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THE INLAND PACIFIC NORTHWEST GUIDE TO ADVENTURE + TRAVEL + CULTURE
31 WAYS TO EXPLORE INLAND NW LAKES
SUMMER ADVENTURE GEAr
For Camp & the Trails
Oregon's big Country
nature survival skills for kids
MTB the Methow
Miles of Singletrack await in the north cascades
Low-impact backcountry tips
Step up & Keep Us From loving the great outdoors to death
JUMP INTO SUMMER S P O KA N E 1325 N DIVISION SPOKANE, WA
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Thirty-One Ways to Explore NW Lakes Methow MTB Magic Backcountry Etiquette Oregon’s Big Country Bikepacking Route
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Get Out There Hiking Gear Room Flashback Outdoor Living Health & Fitness
Columns 14 | The Trailhead 15 | Nature 16 | Run Wild 26 | Everyday Cyclist 28 | Out There Kids Non-motorized watercraft races on the beautiful Priest River Au g u s t 2 1 , 2 0 2 1 7a . m . - 4 p. m .
At the Priest River Recreation Area (Mudhole) in Priest River, ID register at PORPA.org by 10 August
Sponsored by the Pend Oreille Rowing & Paddling Association
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In Every Issue 7 | Intro 8 | Dispatches 12 | Get Out There 18 | Provisions 51 | Last Page COVER PHOTO: WOODS WHEATCROFT Suzanne, Suki, Brandon and Fosha exploring one of the many waterways connected to Lake Pend Oreille.
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UNCONVENTIONAL FLOCK TAKES ON NOXIOUS WEEDS AT PINE STREET WOODS BY DERRICK KNOWLES PINE STREET WOODS WEED EATERS. PHOTOS: FIONA HICKS. COURTESY OF KANIKSU LAND TRUST
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MANY PEOPLE OUT ENJOYING the trails at Pine Street
Woods near Sandpoint this summer have been surprised to encounter a herd of unusual animals grazing in the meadow. Purchased by the Kaniksu Land Trust in 2015, Pine Street Woods Community Forest is a 180-acre, rolling woodland natural area that sees plenty of hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners. The presence of the eclectic flock that includes goats, sheep, yaks, a llama, and even a Bactrian camel, on the other hand, is a temporary and relatively recent addition. Owned by shepherd Chris Wujek, the herd is part of an effort by the Kaniksu Land Trust (KLT) to control several species of invasive plants that have spread throughout the forest’s large meadow. If left unchecked, noxious weeds can outcompete some species of native plants, reducing higher quality native food sources for wildlife. The use of rotational grazing is an alternative to herbicides, explains KLT conservation director Regan Plumb. The use of chemical sprays would require closing the area off to the public, something that would be challenging to do, notes Plumb. There are also concerns about the impact such chemicals can have on the natural environment, including soils, making the choice to try rotational grazing a no brainer. While doing good work munching away at hawkweed, knapweed, oxeye daisy, and other invasive plants, Wujek’s herd has become a major attraction that’s drawing plenty of attention to KLT’s creative restoration effort. “When the animals are out grazing, there’s a tremendous response from the community. You can walk right up and put your
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arms around the camel, your kids can pick up the baby goats and haul then around,” says Plumb. “We didn’t anticipate the PR value of having a shepherd on site, but it’s been pretty phenomenal.” This is the herd’s second summer of grazing for three to four weeks at Pine Street Woods. Wujek moves his herd each day to cover the entire meadow over time, explains Plumb. He uses temporary electric fencing to keep the animals focused on the weed patch at hand and prevent overgrazing. “It’s really intentional that we have a mixed flock of five different types of animals grazing too,” adds Plumb. “Because of that, it means one of them will eat anything.” After eating down the weeds and other plants, the smaller hooved animals then help mix their manure into the soil, and the natural fertilizer gives the native grass and wildflower seeds that KLT then plants an added boost over the grazed down noxious weeds. Getting rid of invasive plants at Pine Street Woods will take time, says Plumb. “We expect that 5-6 years of treatment will be necessary before we see results.” Each grazing season helps discourage the weeds and gives grasses and other native plants a chance to compete and eventually flourish. Kaniksu Land Trust purchased the Pine Street Woods property from a local family that had grazed cattle and cut firewood on the property for 50 years. Pine Street Woods opened to the public in 2019 and has become a popular recreational destination for locals and visitors alike. For directions and more information, visit Kaniksu.org/play. //
S. Michal Bennett Carol Corbin Adam Gabauer Sarah Hauge Summer Hess Justin Short Aaron Theisen Holly Weiler
Daniel T. Brennan Andrew Butler Tabitha Gregory Matt Kinney Phil Linden Chris Maccini Judd McCaffree Woods Wheatcroft Wil Wheaton
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Mailing Address: PO Box #5, Spokane, WA 99210 www.outthereoutdoors.com, 509 / 822 / 0123 Out There Outdoors is published 6 times a year by Out There Monthly, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. ©Copyright 2021 Out There Monthly, LLC. The views expressed in this magazine reflect those of the writers and advertisers and not necessarily Out There Monthly, LLC. Disclaimer: Many of the activities depicted in this magazine carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. Rock climbing, river rafting, snow sports, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and backcountry activities are inherently dangerous. The owners and contributors to Out There Monthly/ Out There Outdoors do not recommend that anyone participate in these activities unless they are experts or seek qualified professional instruction and/or guidance, and are knowledgeable about the risks, and are personally willing to assume all responsibility associated with those risks. PROUD MEMBER Of
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I N T R O It's Getting Hot In Here
KNOWLES LOOKING FOR SHADE IN EASTERN OREGON. PHOTO: AARON THEISEN
AS WE ARE putting the finishing touches
on the July/Aug Out There, the air is cool, crisp, and comfortable. In our office, that is, thanks to the first air conditioner that either of us have ever had in 40-something years of living in the Inland Northwest. Outside, on the other hand, it’s hot as hell and set to be over 100 for the next week with a record breaking high of 112 forecasted for one of the final days of June. This heat wave that has been bouncing around the West, on top of serious drought conditions and spring wildfires, adds up to a pretty scary situation. Hotter temps, less water, and more fires and smoke make it more difficult to safely enjoy the outdoors, and it puts wildlife populations and habitats at risk. It also
threatens the health of people unable to escape the heat or with asthma or other ailments. Then there’s the impact our changing climate is having on jobs and the economy. I hope this current combo of extreme heat, drought, and early wildfires is an anomaly and not the start of an apocalyptic summer and new normal. But we can’t live, breathe, and survive on hope. “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul,” proclaimed writer Edward Abbey. With that in mind, here are some ways we can take more responsibility for our impact on our destabilizing climate.
4. Add solar panels to your home or business. They will pay for themselves before you know it. Out There is now solar powered thanks to Spokane solar installer Eco Depot. We highly recommend them! 5. Find alternatives to plastics, shop locally, support local farmers, and eat lower on the food chain. 6. Support companies and brands that are addressing climate change.
1. Help de-politicize the debate on climate change by talking with co-workers, family, and neighbors you might not normally engage with on this topic. Share simple observations and concerns we are all experiencing.
There are plenty of good reasons to take some personal responsibility for our role in climate change. Do something for future generations, for moral or economic reasons, or because you want to spend summers out riding, hiking, running, and camping, not hiding from heat and smoke in your basement. DERRICK KNOWLES, PUBLISHER
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DISPATCHES HISTORIC BRIDGE OPENING TO IMPROVE CROSS-STATE TRAIL BEVERLY, WASH.
The historic Beverly Bridge will open to the public as early as October 2021. This connecting bridge over the Columbia River opens up a longtime dream trail across Washington State. The Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail is a linear park comprised of most of the former 287-mile Milwaukee Road Railroad corridor. Back in 2014, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission completed planning for the 34-mile section of the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (known until 2018 as the Iron Horse State Park Trail) between Malden and the Idaho border. Later on, in 2016, State Parks completed a planning process for the remaining sections. The Beverly Bridge spanning the Columbia River links the western half of the Palouse to Cascades Trail to the eastern half. Completed in 1909 and 1/2-mile-long,
the original trestle was registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. However, due to safety concerns, the trestle was gated and closed, bisecting the PTCT into two sections. Trail users were forced to arrange a shuttle or risk a dangerous crossing at the nearest bridge, the I-90 bridge at Vantage. In many ways, this a huge victory for Washington and trail enthusiasts. After the initial railroad went bankrupt in the mid1970s and abandoned its lines in the Pacific Northwest in 1980, the bridge and adjoining right-of-way were taken over by the State of Washington in lieu of back taxes owed by the railroad. Soon after, the bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now, 40 years later, it’s the link that binds the State together, and opens a new era of crossstate trail fanatics. (Jon Jonckers)
KIDS' EVENTS ADDED TO BLAZING SADDLES BIKE RIDE COLVILLE, WASH.
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The Colville, Washington area is a road biker’s dream. Tucked into the northeast corner of the state, there is an abundance of lightly-trafficked backroads. Popular routes pass through lush valleys and forested foothills, along lakes and rivers, and over high mountain passes. The annual Blazing Saddles Ride, August 7 this year, is the chance to meet and tour these amazing routes with other riders. Each year, Blazing Saddles Ride organizers feature different world-class century, (100 miles) metric century (62 miles), and 40-mile routes on a three-year rotation. This year’s rides are dubbed the “Tour d’Colville Valley,” which lets all riders experience at least some of the iconic “Colville Loop” route that circumnavigates the city of Colville. Blazing Saddles organizers also added a perfect ride for the whole family, including younger riders. Starting from Colville’s Yep Kanum Park on August 7 at 9 a.m., the 5-mile route winds along the Cedar Loop residential area and then around the lovely rural setting of the Rotary Trail and back to the park. The winding ride has a slight uphill at the start and is otherwise a relatively flat pedal for the whole family. The family ride finishes back at Yep Kanum Park at 10 a.m. where “Kids' Art in the Park” will be getting started. This event is an experiential paint, clay, music, and dance event for kids of all ages. Ride registration is $10 per person age 8 and over, and free for anyone under 8. Kids and adults who have registered for the Little Pepper Family Ride are invited to attend a Bike Safety Rodeo at the Colville Community College parking lot on July 31. The Bike Safety Rodeo will teach kids bike safety and handling. Little riders will receive a certificate at end of the course. The bike rodeo is free for kids who are registered for the Blazing Saddles Little Pepper Family Ride and $5 for all others. Find all of the event info at Blazing100.org. (Derrick Knowles)
ROTARY CLUB OF COLVILLE AGENCIES COLLABORATE TO PREPARE COMMUNITIES FOR WILDFIRE SMOKE SPOKANE, WASH.
Smoke Ready 2021, held the week of June 14-18, 2021, encouraged residents to prepare early for wildfire smoke with information, tips and resources that are relevant all summer long. The campaign’s sponsors (Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, Spokane Regional Health District, and Spokane County Emergency Management) posted information and resources on preparing for wildfire smoke online and on social media along with the hashtag #SmokeReady2021. Unique themes with related tips were highlighted each day. The first topic covered how to protect your health from smoke by monitoring air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded system to report air quality conditions. Since air quality can change quickly during smoke events, check the AQI often (it is updated hourly) at SpokaneCleanAir.org. Another easy way to keep tabs on air quality is to download the free AirNow phone app. You can also sign up for texts or email alerts at Airnow.gov. The health threat posed by wildfire smoke particles was one of several other highlighted topics. These tiny particles can bypass our body’s normal defenses, entering the lungs and blood stream. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. The best way to protect yourself is to reduce your exposure to smoke. Because smoke particles are so tiny, they can remain suspended in the air and travel long distances. This is why the Spokane area can experience heavy smoke from fires that are hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Check air quality and wildfire activity at the Washington State Smoke Blog (Wasmoke.blogspot.com) and learn about ways to protect yourself before
the smoke arrives at Spokanecleanair.org/airquality/wildfire-smoke. Infants and children, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with heart and lung disease may experience more severe acute and chronic symptoms from smoke exposure and therefore should discuss a plan with their healthcare provider before the smoke arrives, urged the Smoke Ready 2021 Campaign. Strategies we can all incorporate to protect ourselves include creating a cleaner-air room in your home with a portable HEPA air cleaner. They can help reduce particulate levels indoors as long as they are the right type and size for your home. For a more low-cost option, try making a box fan filter yourself. This DIY solution costs under $50. While it won’t provide the same level of protection as a HEPA air cleaner, it does effectively reduce smoke particles (search YouTube for how-to videos). If you have an air conditioning unit at home or in your car, switch off the “fresh air intake” when it is smoky outside. Use the “recirculate feature” instead. If you have a forced air system in your home, talk to your service provider about different filters and settings that will work with your system to reduce indoor smoke. Also avoid activities that create more indoor and outdoor air pollution, such as frying foods, sweeping and vacuuming, and burning candles or recreational outdoor fires. Other ways to reduce the heat and smoke in your home include closing curtains or shades during the day when it’s sunny. Try using portable fans indoors and place a bowl of ice in front of the fan (with windows closed) to help cool a room. For more information, visit Spokanecleanair. org. (OTO)
YOUTH MOUNTAIN BIKE RACES COME TO FARRAGUT IN JULY ATHOL, IDAHO
Four races at Farragut State Park in July will offer youth mountain bikers ranging from 5th grade and younger all the way up to high school the opportunity to race with other kids from around the region. The races include a three-night race series (July 7, 14, and 21) and a stand-alone race on the night of July 28. All races have wave starts every five minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Tower’s Picnic Area at Farragut. For the three-night race series, high school kids will complete two laps, junior high/ middle school aged kids can choose from one or two laps, and grade school kids will have a yet-to-be-determined route length. The July 28 event will serve as the Inland Northwest Youth MTB Championships with grades 11-12 and 9-10 completing two laps and grades 7-8 and 4-6 taking on one
lap. Series awards will be presented after all of the races at the July 28 event. Adult races for 18 and over are also happening each night so parents can race too. Registration is open from 5-6 p.m. at each race. Entry fees include a barbecue dinner after the race and are $25 for 18+ or $5 for ages 17 and younger. Discounts are available at the first event for signing up for all four races. A Farragut State Park Pass is required for all races as well. Kids and parents who are interested in youth mountain bike racing should check out Kootenai Composite Mountain Bike Team in North Idaho (find them on Facebook) or the Washington Cycling League in the Spokane area and eastern Washington (Washingtonleague.org). (OTO)
BLAZING SADDLES SUPPORTED RIDES AUGUST 7 & VIRTUAL RIDE JULY 4 - AUGUST 7 5-MILE LITTLE PEPPER FAMILY RIDE AUG. 7
KIDS ART IN THE PARK EXPERIENTIAL ART & MUSIC EVENT 10 A.M. AUG. 7 AT YEP KANUM PARK
Bike Rodeo Featuring Bike Safety & Handling for Kids July 31 from 9-11 a.m. @ the Colville Community College Parking Lot
100 Mile - 68 Mile - 45 Mile and a Family Fun Ride! Blazing100.org Active.com JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
DISPATCHES SECTIONS ADDED TO THE CENTENNIAL TRAIL SPOKANE, WASH.
The Carlson Trailhead is now officially open to the public. Beginning in March 2021, the Centennial Trail was rerouted away from Carlson Road that paralleled the Spokane River near the Nine Mile Falls Dam. The new trail section is completely independent from the road and features some elegant switchbacks in order to keep the trail ADA compliant. Even better, this new section provides a fluid junction between Riverside State Park and Sontag Community Park in Nine Mile Falls. Meanwhile, the Summit Boulevard
project from Boone Street to Pettet Drive is moving ahead smoothly. This particular project replaces crumbling sidewalks and curbing in the neighborhood and enhances connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists to bus stops, parks, schools, and the West Central Community Center. The project has been part of Spokane community plans since 2007. By all accounts, this fresh ribbon of asphalt creates a greater connection to the community. Ultimately, this project is a win/win for everyone. (Jon Jonckers)
SUMMER CAMPS AT MT. SPOKANE MEAD, WASH.
Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park launched their first season of kid’s camps this summer, including a Mountain Bike Skills Camp and Mountain Adventure Day Camp. “We’ve seen big demand and camps are filling-up quickly,” says assistant general manager Jodi Kayler. According to Kayler, the July Mountain Bike Camp is already sold out with 40 riders, but there are still spots available in the three-day adventure day camps on August 4-6 and August 11-13 as well as for the August 18-20 mountain bike camp. All camps are led by experienced ski school instructors as well as curated counselors and mountain bike experts from the region. Safety is top priority, says Kayler, and the Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol is generously providing mountain bike patrollers and assisting with safety and first aid. “Our team is building a variety of trails for junior riders too, including a pump track,” adds Kayler. For the mountain bike skills camps (ages
9-16), which cost $225, kids will work on jumps and other technical skill building as well as group riding and bike games. The camp also teaches kids how to fix a flat and about stewardship and trail maintenance techniques. Camp coaches will put kids into groups based on ability levels, and all camp goers take home a t-shirt. Kids need to bring their own geared, front-suspension mountain bike and biking gear (see requirements online before registering). The mountain adventure day camps for ages 6-11 ($179 per three-day camp), include games, outdoor activities, hiking, playing, and fun in a unique state park mountain environment. The camps have a special focus on environmental stewardship and all campers take home a t-shirt. All camps take place at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park with pick up and drop off at Lodge 2. More info and registration link at Mtspokane.com/summercamps. (Derrick Knowles)
NEW LIFT-SERVED BIKING & HIKING AT LOOKOUT PASS WALLACE, IDAHO
Riding the Route of the Hiawatha at Lookout Pass has become a bucket-list outdoor adventure that now attracts bike riders from around the country. Starting this summer, Lookout will have another reason for local and traveling riders and hikers to head to the Idaho/Montana border—lift-served mountain biking and hiking. Lookout launched its first season of lift-served downhill mountain biking and lift-served hiking and scenic chairlift rides on June 12, 2021. Now riders and hikers can take advantage of chairlift rides to hike or bike Lookout’s new family-friendly trail system. The trail system includes five top-tobottom downhill mountain bike trails with more on the way, says Lookout Pass marketing director Matt Sawyer. The trails will appeal to a wide range of riders since there are no jumps or wooden features that may discourage some beginner and intermediate 10
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
level riders. And the trails vary from singletrack that winds through the woods and across ski trails to wider mountain-access roads. Sawyer says all of the trails offer fun rides with some that have impressive views of the sub-alpine mountain terrain of the beautiful St. Regis Basin. In addition to the new mountain biking options, guests can also grab a bagged lunch at the lodge for a scenic chairlift ride and mountain-top picnic and hike. Other summertime activities at Lookout Pass this season include a nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season. The resort will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Sept. 19. One exception is July 9-11 when only scenic lift rides and bungee jumping will be offered as the mountain hosts a three-day Mountain Archery Festival. Visit SkiLookout.com for more details. (OTO)
BIKE REPAIRS WITHOUT THE WAIT AT RAMBLERAVEN GEAR TRADER SPOKANE, WASH.
The region’s only used outdoor gear consignment store, Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane, started offering bike repair and maintenance services last summer and has been able to offer quick turnarounds ever since. A big boost to Rambleraven’s new bike maintenance and repair services was bringing on professional wheel builder Matthew Larsen in December, owner Mark Schneider says. With 20 years of industry experience, Larsen has been able to finish most jobs when components are in stock overnight or within a couple days, says Schneider. Rambleraven is also open to clients bringing in their own components, and the shop now
carries a great selection of new bike accessories and components ranging from tires, tubes, pumps, helmets, tools, bells, gloves, lights, bars, and more. Rambleraven also usually has around 20 or more used bikes for sale on the floor of the shop. For more fun, Rambleraven is now renting stand up paddleboards and inflatable kayaks for those looking to beat the heat. And with winter just around the corner, Schneider says they’re excited to start offering mounting services for alpine and alpine touring bindings in addition to the shop’s existing ski waxing and tuning options. Rambleraven.com. (Derrick Knowles)
MECHANIC MATTHEW LARSEN KEEPING THINGS ROLLING AT THE RAMBLERAVEN BIKE SHOP. PHOTO: MARK SCHNEIDER
IDAHO DOUBLES NON-RESIDENT RATES AT STATE PARKS BOISE, IDAHO
A new Idaho state law has doubled day use and camping fees for all non-state residents at Idaho’s five busiest state parks, including Farragut, Priest Lake, and Round Lake State Parks in North Idaho. The other two state park “premium campgrounds” are Ponderosa near McCall, Idaho, and Henry's Lake in eastern Idaho, near Yellowstone National Park; however, day-use fees for these two parks are not impacted. Instead, day-use fees at Bear Lake and Hells Gate have increased. (For North Idaho, only Heyburn State Park was not impacted.) Non-Idaho residents will now pay $64 per RV hook-up site or $48 for tent/nonhookup site, per night, or $14 per vehicle for day use. According to a recent Idaho State Parks and Recreation press release, State Parks and Recreation Department Director Susan Buxton says, “The changes will keep Idaho competitive with surrounding states, which have similar surcharges for out-ofstate guests.” However, Idaho’s new premium rates are the most expensive in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State Parks has one fee structure, regardless of state residency. Peak season camping rates are $27-37/per night, and the day-use fee for any park is $10 per motor vehicle (free to enter by bike or foot). In Oregon, state park campsites cost $24-38 each, and the day-use vehicle fee is $5. Montana state parks charge $4-8 for day
use and up to $34 per night of camping, with discounts for state residents. How did law HB 93 come about? Representative Doug Okuniewicz—firstterm Republican from Hayden, representing northern Kootenai County—proposed the bill. The Idaho Press reported that Okuniewicz’s personal frustration with not being able to reserve a campsite at Farragut State Park was the catalyst for his legislation. According to a post on Okuniewicz’s official Facebook page, with the hashtag #IdahoFirst, next year he plans to introduce legislation that would raise fees for non-resident boats. Conservative-leaning Idaho Freedom Foundation gave HB 93 a negative score. Foundation spokesperson Parrish Miller noted in an analysis report that "In the long run, if Idaho discourages out-of-state tourists, there could be negative consequences for companies that serve out-of-state tourists." Miller recommended that "a reservation system prioritizing Idahoans should be explored," to increase access opportunities to Idaho residents when making campsite reservations. The impact of the new law won’t be fully known for a year because summer campsite reservations at the five parks were already full before the law was passed; however, the parks department anticipates that it will generate an additional $1.4 million. (Amy McCaffree)
domacoffee.com JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
GET OUT THERE
SUMMER EVENTS FOR KIDS & FAMILIES
GLIDE AROUND COEUR D’ALENE
Events have not all come back to preCOVID numbers, but there are still some great family friendly events planned this summer. • Weekly through August 26: Free outdoor summer movies at University of Idaho, Moscow. • July 1-August 26: Riverstone Summer Concert Series, Coeur d’Alene. Every Thursday at Riverstone Park. Free. • July 3-August 21: Liberty Lake Summer Movies in Pavilion Park; July 3, 30 and August 14, 21. • July 11-Sept. 19: Coeur d’Alene City Park Concert Series, Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Free. • August 8: Huckleberry Color Fun Run & Walk at Schweitzer, Sandpoint, Idaho. • August 13: Wallace Huckleberry Festival and 5k Walk/Run, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., downtown Wallace, Idaho. (Amy McCaffree)
For a unique way to get outside and explore downtown Coeur d’Alene, check out Tours CDA. Gary and Linda Cooper offer three ways to experience the history and sights of downtown Coeur d’Alene: an Explore Coeur d’Alene Segway Tour, a Taste Coeur d’Alene Segway Tour, or an e-bike rental. If you’ve never ridden a Segway, the couple makes the learning process easy and simple. You even get to practice before heading out on the street or trail. Gary leads the way while pointing out interesting places and historical facts, Linda brings up the rear and makes sure there aren’t stragglers, and every rider is connected by one-way headsets. New this year, the Coopers are coordinating with several unique Coeur d’Alene eateries to provide five stops along the route for food. The tour ends with a cider flight or beer pint at Coeur d’Alene Cider. If you
want a new way to explore the Lake City this summer, consider “gliding” to take in the sights instead of walking. More info at Tourscda.com. (S. Michal Bennett) SHAKESPEARE IN RIVERFRONT PARK
On April 23, 2021, Shakespeare’s 457th birthday, the Spokane Shakespeare Society, a new nonprofit theatre company, launched to provide professional quality Shakespeare productions in Spokane. Executive director and co-founder Dr. Amanda Cantrell is excited to begin regularly scheduled seasons of Shakespeare performances for the community in Riverfront Park this summer. “We founded S3 to not only provide a summer theatre option for Shakespeare and classical works, but to build an organization which supports a strong arts community and expands beyond the traditional theatre audiences. We want our productions to be for the community, by the community.”
The play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed at Riverfront Park eight times between August 6 and August 29. The comedy features four Athenians who run away to be together, only to find themselves in an enchanted forest where fairies play. Hilarity ensues as lovers are switched, actors just want a place to rehearse, and the Fairy King and Queen use humans to entertain themselves. Will love win in the end? Come find out at downtown Spokane’s Riverfront this summer. The shows, in partnership with Spokane Parks and Recreation, are free and open to the public, although donations to the Spokane Shakespeare Society will be accepted. For more information and the full schedule, visit spokaneshakespearesociety. org. (OTO) HIKING THE JAMES T. SLAVIN CONSERVATION AREA
If you’re looking for a mellow summer hike
Brighten your adventure. Meet Woodlands, our newest DoubleNest® Print Hammock designed in collaboration with Love Letter Creative. Launching July 22 National Hammock Day
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
or ride, head southwest of Spokane to the James T. Slavin Conservation Area. This 628-acre natural area is flowy yet flat, with both wooded and open meadow trail. In July and August, you’ll see native wildflowers flush the area with hues of white, blue, purple, and yellow. Look for yarrow, bachelor’s buttons, wavy-leaf thistles, goldenrod, and more this time of year. This is a great place to stroll with kids or babies strapped to your back, as the elevation gain is mild and there are several out-and-back or short loop options. Dogs should remain on leash, as this area is home to waterfowl and songbirds that frequent the small lake at the center of this trail’s loop. Equestrian riders are also common. What I enjoy most about this hike is its “best of both worlds” feeling. Half of the time I’m wandering through a singletrack wooded trail, looking close at the plants
and flowers with a peek of the lake every now and then; the other half I’m strolling an open meadow, where the clouds take precedence and you can soak in the seasonal color palette at large. It’s a place that inspires deep breathing. Take the full 3-mile loop around the lake to experience both trail types. Seasonal trail closure occurs in the northwest corner due to flooding. In upcoming months, grasses will turn taupe and gold for a beautiful morning or sunset hike. Visit Spokanecounty.org for a trail map and list of the 121 species of birds that find habitat here. (Lisa Laughlin) RIDE THE CENTENNIAL TRAIL FROM DOWNTOWN SPOKANE TO LONG LAKE
Even on hot days, riding the Centennial Trail from downtown Spokane north along the river out towards Long Lake (aka Lake Spokane) can be a cool, partially shaded adventure. Start
your ride by parking somewhere near the Kendall Yards neighborhood just west of downtown, and then hop on the Centennial Trail. You’ll quickly encounter a detour through the West Central neighborhood due to new trail construction along the river bluff this summer, followed by a fast descent down Doomsday Hill and across the T.J. Meenach bridge to meet back up with the formal paved trail. Continue on the Centennial Trail heading north along the Spokane River with several ups and downs along the way for 16 miles to the Nine Mile Falls Recreation Area. Once you are there, relax on the grass, have a picnic, or go swimming in the lake. Refill water bottles at the campground facilities and return the way you came. There are plenty of other sites worth stopping to check out a short distance off the trail along the way, including Bowl & Pitcher, the Deep
PHOTOS LEFT TO RIGHT: HUCKLEBERRY COLOR FUN RUN. PHOTO COURTESY OF SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT // SHAKESPEARE IN RIVERFRONT PARK // SLAVIN HIKE. PHOTO: LISA LAUGHLIN // NINE MILE FALLS DAM. PHOTO: DERRICK KNOWLES.
Creek Canyon overlook, the Nine Mile Falls Dam overlook, and Sontag Park. Other than a few trailhead porta-potties and water at Bowl & Pitcher and Nine Mile Falls Recreation Area, there are not formal services along the way, so bring your own food, water, tire repair kit, and whatever other essentials the conditions may require. You can also shorten the ride by starting at another trailhead closer to the destination. For more information about the trail, visit Spokanecentennialtrail.org. (Derrick Knowles)
1638 South Blaine Street Moscow, Idaho
RAFTING • KAYAKING • CAMPING • FISHING • SUP JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
Come Check Out our New Crystal Shop in North Spokane!
Crystals, Minerals, Gems, Gifts & More!
Public Hikes, Conservation Futures, No-Fee Days & More By Holly Weiler
RECREATION VISITS SPIKE: The data is in and
confirms recreational visits to United States Forest Service lands saw a huge jump in 2020. Dispersed recreation sites and Wilderness Areas saw the largest spike in visitors, with an increase of 25% over the previous year. The information comes from National Visitor Use Monitoring data. Hiking/walking is the top recreational activity, with 48.8% of visitors participating. "Viewing Natural Features" comes in as a close second with 44.4%.
GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT PROPOSED PROJECTS FOR 2022 ANNOUNCED: In our region, highlights
5-Minutes From Costco - open 7 days a week
12120 N Market St. 509-821-8767 www.etsy.com/shop/MyCrystalStop
include bridge replacements within the Colville National Forest and funds for addressing deferred maintenance needs on the Elkhorn Crest National Scenic Trail and within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
SPOKANE COUNTY’S CONSERVATION FUTURES PROGRAM ACCEPTING PROPERTY NOMINATIONS: The most recent round of
nominations to Spokane County Park's Conservation Futures funding program is open through July 31. Properties are currently being nominated for consideration for inclusion in the program. Once the nominations close, a public meeting will be held in early September to gather input on the nominations, which will be ranked by Spokane County Parks' Land Evaluation Committee later this fall. FREE PUBLIC HIKES IN THE SCOTCHMAN PEAKS: Check out the website for Friends of
Scotchman Peak Wilderness for their free summer hiking series "Family Fun in the Forest." There are several family-friendly hikes in the series in July and August, along
with strenuous hike offerings for those looking for a more challenging hike. These hikes are sure to fill up, so register soon! HOW TO SCORE FREE ACCESS TO WASHINGTON STATE PARKS: August 25 is
a free entry day at all Washington State Parks. If you or someone you know is on a tight budget, remember that many public libraries also have Discover Passes available for check-out with a library card. Spokane County Library District has 22 "Check out Washington" backpacks available by reservation too. The backpacks include a Discover Pass, binoculars, and several field guides. Patrons may use the pass for seven days of exploration at any Washington State Park. You can also earn a free one-year Discover Pass through state parks volunteerism: Washington Trails Association, Spokane Nordic Ski Association, and Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance will all be hosting volunteer trailwork events at Mount Spokane State Park this summer. Find the schedule for upcoming volunteer days at each nonprofit's website. FREE DAYS AT GLACIER NATIONAL PARK:
Two fee-free days are planned in August at Glacier National Park. The first is August 4, the one year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, and the second is August 25, the National Park Service birthday. // Holly Weiler writes The Trailhead column in each issue of Out There. During July and August she will be splitting her time between the garden and wilderness as she leads trail work crews into the Salmo Priest for Washington Trails.
Hike of the Month
PULASKI TUNNEL TRAIL, WALLACE, IDAHO
At the time of this writing, the Inland Northwest is facing extreme drought conditions. Extreme heat, early season burn bans, and numerous small wildfires throughout the region were an ominous kickoff to summer. Hopefully by the time late summer arrives we will be able to avoid catastrophic wildfire, but here's a hike suggestion for contemplating the legacy of fire's impacts to our region. First, travel to the Center of the Universe, Wallace, Idaho. From downtown Wallace, travel 1.5 miles out of town on King Street/NF-456 to the Pulaski Tunnel Interpretive Trail, the site where Ed Pulaski found his crew of 45 men trapped and surrounded by the August 1910 wildfire that engulfed our region. Pulaski's quick-thinking decision to force his men (at gunpoint) into an abandoned mine tunnel in this location saved many lives. Six of Pulaski's men did perish in the inferno, along with at least 79 others, the majority of whom were firefighters. Several interpretive signs along the trail showcase the beauty of the area while highlighting the terrifying history of the spot. Pulaski's legacy lives on in the tool he developed that bears his name. The Pulaski is a versatile firefighting tool, but hopefully the tools will see more use this summer for trail maintenance on popular trails than on fire lines. This hike can be considered easy to moderate and is 4 miles round trip with approximately 800 feet of elevation gain. 14
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
Painted Turtles and Their Stillwater Habitats By Adam Gebauer
THE VIBRANT UNDERSIDE OF A PAINTED TURTLE SHELL. // PHOTO: ADAM GEBAUER
DRIVING BY A POND on a wooded road
one day I spotted a few odd shaped rocks slowly sliding along the black top. Those rocks turned out to be painted turtles on the move. Having seen the aftermath of too many vehicle collisions with these vibrant turtles, I stopped short and put on my hazard lights. Checking for oncoming traffic, I jumped out of my truck and picked the first one up. Instinctively I knew to hold it at arms lengths just like it knew to start peeing, releasing a huge stream for such a small animal. I quickly gathered up the others, each one contributing to a stream of predator deterrent on the warm pavement.
Painted turtles, chrysemys picta, get both their common and scientific names from the bright yellow and red stripes on their head, legs, and tail and the similar colors found on the underside of their shells. These are the most wide-ranging turtles of North America and can be found from coast to coast from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Like their slow gait, painted turtles' preferred habitat is in slow water, particularly ponds and lakes. These habitats are known as lacustrine ecosystems and refer to their characteristic still water. The depth and size are what separate a pond from a lake. And depth and size
can have a big impact on the aquatic environment of these water bodies. A pond with shallower water has sunlight that penetrates to the bottom, allowing rooted aquatic plants to grow throughout. The water is also a more consistent temperature no matter the depth. A lake, on the other hand, only has aquatic vegetation around its edges, and has a stratified water column with layers of warm water on top and colder water with depth. Water temperatures in lakes are usually only subject to the changes in the seasons. The water temperature in ponds is more subject to change from variations with wind, precipitation, evaporation, as well as the changing seasons, making a fluctuating habitat for aquatic species. Lacustrine ecosystems are broken down into three habitat zones. Bottom-dwelling animals use the littoral zone of shallow water where light penetrates to the bottom and rooted plants. The limnetic zone is the area of open water where light can penetrate and support animal and plant planktons. And the profundal zone is the area below where light can penetrate. Painted turtles spend most of their time in the littoral zone where old turtles can snack
on aquatic vegetation and younger turtles can find tadpoles, snail, and crayfish. When not feeding, they spend the bulk of their time basking on docks, rocks, and downed trees near the shore where they can easily slip into the water to evade predation. In some cases when these turtles mate in fall, the females are able to delay fertilization till spring. In spring and early summer, females will dig holes in the sand to lay a clutch of 2-20 round, white eggs that will hatch in the fall. Unfortunately, I know my “rescue” efforts are probably short lived and those turtles will be back, crossing that same road again soon. Besides predation, the main threat to these turtles is vehicle collisions, especially when females are moving back and forth from their nests. The next time you are driving by those lacustrine lake and pond habitats, keep an eye out for turtles basking in the sun and, more importantly, for any slow-moving rocks crossing the road. // When Adam isn’t rescuing turtles off of roads or working as a field biologist, he is likely on some hiking, biking, or skiing adventure somewhere in the Northwest. He wrote about red band trout in the last issue of Out There.
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
Benefits Abound with Backcountry Running By Sarah Hauge
RUNNING WILD IN THE DESERT BACKCOUNTRY. PHOTO: JON JONCKERS
ALMOST ALL OF MY RUNNING is on
pavement, but in the heat of summer I’ve been craving every bit of foliage-shaded ground I can find. I’ve contemplated becoming more of a trail runner, but other than a few off-road runs here and there I haven’t really gone for it. Wanting to get a better sense of the world of backcountry and alpine running, I contacted Ken and Stephanie Eldore, who own Priest Lake Multisports. Their organization puts on many backcountry races each year. “We both got really interested in trail running instead of road marathons because
that’s where we live in North Idaho,” Ken says. “We’ve got all of this beautiful terrain and backcountry.” Out in nature, runs are naturally quieter, more serene. Trail races have a different feel, Ken says, because runners are more spread out over the course. You’re not elbow to elbow. “Runner density gets really spread out on a trail race…It’s you and the cedar trees and the huckleberry bushes.” “Once I did my first trail 50k I kind of never looked back,” says Stephanie, who is now training for 100-milers and is a member of the Altra Red Team. The increase in distance and shift to trails has been a really
fun progression she says. “I much prefer the trails, the beauty of it, the challenge.” There’s something special about both the terrain and the people you encounter in backcountry running. “When I’m in a road race, surrounded by so many people, aid stations, cars, I don’t really have time to relax and unwind and kind of let go of things,” Stephanie says. “When I’m out on a trail, whether I’m in a race or not, it’s been very therapeutic for me. I can process grief, process life stresses.” Trail running is also lower impact. “I notice my body handles it a lot better— my knees, my stomach, everything,” says Stephanie. The people they’ve met through trail running and organizing backcountry racing make up a community they treasure too. “I also really love the group of people you meet at trail races,” says Stephanie. “It’s kind of a mellower, lower key group of people. It’s very supportive.” Ken agrees. “Trail running affords somebody to take on more of an individual athletic pursuit. It’s common for people to do more of a hiking combination with running, versus trying to beat the clock,” he explains. People seem to enjoy trail races more for the feat itself than their finish time. It’s about “the challenge of the individual doing it—
their own self-accomplishment and not to PR the clock out there somewhere.” New trail runners can start small, looking for local loops or out and backs without a lot of elevation gain. Make sure to pack your own hydration and fuel, a whistle, and bear spray, and be prepared to handle your own navigation. Though she’s never felt a sense of danger from animals, Stephanie has encountered plenty. “I’ve seen bears and I’ve seen moose, all sorts of critters. Just carrying [bear spray] gives you a little extra confidence.” Chances are you might become just as hooked as the Eldores have—and you could also find yourself quickly plugged into the trail running community. “One of my first trail races I headed out on my own,” says Stephanie. “Within five miles I met a group of ladies. We ended up running the whole race together and we just became literally lifelong friends. You end up meeting likeminded people. I’ve just really loved it.” To register for one of Priest Lake Multisports’ events (which range from 5ks up to ultras), go to www.priestlakerace.com. // Sarah Hauge is a Spokane-based runner, writer, and editor. She writes the Run Wild column in each issue of Out There.
NEGATIVE SPLIT BACK TO NATURE TRAIL RUN SERIES // SUMMER 2021 The first Back to Nature series race on the Hiawatha Trail in June was a sold-out success, but there’s still time to sign up for the remaining two trail races at Silver Mountain (Aug. 22) and at Mt. Spokane (Sept. 12).
SILVER MOUNTAIN TRAIL RUN
AUGUST 22, 2021
Start the race with a ride up North America’s longest gondola at Silver Mountain Resort. Route distances include 6K, 9K, and 18K options. Run through the woods on Silver Mountain’s famous bike trails with breakout views of the Bitterroot Mountains. Longer distance runners will challenge their technical skills with shale rock sections and varying terrain.
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
MT. SPOKANE TRAIL RUN SEPTEMBER 12, 2021
Run singletrack and doubletrack trails through Mount Spokane State Park after a start at Mt. Spokane’s Lodge 2. Three scenic course options include a 5K beginnerfriendly course on mostly doubletrack, a 10K that makes its way on single and doubletrack to the Vista House at the summit, and a 25K that hits trails and extra climbing all the way out to Mt. Kit Carson and back. All courses end back at Lodge 2.
FIND YOURSELF IN SANDPOINT
This summer, come find an abundance of adventure and beauty in stunning Sandpoint, Idaho. Less than 90 minutes east of Spokane, Sandpoint is nestled alongside huge Lake Pend Orielle amid two frontal ranges of the Rocky Mountains the Selkirk Mountains that stretch north into Canada, and the Cabinet Mountains sprawling east into Montana. Whatever you seek, come find it (and yourself!) in beautiful Sandpoint.
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for YOU and your favorite front-line worker.
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Know someone who has put themselves out there as a front-line worker during the pandemic and could use a great escape? We’re giving away a terrific getaway package to Sandpoint, Idaho – we’re talking lodging, dining, activities, shopping, and more. Anyone can enter … as long as they’ll bring along a front-line worker as their companion, for a welldeserved break from the stresses of the past year.
Get visitor information at 208-263-2161 www.VisitSandpoint.com JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
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O-YAKI GRILLING ACCESSORIES
If you like to grill on the go, whether it’s out in the boonies camping or at a backyard barbecue, a portable grill set makes whatever you’re cooking so much easier. The Perfectly Portable Grill Set ($55.99) from O-Yaki comes with all the barbecue accessories you could want for outdoor cooking: tongs, a carving fork, a carving knife, skewers for kabobs, a spatula, and a basting brush. All the tools come stored in a convenient, zippered storage case that holds each tool in its place. No more forgetting one or more grilling tools when you’re on the go. The O-Yaki Skewer System is another O-Yaki product that makes for an innovative way to cook kabobs and vegetables on a grill without scorching the hell out of everything. This stainless-steel skewer system ($39.99) has a standing design that shelters delicate foods from the intense heat of a grill and frees you from having to endlessly rotate individual skewers to keep food from sticking and burning. You can use the O-Yaki Skewer System on any outdoor grill and for indoor cooking in the oven. Find both of these O-Yaki outdoor cooking accessories at O-yaki.com. (Wil Wheaton)
KHALA & COMPANY REUSABLE FOOD WRAPS
KATE’S REAL FOOD BARS
All of Khala & Company reusable food storage products are handmade in Colorado with artistic, original designs and safe and sustainable materials. These zero-waste provisions include reusable food wraps, cloth coffee filters, sandwich wraps, fire starters, and more. Reduce your plastic consumption and support a cool small business in the process. I’ve been using the food wraps that came in a four-size combo pack and the sandwich wrap. Both are made from organic hempcotton fabric, and the food wraps are infused with candelilla and soy waxes, tree resin, and pesticide-free jojoba and organic coconut oils. The sandwich wraps are infused with sustainably-sourced beeswax, tree resin, and organic coconut oil. The food and sandwich wraps are pliable and easily wrap around whatever food you want to store for later eating. The wraps keep food 5-7 days longer than when using plastic wrap when wrapped correctly, and they are easily washed in cool water with eco-friendly soap. And at the end of their 1+-year life, the cloths can be cut into strips and composted. Learn more about Khala’s products or order some for yourself at Khalaco.com. (Derrick Knowles)
If you head into a store like Huckleberry’s or Natural Grocers, the selection of energy bars can be a little overwhelming. There are a few, however, that stand out above the rest. Kate’s Real Food bars is one of the few top-shelf options thanks to real food ingredients that are sourced organic, including nut butters, a wide range of fruits, and complex carbohydrates including organic oats and brown rice crisps. Kate’s Real Food bars check those boxes and they’re gluten free, soy free, and only use whole ingredients including natural honey with no artificial sweeteners or flavors. These bars also score high for nailing a texture that lets you know you’re eating something healthy and delicious that’s made from real food ingredients, not unintelligible food-industry-created Frankenfoods that feel like they just oozed out of a test tube. Kate’s bars range around 250-300 calories per bar, which is great for taxing, calorie-burning adventures or on-the-go meal replacements. There are also plenty of flavors to choose from, including the new dark chocolate mint as well as peanut butter dark chocolate, lemon coconut & ginger, and several more options. Pick some up at Katesrealfood.com. (Wil Wheaton)
What will brewing and beer be like if we are unwilling to pull back from the climate change apocalypse we’re seemingly barreling towards? New Belgium Brewing gave us a glimpse into what we might expect from beer in a heat-plagued future when the brewery launched its new Fat Tire Torched Earth Ale on Earth Day 2021. The beer, described as a sad alternative to the original Fat Tire by New Belgium R&D brewer Cody Reif, is made from the type of limited ingredients that may be all that’s available in a not-too-distant climate-ravaged future: smoke-tainted water, dandelions, drought-resistant grains like buckwheat and millet, and malt and hops extract. To add insult to injury, and to demonstrate what such climate change impacted beer of the future may cost, two 16oz 4-packs of Torched Earth Ale cost $40. Thankfully all profits from each purchase support the snow sports-loving, climatechange-fighting non-profit Protect Our Winters. Order some for your next backyard barbecue or family get-together as a conversation starter. Hopefully Fat Tire Torched Earth Ale will inspire more beer lovers to get involved and take action on climate change. Last year, the original Fat Tire became America’s first certified carbon neutral beer, and New Belgium is also moving forward with plans to achieve netzero emissions across the entire company by 2030. Now they want beer drinkers like you to step up and do your part by supporting the company’s “Last Call for Climate” campaign. As of this year, 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies lack a meaningful plan to address climate change by 2030, the year scientists say that climate change impacts could be irreversible. Fat Tire has an easy online tool that allows you to see which companies are falling short and to Tweet your favorite brands to push for change. Learn more at www.drinksustainably. com. (Derrick Knowles)
ENTER @ VOODOORANGER.COM/TATTOO NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter access www.VoodooRanger.com/tattoo or scan the unique code on the Promotion materials for online entry and complete official rules. Must be 21+ and a legal resident of the 50 United States or DC. Employees of retailers or distributors of New Belgium products and their family members are not eligible to win. Void where prohibited. Prize depicted for illustration purposes only. Actual prize may vary. Begins 12:00:01 am MT on 5/1/21. Ends 11:59:59 pm MT on 9/30/21. ©NEW BELGIUM BREWING COMPANY, Fort Collins, CO 80524 Voodoo Ranger® and New Belgium® are trademarks of New Belgium Brewing Co. ENJOY NEW BELGIUM RESPONSIBLY ©2021 New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO & Asheville, NC
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
September 18, 2021
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Colville Discover Our Good Nature
A Short Hike on the Edge of Ancient North America By Daniel T. Brennan
Visit us online for trail maps outdoor recreation information: ColvilleChamberOfCommerce.com Colville is a hub of activity for agriculture, manufacturing and timber industries. Located in a broad valley surrounded by the Colville National Forest, just minutes away from Lake Roosevelt, this four-season playground abounds with outdoor recreation activities.
• Camping • Fishing • Hiking • Hunting
• Wildlife watching • Mountain cycling • Road cycling • Scenic drives
986 South Main St, Ste B Colville, WA 99114 (509) 684-5973
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OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
CHEWELAH VALLEY VIEWS FROM THE TOP OF QUARTZITE MOUNTAIN. // PHOTO: DANIEL T. BRENNAN
THE CHEWELAH VALLEY, like any good
valley, is flanked on both sides by mountain ranges. To the east is the Selkirk Range and to the west are the Huckleberry Mountains. However, these mountains are relatively young geologically—we are talking only tens of millions of years.
GEOLOGIC HISTORY OF THE CHEWELAH VALLEY
Long before the rocks that make up the Selkirks and Huckleberry Range were uplifted into mountains, geologists have suggested western North America was connected to an unidentified continent, perhaps Australia, around 1 billion years ago. Scientists consider ancient configurations such as this one as a “supercontinent,” this one being called “Rodinia,” which comes from the Russian word “to give birth” since geologists once thought all subsequent continents spawned
from the breakup of Rodinia. You may be more familiar with the most recent supercontinent called Pangea that existed approximately 300 million years ago. Around 780 million years ago, tectonic forces broke apart supercontinent Rodinia, and a new pre-Pacific Ocean formed. Since the rocks that make up the western portions of Washington State and Oregon are significantly younger than 780 million years old, this suggests that the ancient edge of North America, that formed during breakup of supercontinent Rodinia, lies unidentified somewhere in the mountains of eastern Washington. Research, by myself and other colleagues that was recently published in the peerreviewed scientific journal “Geology,” suggests that this supercontinent breakup process occurred directly beneath the Chewelah Valley about 760 million years ago. All it takes is a short but steep hike up Quartzite
Mountain, just east of Chewelah, to get an awesome view from what was once the edge of this ancient world. SOLVING AN ANCIENT GEOLOGIC MYSTERY
On Quartzite Mountain, the oldest sedimentary rocks are called the Belt Supergroup and are made of silt, sand, and limestone that were deposited approximately 1.4 billion years ago, likely within a huge ancient lake in the center of supercontinent Rodinia. As you start the steep incline near the Quartzite Mountain trailhead, these are the poorly exposed rocks you are hiking over. However, at the top of Quartzite Mountain, orange blocky outcrops of hard quartzite rocks create a striking cliff. These rocks are only about 540 million years old, indicating a complete absence of the approximately 780-600 million year-old rocks that are thought to have been deposited when supercontinent Rodinia was breaking apart. However, west across the valley in the Huckleberry Mountains, beneath the same approximately 540-million-yearold quartzite rocks, very different rock layers, or stratigraphy, is present. These different rock layers include small quartzite boulders in a unit called the Buffalo Hump Formation. The nature of the sand and silt layers in the Buffalo Hump indicated to us that it was likely deposited in ancient river channels, deltas, or a shallow basin. By measuring uranium and lead isotopes of certain minerals in these different rock layers, our geologic study revealed that an ancient river deposited these small boulders approximately 760 million years ago, and the boulders were sourced from the approximately 1.3-billion-year-old rocks exposed across the valley, near the top of Quartzite Mountain. This suggests uplift and erosion of the eastern side of the modern Chewelah valley, and subsidence of the western side sometime
around 760 million years ago. We proposed that the simplest way to explain the ancient topography suggested by these rocks is the existence of an ancient fault, or fracture in the earth’s crust, underneath the Chewelah Valley. This fault likely lowered the western portion of the valley and uplifted the eastern portion. Such faults commonly form when continents are pulled apart in a process known as rifting. All of this suggests that the edge of ancient North America was forming directly below Chewelah about 760 million years ago. HIKING QUARTZITE MOUNTAIN
There you go. Take a hike up Quartzite Mountain and contemplate that. You are a human living on a 4.6 billion-year-old planet currently standing on the 760 million-yearold edge of ancient North America. If you are fortunate, you may live for 100 years—an infinitesimally small quantity in comparison. Don’t waste it. Go for a hike. Get out there! This moderate hike is 3 miles roundtrip with 800 feet of elevation gain. To get there from Chewelah, Wash., take Flowery Trail road east, then turn south onto Mud Lake Road. About 2.5 miles up Mud Lake Road, you will spot the Quartzite Mountain trailhead on the west (right) side of the road. Daniel T. Brennan is a PhD student at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. This is his first article in Out There.
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
GEAR ROOM GREGORY WOMEN’S KALMIA 60 PACK
Backpacking has come a long way. When I first went backpacking in Costa Rica over 20 years ago, my pack was heavy and hot. The Kalmia backpacking pack, on the other hand, is the most comfortable multi-day pack I’ve ever worn. The FreeFloat 360 suspension system adapts to your hips and shoulders and pivots with your body as you hike on down the trail. (Watch the video on their website.) And the suspended, ventilated back panel keeps your back from turning into a waterfall of sweat. There are so many other cool features that I love about this pack, including the o d or- c ont rol l i ng fabric treatment, molded loop zipper pullers,
TECNICA MAGMA TRAIL RUNNING/HIKING SHOE
customizable hip belt and torso length, multiple access points to the main pack compartment including a full side zipper, internal hydration sleeve, and lots of storage space in zippered and mesh compartments throughout the pack, including hip belt storage for snacks and a water bottle holster that you can reach while hiking. Gregory has also made 14 of their hiking, backpacking, and ever yday adventure packs in plus sizes for men and women in the 2x to 6x range. MSRP: $279.99. Gregorypacks.com (Shallan Knowles)
Like more and more hikers these days, I wear my trail running shoes whether I’m running or hiking trails. But some more rugged trails call for a beefier shoe to avoid slipping, f a l l i ng , and foot injuries. Hells Canyon and the Selkirk Crest come to mind. Tecnica’s all-new MAGMA was
made to fit this niche. These shoes are light, breathable, tough, and mega Vibram grippy all over, even on the toe and up the sides of the shoe. In fact, the unique tread pattern was inspired by endure MTB tires, and an 8mm drop makes for some sweet running performance. MSRP: $140. Blizzard-tecnica.com/us/en (Wil Wheaton)
BLENDERS FLOATING SUNGLASSES
The benefit of floating sunglasses are pretty obvious to anyone who spends much time on the beach, boat, or out paddling. But eliminating the risk of losing your shades in the drink might not be worth it if said floatable sunnies make you look like a creep. Fortunately
Blenders’ Float20 sunglasses come in three stylish options with three color patterns for each style. The ultralightweight and durable frames offer 100% U VA / U V B protection. MSRP: $48 Blenderseyewear.com (Derrick Knowles)
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OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
AKU PILGRIM HI COMBAT GTX BOOT
MALOJA GRÜNERLEM SHIRT
I have struggled for years to find the right boot for off-trail, backcountry elk hunting trips, and I think I finally found what I’ve been looking for with this AKU boot. These boots fit like a lightweight hiking boot but offer exceptional foot and ankle support for walking off-trail in steep, rugged country. The Pilgrim boot has been a UK Army combat boot for years in Europe, and the boot’s features cross over to hunting like a dream. The upper is made with AKU’s Air8000 breathable nylon and full grain leather, with a GoreTex liner and Vibram sole that has a high-toe spring for miles of comfortable walking. MSRP: $229-249. Akuoutdoor.us (Derrick Knowles)
Not surprising given this German company’s “Soul in the Woods” slogan that is patched onto Maloja’s GRÜNERLEM shirt, this checkered beauty features UV protection by using a special tight knitting instead of a chemical finish. With a deep chest zipper and back yoke with ventilation openings, this shirt is ideal for biking and running or long, sweaty hikes. The stand-up collar and invisible zip breast pocket complement the stylish pattern and, like pretty much all of Maloja’s activewear apparel, the attractive designs transition from trail to pub without a hitch. MSRP: $159. Malojaclothing.com (Derrick Knowles)
SOLIGHT SOLAR LANTERN & CHARGER
Replacing traditional battery-powered lights around camp with solar-powered lighting helps reduce waste and reduces carbon emissions. While I’ve been living out of my van on public lands this spring, I used the Solight QWNN self-inflating solar light and charger every night for general outdoor lighting. Left out in the sun during the day, it provides up to 40 hours of beautiful lighting after an 8-10-hour solar charge. You can also charge it up with the USB port. Made from recyclable, non-toxic materials, the QWNN lantern has five light-level settings. The QWNN is easy to unfold (no inflating required) and includes magnets to hang the light on a metal surface. MSRP: $110. Solightdesign.com (Wil Wheaton) GIGA LOUNGER
I first hit the button that started immediately inflating my new Giga Lounger at the Entiat City Park this spring. I was waiting to go surfing in Chelan, Wash., at Lakeside Surf and had nothing to do but drink a beer in the sunshine and relax. And in about 60 seconds when the lounger was fully self-inflated thanks to its built in, USB chargeable pump, I was kicking back at a super comfortable angle on the cushy, air-filled lounge chair. It was kind of magic and the most relaxed I can remember feeling in months. The Giga Lounger packs up to the size of a small sleeping bag, weighs next to nothing, is waterproof a n d floatable, and comes in bunch of fun colors. Go to the Giga Lounger website to pre-order one through the Kickstarter Campaign for 47% off. Gigalounges.com (Derrick Knowles)
BIOLITE HEADLAMP 330
I took this BioLite rechargeable headlamp on a 360-mile desert bikepacking odyssey this spring and didn’t come close to needing to recharge it during the trip. (The battery lasts up to 40 hours on the low light setting.) It’s super light (69 grams) and has a slim profile that sits flush and snug on the forehead. The battery is in the back but the wiring is integrated into the moisturewicking headband fabric, which keeps it protected. At a maximum light output of 330 lumens, it’s by far the brightest headlamp I own, and I rarely cranked it up past the lowest light setting, although the brighter setting would have come in handy if needed for night riding. One feature I really liked is the pivoting light panel that adjusts down at the things you need to see instead of shining into your pals’ faces. Another cool thing about BioLite is its mission to provide 20 million people around with world with access to clean energy and reduce climate impacts, something you can support by purchasing one. MSRP: $59.95. Bioliteenergy.com (Derrick Knowles) GOSUN SOLAR FLASHLIGHT
I almost always have a headlamp on my head around camp come dusk, but invariably I’ll go bumbling about in the dark at some point looking for something without a light. That’s why I started keeping a GoSun Solar Flashlight lying on my camp table. It charges in the sun during the day and provides 280 lumens of light whenever you need it come nighttime. The integrated solar cell keeps the flashlight plenty powered up during sunny weather, but you can also plug it in with a USB cord. The flashlight features a lantern mode, spotlight, and red emergency strobe setting, and a magnetic back allows for hands-free lighting when attached to a metal surface. MSRP: $39. Gosun.co (Wil Wheaton) JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
Historical Connection Near and Far By Matt Kinney and Tabitha Gregory
DAY CAMPS AGES 9–16 $225
ADVENTURE DAY CAMPS
MOUNTAIN BIKE SKILLS CAMP JULY 28–30 AUG 18–20 NEW DATES!
AUG 4–6 AUG 11–13
THE SUMMIT OF EASTERN WASHINGTON’S ABERCROMBIE MOUNTAIN.. PHOTO: MATT KINNEY
R E G I S T E R AT W W W. M T S P O K A N E . C O M / S U M M E R C A M P S 24
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ABERCROMBIE MOUNTAIN stands amid the Selkirks just shy of the Canadian border in northeast Washington. A popular trail to the summit switchbacks through dense forest and ascends through fields of wildflowers punctuated by silver snags. The mountain’s trail, natural beauty, and high elevation make it an appealing destination for hikers and mountain bikers, and its namesake’s history creates an intriguing web of connection with other Northwest landmarks. William Abercrombie, for whom the mountain is named, was raised in New York. In 1877, at the age of 19, he joined the Army and was assigned to Fort Colville, located near the present town of Colville, Wash. While there, he surveyed and mapped swaths of wildlands surrounding the Pend Oreille River, Priest River, Columbia River, Montana, and north to the 49th parallel— including the Abercrombie Mountain area. Abercrombie’s experience exploring the Inland Northwest made him a strong candidate for more distant expeditions. So, in 1884, as Lieutenant Colonel, Abercrombie began leading missions to Alaska. He explored the massive Copper River three times, crossed the rugged Valdez Glacier, and established order in the chaotic gold rush-tent-city of Valdez. One of his most notable Alaska projects was to locate, engineer, and construct an overland route to the interior gold fields through the Chugach Range. Today, this route is known as the Richardson Highway. In Alaska, there is an Abercrombie Peak, an Abercrombie Creek, and an Abercrombie State Park—all named for him. Abercrombie returned intermittently to eastern Washington while serving in Alaska
and eventually was promoted to Commander of Spokane’s Fort George Wright, which still stands today on the grounds of Spokane Falls Community College. Towering ponderosa pines rise along the grassy parade grounds, and pristine red brick buildings line the lanes. The Fort’s construction began in 1898, well after the so-called “Indian Wars,” but the namesake—George Wright—has become a modern-day symbol of the atrocities committed by the U.S. military against indigenous people. As a matter of fact, in the spring of 2021, Wright’s name was removed from the bordering roadway. In 1910, Abercrombie retired and moved from the stately Post Commander’s House to a mansion on Spokane’s South Hill. His retirement house still stands today on a quiet street in the Cannon Addition, a plaque identifying it as the “Abercrombie House.” The home is grand with west-facing windows and a green lawn and landscaping. The original basalt rockwork of the foundation is still visible. Each place that today bears Abercrombie’s name, in Alaska and in Washington, is beautiful and interesting in its own right. And the Abercrombie connection allows visitors to see some of the ways in which the region’s geography, geology, and history are drawn together. // Matt Kinney and Tabitha Gregory live in Spokane where they explore the Inland Northwest’s trails by foot, bike, and ski. Matt is author of “Alaska Backcountry Skiing: Valdez and Thompson Pass” and Tabitha is former director of the Valdez Museum and author of “Valdez Rises: One Town’s Struggle for Survival After the Great Alaska Earthquake.”
Beautifying Your Yard By S. Michal Bennett
MURAL: PEACE IN THE COSMOS 2019 BY MALLORY BATTISTA. PHOTO COURTESY OF MALLORY BATTISTA
LANDSCAPING, PLANNING, and garden
design beautifies your garden or lawn by simply using the colors, shapes, and styles of plants and landscaping materials. Including a piece of art, fair trade sustainable décor, water feature, creative functional piece, fun lighting, or mural takes your yard or garden to a whole new level and turns your outdoor space into a delightful place to hang out.
First, check out the yard art at your local nursery or garden center. Pick up something locally crafted and consigned at New Leaf Nursery in Hayden (newleafnurseryhayden.com). Discover an Olla clay watering system or shop fair trade Eangee outdoor art at Vicki’s Garden Center in Spokane (vickisgardencenter. com). Eangee crafts eco-friendly, fair-trade products and designs for your fence, shed, yard, and patio. See their artisans at work at Eangee.com. A lot of local lawn art crafters post on Facebook Marketplace (search “garden art”) and pop up at markets, fairs, and shows. One of the best places to find locally-made metalwork, glasswork, wind features, woodwork, and birdhouses for your outdoor space is the Art on the Green event happening July 30-August 1 at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. You can also shop elegant statues or quirky birdbaths at Concrete Works Statuary in Spokane Valley (concreteworksstatuary. com) or order a custom piece of steel art from Iron Mountain Studios in Post Falls (ironmts.com). HIRE AN ARTIST
The Inland Northwest is full of artists passionate about taking their art outside. Hire one of them to paint a mural on your fence, garage, or shed, and bring fresh color to dark areas. Mallory Battista, an artist based in Spokane, finds inspiration in the natural beauty that grows around her and enjoys enlivening garden spaces with murals. “Big murals on public streets are fun,” she says, “but the personal spaces in people’s yards are just as important” (mallorybattista.com). You can also ask your local art gallery for a reference or
check out the signature on your favorite wall mural around town and reach out to that artist online. Rather than cut down that old or dead tree and haul it to the dump, consider hiring Jeff May to sculpt it into a unique timber wildlife piece that can grace the same spot (jeffmayart.com). DO IT YOURSELF
The smallest splash of color or light in a yard can make a significant difference. A quick YouTube or Internet search will provide you with a multitude of ideas to craft your own creative, sustainable, and recycled garden décor, such as recycle CDs or mismatched silverware to make a chime that can deter birds. Or create mosaic garden art using broken dishes or glass. China plates and glass bottles can also be used as colorful edging around flower beds. Old furniture like chairs, wagons, bed posts, tubs, ladders, doors, and iron bed frames make great planters and colorful fixtures among the greenery. Do you have plants in pots or buckets? Have a garden art day with your kids and decorate your containers with chalk paint. Then, in a few weeks, go back out and do it again! Put a pinwheel in a few of the pots to shimmer and spin in the breeze and deter pesky birds from pecking your berries and greens. Add something functional but also colorful, such as a hammock or hanging chair, a log bench, solar string lights, a trellis swing, or strategically-placed boulders. An immersive and calming place to relax will make your yard the perfect hangout spot on any sunny Inland NW day. Finally, gather up some sticks and stones, dust off those pebbles you picked up on the Oregon Coast in 2019, and build your own natural pillars and other creative formations. All you need is some string, non-toxic glue, and a little imagination. Then, look around you for inspiration as you build your own art into the natural landscape. //
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S. Michal Bennett is a freelance writer based in northern Idaho who enjoys crafting stories, adventuring in the outdoors, digging into new and traditional culinary delights, and reflecting on life in print. JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
Aiming High By Justin Short
IT WAS A CRISP AND MISTY May morning.
Forty-eight-ish masked riders gathered on the beach in La Push, Wash., for the ceremonial dunk of the rear wheel in the Pacific Ocean to begin the grand depart of the 4th-ever Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Race. Spirits ran high as everyone was delighted to participate in a mass-start event after a full year of COVID cancellations. All at once we were off like a herd of turtles dashing for the Idaho border. My wife rode me out the first 10 miles, so I only had another 690 to ride alone. Of course I soon met up with new friends and old pals from the XWA 2019, the first being a guy from Colorado on the slow climb up a pass where a 45-minute snow drag and plenty of bear pooh was waiting for us. Singletrack trails along Lake Crescent and above the Straights of Juan de Fuca were as delightful as ever, as were the Seattle urban park segments, and the climb over Snoqualmie Pass. My own fascination with gravel and adventure riding the last few years, though, has been going places I’ve never been before, and I had one good eye on the “high route” which no one had ever taken from the grand depart on account of the May snowpack. The high route cuts north from the Palouse to Cascades Trail from Cle Elum over the Teanaway and Mission Ridge to Wenatchee. The weather forecast looked miserable, yet every rider I talked to but one seemed to be gunning for the high route. As it turned out, it was Olympia’s Adam Hale, winner of XWA 2017, who became the first rider to “turn left” in Cle Elum to take the high route. It was an inexplicably pleasant day when I came to the turn. I had my fillings rattled out on the alternate Colockum Ridge route in 2019, so I was
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game for some high-country snow trudging and tree hoisting. And yes, there was a little bit of snow up there and a LOT of fallen trees. But the breathtaking views of jagged, snow-capped mountain and buttery smooth singletrack descents were so delicious, I never noticed that I was only averaging 2 mph most of the day. That may have been my best day on a bike ever. A dozen of us rode out of Wenatchee the next morning, a few visibly traumatized by the bone jarring 5,300-foot low route. The canyon creek crossings and blasting dust storms of eastern Washington were a stark contrast to the misty verdant rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula. I saved the final 211 miles for my last day, savoring the smell of sagebrush and the stony scabland views. Except for the 40 miles of the Palouse to Cascades Trail from Warden to Ralston—no one savored that sandy, rocky, tumbleweed mess. Mount Spokane cheered me on from afar as I pedaled out of Ritzville with a pile of gas station hotdogs to fuel the final 100 miles. Some friendly wheat farmers tossed me a beer at sunset as I made a long day’s journey into night, guided to the Idaho border by an almost full moon. I rolled to a stop at the finish line in the town of Tekoa, a mere five days and 21.5 hours after starting. I napped until the sun chased me out of my sleeping bag, at which point I devastated the entire breakfast menu at C & D’s Bar and Grill. What a ride! Justin Short has two 8th place XWA finishes now and will spend the rest of the summer goofing off in preparation for The Big Lonely out of Bend, Oregon. Look for his documentary on XWA 2021 coming soon to the Gravel Braintrust YouTube channel.
HEALTH & FITNESS
Local Outdoor Athlete Ravaged by COVID Symptoms Maintains Hopeful Outlook By Sarah Hauge LUCY LARSEN, 45, is an active person. Her work as a nurse in Spokane has meant many years of 12-hour shifts, and she’s always kept busy with her dogs, her husband, friends, and a plethora of outdoor and fitness-related activities: cycling; skiing; long, brisk hikes; lifting weights five days a week. All of that came to a screeching halt in November when Larsen contracted COVID19. She was ravaged by symptoms. “I thought I was going to die three times,” she says. “I told my husband and taught him how to do CPR.” Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary, though life has been far from normal ever since. Her husband became “the cook, the cleaner, the shopper,” she says. “It took me six weeks to drive, six weeks to leave the house.” At one point, “it took me an hour and a half or two hours to eat breakfast,” Larsen says. “An hour to get up the stairs.” More than six months later, the acute phase has passed but many of her symptoms have not gone away. Larsen is a “long-hauler,” someone who is still experiencing symptoms weeks or even months after the first onset of COVID-19. She’s far from alone. The exact numbers of
those who have “long Covid” are hard to pinpoint; one recent survey in the UK (ons. gov.uk) shows that 13.7% of participants continued to experience symptoms 5 or more weeks after the assumed time of infection. Larsen, a native Australian, knows many others in Spokane and around the world who are also long haulers. “One of my best friends—she’s an athlete—she is six weeks ahead of me.” Larsen suffers from POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and dysautonomia—an issue with the regulation of the blood flow that can affect heart rate, blood pressure, and cause brain fog, among other symptoms. Since November she’s dealt with inflammation, anxiety, balance problems, hair loss, an impaired sense of smell and taste, and relentless fatigue. She’s had to focus on taking care of herself—switching units and going part time in her career as a nurse so she can work shorter shifts, cutting out formerly favorite foods that are known to increase inflammation, and easing way, way back on the activities she loves. Rather than the 5-miles-per-hour hikes she used to do, she’s slowly worked her way
up to walking one mile a day. She’s done one, one-mile bike ride. “My mountain bike and my road bike have been sitting in the garage looking at me, just looking. I’ve had to come up with ways to cope.” The key to remaining optimistic, she says, is focusing on how far she’s come, not how far she has to go. “I don’t want sympathy. I don’t need it,” she says. “I’ve realized it’s more about connection, friendship, generosity.” Her husband has been “amazing.” Friends have brought her dinner. She’s also made vital connections through the Survivor Corps group on Facebook. Larsen has realized that with long-haul COVID—as those who’ve suffered from chronic illness and injury have long known— it can be very difficult to communicate to others what you’re going through. There are no quick fixes. Sometimes people don’t understand, or they expect friends or family to snap out of their ailments and go back to normal. “People who don’t believe you…that is detrimentally insulting,” she says. “It’s important to connect with people who get you, but who aren’t going to drain you,” she says. It’s also important to accept your own body’s relationship with its illness.
“A very good person told me, ‘don’t try to dominate COVID, accommodate COVID.’ I’m living with this and I’m coming at peace with this. That’s very important. I’m fighting.” Larsen hopes that a couple of years out from her positive COVID diagnosis she’ll be back to her normal level of health and fitness, but she knows it’s going to take many small steps along the way. She’s trying to embrace that. Growing up, Larsen’s mom always told her to stop and smell the roses. “It took me 45 years on this earth to do so. Slow down. Don’t rush. I am learning, and it takes a whole attitude adjustment, but slow it down.” Recovery is happening at its own pace. In the meantime, Larsen is doing her best to lean on her community and accept things as they come. “Set healthy boundaries and take care of yourself,” Larsen advises anyone else going through a similar struggle. “You have one life.”// Sarah Hauge is a writer and editor who lives in Spokane with her husband and children. She wrote about walking and running every street of Spokane in the last issue of Out There.
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
OutThere Kids Outdoor Survival Skills for Kids By Amy McCaffree
LEFT: PRACTICING SHELTER AND FIRE BUILDING SKILLS AT HOME IN THE BACKYARD.PHOTO: AMY MCCAFFREE. //THIS PHOTO: TEACHING MAP SKILLS. PHOTO: SHALLAN KNOWLES
ARE TODAY’S KIDS “GETTING SOFT”? Are
they less rugged and prepared for hardy outdoor exploration? Thirty-five years ago in northeast Oregon, a 6-year-old boy named Cody Sheehy got lost in the Blue Mountains near his home. To save himself, he walked 14-20 miles, mostly on roads for over 18 hours, according to Emma Marris in her 2018 “Outside” article about Sheehy. Marris rightfully wondered, “…would a modern six-year-old be physically and psychologically able to do what Cody did?” Sheehy survived because he was a tough kid and experienced in outdoor exploring, according to Rombert Koester, author of “Lost Person Behavior.” “There are probably six-year-olds who still spend all their time running around and playing outside,” he says before warning that the child who just “sits in front of a screen isn’t going to do as well.” For kids to be similarly tough today, they need to learn hands-on skills and have ample time to play outside in the woods. Kids should develop strong sensory capabilities and a sense of direction. Here are some lessons and tips for equipping kids to survive outside. 28
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HELPING KIDS TO NOT GET LOST
Straying off trail is the most common way hikers get lost; the second most common is falling off a trail and being unable to find their way back. Teach kids to, first of all, not panic—take deep breaths to stay calm and focus on what they’ve been taught. Next they need to stay put and call for help. Make sure children know to not be afraid of getting “in trouble” for being lost. Children may try to backtrack. Older kids may do this successfully, but kids tend to walk in circles or, like Sheehy, walk farther away from the area a child was last seen. That’s why the National Association for Search and Rescue established the “Hug a Tree” program to help children remember to stay in one place and wait to be found. Typically, people get lost closer to sunset or just before severe weather comes, which often results in the lost person having to stay overnight in the woods. This is why the 10 essentials are vital. THE 10 ESSENTIALS
Statistics reveal that day hikers are most vulnerable to survival situations. People typically don’t pack all essentials, thinking
it’s just a few hours or a few miles, what could go wrong? Bad weather, injury or illness, and wandering off trail is what could go wrong. The 10 Essentials are for all ages and meant to prevent emergencies and allow a person to safely stay for a night (or longer) in the wilderness. Equip children with a backpack to carry their supplies. The following list is a kid-version, based on one provided by The Outdoor Society, to which I have added some of my own ideas. 1. NAVIGATION: Carry a paper copy of the trail map. While a smart phone has builtin GPS, batteries die and service can be unreliable in remote areas. Knowing basic map and compass orienteering skills are important. A prepared child can use these tools to navigate if they get lost. Every child should also carry an emergency whistle, attached to a zipper, to alert help. 2. SUN PROTECTION: Sunscreen, hat. 3.INSULATION: Extra seasonallyappropriate clothing such as socks, jacket, hat, and gloves to keep warm through the night. 4. ILLUMINATION: Headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries.
5. FIRST-AID SUPPLIES AND INSECT REPELLENT. 6. FIRE/WARMTH: No matches for kids—
simply too risky. Hand warmers and an emergency blanket are safer (see #10). 7. REPAIR KIT AND TOOLS: Even young children can use a multi-tool with proper instruction and practice. 8. NUTRITION: Extra snacks. 9. HYDRATION: A water bottle and, if in the backcountry, a lightweight filter bottle, such as LifeStraw brand, for safe drinking from a stream or lake. 10. EMERGENCY SHELTER: A silver, heattrapping emergency blanket is easy for kids to use. Shelter-building skills are even better. Age-appropriate risk-taking, independence, and problem-solving help kids to develop grit and resilience, which will help today’s kids have greater courage, confidence, and readiness to face unknowns on and off life’s trails. // Amy McCaffree writes the Out There Kids column in each issue. She has worked as a youth camp counselor and adventure guide and now teaches wilderness skills to her own two kids.
SPOKANE'S AWARDWINNING #1 TRIPADVISOR RANKED ADVENTURES What is Mica Moon? Mica Moon Zip Tours is Spokane’s only true zip line canopy tour adventure. We also have an aerial trekking park that is state of the art. Both adventures are proudly ranked #1 by TripAdvisor and are onveniently located between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene in Liberty Lake, WA. Come enjoy an incredible zip lining tour or aerial park adventure or do BOTH with our mind-blowing combo tour!
Zip Lines Our regular tour is approximately 3 hours long. It begins with a short and informative 15-minute shuttle ride from our comfortable reception area at the Liberty Lake Portal to our property halfway up Mica Peak, south of Liberty Lake. From here, guests will take an exciting ride in specially outfitted UTV’s on panoramic trails to the top of the property. Our friendly guides will then guide you through nine zip lines ending with our Big Mama zip line and 2/3 of a mile of joy!
A self-guided tree-top wonderland, you move from station to station, more intense as you get higher or just stay on the lower obstacles and enjoy the perfect adventure for you. You are strapped in the entire way and the obstacles vary in degree of difficulty. From rickety bridges to Ninja Warrior style challenges, go through the aerial park and create your own adventure. They are 3 hour sessions so you can tarzan around until your heart is content.
Visit micamoon.com to book your next favorite adventure!
THE UNPARALLELED ADRENALINE RUSH The Mica Moon mission statement is to provide in a professional and unforgettable way an opportunity for residents and visitors to the Spokane area to experience its natural forest treasures from unique perspectives and celebrate their associated wonder, freedom, and growth by stretching personal perspectives and comfort zones. We want our guests to feel that they had a truly amazing time, and in the process, learned as much about themselves as they did the secrets hidden in our backyard wilderness. With this in mind, we at Mica Moon spent two years and tens of thousands of dollars working with biologists, geologists, arborists, historians, governmental agencies, and experts in experiential learning to create the Mica Moon Zip Tour. We hire only the best guides, and train them in every aspect of their job so that they can maximize our guests’ experience.
"The zip tour was amazing!! I took my kids along and it was fantastic. Our guides were awesome!! Professional, knowledgeable, funny and entertaining. I would definitely recommend going and will go again in the future." - Eric R. "Our adventure with Mica Moon was fantastic from start to finish. Would highly recommend this place to all my family and friends looking for a fun recreational activity!" - Tony M. JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
YOGA ON A PADDLEBOARD BY SARAH HAUGE
STAND UP PADDLEBOARD YOGA. // PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROXANNE BEST
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
SUP yoga—or yoga on a stand up paddleboard—is an increasingly popular way of spending time in nature while benefiting from the challenging and restorative elements of yoga. “If you’re looking to explore water sports in a safe way and get a really good physical workout without really realizing you’re getting one, SUP yoga is a great way to do that,” says SUP yoga instructor Roxanne Best. In this sport, you’re being physically challenged but “you’re not sweating, exhausted, hating every minute.” Best is a 200 hour instructor with the Yoga Alliance; she is certified to teach SUP yoga through the Professional Stand Up Paddle Association. Her original career was as a scuba diver, and she’s SUPped for many years, in addition to practicing and teaching yoga. A member of the Colville Tribe—“we’re water people,” she says—she was looking for a new way to enjoy the water when she took
a SUP yoga class and fell in love. In the SUP yoga classes Best instructs, participants of all levels learn to paddle their boards and engage in a series of yoga flow positions; both the SUP components and the yoga positions are taught in a way that makes them approachable for any skill level. A common challenge of SUP yoga is getting past the fear of falling into the water. Though most participants don’t fall in, the possibility seems to be on the back of everyone’s mind—which can be kind of freeing. You go from “being conditioned that falling was bad, to the mindset of…it’s actually okay to fall, and it’s kind of fun!” Best says. “For me it’s just a really grounding experience, and centering, which is weird, because you’re out on the water,” she says. “It’s really just an opportunity to tune into your environment. Tune out some of the human noises and tune into some of the nature noises.”
31 WAYS TO EXPLORE INLAND NW LAKES
BIKEPACK FISHING BY DERRICK KNOWLES
Bikepacking, where you load your ride up with camping gear and hit the back roads and trails for a few days, has exploded in popularity. However, bikepacking for the sake of fishing is still a relatively fringe activity. With hundreds of lakes scattered around the Inland NW, many of which offer camping, it’s the perfect place to plan a “fishpacking” trip. I haven’t yet packed a fishing rod on a bikepacking trip, but it’s something I’ve thought about lately. Here are a few lakes that would make great destinations, but with so many lakes to choose from you can come up with your own route that hits one or more lakes that have quality fishing and camping. Pend Oreille County in Northeast Washington has a great combination of small lakes with good fishing, lightlytraveled back roads (many of them gravel), and inexpensive campgrounds or even free camping at Forest Service dispersed campsites. Browns, Bead, and North and South Skookum lakes, among others in the area, are all good options. Do your research since many smaller lakes have various fishing
restrictions. For instance, Brown's Lake is a fly-fishing only lake and lead fishing weights/tackle are prohibited at South Skookum and a few other small regional lakes to protect loons. Try using the Columbia Plateau Trail near Cheney as a bikepacking thoroughfare to reach one or more fishing lakes in the Channeled Scablands. Not all of the Scablands lakes have places to camp, so do your research before heading out. In North Idaho, Round Lake near Sandpoint or Spirit, Twin, and Hauser lakes farther south have various fishing and camping options. In addition to your standard bikepacking gear (check out Bikepacking. com for gear recommendations), you’ll also need to secure or stow a collapsible rod and reel, fly rod, fishing tackle, and a fishing license and copy of the fishing regulations for whatever state you’ll be in. And before you load up and head out, check in with the land and wildlife management agencies or private campgrounds in charge of the fishing and camping at your destination to make sure there are no unexpected restrictions in place.
FISHTRAP LAKE BIKEPACKING. // PHOTO: CAROL CORBIN
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
OPEN WATER LAKE SWIMMING BY ADAM GEBAUER
My favorite lake activity is open water swimming. I have been a quasi-competitive swimmer since I was 5 years old, and it’s always the activity that I can go back to time and again. I started swimming in some nearby lakes because pool access is not always easy to find for free. I love heading to Fish Lake southwest of Spokane because of its proximity to where I live, water temperature, and good size to get in a few lengths for a nice workout. I also like how seemingly ridiculous I look walking through the crowd of sunbathers and floatie
loungers with my bike shorts like swim wear, goggles, and sometimes flippers. Wearing goggles makes gazing at underwater lake life possible, including frogs and fish, the underside of lily pads, and just viewing a seldom seen aquatic world. Open water swimming has its own unique challenges: swimming in a straight line isn’t all that easy without lane guards, it takes time to get used to colder water, and it helps to be comfortable treading water. But it is sure nice to gaze at the birds and clouds while you’re doing the backstroke.
HAPPY HOUR ON THE LAKE IN HARRISON, IDAHO. // PHOTO: SHALLAN KNOWLES
BOAT-IN HAPPY HOUR ON LAKE CDA BY DERRICK KNOWLES
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A TRIATHLETE TO ENJOY LAKE SWIMMING
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Given its sprawling size, Lake Coeur d’Alene offers several unique lakeside happy hour stops with boat-in access. Anyone with a personal or rental boat can motor up to one of these dining and drinking establishments, tie off at any available guest moorage dock space, and enjoy a responsible happy hour stop. To keep everyone out on the water safe and follow Idaho’s boating and alcohol laws that make it against the law for anyone operating a boat under the influence, it’s critical to have a designated sober boat operator. At the southern end of the lake, Harrison, Idaho, is one of the best happy hour destinations on the lake. There is plenty of well-signed dock space for guest moorage, as well as inexpensive overnight moorage options, and there are several new eating and drinking establishments to choose from. Park your boat and head out on foot to explore the town and happy hour spots such as the Lakeside Bar & Grill, Cycle Haus Bikes & Brews, the Ride & Reel, and other dining and drinking establishments like long-time favorite One Shot Charlie's. Relax on the beautiful public beach, go for a swim, or take a walk (or ride with a rental bike) on the paved Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes that runs through town. Docks can fill up on hot weekend days in the summer, so plan accordingly.
Something for everyone. - Huge verticals!! 3400’ or 800’ with 2 lifts - 40 marked mountain trails - 72 miles of paved trails following the river - Gear rentals — bikes, helmets, body armor
THE PIRATE OF SANDPOINT’S CITY BEACH BY AMY MCCAFFREE
Despite all the power boats you may see on big lakes, owning and maintaining a boat is a luxury. Which is why Captain Dan Mimmack, well known to locals as the Sandpoint Pirate, made it his mission to provide free boat rides aboard his authentic-looking Pirate ship, called “Wild Spirit,” to children who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to ride in a boat and be on the lake. Captain Dan even comes ashore at Sandpoint City Beach. “He pulls up on the sand and takes out a treasure chest—plays pirate with children with rubber swords, and he has eye patches and bandanas for kids when they come aboard,” says his wife, Pam Mimmack, when we talked by phone while Dan was on the lake. “He’s on the beach pretty much every day all summer.” All children are welcome, and he especially enjoys helping children with physical or sensory special needs who need a calm boating experience. Captain Dan’s voyages take kids for a ride up Sand Creek and back, with on-board water-blasters to spray passing boats, like pirates are wont to do. “He’s a generous, loving guy—one of the kids, even though he’s 65 years old,” says Pam Mimmack. “He’s always carrying around rubber duckies to hand out to children wherever he sees them, walking down the street.” There is no set boat ride schedule, or even ride time limit, and the reservation process
is fairly informal. A parent or guardian can stop by the Mimmack’s family business, Northwest Handmade Furniture & Gallery (308 North 1st Ave), any time during regular business hours, which is located a short distance from City Beach. The Mimmack’s daughter now owns the store, and Pam still works there and oversees boat reservations, she says. You can also call the store to schedule a boat ride (208) 255-1962 or (877) 880-1962. At least one adult must accompany their child on the boat and donations are accepted.
SANDPOINT PIRATE CAPTAIN DAN. // PHOTO COURTESY OF DAN MIMMACK
CAPTAIN DAN ON HIS PIRATE BOAT ON LAKE PEND OREILLE. // PHOTO COURTESY OF PAM MIMMACK
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
KAYAK LAUNCH FROM BEAVER CREEK CAMPGROUND DAY-USE AREA AT PRIEST LAKE. // PHOTO: JUDD MCCAFFREE
5 ADVENTURES ON PRIEST LAKE’S WESTERN SHORE BY AMY MCCAFFREE
2. EARN YOUR MEAL, DRINKS, OR TREATS.
While visiting or camping in a national forest on the west side of Priest Lake, there are many activities and destinations that are accessible by foot, boat, or bike.
From Luby Bay Campground, you can paddle the shoreline or bike or hike the Navigation Trail south to Hill’s Resort. Or start paddling or biking from Outlet Bay Campground and head north to Hill’s. You can also boat from anywhere along the lake and park at the resort docks for a day-use visit. Known for their creative, family-friendly foods, dine on the Hill's deck to enjoy huckleberry delights. During the morning, you can order huckleberry pancakes—just
1. VISIT UPPER PRIEST LAKE. Paddle the
3.5-mile Thorofare to Upper Priest Lake, accessible at the north end of Priest Lake. For the shortest paddle, start from Beaver Creek Day-Use Area. Or hike to Upper Priest via Navigation Trail. You can camp overnight at a rustic national forest campground.
one of many options from the breakfast menu. For summer 2021, Hill’s also has new casual dining and George’s Dining Room dinner menus. You can also get a milkshake, lemonade, or even margarita made with local wild huckleberries. 3. GOLF ON THE LAKE. Hill’s Resort also owns the 18-hole Priest Lake Golf Course, located only minutes away. You arrive by boat to the resort docks and drive a reserved, street-legal golf cart to the course. Rent or bring your own clubs. 4. EXPLORE LOCAL HISTORY. The Priest
Lake Museum is also nearby. Learn the local cultural and natural history, and view the featured exhibit, “Fool’s Gold: Mining at Priest Lake,” which includes an
outdoor exhibit area along a short path to view large artifacts. (More details at priestlakemuseum.org.) 5. PADDLE TO AN ISLAND. For those with advanced canoeing or kayaking skills, you can depart from the Kalispell Boat Launch (at Kalispell Bay) and paddle to Kalispell Island—the largest among seven islands. Head to the Idaho Panhandle National Forest day-use beach or stay at one of the 52 campsites located around Kalispell Island. Bartoo Island is also within paddling distance from Priest’s western shore. Located closer to Luby Bay, it has a day-use area and 25 campsites. Find more information at fs.usda.gov. Reserve a campsite or take your chances with a handful of first-come sites on each island.
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WILDLIFE SPOTTING BY DERRICK KNOWLES
Lakes can be a great place to watch wildlife. Lakes with fewer or no motorboats and less development, as well as shallower, sheltered waters, are going to be better places to watch wildlife than in busier, choppier waters or along heavily developed shorelines. Shoot for early mornings and evenings when many species of birds and other wildlife are more active. Since Inland Northwest lakes range from desert-like terrain in central and eastern Washington to lush mountain lakes in North Idaho and Western Montana, the types of wildlife you can encounter at lakes varies widely. Here are a few ideas of lakes to visit with the chance of catching sight of some less-seen Inland NW wildlife. • WESTERN/CLARK’S GREBES: these coollooking birds can be found at several eastern Washington area lakes in the summer, including Lake Spokane. The birds build floating nests and have an athletic, waterskating mating ritual. Their chirping calls stand out too. Hike into the Fisk Property at Riverside State Park on Lake Spokane or launch a kayak or canoe at the Riverside State Park Nine Mile Recreation Area.
moose can be regularly spotted from paddle craft or boats include the Pack River Flats wildlife management area on the north end of the lake and the Clark Fork River Delta on the northeast end of the lake. • BALD EAGLES: For a quick urban wildlife fix, paddle over to the wetlands at the south end of Washington’s Liberty Lake for likely encounters with eagles, osprey, and other wetland critters. • MOUNTAIN GOATS: There are many Idaho alpine lakes where mountain goats can be seen, but you can also try your luck at spotting an elusive goat along the south end of Lake Pend Oreille near Bayview. Look for the distinctly white ungulates on the rocky slopes of Bernard Peak near Echo Bay. • AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS: The White
Pelican is one of the largest birds in North America with a wingspan of 8-9.5 feet. Look for these giant white birds by boat or paddle craft at the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene near the mouths of the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers.
• MOOSE: These potentially massive ungulates can make an appearance at many forested regional lakes. But two relatively wild places on Lake Pend Oreille where
ALWAYS IN SEASON.
PELICANS NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE ST. JOE RIVER. PHOTO SHALLAN KNOWLES
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JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
mt. Spokane 2021-22
summer pass Sale Rippin’ deals until September 13. Save up to $200 on season passes. Save the date! Mt. Spokane Family Mountain Day, Sunday, September 12—join us at Lodge 2 for pass pick-up, music, beverages, a trail run, hiking, and more. Visit us online for all the details. www.mtspokane.com
LAKE CHELAN—ALL THAT’S MISSING IS YOU. PHOTO COURTESY OF LAKE CHELAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
5 WAYS TO EXPERIENCE LAKE CHELAN BY SUMMER HESS
Lake Chelan is known for both its wine and recreation, which make it the perfect pairing for summer fun. The first key is finding the right place to stay. Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan has been Washington state’s favorite family getaway resort since 1901 and is a great launchpad to enjoy all that the region has to offer. The historic downtown waterfront had private beaches and many acres to roam. From here, the following lakeside activities are nearby and abundant. 1. TAKE AN E-BIKE TOUR OF LAKE CHELAN.
MASKS & MORE
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Chelan Electric Bikes offers several tours of the scenic landscape where local grapes are grown. The electric bicycles let riders be a part of the landscape and also offer an easy assist on the hills. There are several tour options, the most classic one being the four-hour, wine-focused casual and scenic pedal. Visit three enchanting wineries, sip fabulous wine, and ride about 18 miles. There’s also a family tour option that skips the wineries and focuses on swimming holes and wildlife sightings. 2. PADDLEBOARD TOUR AROUND LAKE CHELAN. There is no better way to enjoy
the lake than launching into the water. Rent a paddle board from Lake Rider Sports in downtown Chelan (509-885-4767). Choose from traditional paddleboards or get funky with the Supsquatch, a one-ofa-kind standup paddleboard that can hold up to 14 people. The Supsquatch makes for a casual, fun day on the water. Those more interested in a workout can rent a board and cruise as far as the eye can see.
3. HIKE OR BIKE FOR VIEWS. Fourteen major trailheads provide starting points for 250 miles of maintained summer trails near the town of Chelan. One great option is the Echo Ridge trail system, which contains almost 25 miles of trails intertwined with 36
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
roads. Originally designed for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, the trails are perfect for mountain biking and hiking. There are wide, easy trails suitable for all ages and technical singletrack for the more adventurous. Expect to see great views of Lake Chelan, the Stewart Range, Okanogan Highlands, and Columbia Plateau. For those who want to stick close to town, the Riverwalk Park Loop Trail is a 1-mile pathway that loops between the two bridges that span the Chelan River in historic downtown Chelan. There are shaded benches all along the trail. 4. FLY ABOVE IT ALL. Paraglide Chelan offers
first-time flyers the freedom and the thrill of flight. Flyers are securely attached to their instructors, which makes it possible to relax and enjoy the ride. A tandem paraglide flight is a unique and immersive way to see the area. They employ US Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association instructors, who make every flight safe, fun, and unforgettable. Pilots from all over the world also travel to Chelan every year for national and world competitions.
5. TAKE A WINE-TASTING TOUR. Taking a tasting tour around the Chelan area is a great way to explore the area and enjoy some amazing wine and food. Vin Du Lac, French for wine of the lake, offers a beautiful view, an array of award-winning wines, a farm-to-table bistro menu, and a setting ideal for relaxation, enjoyment, and events. All wine grapes at Vin Du Lac are hand harvested and fermented in small batches, and the live music scene is hard to beat. Tunnel Hill offers a stone cottage tasting room, built from the rubble of the old Knapps Hill Tunnel just up the hill. Thus their tasting room, like their wine, is sturdy, solid, and very much from the earth. Karma Vineyard boasts 14 acres
of selected varietals including Gewürztraminer, syrah, pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay, and pinot meunier. Known for its sparkling wine, Karma Vineyards was the first vineyard in Chelan to cane prune pinot noir grapes. Each year Chelan’s One Wines offers a simpler approach to wine. Instead of creating multiple reds and whites, they make three great wines per year—one red, one white, and one rosé. Wapato Point Cellars offers a delightful evening at the winemaker’s grill with an exquisite selection of delicious menu items on their ever-changing fresh sheet. Dine in the restaurant or al fresco on the outdoor
patio. Radiance Winery Tasting Room is a family-owned winery and tasting room that specializes in balanced, radiant wines true to varietal and vineyard source. Alta Cellars owner and winemaker Jay Pederson has been a commercial fisherman for most of his life. Today he runs Alta Cellars, which features very limited release quantities of premium red wines with special attention to Bordeaux-inspired varietals. Obviously not a winery, Lake Chelan Brewery is worth a stop to sample some of the five flagship beers and 11 seasonal beers. An onsite pub serves burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads.
KIDS BELONG ON KAYAKS. // PHOTO: SARAH HAUGE
LAKE KAYAKING WITH KIDS BY SARAH HAUGE
“I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe.” Jo says those words to her older sister Meg on Meg’s wedding day in Greta Gerwig’s film “Little Women,” indicating her embrace of life as a single, independent woman. (“Little Women” author Louisa May Alcott originally said the same thing to her own older sister.) “Little Women” is the favorite movie of my first-grade daughter, and I thought of that line as I watched her and her sister joyfully and adeptly paddle their own kids' kayaks for the first time last summer on a family trip to Hood Canal. It was love at first paddle, and kayak time was a highlight of each day. “They’re pretty easy to maneuver around for someone without a lot of experience going in a kayak,” my 9-year-old says. Small and durable, and easily maneuverable, these plastic vessels are ideal for kids (and some adults—weight limits often go up to 130 pounds) ready to discover new independence on one of our area lakes. The one-seater kayaks are stable and easy
to turn thanks to their short, wide shape. Weighing less than 20 pounds, they’re also fairly manageable to carry on land. When purchasing, make sure yours allows for easy entry from the water. If your child tries out a kid’s kayak, all of the usual water safety tips apply: make sure they wear a proper flotation device, talk about where it’s safe to go, and keep a close eye on kids. Once aboard, with a little guidance on how to paddle and turn, your young seafarer will soon be ready to explore. We enjoyed paddling parallel to the shore in the mornings to investigate sea life when the tide was out, and journeying in and out from the dock later each day when the tide came in. On lakes, sticking close to the shore will help avoid motorboat traffic. Both my kids loved kayaking, and I appreciated the serene, confident looks on their faces after years of being tucked into random nooks and crannies of other people’s boats while older people did the work and made the decisions. I hope to have another chance soon to watch each of them paddle her own kayak, her own way. JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
IT'S TIME FOR
R A L S
ALAN SHEPHERD, WHO JUST STARTED WING FOILING THIS YEAR, PRACTICING GETTING UP ON THE FOIL BEHIND A BOAT ON LAKE PEND OREILLE. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN SHEPHERD.
WING FOILING ON THE LAKE BY DERRICK KNOWLES
Wing foiling first emerged in a rudimentary form in Hawaii in the 80s. But the fringe sport —where riders use boards equipped with a hydrofoil that allows them to basically fly above the water on the foil with the help of an inflatable, hand-held sail called a wing—has only recently taken off on lakes around Spokane and North Idaho. “Winging is kind of a collaboration between wind surfing, kite boarding, and paddleboarding,” explains avid Coeur d’Alene wing foil devotee Joe Threadgill. “Cool thing about winging is it feels like you’re floating, and you get this 3D feeling because when you’re on the board you get some speed and you float on up out of the water. It’s this really trippy feeling like surfing, kiting, and wind surfing all at the same time.” Threadgill, who only started wing foiling last summer, says that it’s the perfect sport for our lakes during the windy fall, winter, and spring seasons. “I stared figuring it out this winter,” says Threadgill, who paid frequent winter visits to Sprague Lake along I-90 west of Spokane. “It’s always an exciting time to learn because it’s so frigging cold, but the up side is that you have the whole lake to yourself.” When Threadgill started winging there was no one else doing it locally he says.
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“Now there are a few guys up in Sandpoint and about five coming out of Spokane and three or four of us out in Coeur d’Alene and probably a few more we haven’t connected with yet.” Wing foiling is a challenging sport to master because it requires good balance on and control of a board, which a surfing or paddleboarding background can help with, along with proper handling of the wing that generates the speed needed for the hydrofoil to lift the rider up off the surface of the water. Then there’s the balance and foil control and ongoing wing management to keep up speed for it to all work. The payoff, say those who have taken it up, is a hard-to-describe sense of flight that leaves many foiling fanatics so singularly focused on the sport that the intense devotion to winging is known as ‘foil brain,’ says recent wing foil convert Alan Shepherd of Spokane. If you’re looking to give wing foiling a try, the best bet is to befriend someone who is learning locally and talk them into showing you the ropes. Another way to work on your foil riding skills during the relatively windless Inland Northwest summers is to get pulled behind a boat or use a SUP paddle to try to catch boat wake waves. You can also sign up for wing foil lessons in the epicenter of wind sports, the Columbia Gorge, at Bigwinds.com.
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THE LAKESIDE SURF WAVE POOL AT LAKE CHELAN. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY WAVE
SURFING AT LAKE CHELAN BY PHIL LINDEN
Lakeside Surf, the new surf wave on the shores of Lake Chelan, is the world’s largest stationary wave located on hills above the lake at the Slidewaters water park. The surf wave works like a river surfing wave, where the wave feature, built into the pool, stays put and the water rushes past you as you ride back and forth across the pool. And rest assured that a stationary wave is fun, fast and rippable. Both times I visited this spring, surfers were all smiles and eager to get back onto the pool deck to catch their next wave of engineered perfection at the end of every ride. I got my first introduction to Lakeside Surf at a pre-opening press event, where local rippers and aspiring international super-stars were showing what is possible. Airs, 360s, and round house cutbacks were performed by some of the greatest surfers in the Northwest and beyond. By the end of the weekend my legs were burning, my stoke was high, and I had already pulled out my credit card to book additional sessions for opening weekend. It would be a couple of weeks before I was back at Lakeside Surf for my newly purchased surf sessions, and so I headed to the Pacific Ocean to surf my usual spot. Instantly I noticed my cutbacks and top turns were stronger and I was looser rail to rail as a result of my Lakeside waves. I couldn’t believe how much my Lakeside wave time transferred to better ocean surfing. Learning to surf is difficult, and it’s a life-long pursuit. For most of us, the time that the board is actually under your feet
and you are engaging the fins into a wave is somewhat limited. So the concept of being able to ‘practice’ and get feedback to make improvements can be fleeting. Lakeside Surf is a surf lab in which you can hone your craft in an environment that is free of the constraints of river levels, tide, wind, swell direction, cross chop, and dark of night. As my next Lakeside Surf sessions approached, I contacted four friends of different surfing abilities to join me on the pool deck for a weekend of fun. It was surf day again at Lakeside, and I waited in the hot tub overlooking the wave and the snowcapped North Cascades. One by one I saw my friend’s disbelief that we were going to session the longest standing wave in the world for the better part of the day. Easy entry onto the wave from the side of the pool allowed my pals to begin to improve rapidly. They quickly corrected their board’s trim, got their feet in a more aggressive location, and began to make the transition to surfing rail to rail. Each subsequent ride gave way to pumping down the line, topturns and cutbacks, only to see the 50 feet of green face open back for more and more turns. That day on the pool deck the pros were replaced by aspiring surfers, wake boarders, and snow enthusiasts; everyone was happy and rallying. The wave at Lakeside Surf is fun for everyone from beginners to seasoned wave riders. Staff on the edge of the pool offer assistance and tips, and boards are provided as part of your paid 45-minute surf sessions. Pre-book your 12-person or private sessions at Lakesidesurf.com.
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2021 Newport Autumn Bloom 5K & 10K Run Newport Hospital & Health Services Foundation fe
li your r o f run
10 K is a Second Seed Qualifier for Bloomsday 2022! Tourism support for 2021 Autumn Bloom is provided by City of Newport Hotel/Motel Tax Funds.
September 18, 2021 T.J. Kelly Park 9AM l
(Corner of 1st St. and Washington Ave.)
Register online at RaceRoster.com or download registration form at NewportHospitalAndHealth.org Pre-registration Deadline: 9/11/2021
On-site Registration: 7:30AM - 8:30AM
Race Contact: Lori Stratton, Foundation Event & Program Supervisor (509) 447-2441, ext. 4373 NHHSFoundation@nhhsqualitycare.org
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
SANDPOINT CITY BEACH. // PHOTO SHALLAN KNOWLES
8 ADVENTURES ON LAKE PEND OREILLE BY S. MICHAL BENNETT
One of the deepest lakes in North America, Lake Pend Oreille is one of the most pristine and enjoyable lakes in the Inland Northwest. At 43 miles long, it offers a wealth of activities on and under the water as well as private stays, national parks, city campgrounds, and plenty of natural and historic scenery. Here are some of the most popular ways to play around the lake this summer. 1. GO FISH. Whether you cast a line off the
dock at Pend Oreille Shores Resort, launch a boat in one of the many bays, or wade into the Clark Fork or Pack River deltas, there is a wide diversity of catchable fish to be had in the lake. Charter a fishing guide for an even more successful day.
2. FIND A CAMPSITE. From public to private, there’s a campground for everyone. Find information and book some campsites at Recreation.gov and Fs.usda.gov. Reserve a private beach stay through Airbnb or Hipcamp. Hike or boat out to Maiden Rock, Evans Landing, or Long Beach in the Green Monarchs for a more rustic experience immersed in the simple, natural beauty and power of Pend Oreille. 3. RENT LAKE TOYS. Sports shops, resorts,
and marinas around the lake offer powerboat, pontoon, wave runner, kayak, and paddleboard rentals for a day on the water. Extend your time on the waves by renting a houseboat.
4. RIDE THE WIND. Sailing is a breathtaking water adventure, and it’s fascinating to watch Lake Pend Oreille Yacht Club races and cruises throughout the summer. Charter your own professional skipper through Cloud Nine Sail Charters or Dogsmile 40
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
Adventures. Dogsmile also offers sailing lessons, custom sailing experiences, and their Dogsmile Race Academy next level training (dogsmileadventures.org). 5. TAKE A CRUISE. Take a relaxing tour or cruise and discover the nooks and crannies of the lake. Lake Pend Oreille Cruises offers eagle watching, delta cruises, interesting history, and island cruises (lakependoreillecruises.com). Get a little more private with a tour from one of two water taxis: Lake Pend Oreille Water Taxi and Tours out of Hope (208-6913158) and Captain’s Call out of Bayview (thecaptainscall.com). 6. HUNT FOR TREASURE. Shipwrecks and other fascinating treasures are hidden just below the surface. Don your own scuba gear or book a dive with Tom’s Diving Adventures. Or try snorkeling the shallows near docks and beaches. 7. WATCH THE FIREWORKS. The granite hills surrounding the south end of the lake make Bayview one of the best spots in North Idaho to experience a fireworks show (this year on July 3). Watch them from a boat in the bay or reserve a floating house on the expansive dock in the marina. (Airbnb or bookahouseboat.com). 8. PLAY ON AN ISLAND. Fisherman Island
is a rustic day recreation spot managed by Idaho Fish and Game and accessible only by boat. But Warren Island near Hope is the largest on the lake and is private and exclusive—except for the Warren Island Bungalow. This 4-acre retreat is the only vacation rental on Warren and boasts private waterfront, majestic views, exquisite amenities, and “a safe, peaceful sanctuary” (aelitacollection.com).
PRIEST LAKE BOAT-IN CAMPING. // PHOTO SHALLAN KNOWLES
FIND ENDLESS LAKE ADVENTURES WITH OUR ONLINE LAKE GUIDE FOR 2021 Spending a day “at the lake”—or, even better, a weekend getaway or week-long vacation—does a mind and body good. After the past hard 16 months, everyone deserves to chill on a beach for a while. Wherever you are in the Inland Northwest, a lake is only a drive or bike ride away. Pack some essentials and go. Our online Inland Northwest Lake Guide, updated for 2021, includes over 60 of the best lakes in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, western Montana, and southeast British Columbia. Go online to outthereoutdoors.com/inland-northwest-lakeguide-2021. You’ll find descriptions of not only the most popular big and mid-sized lakes, but also many small, remote lakes that are still easily-accessible. Learn which lakes are best for swimming, paddling, fishing, and boating. Amenity information is provided so you can learn which public lands and parks to visit, and learn about the beaches, boat launches, campgrounds, RV parks and “lake resorts,” as well as lakeside trails for hiking or biking. Use our guide to brainstorm your bucket list of summertime fun and plan upcoming lake adventures. At Outthereoutdoors.com you can use the search tool at the top of the webpage to find even more stories about lake-based recreation and recommended regional travel destinations, including articles about backcountry alpine lakes, paddling tips, water safety advice, and much more. Use our online lake guide to find the perfect place to enjoy the lake however you’d like—casting a rod; reading a book while the sunshine glistens on the waves; skipping rocks; floating on the glassy flatwater; taking a cool, refreshing swim; gracefully diving or cannonballing off a dock; watching fish jumping and turtles and frogs among the lily pads. And feel grateful that you are right here in the wonderful Inland Northwest. JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
Methow MTB MAgic
“IN OTHER WORDS, THE SPANDEX SHORTS-TO-PARTY SHIRT RATIO IS PRETTY LOPSIDED.” BY AARON THEISEN
OPPOSITE PAGE: METHOW VALLEY RESIDENTS ARE NO STRANGERS TO STIFF CLIMBS. FORTUNATELY FOR THE REST OF US, THE MVSTA AND EVERGREEN HAVE CONSTRUCTED SOME WELL-PACED AND SCENIC ASCENTS, SUCH AS "CLIMB IT CHANGE." // THIS PAGE,TOP LEFT: SQUEEZING THROUGH SHRUBS AND WILDFLOWERS, THE NARROW RIBBON OF BUCK MOUNTAIN OFFERS NON-STOP VIEWS–IF YOU CAN TAKE YOUR EYE OFF YOUR LINE. // TOP RIGHT: THE BUCK MOUNTAIN LOOP WEAVES THROUGH WIDE SWATHES OF WILDFLOWERS OVER ITS 14-MILE LENGTH. // BOTTOM LEFT: NOT TO BE OUTDONE IN THE COMPETITION FOR VISTAS, THE LOWER SUN MOUNTAIN TRAILS OFFER FREQUENT VIEWS FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE VALLEY. // BOTTOM RIGHT: AT SUN MOUNTAIN, MAGIC HOUR EVEN MANAGES TO PERMEATE THE FOREST, AS SEEN HERE ON THE YELLOWJACKET TRAIL.
THE METHOW VALLEY is the only place
I’ve ever mountain biked where I’ve been passed on a climb by an ultramarathoner. It’s not terribly surprising: this long valley, on the sunny east slope of the North Cascades, seems to attract fanatical recreationists. A number of former Olympians call the valley home, but that represents only a fraction of the uberathletes here for whom three vigorous outdoor pursuits a day is a good Saturday. In other words, the spandex shorts-to-party shirt ratio is pretty lopsided. FROM ISOLATION TO EPIC RECREATION
Perhaps because the valley grew up in relative isolation—the paved North Cascades Highway was only completed in 1972—the Methow seems to have developed its own pace of life. That pace roughly translates as “hammering on the trail, laid back everywhere else.” It could have been different. In the 1970s, the Aspen Ski Corporation came to the Methow to investigate an alpine ski destination, to be called “Early Winters.” Locals fought, citing concerns, including environmental (increased air pollution from more wood-burning stoves) and economical (traffic, utilities). In the end, the locals prevailed, and Aspen Ski Corporation went on to build Whistler-Blackcomb near
Vancouver, British Columbia. At that point, the locals realized they had the opportunity to build their own worldclass ski system—and they chose Nordic over alpine. Easements through private land on the valley floor paved the way for what is today the nation’s largest Nordic ski trail system. As it grew up, the sport of mountain biking naturally followed. The athletic fanaticism displayed by the valley’s residents extends to trail stewardship too. Minded over by the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association (MVSTA), the singletrack here is lovingly maintained, thoughtfully signed, and always growing. Mountain biking in the Methow has the same characteristics as the Methow Valley itself: a heavy emphasis on aerobic activity and wide-open vistas. Many of the trails rate intermediate or advanced in terms of fitness, but are non-technical enough that big-hit bikes aren’t necessary. In other words, you’re more likely to be passed on a climb—with a friendly “Hello!”—by someone training for an endurance event than a bro sessioning jumps. Although the MVSTA has in recent years added some modern flow trails to the network. SUN MOUNTAIN TRAIL SYSTEM
The popular Sun Mountain trail system,
arrayed around the namesake resort on private and Forest Service land, is the ideal introduction to Methow biking. The extensive—and still growing—network of trails can be pieced together for an endless variety of loops and lengths. On all, the scenery dazzles in the spring with wildflowers, but the views are unbeatable year-round. Best of all, riders can park downtown and connect with the Sun Mountain trails via the Methow Community Trail—a genius stroke of carfree biking. The most recent addition to the trail system, the Thompson Ridge open loop, rewards a leg-sapping amount of climbing (nearly 3,000 feet over eight miles if riders forgo a shuttle) with a punchy sixmile descent of flickable turns and optional side hits through open pine forest and sloping meadows. BUCK MOUNTAIN LOOP
The Buck Mountain loop is distilled Methow Valley riding: rollercoaster singletrack; quick, non-technical descents; and views, views, views, of the North Cascades, Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, and the Methow Valley below. Designed with bikes in mind, with slaloming curves around sagebrush-obscured rocks and a recently built climbing trail, the 14 miles and 2,700 feet of climbing go by surprisingly quick.
Bike it in mid-May and myriad blooms streak by in a Monet-like blur. CUTTHROAT PASS
If Sun Mountain and Buck Mountain represent the terrain most riders associate with the Methow Valley—drifting hills dotted with ponderosas and painted with wildflowers— the 12-mile Cutthroat Pass ride will remind them that the Methow forms the eastern outpost of the North Cascades. Carved out of the 1968 legislation establishing North Cascades National Park, the ride is one of few alpine routes in the North Cascades open to bikes. The trail switchbacks—steadily, though not cruelly—almost five miles to Cutthroat Pass. Scores of bright, wheel-catching granite boulders and tight switchbacks will demand your attention, but pause frequently for the views of the steep cirque of Cutthroat Lake and the larch-accented Cascade Crest. Pausing just before the closed-to-wheels Pacific Crest Trail, riders retrace their route, with views of the Methow filling their goggles and visions of the day’s other athletic pursuits filling their minds. // Aaron Theisen has contributed to a number of mountain bike magazines, including “Freehub,” “Mountain Flyer,” and “Dirt Rag.” He wrote about biking in the Yaak Valley for the May/June issue of Out There. JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
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SEPTEMBER 11, 2021
BACKCOUNTRY ETIQUETTE FOR THE MASSES BY CAROL CORBIN
RIDING FOR OUR YOUTH! This one-day bicycle ride with 150-, 100-, 80-, 40- and 25-mile routes is presented on September 11, 2021, by the Sandpoint Rotary Club to benefit literacy and after-school reading programs for the Lake Pend Oreille School District and other Rotary community service projects. The 150-, 100- and 80-mile routes incorporate a newly paved route through Montana, alleviating traffic congestion on the customary routes leading into Clark Fork, Idaho.
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“TRASH!” SAYS STARR FARRELL, “Trash is the number one
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issue we experience in our forest.” Starr is the Public Affairs Specialist for the Colville National Forest. From 2019-2020, she says, the forest saw a 200% increase in people using forest facilities. And all too often, those people would camp at free sites and leave their garbage behind. With thousands of first-time users flocking to the outdoors in our region, many don’t know what to expect and are ill prepared for things as basic as packing out their own garbage. “When everything is brand new,” Farrell says, “it can be daunting.” And let’s face it. For all of us, it was new at some point. For example, when I was 23, I first heard the term “cryptobiotic crust.” Part of a group of photography students, mostly from the East Coast, we found ourselves caught between protecting nature and capturing “the perfect shot.” We learned that to step off the trail in a seemingly lifeless and arid desert meant destroying thousands of years of delicate crust that protects the land from erosion and contains an amazing and diverse ecosystem, beautiful in its resilient intricacies. At 25, I learned to “swill,” using tea or water to clean food particles out of my camping dish, and then drinking it rather than dumping out my food waste in the water or on the ground where it would have unintended consequences. Ten days of canoeing in a protected wilderness area as a master’s student opened my eyes to a new kind of lowimpact recreation, governed by Leave No Trace. Now, at 40, witnessing my favorite places of solace, silence, and seclusion being overrun by people learning what I have, that the wilderness is amazing, these skills are critical. But not just for me. With millions of people flocking outdoors, one thing is certain. Our pristine natural areas and wildlands can’t stay that way if we don’t all make some changes, and make them fast.
BACKCOUNTRY ETIQUETTE TIPS
Here are some practical tips for your next backcountry adventure. Please share a copy of this article with anyone you know who might be new to the outdoors or may need a backcountry etiquette refresher. 1. PICK UP ALL TRASH: Always carry a trash bag and some latex gloves. The tiny corner you rip off your Clif Bar wrapper might seem inconsequential, but microtrash adds up. Make sure you take everything out that you brought in. Even better, take out other people’s garbage too. 2. TREAD LIGHTLY: Stay on the trail and camp on durable surfaces like rock, sand, or grass. This might mean you can’t take the best Instagram shot, or that your TikTok video doesn’t have the background you want, but you’re a guest in nature. Act like one—one who wants to be invited back. 3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSIBLY: Stop geotagging stuff on social media. You know Mystic Falls in Spokane’s Palisades Park? It’s tiny. But it’s a near-urban waterfall that’s been geotagged to death. Where once there was one trail to access the falls, now canyon walls are crumbling from day users who have a geotag leading them straight to it. It’s ok for some things to remain secret, or at least a little obscure. 4. TREAT WATER WITH RESPECT: Do you
drink your dishwater or shower water? Me neither. So don’t wash your dishes, or yourself, in the river or lake. Maybe your soap is biodegradable and not a problem and you think the fish will love your food leavings, but neither of those things are true. Don’t introduce chemicals and compounds to the waterways that don’t belong there. Instead, swill your dishwater or bury it away from your camp and bodies of water.
5. THERE IS NO POOP FAIRY: Bury your poo (or that of your pet) or pack it out. “Wag bags” that allow you to cleanly and sanitarily capture and contain your waste for packing out are easy to find online or at outdoor gear shops. No one enjoys carrying their poo around, but removing that bacteria from the backcountry protects
wildlife, waterways, plants, and other hikers who share the space. Carrying a designated dry bag to put the waste bags in will eliminate the smell if done correctly. If for some reason you can’t pack out your waste, bury it at least 6-7 inches deep in a cathole at least 200 feet from water, trails, or camp. No one wants to happen upon waste that’s been left behind (pun intended). 6. LIMIT OVERCROWDING: Check trailhead
cams, weather conditions, and ranger stations. If the trailhead is full, find another place to go. If the weather looks nasty, pick a different spot. Rangers can tell you about local wildlife, make trail recommendations, tell you what to avoid, and help you choose an adventure that fits your fitness and skill level.
BE PREPARED FOR
WILDFIRE SMOKE Check outdoor air quality at spokanecleanair.org
7. STAY ON PUBLIC LAND: Augment your favorite crowd-sourced trails app with OnX Hunt to make sure you’re on public land. Many apps like AllTrails, TrailForks, and Mountain Project do a great job of helping people explore and share their favorite places. But often, information that’s posted is not thoroughly vetted. OnX keeps an up-to-date database of land ownership and will help you determine if you’re allowed to be where you’re going, or if you might be trespassing.
“If users can help us be good stewards,” Farrell says, “that would be wonderful! If you see something you can help teach someone in a positive way, do it. We all started from nowhere and had to learn what we know.” Protecting our backcountry spaces and waterways is a vital responsibility for all of us who recreate outdoors. Sometimes, that means making uncomfortable sacrifices, packing a little more weight, or finding adventures beyond our “normal.” The outdoors is for everyone and being good and respectful stewards ensures that these beautiful places will stay that way for generations. // Carol Corbin is an enthusiastic outdoorswoman and professional conservationist. She wrote about summer trip ideas in the May/June issue of Out There and may regret including too many of her favorite places.
Limit outdoor activity when air quality is unhealthy
• Close windows • Use A/C if possible • Consider HEPA air cleaners • Don’t use candles or a vacuum
Concerns? Contact your healthcare provider.
Created: June 2021
Keep indoor air clean
DO YOUR PART BY PICKING UP TRASH LEFT BY OTHERS ON OUR PUBLIC LANDS.
JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
Into the Wild Wind
9 DAYS ON OREGON’S BIG COUNTRY BIKEPACKING ROUTE IF YOU LIKE SAGEBRUSH and juniper, shadeless desert heat, wind and unpredictable weather, relentless climbs up steep mountain jeep tracks, and long stretches of riding without human contact, then Oregon’s Big Country Bikepacking route might be for you. The 357-mile ride with 18,350 feet of climbing through the mountainous desert terrain of extreme southeast Oregon and northern Nevada was pioneered by Bikepacking.com contributor Gabriel Amadeus around 2016. The route crosses three mountain ranges, the Alvord Desert, and three national wildlife refuges. It also stops by five different hot springs and a funky desert town on the Oregon and Nevada state line. Three of us set off from Spokane in early June 2021 with a vanload of mountain bikes and bikepacking gear headed to the tiny outpost of Frenchglen, Oregon. The following morning, after donating blood for several hours to highly aggressive mosquitos, we set off with way too much camera gear, an obscene amount of wine and other luxuries, and only a vague notion of the challenges and surprises ahead.
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
BY DERRICK KNOWLES
DAY 1: MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE TO STEENS MOUNTAIN
After a late afternoon start to avoid the 90-degree afternoon heat, we pedaled through the roadside wetlands of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and then up into the mountains. We arrived at our first camp after dark part way up the shoulder of Steens Mountain. DAY 2: UP AND OVER STEENS
After watering up at a spring, we climbed slowly over rocky ranch roads, following our "Ride with GPS" route map up faint tracks through wildflowers and sage that at times looked abandoned. Despite the hot temps, the wind gusted and storm clouds threatened rain. We finally crested the shoulder of Steens Mountain into a wonderland canyon with aspen and a rushing creek. Plunging down the steep, technical doubletrack, my front brake failed. I doubled down on my rear brake, pausing from time to time to let it cool. Near the bottom, we reached our second camp next to a beautiful little creek and a giant juniper tree.
DAY 3: ACROSS THE ALVORD DESERT, UP BIG SAND GAP, & ON TO WILLOW HOT SPRINGS
We woke much earlier than expected, thanks to an insane wind storm that blew one of our tents down around 1 a.m. The 25-35 mph winds howled all night, and with only a few hours of sleep, we set off at 6:30 a.m. for a roughly 25-mile ride to Alvord Hot Springs. We weren’t super stoked for a hot soak in the 95-degree sunshine, but after loading up on drinks from the small store, we spent several hours sitting in the only sliver of shade in the roofless hot springs shack. We still had over 30 miles to ride that day, including the 8-mile crossing of the baking Alvord Desert. Once on the other side of the dry lakebed, we faced several miles of bike pushing through sand of the aptly-named Big Sand Gap, followed by mile after mile of rolling ranch roads and opening and closing countless cattle gates. Just before sundown, after crossing the only paved road of the day, we rolled into the primitive campground at Willow Hot Springs.
DAY 4: THE TROUT CREEK MOUNTAINS
Day four was all about the Trout Creek Mountains, an incredibly remote Great Basin mountain range along the Oregon/Nevada border with peaks as high as 8,500 feet. Roughly halfway up, we paused for a nap under a cluster of wildfire-burned mountain mahogany trees. Our camp, and next water source, was somewhere high above us, so we pedaled on up steeper and steeper doubletrack into a fierce, unrelenting headwind. As the sun dropped closer to the horizon, each false summit revealed another climb. There was some cursing, long silent stretches, and plenty of pushing. Eventually we passed over the real summit and began a wild, raucous descent into an entirely unexpected canyon full of aspen glowing in the golden light of the setting sun. My limited braking capacity gave me some pause, but after a day of hard climbing, the rip-roaring free-fall down to camp was irresistible.
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OPPOSITE PAGE TOP: THE LONG BOMB TO DENIO, NEVADA. MIDDLE: A SLOW GRIND UP THE SHOULDER OF STEENS MOUNTAIN. BOTTOM LEFT: ONE OF ONLY A FEW STRETCHES OF PAVED ROAD ALONG THE MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. BOTTOM RIGHT: RACING THE STORM DOWN THE EAST SLOPE OF STEENS. PHOTOS: AARON THEISEN THIS PAGE LEFT: SWEATING AND PUSHING THROUGH SAND DRIFTS UP BIG SAND GAP. PHOTO: AARON THEISEN RIGHT: MID-DAY NAP ON THE ALL-DAY CLIMB INTO THE TROUT CREEK MOUNTAINS. PHOTO: DERRICK KNOWLES
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DAY 5: A “QUICK BOMB” INTO DENIO
I intentionally, for the most part, read very little about the route before our departure, but we all remembered reading something about a quick bomb down from the Trout Creek Mountains to the only resupply stop in Denio, Nevada. Even though the forecast called for another day of stiff headwinds, and the restaurant and store closed early on Sundays, we slept in and hit the trail late. We expected some climbing that day, but were surprised by the number of steep hills that broke up the occasional “quick bomb.” Eventually, the climbing gave way to a rollicking, rocky descent to the valley floor with nothing but a steady 20-30 mph headwind to greet us. By then it was 3 p.m. and the restaurant in Denio Junction had closed and the store would too in another hour. We had 10 or so miles of hot, flat desert dirt road to cover, and it quickly became a funnel that drove sand and dust into our faces as we cranked
hard against the wind. We were nearly out of water and hadn’t seen another human or vehicle in two days. Shockingly, we rolled up to the tiny store with minutes to spare and set off hoarding snacks and drinks from the meager selection. Battered by the wind and blowing sand, we booked the last available motel room and settled in at a shaded table out front to hydrate and watch the parade of interesting characters stopping for gas and provisions. At one point, after lamenting that we’d missed a hot restaurant meal, a guy in a truck delivering grass-fed beef out of Reno pulled up. We chatted him up and a few minutes later we were searing four amazing steaks on a camp stove and frying pan we borrowed from the restaurant. We passed around chunks of delicious steak on plates cut out of the cardboard box they came in, grease dripping down our hands. I can’t remember a more enjoyable meal or a time when I was so filthy and a shower felt so good. DAY 7: A LONG RIDE THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
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DAY 6: OFF-ROUTE TO VIRGIN VALLEY HOT SPRINGS
After a leisurely restaurant breakfast, the wind was already a force to be reckoned with by the time we hit the trail. Cutting off around 20 miles by taking a more direct route to Virgin Valley Hot Springs seemed like the best idea. Less than 30-miles later, after some desert doubletrack, a stretch of highway riding, and a steep push and fast descent down a rough dirt road, we arrived at the hot springs just as the wind reached a new level of intensity. We soaked in the barely warm natural pool and learned from soaking old timers that the big draw around those parts was the nearby recreational opal mine. Back at our camp, we endured a few hours of being blasted by the wind before drifting out into the desert to watch one of the longest and most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
Maybe it was something we ate, or the wind, or the strange campground noises, but we all had a hard time sleeping that night. Morning came early, and for only the second time on the trip we got an early start. We had no idea what to expect from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge section that day but hoped at least the wind would back off. No dice. Mile after mile of sleep-deprived pedaling through an unfortunately bleak, sun-blasted landscape made for a long, quiet day in the saddle. We all agreed that this long stretch of mostly flat, scrubby Nevada sagebrush would be worth bypassing if possible. As if to punctuate our ongoing critique of the Sheldon NWR section, we camped that night in a waterless, wind-hammered, jack rabbit shit-littered cluster of knee-high sagebrush that stretched on as far as we could see. TOP: GRASS-FED BEEF NEVER TASTED SO GOOD. DINNER AT DENIO JUNCTION, NEVADA. BOTTOM: CANYON CAMP ON THE EAST SIDE OF STEENS MOUNTAIN BEFORE THE WIND BLEW AARON’S TENT DOWN. PHOTOS: DERRICK KNOWLES
DAY 8: HART MOUNTAIN ANTELOPE REFUGE
By now the temperatures had cooled considerably as we continued on a long, flat ranch road to the second of two historic, abandoned ranches. From there our route began to climb through increasingly lush desert terrain. We saw plenty of antelope, made several deep stream crossings, and, with the wind FINALLY at our backs, reached the flank of Hart Mountain and a forest of pine, fir, and aspen. After watering up in the crystal clear waters of Guano Creek, we climbed the final miles of the trip to a pass with some truly big country views. The rollercoaster descent down the lightly-traveled doubletrack eventually spit us out abruptly amongst car campers, the first other humans we had seen in two days, and the inviting stone walls of the Hart Mountain Hot Springs. With storm clouds building to the west, we soaked off layers of dirt and sunscreen from the trail, then hurried to set up camp and cook dinner before the rain started. I pulled my pot of food off the stove just in time to dive into my tent as a deluge unloaded on us.
DAY 9: HART MOUNTAIN TO FRENCHGLEN
A cold rain pounded us all night, and around 5 a.m., I woke to a lighter, familiar sound tapping on my rainfly. Since we weren’t prepared for riding in the snow, we hit the hot springs again that morning while we waited for the weather to improve. The rain and snow let up mid-morning and the sun came out. We ended our trip with a 50-something-mile, mostly downhill and quite monotonous gravel road ride back to Frenchglen. //
TOP: COOL BUT CREEPY ABANDONED RANCH NEAR THE SHELDON NWR. BOTTOM: ANOTHER TROUT CREEK MOUNTAINS FALSE SUMMIT. PHOTOS: AARON THEISEN
OREGON’S BIG COUNTRY ROUTE CONSIDERATIONS The route is rated a 9 out of 10 difficulty level, primarily because of some extremely remote sections that would make having a mechanical problem or injury very difficult to manage. That rating seemed pretty accurate, especially since parts of the route cover mile after mile of remote road that reportedly turn to unrideable muck after rain. You need to be in shape to ride and/or push 30-70 mile days, depending on how long you take to do the trip, on a loaded bike with lots of climbing. You also need to be completely self-reliant, carrying tools, several days of extra food, and a large water capacity. If I ride this route again, I will find another more interesting way to skip the Sheldon NWR section. Relentless wind was our nemesis and slowed us down enough that we ended up taking a day longer to finish. To better your chances of completing the ride, make sure your bikes are in great shape and well maintained, as a mechanical you can’t fix on the trail will send you home early. Finally, to really enjoy this amazingly beautiful place, take your time and budget a few layover days for hikes, hot spring soaks, and exploring the sights along the way. To plan a safe trip, do your research at Bikepacking.com and other online sources. JULY-AUGUST 2021 / OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM
LAST PAGE Five Days in Desolation By Chris Maccini
SUNSET AT LAKE ALOHA WITH THE AUTHOR'S TENT IN THE FOREGROUND. PHOTO: CHRIS MACCINI
I DON’T HAVE A BUCKET LIST, per se, but there are a few things I’ve always wanted to do and some I’ve been afraid to try. Solo backpacking fits both bills. There’s a self-sufficiency about being alone, off the grid, miles from civilization that’s both exhilarating and terrifying. With unexpected time off this spring as I transitioned to a new job, I planned a solo adventure to Desolation Wilderness, a 64,000-acre stretch of rugged mountains west of Lake Tahoe. Leading up to the trip, I fixated on details like food and camping gear. But as my departure approached, a new anxiety crept in. Five days. Alone. What would I do with hour after hour of my own thoughts? My hike began on the Sunday before Memorial Day. The trail was busy with day hikers enjoying the 80-degree weather. As
OUTTHEREOUTDOORS.COM / JULY-AUGUST 2021
the afternoon wore on, traffic thinned. The sound of hikers’ conversations gave way to the crunch of my own footsteps, the jingle of bear bells, and the forest’s chatter. The solitude hit me that first evening. My body was tired, but the sun still sat high in the sky. I settled into a shady spot by the lake to journal. After a few minutes on the rocky ground, my butt fell asleep. I got up and stretched. Seconds seemed to crawl past. I couldn’t sit. I was too tired to explore. It was too early to sleep. My brain ached for the distraction of a social media feed, a Netflix show. Dinner, a bit of reading, a short walk along the shoreline, and finally, the sun dipped behind the western mountains. A few stars blinked to light. I’d survived my first day of desolation. I crawled into my sleeping bag, exhausted and relieved.
The next day presented my most challenging hike, up and over Dick’s Pass at 9,400 feet. Spring snow covered the last mile up the shady north slope. The boot prints I’d been following faded into the slush and steep terrain. I strapped crampons onto my boots and started bushwhacking, following my GPS. Finally, the terrain flattened as I reached the pass. Exhausted and sweaty, I dropped my pack on a sun-warmed boulder. Endorphins flooded my body. Here was the pleasure of solo hiking. Finding my own way. Overcoming a challenge at my own pace. Looking down both sides of a mountain pass I’d surmounted. That afternoon, as my feet fell into an easy downhill rhythm on the dry, south-facing side, I noticed my mind following their example. My thoughts sometimes wandered, rehashing the past or planning for my return to civilization. But more often, they returned to the dusty trail, the cool stream, the relief of a moment’s shade beneath a gnarled sequoia. My routine that night was similar to the night before. I swam in the cold water of another lake. I cooked. I read. I journaled. But the quality of my mind had begun to change. The craving for distraction had lessened. I was able to sit longer in nature’s stillness.
Over the next three days, this feeling intensified. On my final night, I reflected in my journal on the terrain I’d covered, the wildlife I’d seen, but more than anything, I considered the way just four days away from the distractions of modern life had affected my mind. Tomorrow, I’d have voicemails to check, emails to return, feeds to scroll. But the wilderness had given me a reprieve. A reminder. A reset. This is perhaps what time in the outdoors can provide better than any other pursuit. As the sun slipped once more behind the mountains, I realized I don’t need to spend five days alone in the wilderness to find that stillness. I can turn off my phone and walk the trails of Riverside State Park or savor a summer evening in my own backyard. Five days in desolation reminded me that I don’t need to travel to spend time with myself. I’ve been here the whole time. // Chris Maccini is a writer, editor, and audio producer living in Spokane. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from EWU where he was Managing Editor of “Willow Springs.” He once lived with his wife and dog aboard a 28-foot sailboat on the Puget Sound and now enjoys traveling, backpacking, sailing, skiing, and mountain biking. This is his first article in Out There.
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