Out There Outdoors https://outthereoutdoors.com/ Wed, 07 Dec 2022 22:25:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://outthereoutdoors.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/cropped-OTO_new-favicon-32x32.jpg Out There Outdoors https://outthereoutdoors.com/ 32 32 Guide to Ski & Snowboard Lessons: Inland NW https://outthereoutdoors.com/guide-to-ski-snowboard-lessons-inland-nw/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/guide-to-ski-snowboard-lessons-inland-nw/#respond Wed, 07 Dec 2022 02:42:36 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51976 Guide to lesson and learn-to-ski options for Winter 2022-23 at the four Ski the NW Rockies resorts, located in north Idaho and near Spokane.

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Whether your child is a teenager or only four years old, novice or experienced, there is a program for all abilities and ages (starting with toddlers) available at Inland Northwest ski resorts. There are even programs for parents!

Choosing the best fit for your child foremost depends on your family’s schedule availability and transportation means as well as your child’s age and skill or experience level.

Next, decide if your child would do best in a group setting or would learn better with more one-on-one instruction (which would mean private/semi-private lessons should be considered).

This guide to lesson and learn-to-ski options for Winter 2022-23 at the four Ski the NW Rockies resorts49 Degrees North, Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area, and Silver Mountain Resort—serves as a quick overview to what’s available that will best meet your family’s needs. Even if you already have a “home mountain” because you’re a season pass guest or know that you’ll just visit the same mountain as your friends or family do, this guide will be useful.

If you want to enroll children in a multi-week group lesson, register online ASAP, as these fill quickly. If a session is full, get on the program wait-list—there are always cancellations by the time January comes.

For single-lesson programs, advanced registration online is recommended; however, some ski schools allow walk-ins for day-of registration, no later than 30 minutes prior to lesson start time.

Mt Spokane Ski School students during a ski lesson.
Mt Spokane Ski School students. // Photo by Katrin Ferraro, courtesy Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park.

Age Level

Each mountain structures their instructional program a bit differently, with minimum age requirements and age-range groupings. Families with children in different age groups will want to choose a mountain destination accordingly so every child who needs lessons can be included.

Another important detail for parents to keep in mind is the required time commitment. For example, is the lesson only a morning or afternoon session, or is it all day and includes a supervised lunch break? What are the specific drop-off and pick-up times? Will instructors help young children put on their gear?

If you’re not sure about lessons, because of cost or time, consider this: enrolling kids in lessons is a great way for parents to have “free ski time” on the mountain. You can find powder stashes in the trees and shred black diamonds all you want, knowing your children are being taken care of and progressing their skills. And then when you’re all together on the slopes, your kids can show off what they learned.

  • Age 2+: 49 Degrees North’s Li’l Club Lesson & Day Care (ages 2-6). Most all ski schools can provide private and semi-private lessons for children age 2+.
  • Ages 4-7: Mt. Spokane’s popular multi-week group ski lessons during weekends are the Mini Mites (ages 4-6, morning and full-day options) and Mighty Mites (ages 5-7, full-day). The little rippers can also join Mt. Spokane’s Club Shred (ages 4-10) and winter break camps. Lookout Pass has its Mini Moose program for this age group (Sundays only). For the EZ Ski/Ride 1-2-3 programs, minimum age is 7; however, 49 Degrees North allows kids ages 6 and older to participate.
  • Ages 6-13: There are a lot of multi-week group programs and single-lesson packages for this age group. At Silver Mountain, the Silver Kids program (ages 7-12) only offers lessons for level I-II skiers. Lookout Pass has weekly ski and snowboard group sessions for all abilities and levels. At Mt. Spokane, skiers/snowboarders can enroll in Kids Club (ages 7-15). 49 Degrees North has an Adventurers program (ages 6-13) for multi-week sessions, while the single-lesson options are Trailblazers (ages 6-12) and Above & Beyond (ages 12+, beginners only). 
  • Ages 9-17: Mt. Spokane has two instructional programs for advanced skiers/snowboarders, Park Club (Saturdays) and Mountain Adventure Club (Sundays)—only during February 2023. 49 Degrees North hosts a one-day Intro to Freestyle and Park Skills “day camp” for skiers and snowboarders (ages 10-15) in December.

Parent-Child Lessons at 49 Degrees North

Mommy/Daddy & Me is a 1-hour lesson for one parent and one child (ages 2-13, beginner). Program goal is for parents to learn teaching tools to help their child further develop ski or snowboard skills.

First Time on Skis or Snowboard

  • EZ Ski 1-2-3 (ski/ride): This is a popular program offered at all four resorts includes three days with 2-hour group lessons, rental gear, and lift ticket and allows for progressive skill building. (Does not have to be booked for consecutive days.) Minimum age restrictions vary. At Silver Mountain, only for ages 13+ and not available on Saturdays or holiday periods.
  • Never-Ever/First-Timer: One-day lesson packages, ages 6/7+, typically include a 2-hour group lesson, rental equipment, and bunny-hill lift ticket—ideal for those wanting to try skiing or snowboarding with minimal financial and time commitment. (49 Degrees North calls its program “Learn 2 Package.”) Reservations recommended, but walk-ins are welcome on a space-available basis the day-of (registration cut-off is typically 30 minutes prior to lesson start time).
Young skiers and their instructor smiling for the camera.
Ski school group lesson at Lookout Pass. // Photo courtesy Lookout Pass & Recreation Area.

Snowboard Group Lessons

Each mountain offers EZ Ride 1-2-3 and first-time/never-ever lessons for children, teens, and adults, plus some unique programs tailored to snowboarders (reservations required).

Free Ski School at Lookout Pass

A popular program that fills quickly is the longtime “Free Ski School,” staffed by volunteer instructors and organized separately from Lookout Pass’ Snowsports School. Registration opens in late Oct./early Nov. and lessons begin in January 2023.

Beginner and intermediate/advanced skill level sessions are offered for skiers (ages 6-17) and snowboarders (ages 7-17). Participants must attend a session during the first three weeks of the program, which is free. Doesn’t include equipment or a lift ticket, although a lift ticket isn’t necessary during the lessons.

Month By Month Schedule

Registration already opened for some local ski schools back in October, and multi-week sessions fill quickly. For some families, a certain month can be the best time for lessons because of commitments to other activities and non-alpine sports.

  • December: EZ Ski/Ride 1-2-3 and first-timer group lessons, as well as private/semi-private lessons, start now and run throughout the season.Youth specific programs include Mt. SpokaneHoliday Camps (3 days) during winter break, ages 4-15, and 49 Degrees North’s Intro to Freestyle and Park Skills (ages 10-15) afternoon “day camp” on Dec. 23.
  • January: Learn to Ski/Snowboard Month! Busy weekends at ski mountains, with newbies of all ages snowplowing down the bunny hills. Multi-week sessions kick off for the 4-15 age group at all the mountains (same lesson start/end time schedule, for four  consecutive Saturdays or Sundays). Silver Mountain’s Flexible 5 program begins Jan. 9, 2023 (must register before this date), and continues through the season.
  • February: Multi-week session #2 at all mountains. At Mt. Spokane, two programs commence for older advanced/experienced rippers, ages 9-17—Park Club and Mountain Adventure Club.
  • March: Mt. Spokane offers a session #3 for Kids Club & Mini/Mighty Mites (only 3-weeks this month). Still available at all mountains will be EZ Ski/Ride 1-2-3, first-timer, and private/semi-private lessons. //

Adaptive Programs

For any children with unique physical or developmental needs, adaptive private lessons are available at 49 Degrees North. At Mt. Spokane, Spokane Parks and Rec’s Therapeutic Recreation Services (TRS) hosts a ski and snowboard lesson program.

Season Pass Bonus

Ski the NW Rockies mountains offer reduced cost for a season pass, good for the remainder of the current season, after completion of an EZ Ski/Ride 1-2-3 program (available to all ages). Mt. Spokane offers a free season pass after completing two camps/multi-week programs.

At Silver Mountain, Flexible 5 program participants earn a “graduation gift” of a season pass good for the remaining ski season, and then 50 percent off a season pass for the following winter season (must reserve package by January 9, 2023).Flexible 5 lessons are offered only Sunday-Wednesday (one lesson per day max), holiday weekends excluded.

Keep this season-pass perk in mind when choosing a mountain for your children’s lessons—it’s an affordable gateway to becoming annual season passholders.

Adult assisting a child, teaching how to ski.
Photo courtesy of Ski the Northwest Rockies.

5th Graders Ski or Ride for Free

The 5th Grade Ski or Ride Passport allows any 5th grader from any state to ski or snowboard three free days at each of the participating resorts: 49 Degrees North near Chewelah, Wash.; Lookout Pass on the Idaho/Montana stateline, Mt. Spokane, Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho; and Loup Loup near Twisp, Wash.

Ski Idaho runs a similar program that allows 5th and 6th graders to ski or snowboard three days for free at each of the 17 participating Idaho resorts.

To participate in the 5th grade passport program, parents need to submit an application with a one-time $20 processing fee at 5thgradeskipassport.com and then wait for the passport to be emailed to them. A parent or guardian must be present with a participating 5th grader at the resort ticket office with either a printed copy of the passport or the electronic version on their phone to receive a lift ticket.

There are some blackout dates and dos and don’ts, so be sure to read the rules and regulations online in advance. Some of the participating ski resorts also offer discount rental gear and lessons as part of the 5th grade passport program. More info: Skinwrockies.com (OTO)

Find more stories for outdoor families, about skiing/snowboarding and teaching kids to ski, the annual Family Winter Sports Guide, and more Ski NW Rockies stories in the OTO archives.

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10 Ways To Save Money & Ski More https://outthereoutdoors.com/10-ways-to-save-money-ski-more/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/10-ways-to-save-money-ski-more/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2022 21:03:25 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51978 Participating in alpine winter sports can seem out-of-reach expensive, Learn 10 thrifty tips to ski or snowboard more and spend less money.

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Skiing and snowboarding can be expensive, especially for families, but they certainly don’t have to be. Find a way and use the resources you have to get out there and have fun in the snow with your family this winter.

It doesn’t matter how fancy your ski equipment is or how old those jackets and ski pants are. I started snowboarding as a teenager in the early ‘90s with a cheap hand-me-down board, Sorel boots, wool hunting pants, and a retro thrift store jacket.

With a little planning and a thrifty mindset, it’s easy to ski more and spend less. These tried-and-true tips put a winter of on-the-mountain fun within reach of most family budgets.

Display of ski boots with price tags at ski swap sales event.
Boots for sale at ski swap. // Photo: Shallan Knowles.
  1. Season Passes: If you want to ski or snowboard more than a couple of times a winter, a season pass is the way to go and can save hundreds of dollars. For the best deal, get your pass in the spring or during the fall season pass sale windows (usually by the middle of November or earlier). Several resorts also offer discounts for purchasing multiple passes. 
  2. Lift Ticket Deals: Many resorts often offer special lift ticket discount promotions throughout the season. Check the ski resort websites for details or call and ask about promotions.
  3. Learn to Ski/Ride Programs for Kids & Adults: Our local resorts make it easy and affordable for kids and adults to learn to ski or snowboard for the first time. The EZ Ski Ride 1-2-3 program for total beginners is an all-inclusive package that come with three days of skiing or snowboarding with everything included: lift tickets, lessons, and gear rentals.
  4. 5th Graders Ski for Free: The Ski the NW Rockies 5th Grade Passport program allow 5th graders to ski for free three times at each participating resort, including Mt. Spokane, 49 Degrees North in Chewelah, Silver Mountain in Kellogg, and Lookout Pass on the Idaho/Montana border. Ski Idaho offers a similar program at all Idaho resorts for both 5th and 6th graders.
  5. Toyota Free Ski Fridays: All of our local resorts host a free ski day sponsored by Toyota on one Friday each season. On those days, the driver of any Toyota vehicle gets a free lift ticket when they arrive at the mountain. Find all the dates and details at Skinwrockies.com/toyota-free-ski-days.
  6. Hit the Ski Swaps: You can save a ton of money outfitting your family with skis, snowboards, boots, poles, and all the winter gear at annual ski swaps. You can sell your old gear at the swap too.
  7. Buy Quality Used Gear at Rambleraven Gear Trader: Rambleraven started out as an outdoor gear consignment store where you can now find a wide range of quality used ski and snowboard equipment and winter gear like jackets, ski pants, gloves and more. Located on the Division Street hill in north Spokane, Rambleraven also carries new ski and snowboard equipment in case you don’t find the right used gear. Additionally, you can bring adult and kids’ gear into the shop for consignment to turn your old ski stuff into cash. Save gas and check the shop’s website where all of its new and used gear are listed and available for online purchase with shop pick up or convenient shipping.
  8. Borrow What You Need: If you know other skiing or snowboarding families, check with them to see if they have any gear their kids have outgrown that might be collecting dust in their garage. When our son first started out skiing, we had friends loan and even give us quality old gear.
  9. Rent Equipment: Several ski shops in the Inland Northwest lease or rent all sizes of ski and snowboard equipment, from children to adult sizes, which is a great option if you only plan to go a few times. You can also rent equipment on-site at a resort (best to call ahead for a rental reservation).
  10. Lease Kids’ Ski Packages from Spokane Alpine Haus: If you or your kids plan to spend more time on the mountain, Spokane Alpine Haus on the South Hill has a popular Jr. Ski/Snowboard Season Lease program. An awesome opportunity because each season your child will get fitted for a new set of boots and skis that is the right size for their growing bodies. This saves time and money, and eliminates shopping around to buy new or used gear each year. At the end of the ski/snowboard season, simply return the leased gear (in clean condition) to the shop. Spokane Alpine Haus also carries a wide range of brand-new ski equipment and ski and snowboard gear for kids and adults. Reserve your child’s leased ski gear early for best selection.
Child trying on ski boot to get properly-fitted for the next size of seasonal lease gear.
Remington trying on season lease boots. // Photo: Shallan Knowles.

Find more stories for outdoor families, about skiing/snowboarding and teaching kids to ski, the annual Family Winter Sports Guide, and more Ski NW Rockies stories in the OTO archives.

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Best Ski Runs for Kids: NW Rockies https://outthereoutdoors.com/best-ski-runs-for-kids-nw-rockies/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/best-ski-runs-for-kids-nw-rockies/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2022 17:55:28 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51950 Best ski runs for kids brand-new to skiing/riding or advanced-beginners, recommended for Ski NW Rockies mountains.

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When visiting a new mountain for the very first time, or even a fifth time, it helps to get insider advice from a “home mountain” skier/rider (aka season-passholder). When skiing with children still learning beginner and intermediate skills, whether toddlers or teens, plan for success by knowing the best ski runs for kids.

Here, fellow Inland NW parents and young skiers share the runs they recommend for brand-new skiers and riders and those advancing skills — with suggestions covering a range of ability levels.

“Best” is a relative term, so use these ideas to help you decide where to go the next time you’re at one of these mountains.

What to know about trail ratings

A ski run’s difficulty level is relative to all the runs on that particular mountain. Meaning, not all blue squares and black diamonds are equally challenging across mountains. A designated “black” at one mountain can seem more like an intermediate compared to another mountain.

Trail ratings at ski mountains in the United States. (Symbols appear slightly different for mountains in other countries and continents.)

Additionally, an intermediate run can seem like a black diamond for a more advanced beginner skier/rider. And remember, any run can be more challenging on any day based on current weather and snow conditions. (Note: Experienced skiers/riders typically refer to a run difficulty by the respective color rather than the skill level; e.g., “Rock Slide is an easy black.”)

For the Ski the Northwest Rockies association, member businesses include Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area and Silver Mountain Resort (both in north Idaho off Interstate 90), and 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort and the non-profit Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, both located in eastern Washington.

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park

  • Rockslide: black / Illuminator (chair #2) This was the first black diamond that my kids went down at our home mountain—and it’s the mountain’s easiest black, according to my family. I’ve also led some of my friends’ young kids down Rockslide as their first black diamond experience, and everyone agrees that it’s more fun than scary and easier than they thought it would be.
  • Secret Squirrel: blue / Northwood (chair #6) A “long run with a good slope angle and fall line,” says my 12-year-old son, Landon. However, on the rare occasion when this run isn’t groomed, it would be more challenging; yet on those days it’s a good teaching run to learn how to navigate ungroomed terrain. The run is accessible off Yellow Brick Road (green cat track) starting from the summit, via Vista Cruiser (chair 1), with a return to the summit via Northwood chair.
  • Jim’s Gem: green / Northwood – A more challenging run for advanced-beginners, this backside green circle (two runs past the turn-off for Secret Squirrel) is best for those with endurance who want to experience a longer run. A good choice for someone who has mastered all the beginner runs on the mountain’s front side. (Remember, a skier/rider has to return to the front side via Northwest Passage—a long journey back to the lodge for tired legs.)
  • Ridge Run: blue / Hidden Treasure (chair #4)“A longer run with variable pitches for those who want to go a little steeper but not for long,” says my husband, Judd, who has been ski patrolling at Mt. Spokane for nearly 25 years.

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area

  • Huckleberry Ridge: green / Peak 1 Quad – “For families relatively new or brand new to skiing, my daughters recommend Huckleberry,” says Lookout season passholder AnnaMarie White. Daughter Olivia says this run “helps (kids) to build confidence because it’s not too steep—it seems like it goes on forever.” From the mountain’s North side, ride Timber Wolf (chair 3) back to the summit to access Huckleberry.
  • Tamarack: blue / Timber Wolf (chair 2), Montana Side – “Long run with a little slope to it for kids” who are still learning “and wide enough to work on turning,” says Alex Conrow, dad of one of this issue’s featured “Little Rippers.”
  • Rainbow Ridge: blue / Timber Wolf (chair 2) – Similar to Tamarack, and fun for experienced skiers as well, says Conrow, because you can quickly get going fast.
Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area trail map. // Image courtesy skilookout.com.

49 Degrees North Mountain Resort

  • Gold Chute: green / Pay Day chair – “This is a unique and magical experience designed for beginner skiers. This easy, gentle run is hidden in the trees off our Pay Day lift and features animal signs to mark the way,” says 49 Ski School Director Alison Pasino.
  • Huckleberry Ridge: green / Sunrise Basin, Peak 1 Quad chair – “This gentle, family-friendly run has versatile green terrain for beginners to intermediates. Fun natural jumps along the side. Great for kids looking to ride both of 49’s quad lifts and explore the mountain,” Pasino says.
Trail map of ski runs at 49 Degrees North.
49 Degrees North trail map. // Image courtesy ski49n.com.

Silver Mountain Resort

  • Easy Street: green / Magic Carpet: Silver’s bunny hill has a giant, covered conveyor called ‘Magic Carpet’ in the middle, with ski/boarding on one side and tubing on the other and is a family favorite says Mandy Labahn, who works and snowboards at Silver and is “Little Ripper” Zoey’s mom.
  • Claim Jumper & Dawdler: green / chair 5 – Below the Magic Carpet, Claim Jumper leads to the bottom of chair 5. “[This chairlift] runs slow just for the kids and beginners learning to use a lift,” says Labahn. Stay straight on Claim Jumper and the trail turns into Dawdler, the easiest of the easy, she says.
  • Sunrise: blue / chair 2 – Long run, from top to bottom, with great views. “If it’s a sunny day, I want to stay on chair 2,” says Courtney Yarber, who, along with her husband and daughters, ages 9 and 12, are season passholders.
  • Silver Bell (blue) to Alpenway (green): chair 2 – While you could follow Silver Bell all the way to the base of 2, Yarber likes to turn onto Alpenway (skier’s right), go under the chair, then turn skier’s left at the junction with Sunrise—go left and enjoy an easy route to chair 2’s base.
Trail mountain of ski runs at Silver Mountain.
Silver Mountain trail map. // Image courtesy Silvermt.com.

Find more stories for outdoor families, about skiing/snowboarding and teaching kids to ski, the annual Family Winter Sports Guide, and more Ski NW Rockies stories in the OTO archives.

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Holiday Events Around the Inland NW, Dec. 2022 https://outthereoutdoors.com/holiday-events-around-the-inland-nw-dec-2022/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/holiday-events-around-the-inland-nw-dec-2022/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2022 22:35:43 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51941 Festive activities in the Inland Northwest during December 2022 to help you and your family get into the holiday spirit.

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The holidays are just around the corner, and plenty of magic is in the works at events around the Inland Northwest. Here are a few festive activities to help you and your family get into the holiday spirit.

Christmas light display in front of a home including lit-up Santas and bears.
Christmas lights in Wallace, Idaho. // Photo courtesy of Wallace Chamber.

Spokane Area

  • Northwest Winterfest (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, December 2 through January 1) is the brightest, shining holiday lantern display and cultural celebration in the Inland Northwest. This year, the displays, entertainment, and activities are moving indoors at the Spokane Valley Spokane Fair and Expo Center where your self-guided walking tour takes you through crafted lighted lanterns celebrating winter, whimsy, holidays, and traditions from here and throughout the world. Tickets: $9.90-$12.90. Northwestwinterfest.com
  • The Bing Crosby Holiday Film Festival (December 10-11) returns to the Bing Crosby Theater for two days of favorites, including “White Christmas” and live entertainment from Bing’s nephew, Howard Crosby, the Zonky Jazz Band, and the Irish trio Affiniti. Bingcrosbytheater.com
  • The 8th annual Winter Glow Spectacular (November 19-January 1) is a self-guided tour through a stunning community light display that aims to bring back the spirit of the holidays. The tours through Orchard Park in Liberty Lake are free for everyone, but donations are accepted. Winterglowspectacular.com
Holiday lights at the Coeur d'Alene Resort reflecting on the water of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Holiday lights at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, including a fire-breathing dragon display, are a beautiful sight. // Photo: Holly Weiler.

North Idaho

  • Holiday Lighting Ceremony Parade & Holiday Light Show (November 25-January 2) in Coeur d’Alene is a favorite tradition in North Idaho. The 30th annual parade and fireworks show on November 25 launches the lighting of over one million lights throughout downtown and on the lake. View them throughout the month. Cdaresort.com/holiday-light-show
  • Hometown Holidays Festival (December 2-3 and 9-11) in Wallace is the perfect getaway to experience the holidays in Silver Valley’s most scenic and historic mountain town. Get your picture taken with Santa and then join him for breakfast. Enjoy pet and lighted parades, craft shopping, live theater, hay rides, and more all in the storybook setting of this 1890s mining town. Wallaceid.fun
  • The Post Fallidays Tiny Tree Festival (December 3 from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) is a fun and festive brunch (with a mimosa bar!) hosted by local community organizations at the Red Lion Templins. Bid on a lineup of creative tiny trees to benefit the community and non-profits. Postfallschamber.com/events
  • This premier Festival of Trees & Holiday Gala (December 10) kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Priest River Event Center with Santa photos and crafts for kids.  Newporthospitalandhealth.org/event/festival-of-trees
  • The Festival at Sandpoint is putting on the Orchestra Winter Concert featuring an afternoon of classical music, pop tunes, and holiday caroling favorites (Monday, Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m.) at the East Bonner County Library. Festivalatsandpoint.com
  • The Kootenai County Farmers’ Markets Winter Market (December 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) will be held at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds with the best locally crafted, grown, and produced products for all your gifting and holiday needs. Kootenaifarmersmarkets.org
  • Ski with Santa at Schweitzer (December 23-24). Glide down the slopes with Santa, then meet up with him in the village before he launches his trip around the world! Schweitzer.com/event/ski-with-santa
Ski with Santa at Schweitzer on Dec. 23-24. // Photo courtesy Schweitzer.

Oregon

  • Enterprise Winterfest Celebration (December 10) in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon will include kids’ activities, Santaland, a light parade, and other activities in celebration of winter and the holiday season. Enterpriseoregon.org

Montana

  • The Christmas Stroll in historic downtown Whitefish (December 9) is a long-standing community tradition filled with holiday music, photos with Santa, caroling, tree lighting, street artisans, and food vendors. Whitefishchamber.org/christmas-stroll.

Originally published as “Home in the NW For the Holidays” in the Nov.-Dec. 2022 print issue.

Storefront and downtown street in Whitefish, Montana, adorned with festive Christmas lights and decor.
Downtown Whitefish, Montana, with views of Whitefish Mountain Resort in the distance. // Photo courtesy of ChuckHaney.com.

Learn about more upcoming events and Inland NW news.

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Inland NW Holiday Gift Guide 2022 https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-holiday-gift-guide-2022/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-holiday-gift-guide-2022/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2022 22:11:09 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51938 Inland NW Holiday Gift Guide with ideas from OTO advertisers and other small businesses to make shopping local easier.

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You don’t want to drive all over town trying to shop as local as possible for everyone on your gift list. This year’s Inland NW Holiday Gift Guide, featuring ideas from many Out There advertisers and other small businesses, will make shopping local easier.

Biking

Support your local bike shop and find gifts to get the ones you love out biking more. Here are a few ideas from some Spokane and North Idaho shops, but you can likely find these or other similar bike gift ideas at bike shops around the Inland Northwest.

Specialized Air Tool Sport Floor Pump

This economical, all-metal bike tire pump comes with all of the essentials for easy inflation and an accurate reading. The “SwitchHitter” head automatically switches between Schrader and Presta valves, and replacement parts are available to keep it pumping strong for years. ($50 at Wheel Sport.)

Specialized Deep Winter Merino Tall Sock

Made for the coldest deep winter riding with a warm blend of polyester and merino wool, this sock offers exceptional warmth and odor protection. Special stitching creates exceptional heat retention and moisture wicking with a calf-height length. ($25 at Wheel Sport.)

Cateye Padrone Bike Computer

From the fast-cruising mountain biker to cyclists with vision challenges, the Padrone has a large display screen that’s easy to read on the fly and set up, which means more time biking and less time fiddling with technology.

It covers the most-desired feature bases too: current, average and max speed; trip distance; total distance; elapsed time; a clock; stopwatch; and more. ($55 at Mountain View Cyclery, Hayden, Idaho.)

Specialized Flux 1250 Headlight

The newest, top-of-the-line Flux headlight still comes with an optimal beam pattern, many mounting options, and rugged construction, but builds on the 1200 by increasing lumens and runtime and adding helmet and camera-style mounts. ($140 at Wheel Sport in Spokane, WA, or Two Wheeler & Ski Dealer in Hayden, ID.)

Dimension Suspension Seatpost

This inexpensive upgrade for a hardtail or ebike will give welcome under-seat suspension to any rider. ($40 at Mountain View Cyclery.)

Stocking Stuffers for Cyclists

These stocking stuffers in the $12-$21 price range are recommended by Mountain View Cyclery in Hayden, Idaho, as a welcome addition to any cyclist’s sock come Christmas morning: Muc-off tubeless sealant, Dumonde tech chain lube, Chamois Butt’r, Planet Bike CO2 inflators, misc. energy foods (instead of candy).

Specialized Demo Pro Pants

These downhill-rated mountain bike pants are stretchy, water-repellent, highly breathable, and tough enough to take repeated wipeouts. They are also plenty baggy for layering body armor and pads or a warmer layer for all-year riding. ($130.00 at Two Wheeler & Ski Dealer.)

Endura Singletrack Fleece Jersey

A great fall and spring riding jersey option or to be used as a mid-layer on winter rides. The grid-backed fleece balances insulation and breathability, keeping riders warm and sweat-free for the duration of a ride. ($89.99 at North Division Bicycle.)

Niterider Lumina 1200 Headlight 

All the light a rider needs (1,200 lumens) at a price you can afford. This popular headlight is USB rechargeable and lightweight (172 grams), making helmet mounting an option as well as bar mounting. ($100 on sale at North Division Bicycle.)

45NRTH Nokken Glove

These riding gloves cut the chill out of the cooler weather of shoulder-season rides while still allowing plenty of hand and finger movement without bulky insulation.

Soft, grippy suede on the palm improves control and durability while wind-and-water-resistant soft shell fabric on the forehand adds warmth and comfort. ($65 at North Division Bicycle.)

Smith Outlier 2 Sunglasses

Based on Smith’s bestselling Outlier frame, this version uses bio-based material as well as no-slip nose pads and temple touches for lightweight, 100 percent UV protection sunglasses that stay in place.

Available in two lens options, crystal-clear Carbonic and color-boosting ChromaPop. The latter lens offers a smudge-and-moisture-resistant coating and an anti-reflective coating that improves clarity and reduces eye strain. ($179 at Shred Sports.)

SockGuy Wool Sasquatch Socks

Shrink-resistant and itch-free, these cool Northwest cryptid icon socks keep feet dry and warm in all weather conditions with excellent wicking and durability thanks to a wool blend that’s five times stronger than Merino wool alone. ($15.95 at The Bike Hub.)

DeFeet Duraglove ET Wool Gloves

These gloves have multi-season, multi-use application for road or MTB riding, running, hiking, and other outdoor sports. Use smartphones and other touch-enabled devices. Durable Cordura Nylon for extra abrasion resistance. ($29.99 at The Bike Hub.)

Food & Drink

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder

The perfect gift for anyone who would appreciate stepping up their coffee brewing game with a quality grinder. The Baratza Encore features conical burrs and 40 grind adjustments that provide the perfect grind size for any brewing method. ($170 at DOMA Coffee Roasters in Post Falls, Idaho.)

Fellow EKG Electric Kettle
Fellow EKG Electric Kettle, available at DOMA Coffee Roasters in Post Falls, Idaho.

Fellow EKG Electric Kettle

This beautiful, electric pour-over kettle for coffee lovers has features to match its looks, including a single-degree temperature choice and a precision pour spout with a counter-balanced handle.

This kettle will heat water to an exact temperature and hold it there for up to one hour. ($165 at DOMA Coffee Roasters in Post Falls.)

Christmas Morning Blend 2022

This Christmas coffee highlights flavors of rich cocoa and cozy spices with its blend of beans from Colombia, Guatemala, and Sumatra. Inspired by the feeling of waking up on Christmas morning knowing that you get to spend the day celebrating. ($17 at ROAM coffee shops in Medical Lake or North Spokane.)

Paperless Paper Towels

These absorbent, washable, 100 percent flannel paper towels are handmade in Spokane. Beautiful pattern choices will complement any kitchen. Gift for a more sustainable option than disposable paper towels, which often come from logging wild forests. Prices vary. Order online at Spokane-Made.com.

Christmas Tin Camping Style Mug

A 17-oz. metal mug with enamel coating and rolled rim for easy coffee sipping. Each one features an exclusive 2022 Roam Christmas design. ($15 at ROAM coffee shops in Medical Lake or North Spokane.)

Water Sports

Carefree Boat Club

The Carefree Boat Club of North Idaho offers members unlimited access to a variety of quality boats. With 95+ locations, members can visit and enjoy boats nationwide. A great gift for the whole family. Details at Northidaho.carefreeboats.com or call 208-929-8617. 

NRS Green Knife

The compact, convenient NRS Green Knife folds up to fit in your life jacket, shirt, paddling top or pants pocket, and stays put with a spring clip.

A tough, all-purpose boating and camping knife that opens with one hand and holds a clean edge. The 2 1/8″ blunt-tip, stainless steel locking blade is big enough for nearly any task. ($39.95 at NRS headquarters in Moscow, Idaho, or online.)

Aquapac Waterproof Phone Case 

Phone protection from water, dirt, dust, and sand that still lets a person talk, listen, and operate controls right through the case. Made from 100 percent recyclable polyurethane, it’s thinner and stays flexible when it’s cold, making it easier to operate equipment inside the case.

The patented lever closure system makes the case waterproof down to 30 feet, and the case should float with a phone inside. ($34.95 at NRS headquarters in Moscow, Idaho, or online.)

NRS Women’s Silkweight Hoodie Dress

Ultralight and breezy, like a sarong, but better. This stylish river dress combines breathable comfort and advanced sun protection.

Made from 100 percent recycled material, the technical fabric enhances the body’s natural cooling process by wicking excess moisture and drying quickly while also providing UPF 50+ sun protection. ($74.95 at NRS headquarters in Moscow, Idaho, or online.)

Kavu Women’s Girl Party Shirt

This shirt is the ultimate women’s river shirt: paddle in it, party in it, live in it on the beach. This classic button-up is 100 percent organic cotton with a men’s shirt cut for roomy comfort. ($50 at NRS headquarters in Moscow, Idaho, or online.)

Books, Art, & Unique Gifts

Crystals, Pendants, Gemstones, and Jewelry at My Crystal Stop

My Crystal Stop hashundreds of pendants from local artists and around the world plus amethyst displays, crystals, jewelry, and more. For a unique gift, try a Crystal Mystery Box with a mix of rocks, crystals, minerals, and other cool stuff (between five and 25 items per box, starting at $29).

Shop at the store at 12120 N Market Street on the northside of Spokane or at mycrystalstop.com.

Books from Auntie’s Bookstore

Auntie’s Bookstore — in downtown Spokane next to Uncle’s Games, Puzzles, & More –– has a huge selection of new and used books for all reading interests, including a large children’s book selection. A few recommended books for outdoor lovers:

  • The Bears Ears: A Human History of America’s Most Endangered Wilderness, by acclaimed adventure writer David Roberts. This book, a mix of personal memoir and archival research, is a personal and historical exploration of the Bears Ears country of southeast Utah and the fight to save a national monument ($18.95).
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. In this New York Times Bestseller, Kimmerer, a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, brings her two lenses of knowledge together to show how other living beings we share this planet with offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices ($20).

Kizuri Fair-Trade Gifts from around the World

Located on Main Street on downtown Spokane’s east end, Kizuri is a treasure-trove of fair-trade gifts from over 40 countries around the world, including unique items for just about any person and any occasion. Here are a few favorites for the holidays.

  • Recycled Silk Placemats: These beautiful placemats are hand-woven from recycled silk sari material on a strong cotton backing. Bright, beautiful, and sturdy, these will last for years and work well on a table or to brighten up a dresser ($11.50).
  • Botanical Triangle Earrings: These beautiful “eco-resin” earrings are made by artisans from the central mountainous Andean region in Colombia. The resins are made from waste products created in other industries, like discarded pine bark stripped at lumber mills, and then dotted with beautiful, real florals and leaves.  Ear wires are 24k gold-plated ($42).
  • Tibetan Flower Journal: A beautiful, 100-page journal with handmade Lokta paper, an environmentally-friendly, tree-free paper made from the bark of the regenerating Daphne bush. The cover features a traditional Tibetan floral design. This Tibetan-made journal is great for gardeners, frequent writers, or for a guest book or personalized photo album ($22).
  • Bike Bookends: Give the cyclist in your life these unique bookends made of hand-painted, recycled iron. Handmade in Moradabad, India, these bookends will turn a stack of books into an organized expression of love for the outdoors ($36).
  • Animal Print Beaded Earrings: A love of animals finds expression with these fun, beaded earrings. Made with glass seed beads and gold-plated French ear wires, these beauties are handmade in Guatemala ($32).

Merlyn’s Comics, Games, & Books

Merlyn’s is an iconic downtown Spokane shop full of unique gift ideas, including board games, graphic novels, comics, Magic The Gathering cards, and more.

One of the many recommended board games Merlyn’s carries is CATAN, a modern classic that is available worldwide in over 40 languages, where players take on the roles of settlers and attempt to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources and gaining points as their settlements grow. 

Wildland Cooperative native plant sweatshirt, "Plants of Mount Spokane" design, available at the Wildland Cooperative market at Green Bluff near Spokane, or at wildlandcoop.com.
Wildland Cooperative native plant sweatshirt, “Plants of Mount Spokane” design, available at the Wildland Cooperative market at Green Bluff near Spokane, or at wildlandcoop.com.

Wildland Cooperative Native Plant Shirts and Sweatshirts

The perfect gift for anyone who loves Inland Northwest native plants and the places where they grow, Northwest Native Plant apparel includes quality shirts and sweatshirts with designs that are hand-drawn and screen-printed locally.

A popular option that will be back in stock for the holidays is the “Plants of Mount Spokane” design, featuring bear grass, fragile fern, ocean spray, and other native plants on a crewneck sweatshirt. ($54 at the Wildland Cooperative market at Green Bluff or online at wildlandcoop.com.)

Fun Gifts, Books, and Toys at Boo Radley’s

Since 1993, Boo Radley’s in downtown Spokane has been the place to find cool, thoughtful, and fun gifts. A few recommendations this holiday season include 11-oz. mugs with Spokane-themed artwork featuring designs by local artists Ken Spiering, Harold Balazs, and Chris Bovey. Choose from the garbage goat, red wagon, or “transcend the B.S.” ($15.95 each).

Also check out Groovy Things socks, which are, well, groovy. More than a pair of socks, you’ll be giving laughs with these attention-grabbing foot coverings that feature humorous slogans such as “It’s not a dad bod. It’s a father figure” ($11.95-$13.95).

The Illuminidol Celebrity Prayer Candles feature a wide range of modern-day celebrities including actors, characters, sports figures, musicians, and public figures portrayed on a candle that’s reminiscent of traditional 8” glass prayer candles ($13.95).

Atticus Coffee & Gifts (downtown Spokane): A great coffee shop with a ton of gifts such as tea, stickers, books, wine, vintage Spokane posters, mugs, and more.

Wonders of the World (Flour Mill in downtown Spokane, near Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena): With a feel like a museum when you step inside (there’s a 50,000-year-old cave bear skeleton and life-sized replica of a T-Rex skull on display), this must-experience Spokane shop has imported gifts from around the world, jewelry, beads, toys, art, gemstones, and unique gifts like beautifully-designed, leather-bound journals; wind chimes; rock salt lamps; and so much more.

Kids & Parents

Havoc Mini Scooter

Havoc Mini Scooter, blue and black.
Havoc Mini Scooter, available at Shred Sports in Spokane, Wash.

Built for children or smaller riders, this scooter is the smaller but just as quality version of the Havoc Storm with a 15″ long deck and 15″ tall bars. ($151.99 at Shred Sports.)

Tubbs Snowball Junior Snowshoes

Instill a love of winter at a young age with the Tubbs Snowball, the perfect snowshoe for kids ages 4-8. The QuickLock binding is secure and comfortable while providing easy on and off functionality for kids and parents alike. ($49.95 at Fitness Fanatics, in Spokane Valley, Wash.)

RC Submarine

This realistic, 1:40 scale submarine will provide hours of fun for kids and adults. Set it sailing in a hot tub, bath tub, lake, or mellow saltwater. You can make it submerge, surface, and go forward, backward, left, and right with the remote-control handset.

The sub has a lithium battery and charges by plugging into the remote, which is powered by four AA batteries. ($59.99 at The General Store on Division in Spokane or online.)

Cat Kid Comic Club Series

A graphic novel from the Creator of Dog Man, the excitement and imagination run wild in this series. Award-winning author and illustrator Dav Pilkey employs a variety of techniques including origami, acrylic paints, colored pencils, photography, collage, gouache, watercolors, and more to capture the creative and joyful spirit of collaboration.

The variety of art styles, paired with Pilkey’s trademark storytelling and humor, inspires imagination and innovation for readers of all ages. ($12.99 at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane.)

L.L.A.M.A. Card Game

In L.L.A.M.A., ages 8-adult, you want to dump cards from your hand as quickly as you can, but you might not be able to play what you want. Do you quit and freeze your hand or draw and hope to keep playing?

The game ends on the round that at least one player has 40 or more total points, and whoever has the fewest points wins. ($9.99 at Uncles Games, Puzzles, & More in Spokane.)

Nature Bound Rock Tumbler Kit
Nature Bound Rock Tumbler Kit, available at The General Store in Spokane, WA.

Nature Bound Rock Tumbler Kit

This tumbler is designed for kids to have a faster gemstone polishing experience (half the normal time).

The kit is easy to use for all ages and comes with everything a budding young rock hound needs, including the tumbler, three types of unpolished gemstones, and polishing powder.

A great gift for kids, families, or teachers. ($52.99 at the General Store on Division in Spokane.)

Crazy Aaron’s Super Lava Thinking Putty

Thinking Putty helps build hand and finger strength through a fabulous tactile play experience with unique, unexpected properties and provides relaxing, yet stimulating, interaction for anyone with sensory integration issues.

The color of lava depends on its temperature and will change shades as it cools, and this Super Lava putty shifts from bright orange to crimson copper, then dark brown to reddish black.

It’s a non-toxic, silicone blend and won’t dry out or leave a sticky or slippery residue behind. ($13.99 at Uncles Games, Puzzles, & More in Spokane.)

KidzLabs Catapult Making Kit

Kids ages eight and up can build a catapult modelled after the medieval weapon of war with this fun and educational kit. The completed catapult is capable of launching a ball as far as 15 feet.

The kit includes everything you need to build a catapult as well as two projectile balls and is safe for indoor and outdoor use with no batteries required. ($14.99 at Uncles Games, Puzzles, & More in Spokane.)

Box art set: Spirograph Scratch & Shimmer art design set.
Spirograph Scratch & Shimmer art design set, available at The General Store in Spokane and online.

Spirograph Scratch & Shimmer

Create amazing Spirograph art with this scratch design set. Use the stylus tool with glitter wheel and gears to scratch designs on the special sparkle or rainbow scratch paper.

You can also use your own pens to draw spirograph designs on regular paper. ($18.99 at The General Store on Division in Spokane and online.)

Whiz Kids Toys

This local shop in Riverpark Square downtown Spokane sells quality, smart toys that are fun and engaging. Find puzzles, games, stuffies, science kits, and other fun learning toys, plus a selection of books. 

Winter Sports

Find these and other ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and Nordic ski gift ideas at local ski and outdoor gear shops around the Inland Northwest.

Skiing/Snowboarding Gift Card

Winter isn’t the time to hibernate. Give someone you love a gift card for lift tickets or a season pass at one of the Inland Northwest’s five local ski and snowboard resorts. Check your favorite resort for holiday lift ticket specials.

Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack
Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack, available at Shred Sports in Spokane, Wash.

Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack

This compact, backcountry-capable pack has enough room for big and small winter backcountry adventures if you pack right.

This do-it-all pack is loaded with features demanded by backcountry or slackcountry exploration, including snow tool sleeves, a large fleece-lined goggle pocket, and hydration sleeve that doubles as laptop storage off the mountain. ($100 at Shred Sports in Spokane.)

Smith Vantage Helmet

A techie ski and snowboard helmet that’s both protective and comfortable. It’s got MIPS energy-absorbing impact protection and it includes 21 vents with dual adjustability that lets you fine-tune airflow to meet the conditions.

It also has the ability to micro-adjust the size around the whole head with the turn of dial as well as Smith’s AirEvac system for a fog-free goggle interface. ($270 at Spokane Alpine Haus on Spokane’s South Hill.)

Craft Core Dry Baselayer Set

This affordable, versatile base layer set includes a long-sleeved top and long johns designed for a wide range of winter activities, from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to backcountry touring.

This soft, channel-knitted fabric set provides excellent moisture transport and body-temperature management during winter workouts at temperatures in the 20-40 F range. ($69.99 at Fitness Fanatics in Spokane Valley.)

Craft Core Dry Baselayer Set for winter sports, including XC skiing, snowshoeing, and backcountry touring; available at Fitness Fanatics in Spokane Valley, WA.
Craft Core Dry Baselayer Set for winter sports, including XC skiing, snowshoeing, and backcountry touring; available at Fitness Fanatics in Spokane Valley.

Voilé 2022 Women’s Revelator Splitboard

This board’s relative width, robust flex, long camber area, early-rise nose, and tapered tail all help it take on whatever backcountry lines the lady shredder on your list wants to hit. Plus, the topsheet artwork by Kylee Firlit is really something to gaze upon. ($749.99 at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.)

Voilé 2022 Women’s Revelator Splitboard, available at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.
Voilé 2022 Women’s Revelator Splitboard, available at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.

Hok Skis from Altai Skis

The Hok, from Northeast Washington-based Altai Skis, is designed as an easy-to-use ski for the backcountry. Its short, wide dimensions makes the ski incredibly maneuverable, and the integrated climbing skin gives the Hok great traction for climbing.

The right balance of running base and skin material makes the ski’s downhill speed manageable and easy to control, and it has metal edges for durability. Bridging cross-country skis and snowshoes, the Hok combines the maneuverability and ease-of-use found in snowshoes with the ski’s efficiency of sliding forward rather than lifting and stepping with each stride.

Several binding options are available and sold separately. ($249.95 available online at Us-store.altaiskis.com.)

Flylow Baker Bibs

What powder chaser wouldn’t want a pair of these beauties? These three-layer bibs are at home in deep, lift-served or backcountry powder, but are also loose-fitting and comfortable enough to dance the night away in them in the resort bar.

Made from waterproof Surface three-layer fabric, there are plenty of pockets, reinforced cuffs, and big inner and outer thigh vents for heart-pumping climbs. A DWR coating will keep them drier longer in the elements. ($430 at Spokane Alpine Haus on Spokane’s South Hill.)

Tubbs Wayfinder Snowshoes

These popular snowshoes feature a binding that integrates the heel strap with the lace, encompassing your foot with a simple turn of the dial to provide optimal fit and comfort. The decking provides plenty of flotation on soft snow, and in icy or sloped conditions the toe and heel crampons minimize slipping.

The perfect snowshoe for flat and rolling terrain. ($199.95 at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.)

Camping / Running / Hiking / Climbing

Therm-A-Rest Trail Pro Pad

This sleeping pad provides exceptional comfort and warmth (4.4 R-value) on backcountry adventures all year long. The self-inflating foam is three inches thick and features a design that provides the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any self-inflating foam pad. ($169.95 at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.)

La Sportiva Women’s Mythos Eco Climbing Shoes

A re-edition of a classic climbing shoe made with eco-friendly materials. This shoe delivers amazing versatility and performance with the soft, unlined leather upper adapting to whatever shape your foot is.

Great for all-day climbing and crack climbing with its low-profile toes, flat fit, and the overall neutral round shape of the shoe. ($149.99 at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.)

Big Agnes Blacktail Hotel 3 Tent

This beauty of a tent sleeps three in comfort out on the trail and features a massive, side-entry vestibule attached to the fly for bikes, climbing gear, packs, or a hound.

Double doors and the additional dry storage make backcountry trips with a well-seasoned partner or two more manageable. ($349.99 at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane.)

ENO DoubleNest Print Hammock

Who doesn’t need a hammock, or a second one, for that matter? The soft fabric of this classic hammock is breathable and dries fast. The extended hammock body give one person more elbow room and there’s enough room for two.

The DoubleNest is light and packs to the size of a grapefruit with the built-in stuff sack. The internal stash pocket holds a phone or provisions.

ENO hammock straps, stands, bug nets, rain tarps, and insulation systems are sold separately to glamp out this hammock. ($84.95 at REI Spokane.)

Noxgear Tracer 2 LED Light Vest

This light-up vest will help keep runners safe during the early dark hours of winter. This lightweight vest has multi-colored LED fiber optics, ultra-reflective 3M patterns, and fluorescence to give you 360 degrees of visibility from up to a quarter of a mile away.

It fits over normal running clothes including winter clothing and small accessories like hydration packs with a weightless and natural feel with no bouncing. USB-C rechargeable. ($60 at Fleet Feet Spokane stores.)

Noxgear Tracer 2 LED Light Vest, available at Fleet Feet stores in Spokane.
Noxgear Tracer 2 LED Light Vest, available at Fleet Feet stores in Spokane.

Trails of the Wild Selkirks Guide (new 3rd edition)

An extensive update to this classic guide to the more than 170 trails in the southern Selkirk Mountains of Northeast Washington and North Idaho, this book is a must-have addition to any avid Inland Northwest hiker’s guidebook library.

Pick up a copy online from Sandpoint-based Keokee Books at Keokeebooks.com ($22).

Book cover for Trails of the Wild Selkirks Guide (new 3rd edition)
Trails of the Wild Selkirks Guide (new 3rd edition), available at Keokee Books in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Life Flight Network

This practical gift is the investment in the health and safety of any skiers, hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, or adventuring families. As a member of Life Flight, the member and their family may be transported at no cost when medically necessary due to an emergency by Life Flight Network. ($79 annually per household.)

Bedrock Sandals

In an evolution of the adventure sandal, this Missoula, Mont., company builds light, comfortable, and tough sandals that will live up to whatever trails and rivers you throw at them.

Available at Rambleraven Gear Trader in Spokane and Hyperspud Sports in Moscow, Idaho (prices vary).

Yeti Rambler Colster 12-oz. Can Insulator

A sleeker upgrade to the original design, the size is perfect for soft drinks and, of course, beer. A great gift for anyone who puts value on enjoying their favorite beverages at camp or out on the boat and wants to keep them colder for longer. ($25.49 at The General Store on Division in Spokane.)

Buck Knives 040 Onset Knife

Buck Knives 040 Onset Knife
Buck Knives 040 Onset Knife, available at The General Store in Spokane, WA.

Modern, sleek, and tough, the 040 Onset is the ultimate everyday knife. With a black G10 front handle scale and stainless-steel frame, this frame lock provides security and strength when in use.

Ball bearings and a blade flipper ensure a smooth, one-hand opening, while a removable clip allows for easy carry. ($179.99 at The General Store on Division St. in Spokane.)

For more gear ideas, recommendations, and reviews, visit the OTO Gear Room.

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Inland NW Winter Weather Predictions https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-winter-weather-predictions/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-winter-weather-predictions/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2022 21:16:02 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51927 Triple Dip La Niña? Overview of expectations and expert predictions for the Inland Northwest's winter weather, 2022-23.

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It’s that time to look at expert predictions and expectations for winter weather in the Inland Northwest for the 2022-2023 ski/snowboard season.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but for the last two seasons, the weather gurus predicted a weak to moderate La Niña pattern, which typically results in above-average precipitation combined with below average temperatures in our area; this should have resulted in a ton of snow.

While we did experience decent back-to-back seasons here in the PNW, neither was what I would classify as epic, or even above average. I don’t know about you, but is sure seemed like I spent a ton of time on the groomers, and my powder boards rarely left the garage. According to the experts, this season looks to be a little different—in a good way.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, a strong La Niña pattern is currently present and is favored to continue through the Northern Hemisphere’s 2022/2023 winter, with a 91 percent chance from September to December.

Chances decrease to 54 percent from January to March 2023, but the fact remains that this will be the third consecutive year that we have experienced a La Niña weather pattern.

If this proves to be true, it will be the first “triple dip” La Niña of this century. “It is exceptional to have three consecutive years with a La Niña event, and its cooling influence is temporarily slowing the rise of global temperatures,” says the World Meteorological Organization’s Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Data chart showing percentage chance of normal and above average snowfall amounts for the United States.
Images courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA.com.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Seattle agree that this is an extremely rare occurrence and has only happened twice since meteorological records began to be collected in the late 1940s, those being the periods from 1973-1976, and 1998-2001. 

So, what does this mean for us? “The northeast portion of Washington is forecast to see above average precipitation,” says NWS meteorologist Mathew Cullen. Sounds good Matt, please ensure this happens.

The good folks from the Farmers’ Almanac are projecting a PNW winter with “brisk temperatures, and normal precipitation,” but this region butts right up against what they describe as a “hibernation zone that is glacial and snow-filled” to the east. Hopefully some of that spills over into our area and brings some cold, white goodness.

Not to be outdone, the ever-optimistic crew over at Powderchasers.com released their forecast, which notes that, given the extremely high chances for a robust La Niña event, the PNW appears to be more favorable to experience strong storms and moisture. “All things considered, things are shaping up to be quite favorable for the Western US . . . and the most snow-sure areas will be found in the Pacific Northwest.” Works for me. Make it so.

If this “triple dip” La Niña pans out as forecasted, we could be in for a ripper of a winter. So get your powder boards waxed, do your snow dances, and cross your fingers. Hopefully third time’s a charm.

Brad Northrup spent over a decade working in the ski industry and has been a long-time Out There contributor.

Read more stories in the Out There Snow 2022-23 special section or find more skiing/snowboarding stories in the OTO archives.

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What’s New At Ski NW Rockies: Winter 2022-23 https://outthereoutdoors.com/whats-new-at-ski-nw-rockies-winter-2022-23/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/whats-new-at-ski-nw-rockies-winter-2022-23/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2022 20:50:20 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51915 Learn about what's new at Ski NW Rockies mountain resorts, including deals, upgrades, expansions, and upcoming events.

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Fire up the stoke! Here’s what you need to know about deals, upgrades, expansions, and events for all four Ski NW Rockies resorts.

Mid-Week Deals

Every Thursday at Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area, bring a friend and buy 2 lift tickets for only $75. And if you’re a season pass-holder from a different mountain, you can buy a highly-discounted daily lift ticket Monday-Thursday (holiday periods excluded). Just show your mt. season pass at the ticket window.

Every Monday-Thursday at 49 Degees North (except holiday periods), an all-mountain lift ticket is only $49 for adults, $44 for youth.

At Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park on Mondays and Tuesdays, from January 2 to February 21, bring a buddy and buy 2 lift-tickets for only $72 (not available on holidays).

Get midweek stay-ski-waterpark package deals at Silver Mountain Resort for any reservations Sundays-Thursdays.

Two skiers riding a chairlift and looking back at the camera, smiling.
Riding the chair at 49 Degrees North. // Photo courtesy of 49 Degrees.

Flex 5 Lesson Package at Silver Mountain

Learn to ski or ride mid-week with Silver’s Flex 5 deal—package includes: 5 lift tickets, 5 rentals, and 5 ski or snowboard lessons. Best perk: program “graduates” receive a season pass good for the rest of the 2022-23 season, PLUS they get a 50% discount on a season pass for the 2023-24 season.  

Lookout Pass Offers Fully Transferable Season Pass

Ideal for a company to share with employees or an individual to share with friends. Purchase online for $999 by November 18. Pass provides the daily user with one lift ticket.

5-Pack Bundle Deal Returns

Due to popular demand, Mt. Spokane is once again offering 5-pack lift ticket bundles—for sale online starting Nov. 15. $229 for restricted-use bundle (not valid on holidays and peak weekends) or $299 for unrestricted bundle, with no blackout dates. Limited quantities—available thru December while supplies last.

Snowmaking at 49 Degrees North

During summer, staff fine-tuned and prepared 49’s snowmaking system (new 2 years ago and expanded last winter), making it ready to use as soon as conditions allow this season.

Night Skiing at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park

Starting December 16, the front-side chairlifts keep running after dark, for most Wednesdays-Saturdays. Night tickets (3-9 p.m.) cost only $36 each, all ages. (Any day-ticket holders can stay and keep skiing/riding until closing.)

View of Mt Spokane ski area at dusk during night skiing with the lodge lights illuminating the snow.
Night Skiing at Mt Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park. // Photo: Amy McCaffree

Improved Webcams

Lookout Pass and 49 Degrees North both upgraded their webcams. Check snow and trail conditions from the comfort of your home, office, or mobile device. (AirFlare app recommended for safer viewing of Lookout Pass trail cam live-stream.)

Midway Snack Shack

Jackass Snack Shack, a newly renovated food and beverage outlet at Silver Mountain’s Midway Chair 4, will open this season—and includes a restroom! Old-timers may recall this location as the original ski lodge when the mountain was still named Jackass Ski Bowl.

Lodge Upgrades

At Mt. Spokane, Lodge 2 has a remodeled kitchen and food service area, which improves the guest experience. Lodge 1 is still undergoing renovation for an improved indoor space and expanded outdoor patio area. Look for more food-service offerings, greater variety, and meal specials throughout the season. 

At Silver Mountain Resort, the Mountain House was spiffed up with new carpet and paint.

Lookout Pass lodge upgrades include a new entryway and new deck with wider stairs, located between the food service and rental/ski school area, that improves access to the lodge and slopes.

Two skiers and a snowboarder at the summit of Mt. Spokane on a sunny, blue-sky day, looking at the view before going down a black diamond run.
Ski and ride at Mt. Spokane and enjoy the views. // Photo courtesy of Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park.

More Parking

A new 2.5-acre parking lot was added at the base of 49 Degrees North. Shuttle service to and from the lodge will be available during weekends and holidays.

At Lookout Pass, parking space was added to the lower lot (below chair 1, along I-90) and to the Montana side of the maintenance building.

New Eagle Peak Quad Chair & Terrain at Lookout Pass

The newest quad chair—nearly a mile-long ride—has 152 chairs to transport up to 1,500 skiers and snowboarders every hour to Eagle Peak Summit, where there is also a new Ski Patrol Shack. Enjoy 14 new named runs and a new 500 skiable acres. (Learn more.)

New Runs—Longer Runs

At Silver Mountain, inbound terrain was expanded off chair 2, with a new run that’s naturally gladed and known to hold powder, according to Marketing Director Gus Colburn.

49 Degrees North extended three of its newest runs from last season. “Alpine Steel, Gunslinger, and Tin Star now extend all the way up to Silver Ridge,” says Ursula Bakken, 49’s interim marketing director. “In addition, the lower portions of all of those runs—along with Lower Hole in the Wall and Lower Carpet Bagger—have seen heavy clean-up and debris removal, allowing us to open them earlier and with fewer obstacles.”

New Groomers

Silver Mountain added a new cat-groomer to its fleet. They also used a D6 Cat for summer brush-cutting to allow more terrain to open earlier in the season.

Mt. Spokane welcomed a brand-new Pistenbully100 Snow cat, dedicated to improving the freestyle terrain park.

A new maintenance shop at 49 Degrees North will help staff work on snowcats, heavy equipment, vehicles, and lift components—improving mountain ops overall.

Two children on skis with an adult looking on as they ready to go down a slope on a sunny, blue sky day.
Soaking up the sun at Silver Mountain. // Photo courtesy Silver Mountain Resort.

More Rental Gear At 49 Degrees North

49 Degrees North rental shop has improved and increased its inventory. Look for new Rossignol skis and snowboards; new Burton snowboards especially for the littlest rippers; and a new fleet of Rossignol high-performance demo skis and snowboards as well as locally-made Sneva MFG skis.

Better Bunny Hill

Lookout Pass improved its Beginner Slope and Learning Hill. After adding tons of dirt, staff “regraded and contoured the slope to provide a longer, more consistent learning pitch and overall better learning experience for first-time skiers, snowboarders and those beginners working to improve their turns,” says Lookout Marketing Director Matt Sawyer.

New Lesson Programs at 49 Degrees North

New this season are Intro to Free Style and Park Skills and Junior Instructor programs. The popular Women’s Clinics are now on Sunday afternoons to make them more accessible.

MSSRT Ski & Boarder Cross Competition at Mt. Spokane

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park and Mt. Spokane Ski Race Team (MSSRT) have partnered to host a variety of ski races this season, including the first-ever MSSRT Ski & Boarder Cross Competition on February 4-5, 2023.

Daycare At 49 Degrees North

Offered again for the 2022-23 season, 49’s daycare is open during weekends and holidays for children ages 2-6 (reservations recommended).

More Ladies Days at Mt. Spokane

Popular women-only lesson program at Mt. Spokane with two dates this winter, February 10 and March 10, 2023.

Nordic Area Improvements

49 Degrees North’s Nordic Center Yurt has a brand-new deck to welcome guests for Nordic skiing as well as fat biking and snowshoeing. Yurt will be open and staffed Fridays through Sundays, and the majority of holiday periods.

Mt. Spokane Apres-Ski & Swag

Foggy Bottom Bar will offer more selections from Spokane-area breweries, and host live music on Friday nights and select weekends. Mt. Spokane also expanded its selection of hats, beanies, hoodies, and other swag for fans of the ‘Kan.

New Mt. Spokane Corporate Pass

Businesses and organizations can now take advantage of a new transferable and flexible season pass, issued in the name of a business or group. A Corporate Pass is good for one person each day of the winter 2022-23 season, which can be shared among employees and/or clients (who don’t already have a Mt. Spokane season pass).

Skier making turns with spraying snow on a powder day at Lookout Pass.
Powder day at Lookout Pass. // Photo: Duane Bonanza, courtesy of Lookout Pass.

Pass costs $1,299 and includes 10 additional (free) daily lift tickets to be used in conjunction with the passholder, plus 50% off any additional lift tickets, up to 6 discounted tickets per day (no blackout dates).

Freedom Pass & Group Discounts at Mt. Spokane

A new benefit for season passholders is the Freedom Pass, which includes 3 free visits to any of the 19 partner mountains (with no blackout dates), plus 7 additional partner mountains with varying ski benefits. Expansive group discounts are available for high-school and college recreation groups, church and homeschool programs, and other organizations. 

Free Ski School—Longer Sessions

Free Ski School at Lookout Pass, which begins in January 2023, has expanded its program options—complete details at skilookout.com/famous-free-ski-school.

Upcoming Events

  • Daily operations begin at Silver Mountain: Thursday, Dec. 15. (See events calendar for more details.)
  • Night skiing begins at Mt. Spokane: Friday, Dec. 16. Open 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesdays-Saturdays. (See operations and events calendar.)
  • SheJumps + 49 North Film Showing: Dec 17, fundraiser & social event at the Chewelah Arts Center. (See events calendar for more details.)
  • Women’s Clinic Series at 49 Degrees North: Series dates include Dec.18, Jan. 29, Feb. 12; 2-hour group lesson, 1-3 pm.
  • Daily operations begin at Mt. Spokane: Monday, Dec. 19. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.
  • Youth Freestyle Ski/Snowboard Camp at 49 Degrees North: Dec 23, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. for ages 10-15.
  • Holiday events at Lookout Pass: Dress like Santa on Dec. 22 to ski/ride for only $20/ticket. Revenue goes towards buying Christmas gifts for local children in need; Open Christmas Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with discounted tickets and a special Christmas Day Luncheon, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade, Dec. 31. (See events calendar for more details.)
  • Gone to the Dogs & Skijor Day at 49 Degrees North: Dec. 30, dogs allowed on Nordic ski area’s lower trail system all day, when accompanied by their human with a pass. (Additional event dates in 2023; see events calendar for more details.)
  • Jackass Day at Silver Mountain: Jan. 12, 2023. Annual tradition celebrating the ski area’s history. Wear vintage ski gear and buy retro-priced lift tickets for only $19/person.
Two young skiers sitting with Santa while riding a chairlift at Lookout Pass.
Riding the chairlift with Santa at Lookout Pass on Christmas Eve. // Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area.

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Welcome To the Good Life At RED Mountain https://outthereoutdoors.com/welcome-to-the-good-life-at-red-mountain/ Mon, 14 Nov 2022 01:43:45 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51886 Enter to win a condo stay with three nights skiing at RED Mountain Resort, located in Rossland, B.C. -- only a few hours north of Spokane.

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We are so lucky here in the Inland NW to live close to so many amazing snowy mountains, including world-class skiing a few hours north of Spokane in British Columbia, Canada! If you haven’t ever skied RED Mountain Resort in Rossland, BC, you’ll want to watch this little video to see what you’ve been missing.

If you’ve been making annual pilgrimages up to RED for years, well, then, you already know but will still want to watch as a reminder since it’s been a while. Time to get stoked now that Canadian border restrictions have lifted, and the dollar exchange rate is exceptionally favorable for U.S. dollars right now.

The best part about this short RED Mountain ski video? It’s all true and will inspire you to point your boards north toward The Good Life in Rossland. The terrain at RED is huge (5 peaks, 3 of them with 270-360-degree descents), the snow is reliably light and deep, lift lines are pretty much non-existent, and the locals are of the genuine and friendly variety you’ll want to share some poutine and a jug of beer with at Rafters at the end of the day!

RED Mountain Sweepstakes Alert!

Now that you’ve been initiated into The Good Life and are sufficiently psyched, enter right here to win an epic RED ski getaway that includes a four-night slopeside condo stay with a private hot tub and 3 days of skiing for 2 people!

Photo: Ryan Flett, courtesy of RED Mountain Resort.

What Makes RED Stand Out

We have a ton of choices for skiing and snowboarding here in our little corner of the Northwest, from smaller community-feel ski hills to expansive, world-class resorts. RED offers the best of both worlds: huge terrain (the top 10 largest in North America) with plenty of lift options that keeps people moving instead of standing in lines plus a laid-back, authentic small mountain town vibe that you typically only find at much smaller resorts.

With just a five-minute drive between the historic mining town of Rossland that has its own unique and friendly mountain town culture and RED, it’s no wonder Rossland was voted Canada’s #1 ski town two years in a row by USA Today!

Photo: Ashley Voykin, courtesy of RED Mountain Resort.

With a wide range of lodging options, from hostels and the new mid-mountain Constella Cabins to slope-side condos and boutique hotel rooms at the Josie, there’s a ski-and-stay lodging option for just about every budget and comfort-level preference.

The current exchange rate means Americans automatically get 25-30% off already affordable lift ticket and lodging deals (as low as $85 USD for a lift ticket!). Don’t take our word for it, start exploring now and find your own version of The Good Life at RED this winter!

[Feature photo: Dick Huey, courtesy of Red Mountain Resort]

SPONSORED POST

Find more stories about RED Mountain in the OTO archives.

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New Terrain and Lift added at Lookout Pass https://outthereoutdoors.com/lookout_pass_new_terrain_2022/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/lookout_pass_new_terrain_2022/#respond Tue, 08 Nov 2022 00:48:14 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51869 A ONE-OF-A-KIND SETTING GETS BIGGER Located atop the crest of the Bitterroot Range, straddling the state line between Idaho and Montana, Lookout Pass averages 400 inches of snow per year. There’s a good chance that number will increase as the ski area expands into the higher terrain of Eagle Peak this winter. That expansion, off …

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A ONE-OF-A-KIND SETTING GETS BIGGER

Located atop the crest of the Bitterroot Range, straddling the state line between Idaho and Montana, Lookout Pass averages 400 inches of snow per year. There’s a good chance that number will increase as the ski area expands into the higher terrain of Eagle Peak this winter. That expansion, off the backside of the mountain and mostly on the Montana side of the state line, will also nearly double the footprint of Lookout’s skiable area. Lookout may be growing, but one thing that will never change is its hometown charm that has been attracting loyal skiers and boarders from Spokane to Missoula since 1935.

All photos courtesy of Lookout Pass

NEW FOR 2022-2023

There will be plenty of new runs to explore this winter as Lookout Pass opens the most epic expansion of their history—500 new acres of skiable terrain in the form of 14 new runs. A second quad lift will carry guests to the top of Eagle Peak, off the backside of the existing ski area, with 1,650 total vertical feet. The new runs will challenge both intermediate and advanced skiers. 

ESCAPE THE CROWDS

If you want a skiing or snowboarding experienceaway from the crowds and without all those expensive bells and whistles, Lookout Pass is the place for you. It is an easy drive down I-90 from Spokane to the mountain. Take Exit 0 located on the ID-MT border. “We’re not a destination resort with on-site lodging and all the congestion that comes with that,” says Matt Sawyer, Lookout Pass’s director of marketing. “Lookout’s always been a family-friendly, local ski area with a fun vibe.”

LESSON PROGRAMS

Looking to learn how to ski or snowboard? Or just want to improve your existing skills? Lookout Pass has private and group lessons for both skiing and snowboarding. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, all are welcome. Call 208.744.1234, extension 15 to reserve your spot. See more information at SkiLookout.com/lessons-programs

BRING A FRIEND THURSDAYS 

On non-holiday Thursdays throughout the ski season, you can get two full-day lift tickets for just $75. What a perfectly affordable way to show a friend all the new beautiful, expanded terrain at Lookout Pass. 

SEASON RENTALS

Of course you can rent all kinds of ski and snowboarding equipment for the day, but did you know you can also rent for the entire season? For more information, just call the rental shop staff at 208.744.1234, extension 12.

Explore the mountain and learn more online at Skilookout.com.

(Sponsored content)

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Close Encounters With Bears https://outthereoutdoors.com/close-encounters-with-bears/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/close-encounters-with-bears/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2022 21:40:26 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51834 Guidebook author James P. Johnson shares about his harrowing close encounters with bears while hiking in the wilds of Washington State.

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By James P. Johnson

In the late 90s, I spent four summers finding the best route to the top of the highest 50 mountains in Eastern Washington. It turned into a hiking guide that has since been published and gone out of print. I didn’t carry anything to deter bears on those hikes, and I still don’t.

My rationale is a complete lack of reported bear attacks in Eastern Washington. After all those miles on remote trails, I can recount nine encounters with black bears while hiking. Every bear fled, frightened. Except one.

Hiking the Thirteenmile Trail south of Republic, Wash., I awoke a bedded down bear just off the trail. He started running toward me, so I yelled and waved my arms. He didn’t respond favorably. I tried shinnying up a tree even though black bears climb trees.

Realizing there was no way I’d get far enough up, I dropped down and gave one last, deep-voiced yell and threatening wave of arms. The bear was undeterred. It quickly closed the gap between us. Standing my ground, the bear slid to a halt, inches away. I could’ve pat him on the head. After a brief pause, he turned and ran away.

Never growling or acting aggressively except to run toward me, I theorized he was groggy after being startled awake. Realizing I was human, he did what bears normally do. I resumed my hike, making noise for a while, then not even worrying about it.

On another one of my hikes in Northeast Washington near Horseshoe Lake, I stopped for a good view while descending a ridge. Seventy feet below me, I noticed a pair of bear cubs. The sow was a bit farther down.

After a few moments watching, I tossed a pine cone which landed below me. The cub ran to mom, whimpering at being startled. The sow, suddenly alert, scanned the landscape thoroughly before relaxing. I was amused something so simple as a pine cone falling to the ground scared the cub. I retreated, made plenty of noise, and resumed hiking down the ridge.

close encounter with bears: black bear in the wild, standing up from a field of tall grass.
Know what to do in case of a close encounter with bears. // Photo: Shutterstock.

As I expected, the family of bears had disappeared. I was lucky I’d stopped at just the right spot to see them without being seen. Had I walked straight into the bear family, it could’ve been bad news.

Things didn’t turn out so pleasantly for Michael Reasoner, a Forest Service assistant silviculturist. In August 2017, traversing through the thickly wooded Caribou Creek Drainage in North Idaho, he happened upon a black bear cub who ran, whimpering, to mom.

Reasoner believes what he did next caused a dangerous encounter. When he turned to walk away, the 300-plus pound sow galloped after him. She came within 20 feet, growling and huffing aggressively. Reasoner talked to the bear calmly and soothingly.

Eventually retreating, the sow returned, charging again. More talking caused the sow to back off, but then charged a third time, coming within 10 feet of him. He raised his hands and yelled. A loud, aggressive standoff ensued as the bear responded likewise.

The sow eventually backed off before charging a fourth time. Reasoner pulled out his core auger, a forestry tool used to determine the age of trees, and behaved as aggressively as possible while slamming the auger against a tree. Agitated, the bear came within five feet, growling loudly, spit flying from her mouth.

When the sow turned to check on her cub, Reasoner hid behind a large Douglas fir. Shortly after, she returned, searching and sniffing about but didn’t find him. Able to slip away, Reasoner moved quickly until coming to a steep hill. The 20-minute adrenaline-fueled encounter had left him completely drained, and he could barely exert himself, but he had made it away safely.

Reasoner told me he has five to eight encounters with bears each year. The bears, he says, almost always run away. Crossing paths with a sow and cub was a first and his only frightening bear encounter.

It took a couple years before he could begin his daily forest trudges without feeling uneasy. He didn’t have bear spray that day, but now carries it, always. His story gives good reason for me to do likewise.

James P. Johnson’s book “Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Freshwater Shark Attacks,” came out March 2022. He wrote about five things to never do at a lake for the July-August 2022 issue.

Find stories in the OTO archives about bear safety, including “Bear Country Safety Advice” by Crystal Atamian.

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Preserve the Fall Harvest: Canning & Drying https://outthereoutdoors.com/preserve-the-fall-harvest-canning-drying/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/preserve-the-fall-harvest-canning-drying/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2022 20:56:38 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51826 Ideas, tips, and simple steps to preserve the fall harvest by canning or drying fruits and vegetables at home.

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By Bri Loveall

Preserve the fall harvest by canning or drying fruits and vegetables at home.

In the beginning, canning seemed daunting and impossible. That first year, my spouse was sure I would unintentionally kill us with botulism. There were new kitchen gadgets to buy, websites to scour, recipes to learn, not to mention I had to grow the food first.

I entered canning with an all-or-nothing attitude, which led me to a lot of frustration when I burned out in later years. If I was going to using canning to preserve food, I needed to do it the “right” way.

But canning, especially if you’re new to it, should be like any other skill we learn. Start small and give yourself grace. No one wakes up and, having never hiked, decides to tackle the Pacific Crest Trail, right?

Different Types of Canning

There are two different types of canning: pressure canning and water-bath canning. Foods low in acidity (meats, stock, and certain fruits and vegetables) must be canned using a weighted or dial gauge pressure canner.

For several years I stayed away from pressure canning simply because I didn’t have a canner. Luckily, many of the common items we see at the markets or grow in our backyards (tomatoes, cucumbers, and most fruits) only require the water-bath method.

Water-bath canning requires little special equipment and is far less intimidating than using a pressure canner. Canning kits are available at most stores and include a jar lifter, wide mouth funnel, magnetic lid lifter, and bubble popper (yes, that’s the actual name).

You’ll also need a stock pot deep enough to hold jars and a canning rack (a metal insert that keeps jars off the bottom of the pot to improve water circulation and reduce the risk of the jars touching each other during canning).

The actual canning process is relatively simple. Jars are washed, sterilized, and (usually) hot packed with whatever produce is being preserved. Processing times vary by recipe (and altitude), but most recipes for pint jars require less than twenty minutes in a stock pot full of boiling water.

Preserve the fall bounty by canning vegetables: basket of yellow squash, kale, and tomatoe.
Preserve the fall harvest by canning or drying fruits and vegetables. // Photo: Bri Loveall.

Preserve Fresh Foods During Fall

September and October farmers’ markets should be full of easy-to-can fruit and vegetables in order to preserve the fall bounty. In the Northwest, look for cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, apples, pears, onions, cabbage, beets, and blueberries.

While canning enough food to feed yourself through the winter months requires hundreds of pounds of produce, a pound of vegetables will yield several pints of homemade pickles, crushed tomatoes for soups, pineapple zucchini (prefect with chicken and rice), homemade applesauce, cinnamon pears, or onion jam.

Jam is a great way to use up a berry harvest. Additionally, berries can be frozen for later use in smoothies or oatmeal. And even if your pantry only holds a few dozen jars, there is nothing more empowering in the kitchen than making tomato soup from scratch using a few jars of tomatoes that you canned yourself. (Plus, it’s seriously delicious.)  

More Canning Tips and Tricks

  • Work in small batches. For example, when making jam, if your canner only holds four- or five-pint jars, only fill that many jars to process at one time.
  • Find a friend who’s willing to host a canning party.
  • Observe and learn from an expert: The first year I started canning, my spouse and I spent a day with an older woman in our community as she canned several hundred pounds of produce in one day. (I do not recommend this for new canners.) She explained different techniques, terminology, and the things she’d learned along the way. At the end of the day, we took home a half dozen jars of pears, green beans, and tomatoes. A great way to learn to can is to find someone who already does it and follow along.
  • Educate yourself: If you don’t have a fun old woman in your community, the USDA publishes a canning book full of recipes, safety guidelines, and general canning knowledge that makes it easy to start your canning journey.

Easily Dry Fresh Foods

An even easier form of food preservation is accomplished through dehydration. No dehydrator? No problem. Most foods can be dehydrated using an oven at the lowest setting, or even the sun (hello, sun dried tomatoes).

Herbs like dill, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, and parsley, can be dried separately and then blended to create your own seasoning and dry rubs. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries should still be available in the markets, and when dried, make excellent additions to homemade granolas or oatmeal.

Preserve the fall harvest by canning: Three glass Mason jars of pineapple zucchini.
Preserve the fall harvest: Freshly-canned pineapple zucchini. // Photo: Bri Loveall.

Recipe: Pineapple-zucchini

Peel and chop zucchini (de-seed if necessary). In a large Dutch oven, combine equal parts chopped zucchini and pineapple juice with sugar (the amount of sugar is dependent on preference and the amount of zucchini being used). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Serve warm over rice.

When she isn’t tending her garden, reading, or building forts with her four children, Bri Loveall is usually whipping something up in the kitchen. Her current obsession is pineapple-zucchini.

Find Food & Drink stories and more Outdoor Living column articles in the OTO archives.

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Adventure Travel For Families https://outthereoutdoors.com/adventure-travel-for-families/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/adventure-travel-for-families/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2022 19:33:41 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51818 Start your family's adventure travel planning process with ideas and tips from Out There Kids' columnist Amy McCaffree.

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For many families, the start of a new academic year feels more significant than January 1—making new goals and planning for the next 12 months. Which is why it’s also time to start planning for future adventure travel trips.

You know the parenthood adage is, “The days are long, but the years are short”? It’s true! Now that my own kids are pre-teens, our family calendar is busy year-round. Which is why we start brainstorming during fall for the upcoming seasons of non-school days, holidays, and spring and summer breaks. Not that we’re quick to make solid plans, but it’s good to know what’s coming, since we also have club soccer and youth theater commitments.

This past summer when I heard that Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees nearly burned, I felt some panic: I haven’t been to the Tunnel Tree!         

This led to an epiphany: With only seven more summers until both my kids finish high school, we need to choose more carefully how we spend our family vacation time and use our adventure travel time.

Flooding, droughts, wildfires, and other climate-change impacts threaten all of America’s public lands, year-round. I can’t take the National Parks, forests, waterways, and wildlife for granted.

Not to get all doomsday, but much is bound to change during our children’s lifetimes. Will Glacier National Park’s glaciers really be gone by the year 2030? Will there be enough snow to alpine ski every winter in 20 years? Go see orcas in the Salish Sea before they’re extinct, and visit Alaska before the next oil spill.

Adventure Travel at state parks: Two children with small plastic buckets and toy shovels exploring a freshwater creek as it flows into the Puget Sound during lowtide at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Washington.
Exploring a freshwater creek as it flows into the Puget Sound during low tide at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, WA. // Photo: Amy McCaffree

Sooner is better when it comes to doing all the outdoor adventures I would like to share with my children, whether it’s skiing big mountains or hiking Half Dome. Also, my knees aren’t getting younger.

Adventure travel destinations and recreation ideas are plentiful; having enough money and time are the greatest challenges. Plan now for the most adventurous year ever.

Here are 5 ideas for starting the adventure travel planning process.

Brainstorm Destination & Recreation Ideas

I have great ideas for epic trips, but if my pre-teens won’t buy in, their lackluster enthusiasm won’t make it work. Older kids can lead the brainstorming: “Which mountains, National Parks, and countries would we like to visit while mom and dad are still paying the bills?” (It’s best to provide budget parameters.)

Buy Adventure Travel Guidebooks

Once you decide on a destination, purchase a paperback travel guidebook. The Mountaineers has a large catalog of family-oriented books, including the Adventuring with Kids series, written by Spokane authors Harley and Abby McAllister—one each for Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, and one for Utah’s Big Five parks. Mountaineers also have state-based “Best Hikes with Kids” series and guidebooks for urban trails and parks in major U.S. cities.

Choose When To Go

Summer is busy tourist season everywhere. Consider travel during non-peak seasons to save money. The best time to go is when your family can actually go, once money is saved, and parents have time off work—maybe even if it means missing school or a major holiday with extended family.

Plan Early For Reservations

Unique accommodations like fire lookouts, cabins, and glamping yurts are in high demand. Campsite reservations for National Parks and forests can be made six months in advance, at Recreation.gov. For state parks in Washington and Idaho, the reservation window is nine months. National Park lodge rooms, RV park campsites, and rental homes may be reservable a year in advance.

Hire An Expert Adventure Travel Guide

If you want exciting high adventure but don’t have the gear or expertise, book excursions with a professional guide. Outfitters offer one-day activities as well as multi-day trips.

Whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, and rock climbing come to mind as “extreme” recreation for beginners to try; a high-level of expertise is vital for a safe outing. Even for more experienced recreationalists and travelers, whether it’s backpacking or biking, a multi-day trip led by guides takes the stress and burden off parents for planning and daily logistics.

Northwest guide-service companies include ROW Adventures, Breakwater Expeditions, and FLOW Adventures, and the non-profit organization Peak 7 Adventures.

ROW even offers international excursions in 25 countries through two newer business brands, Adventure Unbound and Sea Kayak Adventures. We’re talking epic travel adventures: safari in Tanzania, river rafting in Chile, kayaking and camping on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.

Time is precious, and adventure awaits—go find it with your kids.

Adventure travel-river rafting and camping: Children and parents watercolor painting on a sandy beach during a river rafting and camping trip.
Art supplies on a camping trip can bring together kids of different ages. // Photo: Shallan Knowles.

Amy McCaffree is the Out There Kids columnist and a longtime Out There contributor.

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Fly Fishing in Fernie, B.C. During Fall https://outthereoutdoors.com/fly-fishing-in-fernie-b-c-during-fall/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/fly-fishing-in-fernie-b-c-during-fall/#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2022 20:05:51 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51795 Fernie, British Columbia, is an epic fly fishing destination in the Canadian Rockies, where you'll find native trout in the Elk River.

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Four hours north of Spokane, native trout in the Canadian Rockies await, along with a killer mountain town. Which is why Fernie, British Columbia, is an epic fly fishing destination.

As a newbie fly fisherman, there are many wild trout waters I’ve floated or hiked by over the years that I intend to fish in the coming decades. Fernie is a top-of-the-list fly fishing travel destination I hope to check out for the first time this fall.

The Elk River, which flows right through town, offers anglers a shot at monster trout with plenty to do off-water, from mountain biking and hiking, to golf and exploring the pubs and restaurants in the historic downtown.

For me, this article is field research for what will hopefully come to pass as one awesome fall road trip.

Downtown Fernie, British Columbia. Photo courtesy of Tourism Fernie
Downtown Fernie, British Columbia. // Photo courtesy of Tourism Fernie

The Elk River

The Elk River flows 140 miles from the dramatic peaks of the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies (specifically the Pétain Glacier next to Mt. Joffre) to Lake Koocanusa at the U.S. border. The stretches of river up and downstream from Fernie offer clear, clean, and cold water that trout thrive in.

The Elk River, so I’m told, has a reputation as one of the finest dry fly-fishing rivers in North America for Westslope Cutthroat and Bull Trout.

Local guide and shop owner Paul Samycia explains the allure of the Elk River this way: “The Elk River has what all fly anglers are looking for. A beautiful, free stone river with spectacular scenery, wild native fish eager to take a dry fly, miles and miles of wade-able and drift-able water with a great small town to base your adventure out of.”

The Catch

Locals laud the Elk River’s large population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout and their incredible color and spotting. These wild fish cruise the river’s surface in search of the flying insects that hatch in the warmer valley surrounding the town of Fernie.

While Bull Trout are hard to come by and protected in many waters in the U.S., it’s game on for this aggressive, hard-fighting fish around Fernie. Reportedly, resident Bull Trout on the Elk River above the Elko dam are regularly 20-30 inches or bigger.

Three people holding a fishing net and one of them holding a large native trout while wade-standing in the Elk River in Canada, with a fishing raft behind them.
Fly fishing on the Elk River near Fernic, B.C. // Photo: Jeremy Koreski

Where to Fish Near Fernie, B.C.

Whether you are planning a DIY trip or looking for a guide, Tourism Fernie provides this excellent overview Elk River fishing beta that will help you get started for your trip to the north:

From the town of Sparwood down, the river gains momentum and girth. From Sparwood to Olsen, the river is known for big, greedy Westslope Cutthroat, long boulder sections, countless riffles and deep corner holes.

From Olsen to the hamlet of Hosmer is drift-boat heaven. Hosmer also has a boat launch and is a good place to start or finish a day. Hosmer down to Fernie offers braided sections and some big log jams with magical views of the Lizard Range. Buckets and holes are ripe for the casting on this stretch.

In the heart of Fernie is a boat launch at Dogwood Park with ample parking, a public washroom, and space for multiple boats.

The section from Fernie to Morrissey winds gently through perfect trout water and includes some long deep runs, riffles, and seams. The takeout at Morrissey Bridge has also had some work done recently and there is parking along the road with room for trailers.

Morrissey to Elko is the next haul and should be given a whole day. If you like fishing log jams, this stretch is for you. Some great stretches of wood provide perfect habitat that the cutties stack up under and along.

For more information about fishing the Elk River and Fernie, visit Tourismfernie.com.

Find more stories about fishing as well as adventure travel and recreation in Fernie, B.C. in the OTO archives.

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Road Trip to Wallace: Biking, History, & Adventure https://outthereoutdoors.com/road-trip-to-wallace-biking-history-adventure/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/road-trip-to-wallace-biking-history-adventure/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2022 22:00:33 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51784 A weekend, fall road trip to the historic mining town of Wallace, Idaho, offers adventures for cyclists, hikers, and history buffs.

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A weekend road trip to Wallace, Idaho, is a trip back in time, offering adventure for everyone from history buffs and barflies to century-riding cyclists or casual bike riders and trail walkers. Here are some of our favorite things to do in this historic mining town this fall.

Bike World-Class Trails

Crowd-free trails, cooler temps, and autumn colors mean fall is one of the best times of the year to make a weekend trip to Wallace to ride one or more of the area’s truly world class trails and gravel routes. The 73.2-mile paved Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes (open all year) and 15-mile Route of the Hiawatha gravel surface trail (open until Sept. 18) are the crown jewel trails for sure, but there are several other lesser-known rides that are also pretty awesome.

The Northern Pacific Trail, or NorPac, is best ridden on gravel or mountain bikes. The 12-mile, multi-use and multi-surface trail runs along the old Northern Pacific rail bed and goes from Mullan, Idaho, into Montana. Start your ride in Mullan for a shorter pedal, or add some miles by starting in Wallace.

The Route of the Olympian along the St. Regis Rivers is technically a continuation of the Hiawatha on the old Milwaukee rail bed, but it is a completely separate and free route that isn’t maintained (some trestles unrideable). The Old Milwaukee Railroad Trail is 35 miles long between Pearson and St. Maries. This compact dirt and country gravel road route along the St. Joe River is a great gravel ride.

For shuttles for any of these or other rides, call the Wallace Inn at 208.752.1252. Check out Friendsofcdatrails.org for more info on bike trails and routes.

Trail sign that reads "Cedar Snag, 1910 Fire Remnant" along a forested dirt trail.
Road trip to Wallace, Idaho: Trail sign. // Photo courtesy of the Wallace Chamber of Commerce.

Hike the Town

Wallace offers some excellent urban walking with tree-shaded neighborhoods, small parks, and self-guided walking tours of the town’s 1890s-era National Register of Historic Places homes and churches.

Another must-experience Wallace walking adventure are the century-old, restored wooden stairways on the hill above town. Most of the stairways are 100 or more feet long and some have landings and decks where moose, deer, and elk are frequently spotted in the surrounding forest.

One mile south of town you’ll find the four-mile round trip Pulaski Tunnel Interpretive Trail that follows Placer Creek past waterfalls and cool forest up to the Nicholson Adit mine portal, where Ranger Ed Pulaski saved his crew from America’s largest wildland fire back in 1910.

Explore a Rich History

The entire town of Wallace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you don’t need to travel far to step back in time here.

Some Wallace history tour favorites include the Sierra Silver Mine Tour. This open-air trolley tours the storied buildings of the commercial district on the way to a Sierra Silver Mine tour through a sideways cut in the mountain to learn about the dangers and rewards of mining.

For the story of the people who worked the mines and the struggles they faced, a trip to the Wallace District Mining Museum is a must. There are also three other museums within walking distance, including a train station, brothel, and landmark church that have been transformed into museums. 

Other historic attractions are a short way out of town. The Mine Heritage Exhibit and four-acre riverfront park are just off Exit #61 at I-90. Here you can explore massive mining machines.

Nine Mile Cemetery lies just one mile north of Wallace on State Route 456, where 3,000 internees inhabit this other National Register of Historic Places site.

For the best hands-on perspective on Panhandle mining history, take a drive up Burke Canyon to the now largely abandoned mining towns of Gem, Frisco, Yellow Dog, Mace, and Burke. It’s seven miles one way on the paved State Route 4, which makes for a great bike ride too. Find historic markers at the beginning, middle, and end of the roadway.

Historic black and white photos of male miners, all males, in minding cars, wearing work uniforms and hats, looking stoically at the camera.
Road trip to Wallace, Idaho, and learn about its storied mining history. // Photo courtesy of the Wallace Chamber of Commerce.

Zipline and Bike Park

Silver Streak Zipline is spread out on over 263 acres of forested mountainside above Wallace and includes 10 ziplines. In addition to the zip thrills, it’s also home to SVR GAS, a new mountain bike park that opened in spring of 2022 and includes two pump tracks, a mountain bike jump line, and several miles of shuttled bike trails.

Book a fall zip or bike park tour at Zipwallace.com.

Lodging, Dining, and Shopping

A wave of new businesses have taken root in Wallace, Idaho, in recent years, from brewpubs to craft eateries, a wine bar, coffee shops and cafes, a book store, a quality outdoor apparel shop, and restored historic lodging.

Bring your bike, walking shoes, and curiosity about the past and spend a few days exploring this ever-evolving mountain town. Find a great listing of Wallace lodging, dining, and drinking options at Wallaceid.fun.

Mountain biker getting big air off a jump at SVR Bike Park in Wallace, Idaho.
SvR Bike Park in Wallace, Idaho. // Photo: Mitchell Bryan.

Fall 2022 Events in Wallace

  • Sept. 3-5: Under the Freeway Flea Market: 80 vendors with unique items, food, and beverages along a 1-mile covered flea market space beneath I-90.
  • Sept. 17: Center of the Universe Raffle & Rededication: A pure Wallace-style event celebrating the anniversary of the 2004 Mayor’s Proclamation with toasts, Drum & Bugle Corps Salute, reading of the Proclamation, and raffle to win scores of prizes.
  • Sept. 30-October 2: Fall for History Festival: Learn about the Wallace-area’s checkered past with speaker presentations, mining history tours, live theater, museum visits, guided walking tours, and plenty of quality food and drink.
  • Dec. 2-11: Wallace Hometown Holidays Festival: Make your holiday plans in historic Wallace. Photos and breakfast with Santa, pet and lighted parades, craft fairs, live theater, kids’ pageants, hay rides, and more!

Find more stories about Wallace, Idaho, in the OTO archives.

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Volunteer On Public Lands & Trails https://outthereoutdoors.com/volunteer-on-public-lands-trails/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/volunteer-on-public-lands-trails/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2022 20:33:15 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51777 Volunteer on our public lands and trails -- a healthy activity for all ages. Learn about opportunities with Inland NW organizations.

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By Alana Livingston

To spend time outdoors as a volunteer on public lands and trails is a healthy, family-friendly activity for all.

Recently, while hiking at the Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve, located northwest Spokane County, my son asked, “Can I lead the way today?” My family was starting down the Waikiki Trail towards the first switchback. I noticed the darkened Oregon grapes on the trailside and the browning of the once-gorgeous oceanspray bushes as I followed behind.

Rounding the second switchback, we could hear the sound of the water and the trail began to open up a bit. We said hello to the few walkers we saw out for evening strolls with their dogs and took in the view at the next switchback that stretches out beyond the river to Rattlesnake Ridge. I love to hike in the evening.

Sunset on the horizon of the hillside with view of the Little Spokane River in the Waikiki Springs natural area. Trees and bushes in the meadow alongside the river.
Volunteer on public lands: Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve. // Photo courtesy Inland Northwest Land Conservancy.

Land Stewards

My family recently became volunteer land stewards for the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy (INLC). In this new role, we are able to spend time together as a family, exercising and breathing fresh air as we look after a place we love, Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve. As land stewards for the INLC, we help to design and complete habitat enhancement projects, monitor trails, educate public land users and note wildlife vegetation and hydrologic trends on the land.

We have always spent time hiking at Waikiki Springs, but since becoming stewards we are spending time learning more about the area—the plants, the animals, the Little Spokane River that runs through it, and how we can take better care of it all.

We are getting better at using maps, observing and taking notes, using a compass and basic first aid practices. We are learning and practicing good trail etiquette, the effects of not following these rules, and sharing it with others. We are experiencing what it feels like to be active in our community and to think and act beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture.

Volunteer on public lands: Livingston family on the Waikiki Springs Trail. Parents and children wearing matching blue t-shirts with forest trees in the background.
Volunteer on public lands: Livingston family on the Waikiki Springs Trail. // Photo: Preston Livingston

A lesson we didn’t expect but I have grown increasingly appreciative of is to be intentional with our time. Now we schedule our busy lives around our commitment to this place. In a fast-paced world where we tend to put self care and mental health on the back burner, I am happy to have found something that checks so many boxes on the health and fitness list.

If you are anything like me, when someone says “health and fitness” images of gym memberships, health magazines, and the latest diet fad runs through your mind. I say let the outdoors be your gym and allow your time exercising to be for more than just your body. As a parent, I am happy to have the opportunity to model all of these life lessons by exploring an amazing place with my kids.

Volunteer Opportunities in the Inland NW

In the Inland Northwest, there are a number of organizations with volunteer opportunities to shape your outdoor fitness regime. Groups include: The Lands Council, The Spokane Riverkeeper, Dishman Hills Conservancy, Friends of The Little Spokane River Valley, Washington Trails Association, Friends of the Bluff, Evergreen East, Idaho Trails Association, and Pend Oreille Pedalers.

Many parks also have “friends of” groups with more opportunities. All of these organizations offer events such as clean ups, plantings, trail work, and more. Spokane Humane Society and PAWS need dog walkers, and Habitat for Humanity offers several construction and labor opportunities.

Whether you’re looking for just yourself or your whole family, for occasional events or a bigger commitment, there is something for everyone. Look for volunteer opportunities with organizations you are interested in and redefine what health and fitness mean to you.

Alana Livingston gets to hike as part of her work as the owner of Wander Spokane, a downtown tour business. She wrote about wandering Spokane’s urban wilds in the May/June 2022 issue.

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Hiking Mill Butte – NW Wash. https://outthereoutdoors.com/hiking-mill-butte-nw-wash/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/hiking-mill-butte-nw-wash/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2022 19:04:28 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51765 Mill Butte Trail is a 4.8-mile forested hike, located in the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge in NE Wash. Great for a fall hike!

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The Mill Butte Trail, in the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, is a 4.8-mile forested hike with 625 feet of elevation gain located across the road from refuge headquarters.

The paved parking area has educational displays and a short, barrier-free trail leading to an overlook above a nearby wetland, as well as a toilet.

Cross the road and start the Mill Butte hike at the trailhead kiosk. The trail makes a counter-clockwise loop through the forest, where annual controlled burns keep the understory low and create a park-like view through the woods.

Mill Butte's forest views -- forest with grassy understory, and single track hiking trail.
Mill Butte’s forest views. // Photo: Holly Weiler

The main draw here is the forest, which contains a healthy mix of conifers and several native shrubs with an understory of grass and flowers.

Note how the tree and shrub species change throughout the hike as the trail ascends through a drier landscape, then descends along a seasonal stream with a wetter ecosystem. Late September will bring the last of the wildflowers, and by early October the Western Larch and several native shrub species will begin to show their fall colors.

Don’t miss the short spur trail to the summit of Mill Butte, with a view of nearby mountains and overlooking the mysteriously named Starvation Flat.

The Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge is open to hunting, so wearing blaze orange is recommended during any active hunting seasons. This is a hiking-only trail.

Getting There

The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Area headquarters is located at 1230 Bear Creek Rd., near Colville, Wash. Mill Butte Trail is located just across the road from the main office. No pass required at national wildlife refuge.

View of wetlands, high grass, green bush, and hills in the distance and blue sky.
View of the wetlands from the ADA trail next to Mill Butte. // Photo: Holly Weiler

Holly Weiler is a long-time contributor to Out There Outdoors and writes The Trailhead column for each issue.

Find more trail recommendations in the Hike of the Month column, and hikes especially great for Fall.

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College Outdoor Ed in the Inland NW https://outthereoutdoors.com/college-outdoor-ed-in-the-inland-nw/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/college-outdoor-ed-in-the-inland-nw/#respond Sun, 23 Oct 2022 00:09:57 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51747 Inland NW universities and colleges train the next generation of outdoor recreation and natural resource management leaders.

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Inland Northwest universities and colleges are producing the next generation of natural resource practitioners, land managers, and outdoor leaders who will shape the way forests, parks, and waterways are protected and managed.

Gonzaga, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, Whitworth University and Spokane Community College each offer different takes on what today’s students will need in terms of knowledge, experience, and ethics as they step into their careers during an era of climate change, increased demand for public land recreation, and acrimonious policy disputes.

While each school approaches the responsibility of preparing students for these challenges differently, they all agree that an academic education must be paired with real-world experiences and field work, and all are attempting, through evolved courses, organizations, and degree programs, to focus students’ attention on broader environmental and public service missions.

Outdoor ed class: Eastern Washington University students learn whitewater raft-guide techniques. // Photo courtesy Jeremy Jostad.

Local University and College Outdoor Ed Programs

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga, a private Spokane-based university, offers degrees in Environmental Studies & Sciences within its College of Arts & Sciences.

Brian Henning, a professor and director of the school’s new Center for Climate, Society and the Environment, describes the programs as highly interdisciplinary and says that the programs reflect the school’s Jesuit tradition—students must study philosophy, ethics, and religion as well as science.

He says, “We lean into social justice and hope students leave with a concern for the common good.”

Along with classroom studies, students engage in practicums and internships. Recently, students have taught climate change in local elementary schools and mapped heat zones for the City of Spokane.

Washington State University

At WSU, a public university headquartered in Pullman, students major in Earth Science, Environmental and Ecosystem Science, Forestry, Wildlife Ecology, and Conservation Sciences — all housed in the School of the Environment, a merger of formerly separate disciplines.

Director Allyson Beall King says the programs are more integrated than in the past. “Big ideas are discovered and conceived of when students and professors come together at the intersections of disciplines,” she says. Students at WSU also engage in hands-on field work.

For example, 2022 PhD grad, Kayla Wakulich, who now works for the land trust Utah Open Lands, spent much time planting, measuring, tracking, and monitoring local creek restoration.

Eastern Washington University

Eastern, a public university located in Cheney, offers a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership through the College of Health Science and Public Health.

According to director Jeremy Jostad, students learn to manage people and recreational activities occurring in outdoor spaces. He says the program is heavy on experiential education, with much of the learning taking place in the field (think backpacking, whitewater boating, and mountaineering). Classroom study is also required.

Katrin Ferraro, a 2022 graduate and the Director of Outdoor Recreation & Ski School at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, says that along with the skills-based courses she took classes in diversity and social justice, statistics, and budgeting and was required to conduct research and write academic papers.

Whitworth University & Spokane Community College

Whitworth University and Spokane Community College, both located in Spokane, also offer environmental science, environmental studies, and natural resources management degrees.

Gen Z Leaders Impress Predecessors

Recent graduates from Inland Northwest schools have already taken their seats in agencies, non-profits, and private industry.

Many of these new professionals are members of the so-called Generation Z, and, according to their professors, they are passionate about their work and concerned for the future of the planet and humanity.

“We’re seeing students who want to solve the world’s problems,” says Gonzaga’s Henning. Beall King of WSU adds, “They are kinder, compassionate, and interested in diversity.”

Carrie Herrman, a 2017 Gonzaga graduate and current Outreach Director for Washington-based Save our Wild Salmon, says she believes that her education—especially the work she did for the campus community garden and an environmental organization—prepared her for the real world.

She says, “I learned to ask the right questions, become a better communicator, and lead others through community initiatives and projects.”

Other students agree that their practicums allowed them to develop proficiencies they’ve put to use in their first career jobs. They honed teaching and decision-making skills, collaborated, worked on teams, and managed group dynamics—all skills they say have proven critical in their environmental and outdoor workplaces.

Group of 10 female and male university students dress in outdoor winter-expedition gear and smiling at the camera while standing and kneeling in the snow.
Outdoor Ed Programs in the Inland NW: Eastern Washington University students during a winter camping class expedition near Lookout Pass. // Photo courtesy Katrin Ferraro.

Challenges For Natural Resource Management

Educators at the Inland Northwest universities say their graduates will be responsible for managing extraordinarily complex and intractable environmental and social challenges.

Among the toughest: navigating a growing divide between traditional land-conservationists and climate activists; leading the nation in adapting to and mitigating climate change; finding ways to change public behaviors; and creating meaningful opportunities for a growing and more diverse public in an increasingly crowded natural world.

The new professionals forecast that solutions to climate change and related issues such as water supply, habitat, and conflicting uses will be their generation’s holy grail and will be complicated by social and environmental injustice and on-going political strife.

Future Outlook for Outdoor Rec & Natural Resource Workforce

Many graduates from the Inland Northwest’s colleges and university natural resource and outdoor recreation programs go on to graduate and law school.

Others join consulting and engineering firms, non-profits, legislative offices, government agencies, recreation companies and leisure businesses.

Ryan Griffith, a supervisor with the City of Spokane’s Parks and Recreation Department, says his agency has hired many outdoor students from both Eastern and Gonzaga into both temporary and full-time positions and applauds the programs.

Even so, the speed with which newly minted professionals are finding work and the level of job security and compensation varies greatly and does not appear to be commensurate with current demands and the level of influence they’ll have on critical global resources and issues.

Gonzaga’s Herrman observes, “There are jobs in my field, and the Environmental Studies Department at Gonzaga was constantly sharing our job postings.” She shares that it can be hard to find a job without the university’s assistance.

Other graduates indicated that it took advanced degrees, acquisition of additional certifications, several years of seasonal, nomadic, or part-time work, relocating, and/or a lucky break to land full-time jobs with salaries and benefits sufficient to support themselves and their families.

With current cost of living trends and the time it takes to land a secure, full-time position, some young graduates—like their peers in other fields—are delaying starting families and buying houses. If compensation doesn’t grow along with the challenges and demands, the field risks losing out on highly educated, skilled, and driven people.

Even faced with daunting professional challenges and personal economic realities, Inland Northwest alumni are enthusiastic, optimistic, and expect to remain in their chosen fields for the long term.

Wakulich of WSU says emphatically, “I know I’m in the right field, and I know I will work in it for the rest of my life.” Eastern’s Ferraro says, “Yes! Absolutely,” that she expects to stay in this field for her career.

As Baby Boomers and Generation X leaders exit the workforce, Generation Z professionals will increasingly take the drivers’ seats. Brian Henning suggests that senior professionals usher in the next generation by making space for them and transferring knowledge.

“This and future generations will be solving problems you’ve laid groundwork for. You won’t complete these things—they will,” he sats.

Allyson Beall King, at WSU, is hopeful for the future of the natural environment and public lands because of advances in science, knowledge, and technology, and also because of this generation’s attributes. “I want to see the world when they’re in charge.”

Tabitha Gregory is the author of the non-fiction book “Valdez Rises: One Town’s Struggle for Survival After the Great Alaska Earthquake.” She wrote about small town museums in July-August 2022 issue.

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Inland NW Trail & Outdoor News: Fall 2022 https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-trail-outdoor-news-fall-2022/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-trail-outdoor-news-fall-2022/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2022 19:09:08 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51734 The Trailhead -- Info and updates about trails and outdoor recreation around the Inland Northwest for Fall 2022.

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Welcome to The Trailhead, where we share important information and updates about trails and outdoor recreation around the Inland Northwest! Here is the latest event and conservation news for Fall 2022.

Explorer Backpacks Free for Checkout

Spokane Conservation District is now offering Explorer Backpacks for checkout to local families with K-12 students. Each pack can be checked out for up to two weeks and includes educational materials on one of five different themes (trees, rocks and soil, water, pollinators, and snow).

This program can be paired with Spokane-area libraries’ Check Out Washington Pass, which includes a Discover Pass for free entry into Washington State Parks (and other state-managed lands). The library kits additionally include binoculars and field guides and the check-out period is seven days. Plan a family adventure!

NE Washington Forest Road Closures

The Sullivan/Newport Ranger District of the Colville National Forest will have some temporary closures for road improvement work this fall, impacting access to several popular hiking and backpacking destinations on the forest.

Both Highline Road and Sullivan Creek Road will be closed for several weeks, preventing vehicle access to trailheads for Sullivan Mountain and Crowell Ridge, Gypsy Meadows, Thunder Creek, Shedroof Cut-off, Salmo Mountain, and the Salmo Loop.

Hiker access to Crowell Ridge will need to start at the Red Bluff or Halliday Trail trailheads, and hiker access to the Shedroof Divide will only be available at Pass Creek Pass.

View of Bead Lake below from a rock cliff overlooking the Colville National Forest in NE Washington.
Inland NW: Colville National Forest – site of proposed Bead Lake Loop Trail extension. // Photo: Holly Weiler.

Parking Lot Work at Slavin

Improvement work for trailhead parking at Slavin Conservation Area southwest of Spokane began in September, with completion expected in early November.

Spokane County Parks will do their best to ensure the trails are still accessible during the majority of the work, but there may be times when access is temporarily closed to allow crews to complete crucial steps of the process. Be sure to check Spokane County Park’s website before a visit to Slavin this fall.

Saltese Uplands Expansion

By early October, Saltese Uplands Conservation Area near Liberty Lake, Wash., will grow by 10 percent! Spokane County Parks is expected to close soon on a 54.6-acre addition to the popular hiking, mountain biking, and trail running destination.

View of wetlands, high grass, green bush, and hills in the distance and blue sky.
View of the wetlands from the ADA trail next to Mill Butte. // Photo: Holly Weiler

Fall Trail Projects Need Volunteers

Trail work and public lands stewardship projects continue to seek volunteer help across the region. Fall brings cooler temperatures and plenty of work to be done to keep trails in good shape after high summer use and prepare them for the upcoming ski, fat biking, and snowshoe season.

Holly Weiler is a long-time contributor to Out There Outdoors and writes The Trailhead column for each issue.

Find more trail recommendations in the Hike of the Month column.

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Fitness Fanatics Shop Now In Millwood https://outthereoutdoors.com/fitness-fanatics-shop-now-in-millwood/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/fitness-fanatics-shop-now-in-millwood/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2022 01:55:46 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51720 Fitness Fanatics—Spokane's well-known triathlon, cycling, and Nordic ski specialty shop—recently moved to Millwood, Wash.

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Millwood, Wash.

Fitness Fanatics—Spokane area’s well-known triathlon, cycling, and Nordic ski specialty shop—recently moved to Millwood, Wash. (8919 E. Euclid), from its longtime location on Trent in Spokane Valley.

“I have always loved Millwood—it’s a great little community,” says Robin DeRuwe, who founded Fitness Fanatics 33 years ago in October of 1989.

“My customers, the people, is what keeps me going (as a business owner). They’re awesome,” says DuRuwe. “I personally love to cross-country ski and do triathlons. I do all the sports that we have (gear for) at the shop.”

Located only two miles from its previous location, DuRuwe says the City of Spokane Valley bought her building to make way for road construction of a new round-about.

With its new home in Millwood’s pedestrian-friendly historic district, west of Argonne Ave., Fitness Fanatics is close to the Centennial Trail and convenient for customers heading to Mt. Spokane State Park to pick up snowshoe or Nordic rental gear. (Fitness Fanatics’ on-mountain rental trailer at Mt. Spokane Nordic Ski Park opens Dec. 1, depending on snow and trail grooming conditions.)

Storefront for Fitness Fanatics as its new location in Millwood, Wash., with brick wall, two glass windows, glass front door, bike rack out front, and large black and white store name sign.
Fitness Fanatics new building location in Millwood, Wash. // Photo courtesy Robin DeRuwe.

The shop is already making a strong positive impression on its new neighbors, getting lots of foot traffic, and receiving a warm welcome from neighborhood residents. Free parking is available, both in front and at a lot around the corner. Nearby businesses include Millwood Brewing Company and a farmers’ market.

Fitness Fanatics is looking forward to its annual ski sale and swap November 5-6 (always the first weekend of November) at the new location. Customers can drop off their snowshoe and Nordic ski gear for consignment sale after September 1. 

Visit store website for more details and open hours.

Find more stories about Fitness Fanatics in the OTO archives.

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Yoga In the Wild: Hike+Yoga In Spokane https://outthereoutdoors.com/yoga-in-the-wild-hike-and-yoga-in-spokane/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/yoga-in-the-wild-hike-and-yoga-in-spokane/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2022 01:26:10 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51710 Eclipse Power Yoga, in Spokane, Wash., offers Yoga in the Wild classes and retreats that combine yoga and hiking.

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Love trails? Like yoga? Eclipse Power Yoga, located on the upper South Hill in Spokane, Wash., has opportunities to bring new elements into your yoga practice and deepen your connection to the outdoors by combining yoga and hiking in some truly spectacular settings.

Recently, instructor Jessica Haffner led events that began with short, invigorating hikes that culminate in a yoga and meditation class in either a secluded meadow or at a panoramic viewpoint. The recent September event started at the Dishman Hills Glenrose Trailhead and the latest October Yoga In the Wild class began with a hike from the Steven’s Creek Trailhead on the south side of the Iller Creek Conservation Area.

Eclipse Power Yoga also hosts retreats and backpacking adventures to practice yoga, meditate, hike, and explore the outdoors. The most recent trip was to the North Cascades. In July 2023, the trip will be to Stehekin, Wash., at Lake Chelan.

Upcoming events combining yoga and the outdoors can be found at Eclipsepoweryoga.com.

Eclipse “Yoga In the Wild” in Spokane County, Wash. // Photo courtesy Eclipse Power Yoga.

Find more yoga stories in the OTO archives.

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Mushroom Hunting for King Boletes https://outthereoutdoors.com/mushroom-hunting-for-king-boletes/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/mushroom-hunting-for-king-boletes/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2022 00:34:00 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51707 Sept-November is the season for mushroom hunting for King Boletes during fall in the Inland NW but their bounty depends on Inland NW rains.

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By Rich Leon

The King Bolete mushroom has a large following in many parts of the world and goes by many different names. Boletus edulis is referred to as Cep in France, Pennybun in England, and Stenpilz in Germany. In the U.S., it’s known as the King Bolete or Porcini.

If you were to make a list of the world’s most prized mushrooms, the King Bolete would be right up there at the top along with Morels and Chanterelles. The King Bolete is the most sought-after mushroom in many parts of the world by many different people.

Nowhere is that more evident then the countries of Europe. After the summer and fall rains, people take to the forests in droves in the hope to fill their baskets with these prized mushrooms. The King Bolete can be found locally in the Colville National Forest, Mount Spokane State Park, and the mountains of North Idaho.

There is no one time in the fall that is best to find King Boletes. A lot depends on when we get our fall rains in the Inland Northwest. I have found them as early as September and as late as November, and it can vary widely from year to year.

As far as where to look, Kings favor conifers (pine, spruce, hemlock and fir) but also grow with hardwoods such as oak and birch.

King bolete mushroom in the wild, with a brownish top on a white stem.
Mushroom hunting for King Boletes. // Photo: Shutterstock.

The Bolete mushroom family contains many other fine edibles besides the King Bolete, but there are also a few that are poisonous. The best ones to avoid are the ones with red pores that stain blue when cut.

Experienced mushroom hunters may try a small quantity the first time to see how their system reacts after identifying an edible bolete.

If after a full day of mushroom hunting you are lucky enough to bring home a basket of Kings, then you need to decide what to do with them. Fix them fresh or dry them to be used at a later date.

If you are going to fix your prized mushrooms fresh, you need to be aware that bugs are also fond of them. They tend to start at the base and eat their way up the stem and into the cap. I have a friend that says he doesn’t mind a few bugs; it just adds a little extra protein to the meal. I don’t think I will be joining him for a meal any time soon.

If you choose to dry your mushrooms, you can use a dehydrator or put them on screens in a warm, dry room. Do not use an oven, because they can become too hot and a lot of flavor can be lost.

When dry, store them in glass jars and they will last for several years. You can rehydrate the mushrooms by placing them in a bowl of warm water. Save the water as it makes a flavorful stock.

In case you are wondering, the King does have a Queen. You won’t find her in our local woods though. You will probably have to go to Northern California where she is off visiting other Boletes. Some say the Queen has a better flavor then the King. That is if you are able to find her.

Happy hunting.

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Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap Returns https://outthereoutdoors.com/mt-spokane-ski-patrol-ski-swap-returns/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/mt-spokane-ski-patrol-ski-swap-returns/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2022 23:36:37 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51697 Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap returns to the Spokane Fair & Expo Center on October 28-30, 2022, with over 22,000 items for sale.

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Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap returns to the Spokane Fair & Expo Center on October 28-30, 2022, after a two-year absence because of the pandemic.

“We opted not to hold swap the last two seasons due to Covid health concerns. As first-responders ourselves, we are responsible for community safety,” says Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol (MSSP) Director Kristin Whitaker. “We are very much looking forward to hosting swap again this year.”

More than 22,000 items will be ready for sale by the time doors open for shopping—which is why it’s the biggest winter retail event in the entire Pacific Northwest. Swap’s energy and good vibes essentially makes it a kick-off event for the Inland Northwest’s mountain winter sports season.

New for this year’s event will be a bigger presence by Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park—a non-profit organization totally separate from the 501(3)c entity of Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol—including a beer garden and area to buy season-passes, according to Whitaker.

Nordic, backcountry, alpine touring (AT), and snowshoe gear is also at swap. “The selection of backcountry and AT alpine gear has grown, and we plan to have them in their own section this year,” says Whitaker. Because of high demand, she recommends shopping early on Saturday morning for best selection—same for buying children’s gear.

Admission is $5/person (free for children age 12 and younger) and includes both Saturday and Sunday. Whitaker encourages shoppers to return on Sunday for 25% off red-tag items.

Reg wagon that says Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol on its side, carrying a load of new snowboards and skis for sale at the annual ski swap event.
Shop vendor merchandise check-in during Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap. // Photo courtesy MSSP.

Ski Swap History

Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol was founded in 1938, making it one of the oldest member groups of National Ski Patrol. More impressive, it’s one of the largest all-volunteer patrols in the U.S. (if not THE largest)—and the largest patrol in the Inland Northwest, with nearly 170 patrollers. Most patrols comprise both paid and volunteer patrollers.

In 1964—in the days of leather ski boots and skinny, straight skis made of wood or metal—MSSP Director Marlen Guell learned from a friend in Colorado where patrols were hosting “ski swap” events to raise money.

Swap is a brilliant yet simple idea: host a single-location shopping event where local ski shops bring gear and the public can bring in their used gear to sell and buy new, essentially “swapping” out old gear.

Swap founders who organized the very first Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap include Guell and fellow patrollers Jack and Edna Fruit, Dutch Andres, and Lee and Jackie Bratcher. They wanted to “help the [Spokane] community…to save money and keep skiing,” in addition to making swap a fundraiser, says Gloria Fletcher, a long-time volunteer for MSSP, swap committee member, and de factor historian for MSSP.

Money raised, then as well as now, goes towards purchasing medical and first aid supplies as well as rescue and transport equipment. (MSSP never charges for aid services.)

With Guell as swap director, the first MSSP Ski Swap took place in a back room of the Armory building in downtown Spokane. “Not many people came,” says Fletcher, but the event raised $200 for patrol, only because participating ski shops were asked to donate to patrol.

For the second swap, in 1965, the committee used an empty car dealership downtown—cleaning and painting walls to get it ready, painting a big ski mural. With more public attention, more shoppers came.

During the next two years, swap took place at Spokane’s downtown Civic Center and then at a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. By then, “advertising was better, and it was pretty crowded with equipment,” Fletcher says. “So, in 1968, the Swap Committee decided they had to move to the Spokane County Fairgrounds”—where it has taken place ever since.

As the event grew, so did its notoriety—so much so that many years ago, MSSP had the name “Ski Swap” and its event logo officially trademarked. Now, swap encompasses four large bays within the Spokane Fair & Expo Center.

Row of alpine skis, standing against the wall, with sales tags on them.
Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap has both new and used alpine skis for sale. // Photo: Amy McCaffree

Legacy of Service

The two patrol couples who helped found Ski Swap, Jack and Edna Fruit and Lee and Jackie Bratcher, attended every one, and continued volunteering as alumni patrollers, until 2020—when the pandemic cancelled swap. Their smiles and go-getter energy inspired younger generations of patrollers, year after year.

Lee and Jackie’s last swap was in 2019. By then in their 80s, they both died in 2021. “Losing Lee and Jackie was hard,” says Whitaker. On January 15, 2022, a “Final Sweep” memorial took place on the mountain.

MSSP published a tribute on its Instagram and Facebook social media pages, with a photo: “This cherished couple donated their time, talent—even vacation days—to the betterment of Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol. They were pivotal in the development and operations of the Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap, working every day at every Ski Swap since its inception. Not only were they instrumental in building the ski patrol building—but their selflessness and dedication was core to building the culture and sense of community carried on by today’s Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol. Together, always together, they left an impression in our hearts and on our slopes.” 

Jackie and Lee Bratcher smiling at camera with Lee's arm around his wife.
Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap volunteers and ski swap co-founders, Jackie and Lee Bratcher, pictured here at the 2012 patrol Christmas party. // Photo courtesy of Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol.

That cold January night, current and alumni patrollers—all wearing their patrol jackets—along with Bratcher family members gathered near the top of Mt. Spokane’s Parkway Express (chair 3). Both Lee and Jackie’s red patrol jackets were ceremonially placed in a rescue toboggan and a “last call” on the radio was given.

Then, with lights turned off, a serpentine line of skiers, each one holding high a lighted red flare, quietly and solemnly made their way from the top of Parkway Express (chair 3) down Northwest Passage and Ego Flats to the patrol lodge. It’s a beautiful Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol tradition, amazing to witness.

The dedicated service of the Bratchers, Fruits, and hundreds of other Mt. Spokane ski patrollers has maintained “the legacy of ski swap as a community event,” Whitaker says. Everyone on patrol is proud of swap’s “longevity as a staple in the Spokane community [to provide] affordable access to gear to get more people up to the mountain.”

This year for Jack and Edna Fruit, both in their 90s, attending the 56th Ski Swap will be challenging. Health issues prevent Jack from coming, but Fletcher plans to ensure Edna gets a chauffeured ride.

“Since Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol hasn’t had a Swap for two years, because of Covid,” Fletcher says, “we think this will be an amazing one.”

Gear at This Year’s Ski Swap

About 20 ski shops from across Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon bring merchandise. Shop owners know Inland Northwest skiers and snowboarders are as passionate about great deals as they are about their sports.

Priority is given to local shops, according to Gloria Fletcher, MSSP swap committee member. But trucks full of gear will be arriving from businesses as far away as Boise and McCall, Idaho; Seattle and Portland areas; and even Great Falls, Montana.

About 80% of swap merchandise is provided by ski shops—“everything from brand-new current season gear to last season’s gear, still new and unwrapped,” says Whitaker. The rest is brought in by the public for consignment sale, which is a big draw for many shoppers, especially families. Though people can sell (and buy) items through online marketplaces, MSSP Ski Swap is more fun and less hassle.

Public check-in for sale items is Friday, Oct. 28, 3-8 p.m., at the north side entrance of Spokane Fair & Expo Center. Everything must be clean and in good condition. On Sunday, after swap ends, people can pick-up their checks and any unsold equipment.

Find complete details for the 2022 Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap at skipatrolskiswap.com, and look for event updates on the swap’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Bikes & Brews Around Kootenay Lake, B.C. https://outthereoutdoors.com/bikes-brews-around-kootenay-lake-b-c-canada/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/bikes-brews-around-kootenay-lake-b-c-canada/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2022 19:28:16 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51504 Mountain biking and brewery hopping around British Columbia's Kootenay Lake region, including East Shore, Kaslo and Ainsworth, and Nelson.

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By Vince Hempsall

I’m on a “SLAYcation” road trip around the West Kootenay region of British Columbia visiting the newest mountain bike trails and breweries.

Along with photographer Peter Moynes, the Sprinter van we’re driving is state-of-the-art, complete with a solar-powered beer fridge and in-board air compressor for our bike tires. With it, we’re driving back in time. Not just the age before COVID, but a pre-iPhone time when people actually spoke in person.

Our roadtrip starts on the East Shore, which, as we discover immediately after disembarking the ferry, is like driving back to 2005, because we can’t see anyone on their smartphone.

“The East Shore” is a local term that refers to the area on the east shoreline of Kootenay Lake encompassing Riondel, Crawford Bay, Gray Creek and a few other tiny communities. It can be accessed via Highway 3A from Creston or the Kootenay ferry, the longest free scenic ferry in the world.

At its eastern terminal is the quaint Ladybug Coffee stand, which serves the heartiest breakfast sandwich in the province, and it’s here we realize we can ditch the Trailforks app and just chat up the locals for beta on where to ride, kind of like we all used to do at the turn of the century.

Man in the driver's seat of Sprinter van driving onto the loading dock of the Kootenay Lake Ferry.
Loading the Kootenay Lake Ferry, the longest free ferry in the world, en route to Kaslo. // Photo: Peter Moynes.

East Shore of Kootenay Lake

The East Shore is a place where social media and texting holds little sway as proven by our immediate connection with a random dude named Evan who we meet at the Ladybug. He asks us what we’re up to, and we say we’re looking for good mountain biking trails. He replies, “Oh, you definitely have to talk with Farley then. He’s responsible for a lot of the new trails here. I was just hanging out with him yesterday. Here’s his phone number.”

We call Farley and he tells us he’s a director of the East Shore Trail and Bike Association (ESTBA), knows all the sanctioned trails intimately, and lists his favorites. He then recommends we speak to Luke, who owns the broom company in Crawford Bay.

Another face-to-face visit, this time with Luke, garners us a list of trails to hit up as well as a recommendation to call Sandy Oates, the president of ESTBA, for more. “Here’s his number,” says Luke. 

We decide to hit a sanctioned network on the peninsula between Crawford Bay and Pilot Bay. It includes the beautiful Height of Land trail that offers a unique experience: viewing the Kokanee Glacier from the warmth of a Ponderosa pine forest. Whenever we stopped to take in the stellar views, I was overwhelmed by the cozy smell of the trees, reminiscent of hot-buttered movie theatre popcorn.

ESTBA oversees over 30 kilometers of trails around these parts and we highly recommend visiting—not just for the riding, but for the experience of meeting locals who’d rather spend time talking to you than staring at their phones.

No trip to the East Shore would be complete without a stop at the Gray Creek Store, our favorite purveyor of everything from wood stoves and cutlery to candy bars and fishing tackle. Talk about taking a step back in time. We wish there were more places like this in the world.

Writer Vince Hempsall takes a breather on the Kaslo River Trail, while mountain biking, with on of "The Koots" troll-like statues in the background.
Writer Vince Hempsall takes a breather while mountain biking the Kaslo River Trail with on of “The Koots” statues in the background. // Photo: Peter Moynes.

Kaslo and Ainsworth

The trip to the East Shore built up our appetites, so after returning across the ferry we immediately hit Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort for a bite. The hot springs have historical significance to the Ktunaxa people, who refer to them as “nupika wu’u” or “Spirit Water.”

Ainsworth is, indeed, an amazing place to rejuvenate your spirits, especially since undergoing many renovations after being sold to the Lower Kootenay Band of Creston in 2015.

All we had time for was a restoration of our energy with food and beer, but we enjoyed the redesigned restaurant, which offers beauty views of the surrounding mountains and Kootenay Lake.

We were in a race against the light, so booked it north where we’d heard of a new art installation tucked amongst the trees of the Kaslo River Trail. We parked at the northern trailhead, crossed the covered bridge, and it wasn’t long before we spotted the statues peeking out behind moss-covered boulders.

Designed by the Koots Artist Collective, a group of three artists from the community of Argenta, these life-sized figures are popping up all around North Kootenay Lake. The largest concentration of them are alongside this three-kilometer loop trail in Kaslo, which is appropriate, as the woods here are the perfect environs for pixies, fairies, and other whimsical creatures. The kids will love this one.

When it was too dark, Peter and I drove the five minutes into downtown Kaslo, doffed the bike gear, and hit the Angry Hen Brewery for a flight. Brewmaster Shirley Warne established this craft brew pub in 2017 and she was there holding court with a number of other locals when we arrived. We enjoyed plenty of tasty brews with such names as Kluckin Kölsch, Tough Old Bird, and Roostertail (my favorite) before Peter insisted we stagger around the sidewalks snapping photos.

Eventually we walked up Front Street to the Kaslo Hotel where we enjoyed more beer and at some point went to our room, which I’m told by Peter was very stylish, comfortable, and had a beautiful view of Kootenay Lake. I liked the pillows.

Man standing at a table, weaving natural materials together to create a broom, at the North Woven Broom Co.
North Woven Broom Co. on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. Their artisan brooms have been featured in Harry Potter films. // Photo: Peter Moynes.

Nelson

The following day was spent recovering in our hometown of Nelson. Normally we’d be excited about visiting the various breweries here on assignment, but, given the superfluous swilling in Kaslo the night before, we can only share with you our list of the best breweries and trails here based on decades of drinking and riding.

The craft brew establishments include Nelson Brewing Company, Backroads, and Torchlight. Visit them all. Like Kaslo, Nelson is small enough that the breweries are within walking distance of one another. But I recommend drinking more responsibly than we did to avoid a hangover.

For family-friendly riding, check out Fairly High Trail off Giveout Creek Road. For perfectly buff downhill, visit the Morning Mountain trails. As for old-school fun, hit the Mountain Station network. Info for all these can be found through the Nelson Cycling Club.

Originally published as “Bikes, Beer, and One Big Lake in Canada” in the July-August 2022 print issue.

Vince Hempsall lives in Nelson, BC, where he spends his time rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and mountain biking (when not working). He is the editor of “Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine.”

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5 Things To Never Do at the Lake https://outthereoutdoors.com/5-things-to-never-do-at-the-lake/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/5-things-to-never-do-at-the-lake/#respond Tue, 04 Oct 2022 20:51:52 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51492 From waterskiing without a spotter to jumping from a boat going full throttle, Jim Johnson explains 5 things he learned not to do at the lake.

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By Jim Johnson

I’ve lots of pleasant memories of time spent at the lake. Unpleasant memories? Not as many, but enough to make a list. Most of these lake-related experiences were the outcome of questionable or perhaps poor judgment, and I don’t recommend anyone following in the footsteps of my folly.

While a college student, a friend and I went to my family’s lake place and had to wait longer than expected for a third friend to show up for water skiing. I suggested we continue anyway, minus the third person that allows for the legally-required spotter whose job it is to hoist an orange flag whenever the skier is down in the water.

Long Lake (aka Lake Spokane) really is a long and spacious body of water that left plenty of room, especially several decades ago, to ski away from other boaters, I reasoned.

I’d always considered uniformed officers and flashing blue lights the domain of land until that day. Seeing them behind us on the water was a surreal and sobering experience for sure. Skiing without an observer must have been a rare violation back then.

When I went to court a few weeks later hoping for a fine reduction, I had to explain to the puzzled judge what the ticket was all about.

Man making a turn while water skiing on a lake, with a big spray of water coming from his ski.
Jim Johnson skiing at Long Lake back in the day, hopefully with a spotter. // Photo courtesy Jim Johnson.

On another occasion, a very experienced fisherman friend invited me to opening day at Amber Lake in eastern Washington’s channeled scablands. I had no cause not to trust him when he explained that with a limit of seven fish, our boat of three anglers could bring in 21 in total. Sounded law-abiding to me.

The third member of our group had a very poor day fishing. When we returned to shore with our 21 fish, we were met by a game warden who’d been watching us with binoculars.

Who had a poor rest of the day was quickly reversed. Being clearly in the wrong yet not an intentional poacher, I didn’t bother going to court and mailed the full fine amount.

Once, while slalom skiing on the lake-like reservoir waters of the Snake River, I fell, rolling across the surface after my ski came off.

By freak chance, my foot struck the rogue ski, breaking my fifth metatarsal. I was in a cast for several weeks. Certainly an item for the unpleasant list, but the potential for much worse occurred one beautiful day at Loon Lake.

Alone on a floating dock, I determined it might be fun to dive under it and swim from one side to the other. Once again my foot played a lead role in a lake-based misadventure when it somehow got caught in some chicken wire on the underside of the dock and I got caught underwater.

Inspecting how best to extricate my foot may have been the most rational reaction, but instead I panicked, kicking and thrashing. A knee-jerk, impulsive response is not how I usually operate, but in this case it was. My foot, thankfully, came loose before my lungs gave out and I swam free.

Is jumping from a boat at full throttle by thrill-seeking high school students poor decision-making? Definitely. Even when we did it years ago.

Lifelong friends Mike and Dave Dixon and I deduced that when jumping from a boat you have full control over how you enter, unlike falling when water skiing. Our reasoning resulted in this activity making both the questionable lake activity and pleasant memories list, depending on the day.

Best/worst technique—the cannonball. Mike once suffered the biggest loss on one of his jumps not from the boat but from the end of the dock—taking flight from the dock with his wallet on him. The murky water made finding it impossible that day.

My father eventually sold the family lake place, and one day he called, asking if I’d stop by the house of the couple who bought it. I lived a few blocks away and walked over. They handed me a worn wallet that had spent 20 years at the lake bottom.

My unpleasant list remained the same, but Mike’s was reduced by one.

James P. Johnson was born, raised, and is a longtime resident of the Inland Northwest. His newest book, “Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Freshwater Shark Attacks,” came out March 2022.

Find more Way Out There column stories in the OTO archives.

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Lakeside Bike Trails In the Inland NW https://outthereoutdoors.com/lakeside-bike-trails-in-the-inland-nw/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/lakeside-bike-trails-in-the-inland-nw/#respond Tue, 04 Oct 2022 20:07:14 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51525 Five lakeside bike trails in the Inland NW. Enjoy lake views as you pedal along, and find picnic rest stops and swim access points.

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After a sweaty bike ride, take a dip in a lake. Here are five lakeside bike trails on paved pathways in the Spokane area and north Idaho. Enjoy lake views as you pedal along, and find picnic rest stops and swim access points.

Washington

Fish Lake: Columbia Plateau State Park Trail

Begin at Fish Lake trailhead off Cheney-Spokane Road (WA State Parks Discover Pass required for vehicle parking). The first 3.75 miles from Fish Lake to the City of Cheney are paved. You can continue to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and find Cheney and Amber Lakes on a crushed basalt surface.

Alternatively, start your ride at the Cheney trailhead and pedal out-and-back to either Fish Lake or Turnbull.

More info: parks.wa.gov, wta.org.

Child and parent taking a rest-break while biking on a trail above Fish Lake, with bikes resting against a bench.
Biking along Fish Lake. // Photo: Carol Corbin

Medical Lake: The Medical Lake Trail

In Medical Lake, a quaint city east of Spokane, the Medical Lake Trail offers a journey around the lake. Start in town—you can’t miss seeing the trail from Lafevre Street in the downtown area, past the high school, where it changes name to Lake Shore Road. Or you can access the trail from the north trailhead off 4th Street, near Peper Park on the lake’s north end. Here you’ll find swimming access.

Alternatively, you can start your ride from Waterfront Park and pedal along the west side of the lake. Continue around the lake along 4th Street, past Coney Island Park on the east side (no swimming access; watch out for goose droppings), and then turn south onto Jefferson Street, with an option to take S. Lake Drive to better see lake views. Both streets end at the paved trail at Lake Shore Road. Continue along the trail and finish the three-mile ride back to Waterfront Park.

More info: Medical-lake.org.

Idaho

Lake Coeur d’Alene: North Idaho Centennial Trail:

Extends from Coeur d’Alene City Beach to the Washington-Idaho state border 24 miles away. Starting from City Park in downtown CDA, pedal past Sunspot at Yap-Keehn-Um Beach (aka NIC beach, great for swimming), then along the Spokane River and W. River Ave past the North Idaho College campus. Riverstone Park makes a great turn-around point.

More info: Nictf.org.

Lake Coeur d’Alene: Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

Begin at Heyburn State Park trailhead and cross the historic Chatcolet Bridge, which marks the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Follow the lake shoreline to the town of Harrison.

More info: Friendsofcdatrails.org.

Four bikes standing and leaning against the railing of a bridge over a lake.
Chatcolet Bridge on Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. // Photo: Carol Corbin.

Lake Pend Oreille: Sandpoint Serenity Lee Trails & Long Bridge

The trailhead In downtown Sandpoint isn’t far from City Beach, but can be tricky to find. Off Bridge Street, behind the Bonner County Courthouse At 1St Ave/Lake Street, the official trailhead info kiosk and a few parking spots are located under the overpasses for Hwy 2 and Hwy 95.

Head south along the lake, past Dog Beach Park, to Long Bridge. This two-mile bridge has a wide, barrier-protected right-of-way for bikers and pedestrians paralleling U.S. Hwy 95. After the bridge, the trail continues into the town of Sagle. More info: Pendoreillepedalers.org.

Man biking to City Beach in Sandpoint, approaching a big overhead sign at the park entrance.
Gateway to Sandpoint City Beach. // Photo: Amy McCaffree.

Originally published as “5 Bike Trails with Lake Views” in the July-August 2022 print issue.

Find stories about regional bike trails in the OTO archives.

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History of a Classic Northwest Sailboat https://outthereoutdoors.com/history-of-a-classic-northwest-sailboat/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/history-of-a-classic-northwest-sailboat/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2022 21:50:23 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51489 Story of a classic Northwest sailboat, Empress of Pullman--one of the many wooden sailboats made by Fred and Don Smith in western Wash.

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By Chris Maccini

On a Friday afternoon in mid-July, three old high school friends and I arrived on the shore of Priest Lake in north Idaho. Puffy white clouds speckled the blue sky, and a warm, steady breeze rippled the water from the south. The breeze was crucial because hitched behind my Subaru was a bright red, 12-foot plywood sailboat named Empress of Pullman.

All the gear and supplies we’d need for two nights of beach camping at Upper Priest Lake were stowed beneath the foredeck. It was a perfect Inland Northwest summer day, the beginning of a long-anticipated weekend.

Upper Priest Lake is one of the true gems of the Northwest’s inland waters. Tucked into the top of Idaho’s panhandle, just 14 miles from the Canadian border, it’s one of those rare places that is accessible only by trail or boat.

Even more rare, its shores are entirely free of private development. You’ll find no resorts or multi-million-dollar vacation homes, only a few primitive campgrounds maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

Author and his friend standing in a red sailboat on Upper Priest Lake with white sales open.
Chris Maccini and friend Ryan Campbell sailing on Upper Priest Lake. // Photo: Robert Millsap.

Paddling, sailing, or motoring up the 2 ½ mile-long thoroughfare that connects to the main lake feels like traveling back through time. Emerging into Upper Priest, the view seems similar to what visitors would have seen hundreds—even thousands—of years ago: unbroken stands of evergreen trees covering rolling hills, cool clear water, and serene, secluded beaches.

This trip felt imbued with a particular anxiety and importance because it was the summer of 2020. The pandemic was still in its first wave. Since March, we’d all been learning about social distancing, wiping down surfaces, disinfecting grocery bags, and turning T-shirts into face masks.

And, of course, we’d been staying indoors. Watching spring turn to summer without getting outside to enjoy our region’s natural beauty felt like a special kind of torture. They’d even closed Washington’s state parks!

My friends and I hadn’t made the decision to gather lightly. Spending two hours together in a car—even with the windows down—felt dangerous. But we figured we’d be outside all weekend. Plus, we were all young and healthy and had a low probability of developing serious illness if we did get sick. So we risked it.

Two friends drove in from Hood River and Leavenworth. The four of us met up in Spokane, packed our gear, and made the two-hour drive to Priest Lake.

History of A Classic: the Empress of Pullman

Empress of Pullman, the boat my friends and I would sail for the weekend, was literally built for Inland Northwest Lakes. Designed in 1959 by William H. Short, the Empress is a San Francisco Pelican.

Short’s intention was an easy-to-build, trailerable, family sailboat that could stand up to the San Francisco Bay’s notoriously gusty conditions.

In 1963, Fred and Don Smith, two boatbuilding brothers from Samish Island, Wash., read an article about the Pelican in Rudder magazine. The flat-bottomed, lightweight plywood design seemed like it might be perfect for sailing and beach-hopping in the San Juan Islands in northwest Washington. The brothers ordered plans from William Short and built one for themselves.

Around the same time, a WSU professor named Bob Littlewood was searching for a small sailboat he could pull behind his car to lakes in the Inland Northwest. The Pelican fit the bill. At just 12 feet long, it’s compact enough to be stored on its trailer in a single-car garage, yet it’s roomy enough to carry a family and a weekend’s worth of camping gear.

Two men squatting to examine a nautical map of Priest Lake, with view of the lake in the distance.
Robert Millsap and Beau Carillo consider a chart of Priest Lake before traveling up the Thoroughfare. // Photo: Chris Maccini.

Bob ordered one from the fledgling Smith’s Boat Shop, and when it was completed in 1965, the Smith brothers personally delivered it to Bob’s home in Pullman, Wash. Bob christened his new boat with the name, Empress of Pullman.

The Smith brothers went on to build hundreds of Pelicans and the design became a true northwest classic. Frequent Pelican races and gatherings were held in the San Juan islands, which continue to this day.

For the next 50 years, Bob owned the Empress and enjoyed sailing on inland lakes with his family, including his daughter, Paula.

Finding the Empress

In 2015, I was twenty-seven years old and living in Seattle. A few years earlier, I’d sold the Newport 28 sailboat that I’d lived aboard for two years, and I was longing for a way to get back on the water.

Like so many Northwest sailors, I was attracted to the Pelican. My first job out of college had been at the Center for Wooden Boats, a maritime heritage nonprofit that maintains and rents a fleet of Pelicans at their satellite location on Camano Island. I’d fallen in love with the Pelican’s quirkiness and versatility.

One day, I saw a post in a neighborhood Facebook group advertising a “free sailboat.” The person didn’t give many details. All she knew was that it was something called a “pelican” and it belonged to her neighbor, a woman named Paula Littlewood. I responded to the post immediately and made plans to meet Paula that same day.

It was Paula who told me the origin story of the Empress of Pullman. Her father, then in his eighties, could no longer use the boat. It had been sitting under a tarp in her Seattle driveway for a couple of years. The trailer’s frame was covered in rust and its tires had gone flat and fallen off their rims.

It was time, Paula explained, for the boat to go to someone who could give her new life. That’s how I became the Empress of Pullman’s second owner.

Pelican Sailboats resting on the rocky Pelican Beach at sunset.
Pelican sailboats on Pelican Beach at Cypress Island, Washington. // Photo: Chris Maccini.

New adventures For the Empress

Over the next few months, I revived the Empress, replacing sections of wood that had begun to rot, giving her a fresh red coat of paint, and returning her sails and rigging to working order.

That fall, my wife and I moved to Spokane to attend graduate school at Eastern Washington University. We brought the Empress of Pullman with us, back to the waters of her origin.

All this history traveled with me as I pushed the Empress of Pullman off the rocky boat launch at Priest Lake’s Beaver Creek Campground. I climbed aboard, hoisted the mainsail, then the jib, and the summer’s warm wind propelled us across the lake toward the mouth of the Thoroughfare.

That weekend, my friends and I reveled in the time together, newly precious after months of isolation. We mulled the uncertainty of the world: the pandemic, the protests for racial justice erupting in cities across the country. We gave thanks for our families’ health and safety. We cooked fresh cornmeal cakes, sizzling with oil in a cast iron skillet over an open fire. We laughed until our sides ached, and tears ran down our cheeks. We lay on our backs on the beach and watched the stars blink to light before retiring to our tents.

Meeting The Boatbuilder

Later that same summer, my wife and I took the Pelican back across Washington State for a few days of sailing in the San Juan Islands. In part, it was a celebration of our fifth wedding anniversary for which we’d planned a trip to Europe that had been cancelled by the pandemic.

We launched in Anacortes, Wash., and sailed north, to a spot on the far end of Cypress Island called Pelican Beach—so named for the fleet of boats that so often sailed over from Samish Island to camp or picnic there.

As we approached, we saw another Pelican on the beach. Its owner helped us haul the Empress onto land and asked whether we knew Fred Smith.

“No,” I said, “but I know he built our boat.”

The man’s face broke into a grin. “Well, stick around,” he said. “Fred will be here tomorrow to celebrate his 92nd birthday.”

Sure enough, the next afternoon, 92-year-old Fred Smith arrived at the helm of a Pelican, along with eight other Pelicans he’d built, all captained by friends. When I told Fred my story, he was interested to see our boat. He remembered building the Empress of Pullman for Bob Littlewood 55 years earlier and pointed out several details (“mistakes,” he called them) which had changed in his designs over the years.

“I wasn’t born a boat builder.” Fred said with a twinkle in his eye. “I got better after 50 years or so.”           

Author and boatbuilder examining Chris's sailboat while it rests on a rocky beach.
Chris Maccini (right) examines his sailboat with boatbuilder Fred Smith. // Photo: Tracie Fowler.

Empress of Pullman Lives On

There’s one final chapter in the Empress of Pullman’s story. Last fall, my wife and I made the decision to buy a slightly larger boat. Something a little more comfortable that requires less maintenance. We settled on a Catalina 22, a fiberglass classic.

Once again, it was time for the Empress of Pullman to find a new home. Given her pedigree, I struggled with the idea of selling her to a complete stranger. So instead of doing so, I contacted the Center for Wooden Boats and inquired whether I could donate the boat for use in their rental fleet.

On Memorial Day weekend, I drove the Empress over Snoqualmie pass one last time and delivered her to the Center for Wooden Boats, where I hope she’ll be enjoyed by Northwest sailors for many years to come.

Originally published as “Sailing an Inland Empress: The Story of a Class Northwest Sailboat” in the July-August 2022 print issue.

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Lakeside Dining Spots In North Idaho https://outthereoutdoors.com/lakeside-dining-spots-in-north-idaho/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/lakeside-dining-spots-in-north-idaho/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2022 20:26:52 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51502 8 lakeside dining destinations off the beaten path, offering incredible views, good food, and excellent drinks.

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Most of us know the larger, popular lakeside restaurants in the Inland Northwest. This list of 8 lakeside dining and imbibing destinations off the beaten path goes outside the “boat” — smaller, out-of-the-way spots with incredible views, good food, and excellent drinks.

Lake Coeur d’Alene

The Buoy Bar & Grill CDA, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The Buoy started as a burger boat delivering delicious food to boaters. Now, they have a sweet spot in McEuen Park at the top of the public dock serving juicy burgers, fish tacos, and a variety of margaritas, beers, and other drinks. Enjoy live music with lake views in a family-friendly environment.

Rowan’s Island Grill, Harrison, Idaho

This new Hawaiian food truck has quickly become popular with the Harrison locals! Grab a plate of teriyaki chicken, Kalua pig, or spam musubi and eat at the park or public beach. Vegan and gluten free options available.

Latitudes, Carlin Bay, Harrison, Idaho

Voted the Inlander’s 2022 Best Food Truck in North Idaho, Latitudes offers their own twist on fine dining. From flatbreads and burgers to an extensive kids’ menu, coconut shrimp, and famous twice-a-week “Prime Night,” they cover the bases. There is plenty of outdoor seating, live music, and a new pagoda too.

Conkling Marina & Resort, Worley, Idaho

Find a spot to park the boat and enjoy a memorable meal at the Steamboat Grill or an ice-cold drink at the Starboard Lounge. You can even order your Quinoa Salad and Braised Short Rib Tacos online and have a boat lunch on the water.

Conkling Marina and Resort featuring large elevated dining deck with table umbrellas and lodge with wraparound deck-balcony.
Conkling Marina and Resort on Lake Coeur d’Alene. // Photo: Shallan Knowles

Hayden Lake

The Boathouse, Hayden Lake, Idaho

Situated on the south side of the Hayden Lake, the Boathouse is a lakeside dining spot that offers both food and a convenience store. The bistro menu features burgers, sandwiches, and salads, and there’s a full bar. New this year: soft serve ice cream!

Priest Lake

Tyee Coffee + Goods, Coolin, Idaho

This cool café offers an appetizing breakfast and lunch menu to enjoy on the expansive deck with views of the lake. And Tyee’s coffee is pretty good too.

Lake Pend Oreille

Dish at Dover Bay, Dover, Idaho

With menu items like edamame tossed with truffle oil and black sesame seeds, Crispy Bourbon Chicken Fritters, and Grilled Hawaiian Escolar with honey-gochujang sauce, this out-of-the-way restaurant has made a name for itself. Dish At Dover Bay also has a full bar, long wine list, beer taps, and waterfront patio.

The Lake House Bar and Grill, Bayview, Idaho

This floating restaurant immerses you in lake views while you sip a craft cocktail. The menu is wide ranging, from Avocado Fries, a Smoked Pastrami Sandwich, Salmon BLT, and Strawberry Float Cake.

Cocolalla Lake

The View Café, 462109 US-95, Cocolalla, Idaho

This modest café with outdoor seating overlooking the lake sources meat locally and serves breakfast all day. The burger and sandwich menu is comprehensive and creative, and there are a few salads choices too.

Hauser Lake

Embers by the Lake, Hauser, Idaho

This fun lakeside restaurant serves wood-fired artisan pizza all day long and is the perfect place to hang out. The deck features a fire pit for roasting s’mores.

Spirit Lake

Sedlmayer’s Resort & Restaurant, Spirit Lake, Idaho

Previously the Boars Nest bar, Sedlmayers reopened in 2021 under new ownership with a new look and menu with Sunday morning breakfast, weekend lunch and dinner, a full bar, and live music.

Diamond Lake

Edgewater Lounge, Newport, Wash.

Edgewater’s chef brings 20 years of culinary experience to this classy lakeside restaurant that uses local meats and other local products when available. Dine in or take out breakfast, lunch, or dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

Moon over Coeur d'Alene Lake at sunset.
Moon over Coeur d’Alene Lake at sunset // Photo: Holly Weiler.

Originally published as “Lakeside Gems Off the Beaten Path: Dining & Imbibing On the Water” in the July-August 2022 issue.

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Small-Town Museums of the Inland NW https://outthereoutdoors.com/small-town-museums-of-the-inland-nw/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/small-town-museums-of-the-inland-nw/#respond Fri, 30 Sep 2022 18:57:20 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51486 Learn fascinating history by exploring small-town museums of the Inland NW, including Davenport and Colville, WA, and Wallace, ID.

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Explore the history of the places where we play by visiting small-town museums around the Inland Northwest.

A surprising number of intriguing and entertaining small-town museums stand along the routes to the Inland Northwest’s hiking, biking and boating destinations. These museums offer the outdoor enthusiast a new perspective on the natural areas to which they travel.

The region’s human history dates back thousands of years and is inextricably tied to the natural world. Our forests, waterways, fish and wildlife have supported indigenous communities, settlers, adventurers, towns, and industries.

As a matter of fact, it would be surprising to visit anywhere in the region that does not already have a human story attached to it. Those stories, when known, add depth, meaning, and greater connection to our favorite places.

An indigenous-made sturgeon-nosed canoe.
Small-town museum: The Keller Heritage Center includes a display of a sturgeon-nosed canoe. // Photo: Tabitha Gregory.

The museums listed below are all worth a stop. Displays are arranged chronologically and in categories (think arrow heads, baskets, typewriters, household implements, and farm tools). Dioramas are packed with artifacts – sometimes to overflowing.

In addition, on the grounds of the museums below you’ll find cabins, a one-room schoolhouse, fire lookouts, sawmills, a chapel, and a full-sized 1910 house filled with original furnishings and décor.

Keep in mind that these facilities are largely operated on a shoestring budget and managed by volunteers. Small town museums typically begin with family collections and grow largely by happenstance and generosity. Exhibits and labels are crafted over decades, often by local old timers or volunteers, and reflect their own unique perspectives, interests, outlooks, and sensitivities.

Visitors may choose to view exhibits as a starting point for understanding timelines, themes, and historical figures of our region’s history, then take a deeper dive by reading some of the many well-written and researched articles and books out there.

Forested dirt trail winding through the forest.
Wolf Trails in Newport, WA. // Photo courtesy of Gayne Sears.

Pend Oreille County Museum Historical Society (Newport, Wash.)

On the way from Spokane to Schweitzer, Sandpoint, Priest Lake, and Lake Pend Oreille, this museum is operated by the Pend Oreille County Historical Society.

It includes artifacts and antiques representing the region’s lifestyles and industry including needlework, household implements, typewriters, cash registers, musical instruments, tools, machinery, and vehicles. There is also an impressive and comprehensive collection of tools used for cutting and managing ice.

Don’t miss the mockups of a sawmill, cabin, fire lookout tower, schoolhouse, and chapel, all of which are walk-in and hands-on.

The museum is located in the historic I. & W.N. Depot Building at 402 S. Washington Ave. in Newport, Wash. Admission is $5 per adult (children free), and hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m., and it’s open May 28 through September 5. More info at Pochsmuseum.org.

A old vintage mining photo from 1909.
A old vintage mining photo from 1909. // Photo courtesy Western Mining History Museum.

Wallace District Mining Museum (Wallace, Idaho)

This is a great stop on trips to Lookout Pass, the Route of the Hiawatha, Silver Mountain Bike Park, Fourth of July Pass, or adventures in Montana. The museum at 509 Bank Street is operated by the Wallace District Mining Museum.

Learn about mining history of the Coeur d’Alene Mining District (particularly the large silver mines), geology, methods used for mining over the past century, women and Black miners’ contributions, and the 1910 Big Burn. Cool artifacts include a mine “bicycle.”

Admission is $5 adults with discounts for families, and the museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. More info at Wallaceminingmuseum.com.

Black and white vintage photo of Wallace, Idaho, after the Great Fires of 1910, with burned down buildings.
Wallace after the Great Fires of 1910. // Photo courtesy Wallace District Mining Museum Archives.

Spokane Valley Heritage Museum (Spokane Valley, Wash.)

Visit this museum in the Opportunity Township Hall building at E. 12114 Sprague Ave. as part of a day-trip to the Dishman Hills, Iller Creek, Saltese Uplands, or Antoine Peak trailheads.

Learn about namesakes of some of the area’s popular hiking destinations and natural areas; Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe; the pioneer towns of Opportunity and Spokane Bridge that were razed to make way for I-90; military, and telecommunications, railroads, and early-1900’s school- and home-life.

Don’t miss the 1899 mud shoes fabricated by Peter Morrison for his horses to wear to keep them from sinking into the mud while dredging canals that drained Saltese Lake.

Admission is $6 for adults (discounts for military, seniors, and children), and hours run Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. year-round. More info: Spokanevalleymuseum.com.

Dirt trail traversing a hillside, with yellow, orange, and purple wildflowers along the sides.
Saltese Uplands Conservation // Photo: Aaron Theisen, Courtesy of Inland Northwest Land Conservancy.

Keller Heritage Center (Colville, Wash.)

Take a tour of this museum operated by the Stevens County Historical Society on your next trip to the Colville National Forest, upper Columbia River, or Canada.

Highlights include pre-inundation Kettle Falls and the first bridge crossing the falls; clothing, tools, and implements crafted and used by early indigenous people including regalia, baskets, and arrow heads; the Hudson’s Bay Company and its trapping history; military history including the early U.S. Army installation of Fort Colville; U.S. Border Patrol; regional agricultural, mining, and timber development; Colville’s early 1900’s civic, home, and town life.

Especially cool artifacts include a photo of eels hauled out on rocks of the pre-inundation Kettle Falls, a sturgeon-nosed canoe, and a Nez Perce woven corn husk bottle.

Located at 700 N. Wynne St. in Colville, Wash., admission is $5 for adults with discounts for seniors, people with disabilities, children, and groups. Hours run daily May and September from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and June through August from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday–Sunday. More info at Stevenscountyhistoricalsociety.org.

ail during fall, with vibrant yellow leaves on trees.
Sullivan Lakeshore Trail, Colville National Forest. // Photo: Holly Weiler

Lincoln County Historical Museum (Davenport, Wash.)

On the way to Lake Roosevelt and the Channeled Scablands trailheads, Davenport’s small-town museum is operated by the Lincoln County Historical Society.

It includes early Native tools and implements, mammoth fossils, Pioneer Bottling Works, the story of outlaw Harry Tracy, grain farming then and now, Fort Spokane history and early 1900’s domestic life history, and railroad and bridge building. An especially cool artifact is the humongous horse-drawn thresher used to harvest crops.

Located at 600 7th Street in Davenport, Wash., suggested admission is $4 for adults and hours run June 7 for the summer from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and Sundays by appointment. More info: Lincolncountymuseums.org.

Originally published as “Exploring the History of the Places Where We Play” in the July-August 2022 print issue.

Explore nature and history on one of the biggest lakes in Washington. Photo courtesy of National Park Service
Explore nature and history on one of the biggest lakes in Washington, State. // Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Tabitha Gregory is a former director of a local history museum and has written about local history topics for Out There. She’s the author of the non-fiction book “Valdez Rises: One Town’s Struggle for Survival After the Great Alaska Earthquake.”

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When You Keep Running But Not Sure Why https://outthereoutdoors.com/when-you-keep-running-but-not-sure-why/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/when-you-keep-running-but-not-sure-why/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2022 20:53:44 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51505 Q&A with a runner who took up the sport during the pandemic about why he started and why—despite definite ups and downs—he hasn’t quit.  

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I’ve been a runner for over 20 years. My husband, Brad, had always preferred pretty much any other activity on the planet. Early in the pandemic he surprised us both by taking up running. I asked him why he started, and why—despite definite ups and downs—he hasn’t quit.  

Sarah: You ran a little growing up, like in school.

Brad: Yes of course – we would run a mile in PE, and I did like it because I felt fast. It was pretty easy, and when I would run Bloomsday growing up in Spokane it also seemed pretty easy.

When did running stop seeming fun?

Right after that. I played all the sports, and I would always say that running should have a purpose. You run toward the goal, from 1st to 3rd, to get a basketball—but just going out and running around seemed ridiculous.

So how would you describe running then?

“Tiresome pointlessness.”

Why did you start running during the pandemic?

I think honestly I just wanted to get out and do something. And then when I started running with friends once a week I always had the promise of friends, and beers, afterward.

And you also ran on your own. What made you keep doing that?

person running along an empty roadway with sunset colors on a flat horizon.
Why Keep Running? // Photo: Shutterstock.

I think part of it was it was a very easy and efficient workout, and I did like being outside, and, honestly, it was the only time in my life I had to listen to funny podcasts.

You’ve said that running is annoying because some runs you feel great, some days you feel terrible, some runs you think you ran fast but you were actually slower than you thought, or vice versa.

I’m very frustrated by all of that! Sometimes the first mile will be incredibly hard and after that it feels incredibly easy. Sometimes the first mile feels easy and by the third mile I feel like I want to stop and crawl home. I can train for Bloomsday and run it and feel great about it, and now [a month later] sometimes going four miles seems impossible. Why??

But that’s not enough to make you stop?

No. Because I still like listening to podcasts. Also I feel like my life is often very stressful and tiring and people always talk about how running is a release for that, and I don’t agree. So it would be nice if that was ever true.

Are you holding out hope that that will happen?

YES! And that it will get easier.

Are you impressed with how much our kids like running?

(Laughs) I don’t know how to answer that question. [They hate it.]

What would you say to someone thinking about starting?

Stay away. Just kidding. I don’t feel like I have any advice. I hope the positives outweigh the negatives. I would also say good shoes really do make a difference. Being on relatively flat ground makes a difference. I’m surprised by how hard hills are, comparatively. It seems like they should only be a little bit harder. But they’re a lotta bit harder.

I’ve been surprised by how much I have to think about timing—weather timing, food timing, work schedule timing. Indoor workouts you don’t have to worry about weather.

Anything else?

I do have moments usually every run where I feel like, okay, I’m really doing it. And I think I do still have moments every run where I’m like, why am I doing this. I guess the good ones are enough to keep me going.

Originally published as “When You’re Not Sure Why — But Keep Running Anyway” in the July-August 2022 print issue.

Sarah Hauge is a writer and editor who lives in Spokane. She writes the Run Wild column for each issue of Out There.

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Bike Navigation: 5 Ideas To Not Get Lost https://outthereoutdoors.com/bike-navigation-5-ideas-to-not-get-lost/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/bike-navigation-5-ideas-to-not-get-lost/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2022 20:33:20 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51544 Five ideas for bike navigation, including the best apps and GPS technology, for help to not get lost while cycling.

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“I wonder where THAT goes.” It’s a recurring thought I’ve had that began as soon as I was old enough to ride a bike. Could it be a shortcut to a friend’s house or a trail with some sweet jumps or a swimming hole? There was only one way to find out.

Later, when I started bike touring (it was still the 90s), I’d show up in an airport and head for the nearest gas station for a state highway map. On whatever adventure I’d planned, there would always be some intriguing road or trail heading into a valley or up a mountain, and I’d immediately wonder where it went.

During my Denver years, I navigated the city by eyeballing my position relative to the mountains in the front range. That’s how I found the extensive network of bicycle superhighways they have there, but I also ended up on pretty much all of the worst roads for biking too.

I lived in Santa Cruz, California, after that, where we had Krebb’s Maps. They were enormous, hand-drawn paper maps that covered a huge area around San Francisco with notes on camping spots, cafes, swimming holes, and other neat stuff. I still have unfinished business with that map.

Illustration of a milk carton with a "Have you seen me?" notice of a lost biker, Wahoo GPS device, and breakfast cereal and banana.
Bike navigation can help you to not get lost, or even to be found. // Illustration: Justin Short.

Portland had just released the “Bike There” map when I moved there in 1999, which was printed on material that didn’t immediately melt in the rain. With that map I became familiar with every inch of that town and its periphery, but when I was touring around the Pacific Northwest—bikepacking had’t been invented yet, though it’s EXACTLY the same thing—I’d head to the gas station for the trusty old melt-in-the-rain paper map that I’d have to replace several times on a normal trip.

By 2012 when I had moved to Spokane, technology had begun to enter the equation. I explored this town mainly by getting lost on its many trails, but there was always a handwritten cue sheet clipped to my stem that I had created after pouring over Google Maps, sometimes for hours.

Fast forward to 2019, I had been bitten by the ultra adventure cycling bug and signed up for the 700 mile Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Race. There had been a technological explosion in the world of GPS bicycle navigation, and I was about to take getting lost to a whole new level.

So you might be asking yourself, “What do I actually need to go out there and get lost . . . or preferably, NOT get lost?” Nothing. Just go ride, you’ll find routes and all kinds of neat stuff the way we always did: by trial and error.

The next step might be Google Maps; I used it to navigate across Seattle last weekend with audio cues that kept me on some pretty solid bike infrastructure. But you can also count on Google Maps to get you into trouble when it decides to route you through a mud pit, a trail that is washed out, or through private property.

Here are 5 ideas for help navigating your cycling adventures.

Biking Navigation Apps

The next logical step is probably signing up for a Strava account. Strava is basically a public utility for cyclists at this point, and you can do a lot with the free version. It’s not until you go off the deep end into advanced mapping features that you need to sign up for a premium subscription, and most folks have a bike-nut friend who will be veeery happy to do that for them.

Other apps that are excellent for mapping and navigation are Ride with GPS, Komoot, and Map My Ride.

Navigational Devices

Of course, if you’re navigating a ride, you may wish to get some sort of device to mount your phone to your handlebars so you don’t have to fish it out of your pocket every time you miss a turn.

Quad Lock makes a great handlebar mount, but any company that sponsors a downhill mountain biker with a YouTube channel can certainly be trusted.

Navigating with your phone can be a battery intensive operation, so a GPS head unit is the next step down the navigation tech rabbit hole. These devices give you a whole lot of information about the ride itself, and you can pair them with heart rate monitors, power meters, cadence, you can upload workout plans from a coach, receive texts and emails, see other riders on the same platform, and basically never look at the road, and crash.

Illustration of author/cyclist slurping a huckleberry milkshake while sitting on a tree stump with mountain bike, loaded with panniers and bikepacking gear, leaning against stump.
Reduce your chance of getting lost by using bike navigation tools. // Illustration: Justin Short.

You can upload GPS routes from an app and just follow the GPS “breadcrumb trail.” You can ask on social media for links to routes in areas that pique your interest, or you can create your own.

Though, I would issue a word of warning—if you find yourself creating routes late at night on Ride with GPS, you are in grave danger of becoming the aforementioned bike nut whom all your friends will hit up for great routes.

There are a number of these devices on the market, but the three I personally trust are Garmin, Wahoo, and the Hammerhead Karu 2.

GPS Apps

While you’re out on an adventure, it’s entirely possible that you’ll encounter a bridge that’s washed out, a trail that crumbled off the mountain or a valley that’s going up in flames, and then it’s time to re-route.

If you don’t have a phone signal (and why would you ever have a phone signal when you’re lost in the woods?), it helps to have a GPS app on your phone for backup.

The Gaia GPS app has saved the day for me countless times when I’m lost and off the grid, plus it’s nice to use those good old-fashioned map reading skills now and then.

Satellite Tracking Devices

If riding in far flung, off-the-grid places is your thing, a separate satellite tracking device is a great safety measure.

A Spot Tracker or a Garmin inReach will show your location on a map in 10-minute intervals, so you can share a link to that map with anyone who’d like to keep an eye on you.

I can send short text messages to my wife if I deviate from my plan, or if it takes me 13 hours to go on a “short ride” through the snow. And if things go sideways, there’s the SOS button that will take you for a very expensive helicopter ride when that’s absolutely necessary.

Illustration of a mountainn biker grinding up a mountain.
Bikepacking is best with some bike navigation help. // Illustration: Justin Short

Trailforks Biking App

If you’re a mountain biker, you owe it to yourself to use the Trailforks app. It doesn’t navigate a ride for you, per se, but it will help you track down a trail, show you how to find it, and tell you everything you need to know.

If you crash or get mauled by a bear, the app will even call 911 emergency services for you and give your exact coordinates, provided there’s a cell signal.

I still get that wonderfully bewildering “where the f***k am I” sensation when I leave home for parts unknown with a GPS route.

Some purists might say that the magic of adventure cycling has been lost now that we can know so much about a ride without ever leaving the house, but I still get that wonderfully bewildering “where the f***k am I” sensation when I leave home for parts unknown with a GPS route.

Technology will never replace the experience of a sunset or bugs in your teeth.

Originally published as “Navigating the World of Bike Navigation” in the July-August 2022 print issue.

Cyclist Justin Short on his gravel bike looking tired after riding over 200 miles, 30 miles, with over 17,000 feet of elevation gain.
Justin Short riding Odyssey of the VOG in Oregon. // Photo: Justin Short.

Justin Short writes the Everyday Cyclist Column for each issue of Out There. He spent decades riding thousands of miles and getting lost plenty of times testing various maps, bike navigation technology, and apps so you don’t have to.

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Lake Frogs in the Northwest https://outthereoutdoors.com/lake-frogs-in-the-northwest/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/lake-frogs-in-the-northwest/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2022 21:10:17 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51521 Learn about lake frogs and what to do if you find a bullfrog in Idaho or Washington State waterways, where hunting is legal.

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Slimy, squirmy frogs—most kids love to find and catch frogs. Green and Sierran tree frogs and Columbia spotted frogs are common species found in or near many Inland Northwest lakes and ponds.

“If you do catch a frog, be gentle and look at it for a short time. Then release it back to where it was—do not move it to a different body of water or pond,” says Round Lake State Park manager Mary McGraw. “Do not take it home as a pet.”      

Visitors to Round Lake can pick up educational loaner backpacks at the ranger station visitor center that contain information for learning about the local natural resources. “This is a great way to learn how to protect our natural surroundings and why it is important to protect the native plants and animals,” McGraw says.

One species of frog that you can keep are the non-native American bullfrogs. In fact, McGraw says, “If you catch a bullfrog, please remove it from the water and destroy it. One positive side is bullfrogs are commonly eaten.” Yes, frog legs for dinner!

Bullfrogs are North America’s largest frog and legal to hunt in the Northwest. No permit is required in either Washington or Idaho. Consult state regulations to learn how to identify this invasive frog and know the difference between a bullfrog and any protected non-game species, such as the northern leopard frog.

Lake frogs: Hunting for bullfrogs is legal (and highly encouraged!) in Idaho and Washington States. // Photos courtesy Washington State Department of Fish and Game.

Find more stories about wildlife in the OTO archives.

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Visit Canada’s Arrow Lakes Region This Fall https://outthereoutdoors.com/fall-in-canadas-arrow-lakes-region-2022/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/fall-in-canadas-arrow-lakes-region-2022/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2022 19:16:28 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51585 Explore Canada's Arrow Lakes region this fall, including wineries, hot springs, world-class mountain biking, hiking, and fishing.

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From wineries and hot springs to world-class mountain biking and fishing, an autumn trip just north of the border is sure to be delicious.

By Vince Hempsall

There aren’t too many places in North America where you can enjoy a bike ride in the morning, visit a winery in the afternoon, fish for trout in the evening and cap the day off with a visit to a natural hot spring, all within a 10-mile radius. Located in southern British Columbia, an easy three-hour drive from Spokane, Washington, the Arrow Lakes region is the perfect autumn road trip because of its incredible bounty, both in food and activities, with everything in easy driving distance. 

From its northern end near the village of Nakusp, which boasts two nearby hot spring resorts, to the southern end near the Canadian/American border just south of the city of Castlegar, the 100-mile-long Arrow Lakes region is connected by a quiet highway that winds its way through beautiful valleys in the Selkirk mountain range. The road follows alongside the large waterways of Slocan Lake and the Arrow Lakes system, which are connected by the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers and pass through five provincial parks and other swaths of stunning wilderness. In between are quaint communities featuring inns, hotels, B&Bs, campsites and cabins, with access to backcountry lodges. Below are some itineraries that highlight the autumn bounty of the Arrow Lakes region.

Burton City Cider serves locally brewed cider on tap in their tasting room.

Locally grown Fall fare

The fertile lands of the Slocan Valley and Arrow Lakes attracted pioneers to the area a century ago and small-scale farming traditions continue here. There are now about 40 farms and food producers located in the Slocan Valley alone and their offerings are available at road-side stands and farmer’s markets throughout the autumn months.

To wash down your fresh food findings, there are makers of every kind of craft beverage in the Arrow Lakes region. Start your tour in Castlegar with a visit to Tailout Brewing, which offers a variety of beers made on site as well as a spacious setting and custom art reflecting the staff’s love of fishing. The next stop is Tonik Distillery in the southern Slocan Valley, famous for its flavored vodkas and “Old Tom” gin. At the northern end of the valley is the appropriately-named Valley of the Springs Winery. Lounge in their tasting room or by the outdoor fireplace, take in views of the surrounding mountains and enjoy a bottle of red, white or rose, all made on site. If your taste buds prefer something a little more tart, visit the nearby Burton City Cider. Located on a 30-acre farm with sheep, chickens, a llama, and an orchard, the family-run business offers pizza nights and lunches, with a variety of made-on-site ciders on tap.

Once you’ve gotten your food fix, it’s time for some active fun. The Arrow Lakes region specializes in all forms of outdoor enjoyment from the human-powered, like hiking and biking, to motorized experiences such as ATVing and boating.

Halcyon Hot Springs is a luxury resort on Arrow Lakes.

Fish your way through the region

Hire a Castlegar guide to show you the secret fishing holes on the Columbia River or Lower Arrow Lake where you’ll find some of the largest kokanee salmon in the world, as well as rainbow trout and walleye. Or cast your line into any other river or lake in the Slocan Valley, including Summit Lake and the stocked Box Lake, both perfect for family outings. The northern end of Arrow Lakes is popular for its quiet spots to fish from a boat launched at the Nakusp Marina.

Mountain Biking at Mt Abriel near Nakusp.

Bike the many trail networks

If dry land is more your preference, there are innumerable hiking and biking trails in the area. For example, between the two resorts of Halcyon Hot Springs and Nakusp Hot Springs, you’ll find the Mt. Abriel Recreation Area, a lakeside campsite at the foot of a mountain biking zone that now includes more than 60 trails ranging from beginner to expert. Further south in the valley are many converted railway beds which are perfect for bikers and walkers looking for mellower terrain with monumental views. Closer to Castlegar, another former rail bed, the C&W Trail, runs alongside Lower Arrow Lake and through tunnels before veering south and west for 95 miles. Castlegar’s Merry Creek and Rialto mountain bike trail networks are also popular with riders of all levels and age groups.

Valhalla Mountain Touring has numerous hiking trails right from their backcountry lodge.

Hikes for any type of adventurer

Hiking is a popular autumn pastime in this region because the larch trees turn yellow and the alpine slopes become canvases of every shade of green and gold. There are many places throughout the Slocan Valley where you can hike high into the mountains, but for trails closer to the road, there are seven excellent ones near Nakusp Hot Springs ranging in length from 0.5 to 5 miles. Another family-friendly outing is the Yellow Pine Nature Trail in Syringa Provincial Park near Castlegar that offers views of Arrow Lake from a terraced hillside. In fact, the region’s five provincial parks boast everything from beautiful waterfalls, rock climbing cliffs, lakeside camping spots, as well as plenty of wildlife, from bighorn sheep and elk to bufflehead ducks and ospreys. 

Find more travel stories about Canada in the OTO archives.

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An Oregon Retreat https://outthereoutdoors.com/an-oregon-retreat/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/an-oregon-retreat/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2022 20:48:30 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51578 For all you conscious travelers out there looking for a different way to adventure, meet Soul Community Planet (SCP) Hotels. As a brand founded on the core values of wellness, kindness, and sustainability, the focus is on local, hand-crafted, and environmentally-friendly details that make for a cozy stay.  SCP’s holistic approach toward health and hospitality, …

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For all you conscious travelers out there looking for a different way to adventure, meet Soul Community Planet (SCP) Hotels. As a brand founded on the core values of wellness, kindness, and sustainability, the focus is on local, hand-crafted, and environmentally-friendly details that make for a cozy stay. 

SCP’s holistic approach toward health and hospitality, combined with the power of social good, means you can rest easy knowing you’re taking care of yourself and the planet when you stay at one of their hotels. By simply booking a room, you provide mental health resources to adolescents through WE Well-being, light the home of a family in need through Miracles for Kids, and plant a tree in an unnaturally deforested area through One Tree Planted.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or non-stop fun, a romantic trip for two or a family vacation, just wait until you see what SCP’s two Oregon locations have in store for you.

Coastal Getaway

Down by the bay (Depoe Bay, that is) SCP Depoe Bay Hotel offers the ultimate intimate getaway by the water with just 13 guest rooms. A variety of room styles come outfitted with amenities like plant-based mattresses, spa-style bathrooms, and views of the harbor. Upgrade to a room with a private balcony and a gas fireplace as you relax in style. You can even rent out the entire lodge for a retreat or family gathering.

Depoe Bay is known as the whale-watching capital of Oregon, so make sure to book a tour to see these incredible sea creatures in action. Stop at one of the scenic viewpoints along the North Coastal Highway as you make your way toward Devils Punchbowl or Fogarty Creek for wildlife viewing and a picnic. Taste the local eats and brews in town before heading back to the hotel where you can take advantage of the communal workspace and SCP Fit facilities, featuring top-of-the-line equipment, meditation space, and on-demand fitness classes.

Panoramic Views

In the heart of the Oregon High Desert, SCP Redmond Hotel invites you to enjoy local adventure and local dining in a modern, minimalist sanctuary. Four floors featuring 49 rooms welcome visitors from all over to step inside and enjoy the comforts of sustainable and regionally-sourced amenities, while The Rooftop provides panoramic views of the Cascade Range, Three Sisters volcanic peaks, and Black Butte.

Four dining and drink options within the hotel make it easy to eat fresh, healthy food for every meal of the day. Enjoy locally roasted coffee and hearty breakfast and lunch dishes from Provisions Market, small plates and craft cocktails from Wayfarer Club, creative farm-to-table dishes highlighting Oregon’s seasonal bounty from Terra Kitchen, and sunset views with your dinner and drinks at The Rooftop. The gardens at The Rooftop produce vegetables, herbs, fruit, and spices for the handcrafted cocktails and creative plant-centric dishes served throughout the hotel’s dining venues.

This is your chance to recharge your body, mind, and soul all while knowing that every stay does good at SCP Hotels. Whether you’re drawn to the forested bluffs and cool breezes of the Oregon Coast or craving adventure in the High Desert, an SCP Hotels adventure invites you to reconnect to nature and to yourself. 

(Sponsored)

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Invasive Species Permit Required In Idaho https://outthereoutdoors.com/invasive-species-permit-required-in-idaho/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/invasive-species-permit-required-in-idaho/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2022 21:45:26 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51531 Idaho state Department of Fish & Game requires invasive species permits for paddling vessels over 10 feet long, including inflatable ones.

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As paddling sports grow in popularity, stay updated on current rules and regulations for safely navigating freshwater lakes and rivers, including invasive species permits.

Idaho Department of Fish & Game requires an invasive species permit for each paddling vessel over 10 feet long, including inflatable ones—this means kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (most are 10+ feet), canoes, and row boats.

An Idaho permit costs $7 per craft; purchase online at idfg.idaho.gov or in-person at state parks or select vendors. Marine law enforcement can issue fines for anyone paddling a non-permitted vessel.

Kayak cockpit view of person sitting in a yellow kayak, with paddle across the legs, on flatwater of Lake Coeur d'Alene.om kayak.
In Idaho, an invasive species permit sticker must be attached to any paddlecraft over 10 feet long: Kayaking on Coeur d’Alene Lake. // Photo: Amy McCaffee

Washington State does not require permits for non-motorized watercraft. Any non-motorized vessels launched in Washington that enter Idaho waters, such as the Spokane River at Stateline, do not need a permit.

To prevent invasive species from being transported between freshwater lakes and rivers, boaters and non-motorized paddle craft are asked to stop at roadside inspection stations off highways, which mainly target out-of-state visitors. Any vessel deemed “high risk” is decontaminated with a hot wash at the station (no fee).            

For complete boating rules and regulations, visit state government websites: Parksandrecreation.idaho.gov and Wdfw.wa.gov.

For more stories about paddling sports, visit the OTO archives.

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Valleyfest 2022 Back with Entertainment & Community Spirit Sept. 23-25 https://outthereoutdoors.com/valleyfest-2022-back-with-entertainment-community-spirit-sept-23-25/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/valleyfest-2022-back-with-entertainment-community-spirit-sept-23-25/#respond Thu, 01 Sep 2022 22:14:40 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51552 Valleyfest, Spokane Valley’s premier community festival, celebrates over three decades of bringing fun, entertainment, great food and a vibrant community spirit to Spokane Valley. This year’s Valleyfest will be held on Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 25 at Mirabeau Point Park, Plantes Ferry Sports Complex, and CenterPlace Regional Event Center in the Spokane Valley. …

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Valleyfest, Spokane Valley’s premier community festival, celebrates over three decades of bringing fun, entertainment, great food and a vibrant community spirit to Spokane Valley. This year’s Valleyfest will be held on Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 25 at Mirabeau Point Park, Plantes Ferry Sports Complex, and CenterPlace Regional Event Center in the Spokane Valley. The event encompasses entertainment for the entire family, an opportunity to meet and have fun with friends, and recognize area youth for their talents.

Hearts of Gold Parade

On Friday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m. the Hearts of Gold Parade is a staple of Valleyfest that recognizes those in the Spokane Valley who give back to the community with their “hearts of gold.” This year’s parade features over 120 entries, including animals, custom and classic cars, floats, bands, clowns, Miss Spokane Valley Royalty, and more. The parade takes place between North Gillis Road and Perrine Road on E. Sprague in Spokane Valley.

Saturday Valleyfest Activities

The whole weekend has so many family fun activities for all ages, including the Valleyfest Car Show on Saturday, Parent-Child Valve Cover Races, All-ages Tricycle Drag Races, Flag Girl Competition (1966 Le Mans Race Theme), STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Showcase, vendor booths, live music, a beer garden, BBQ and more! Saturday ends with ‘Swinging in the Valley,’ a community dance! All proceeds from the Valleyfest Car Show and the Pancake Breakfast go to the Valleyfest Children’s Foundation to provide scholarships for qualified students.

Sunday Valleyfest Activities

Sunday is the grand Multi-Cultural Festival, designed to celebrate and share our various rich cultures and heritages with our neighbors through dance, art, music, fashion, food and business. Also on Sunday is multi sports day, featuring 5k and 10k runs as well as a duathlon and triathlon along the beautiful Centennial Trail.

The Valleyfest mission is to produce community driven, safe, family-oriented, visually-dramatic festivals. Valleyfest exposes the talent that enriches the Spokane Valley region and celebrates the visual and performing arts, education, science, and recreation so the entire community can experience them.

Visit Spokane Valley September 23-25 for this year’s Valleyfest and celebrate the Spokane Valley Community. It promises to be a great weekend you don’t want to miss! Click or tap here for more information or to register for specific events.

(Sponsored content)

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5 Favorite Inland NW Lakeside Campgrounds https://outthereoutdoors.com/5-favorite-inland-nw-lakeside-campgrounds/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/5-favorite-inland-nw-lakeside-campgrounds/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2022 23:24:19 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51434 Lakeside campgrounds in Eastern Wash. and North Idaho that have great beaches, watersports recreation access, and reservable campsites.

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Is any lake your happy place? Enjoy camping? Combine the two and it can be pure bliss.

Here are five of the best lakeside campgrounds due to their family-friendly beaches and easy access for watersports recreation, including paddling, boating, and fishing — plus lots of reservable campsites.

Sam Owen at Lake Pend Oreille

Large campground, with four loops, located on a peninsula south of Hope, Idaho, along the east side of Lake Pend Oreille.

Amenities: boat launch, dock, day-use area and beach, sand volleyball court, paddle gear rentals, and dog-friendly beach.

One of the best Inland NW lakeside campgrounds: Sam Owen Campground has a big beach for hanging out all day for paddling and swimming. // Photo: Amy McCaffree

National Forest Campgrounds on west Side of Priest Lake

10 U.S. National Forest campgrounds at Priest and Upper Priest lakes, including boat-in island campgrounds.

Amenities: Shoreline trails for hiking and mountain biking; boat launches; and Luby, Osprey, and Outlet campgrounds are within MTB/hiking distance to Hill’s Resort. (See “5 Adventures on Priest Lake’s Western Shores” for more recreation ideas.)

Paddling and camping at Priest Lake, Idaho: Views from Outlet Campground, both from the campsite and on the water. // Photos: Amy McCaffree

Heyburn State Park

Heyburn State Park, near Plummer, Idaho, includes three campgrounds on Chatcolet and Benewah Lakes, south of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Amenities: Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Rocky Point beach and boat launch, rental cabins, Plummer Point day-use area and dog-friendly beach, MTB and hiking trails, ranger station and visitor center near Hawley’s Landing.

Heyburn State Park includes Hawley’s Landing Campground (left) and Rocky Point marina and day-use beach (right). / Photos: Amy McCaffree

Round Lake State Park

Round Lake State Park is a paddling and fishing paradise in Sagle, Idaho. The lake is annually stocked with trout by Idaho Fish & Game, and no combustion-motor boats are allowed.

Amenities: two docks, large swimming area, ranger station and visitor center, paddle gear rentals, and MTB/hiking trail around lake.

Round Lake State Park: Small, quiet lake with docks, boat launch, and swimming beach. // Photos courtesy of Robin Lewis.

Fort Spokane at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

Fort Spokane Campground is one of many National Park Service campgrounds within Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area at the 130-mile-long lake—a power-boating and fishing mecca. Fort Spokane is the campground closest to Spokane, located at confluence with the Spokane River.

Amenities: boat launch and trailer parking, fish cleaning station, sandy boat-in beaches along lake and river, and Fort Spokane Visitor Center and Museum.

Boat launch at Fort Spokane where the Spokane River flows into Lake Roosevelt (left); Powerboat and tubing fun on Lake Roosevelt. // Photos: Amy McCaffree

Find more stories about lake recreation and adventure destinations in the Lake Guide archives.

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Recovering From Hip Replacement  https://outthereoutdoors.com/recovering-from-hip-replacement/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/recovering-from-hip-replacement/#respond Sat, 20 Aug 2022 19:24:59 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51424 Writer shares his at-home exercise routine while recovering from hip replacement after a cyclocross race crash.

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Spokane cyclist Bradley Bleck shares his personal story about recovering from hip replacement.

I broke the head of my femur crashing on the third lap of the Coeur d’Alene cyclocross race, in Fall 2021. Dismounting my bike to run down an embankment, I tripped and went down like a sack of potatoes. The pain was immense.

As the EMT put it, “like having your arm ripped off.” Only worse. If ever there was a “Your Mileage May Vary” story on injury recovery, this is it. Not only that, but this is a “glass half full” look at my recovery. 

Surgery Recovery Begins 

The day after my injury I had a bionic hip installed. Two days later I was home, struggling to navigate the seven steps that confined me to the bedroom and bathroom. Arriving home signaled the beginning of my recovery. 

Told to keep all weight off my leg for eight weeks, my recovery regimen consisted of painfully moving my left foot to the floor, hoisting myself up with the walker, hobbling to the bathroom, doing my thing, hobbling back, then painfully lifting my leg back on the bed before collapsing exhausted. Thank goodness for the “trucker’s toilet” that kept these trips to a minimum. 

Over the next few weeks, I moved from the walker to crutches, adding the kitchen and living room to my ambles, braving those seven steps, but still returning exhausted to bed. 

6 Weeks into Recovery 

I’d had enough of inaction. I braved the stairs (13 of them each way!) to the basement so I could ride my indoor bike. After the stairs, the hardest part was getting on the bike.

The first ride lasted 15 minutes. The second, 22. The third, 30. I pedaled with minimal resistance, but it was something other than lying in bed or sitting in a chair.

The next week, I began rowing workouts, beginning with 10 minutes and slowly extending the time. 

Recovering from hip replacement, X-ray of author's bionic hip - radiology image.
Recovering from hip replacement: X-ray of author’s bionic hip. // Photo: Bradley Bleck

Week 8

At week eight, the surgeon had me putting weight on my leg. One-fourth my body weight the first week, then half the next week, then three-quarters, and finally 100 percent.

That was when I started walking around the neighborhood. The walks started short and grew to 3 miles. There was discomfort, but no pain. 

Week 13

With week 13, I began a Zwift fitness program to get ready to ride outdoors. Here the loss of fitness and strength was quantified. The numbers are not definitive, but my cycling FTP (functional threshold power) dropped from 244 watts to 196. From not much to a good bit less.

On Strava, I had a fitness score of 74 just before my accident. It was 17 when I began riding again. As of this writing (April 2022), that score is up to 40, and my FTP is at 214. Progress. 

Also during week 13, though maybe something I should have begun earlier, I added hip exercises and yoga. I followed each indoor ride with either 15–20 minutes of yoga and hip exercises or 20–30 minutes on the rowing machine. 

The yoga was basic: front planks, side planks, bridge pose, bird dog, and reclining leg lifts that could someday become Anantasana. The exercises were hip flexions, abductions, and extensions without resistance bands. The poses were initially 10 seconds per pose, then 15, 20, and 30 seconds.

Each week I increased the number of sets from one to two to three to four. I’ve since added resistance bands to the exercises. 

The payoff to all of this was a ride with friends along the Snake River. We rode 50 flat miles, half with a headwind. It was not fast, but the sun was out, the sky was clear, and I was on my bike.

But in terms of recovering from hip replacement, it’s only just begun.

Originally published as “From Cyclocross Racing to a Hip Replacement” in the May-June 2022 print issue.

Health & Fitness story sponsored by:

Logo for Northwest Orthopedic Specialists in Spokane, WA.

Find more injury-recovery stories and Health & Fitness column articles.

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Proper Bike Fit Matters: 5 Reasons Why https://outthereoutdoors.com/proper-bike-fit-matters-5-reasons-why/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/proper-bike-fit-matters-5-reasons-why/#respond Sat, 20 Aug 2022 04:53:33 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51416 Learn 5 reasons why a proper bike fit matters and when to schedule an appointment with a professional bike fitter.

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Bike fitting is a curious animal. Sometimes a bike will fit like a glove right out of the box; sometimes it doesn’t. Other times you may find that the bike fits well but then discover when you’re far away from home that you’re sitting on a medieval torture device.

Maybe your rump is fine, but your wrists are killing you, or your neck, or a knee. Hopefully this article helps you decide if and what level of bike fit you need for pain-free pedaling.

In the long-gone days of my youth, the proper fit on a BMX bike was the simple matter of adjusting the wheelbase and handlebar reach to facilitate better wheelies. Too long and the front wheel wouldn’t come up. Too short and you fell off the back. Striking that balance became particularly important the more time I spent off the ground.

In my early 20s I got my first road bike. I wondered why it felt like I was holding onto the front axle. I really needed eyeballs on the top of my forehead to see the road ahead at that angle, but I was young and my thirst for adventure was stronger than my dislike of the discomfort I experienced.

My second road bike, a 1981 predecessor of the modern adventure gravel bike, magically fit like the aforementioned proverbial glove. After that bike disintegrated, I spent more than a decade trying to recreate that fit on other bikes.

Illustration of a man cycling on a speedy road bike with 3 red lightening bolts pointing to his rear-end indicating pain.
Proper Bike Fit Matters: It really does. // Illustration by Justin M. Short.

Over the years I was riding less and less, so the perfect fit didn’t matter as much, until Thomas Yeates of The Bike Hub talked me into racing the 700-mile Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route. I immediately booked a level 3 fit with Brice Erickson at B&L Bicycles in Pullman, Wash.

As Bike Fit Sam, owner of Ambassador Cycling on the South Hill in Spokane, Wash., says, “Cycling is a perceived low-impact activity, but it’s repetitive. If something is off in your fit, you can create an overuse injury or blow something out.”

I now schedule a fit check-up every year with Bike Fit Sam as the riding season ramps up into the absurd ultra bikepacking events that have captured my imagination in recent years. And so far I’m still relatively comfortable after 36 straight hours of riding.

“Not everyone needs a pro fit,” says Sam. “A bike shop will get you close, and that’s good enough for most people.”

Proper bike fit matters: Here are 5 reasons to know it’s time to schedule an appointment with a pro bike fitters.

1. Pain: Even if you don’t have acute pain, you don’t know how much better cycling can be if it actually feels good to sit on your bike.

2. Post-injury: Your fit can be modified to take the load off of a joint or appendage.

3. Injury prevention: If you’ve signed up for your first Iron Man or century, or anything beyond your normal scope of riding endurance, it becomes more important to have your fit dialed in.

4. Reduced activity/fitness: It’s normal for experienced riders to make small adjustments as their fitness fluctuates throughout the season. So chances are that bike that’s been collecting dust in the back of the garage for 15 years will get a signed confession out of you if you spend enough time on it.

5. New bike: Possibly the best reason for a bike fit. Your fitter will probably be as excited as you are.

The best advice is to ride your bike and feel it out. If your bike doesn’t feel like an extension of your body, maybe consider an appointment with a pro bike fitter near you.

In Spokane, check out Ambassador Cycling, Brice at B&L, Katrina Vogel, or Paul Sharp, just to name a few. Your friendly neighborhood Inland NW bike nut probably knows them.

Justin Short got his annual bike fit checkup with Ambassador Cycling in preparation for the 350-mile Odyssey of the VOG bikepacking race out of Salem, Ore., in late May. He will probably ride the thing straight through, unless he comes to his senses.

Find more stories about biking in the OTO archives and Everyday Cyclist column.

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People In the Wild: A Man Called Fish https://outthereoutdoors.com/people-in-the-wild-a-man-called-fish/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/people-in-the-wild-a-man-called-fish/#respond Sat, 20 Aug 2022 04:33:41 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51415 Column by Ammi Midstokke to celebrate all the different reasons and ways we share a common love and stewardship of the outdoors.

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This is the second story for the new People in the Wild column, which aims to observe average humans in their natural habitats in order to explore and celebrate all the different reasons and ways we share a common love and stewardship of the outdoors.

There is a sensationalism that we’ve begun to demand in regard to outdoorsing. It isn’t just that we’re looking for those who have climbed the highest, run the farthest, survived the extremist. We’re demanding a story that makes them worthy of this level of soul suffering journey or our interest: shitty childhood, trauma, grief, drug recovery, some salacious deservedness.

Fish may or may not have any or all of the above. The only thing one senses in his presence is that he’s at home outside. Shelter, whether on land or sea, is fine and all that, but mostly for sleeping.

If ever there was a rule book for how to do life, Fish probably burned it to make a campfire. Or used it for toilet paper. He is dispensing financial advice as we move up the trail. Pay off your house as fast as you can, don’t let them banks keep your money, that’s your money. A mile alongside Fish is arguably loaded with more wisdom than any meeting I’ve ever had with a financial advisor. And that’s just the money talk.

Fish is in his 60s but only his silver hair and variety of adventures give him away. There’s no poetic story about a life-altering hunting trip or some deep connection he had with his father in the outdoors. His dad was a trucker, passed away when Fish was a teenager. I don’t ask what they called him then. “We were out in the Pokono Mountains when there wasn’t nobody there,” he says of being a normal kid growing up in rural Pennsylvania. He went outside a lot. He liked it. He thought maybe someday he’d be a forest ranger.

Man named Fish is standing angled to the side looking and smiling at camera, and in the background is snow-covered ground and pine trees, with a view of his cabin to the right.
People in the Wild: Here’s the man called Fish. // Photo: Ammi Midstokke

When Fish got out of high school, he went to work for the mill like everyone else in small-town Pennsylvania. They had good wages and poor outcomes and Fish was a bit too curious about life to last long. So he joined the Coast Guard, then decided to head into the wilderness for a month before he became an indentured civil servant. Maybe this is what put the mountains into his blood, or maybe it’s in all of ours and we just don’t know until we’re there.

When Fish had leave, he hiked. When he finished his time, he stuffed a metal-framed Kelty pack (it weighs over seven pounds) and hit the Pacific Crest Trail for a thousand or so miles. It was 1980. The “trail” was more marked than it was cut. He lamented the manzanita, still crisp in his memory. That pack and its collection of patches hangs next to his Osprey now. He’s not beholden to some kind of old-school misery and a flannel sleeping bag with a metal zipper.

His transition to water versus land was not a direct result or resentment of that adventure. Rather, someone asked him to help sail a boat somewhere and so he hopped aboard and learned how to sail. Then he sailed for another decade plus, bouncing around islands, falling in love with his bride, Red, on the high seas. Or maybe a port town bar, but any of it sounds romantic when the word “Caribbean” is thrown in.

“She was a cougar before it was a thing,” he says as he shows me her collection of art. She lets Fish talk. Her long, silver hair is as shiny as her eyes are keen. She still paints and produces an incredible amount of art. Most of it sold, but there are a few pieces she just cannot let go. They decorate the walls of their octagonal cabin. Their art show travels are what brought them to the Northwest along with Fish’s love of mountains.

Far off the beaten track, they own a swath of land that is nestled into the canyons of the Cabinet Mountains. They had been on the search for some years.

“I told them, ‘Don’t even bother showing me anything that’s been logged,’” he says. The giant, 100-year-old cedars and firs sway in the early spring wind above our heads. They feel like towering guardians watching silently over the valley.

Long ago, the land had been a camp in the early 1900s. Then it had been owned by a Native woman who moved her teepee around each season until she found the perfect place to build. The couple upgraded the bare-bones cabin by chinking the logs and insulating the floor. Strange artifacts from the land’s history still surface in the soil every spring. They decorate the exterior of the various structures on the property: wood shops, green houses, outhouses, and the one with the corrugated metal roofing as walls to keep the bears out.

Outer wall of log cabin owned by a man named Fish is decorated with vehicle license plates from different states and rusted metal tools and other artifacts that Fish has found around his property. A high stack of firewood is next to the cabin.
The side of Fish’s cabin. // Photo: Ammi Midstokke

“What you have here is as close to the beauty of the Trinity Alps as you can find,” says Fish. Then he describes creeping up the backside of Mount Jefferson, breaking through the trees into a panorama of this perfect peak above the high desert. One gets the impression he could accurately describe every peak he’s seen as if they were lost loves he still daydreams about. “Mount Saint Helens, though,” he says, almost with a sigh, “that was the perfect shaped mountain. Until it blew.”

Long gone are the days of carrying a 75-pound pack with 15 days of food stuffed into it. He still goes out on multiday trips, just with lighter gear. And when he showed up at the trailhead in his lifted Jeep, he hopped out like he’s decades younger than he is and right in his element.

The truth is, and Fish seems to embody this, it is in our nature to be in nature. We are creatures of this earth and its elements. These cities and suburbs are rather like zoos of humanity. To be in the forest, to sail the waters, to tend the land, steward trails, build homes with bare hands, explore—these things are in our blood.

Anyone who has made a campfire or crawled into a tent knows the feeling. It’s like coming home.

Originally published as “A Man Called Fish in the May-June 2022 issue.

Ammi Midstokke lives with her family in North Idaho, where she observes outdoorsy people in their natural habitat.

Read Ammi’s first People in the Wild story.

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Run Faster: 6 Steps To Increase Your Speed https://outthereoutdoors.com/run-faster-6-steps-to-increase-your-speed/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/run-faster-6-steps-to-increase-your-speed/#respond Sat, 20 Aug 2022 03:51:29 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51412 Train to run faster using these six steps, including speed work, strength training, gait analysis, and getting enough rest.

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The last couple of years have been a lot. I know we all feel this. Thankfully, running—my unbreakable habit, my life partner, my ride-or-die—has been there for me every step (hey there, pun) of the way, even for the steps that have felt slow and belabored.

For quite a while now I haven’t done many races or attached any sort of goal around my runs, and that’s been just about right for my capacity. My frequent rotation of leisurely runs has been good for my mind, body and soul—but lately I’ve been feeling ready for a new season. I’ve got the itch to see if I can push a little harder and get a little faster.

There are many reasons to pursue an increase in speed. Maybe you want to cross the finish line a couple of minutes sooner in your next race. Maybe you want to get stronger. Maybe, like me, you want to give your body and your mind a challenge, to see what you’re capable of, and enjoy riding high on the extra burst of endorphins that comes with those tougher efforts.

Whatever your motivation, the steps below can help you get there.

View of two runners' feet in motion.
Step 1: Run with a speedy friend. // Photo: Shutterstock

Run with a speedy friend

If you make a plan to run with a friend who’s a little faster, you’ll go a little faster, too. If you’re feeling taxed, make your speedy friend do the talking. It’ll help the miles fly by.

Speed work makes the dream work

Try adding a weekly speed-focused workout to your running repertoire. You could try a track workout (Google “running track workouts” for suggestions), which keeps you on the track’s level, slightly springy surface with clearly marked distances.

Basic track workouts include 100-meter repeats (run hard for 100 meters, run easy for 100 meters, repeating that pattern 6–8 times), 200-meter repeats (the same thing, but with 200 meters of running hard followed by 200 meters easy, 6–8 times), or 400-meter repeats (run one lap hard around the track followed by an easy lap, repeat 6 or so times).

Remember to sandwich every speed workout between a warm-up and cool-down. (Read Runner’s World article “The Ultimate Guide to Track Running for Beginners” by Ashley Mateo for more ideas.)

Or for a fun, non-track option, try a fartlek run. A fartlek (“speed play” in Swedish) is a run where you pepper your average pace with irregular bursts of speed. For instance, run a couple of blocks at your typical pace, then make a race-pace push to a landmark like a mailbox. The key with a fartlek is to keep things playful and not super regimented.

Sign up for some races

Self-directed speed workouts aren’t your thing? Skip the midweek speed workout and sign up for a series of weekend races instead. You’ll push yourself on the race course (thanks, race-day adrenaline!), avoid the drudgery of the track, and get a finisher’s medal or t-shirt to boot.

Strength train

With a stronger core, upper body, and lower body, you’ll simply have more of what it takes to push harder and feel good doing it. Consider adding full-body strength training into your routine a couple of days a week. (FitnessBlender.com is a great, free resource.)

Check your gait

Go in for a gait analysis with your physical therapist or at a knowledgeable running store like Fleet Feet. They’ll study your gait and assess all sorts of metrics about your stride, which will help you determine if there are ways you can hone your form for a better performance.

Rest

Last but not least, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking days off. Rest is a critical part of getting faster and stronger—and avoiding injury.

On non-rest days, avoid the temptation to make every run a hard run. You’ll benefit more by having a weekly speed workout surrounded by some more average-paced runs and rest days than if you push the pace every single time.

Originally published as “The Need for Speed” in the May-June 2022 print issue.

Woman running in the Coeur d'Alene Marathon with arms up in celebration, smiling at the camera.
Step 3, sign up for some races. // Photo courtesy Negative Split – Coeur d’Alene Marathon

Find more running stories in the OTO archives and Run Wild column.

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Tribes Help Salmon Return to Historic Habitat https://outthereoutdoors.com/tribes-help-salmon-return-to-historic-habitat/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/tribes-help-salmon-return-to-historic-habitat/#respond Sat, 20 Aug 2022 01:44:47 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51407 Inland Northwest tribes, including Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and Colville Confederated Tribes, reintroduce chinook salmon to Columbia River.

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During spring 2022, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Colville Confederated Tribes, and the Coeur D’Alene Tribe, along with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, completed phase two of a 20-year project to reintroduce chinook salmon to the Columbia River.

Chinook salmon are a cultural and ecological keystone species for the rivers of the Inland Northwest. These salmon, among other anadromous, ocean-going fish, were blocked from their historical migration routes with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam in 1942. For regional tribes, chinook were once abundant and important subsistence fish upstream of that dam

Paired with previous adult and juvenile releases, this study will be the first large-scale formal research investigating the behavior and survival of these juvenile fish as they make their way through Lake Roosevelt, passing Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams, followed by the successive downstream dams on the Columbia River equipped with fish passage.

This is a truly collaborative process, pooling resources between the three tribes. First, Chinook salmon to be released are raised in the Coeur d’Alene tribal fish hatchery.

Next, the Tribes release juvenile chinook into their waterways: Latah Creek, the Spokane River below Nine Mile Dam, and areas of Lake Roosevelt. Releases are timed so that as the fish move downstream, they will create a larger and larger sample size.

Tribes use two different tracking devices: a passive integrated transponder (PIT tag), like ones used in pets, and an acoustic tag. The PIT tags generate data for the life of the fish as it passes through the dams on the Columbia on its way to the ocean, and then hopefully in 2–3 years on its return as an adult swimming upstream through the dams with fish passage.

According to Colville Confederated Tribal fish biologist Casey Baldwin, “The acoustic study that is occurring this spring is the first large-scale pilot study to evaluate survival in reaches of the blocked area and through the dams, and it will also provide some data on travel times and behavior near the dams.”

Due to size and battery life, acoustic tags will provide data for an average of 80 days. The Tribes share the maintenance of 50 acoustic arrays in Lake Roosevelt.

Tribal Fish Biologist Casey Baldwin, wearing a plaid shirt and orange life jacket, releases acustic tagged chinock salmon using a bucket to pour water and fish from a boat.
Tribes help salmon return to historic habitat: Tribal Fish Biologist Casey Baldwin releases acoustic-tagged chinook at the Sanpoil Arm. // Photo: Adam Gebauer

The acoustic tags can be monitored from approximately 200 meters away of an array, whereas the PIT tags must come within five feet of a reader. The PIT tag readers are located in fish passages on Rocky Reach Dam, near the city of Wenatchee, Wash., and other downstream dams.

For this season, the study has a sample size of 770 acoustic tags and approximately 4,500 PIT tags, released at nine different sites. The Tribes will repeat this study for the next three years.

Although this season marks the first formal study on juvenile chinook behavior and survival, there have been previous adult and juvenile releases for both cultural and research purposes. Releases in both the Sanpoil and the Little Spokane Rivers reveal that habitat above the dams is suitable for successful reproduction.

In the Sanpoil River, the Colville Tribe has confirmed successful spawning through the documentation of redds (spawning nests) and out-migrating juveniles past the dam the following spring.

Tribes help salmon return: Chinook released into Little Spokane River, as documented by Spokane Riverkeeper.

In August 2021, the Spokane Tribe released 51 adults, 20 with radio tags, in the Waikiki springs area of the Little Spokane and found nine redds, although their surveys were limited due to private property river access.

If landowners along the Little Spokane are interested in helping the reintroduction effort, they can contact Spokane Tribal Fisheries about conducting surveys within their private waterways.

The fish of the Columbia River were and are the cultural touchstone for the Tribes of the Upper Columbia. The salmon that once ran from the streams of northeast Washington and North Idaho to the ocean and back supplied up to 75% of the subsidence diet and were the focus of seasonal gatherings, trade, and ceremonies.

As the late Colville Tribal elder Mary Marchand once said, “If you bring back our salmon, you will bring back our culture.”

Originally published in the May-June 2022 print issue.

Find more stories about salmon in the OTO archives.

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Backpacking Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness https://outthereoutdoors.com/backpacking-oregons-eagle-cap-wilderness/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/backpacking-oregons-eagle-cap-wilderness/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2022 02:47:07 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51395 Travelogue of a 5-day backpacking trip in northeast Oregon's Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains.

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By Jim Johnson

When you discover something really fun, there’s potential of going overboard. In just over a year, I’ve done three backpacking trips to northeast Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. Man overboard!

For years I had wanted to backpack the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains. I almost always go solo and thought its remoteness meant few visitors. Should I run into trouble, I’d be on my own.

Overcoming my timidity with a five-day visit in August 2020, I encountered plenty of backpackers, many from the west side of Oregon and Washington. Curious why they’d drive past the Cascades to come here, the answer was simply the beauty. More than once I was told Eagle Cap is more beautiful than the famous Enchantments in Washington’s Cascades.

A four-hour drive from Spokane and the largest wilderness area in Oregon, visitation has increased from 30,000 in 2010 to 80,000 in 2020. There’s still no entrance restrictions, though—just fill out a free, self-issued permit at the trailhead. But the increased use means visitors need to be more diligent than ever at following Leave No Trace practices.

Backpacking the Wallowas’ Two Highest Peaks

I was ready to tackle the two highest points in the wilderness, Sacajawea Peak and Matterhorn, by my second visit. I did a steep climb into a high-elevation valley and pitched my tent at 7,770 feet. Despite the increase in hikers and backpackers in the Wallowas in recent years, I was the only person in the valley that night.

At camp, I set a store-bought hummus wrap on the ground while setting up. When I reached for it several minutes later, hundreds of tiny ants had infiltrated the package and were swarming the wrap. Wondering if it was salvageable and amazed a huge swarm of ants had so quickly found my wrap, I dumped most out. Though some ants were still coming from inside it, I sealed and returned it to my backpack.

I arose next morning seemingly before sunrise. However, I was surrounded by steep mountains, and the sun wouldn’t clear them for some time. I boiled water and added instant ramen. Then more boiled water for the requisite cup of coffee.

By midmorning and 2,000 feet of elevation gain, I reached the summit of Sacajawea Peak at 9,838 feet, the highest point in the Wallowa Mountains. It’s only 1.5 miles of additional ridgeline hiking to Matterhorn; however, it’s a class 3 scramble, and climbing experience is recommended. I’m strictly a hiker, and trekking poles are the closest I have to climbing equipment.

The worst part was immediately ahead—several gendarmes, or ridgeline pinnacles or rock. Some I skirted at the base. Others required finding a climbable route over.

Reaching the subsidiary peak between Sacajawea and Matterhorn, I found two young women snacking. Forest Service employees whose jobs are at a much lower elevation, they spent the night near the summit of Sacajawea. I’d seen them up ahead, going the same direction as me, carrying all their equipment.

The rest of the way was less stressful with a couple interesting sights—a cave that goes straight down and mountain goats. At the summit I admired the views while eating my ant and hummus wrap. I can attest a hummus wrap tastes good even with ants inside.

Matterhorn is 5,000 feet lower and doesn’t resemble the original in Europe at all, but it’s dramatic and beautiful nonetheless. It looks more like Half Dome in Yosemite.

I looped back by hiking the Hurwal Divide, lingering at the high point (9,776 feet). Descending in a hurry seems a waste when I spend so much effort coming up. Also, it’s tough to walk away from a fabulous view.

I finally forced myself to descend and reached my campsite by walking the entire valley again. I’d be the only person in it for a second night.

Lakes Basin and A Guy Who Bikes to Backpack

In the morning I headed to the Lakes Basin to establish a base camp and do day hikes. I hiked up and spent an indulgent hour and a half at the summit of the wilderness’ namesake, Eagle Cap (9,572 feet).

I chatted briefly with several summiteers, except one guy named Bill from Dallas, Texas. When I remarked he’d driven a long way, he corrected me—he came by bicycle.

I use my car as little as possible and prioritize personal time for things I enjoy, but Bill has taken the minimalist approach to living to the next level. Before coming here, he backpacked 400 miles of the Idaho Centennial Trail, ending at Upper Priest Lake. I wondered how he gets back to his bike.

Bill spends six months a year installing phone systems and the other six bicycling the country to hike and backpack. He’s been doing this for 32 years. For his four-day backpacking trip, he chained his bike to a tree near the trailhead.

For one-way, multiday hikes, he asks a local bike shop if they’ll hold it or give names of bike enthusiasts who will. To get back to his bike, he hitchhikes. While hiking down together, I wondered how many other people in the country are out there doing what Bill does.

View of a pristine, blue alpine lake with a small island, featuring a few pine trees. Across the lake, on the opposite shore, are mountain ridge cliffs and snow-covered mountain side and summit of Glacier Peak.
Glacier Lake on the trail to Glacier Pass in the Wallow Mountains. // Photo: Jim Johnson

The Hike Out and Back Again

My six-day stay ended with a 12-mile hike out. I thought my backpacking season was over, but good weather at September’s end brought me back once more.

On my autumn return trip, I climbed Sacajawea and Matterhorn again as a shortcut to beat an approaching storm on my next-to-last day. Gusty winds forced me to squat often along the gendarme-laden ridge, making it slower and more worrisome than before.

Arriving late and tenting far from the main camping area near Ice Lake, I awoke to footsteps in the middle of the night, followed by a loud, forceful nostril exhalation. Later, whoever did it came back and did it again.

Deer snort as a warning, but I saw mountain goats while descending Matterhorn. I don’t know if mountain goats snort, but whoever was responsible, they’ll have to be satisfied that I left in the morning and won’t return for a while.

Snow and temperatures down to the teens were expected by evening. As I hiked out, I inquired of a solitary woman hiking in if she knew about the change. She enjoys the challenge and was prepared.

End of the Hike and Off-Trail Camaraderie

I made it to my car, drove to attractive Main Street in downtown Joseph, Oregon, and stopped at a coffeeshop. Indoor comfort and a hot mocha at a window side seat is an elevated pleasure after a wilderness stint.

Walking to my car, a woman recognized me from a brief trail encounter my first day in. We compared experiences, small-talked—she and her partner were going to work their way back home to Kalispell, Mont. After parting, I wished I could’ve had a longer conversation. The camaraderie of exploring a unique place made me want to share more experiences and inquire of hers.

It’s the same on the trail. Being in the wilderness is such a pleasing experience, and trail encounters add to it. So often a brief chat is interesting and informative.

The superb setting and sharing insights with fellow backpackers makes for a memorable and pleasant adventure. That is, if you can avoid the misfortune of tiny ants swarming over your lunch.

Man hiking with trekking poles, wearing a backpack, along a rocky dirt trail with small red-colored bushes along the sides and mountain ridge in the distance.
Backpacking in Eagle Cap Wilderness: Hiking to Glacier Pass in the Lakes Basin. // Photo: Jim Johnson

Find more stories in the OTO archives about Eagle Cap Wilderness and Wallowa Mountains as well as other travel destinations and recreation opportunities in Oregon.

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New Spokane Bouldering Guide https://outthereoutdoors.com/new-spokane-bouldering-guide/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/new-spokane-bouldering-guide/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2022 02:02:10 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51398 Newly-published "Spokane Bouldering" guide, by Nate Lynch and Shane Collins, features over 700 boulder problems in Spokane, Wash.

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A newly-published Spokane Bouldering guide, by Nate Lynch and Shane Collins, is now available to buy.

Spokane has needed a quality bouldering guidebook about as long as the city has needed a north-south freeway. Lynch and Collins initially started writing this guide almost 10 years ago. Both guys are solid climbers with outstanding climbing resumes, and they were passionate about creating a chronicle of all the great boulder problems in the Spokane area.

Bouldering is a form of free climbing that is performed on small rock formations without the use of ropes or harnesses. Climbs generally vary between eight to 15 feet, and the climbers frequently use crash pads on the ground to protect them in case they fall.

The Spokane Bouldering guide features over 700 boulder problems from beginner to expert. It also includes important historical context, quality climbing photos, and historic notes about various locations. Both authors did extensive research with local bouldering legends, including George Hughbanks, Arden Pete, Marty Bland, Johnny Goicoechea, Bryan Franklin, Alex Nikolayev and Steve Moss.

A woman wearing a bright blue long-sleeved shirt and black climbing pants is reaching up for a hand hold on a boulder. Below her lays a green safety mat on the ground and a male climber with arms raised spotting her in case she falls.
Bouldering in Spokane: Allyson Cochrane climbing an unnamed boulder at McClellan, officially called Fisk State park. // Photo: Jon Jonckers

All that research and years of work show . The book is over 240 pages, which means it’s thicker than the Loomis, Bland, and Speaker climbing guidebooks combined.

More importantly, Collins and Lynch paid close attention to property lines, and confirmed that all of these boulder problems are on public land or on Craiglandia (private land near Tum Tum with public climbing permission.) The book also includes 65 projects—difficult climbs that are waiting for their first ascents.

Eastern Washington has been a climbing hotbed for decades and home to two of the best indoor climbing gyms in the nation, Wild Walls and Bloc Yard. The region also features a diversity of climbing on basalt, granite, and limestone rock.

So it’s no surprise that there has been a spike of climbing activity at many local climbing areas. For example, in recent years, the Fisk State Park, more commonly called McClellan, has seen a sharp rise in rock climbing development, especially bouldering. This place, featured prominently in the guide, is a wonderland for climbing and bouldering.

Arguably the hardest boulder problem in the guide is The Elitist (V12) at Tum Tum. Additional noteworthy climbs include Revolution, Love Taker and the Middle Finger of Fury. All of these climbs require a lot of fortitude, and mental preparation.

Spokane Bouldering ($35) is available online at Sharp End Publishing, or you can purchase the book at Inland Northwest outdoor gear stores, including Rambleraven Gear Trader and REI Spokane.

Find more stories about bouldering and climbing in the OTO archives.

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Never Leave a Trace https://outthereoutdoors.com/never-leave-a-trace/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/never-leave-a-trace/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2022 01:32:08 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51396 With more visitors to public lands, human-induced wear and tear has increased and Leave No Trace practices are more important than ever.

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More people are visiting our public lands than ever before, and many places are showing the human-induced wear and tear. Understanding and practicing Leave No Trace is more important than ever.

When hiking or backpacking, whether it’s urban wilds or real-deal Wilderness, put in the extra effort to limit your impacts on the land and other visitors with these Leave No Trace standards.

  1. Pack out all your trash and any left by others.
  2. Respect wildlife and don’t feed them.
  3. Don’t harsh on the mellow vibe of other nature lovers.
  4. Never leave human waste or toilet paper on the ground. Learn how to burry your waste properly (away from water). Better yet, pack it all out or find a restroom.
  5. Don’t collect or disturb native plants or other interesting bits of the natural world.
  6. Limit campfires to conserve downed wood and lower chances of burning the place up. Watch the stars and night sky instead.
  7. Plan ahead to avoid emergency violation of Leave No Trace principles. This could happen, for instance, if you forget your stove fuel, forcing you to cook over a campfire where it’s not allowed.
  8. Camp and travel on designated paths and campsites to avoid hacking and tromping your own way through virgin forest or desert.

Learn more about Leave No Trace principles at Lnt.org.

Originally published as “Leave No Trace More Important Than Ever” in the May-June 2022 issue.

Bad backcountry kharma! Leave no trace. Especially toilet paper. // Photos: Shallan Knowles

Find more stories about backcountry travel and Leave No Trace ethics and practices and in the OTO topic archives.

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Bear Country Safety Advice https://outthereoutdoors.com/bear-country-safety-advice/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/bear-country-safety-advice/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2022 23:26:49 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51374 Learn how stay safe in bear country and prevent encounters, whether living or enjoying recreation in or near bear habitat areas.

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The weather is nice, and the bears agree with you—now is a wonderful time to be outside. Follow bear country safety advice whether living or enjoying the great outdoor in or near bear habitat areas.

Chuck Bartlebaugh of Missoula, Mont., based nonprofit Be Bear Aware says there is an easy equation to remember when you’re recreating outside—whether it’s in town or in the trees, WILDLIFE + DISTANCE = SAFETY.

Black bears aren’t just in remote areas. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) removed a bear one block south of I-90 just two years ago. Biologist Carrie Lowe points out that “if they can show up there, they can show up anywhere.”

Just last summer, a black bear in a residential backyard in Spokane’s South Hill neighborhood, who took refuge in a tree, was caught by WDFW and released back into the wild.

Bears are often reported in areas like Dishman Hills and Nine Mile Falls, but Bartlebaugh’s favorite story is about the bear that settled down and was sleeping under the Red Wagon slide in Riverfront Park (the bear was moved without incident).

Live safe in bear country: Secure outdoor garbage. Bears can wander into residential areas when there are attractants. // Photos: Shutterstock.

Learn How to Be Bear Aware

Be Bear Aware was founded by Bartlebaugh in 1976, and since then the Montana-based organization has produced some of the best bear education materials.

They also offer courses in how to deploy bear spray in varying attack situations, and how to handle encounters with bears, cougar, moose, rattlesnakes, and other wildlife. Trainings cover how to use bear spray to deter an attack from a surprised bear as well as encounters where there’s more distance.

Always, the primary goal is to learn how to maintain distance and avoid an encounter in the first place. The key is learning what bear sign looks like: bark smoothed from rubbing, hair or scratches on trees, shredded stumps. What does bear scat look like? Google it with your family: it’s a fun way to start the conversation.

Bears are attracted to smells, so store food, fishing tackle, harvested fish or game, and even your toothpaste in a bear resistant container or inside a locked vehicle if you are out overnight. Whether you are hiking, camping, or mountain biking, make sure to carry bear spray, and have it in a place where you can reach it easily.

Bikers move fast through the landscape and need to pay special attention to being aware of any strong smells (bear, or dead animal that a bear might feed on). Bartlebaugh recommends calling out in a way that is non-threatening and human sounding—music will not do the trick, voices will.

Bartlebaugh also has specific suggestions for people in residential areas. “It’s all common sense. Clear the brush away from the house so you have a good view (this helps with fire danger too). Garbage needs to go out only on pick-up day, and if you can, get a bear-resistant container for trash. Also, get rid of attractants like fruit that’s fallen from fruit trees.”

WDFW Biologist Carrie Lowe says that rural residents with backyard chickens need to be especially aware because the birds are attractive to bears. She emphasizes that as Spokane continues to grow, “more houses are on the outskirts of bear country. Anyone should expect to potentially see a bear where they live.”

Bartlebaugh also noted that wildlife feeding and people’s desire to get up close and interact with wildlife is a big problem and the primary reason behind most human–wildlife conflicts. “We need to learn to enjoy wildlife for what they are and not what they will do for donuts.” A culture of respect and avoidance is key, not just for bears, but for all wildlife.

Another warning, brought up by both Lowe and Bartlebaugh, was to always keep your dog on leash in wild areas. Bears rarely attack humans, but according to Lowe, a large percentage of those attacks are when a dog is off leash and the bear chases the dog back to the owner. This is also an issue with moose, who are known to get aggressive with dogs.

Chuck Bartlebaugh holding a can of bear spray with outstretched arms, with thumb pressing on top of spray can, demonstrating how to deploy bear repellent spray during a training session.
Bear country safety knowledge: Chuck Bartlebaugh demonstrates how to deploy bear spray during a training session. // Photo courtesy Be Bear Aware.

Use Bear Spray the Right Way

Be Bear Aware recommends that you carry an EPA-approved bear spray cannister that will spray for at least seven seconds and travel at least 30 feet. Knowing that distance and how far your cannister will spray matters. Importantly, the group states in their trainings that how you deploy bear spray is determined by the bear’s agitation level and how far away the bear is. (Learn more: “Bear Spray Science.”)

In addition to courses on bear encounters and how to deploy bear spray, Be Bear Aware has developed a Train-the-Trainer program where anyone can take the course and then learn to become a trainer themselves. This program has expanded in Montana and is being introduced here in eastern Washington.

For more information, contact Be Bear Aware at bearinfo@cfwi.org or call 406-239-2315.

Find more stories about bears and other North American wildlife in the OTO archives.

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Bear Spray Science https://outthereoutdoors.com/bear-spray-science/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/bear-spray-science/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2022 19:42:51 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51380 A brief science history of bear spray, the red-pepper based repellent used by park rangers, hunters, and anyone else entering bear country.

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What is the science behind bear spray and why does it work as a non-lethal repellent deterrent?

Bear biologist Carrie Hunt, founder of Wind River Bear Institute (WRBI), conducted experiments with bear repellant deterrents at the University of Montana in the 1980s, for her master’s in science degree. She found some potential in personal defense and military pepper sprays, but there were drawbacks. Her research indicated that the ingredients and the delivery method are what makes a spray more effective.

Hunt’s study led Bill Pounds to develop a concentrated formula that could be dispersed in a cone-shaped cloud that did not require precise aiming, but could simply be directed downward in front of a charging bear. This helps compensate for the effects of wind, rain, and cold. (Pounds went on to found Counter Assault and to manufacture and market bear spray.)

Bear spray has six times as much spray and is much more pressurized than pepper spray. The contents are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and each can has a registration number on the label.

Improperly stored trash can attract bears (left); Photo: Shutterstock // Chuck Bartlebaugh demonstrates how to deploy bear spray during a training session. // Photo courtesy Be Bear Aware.

Capsaicin and related capsaicinoids are the active ingredients in bear spray; claims of 10%, 20%, or 30% Oleoresin Capsaicin are not indicative of the amount of active capsaicin and capsaicinoids in a spray. This and the spray pattern are what make bear spray so effective.

If it’s not EPA registered, it will not work the same in a bear encounter. Make sure to look before you buy.

The recommendation based on Hunt’s study is to spray for seven seconds, 30 feet in front of you. The minimum sized can registered by the EPA is 225 grams (7.9 oz.); smaller cans may not have sufficient spray duration to deter a charging bear.

Chuck Bartlebaugh of Be Bear Aware said it’s important to ensure that you bring enough bear spray with you; you’ll want enough to deter an aggressive bear and still have some for the hike out. Visit the Be Bear Aware Campaign website to learn about staying safe in bear country and how to deploy bear spray.

Find more stories about bears and other North American wildlife in the OTO archives.

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6 Reasons To Keep Your Dog On-Leash https://outthereoutdoors.com/keep-your-dog-on-leash-6-reasons/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/keep-your-dog-on-leash-6-reasons/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2022 21:10:06 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51365 Be a good ambassador for outdoors-loving dog owners and all dogs. Keep your dog leashed and make sure everyone enjoys the trails.

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By Angela Schneider

I used to be that jackass. You know the one who calls out “he’s friendly” while her dog bounds joyfully along the trail unleashed and uncontrolled. Shep was one of the most gregarious dogs I’ve ever met and, after some time and patience, he came when he was called. That doesn’t mean he should have been off-leash in places where he shouldn’t have been.

And I learned my lesson the hard way.

I was minding my own business on an urban hiking trail in Calgary, Alberta, when I heard screaming and yelling nearby. And barking. I ran toward the cacophony and found Shep trying to make nice with a woman who was shaken to the core. She was terrified of dogs.

Since the onset of the pandemic, more of us have dogs. And more of us are outside. Which means more of us are outside with our dogs.

The trails are busy, and we’re all looking to do our own thing. Trouble is, doing our own thing can get in the way of someone else doing their own thing. That’s one of the reasons I’ve learned keeping my current dog, Bella, on her leash is the way to go.

Large dog wearing a collar and leash, with leash held by owner, while walking on rocky lake beach in north Idaho, with mountain peaks in the distance..
Keep dogs on leash on public trails: Ruby hikes the Shoreline Trail at Farragut State Park Idaho with mama Nicole. // Photo: Angela Schneider.

Here are 6 good reasons you should leash your dog on trails.

1. It’s the Law.

Leashes are the law in most cities and counties, including the City of Spokane. If you get busted with your dog off leash in Spokane, you can get hit with an $87 fine. The law goes for Spokane County and Washington State Parks, too.

Want to spend the day climbing to Vista House at Mt. Spokane? Don’t forget your dog’s leash, no more than eight feet long.

2. Safety for You and Your Pup.

You don’t know what you can’t see. And if your pup is off the trail roaming and loving the smell of every pile of scat, there’s no telling what he can get into. Then there’s dogs like my Bella who likes to roll in the poo. (Need I mention we’re frequent patrons of the do-it-yourself dog wash at Julia’s Jungle in Spokane Valley?).

Keep your dog on-leash if you stray over to Idaho and Montana for a day hike, because your dog also runs the risk of getting caught in a wildlife snare. Trapping is legal in those states.

3. Unwanted Wildlife Encounters.

The dangers of wildlife was one of the first things more experienced hikers taught me when I first started wandering trails some 15 years ago with Shep. An off-leash dog can find potentially dangerous critters like bears, cougars, or wolves, and draw them back to you. Luckily, even in grizzly territory in Alberta, the most dangerous animals we ever saw were deer and chipmunks.

An off-leash dog may also spend his time harassing wildlife. And that’s just not cool. Number six of the seven Leave No Trace principles is, of course, “respect wildlife.”

We’re already invading their territory. We don’t need to stress out wildlife more with our dogs getting all up in their grills. Keep your dog on-leash to help ensure the safety for all animals.

4. Peace of Mind.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many Facebook posts I’ve seen where people are searching for dogs lost in the woods. The hiking groups in Washington and North Idaho frequently feature people looking for help finding their dogs. The pups just strayed away or got spooked and took off.

It’s heartbreaking, yet there’s an easy solution: keep your dog on leash. That way you know where she is at all times.

5. Respect for Others.

Not everyone likes dogs. I just don’t get it. I’ve been a dog person my entire life. But yes, there are people on the trails who don’t like dogs, or maybe just don’t appreciate them. They don’t want our dogs running toward them or worse, jumping on them. It doesn’t matter what size either, whether an “oh, but my dog is so small and so cute” dachshund or a “no, really, he’s a big softie” Great Dane.

Some people even fear dogs, like the poor soul whose day I ruined so many years ago. Even a goofy Lab can leave a person with a bite history terrified on the trail.

6. Some Dogs Don’t Like Other Dogs.

I have friends with reactive dogs. They love to go hiking, but lately they’ve been leaving their own dogs at home because too many people think their dogs need to be off leash all the time. “She’s friendly,” they call out. “Mine’s not,” my friends tried to reply. It didn’t matter. The off-leash dog approached, and things spun out of control.

Dogs simply aren’t capable of higher-level thinking. They see another dog and their instinct is to approach and check that butt out. It’s up to humans—the ones capable of higher-level thinking, but who don’t always use it—to be responsible dog owners and nature lovers.

Leashed dog on a trail in front of its owner.
Keep your dog on-leash in public: It’s required by law in most places, including Spokane County and all Washington State Parks. // Photo: Shallan Knowles

I take the rules pretty seriously. Even though I used to be a scofflaw, my exceedingly responsible husband has lightened my penchant for risk-taking.

It doesn’t help that Bella has been resistant to recall and likes to wander (er, bolt) when she gets the chance. That’s typical for a Maremma sheepdog. Her stubbornness, independence, and defiance are all bits that we love about her. While hiking in Spokane and North Idaho, though, she is on leash.

If you frequently enjoy hiking in Spokane, no doubt you have one of the trail apps on your phone from AllTrails or Washington Trails Association. Most of the trail notes indicate whether leashes are required or even if dogs are permitted on the trail. (Note: Dogs are not allowed on trails at the Little Spokane River Natural Area).

Just keep your dog on-leash. Let’s all be good ambassadors for our dogs and the growing community of outdoors-loving dog owners and make sure everyone enjoys the trails.

Originally published as “Becoming a Better Dog Owner” in the May-June 2022 issue.

Angela Schneider is an adventurer, writer, and photographer at Big White Dog Photography in Spokane. First and foremost, she is mama to her 8-year-old Maremma sheepdog, Bella.

Find more stories about dogs in the OTO archives.

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Inland NW Youth Mountain Biking Teams https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-youth-mountain-biking-teams/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/inland-nw-youth-mountain-biking-teams/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2022 02:07:51 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51357 Inland NW mountain-biking coaches created the Bikesaretheanswer.org website for families to learn about regional team and race options.

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People responded to the challenges of the pandemic in a lot of different ways. For a group of Inland Northwest mountain bike coaches and parents wondering how to help their kids, bikes became the answer.

After Covid lockdown, says Spokane mountain bike coach Frank Burns, “We saw that kids were withdrawn and excluded, for many good reasons, from the interactions that are so critical to the development of adolescent brains. My buddy is a pediatrician and my wife is a psychiatrist, and hearing them talk about what they were seeing with depression, anxiety, and withdrawal in adolescent populations was scary.”

Meet Fred Burns – video produced by The Bike Hub in Spokane, Wash.

But once kids were able to get back out riding together in the spring of 2021, he says, kids thrived like they had before.

After some thought, Burns says he and his fellow coaches came to the conclusion that bikes are the answer. “Armed with this new found insight, we secured the Bikesaretheanswer.org domain name and put up a website to make it easy for everyone in our region with kids to engage in youth cycling teams.”

Youth mountain biking programs in the Inland Northwest are not new, but navigating the confusing acronyms and disparate programs didn’t make it easy for families to find the right programs and races for their kids.

The Bikesaretheanswer.org site simplifies the region’s youth cross-country (XC) mountain biking team and race options and brings them all together in one easy-to-use web portal. The volunteers behind the effort went a step further and also helped fill the gap between the existing spring youth mountain bike teams under the Washington Student Cycling League (WSCL) and the fall youth cyclocross team (School of Cross); they brought a summer team under the banner of the National Interscholastic Cycling League of Montana (NICA MT) into the fold.

A long line of teenagers on their mountain bikes along a forested trail, stopped and smiling at the camera.
Youth mountain biking teams in the Northwest. // Photo courtesy Frank Burns.

From the Bikesaretheanswer.org website, parents can now find all the info and registration links for Inland Northwest mountain bike team options for spring, summer, and fall, plus optional race dates throughout the year, all in one place.

Simplifying the process for parents has huge value, but the addition of the summer league that brings kids from around the region together into one team has also had a tremendous impact on the kids, coaches, and families that are now so much more connected, explains Burns.

The Next Generation of Biking? Because Bikes Podcast – produced by The Bike Hub

The addition of the summer league really opened the coaches’ eyes, says Burns. “All the kids from the region were put together into one team and thrived. The kids, coaches, and families became friends, and we competed as one group against other teams in the larger multistate league.”

It gave everyone a taste of what a successful regional approach to youth cycling can deliver, says Burns. “We began to ride trails in CDA, Mount Spokane, Mica, Saltese, and Riverside together too.”

An unexpected outcome, he adds, was that kids saw themselves as part of a region, as opposed to a small friend group in a school or neighborhood.

For kids and families, Burns says youth bike teams are a great regional community-building tool, all while delivering fun, friends, health and inclusion. Kids in grades 6–12 can participate in the spring and summer XC mountain bike leagues, and ages 6–18 can take part in the fall cyclocross season.

A group of youth mountain biking in a single line, sometimes two by two, on a forested dirt trail in the Northwest.
Inland NW youth mountain biking team group ride. // Photo courtesy Frank Burns.

Youth of all abilities are welcome, and Burns points out that kids typically self-sort whether they are more interested in riding for fun and being social or competing and racing. “At the start of the season, we had some kids who had not ridden much at all,” explains Burns, “and after six weeks, these kids do multi-hour rides and see themselves as part of a mountain bike team and are ready to race if they want to.”

Originally published as “For Some Pandemic-Weary Parents, Bikes Became the Answer” in the May-June 2022 issue.

Adult and two youth sitting on their mountain bikes and smiling at the camera along a forested dirt trail.
Mountain biking with your kids provide you all with a mental-health boost. // Photo courtesy Frank Burns.

Find more stories in the OTO archives about biking and Out There Kids family outdoor adventures.

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Where to Go Ziplining With Kids https://outthereoutdoors.com/where-to-go-ziplining-with-kids/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/where-to-go-ziplining-with-kids/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2022 00:57:28 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51344 Three Inland Northwest zipline tour companies offer experiences for adventurous families of varying ages, abilities, and group sizes.

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The Inland Northwest has three zipline parks, all within a two-hour drive from Spokane. Which makes an easy day trip for an exhilarating zipline experience.

The sensation you get when you set off down that zip line is similar to riding a roller coaster. It’s speed, the risk mitigated by safety, the feeling of weightlessness, and just look at that view. It’s a reality experience that gets everyone off their electronic devices and into the outdoors to make one of the best memories of the summer.

Here’s what the three local zipline tour companies offer for adventurous families of varying ages, abilities, and group sizes.

Mica Moon Zip Tours & Aerial Park – Liberty Lake, Wash.

“This was a great experience with my mother, sister and niece. Three generations on a family trip. Once in a lifetime! Ian and Ben were wonderful guides and incredibly helpful and patient with my 87-year-old mother and a sister with a fear of heights!” —Randall, Tripadvisor

Awarded Tripadvisor’s coveted Travelers’ Choice award in 2021, Mica Moon Zip Tours & Aerial Park puts safety first without sacrificing on the fun. “Sometimes when I’m driving up the mountain to check on something, I’ll stop and turn off my motor, and I can hear laughing and singing up the mountain,” says owner Rik Stewart. “It reminds me why we do this.”

Child ziplining down a cable, smiling at the camera, over a grassy hillside with pine trees in the background.
Local ziplining for families at Mica Moon. // Photo courtesy Mica Moon Zip Tours & Aerial Park.

Mica Moon’s ziplines accommodate children 6 years old and up, although lighter kids might be challenged at the bottom, he says. Still, Mica Moon guides make sure every person has the best, safest experience. Steward and his staff, he says, enjoy watching families laughing together, being challenged, and cheering each other on.

In addition to nine zip lines, Mica Moon has an aerial adventure park with over 30 obstacles that are 30–70 feet up in the tree canopy. The variety of levels and heights allows guests of all ages and abilities to customize their experience to their individual comfort level.

Timberline Adventures – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

“Beautiful and exciting experience above Coeur d’Alene. Everything was first class, from the retail shop where the adventure launches, to the seven lines of increasing speed, distance, height and excitement, to the two footbridges, to the excellent guides. Really enjoyed this with my two teenagers.” —John, Timberline Adventures website

Treehouse Lunch & Zip at Timberline Adventures

Timberline offers four unique zip tours appropriate for kids ages 7 and older and individuals up to 260 pounds. One of their tours includes a treehouse, which was featured on DIY Channel’s “Treehouse Guys” show (Season 2, Episode 2). On the Treehouse Lunch & Zip, guests get to enjoy Timberline’s award-winning zipline tour alongside a delicious lunch from The Local Deli in Hayden, Idaho.

The views of Lake Coeur d’Alene from Timberline’s seven zip lines above Beauty Bay are absolutely breathtaking. Two sky bridges and two auto-belays add additional thrilling elements.

After finishing the tour, you shuttle back to Timberline’s office where you can grab a drink, shop for a keepsake, and savor the awesome memory you and your family created.

(Timberline’s treehouse was featured in Adventure Park Insider, Summer 2019 issue.)

Two people standing on a high suspension bridge overlooking forested hillside with Lake Coeur d'Alene in the far distance.
Timberline Adventures in Coeur d’Alene, Isdaho. // Photo courtesy Timberline.

Silver Streak Ziplines – Wallace, Idaho

“Safe, fun, great memory! I would definitely do it again. My family loved it and being outdoors together in a beautiful area was really special.” —JCV, Tripadvisor

Silver Streak is spread out on over 263 acres of mountain above Wallace, Idaho, with 10 zip lines and a downhill mountain bike park. There’s also a pump track, a mountain bike jump line, and about 2.5 miles of bike trails (from beginner to advanced), with more to come.

Silver Streak can accommodate kids age 10 and up that weigh over 85 pounds on their ziplines, as well as grandparents up to 92 years old. “For a lot of people,” says owner Scott Haney, “it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, so we send them on the Bucket List zip tour.” But they also have guests who zipline around the world and then come back to Silver Streak every year.            

Located a short drive up in the mountains from historic Wallace, Idaho, there’s a little something for everyone at this mountain adventure park.

Originally published as “Local Ziplining for Families” in the May-June 2022 issue.

Child wearing a safety harness and helmet smiling at the camera while adventuring in the aerial park at Mica Moon.
Ziplining at Mica Moon. // Photo courtesy Mica Moon Zip Tours & Aerial Park.

Find stories about kid-friendly activities, travel destinations, and recreation ideas in the Out There Kids archives and Summer Adventure Guide.

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Geology for Kids https://outthereoutdoors.com/geology-for-kids/ https://outthereoutdoors.com/geology-for-kids/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2022 18:54:07 +0000 https://outthereoutdoors.com/?p=51343 Where to go and how to include geology with outdoor adventures and at-home with GeoKidz subscription boxes.

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Behind every pretty mineral or rock is a story about Earth’s processes, muses Justin Rice, the geologist behind Liberty Lake, Wash.-based GeoKidz, which offers two different geology kits for kids as well as a kids geology subscription box.

“My passion really lies in telling these stories,” he says. GeoKidz kits include a mix of beautiful rocks and gemstones, experiments, geology tools and educational materials that describe how the rock specimens were formed.

“When our son was three years old,” says Justin, “we bought him a backyard explorer themed kit that was all about bugs. We had so much fun digging up creepy crawly specimens and finding cool rocks along the way! This made us wonder if there were similar geology-themed kits available.”

After not being able to find a quality one, Justin and his wife Melia started putting together their own kits, and GeoKidz was born.

The GeoKidz Adventure Kit was the first one to come out and includes the tools and information you might find in a Geology 101 lab course, says Justin. “It includes everything you need to start identifying rocks and minerals as well as tools to get outside and start exploring.”

Justin and Melia say they love doing science experiments at home with their two kids, ages 5 and 2. “A lot of these experiments find their way into our kits. Sometimes it requires us adding a geology twist to a classic DIY experiment. Some of our other ideas have come from discussions with customers and even seeing what interests kids that come to our events.”

Geology Hot Spots Around the Inland Northwest

The Inland Northwest has plenty of interesting rocks and geologic formations to explore. The Rice family makes annual family geology trips to the Emerald Creek Garnet site near Clarkia, Idaho, for garnets and Red Top Lookout near Ellensburg, Wash., for blue agate.

“We also love camping along the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. I love the Belt Supergroup rocks that comprise much of the Coeur d’Alene district for the stories they tell of our ancient, almost alien planet,” Justin says.

His kids love finding smooth river rocks with quartz veins cutting through them. “We call them wishing rocks (you make a wish as you skip them across the river), and our kids’ wishes are typically for dad to do something embarrassing.”

Two children laying down on a huge boulder examining a collection of rocks, with a hammer to break open rocks and explore the insides.on of small rocks and examining them.
Geology for kids: Hands-on learning while camping. // Photo: Shallan Knowles

Learning About Geology with Your Kids

Justin explains that it’s important to remember geology is the study of the materials as well as the processes that shape our planet. “I like to focus on the processes more with young kids. Kind of a look at the forest instead of the trees approach.”

An easy example, he says, might be describing how the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon. “We even model this in our backyard sandbox! We spend hours building landscapes in the sandbox, adding a garden hose, and voila, we have a model to teach about erosion, sediment transport, and deposition.”

Making it easy to teach your kids about geology, the new GeoKidz subscription boxes offer monthly lessons and experiments that take kids through the bigger picture lens of learning how rocks and minerals form to then focusing in on more complex Earth materials and processes.

Justin says the boxes start with a higher level of looking at geology and progressively get more subject focused. “These are perfect, bite-sized, lessons to start learning geology.”

Incorporating Geology into Your Summer Adventures

If you want to plan some family geology outings this summer, the Rice family recommends carrying copies of the Roadside Geology Series books for the places you are already going camping, hiking or biking. “These books provide a great summary of a region’s geology as well as a detailed driving log that points out important geologic features,” adds Justin. Or find some interesting geology hot spots in the books and explore someplace new.

To learn more about GeoKidz’ geology kits and subscription box, visit the GeoKidz website. Find the Rice family’s great geology content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok; or subscribe to the free GeoKidz blog for educational experiments for families to do at home delivered to your inbox at Geokidz.wordpress.com.

Originally published as “Geology Made Fun for Kids” in the May-June 2022 issue.

Find more stories about geology in the OTO archives and family adventures in the Outdoor Family column.

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