Old Man Yells at Kids: The Appalachian Trail Drama

If life were a cartoon, he would have shaken his fist and called them whippersnappers. 

There isn’t a single style of nature lover that doesn’t seen to catch some flack from a hiker or two. I hike alone, people lecture me. I see people hiking with dogs in the National Park, I lecture them. Some hike too fast, and they get yelled at, others hike to slow and they get terrible looks and disparaging comments. The outdoor community is full of self-righteous people, myself included. Most of us feel that the way we conduct ourselves in the wilderness is how it should be done, everyone else’s way be damned. The disagreements usually stay on the trails and in the message boards, but at the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, it is getting much more nasty. 

Despite Warnings, Tourist in Yellowstone National Park Pets Bison

This year has been a rough year for Yellowstone National Park and wildlife encounters. Last week, a man was attacked while running alone off trail, mauled, killed and eaten. The bear, a mother of two cubs, was executed by park officials, and her two cubs were sent to a zoo in Ohio. Signs all around the park warn of the dangers of approaching wildlife, and yet, people ignore all warnings. Since the year began, five tourists have been gored by bison, a record number and something we have been covering quite a bit. Park Rangers warn the masses entering the park, and each visitor is handed a bright yellow pamphlet to warm them of bison dangers… yet, people still continue to suck, as the picture below shows.

Dickheads of the Week: “The Bottled Water Association”

The refilling stations at Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park and at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park are great, and seem to be loved by everyone. We in the outdoor community use them all the time. We’ve all got great re-usable, odorless water bottles, take them on our drives, and refill them before we head our on our hike. It’s a no-brainer. Highlighted by a counter on the refilling stations that tell you how many bottles you saved by filling up, the water stations have become a unique and environmentally positive experience in our National Parks.

US Army Helicopters Look to Ruin the PNW Wilderness Experience

War training exercises are coming to your favorite wilderness areas. First, the Navy came for the wilderness regions around Olympic National Park. Now, it appears the US Army is taking a page from the Navy’s book and are looking to conduct helicopter missions 365 days a year, day and night over the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, popular hiking trails and even the always popular and gorgeous Pacific Crest Trail. The missions wouldn’t just be flights over these areas. Instead, the US Army hopes to get out into the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest in the North Cascades and turn the area into a training area that would include seven helicopter landing sites, including one within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary. 

Washington’s Olympic National Park Coast: #BetterThanOregon

One thing that frustrates me far more than it should is the Oregon Coast. I am not frustrated by the fact that it exists, or that people from all over the world love cities like Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Coos Bay. I am not even frustrated when people try to convince me that The Goonies was a good movie. Instead, I am frustrated when I hear people from all around Washington State and the Puget Sound rant and rave about the Oregon Coast’s beauty.

What’s next for America’s Public lands?

Let me take you on a journey.
Imagine your next vacation. It is at one of our great National Park’s of the West. It’s end of July and early in the mornings you hit the road leaving your hometown, or from the car rental place at the airport, if you’re flying in. You’re proverbially ‘heading west’ with matching road trip music on the stereo and after a could hours in gridlock on the interstate you’re traveling on smaller highways, through sleepy towns until you reach the National Park entrance. You know that feeling, you’ve been here before.

Washington State Parks to Close July 1st, 2015…Maybe

Updated: Shutdown Avoided- http://www.king5.com/story/news/2015/06/27/wa-state-budget-agreement/29383793/ 

Thanks to a severe ideological disagreement by our elected officials over the new budget, Washington State is on the verge of having the first government shutdown in state history. With a government shutdown looming, many issues arise, including the possible furloughing of 26,000 state employees. The details of the Republican and Democrat budgets are about as exciting to read as it is to watch paint dry, and I won’t bore you with the details.  Instead, I will focus on an area that is important to many around the Pacific Northwest- Washington State Parks.

The Graffiti Virus in National Parks

Dear Wilderness Graffiti Artists,

You probably won’t hear this anywhere else, but thank you.

Because of your attempt at art, or self-expression, or whatever narcissistic, ego-centric bullshit you have yourself convinced it is, people are now paying attention to the wilderness areas in our country and are angry at vandalism.

The Responsibility of Hikers: A Response to “Loving Trails to Death”

In a recent post by celebrated guidebook author Craig Romano, whose books I have reviewed, he talks about how scenic areas are becoming popular, overcrowded and a destination for outdoor groups of all shapes and sizes.  The article says that trails are being heavily used, and that traffic needs to be directed elsewhere. I agree to a point, but the tone of the article in question rubbed me the wrong way.

It’s Not Your Turn to Hike Anymore, Craig Romano

I need help to respond to one of Pacific Northwest loudest voices in the outdoor community Craig Romano. For those who don’t know, Romano wrote a recent post on The Mountaineers blog titled, “Trails Loved to Death

Let me begin by summoning the great Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who wrote The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in 1797.

Dear William Shatner, Keep Your Hands off Our Water.

William Shatner announced on Friday that he is starting a Kickstarter Campaign to raise $30 billion for a water pipeline that would stretch from Seattle to Lake Mead in Nevada, which would provide water to Arizona, Nevada and California. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I recall hearing about this in the 1980s, and my parents reassure me that it was happening in the late 60s and 70s as well. The idea is ridiculous, and frustrates me to no end. 

In search for “Hiking+”

I’m need to find my next thing, (read sport or activity) to pick up in the outdoors.

Here’s the story:

I love hiking, and I have a family with two young kids who love to be together in the outdoors and explore. For us hiking is the perfect gateway drug into the great outdoors. Once you’re out of the car, got some good shoes and a backpack, you’re golden. You’re ready to explore and have your first adventure. It’s addicting. You want more.

In Defense of Gondolas for the Great American Outdoors

I love gondolas!

In the light of the recent and ongoing controversy around the proposed gondola project at the edge of Grand Canyon National Park I thought it would make sense to dive a bit deeper into why I love gondolas.

Thoughts on Technology and the Outdoors

I’ve been designing and developing websites and apps for over 15 years. Looking at a screen for most of my working hours, I have been enjoying following the way technology has transformed nearly every aspect of our life. In fact, I’ve been documenting this journey now for many years on my personal blog LiveLifeLoud, if you care to dive deeper.

Racism and Bigotry on the Trails of the Olympic Peninsula

It was an unseasonably warm winter day in 2014, and I decided to take a quick run into the Brothers Wilderness on the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula. Past the ever-popular Lena Lake Trail along the Hamma Hamma River, the silence and isolation the Brothers Wilderness is incredible. The trail leads hikers through a pristine forest, called The Valley of the Silent Men, before eventually ending at the Brothers Basecamp, the camping area for those summiting the iconic peaks known as Brothers. Little did I know that this beautiful day in the wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula would take a racist turn. 

Just released

Published with love by THE OUTDOOR SOCIETY.

Made in the great Pacific Northwest

Join the expedition

By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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