or hot. It gives me an intimate relationship with one tiny speck of the earth. It makes me familiar with the patterns of my neighborhood, from the mom who runs three days a week with her toddler bouncing along in the jogging stroller, to the Israeli grandmother who picks our grape leaves and returns with dolmas in the spring. But the very best part of the garden is that it offers everyone—myself, the neighbors, and the passersby—something beautiful to look at. When a weedy side yard is worked into an abundant landscape, it gives us something to root for and cheer on together—we all want to see it thrive. Ultimately, it gave me exactly what I was hoping for: an excuse to have tiny, meaningful exchanges on a regular basis with my new neighbors. // Summer Hess climbs, swims, and runs trails across the Northwest. She is the managing editor of Out There Outdoors.


• Spokane Community Gardens Facebook page has information about upcoming community garden tours, which are a great way to get ideas and inspiration and meet people in your neighborhood who are growing food. • WSU Extension offers many classes and resources for food production in the Northwest, along with master gardener clinic hours to answer a wide variety of horticulture questions. • Spokane Conservation District has educational offerings for new and seasoned gardeners and puts on an annual plant and tree sale.

4225 W Fremont Rd, Spokane WA (509) 326-6638 22


• On May 12, Garden Expo Spokane will host a huge assortment of plants for sale, along with gardening-related exhibitors, demonstrations, food, and activities held at Spokane Community College from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. • The Friends of Manito Spring Plant Sale is June 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also check out the organization’s valuable workshops and presentations.


// By Crystal Atamian


THE CLARK’S FORK through Alberton Gorge in Montana is a Class II/Class III float during the summer months. This is not the big water I used to float in my younger years, but it is a great first trip for my 11-year-old and 6-year-old, who have been paddling calmer water in canoes and kayaks since they were 2. I watch the kids in our group, who range between 9 and 11 years, take turns standing on the front of the raft while their dads and the guide spin the boat in circles. I smile as one of them splashes facefirst in the river, because new adventures teach kids skills that transfer to other aspects of life: being in the moment, looking ahead, approaching obstacles with a clear head, and not letting fear get the best of you. The most important lesson it teaches them is to laugh and have fun with it! Whether rafting with kids for the first time, or upping the level of intensity from a previous trip, here are a few tips to keep in mind: Pick the right river. Rafting guide Adam Divens says doing research before you go is essential. He suggests looking up the river you want to visit and talking to the guide company ahead of time. Owner of rafting company Wiley E. Waters, Josh Flanagan agrees: “You don’t want to do a section of river you’re not prepared for.” Flanagan recommends that more nervous kids or parents start with an easier river like the Spokane. Good guiding operations will always emphasize safety, have up-to-date equipment, and try to keep it as fun and relaxed as possible for both kids and adults. Know your (and their) abilities. For parents who have never been rafting, take a trip without your kids. Get a feel for what your limits and abilities are before you get the kids involved. For more adventurous kids who have experience on the water but have never been on a whitewater raft, I still recommend a guided trip the first time. Wiley E. Waters often offers a Groupon in spring and summer that makes a first-time trip more affordable. Teach them some boat basics. Explain directional words like downstream, river right, and river left. Let them know that if they do wind up out of the boat, either accidentally or on purpose, to stay near the boat and not swim to shore unless told to by the guide. Remind them the safest position in the water is on their back, hips up, with toes downstream. Show them the universal sign for “I’m ok”—using one hand to tap the top of their heads. Love the life jacket. Obvious fact: water presents a drowning hazard. If you are near the river, wear

a life jacket. Hard as it may be on hot days, parents need to set the example. Let your kids take some risks. For your sanity and their enjoyment, remember to let go a little. Kids want to test limits (theirs, and yours at times). Provide safety guidelines and then encourage kids to try new things and to attempt something that scares them a little. Then sit back and be amazed at what your kids can do. Trust the guide. On a guided trip, parents are lucky enough to have the opinion of someone with hundreds of hours of experience. Rafting guides want to make this fun and memorable. They can often be the first to encourage hesitant kids to push their limits and will nudge confident kids in the right direction. Be the parent. Although guides seem like they’d be amazing babysitters, sadly that’s not actually part of their job. They will likely play with your kids, and perhaps fool them into thinking there is a hot spring hidden in one of the coldest stretches of a nearby stream at the lunch pullout; however, it’s still up to parents to actually parent the kids. Ground rules set up at the beginning of the trip help, but it is your job to enforce those. Dress for the occasion. The rafting company will usually provide a gear list of what to bring, but here’s a brief shakedown: • Swimsuit and/or quick-drying shorts and shirt, comfortable shoes that won’t fall off. • Waterproof sunscreen (slather it all, including hands and exposed parts of your feet). • Sunglasses and hat (a glasses strap is highly useful if you don’t want to lose them). • Water bottle with a carabiner (to strap it to the side of the raft). • Dry clothes for post-trip comfort. • For cooler weather a rain jacket, compression shirt, fleece, or wool clothing will help keep you warm on the water (no cotton as it pulls warmth from you once wet). Get the kids excited! A good whitewater trip lets kids of all ages experience the exhilaration of using their bodies and minds to navigate new challenges. They get to expand their skills, cool off, and have fun. Bonus: tired, happy kids make for a peaceful, relaxing night around the campfire. // Crystal Atamian is a science editor who writes about wildlife conservation and the benefits of getting kids outdoors. She wrote about her experiences studying Greater-Sage Grouse in the June 2017 issue.

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Surf ’s Up

at River Whitewater Parks around the Northwest Why Not on the Spokane?

By Seal Morgan


Another spring has sprung and summer heat is on its way. Kayaks and rafts are coming out of garages, tubes are being checked for leaks, and bindings are inspected on wakeboards and water skis. The warm part of the year is here! You may be one of those people who are getting ready to take themselves, friends, and families to the big, beautiful river that runs through Spokane. Yet the one thing you will notice still missing is the Spokane Whitewater Park that so many of us supported when the idea gained traction a decade back. Local citizens even donated funds toward the project that would have created wave-producing structures in the Spokane River near downtown for kayakers to play on. Full disclosure: I threw a $100 bill into the pot years ago, too. Also, I am an early river surfing pioneer, so you could say I’ve had a stake in the game for a while now. Here’s my say about the entire boondoggle that should have been a whitewater park in Spokane and how we still might be able to get there. A Brief History of the Spokane River Whitewater Park

Whitewater parks with river-surfing waves, where surfers riding river-specific boards carve and ride on stationary river waves, are popping up in cities all around the Northwest and beyond. The Spokane River already has several natural surf waves and even more natural play waves for kayakers, but they are only ridable at specific flow levels. And unfortunately we missed our chance to be one of the many Northwest cities that now sport well-planned and well-loved whitewater parks. So what ever happened to the Spokane River whitewater park? The big bucks for the initial proposal and study came from a $530,000 grant in June 2007 from the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). Another $500,000 of funds was raised from hundreds of donors. Also that year, the Great Spokane River Gorge Strategic Master Plan won the “Mayor’s Choice” award for excellence in urban design. But, by June 2011, concerns over impacts on native redband trout had become a serious issue, and the project stalled out with Spokane Parks and Recreation hav24


ing only spent $30,000 in grant funds. Citing a lack of progress, RCO officials rejected an appeal to keep the remaining $500,000 for the project and that was the end of any major public effort to build a whitewater park on the Spokane River. The fact that whitewater park supporters didn’t continue to problem solve their way to a park somewhere on the river was a major loss for the city and all of us in the region who love watersports. (Editor’s note: read more about the history of the Spokane River whitewater park online at Outthereoutdoors. com/whatever-happened-with-the-spokane-riverwhitewater-park-proposal.)

Never Give Up

Although the initial proposal for the urban whitewater kayak park in Spokane crashed and burned, this should not have permanently stopped the project. There has to be the perfect place somewhere between Spokane and the east side of Spokane Valley that would fulfill the requirements for construction while satisfying the public’s expectations. In fact, sites upstream were looked at early on in the planning process. Which leads me to think that perhaps the project was stymied by a limited vision, especially since concerns brought up by the Environmental Impact Statement could have been mitigated in one location or another. The problem, I believe, was too much of a focus on the potential economic benefits from tourism and urban renewal along a particular stretch of the river (downtown Spokane) that distracted decision makers from what really mattered—a great community-backed outdoor recreation project and more public access to the river. The Spokane River is long and has many options if one doesn’t limit expectations to the two places along Peaceful Valley that were considered viable during the planning process. If a new push for a park materializes, advocates should look at locations in Spokane Valley or near Liberty Lake or Post Falls and make sure the proposal includes a surfing wave (which the original Spokane proposal didn’t), since river surfing has become a major driver of whitewater parks around the world.

Learning from Whitewater Parks around the Region

There are many approaches we could take to see a whitewater park built in Spokane. Take the Bend Whitewater Park in Bend, Oregon, as an example. It is not located in the city center; rather, it is surrounded by neighborhood homes above the banks of the river in a green belt. Bike and walking paths line the bluff. There aren’t any restaurants, bars, or tacky tourist shops looking to make a quick buck from those who frolic on that part of the Deschutes River. The park is simple and, as a result, it’s beautiful. Also, Bend didn’t limit its vision to just kayaks. With a population of around 80,000 people, the city ponied up the money and built a surfing wave! The man-made wave whitewater parks in Bend and Boise are within a one-day drive from the Spokane area. These parks are attracting a large cross section of river enthusiasts, from tube riders and raft floaters to kayakers and surfers. The parks in both cities are booming and even expanding, with the Boise Whitewater Park already getting started on construction of another wave and whitewater section upstream. Some people still want to float or surf a natural wave made by water rushing over a rock bottom. In that case, you can go to Missoula and jump into Brennan’s Wave. Natural rapids make this surfing wave quite popular in that mountain town. You can browse gear and rent boards at Strongwater Surf Shop, watch the local rippers tear it up, and just maybe you’ll be excited enough to make your first attempt at surfing a standing wave. For a longer drive, go to Billings and surf one of the four waves at G Spot, each of which is dependent on different cfs flows. Or, perhaps you’ll want to go southeast to another natural wave at Kelly’s Whitewater Park on the Payette River in Idaho, where there is a surfing wave and campground to stay at with multiple other wave spots close by that also work in different cfs flow levels. There’s even a yearly contest called the Payette River Games that attracts river surfers from all over the world. And Spokane is being left behind.

Reflections from the North American River Surfing Summit

River surfing is gaining so much momentum that the First North American River Surfing Summit was held in Bend on October 7, 2017. The event, sponsored by SurfAnywhere of Canada, which built the Bend Whitewater Park, attracted river surfers and whitewater enthusiasts from all across Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Billed as a ‘how to’ for people interested in having a surfing and whitewater park built on their own local rivers, it was a full-day seminar packed with information and practical ideas coming from experts. The semi-informal format allowed participants to ask questions during their presentations. I drove down for the Summit and took the time to walk the park the following day. Of course, I also surfed the wave that the hydraulic plates create. I was seriously impressed. The park is wonderful. I found a very well-designed place for people to gather. It’s cohesive and blended whole when viewed from the Colorado Avenue Bridge looking downriver at the three channels that make up the park. I could see it was built to be a functional and fun place for all ages of people to enjoy. Also, it incorporated necessary protections for wildlife and fisheries in that section of the Deschutes River. The designers had succeeded in building up the health of the river through habitat improvements that were obviously integral to the park’s basic design. From where I stood I could see cyclists riding and people pushing baby strollers and walking dogs above the river on the path that borders the park. Children were playing along the water’s edge in McKay Park with their parents and kayakers stroked downstream or warmed themselves up on the rocks. The surfers were standing around waiting their turn at the wave, and spectators were watching the surfers from both banks and the bridge I was standing on. The park was being used by a wide variety of ages and user groups on a gorgeous blue-sky October Sunday afternoon; it wasn’t primarily for the kayakers or surfers. It was a community park that improved the quality of life in the neighborhood

and in the entire town. Interestingly, there wasn’t a store or restaurant within view. At the beginning of the Summit, Neil Egsgard, president of SurfAnywhere, spoke about the ambition needed to put a whitewater park into any river and about the hurdles all groups of supporters face. He bluntly stated that, from finding a suitable site to actually surfing the wave the first time, we are looking at a 10-year project timeline. A decade! The roadblocks are many, the entrenched interests are varied, and the permitting process challenging. It is a vast uphill battle that costs untold hours of unpaid work and frustration, with no guarantee of success. Egsgard says that some of the more challenging questions include: Who funds it? Who controls and regulates the new whitewater park and surf wave? Is it under city, county, or state control or does this particular stretch of river fall under federal waterway regulations, which is an entirely different ball game? Boy does this all sound familiar.

Let’s Make a Whitewater Park on the Spokane River Happen

People need to step up and start working together for a whitewater park on the Spokane River again. Let’s get together the right people, find the right partners, and look for multiple alternative sites this time. Another meeting, anyone? Contact Chris Cindric at cpcindric@ to get on board. // Seal Morgan is a surfer/skater/snowboarder/wakesurfer and was an early pioneer of river surfing at Lunch Counter Rapid near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the 1980s. Read all about that history in his free online book at the-lunch-counter-trilogy. These days he teaches snowboarding lessons at 49 Degrees North and sews locally-made winter gear from his home shop near Chewelah, Washington. Check his quality gear out at

The Wave Shapers What does it take to create a surfable river wave? Bend, Oregon, employs two full-time employees, plus one seasonal employee, who look after the Bend Whitewater Park and monitor surrounding water conditions. They are the wave shapers who control and adjust the hydraulics that create the surf wave using iPads in real time, and they do this far beyond their normal working hours. Their responsibilities include regulating the fish ladder and protecting a huge wetland upstream where the threatened Oregon spotted frog lives. These wave shapers make the wave work with constantly changing river conditions, and it’s a hefty year-round job.

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Paper Co. land that is completely open to e-bikes. At the federal level, the U.S. Forest Service and BLM treat all e-bikes as motorized vehicles that are not allowed on forest service or BLM non-motorized trails that might otherwise be open to bikes; however, Forest Service trails open to dirt bikes are open for e-bikes. Riding on roads, where e-bikes may greatly increase the number of bicycle commuters, is legal everywhere as long as riders follow the rules of the road. (Derrick Knowles)



of Riverside State Park Wednesday nights beginning May 2 and continuing every Wednesday through the end of June. There will be a different course each week suitable for all experience levels. Cost is $20 per race for those 18 and older; 17 and younger are paid by various sponsors. Info: (Sarah Hauge) Electric bike sales in the U.S. nearly doubled in 2017, with a 91% industry growth rate. They are popping up everywhere is seems: at bike demo events, on streets and trails, and at your local bike shops. Despite their exploding popularity, most riders and the general public know little about the technology that’s out there and where the bikes can be ridden. When most people talk about electric bikes or e-bikes, they are referring to commuter bikes, cruisers, or mountain bikes that pedal just like a normal bike but that have an electric motor assist that kicks in either while pedaling or with a throttle lever or button. Most e-bikes can be adjusted to offer more or less of an assist and some can be set so that the assist stops after the bike reaches 20 mph. Most electric-assist bikes get between 20-50 miles on a single 3-6 hour charge, but some models can go much farther. Other classifications of electric bikes don’t require you to pedal and can boost bike speed beyond 20 mph. These models are more likely to have their use limited on trails as e-bikes become more heavily regulated but may be a great option for commuters riding on roads. The advantages of e-bikes, which have been popular in many European countries for years, are many. Commuters can ditch their cars to make longer trips to and from work and tackle hills that they might not otherwise take on as often with a traditional bike. Older riders and people with disabilities are also able to ride farther on roads and trails that might otherwise be too difficult. Other riders are attracted to the thrill of the silent pedalassist electric boost. Meanwhile, land managers and state and federal agencies are doing their best to keep up with the growing e-bike use on public roads and trails. The Washington and Idaho state legislatures both recently passed legislation defining different classifications of e-bikes which should make it easier for public land managers to update their policies covering which classifications of e-bikes are allowed on different types of trails, from paved pathways to more primitive gravel or dirt trails. Right now, there is a bit of a gray area on where you can ride electric-assist bikes, but they are currently treated like traditional bikes with the same rules on trails managed by Washington State Parks and the City of Spokane. The rules in Idaho, however, are less clear at the moment while land managers determine how to adapt to new legislation. The Empire Trails near Spirit Lake, Idaho, on the other hand, is a mountain biking trail system on private Inland Empire 26


This overnight bike trip, called the “Bar-Brew Cruise,” is set for Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend will depart from Wheel Sport’s South Hill location, ride from there down to the Centennial Trail, which they’ll follow into Idaho before taking U.S.-95 up to Farragut State Park for a night of camping. The cost is $20 and includes the camping fee, barbecue, beverages, and breakfast burritos. The group, which will be capped at 50, will ride back to Spokane together on Monday. The route is about 60 miles each way. Participants are responsible for providing their own camping gear, and transporting it if possible. If interested, contact Annika LaVoie at Wheel Sport’s South Hill store: (509) 326-3977. (Sarah Hauge) RACE SEASON UNDERWAY FOR WASHINGTON STUDENT CYCLING LEAGUE

Designed for riders in grades 6-12, this mountain bike program, organized by the Washington Student Cycling League, offers a holistic mountain bike experience to students across Washington. The program’s aims include promoting youth development, leadership, confidence, health, and public stewardship, and lifelong cycling enjoyment. Registration cut off in April—but if you’re in the area, cheer on the races, held May 6 (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), and May 20 (location TBA), with state championships held June 3 in Wenatchee—and plan now to register interested students for next year. Details at (Sarah Hauge) NEW NAME FOR THE JOHN WAYNE TRAIL?

Although it’s technically one trail, the Iron Horse State Park Trail is also commonly called the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Adding to the mix-up, this 212-mile cross-state rail trail is part of a network of trails that include the Columbia Plateau Trail, Fish Lake Trail, and, eventually, the Spokane Centennial Trail. Washington State Parks is introducing a plan to rename the trail, erase any perplexity, and connect it to the region with geographical or geological references. “Determining one name for the trail will help eliminate confusion,” says Randy Kline, Statewide Trails Coordinator. “Also, giving the trail one meaningful name will highlight its significance as one of the longest cross-state trails in the country.” The John Wayne/Iron Horse State Park Trail, which requires a free permit for the section east of the Columbia River, runs from west of North Bend to the Columbia River near Vantage, and contin-


ues from the town of Lind all the way to the Idaho border, crossing the Columbia Plateau Trail along the way. Trailheads and access points are located at multiple locations along the trail, and camping and other lodging is available regularly along the route. The trail crosses several sections of private land and closed or missing trestles, requiring permission to cross or detours on nearby roads at multiple locations (visit to learn more or plan a trip). The Iron Horse State Park Trail is an outlier. As consistently as possible, State Parks’ policy for naming trails gives preference to trail names based on geographic locations, culturally significant history, events and places, geologic features, or relevant botanic or biological references. Since it is an old railroad line, there’s nothing wrong with the Iron Horse name. However, the agency believes they can do better, and they’re seeking public comment. Some of the proposed names include: Cross Washington State Park Trail (descriptive trail name), Milwaukee Road State Park Trail (name of the railroad that operated on the trail), Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (geographic description of the trail route), and, the most popular so far, Cascalouse State Park Trail (a contraction of the Cascade and Palouse geographic areas). The deadline for comments is Friday, May 4. Visit if you would like to contribute to the naming. Following the public comment period, State Parks staff will present recommendations to the parks commission for consideration at its next meeting in Spokane on May 17. (Jon Jonckers)

niece rode past the lawn mower, and Lockner followed, attempting to pass with the lawn mower on her right. Lockner raised her left hand from the handle bars to shield her eyes from debris in the air from the lawn mower. She tried to veer to the left to get off the trail and clipped her niece’s bike. Lockner filed a negligence suit against the county and its employee, the lawn mower operator. The county moved for summary judgment, arguing that recreational immunity precluded the claim. The trial court granted the county’s motion. Lockner appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment, concluding that pursuant to a previous case, recreational use immunity could not be determined as a matter of law because there was a disputed issue of material fact as to whether the trail was open “solely” for recreational use. Does recreational immunity apply to the premises or the activity? If you’re willing to peel the onion layers of this court case, it all comes down to one truth, a trail’s use is equally transportation AND recreation. Thankfully, the statewide immunity was put into place to encourage landowners to allow public use of their land for outdoor recreation by providing the landowners with immunity from most injuries that might be sustained through the public’s use. This is a major victory for public trails and community paths in Washington State, and it will certainly be a cornerstone case for any litigation involving urban community trails in the Northwest. (Jon Jonckers)


Five tour lengths (100, 66, 50, 22, and 15) for Spokane’s Lilac Century mean this event is friendly for bikers at all experience levels. Two race lengths (15 and 22 miles) have been designed specifically to accommodate families with young kids by following the Fish Lake Trail from the foot of Sunset Hill out toward Scribner Road and back. The 15-mile course avoids road traffic entirely (the 22-mile ride follows the same route, with the addition of a 3.2-mile section from SFCC along Government Way). There will be a baked potato feed for all at the finish. Proceeds benefit local charities supported by the Spokane Aurora Northwest Rotary Club. Details at Lilaccentury. com. (Sarah Hauge)

Held twice each month at Wheel Sport’s South Hill location, this free class, limited to 10 women per session, is a hands-on opportunity to learn bike maintenance. Bring your own bike. Class instructor Annika LaVoie covers important basics like how to clean and lube a bike chain and how to change a rear flat tire. “It’s always a good time. It’s just a really empowering way for the ladies to take charge of their own maintenance,” says LaVoie. “It’s open to all. That is my goal—to get more gals on bikes.” To check upcoming dates and sign up, call Wheel Sport’s South Hill store: 509-326-3977. (Sarah Hauge) STATE SUPREME COURT RECREATIONAL IMMUNITY



The Washington State Supreme Court unanimously found in favor of Pierce County in the Lockner vs. Pierce County case regarding whether Pierce County was covered by the State’s recreational immunity statute when a cyclist was injured on the Foothills Trails. According to the court documents, “Lockner and her niece were riding their bicycles on the Foothills Trail in Pierce County. Lockner was riding behind her niece as they approached a riding lawn mower from the rear. The lawn mower, operated by a Pierce County Parks and Recreation employee, was mowing grass on the right side of the trail, moving in the same direction as Lockner and her niece. Lockner’s



The inaugural event at Canfield Mountain is a two-day, camp-style mountain bike race on Coeur d’Alene’s local trail system. The CDA Enduro is the Inland Northwest’s newest addition to the popular enduro race scene. Canfield Mountain is easily accessible from the heart of town, but the trails themselves have the feel of a backcountry adventure. Racers will camp near the trailhead for two full days of racing on rowdy single track (including one never-ridden, completely blind stage). Race festivities include a bonfire, beverages, a dinner for the racers, and other surprises. (OTM) //


As summer heats up, group ride times and locations may change and rides may be added and others canceled, so check the shop or club website or Facebook page for current information. Mondays • The Bike Hub Road Ride, Spokane, 6 p.m. • Spokane Bicycle Club Traditional Road Ride, location varies, 10 a.m. • Spokane Bicycle Club Paved Trail Ride, location varies, 10 a.m. • North Division Bicycle Shop Mountain Bike Ride, alternating Spokane trailheads, 7 p.m.




Tuesdays • Mojo Cyclery No-Drop Road Ride, Spokane, 6 p.m. • Badlands Cycling Club Intervals Road Ride, Spokane, 5:15 p.m. • Coeur d’Alene Bike Co. No-Drop Road Ride, Coeur d’Alene, 5:15 p.m. • Vertical Earth Canfield Mountain Bike Ride, Coeur d’Alene, 6:30 p.m. • Spokane Bicycle Club Scenic Ride, location varies, 9 or 10 a.m. • Greasy Fingers Bikes N’ Repair Mountain Bike Rides, Sandpoint, 5 p.m. Wednesdays • The Bike Hub Humpday Road Ride, Spokane, 6 p.m. • Two Wheeler Dealer Road Ride, Hayden, 6 p.m. • Spokane Bicycle Club Women’s Ride, location varies, evenings • Coeur d’Alene Bike Co. Burgers, Bikes, and Brews, Canfield Mountain, Coeur d’Alene, 5 p.m. • Evergreen East Millwood Brewery/Beacon Hill Mountain Bike Rides, 6 p.m.



on its Facebook page, naturally followed by “a beer and chill.” CRUISER AND FULL MOON RIDES

Whether in Spokane or North Idaho, you can hook up with a road ride almost every day of the week through bike shops and clubs. Spokane Bicycle Club, established in 1985, is a “recreational bike club that wants to have fun and be healthy,” says club president Gerry Bergstrom. They offer casual, long-distance, and fast-paced road rides, and a handful of other rides. Pend Oreille Pedalers in Sandpoint coordinates a variety of rides around the area. There are also bike groups, like the allladies Baskets and Belles, who host regular rides.

Cruiser rides involve vintage and modern cruiser bikes cruising comfortably around town, and often stopping for beer, ice cream, coffee, or other provisions. Most are also open to other casually-pedaled bikes. After a few brews, the Valley Clunkers Vintage Bicycle Club rolls out of English Setter Brewing Company on Sullivan in Spokane Valley around 3:30 p.m. on the third Sunday each month. Check out CDA Cruiser Ride and BikeCDA on Facebook for rides happening around the Coeur d’Alene area. Full moon rides occur monthly on the evening of a full moon and are highly social events that typically begin or end with beer. The Full-moon Bike Club (FBC) in Sandpoint is part of a national club that started in St. Louis and expanded across North America. Their Full Moon Fiasco rides meet at Eichardt’s Pub and routes vary. You can follow the Lake City Lunar Landers for info about its full moon rides around Coeur d’Alene, where they “check out everyone’s sick bikes and enjoy the fresh lunar breeze in our hair,” according to co-organizer Corrie Bouchard.



Bike shops and clubs host regular mountain bike rides throughout the week around the Inland Northwest, and many involve post-ride get togethers. Coeur d’Alene Bike Co. follows up its Wednesday evening Canfield Mountain rides with burgers and brews, alternating weeks at The Post Ride and Slate Creek Brewing Company. Spokane N’ Suds Biking Group posts regular group rides

A gravel or adventure ride follows a combination of pavement and gravel or trail routes, and can utilize gravel bikes, which are road bikes with bigger tires. Trek Bicycle Store in Coeur d’Alene holds a monthly ride through their Hilly Nilly Gravel Series. This year, Mojo Cyclery in Spokane Valley will be launching weekend adventure rides. Check websites for details. //



bring peace, focus, introspection, and determination. Sometimes, though, it can get a bit lonely out there. Fortunately, there are many bike clubs and weekly and monthly group rides in the Inland Northwest where you can pedal with others. ROAD RIDES

Thursdays • Wheel Sport South Road Ride, Spokane, 6 p.m. • North Division Bicycle Shop Fast Tempo Road Ride, Spokane, evenings • Badlands Cycling Club Intervals Ride, Spokane, 5:15 p.m. • Wheel Sport Valley Mountain Bike Ride, alternating Spokane trailheads • Wheel Sport Central E-Bike Ride, Spokane Fridays • Spokane Bicycle Club Women’s Ride, location varies, 10 a.m. Saturdays • North Division Bicycle Shop Non-Stop Road Ride, Spokane, mornings • Vertical Earth, Coeur d’Alene Road Ride, 8 a.m. • Two Wheeler Dealer Road Ride, Hayden, 8 a.m. • Spokane Bicycle Club Steady to Brisk Ride, location varies, 9 or 10 a.m. • Spokane Bicycle Club Steady and Leisurely Ride, location varies, 9 or 10 a.m.


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“I like not driving. Bike commuting is a great way to think about things, before work or after you leave,” says Russ Lee, CEO of INB. “It’s my workout for the day.” Lee moved to Spokane from Bellingham, Wash., in June 2015, and chose to live on the north side of town because of the proximity to rural roads and Mt. Spokane for cycling routes. “This is a great bikecommuting town, and if you don’t do it at least a couple times you’re missing out,” he says. The most direct bike-commute route, from Lee’s home in Wandermere to his office at the INB bank branch downtown Spokane in the Paulsen Building, is 15 miles—but he rarely does just that. “In the middle of summer, I try to ride 40 miles before I come to work,” he says. Lee’s routes to work include the bike lane along Highway 395 and the Centennial Trail to downtown Spokane from the Nine Mile area. When the weather is nice and his work schedule allows, Lee commutes by bike 3-4 days a week. This allows him to maximize daily mileage while minimizing time away from home and family. This schedule has allowed Lee to ride up to 300 weekly miles, especially when training miles are needed. “Last year I was training for a week-long race in Italy—the Haute Route Dolomites. I could ride up to 100 miles a day going to work and coming home,” he says. “The only time I don’t ride is when there’s frost on the ground.” During winter, Lee stays in cycling shape with his indoor trainer, riding 100-150 miles a week. “I get sick of biking in my basement,” he admits, but the consistency is critical. “I’m over 60 now, and if you stop, you’re done,” he says. As an alpine climber in summer and backcountry skier in winter, “cycling is the way I stay fit for everything else…I always have something I’m training for.” Like many devoted cyclists, Lee owns a few different bikes. He rides his Specialized Roubaix to work, and wears regular cycling gear. An accessible workplace shower and a week’s supply of professional attire, including suits, waiting in his office, makes it easier for Lee to transition from cyclist to banker. For safety, Lee has three lights on the front of his bike and two lights on the rear. He thinks that drivers in Spokane are pretty good at sharing the road, but also that it’s best to be cautious. “My assumption while bike-riding is that people don’t see me,” he says. “If you plan it right, you can find a road with a bike lane or a wide shoulder.” Lee recommends Google Maps for route-planning because it indi-

cates which roads are bike-friendly. For those considering bike commuting for the first time, Lee says, “Just do it. There’s always an excuse for why you’re not going to ride your bike to work. I usually plan it so that I feel bad if I don’t do it. Just schedule it as part of your routine and it happens. And it’s also fun.” As CEO, he encourages “a fitness-friendly workplace.” Lee says, “I’ve always believed that fitness and exercise are part of a whole day.” With flexible scheduling and a shower at the corporate office, his employees are better able to accomplish before-work and midday workouts. “That fits the Spokane lifestyle.” CYCLING & MARRIAGE PARTNERS: MONICA & RICK BATES

“My greatest challenge is trying to keep up with Monica and all the other riders on Strava,” says Rick Bates, 56. Cycling with his wife for the past 8 years (they’ve been together since they were teenagers), he says he most enjoys seeing “the beautiful country that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, and spending quality time together. “We became avid riders when our kids went off

to college, and we had more time to dedicate to biking. Now that our two kids are grown (in their 20s and married) and we have a new grandchild, we are back to balancing family, work, and biking.” “We became more serious about biking when we turned 50—we wish we would have started sooner,” Monica says. “Few hobbies allow you to enjoy a physical activity, the outdoors, and each other’s company.” Together they train and participate in local events such as Spokefest and 8 Lakes Leg Aches. They’ve also completed the Lake Chelan Century, STOKR (Scenic Tour of the Kootenai River) in Libby, Montana, and a Gran Fondo in Golden, Colorado. “We incorporate biking in our vacation plans through bike tour groups,” says Monica. Those rides together have included Napa Valley, Banff, and, this year, the French Alps. // Amy S. McCaffree is special section editor and the Out There Kids columnist and compiled the Family Outdoors & Summer Activity Guide for the April issue. She enjoys camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, and nature adventuring with her family.


Find an interactive Spokane bike map at Plan your route with maps for local cycling routes at Check out more bike commuting resources at Take part in the National Bike Challenge with individual and team contests at

GET OUT THERE FOR BIKE EVERYWHERE MONTH THIS MAY Spokane Bicycle Club hosts events throughout Bike Everywhere Month (May). Riders of all abilities are welcome to participate. More info at • May 6: Bloomsday Bike Corral, 7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Riverfront Park. • May 10: Latah Creek Trail Ride, 6-8 p.m. Meet at Sandifur Bridge parking lot. • May 11: Bike tour of downtown Spokane’s bike lanes; noon, Riverfront Park. • May 12: Kidical Mass, child-oriented 3-mile ride; 1-3 p.m., Chief Garry Park. • May 13: Mother’s Day Park & Cookie Ride, 6 miles; 2 p.m., Comstock Park. • May 14: Pancake Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., Riverfront Park. • May 15: Morning Energizer Stations, 7-9 a.m. • May 15: Centennial Trail 9-mile women’s ride, 5:30 p.m., Kendall Yards’ Olmstead Green Park; followed by flat-fixing clinic at REI. • May 16: Ride of Silence, 6 p.m., starting from INB Performing Arts Center breezeway; meet at Michael Anderson statue. Short loop around downtown, escorted by Spokane Bicycle Police. • May 17: Peaceful Valley/Sandifur Bridge/Kendall Yards loop ride, noon-1 p.m., Riverfront Park. • May 17: Ben Burr/Iron Bridge 9-mile ride, 6 p.m., Lincoln Park. • May 18: National Bike Everywhere Day, Pizza & Beer Party, 5-7 p.m. at River City Brewing; free pizza and door prizes. • May 20: Lilac Century, 5 tour lengths. • May 21: Hike-n-Bike South Hill Natural Areas, 6 p.m., Hazel’s Creek.




That comment smarts because it just isn’t true. Granted, your legs ache from climbing hills, and everything hurts after riding a century. Crashing definitely hurts, too, but simply riding a bike shouldn’t damage your body. Yet, only 7 percent of cyclists get a bike fit. In fact, beginning and midlevel cyclists are most in need of a bike fit but are


the least likely to get one. According to the International Bike Fitting Institute (IBFI), the bike-fitting industry is quickly growing, but the consumer doesn’t know what to expect nor how to define a bike fit. Historically, finding the correct frame size (bike sizing) was considered bike fitting. However, sizing is only the beginning of the fit process. Bike fitting tailors the


bike to the cyclist’s specific biomechanical needs by blending the science and art of fitting. Bike fitting focuses on the cyclist’s contact points on the bike—foot and pedal interface, saddle, and stem and handlebars—and includes a thorough assessment of the cyclist’s body and cycling biomechanics, including videos from the front, side and back. Functional tests should include walking, jogging, single leg squat, balance, etc. A clinical fitter (i.e physical therapist, chiropractor, etc.) may include other tests appropriate for the clinical setting to assess current and prior injuries, neural involvement, joint integrity, range of motion, soft tissue restrictions and the cyclist’s boney architecture. An example of this is Brenda Goehring, 58-years-young, who is an active member of Fit Fifty—a Spokane-based recreational club for triathletes, runners and cyclists. Brenda complained of back pain and numbness in her hands and feet after approximately 20 miles. She and her husband are training for their second Seattle to Portland bike ride (212 miles in 2 days). She’s been riding over 10 years and plans on riding into her old age. We met at Mojo Cyclery to work thru Brenda’s bike fit. During the assessment, it was clear that her hand numbness and low back pain were both aggravated by the low and short position of her stem. Her center of gravity was dumped forward, creating excessive pressure through her hands; her elbows were locked out with a rounded upper spine and shoulder blades. The adjustable stem was immediately implemented; a steeper and slightly longer stem alleviated the pressure on her hands while creating the more ideal 90-degree shoulder position. Her original saddle position was good (30 degree knee flexion, knee fore-aft 20 millimeters anterior to the pedal spindle). However, the sad-


dle needed to be moved back after the proper stem position had been identified. Addressing Brenda’s foot numbness required new cycling shoes because her old shoes were too narrow in the forefoot, thus compressing the nerves between the toes. Prior to the fit, the right knee tracked to the outside and the left knee tracked to the inside. We brought the feet under the knees by moving the right foot laterally and the left foot medially. Brenda also had a mild bilateral forefoot varus (angling of the bones); we placed a 1-degree varus cleat wedge to provide forefoot leverage during the downstroke. (Note: rotation looked fine). The tracking of her legs dramatically improved. I knew she felt the magic when a huge grin came across her face. She started clicking through her gears and riding faster. “That’s it!” The pressure on her hands and feet was gone. She felt light on her pedals and had no pressure in her spine. The simple joy of riding her bike had returned. THAT is what cycling is about: feeling the wind on your face and feeling like you are 10 years old again. Bike fitting doesn’t require a lot of fancy expensive equipment. A great bike fit requires the ability to problem-solve and create the solution for a specific cyclist. Everyone deserves to be comfortable on their bikes, whether they are a high-level triathlete, road racer, or beginning cyclist. As bike fitters, we are there to perpetuate the joy of riding your bike. // Kit Vogel, MS, DPT, is an avid cyclist and former Cat 2 velodrome racer; she also loves rock climbing, hiking and downhill skiing. This is Vogel’s first article for Out There.



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MOUNTAIN BIKING in the greater Spokane area

is phenomenal, and it’s one of the main reasons I moved to this area from Central Washington. We are seriously spoiled to that point I can ride from my house to the Saltese Uplands trailhead and be on single track in about five minutes. I can drive 30 minutes in any direction and be in a totally different environment, from open, arid hillside to lush forest at Liberty Lake or sub-alpine terrain at Mount Spokane. Or, my personal favorite, the amazingly rocky landscape of Beacon Hill. The trails around North Idaho bring us higher elevation forested rides, many of which are world class. You don’t need to go much further than the outskirts of Coeur d’Alene to find a thrilling escape suitable for a variety of riding styles and skills. The climbs can be tough, but the views and long descents more than make up for it. We have so much great riding all around the Inland Northwest, from mellow cross-country to gnarly downhill trails and everything in between, that it could take years to explore them all. Our glorious trails didn’t just get put in by sheer luck. There are so many people involved in developing and maintaining them, from land managers like Spokane Parks and Recreation, Spokane County Parks, State Parks, Forest Service, DNR, BLM, Inland Empire Paper Company, and private land owners. These agencies often have tight budgets and staffing limitations, which makes organized volunteer groups so critical in keeping quality mountain biking and hiking trails open. Groups such as the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Lake City Trail Builders, Washington Trails Association, Dishman Hills Conservancy, the Spokane Mountaineers, and others have become so valuable. If you can, follow their efforts and lend a hand when you can. Many of the trail work days require no special skills or tools, just a willing attitude. I have met some amazing and fun people out working on trails together; it’s a community thing and a fun way to stay in shape while helping fellow trail users. Now use this guide to get out there and explore some of the Inland Northwest’s newest trails and old favorites that are seeing improvements. For trail references and positioning, I recommend using Trailforks and the MTB project apps. Download them on your phone along with any updated mapping files before you head out. (Dan Wilson) BEACON HILL/CAMP SEKANI: Lots of terrain variety from beginner to expert on over 30 trails, featuring flow trails, jump lines, and a mix of chunky rock technical trails. Average vertical is around 670 feet, allowing the rider to get in shorter laps or make creative routes for an all-day ride. Evergreen East is completely revamping the east side of Camp Sekani Park to accommodate for a professionallybuilt bike park skills area with a pump track (fun-

draising efforts are underway; visit evergreeneast. org or follow Evergreen on Facebook to support this effort). Trail improvements in the works this year include Upper Hollywood, Summer Daze, and Upper Stahlingrab on the east side of the park. Come check out the trails, get a tour, and demo the latest and greatest bikes at Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival July 7 ( HIGH DRIVE/SOUTH HILL BLUFF: Steep and rolling single track along the hillside overlooking Latah Creek, offering amazing views and flowy terrain with exposure in some places. Over 20 miles of trails with 400+ foot climbs possible make the Bluff a go-to ride after work. The Friends of the Bluffs maintain the trails and are leading the charge on repairing damage caused by an illegally placed service road last year. A positive outcome of the illegal road debacle, the group is working on the final stages of securing additional acreage of public lands in the area. RIVERSIDE STATE PARK: The largest state park

in Washington, Riverside’s trail system consists of excellent cross-country riding on winding single track through pine forests; lush, twisting riverside trails; and some rocky, technical sections and short, challenging climbs. 70 miles of trails spread out over 14,000 acres, and new trails and trail improvements make for an ever-evolving riding experience. Don’t forget your Discover Pass.


Spokane Valley, find higher elevation rides here with spectacular views of Spokane and the Palouse. The terrain is flowy and steep in areas and can be busy with bike and foot traffic on weekends. The climb is one of the more challenging ones around, with 1,600 feet of elevation gain per lap. The main loop is 5-miles long, but several spur trails, including dropping down to the Stevens Creek trailhead on the south side of the mountain, can add to the mileage. Ongoing trail maintenance efforts and replacing old fire road with new single track continues.

SALTESE UPLANDS: Open cross-country style single track with great views from Mica to Liberty Lake and limited climbing required. This 550 acre chunk of public lands near Liberty Lake is a fantastic place to start riding your bike. The system includes 7+ miles of trail, and the front side switchbacks feature nice long berms that are great for cornering practice. The short draw trail has been re-built and offers a nice change of pace or extended loop option. ANTOINE PEAK: Mid-elevation forested trails

(2,500-3,500 foot range) with steep climbs and descents, the Antoine Peak area offers great views


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of Spokane Valley and the Rathdrum Prairie. While many of the nearly 10-miles of trails on this 1,100-acre piece of Spokane County parkland are on steep, old roads, new single track trail construction thanks to WTA continues. Explore this area from two trailhead options. MICA PEAK: A recent public land addition of just

under 1,000 acres is all thanks to the Conservation Futures program. New trail construction on the west side of Mica Peak (2,500-4,500 foot elevation range), including a mountain bike flow trail and new hiking trails, is in the works this year. Access to the area is easiest from just south of Spokane Valley via Highway 97 at a newly-built trailhead off of Belmont Road, although future conservation land/access efforts could include new trail that would link Mica Peak trails to the 3,500 acre Liberty Lake trail system.

MOUNT SPOKANE: Phenomenal mountain bike

trails on 14,000 acres of state park land with high elevation gains of around 3,000 feet if you’re pedaling or much less if you choose to shuttle. 20+ miles of single track trails range from rocky and technical to flow and off camber rooty sections. Mount Spokane showcases some of Spokane’s best mountain landscapes and views on an ever-improving and expanding trail system. The Trail 290 (The Goods), which is the newest trail addition to the park, is a mostly pedal-free, 3-mile descent from the snowmobile parking lot. New this year, an upper section of Trail 290 is slated to be cut in, giving mountain bikers a new, awesome descent route once it’s completed.


trail system of around 10-miles with punchy climbs and descents on the edge of Spirit Lake,

Idaho, trails range from the adrenaline rush of Pin Ball to the family friendly Charleston Loop. Lots of trail options and limited vertical make the Empire Trails perfect for a wide skillset of riders. New trails and trail improvements on this private land owned by Inland Paper Company are in the works, including an additional loop that will connect to the trailhead near Sedlemayers Resort (adding 4-5 miles to the system) and an old trail built by the Boy Scouts back in the 90s is also going to be cleared for use. Views of Spirit Lake and a public access area for swimming and paddle craft rentals at the edge of town make this a fantastic riding destination on summer days. A trail pass is only $2.50, and you can ride to the trailhead from town (3.5 miles) or drive. Find maps and info at

Have a specific model in mind?

Please call the shop and reserve your dream bike. Reservations will be taken up to May 11.

Don’t miss this years Ladies Ride Day!

Saturday, May 19 at 11am. Riverstone Park, Coeur d’Alene. All ages and levels welcome. We will have ride leaders to accommodate everyone, road riders to cruisers. Great time to meet new riding buddies! Check out our Facebook page for more details.

BLUE CREEK BAY: Lake City Trail Builders and friends are helping to develop a new mountain bike trail system in this recently-thinned recreation area managed by the BLM east of Coeur d’Alene. The trails in the area, known as the Wallace Forest Conservation Area, will include single track trails suitable for a wide range of riders. Follow the Lake City Trail Builders on Facebook for updates. SILVER MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK: New trails and maintenance are in the works for Silver’s liftaccessed, mostly gravity-oriented trails. Morning Woods is a local’s secret trail that’s going on the map this year with a re-built exit. Wildcat, Manchild, Pirate Trail, and Secret Squirrel will all see improvements. For more family riding, check out Silver Mountain’s redone Crescent Trail. Stay tuned on social media for updates on other new trails moving forward this year. //


Evergreen East offers mountain bike classes for every level of rider, with professional, certified instructors who will help you progress. Classes start with skills like body position, descending, climbing and switchbacks and then move on to more advanced skills—depending on the class—like drops, high-speed riding, berms, cornering, and jumps. Spring and fall classes include skills practice and trail riding and Evergreen East also offers private coaching. Details at skillsclasses. • June 3: MTB Foundations Jr., ages 8-12: this fun class just for kids is designed to build confidence and develop skills for real world trail riding. • June 10: MTB Foundations, Teen, ages 13-16: This class takes teens through the skill set for success on the trail. • MTB Foundations, Level 1 & 2, Coed and Women: This two-class series will make any rider a stronger, more confident rider. (Look for fall classes.) • Freeride Foundations Part 1 & 2: This series focuses on bike handling skills for more aggressive riding and terrain. (Look for fall classes.) • Taking to the Trail: Freeride and Downhill at Silver Mountain. (Details online.)

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This 15-mile trail leads through 10 tunnels and across seven trestles (some over 200 feet high). The 1.6 percent gentle downhill grade follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains. Beginning near the Lookout Pass Ski Area, the trail drops 1,000 feet to the end point at Pearson, where shuttles can take bikers back up. The ride kicks off through the 1.66-mile St. Paul Pass Tunnel (also known as the Taft Tunnel) crossing from Montana into Idaho. The scenic and historic trail is fun for capable riders of all ages. “I describe the terrain as pedal… pedal…coast!” says Matt Sawyer of Lookout Pass. “Very easy and family-friendly.” It’s recommended to make online reservations for shuttle tickets and trail passes in advance. Gear rentals are also available at Lookout Pass Ski Area. Helmets and lights are required; mountain bikes or fat tire bikes advised. Opens May 26. Daily hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details at TRAIL OF THE COEUR D’ALENES

An award-winning rails-to-trails project, the 72-mile Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes extends across Idaho’s panhandle from its western end in Plummer to Mullan on the eastern end. The railroad-grade elevation and smooth surface make for easy riding, whether exploring the full trail or tackling short segments. The 17 miles between Plummer and Harrison follow the perimeter of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Chain of Lakes segment extends between Medimont and Harrison; past Cataldo, the trail follows the Coeur d’Alene River. Landon Crecelius, a Spokane area resident and regular recreational bicyclist, enjoyed riding the whole trail with a friend a few years back. “It was a great outing that included ice cream, swimming at Harrison, moose sightings, and a cold beer at a bar in Mullan,” he says.

County Rail Trail Partners to continue developing this as a non-motorized trail have earned praise and recognition in Ferry County and beyond, including “Trail of the Month” in October of 2016 by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, though they have faced opposition from the Ferry County Commissioners. Check progress reports regarding future development at COLUMBIA PLATEAU STATE PARK TRAIL

The Columbia Plateau State Park Trail extends 130 highly scenic miles between the trail ends at Ice Harbor Dam near Pasco and Fish Lake near Cheney. There are two developed sections fit for mountain or hybrid bikes: the 15 miles of the southern segment between Ice Harbor Dam and Snake River Junction (crushed gravel), and the 23-mile northern section between the Fish Lake trailhead in Cheney through Martin Road in Sprague (pavement and crushed gravel), which passes through Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. The middle 90+ miles are largely undeveloped and recommended only for experienced bikepackers on fat bikes. Ryan Griffith, an avid biker who works for Spokane’s Parks and Recreation, rode the entire trail with friends this fall over 3 days and 2 nights. He says without hesitation that he would do it again, but he does caution bikers to consider the lack of water and rough terrain, including sections of railroad ballast, steep embankments, and trestles that need to be circumvented. A fat tire bike is a must for these sections. “It would be really, really difficult for a mountain bike,” he says. Griffith enjoyed an up-close look at geologically significant surroundings, like canyons carved out during Ice Age floods. “I was just kind of mesmerized by the terrain,” he says, particularly the section between Lower Monumental Dam and Kahlotus. For those interested in traversing the full trail, Griffith recommends the Rail-to-Trail Conservancy web site for information including road bypasses, where to sleep, and gear. “If somebody’s going to do it, they just need to do some long rides and get some miles under your butt,” he says. “Bouncing on the railroad ballast is pretty intense; it’s bone-

jarring.” Training with a fully loaded bike is also recommended. “Your bike acts pretty differently when it has a lot of gear on it,” he says. JOHN WAYNE PIONEER TRAIL

This 285-mile rail trail extends across Washington state from the Cascades to the Idaho border. Traveled as a whole, bikers will experience a spectrum of Washington scenery including mountains, rolling fields, dense evergreens, and farmland. “The section on the west side up and over Snoqualmie Pass is in very good shape, easy to ride,” says Dan Schaffer, board member of the Inland Northwest Trails Coalition. “Riding the east section is an adventure and is best done with a fat tire bike rather than a regular mountain bike,” he says. For the western section, the trailhead at Cedar Falls through the Columbia River, the trail is developed, with the exception of trail gaps through Ellensburg, and the Trenslow Trestle over I-90 east of Kittitas, which requires a detour. Highlights include canyon-spanning trestles and riding through the Snoqualmie Tunnel, which, at 2.3 miles, is the longest rail tunnel in the world. Overall, east of the Columbia River, “the surface is quite unfinished,” says Schaffer. “Some sections are better than others. I’ve done parts of it with a mountain bike, and it wasn’t terribly pleasant.” Shorter—and more pleasant—segments east of the Columbia include Tekoa to Rosalia and from Rosalia to Rock Lake. For trail maps and more—including info for those intrepid souls eager to ride the entire eastern section—check out which also posts permit requirements and notices about several sections of the trail that are closed to the public and require detours. FISH LAKE TRAIL

Access the family-friendly Fish Lake Trail from the trailhead near Spokane’s downtown at Government Way and Milton Street. The paved section is about 9 miles long, running south and then west (paralleling the Cheney-Spokane Road). The trail currently ends at Scribner Road; future plans include extending the trail to Fish


There are two hard-packed, smooth surface sections along this 25-mile rail trail in northeast Washington, which runs between Republic and Danville, near the Canadian border: 5.5 miles along Curlew Lake, and 7 miles from the community of Curlew and extending north along the Kettle River. “It’s a near-wilderness experience on a flat, smooth surface,” says Keith Bell, vice president of Ferry County Rail Trail Partners. Expect wildlife sightings and waterfront views, and be sure to check out 770-foot trestle at the north end of Curlew Lake. Impressive efforts by the Ferry 32


TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF BIKE TOURING WITH ROW ADVENTURES ROW Adventures is now offering self-guided Inland Northwest bike tours, with options of fourfive- or six-night packages. Rates include bike rentals (Marin hybrid bikes with front suspension), lodging, luggage transfer, route descriptions and maps, and trail side assistance and emergency support. The pre-set itineraries and prearranged accommodations mean you can take your mind off logistics and focus on enjoying each day’s scenic ride. Legs range in length from 15 to 37 miles. Each of the three tour packages offer specific routes. All tours include the Centennial Trail from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene and sections of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, and culminate in a downhill ride through and across the tunnels and trestles of the historic Route of the Hiawatha Trail. At the end of the tour, ROW provides transportation back to Spokane.

Lake. The trail has a very gentle uphill heading out of Spokane. In addition to plenty of bikers, walkers, and runners of all ages, “we get a lot of people out there pushing baby carriages, people on roller blades, that sort of thing,” says Dan Schaffer. About a mile from the trailhead, the surroundings transition from more urban to wooded, rural terrain. Worth a visit for its easy accessibility, both in terms of ride-ability and proximity. NPOV LIONS CLUB RAILRIDERS

After the closure of the North Pend Oreille Valley Lion’s Excursion train ride from Ione to Metaline Falls in 2016, a new idea was born: railriders! Now in its inaugural season, these pedal-powered vehicles cruise along the railroad tracks. Plan about 1.5 to 2 hours for the 12-mile ride, including some instruction time. Each group departs from Ione and is accompanied by a Lions Club host. Those familiar with the former train route should expect a fresh perspective on the area. “The route includes areas the train did not go through: pasture land, Little Muddy, Big Muddy, and Cedar Creek trestle,” says Gayle Pollock of the NPOV Lions; you’ll also pedal up to Box Canyon Trestle and have views of Box Canyon Dam. This is a very family-friendly excursion, with railrider seats adjustable for children (seatbelts required for all riders); infants worn in a baby carrier by an adult ride for free. Watch for bald eagles, osprey, whitetailed deer, and wildflowers. Advance reservations encouraged. SELKIRK LOOP

This 280-mile international scenic drive or bike ride circles through the Selkirk Mountains of Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia. If touring by road, “for the most part you are riding in the valley with the mountains all around you,” says Stephanie Sims, Executive Director of the International Selkirk Loop. “There are days with rollers, but not significant elevation gains. If you enjoy the climb, we do have some passes you can take to do just that, but there are other routes to avoid them if you wish.” There are many possible side trip rides, and it’s easy to break the loop down into shorter segments, with something for everyone: road touring, rail trails, and fat tire trails. Wherever you go, expect amazing scenery: think wildlife, mountain and lake views, and river canyons. Landon Crecelius has biked two Selkirk Loop segments. “The Canadian section was pretty great!” he says. “We had a blast riding past the Glass House”—a castle-like structure constructed entirely of empty embalming fluid jars, which overlooks Kootenay Lake—”riding the Balfour Free Ferry, and then sleeping in Nelson at the Hume.” More details, and the option to order a free cyclists’ guide to the Selkirk Loop and offshoot rides, at //

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PREVENT BIKE THEFT WITH THESE TIPS BY SARAH HAUGE When you’ve invested big in your bike, the last things you want to deal with are the headache (and heartache) of it being stolen. Although nothing will stop the most determined and well-tooled thief, planning and prevention on your part can be enough to keep your bike right where you want it: ready for your next adventure.

perspective. “If you’ve got a bike you don’t care about, don’t spend a lot, but if you have a really nice bike and you have to lock it up, you’re going to spend probably $100,” says Josh Hess of Mojo Cyclery. “I always tell people to match the lock to their level of paranoia,” he adds with a laugh.


If you’re running into a coffee shop and the bike will be in your line of vision, a cable lock might suffice. If it’s completely out of sight, bump up security. In all cases, “choose a lit place, make sure it’s around other people,” says Simon Hartt of Bike Hub. Be smart when choosing what to lock onto—if you choose a sign post, Hartt cautions, a would-be thief could lift your bike up and over it. Lock up bikes in garages, too—this can be enough to prevent someone from making a quick grab while passing an open door.

The more you’ve invested in your bike, the more you should invest in your security. Often the inclination is to do the opposite—the last thing you want to do is shell out more cash. Resist that temptation, says Brenda Mangine, co-owner of North Division Bike Shop. “When people purchase a bicycle, especially when they purchase a nice bike, they [often] go somewhat inexpensive on the security,” she says. But if you’re being smart, “you should get better security with a better bike.” She recommends a U-lock in combination with a cable lock, pulled through the frame and wheels, or a heavy-duty chain. Cable locks are convenient and inexpensive, but can be cut quickly and inconspicuously. “The more stuff you can throw on there the better,” says Kevin Dentler of Wheel Sport, who also recommends using a U-lock with a cable lock. The more protection you have, the more daunting it looks to steal. “It’s a matter of trying to do as much as you can so someone doesn’t have an opportunity to come up and clip it right away,” he says. It’s also important to lock onto an immovable object, and don’t overlook removable parts. “A lot of people forget about the front wheel,” says Mangine. She recommends taking it off and locking it with the frame and rear wheel, or looping it in with a cable lock. For the seat post, “either get in the habit of pulling up the seat post and bringing it with you, or get a threaded bolt-style seat collar instead of traditional,” she advises. Keep in mind, though, that it’s all a matter of

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Don’t assume you have to leave your bike unattended. “Most businesses will allow me to carry it around,” says Hess. Many employers also allow bikes in the building. Hartt has had similar experiences. “A lot of businesses will allow you to bring it inside, even Albertsons and Safeway, if you ask,” he says. PLAN FOR FUTURE BIKE RECOVERY

Take a photo of your bike and the serial number, then register with a tracking database. Most bikes aren’t registered, says Pat Jewell of Spokane C.O.P.S. Northwest, so when bikes are recovered by police or others, it can be almost impossible to locate the rightful owner. “If they report the bike stolen and they have a registration number, they’re more likely to get it back,” she says. Bring bikes to any C.O.P.S. location during open hours to register; more information at Spokanecops. org. Consider also signing up with online registry //


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Increase your chances of recovering from theft by registering your bike with online database Bike Index ( Go to the website and submit your name, bike manufacturer, serial number, and component information to the online registry. Should your bike be stolen, change your bike’s status on the site. If a Bike Index user or partner encounters your bike and looks it up in the database, it’ll be that much easier to get it back to you. Bike Index is a nonprofit and offers this as a free service, though tax-deductible donations are welcome. “Just under 108,000 users have signed up for Bike Index, with just under 157,500 bikes,” says Lily Williams of Bike Index. 4,484 bikes have been recovered to date. Partners around the world include police departments, universities, bike shops, and bike clubs. Consider using Bike Index in conjunction with a local registry like the one offered through Spokane C.O.P.S.

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WHEN I WAS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, a man demonstrated the importance of helmet safety by dropping a watermelon on the concrete. It was a convincing—if a bit dramatic—way to remind us to protect our heads, and to teach us that head injuries go beyond concussions. Head injuries can also refer to abrasions, facial trauma, lacerations, punctures, fractures, or tooth loss. Doctor Tim Manson of MultiCare Rockwood Clinic in Spokane refers to the most commonlycited study, which suggests that helmets reduce the likelihood of serious head injury by 70 percent. The study was based on people ages 16 years and younger, but it seems sage advice for people of any age. When it comes to helmets actually preventing injury, there are a lot of variables involved, including age, traffic, riding conditions, and the speed of the accident. Unsurprisingly, a helmet would not significantly reduce a mid-facial fracture, which makes it hard to draw a correlation between helmets and concussions when facial fractures get looped into the umbrella term of head injury. The total number of head injury fatalities in the U.S. is around 75,000 per year. Bicycling fatalities (from any injury) make for about 800 of those deaths. Of those 800, a maximum of 600 deaths are due to head injury. In context, serious head injuries from cycling are rather rare. In a survey of members

of the League of American Bicyclists, it was found that cycling falls or crashes that actually damaged something (more than $50 worth of property damage, or damage requiring medical treatment) happened on average only once every 11 years, or every 32,000 miles. Nevertheless, see a doctor if you experience head trauma that leads to memory loss, a change in your balance, coordination, slow processing or “brain fog,” or emotional lability. If your friend crashes her bike and then complains about a headache, you should recommend she go in for a checkup. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor if you experience a crash and are simply uncertain or concerned about having a concussion. Keep in mind there’s also risk of head injury in other activities like rock climbing, water skiing, and basketball, which was rated above cycling for head injury risk. When it comes to cycling, Dr. Manson says it’s important to wear appropriate attire for weather and road conditions, avoid highly-trafficked roads and times, and follow the rules of the road. You should stay visible, remain hydrated and cool, and take appropriate breaks. It helps if you stop to enjoy the scenery; your eyes belong on the road while moving. Proper size, fit, and wear of a helmet is essential. //


While many occasional riders might be tempted to buy a cheap helmet online or at a big box store, most local bike shops have helmet options in the same price range and a local shop has employees who have been trained to make sure you get a helmet that fits and meets your needs. WHAT TYPE OF HELMET DO I NEED?

Morgan Johnson, owner and operator of local bike shop Mojo Cyclery, says that a good, quality helmet is going to be one that fits well. He recommends taking the time to go into a local bike shop to get fitted. There are a few different systems in helmet approaches—one is a cone-style shape, like an egg on its edge. The other is called MIPS, which works like the fluid around your brain. Several brands take the MIPS approach now, says Morgan. He recommend Fox or Catlike helmet brands. “A popular mountain bike helmet we sell is the Bontrager Solstice that’s in the $65 range,” says Brenda Mangine at North Division Bicycle Shop. For downhill mountain bikers or more aggressive riders, Mangine recommends the Bontrager Quantum, which has more protective helmet coverage for the back of the head. All of the Bontrager helmets feature MIPS technology, a special insert on the inner shell that absorbs and distributes energy peaks and rotational forces in case of an impact at a slanted angle, which reduces a riders chance of concussion. For road biking, Fitness Fanatics in Spokane Valley says the Giro Air Attack is a super popular choice, with its aerodynamic design that’s made for speed. Plus, its burly construction will protect your melon in case of a high-speed road riding accident. If your riding will more likely take you around town or on the Centennial Trail, Chase Cardwell with Wheel Sport Central recommends the Specialized Propero. “At around $100, it’s a little upgrade from a basic helmet and has a lot of great features you usually find on more expensive helmets.” The Propero III features an excellent venting design, a clip-on visor, and an easy-to-use dial system in the back to adjust fitting. For riders with larger heads who have trouble fitting into other helmets, Cardell recommends the Specialized Max, a steal at only $40. (OTO)

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River Town RebirthRiggins, Idaho

By Aaron Theisen

Where to Stay

There are plenty of lodging and camping options in and around Riggins to fit every comfort and budget level. If you’re up for camping out, try to find a place to pitch your tent on one of the beautiful beaches upstream from town or at the rustic Spring Bar Campground 10 miles upriver. If you’re looking for a hotel or motel option, we recommend finding one that sits on the river side of the road with access to the water. We have stayed at the Riverview Motel at the edge of town, which has clean, comfortable rooms with excellent views of the river canyon, a nice common area patio, and stairs and a path down to the water. (OTO)

Rebirth as a River Town

For a town that has one of the state’s major north-south highways running through it, Riggins, Idaho, doesn’t feel like a place you just stumble upon by accident.




On the south end of town, the Salmon River doglegs as it picks up the Little Salmon River and begins to parallel Highway 95 on its 425-mile journey from the continent’s second-deepest canyon to its confluence with the Snake River in Hells Canyon, the continent’s deepest. Early explorers called the Salmon the “River of No Return” for the seeming impossibility of uphill travel through its rapids. Here, cradled between the two deepest gorges in North America, serviced by one winding two-lane highway and spotty cell coverage, Riggins seems, in some ways, as impassable as that famed whitewater. We have the foresight of Idaho senator (and wilderness namesake) Frank Church to thank for the lack of a paved highway running along the Salmon River from Riggins to Salmon, some 100 river miles to the east. His efforts led to the designation of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and protection of the main portion of the Salmon River.

We have a fire to thank for Riggins’ rebirth as a river town. Riggins was known as a logging town until the early 1980s, when a fire gutted the timber mill. (Its remains still occupy a flat parcel at the confluence of the Little Salmon and Salmon Rivers.) In the five counties that comprise northcentral Idaho, agriculture and timber are the top two industries, respectively. Shielded from storms by the 8,000- 9,000 foot peaks of the Seven Devils to the west (at 9,400 feet, the twin summits of He Devil and She Devil form the high point for both the Salmon and Snake River gorge canyons), Riggins, at just over 1,800 feet in elevation, boasts a “Banana Belt” sub-tropical climate; roughly 18 inches of precipitation fall annually, 75% of which comes from snow above 2,500-3,000 feet. It’s fitting that the Mountain and Pacific time zones meet near the bridge just outside of town. But a dearth of flat ground limits agriculture and most of the merchantable timber is inaccessible. Meanwhile, the river is a renewable recreational resource, making tourism the third-largest sector of the economy in north-central Idaho. “There were already people who were starting to boat, but they weren’t really thought highly of by the locals—’Oh, these crunchy granola types are wanting to camp on our beaches,’ says Mark Christensen, of Riggins-based outfitter Salmon River Experience. “When the mill burned there was quickly the feeling that Riggins had to do something different.” Riggins chose a new path: “The whitewater capital of Idaho.” “The people who live here love this canyon, want to live here, and have to figure out a way to make a living here; that’s why we did what we did,” says Brenda Baugh, who, with her husband Jess, runs Mountain River Outfitters. When Jess and Brenda married 15 years ago, Jess was already a rafting and fishing guide in Riggins. But with three children to support, the Baughs realized guiding wasn’t going to pay the bills. So Mountain River Outfitters was born. Baugh soon realized the bottom-line cost of the company was the same whether it offered one trip or 10. So they slowly started buying rights to guide on other sections of river; today they offer half- and full-day trips on the Lower Salmon, Main Salmon, Hells Canyon, and Owyhee Rivers. They also own two lodges on the Salmon River and a coffee shop in Riggins. Says Baugh, “When I moved here, Jess told me

it’s the only place he knows where you can drive 45 minutes to ski [at Brundage Mountain Resort, near McCall], hit a hot springs on the way home, and not shovel snow”—the latter point being a notable perk to several Riggins residents with whom I spoke. Although the region lacks for snow-shoveling opportunities, there’s plenty to offer beyond floating and fishing. “I like to point out the ‘-ing’ activities here: hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, even antiquing,” says Christensen. “I’ve found at outdoors shows that it’s really easy to promote Riggins.” A native Idahoan, Christensen graduated from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, in its first Outdoor Recreation and Leadership program. After a stint in Hawaii, where whitewater and winter are in short supply, he and his wife returned to Idaho, where Christensen began training with long-time outfitter Chuck Boyd in 2011. “When you visit Riggins, it’s like you’re turning back the clock, but you can still get a good local microbrew,” says Christensen. Like many communities in the Northwest, Riggins has a roughand-tumble history, with many of its stories written with the pointy end of a love triangle. For a time the town went by the name of “Gouge-Eye,” after a particularly violent bar fight, but when postmaster Dick Riggins applied for an official post office for the community, the U.S. Government rejected the name. The community settled on the name Riggins to honor the postmaster’s father, pioneer John Riggins. Although Riggins is still no teetotaller town—it has three liquor licenses for a population of 400—it has avoided the fate of many a similar community buffeted by the tides of a seasonal economy. Baugh and Christensen credit the Salmon River Chamber of Commerce with the foresight to realize that a year-round slate of attractions would ensure a stable, family-friendly economy. Now, the city has a full calendar: Women with Bait in March, jet boat races in April, the rodeo in May, Big Water Blowout in June, and Hot Summer Nights in July. That’s in addition to spring and fall hunting and fishing and a long, consistent summer of boating. “Probably the best way I’ve heard it put is our biggest competition is something like Silverwood,” says Christensen. “When people come to Riggins, they already know what they’re coming for. We draw a different audience for the rodeo than we do for Big Water Blowout, a different audience for that than for Hot Summer Nights,” says Christensen. But the river remains the draw.

It’s All about the RiveR

Once known as the “River of No Return,” today the Salmon is the Northwest’s premier multiday float journey, its white-sand beaches having earned the Salmon the new designation “the Riviera of the West.” “Jess and I went to Hawaii and went to every beach we could, and every beach had a different kind of sand—different feel, different color,” says Baugh. “And at every beach, Jess said ‘the Salmon River has nicer sand.’” Originating in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho, and scooping up countless tributaries draining millions of acres of wilderness as it flows toward the Snake River, the Salmon never lacks for snowpack. Undammed, it’s dynamic; over the course of the year the Salmon will drop down as low as 2,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) and as high as 125,000 to 130,000 CFS. And, as the old saying goes, it’s never the same river twice. “Any whitewater person can be assured that the Salmon River is going to have plenty of water to play in,” says Baugh. “There’s always something good no matter the flow.” Thirty minutes north of Riggins, in White Bird (population: 85), mayor Homer Brown hopes some of that river-town economy flows downstream. Brown grew up in White Bird, guiding for a couple summers before a two-year tour in the Army. After that, he ended up back home where he guided on the Lower Salmon River in addition to working on the road for a drilling company. Six years ago, he bought his own boat and started working as a contractor in the area; last summer, he got the permits to be on the Salmon River and began his own outfitter, Hammer Down Excursions. Brown has been fishing the lower Salmon since he was a kid, catching bass and trout, sturgeon and steelhead. “To take other people out and show them the places I know is probably the best part of the whole thing,” says Brown. “One of the things that people enjoy is seeing what the locals do when they go out on the river; we call it ‘the locals’ deal: run down the river, do a little fishing, make

a nice dinner, bail out.” Brown has started offering the Power Hour tour on the Lower Salmon River, from Cooper Bar downstream to Pine Bar. Although less well known than the Main Salmon River, the Lower Salmon is no less wild, the 65 essentially-roadless miles passing through tight canyons and ancient petroglyphs. Some of the greatest beaches in the Northwest are on the Lower Salmon River,” says Brown. “Multiple times a summer I get asked ‘Hey, where do they haul the sand in from?’” Brown expects Lower Salmon trips to continue to be popular because of the easy access and affordability. “If people are driving through and want to do a raft trip and a jet boat trip, they can do both.” Like Riggins, White Bird is not a town one ends up in by accident. But it’s even more pronounced in the latter community; when the state re-routed Highway 95 to build a safer road up White Bird Summit, it bypassed the town. Brown hopes that more people take the detour. “As a business owner, you want to see people come into town and come to your business, and help out White Bird,” says Brown. “But the other part of it is, there are people who come through and say ‘Wow, this town is really nice, I’d like to move here.’ I want to see those new faces come to town and buy real estate and be involved in the community.” Fortunately, the Salmon is a big river. Big enough to accommodate the Baughs, Brown, Christensen and the other outfitters who make their livings on it. “People ask me what Riggins is by,” says Christensen. “And I tell them, it’s not really by anything, except the largest wilderness in the lower 48. You’re not going to find a Wal-Mart here.” Like many a Mecca, Riggins is a place one visits with intention. And, befitting a place of pilgrimage, the town makes true believers out of tourists. Says Mark Christensen, “When you ask people if they’ve been to Riggins they have one of two answers: ‘Where’s that?’ Or ‘Hell yeah, and it’s awesome!’” //

RIGGINS / WHITE BIRD EVENTS May 5: Annual Riggins Rodeo, Cowboy Breakfast and Parade Steer riding, mutton busting and more at the Riggins rodeo grounds. June 2: Riggins Big Water Blowout River Festival Watch expert boaters take on big waves, or take advantage of discounts on guided rafting trips. ( June 2: Just for the Hill of It Bike Challenge (White Bird) Challenging 13-mile climb on twisting switchbacks of the Old White Bird Grade (Syringahospital. org/hill-of-it-challenge.html) June 15: White Bird Days and Rodeo Rodeo events and Mardi Gras-themed parade for the 40th anniversary of White Bird Days ( July 27: Hot Summer Nights (Riggins) Classic car parade and raucous live music at Riggins City Park. ( September 8: Riggins Salmon Run Scenic out-and-back 5K, 10K and half-marathon footrace along the Salmon River (



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OutdoorCalendar RUNNING (May 6) Ferry County Rail Trail LLS Fun Run. Where: Ferry County Rail Trail, Curlew, Wash. Join the second-annual fun run in Ferry County benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Run or walk 3 or 6 miles. This event starts at the Curlew Rail Trail Parking Lot. You can pre-register or donate and enter the day of the event. Info: rocketbrainpower@

(May 6) Lilac Bloomsday Run. Where: Downtown Spokane. Spokane’s most famous 12K fun run. Info:

(May 12) Cheney Wetlands Run. Where: Cheney, Wash. A 4-mile trail run/walk through the Cheney Wetlands on the edge of town in the pines and channeled scablands. Info:

(May 19) Girls on the Run of Spokane County 5k. Where: Grant Park, Spokane. 300 girls who have been working hard all spring to be ready to walk, run, skip, and jump over the finish line in May. Proceeds benefit the Girls on the Run of Spokane County Program, specifically scholarships for girls who cannot afford full registration. Family and friends are encouraged to run, skip, walk, and jump along. Info:

(May 20) Windermere Marathon & Half Marathon. Where: Centennial Trail, Spokane. A fast, flat course with scenic views of the beautiful Spokane River. Info:

(May 27) Coeur d’Alene Marathon.

Where: McEuen Park. The Coeur d’Alene Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k fun run offers one of the most

spectacular events in the country. At an elevation of 2,200 feet above sea level, the resort community of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, resting on the shores of spectacular Lake Coeur d’Alene, welcomes visitors to a plethora of vacation and recreational activities. Info:

BIKING (May 2 & Every Wednesday through June) Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Races. Where: Riverside State Park. Race or just have fun on and off the course with friends. New course every week. Random prize drawings and cold drinks will be waiting at the finish line. Info:

(May 12) Kidical Mass.

Where: Chief Garry Neighborhood, Spokane. Kids of all ages and their parents can enjoy this fun, safe ride of about 3 miles. All types of bikes, trailers, tandems, trikes, and anything else that rolls are welcome. Info:

(May 14-18) Spokane Bike to Work Week. Spokane Bicycle Club kicks off this annual event with a pancake breakfast on Monday morning. Other events and activities are planned all week long. Info:

(May 20) Lilac Century Bike Ride.

Where: Spokane. This annual spring ride offers five different scenic and challenging tours with something for all levels of riders and a baked-potato feed at the finish. Event proceeds benefit local Rotary Club charitable projects. Info:

(May 26-27) 24 Hour MTB Race. Where: Riverside State Park, Spokane. Riders pedal from noon Saturday to noon on Sunday, racing around

the clock in teams of 2-10 people or as individuals. Each team decides how many laps each rider does on the 14-mile course. Camping, a pancake breakfast, post-race pasta party, and more included. Info:

OTHER (May 5) Clear Lake Kids Fishing Day. Where: Clear Lake, Medical Lake, Wash. Held at the Fairchild Recreation Area at Clear Lake west of Spokane, up to 1,000 kids ages 5-14 get to fish for rainbow trout and take home a t-shirt and a rod and reel. All gear and bait are provided. Numerous volunteers are available to assist the young anglers with baiting hooks, casting, and catching fish. Fish cleaning is also provided free of charge, and families have the option of donating their day’s catch to a local food bank. Info: Wdfw. (May 5-6) Wilderness First Aid Course. Where: University of Idaho, Moscow. Learn the skills needed to safely deal with emergencies in the backcountry. Taught by Desert Mountain Medicine. Info: Uidaho. edu/outdoorprogram (May 20) Troika Triathlon. Where: Medical Lake. Options include Olympic course, long course and sprint course. Info: (May 29) Intermediate Whitewater Kayaking. Where: Spokane River. Get comfortable in moving water and get a taste of whitewater with FLOW Adventures. The course starts with river terminology and hydrology lessons. Then it’s on to the river, where you will learn to maneuver your boat in moving water. Improve your braces and t-rescues; learn important skills like the upstream ferry, eddy peelouts, and entries. Info:

SIX MONTH EVENTCALENDAR RUNNING (June 2) Stache Dash 5K Family Fun Run. Where: Liberty Lake, Wash. Run or walk this 5k on paved trails with views of the lake and support Elevations, a non-profit organization that provides funding for children with special needs to receive therapy services and specialized equipment to help them reach their full potential. Runners, walkers, wheel chairs and strollers are welcome. Info:

(June 17) Dad’s Day Dash 5k. Celebrate Father’s Day on a 5k run or walk in and around Spokane’s Manito Park and help raise funds for SNAP, a non-profit organization helping low-income Spokane County residents with energy assistance, small business loans, housing, and home repairs. Info:

BIKING (June 16) CHAFE 150. Where: Sandpoint. The route for this Gran Fondo scenic ride travels along Lake Pend Oreille and into Montana and the Cabinet Mountain river valleys. Choose from 30, 80, or 150 miles. Info: (July 7) Spokatopia Bike Demo Day.

Where: Camp Sekani Park, Spokane. Spokatopia is the big-

gest bike demo event of the year, and it’s part of a bigger outdoor adventure festival. Try the latest mountain, road, fat, and e-bikes from local bike shops and brand reps from around the Northwest on Beacon Hill singletrack or the paved Centennial Trail. Take part in group rides, shuttles to the top of Sekani downhill trails, and enjoy live music and a beer garden that benefits Evergreen East, the local chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Info:

(July 7-8) Coeur d’Alene Enduro. Where: Canfield Mountain, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The inaugural event is a two-day, camp-style mountain bike race on Canfield Mountain, Coeur d’Alene’s local trail system. The CDA Enduro is the Inland Northwest’s newest addition to the popular enduro race scene. Canfield Mountain is easily accessible from the heart of town, but the trails themselves have the feel of a backcountry adventure. You’ll camp near the trailhead for two full days of earning your turns on rowdy singletrack (including one never-ridden, completely blind stage), and be rewarded with a bonfire, beverages, a dinner for the racers, and a few more surprises to write home about. Cost: $135. Info: (July 11, 18, and 25) Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Races. Where: Farragut State Park, Idaho. Known as 5 in July (when we have 5

Wednesdays in July), this family mountain bike event includes single track racing on 7- to 18- mile courses depending on the week. A fund raising BBQ is included after the race. Selected youth sports teams serve BBQ to earn donations. $25 gets you a 1- or 2- lap race plus a BBQ dinner. Info:

(August 18) 8 Lakes Leg Aches.

Where: Spokane. One of the best organized rides in Eastern Washington that explores the beautiful scenery surrounding Spokane, West Plains, Medical Lake and Cheney. Routes are clearly marked and include food stops, medical and mechanical support. Proceeds benefit the programs of Lutheran Community Services Northwest. Info: Lcsnw. org/8-lakes-bike-ride

MULTISPORT (July 9) Valley Girl Triathlon. Where: Medical Lake, Wash. When: 7:45 a.m. Women’s sprint distance triathlon. Info: (July 21) Tiger Triathlon. Where: Colville, Wash. Swim Gillette Lake, ride the mostly downhill course down Tiger Pass through the Colville National Forest, and finish with a run on Rotary Trail to Colville. Info:

LA BICICLETTA Road, mountain, cross or cruise, it’s all good, because it’s about building healthy cycling communities. Today, support your community by purchasing a bag of La Bicicletta Organic coffee, a percentage of sales will help DOMA continue to support cycling locally and nationally. MAY 2018 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM


LastPage KILIMANJARO The One Item Bucket List // By Ammi Midstokke

SOME MONTHS AGO, my friend Scott was diag-

nosed with terminal cancer. It’s the kind of news that would have me buried in pints of ice cream and trying to get a head start on morphine pills. But not Scott. Scott said he had one thing on his bucket list: Climb Kilimanjaro. We gathered a small group of naive and inexperienced people with, apparently, lots of money and time on their hands, and headed to Tanzania with our North Face duffels—so that we at least looked legit—and sunblock. There are a lot of different ways to climb a mountain, but Kilimanjaro almost forces a kind of mountaineering luxury. Guides and porters are mandatory. “This isn’t our usual kind of trip,” my friend Christi says. I’m hoping that by this she merely means we won’t get lost this time, but she is referring to the extensive staff that is going to facilitate our climb. If I’m ever diagnosed with cancer, please remind me how nice it is to have someone else pack my tent while I start my ascent each morning. Regardless of the village of locals helping our

crew up the mountain, we had to at least dress ourselves and schlepp one slow foot in front of the other as we trekked first through the jungle, then the high heather, and then into the moonscape slopes above 16,000 feet. Mother Nature must have heard our elitist, selfreliant complaints and decided to complicate our hike up route with a few feet of uncommon snow. Most of the porters had never seen snow. My guide, making his 203rd summit, told me that it has been more than 15 years since they had snowfall like this. We did not tell the rest of our party, but instead acted like this was all standard trekking experience. “Shouldn’t we have crampons and ice axes for these steep, snow covered slopes?” “No,” I say, “Just don’t fall because you won’t stop.” I casually ask Christi if this qualifies as an alpine climb and she scoffs at my drama and says, “No. This is a snow-covered trail.” I pass the word along because people don’t really plummet to their death on snowcovered trails so we’re probably safe—as long as no one actually does plummet to their death. As we grind our way upward on our summit

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attempt, the weather changes by the minute and the conversation dwindles to occasional health checks. I look down the white expanse, blotched with exposed volcanic rock, and watch this unlikely crew of climbers pick their way up one of the Seven Summits. They don’t even know how awesome they are. Or how sunburned. It is a reminder to me: Anyone can do any damn thing they want. You don’t have to be some experienced mountaineer to give climbing a mountain a try. You don’t have to have the fancy gear, the record, the ripped abs, or the right genes. You just need a bunch of crazy friends who are willing to support your ideas, share their energy bars, and not judge you when you start vomiting at 18,200 feet. They are allowed to make fun of you later at camp, though. I’ve climbed a lot of mountains in my day, and I’m pretty sure I will climb more, but none will move me as this one has. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s an easy hike up either, since no one hikes easily at 19,341 feet. Cresting that final ridge after making the Western Breach, seeing the summit sign in the snowy distance,

the choked back tears came in full force. There is something about a summit that fills the soul with profound gratitude. I don’t know if this was Scott’s intention for reaching the Roof of Africa, but as we stood there on the top of Uhuru Peak, each of us expressed the same message of thankfulness. We can overcome mountains, even while cancer is overcoming us. Sometimes that mountain is just getting out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it’s Kilimanjaro. And every day of our blessed lives, we can share in the experiences and friendships that make those mountains a little less intimidating and life a little more meaningful. Climb on, my friends, whatever your mountain is. A special thanks to the crew at Mountain Gear for their support and encouragement, and to African Outdoor Expeditions for keeping the gluten off my plate. // When Ammi Midstokke is not chasing her first love (trails), she is preaching her second (food) as a Nutritional Therapist. She wrote about carbo-loading in April.

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May 2018 // Out There Outdoors  

River Town: Riggins, Idaho // May Hikes // 8 Classic INW Bike Rides // Nature: Osprey are Back // Hope for a Spokane River Whitewater Park /...

May 2018 // Out There Outdoors  

River Town: Riggins, Idaho // May Hikes // 8 Classic INW Bike Rides // Nature: Osprey are Back // Hope for a Spokane River Whitewater Park /...