“Winter means everything to us. Riding snow is our passion, and Hurricane Ridge is our Valhalla.” ~ Mitch Zenobi
There are those who gaze up at the Olympic Mountains from the beautiful, remote city of Port Angeles, Washington. Sitting on a bar stool, sipping a local brew and looking at the clouds, a handful of Olympic Peninsula residents wait impatiently for it to snow. Watching 5,000 feet from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, pairs of eyes scan the ridges, hoping that powdery magic has fallen. While I don’t live in Port Angeles, my eyes also dart toward the Olympic summits, eagerly anticipating the return of winter snow. Go and explore Hurricane Ridge in the winter wonderland this weekend!
In a move that should not come as a shock to anyone paying attention to the weather forecast, officials in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest have canceled the fire restrictions that started on September 1st. With significant rain fall around the region and snow levels dropping down to 5,000 feet this week, the danger of forest fires has dramatically been reduced. While the fire danger is now reduced, please continue to follow fire safety rules. If you do have a fire while camping in Olympic, be smart, safe and always extinguish your fire fully before leaving camp.
Now that summer is in full swing, hiking season is going strong. Each weekend, trails around the region are packed with enthusiastic nature lovers, hoping for an incredible adventure around the region. As the snow is melting out from all but a few spots of our favorite high alpine trails, the entire Pacific Northwest’s wonderland of trails is accessible and ready for you! We return to our old favorite trails, long ignored from a winter’s worth of snow while new hikers are discovering their own favorite places far from the confines of simple trails. Even those of us who have been hiking year-round are reaching further and further into the interior of the beauty of Cascadia, reconnecting with nature one step at a time. While 99.9% of us will hike out and back with no issues, we find the start of summer hiking season to be a great time to remind everyone to stay safe and to be smart.
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.
You might remember a story this summer about five bros from Canada who decided to disregard National Park laws, common sense and Leave No Trace Principles to bro out in America’s National Park. From Flying drones in wilderness regions and protected areas, to leaving the boardwalk at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Hot Springs and numerous acts in-between, the five guys from the great white north angered nature lovers from around the world. With a blatant disregard for not only their general well-being, but also for rules and regulations, the guys from “High on Life” started a discussion about what it means to be proper stewards in our public lands. On November 1st, 2016, two of the five plead guilt to charges from the National Park Service.
While the summer weather of 2016 is off to less than a stellar start, the wettest spring on record did little to dampen the enthusiasm for Olympic National Park. Washington State’s most-visited National Park has seen nearly one million visitors in the first five months of 2016. Spurned on by a Centennial Celebration for our National Parks, visitation at nearly all of America’s National Parks is seeing incredible high numbers. With the summer months of visitation in full swing, Olympic National Park not only has a chance to see its busiest year in decades, but maybe in its history.
Cape Flattery is a classic destination, not just on the Olympic Peninsula or the state of Washington, but in the nation. Out on the exposed rocks, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in full glory, Cape Flattery is a timeless testament to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Most know the cape as being the place where they can stand and be at the Northwestern-most point in the contiguous United States. While that doesn’t flow off the tongue, standing on the rocky embankments is inspiring and moving, riding the gap between humanity and wilderness.
Happy First Anniversary, The Outdoor Society!
You look mighty fine for being one year old.
Over many beers and on endless hiking trails, TOS founders Doug and Mathias discussed what we felt was missing in the Outdoor Magazine world. We found that all around our beloved Pacific Northwest, beautiful regions and amazing experiences got often short-changed, under appreciated and kept a secret, even to locals.
Oh, hey there! We just published a book!
Our first annual Summit Book for 2016 is fresh off the printer and we couldn’t be happier with what we’ve created. It serves as a mile marker for how much we’ve grown. The book is our annual celebration of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, one of the greatest places on this planet, as we invite you to join the fun.
I never expect a White Christmas, and if you are a resident of Western Washington, you shouldn’t either. Over the last century, the city of Seattle has only had four Christmas Days with snowfall. In outlying areas, the total is higher, but not much. In the Pacific Northwest, snowy holidays are what we see on Instagram or what we hear crooned on our holiday Pandora station. Around the Puget Sound, Salish Sea and wilderness coast, if we crave a snowy Christmas experience, we usually head to the mountains. If we can. While 2014-15 was a winter bust, 2015-16 is looking amazing.
Have you ever read an article from The Outdoor Society, and thought to yourself, “How on earth did these individuals become the amazing, nature-loving adults we know and love?”
Chances are, you haven’t, but that is ok.
This coming Tuesday, November 10th, you have the unique privilege of attending an event that will give insight into the Outdoor Society, as well as the origin stories of the founders of the great group of explorers. With story telling, amazing images, cheap beer and good conversation, heading out to Olympia’s 3 Magnets Brewing Company for this free event is your best bet for a night of fun and nature talk!
I awoke to the smell of the rainforest burning. I wasn’t shocked by this, in fact, it was what I was hoping for.
Five miles to my north, the Paradise Fire was burning over 1,200 acres of Olympic National Park wilderness along the Queets River, and showed no signs of slowing down. High above the North Fork of the Quinault on a rarely hiked trail, I was close the blaze that has been burning in the Queets Rainforest of Olympic National Park. After a restless night sleeping at Three Prune Camp on the Skyline Trail, I was anxious to catch my first glimpse of the fire. On July 2nd, 2015, I finally witnessed the Paradise Fire in all of its smoky glory, and the image is something I won’t soon forget.
For anyone that knows me, they are aware that recently I have become quite intrigued with drone photography. Whether it is flying off the crater at Mt St Helens, or just my attempts to take cool pictures of the Olympic Mountains, the possibilities of getting yet another angle on wilderness excites me. That is why when I was sent an email with a link to this video a few days ago, I was intoxicated by being able to remotely explore yet another natural wonder. This time it was the Son Doong Cave in Vietnam.