And just like that, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are closed. In a joint press releases by Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, it was announced that the roads would be closed due to COVID-19 concerns from the gateway communities surrounding the iconic parks. The following, in italics, is a press release directly from both National Parks: 

The following is a press release directly from Olympic National Park officials. While the park’s trails are still open, please think twice before traveling to Olympic National Park. Traveling outside of your community is putting the small towns around the Olympic Peninsula at risk for an outbreak of Covid-19. Stay local for your outdoor adventures. These lands and trails will be waiting for you when this is all over.

T’was the night before Christmas all along the O.P.

Not a creature was stirring; even the marmots were asleep.

The stocking were hung by the campfire, from Olympia to Neah Bay

In hopes that St Nicholas would soon be on his way;

There is nothing quite like reading a good book. Page after page, we find ourselves intoxicated with what is next, learning and becoming motivated by the printed word. Books inspire us, teach us, and connect us to hobbies and landscapes near and far. For us, and maybe even you, books are a way to relax and rejuvenate our souls on rainy days and dark nights. While there are thousands of books we love, there are five we would like to recommend right now, each hopefully bringing you as much joy as they brought us. 

To love the Pacific Northwest Coast is to be human. You can love mountains, and forests, revel in the beauty of waterfalls and glaciers, even rejoice in the arches and canyons, but to try to deny the addicting and soul soothing beauty of the wild beaches of Washington and Oregon is as pointless as trying to avoid oxygen. The feelings we get on the coast are hard-lined right into our bloodstream, giving us a dose of awe whether it is the first or hundredth time you have seen it. Breaker after breaker slam down and retreat against the rugged shoreline like a steady drumbeat, providing an unrivaled soundtrack to the sheer power and beauty of the waterfront. The Pacific Northwest Coast is as stunning as you can imagine, and is worthy of a celebration year round.

I am an old millennial. The youth of my generation is eating a mortgages worth of avocados while I worry about my changing glasses prescription and needing a new pair. As others in my generation galavant around the globe ruining chain restaurants and department stores, I do things like read reviews to see what the best envelopes are to send out books. Sometimes, I don’t get the rest of my generation at all, feeling ostracized when I say I don’t really like LaCroix. I think I am the old man of the bunch, a geezer on the porch, sitting in a rocking chair at the old age of 36 shaking my head at these young whippersnapper. Well, back in my day…

In Yellowstone National Park, 52 bison are missing from a containment pen near the north entrance to the park. Neither hide nor hair have been seen since the night before they went missing. The Yellowstone bison, which are the official mammal of America, were being held for possible quarantine at the Stephens Creek facility, which is closed permanently to the public. The release of these bison is being investigated as a crime, as bison can’t really open fences on their own. The following is from Yellowstone National Park officials:

“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 hiking season is upon us, we want to give everyone a simple reminder to be safe. 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 that there isn’t a bad time to remind everyone to stay safe and to be smart.