Via Yellowstone National Park: Early Wednesday morning, March 15, a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt. This is the first confirmed bear sighting this year, although bear tracks have been observed since February 22. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.
Story via North Cascades National Park:
An avalanche occurred in the early morning hours on Friday March 10, 2017 in the gorge east of Newhalem, WA. The avalanche completely obstructed State Route 20 at approximately milepost 122.5, immediately east of the first tunnel. No one was injured in the avalanche. Area avalanche conditions were rated by the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) as High at the time. Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced on Friday they would not clear the debris based on avalanche danger in the Gorge, and the situation would be reassessed on Monday, March 13, 2017.
It’s early March again in the Pacific Northwest. This time around, it’s still snowing even on the lower trails. making for an entertaining Mountain Marathon and Hillbilly Half up Rock Candy mountain in the Capitol Forest near Olympia, WA. Why the race directors didn’t name the races “Rock Candy” is beyond me. It would be such a perfect name for a trail race. But no matter the name, this is still one of my favorite races all year and my goal is to bring someone to the race every year. This year it was another one of my awesome sister-in-laws, next year I am grabbing Douglas. Be warned.
Along the eastern slopes of Olympic National Park, high above the fjord-filled wonderland of Hood Canal, a shimmering and shining lake thaws underneath two majestic peaks. Like a miniature Glacier National Park, this remote, oft-overlooked wilderness playground needs to be your late-spring adventure destination. Once the snow starts to melt for good and the creeks become passable after the spring floods, head to Upper Lena Lake in the Hamma Hamma region for insanely gorgeous views, incredible camping and endless exploration.
Yes. Trails and nature areas are getting popular, but there is a reason. Guess what though, it isn’t the social media or hiking websites. More and more individuals and families are heading out into the beautiful wonderland of the Pacific Northwest, hoping to discover the soul nourishing power of nature. They flock to Paradise, Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh and Rialto Beach, hoping to experience the power of wilderness. They want to experience what many of us have been lucky enough to enjoy our whole lives, yet many in the hiking community appear to loathe them. They blame new hikers for “ruining areas” and “loving our trails to death.” Frankly, I am tired of this narrative. It sounds just like those who scream out “fake news” any time they read something they disagree with.
On the evening of February 22nd, 2017, residents of the South Puget Sound were jostled by a 4.2 earthquake centered on the Kitsap Peninsula. With a bang being heard before the shock waves arrived, the quake jostled everyone’s nerves a little, while no damage or landslides occurred. For those keeping record, this was the largest earthquake in the Puget Sound since December of 2015. For most who felt it, it was just another small quake out here in the PNW. While everyone has moved on, few realize that the ground has been shaking in the region for the entire month, with nearly 2,000 small earthquakes moving the Puget Sound since February 1st and 1,000 in the last week.
F&*K!!! The tree still stands. Which is good news!
Turns out, I am not 100% accurate all of the time, which sucks. I do my best to give due diligence to finding out information before reporting and tend to trust sources in the hiking community. Places like WTA, NWHikers.net and even WH&C on Facebook all tend to have current information on their sites. When stories pop up, I go to my other sources and see what they have heard. When I hear about something from a trusted group of sources, I write about it. Turns out, people are flawed and info gets muddled. We will continue to strive for perfection. Until then, we can only do our best.
Yeah, access to the Elwha is limited. Again.
After being only open for three weeks after being closed for 14 months. Hopefully, this closure is much shorter. In case you haven’t noticed, February has been a wet one. Records are close to being broken for the wettest February on record in Seattle and the story is the same on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Heavy rains over the last few days have flooded our rivers and swollen our streams, resulting in closures to one of Olympic National Park’s most vulnerable regions of access. Olympic Hot Springs Road, also know and The Elwha Road, is closed yet again after being open for only three weeks.
On January 27th, we reported that Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz had introduced a bill titled HR 621, which would open up 3.3 million acres of Federal Land across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. The outrange was immediate. All around social media, at protests in Montana’s Capitol and flooding the emails and answering machines of Congress, the American people stood up against the attack on Public Lands. Now, it appears like our message was victorious.
If Republicans have their way, drilling could become commonplace in over 40 National Parks around the country. Known as H.J. Res. 46, the bill seeks to undue the rules and regulations set up in 1978 to protect National Parks under a series of rules known as 9B. Currently, there are over forty National Parks that have a “split estate” ownership, where the federal government owns the surface of the region, but not the underground mineral rights. That can all change on Friday, February 3rd, if Congress pushes this through.
Olympic National Park is known for numerous awesome natural wonders. From moss-covered rainforests in old-growth forests to cascading waterfalls plunging into rough, salmon stocked rivers, we have it all out here. When we want a hike along the ocean to look at sea-stacks, the Olympic National Park has us covered. Neah Bay to Ocean Shores and from Olympia to Port Angeles, the Olympic Peninsula is full of awesome sights that inspire millions each year. Sadly, one of the sights that have been consistent for thousands of years is slowly leaving the region, and it might be too late to stop it from vanishing for good.
Update: Jason Chaffetz withdraws HR 612!!!
If Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz gets his way, America can say goodbye to over three million acres of Public Lands. In a bill titled HR 621, Chaffetz hopes that 3.3 million acres across 10 states can be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private companies. Seriously. This bill, for those following the quick attempted destruction of Public Lands as we know it, has become stronger thanks to a rules package that the Republican House passed, making land seizure plans like HR 621 extremely easy to follow through with.
The Elwha is once again open to vehicle traffic, for the first time since late November 2015, when a series of severe storms brought heavy rain and flooding to the Elwha River. During that storm, approximately 90 feet of roadway washed out, with additional sections severely eroded and damaged by flood waters. While the road opening is great, keep in mind of a few things.
Unless you have been in the backcountry for a few months, or just actually live under a rock, you are aware that everywhere you go, there is talk about politics. In the grocery stores, in the papers, at work, at home and all over social media; it seems like political speech is around every corner. For many, the retreat into nature is to avoid this type of talk, letting yourself reconnect and be calm in the majesty of wilderness and the great outdoors. While I believe everyone should find a patch of wilderness to relax and meditate at, the time for naivety of politics not playing an important role in nature is over.
Get ready folks.
Mount Rainier National Park will begin accepting online reservation requests for wilderness camping and climbing permits, including overnight trips on the Wonderland Trail. If you were thinking of camping at Mount Rainier or taking on the Wonderland Trail, you better be ready and fast.
January 22nd, 2017 at 12:05 PM. A magnitude 3.6 earthquake hit in the southern stretches of Olympic National Park near the Quinault Rainforest. Originating near the headwaters of the Wynoochee River, the quake came from a depth of 40km. While a quick call to a friend told me that the shaking was felt in the Quinault region, the are no reports of damage to structures or really any issues at all. This quake follows another smaller quake, a magnitude 2.6, located near Humptulips two mornings earlier. Earthquakes are common in the PNW and this latest jolt shouldn’t cause panic. Last year, also in January, over 2,000 small quakes made their way down the Hood Canal. Nothing bad came from that.
I figured it would take a few days or week. I thought that the first hundred days would be focused on issues like healthcare, immigration and trade. I didn’t think for one minute that within twelve hours of our new President swearing in on a bible, that he would come after the National Park Service. Whether you supported Trump, Hillary, Bernie, Jill or anyone else, this is an important precedent that has just been set. Our new President is restricting speech.
I do not love being in the wilderness by myself. I really don’t. It’s not blind fear or a phobia. It’s being in my head; all by myself for hours, not being able to share the experience with anyone that sort of lacks any draw for me. I guess, I don’t like loneliness. Doesn’t make me a good Northwest outdoor person, I suppose. Most people go outdoors to get away from everything and anyone. Not me.
But, just before the weather turned this fall, I wanted to test myself, wanted to try out that solo experience and see what it was all about.
Out along the wilderness coast of the Olympic Peninsula, endless coastal wonders await those longing for a truly Pacific Northwest beach experience. Stretching for 73 miles, from Shi Shi to Kalaloch, the wilderness coast of Olympic has inspired countless generation and left millions of visitors awestruck with the sheer beauty of these jagged and remote stretches along the Pacific. Ranging in levels of accessibility, the Olympic coast offers something for everyone, letting each individual find their perfect slice of sandy, driftwood-filled beaches. For many, the highlight of the coast comes at Olympic National Park’s Second Beach near the town of LaPush.