Testing My Mettle On Mount St. Helens

It’s not the length of the hike up Mount St. Helens, or even the steepness that makes it tough — it’s the terrain. The rocky segment was tough, but the last mile was the killer. Covered with a deep, soft, pumice-and-ash fluff, it sucked my feet ankle-deep with every step, and the steep pitch had me sliding one step back for every two I took forward.

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Breaking Ice In The Cascades


It’s not much fun to hike with someone whose abilities differ vastly from your own. While my sister didn’t hike much, I knew she was fit enough for the week I had in mind. What I failed to anticipate was the culture shock she would experience OFF the trail!

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Women Who Whiz In The Woods


We women have earned our stripes as competent outdoorspeople. Hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, rockclimbing, caving, kayaking … we are found in every outdoor venue, often excelling, occasionally to the chagrin of our male counterparts. But there’s one fact of outdoor life where we women fail to — ahem — “hold our own.” You know what I’m talking about, girls. It’s that bladder thing.

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Lost and Confused: The Dangers of Solo Hiking


It’s not a good idea to hike too early in the season, before the trails are cleared, but it’s hard to wait when the sky turns blue and the birds begin to sing. And what about hiking alone? You probably shouldn’t. I still hike alone — more now than ever — but my admiration of the wild is now tempered with respect.

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Men: Wake Up And Smell The Spruce


In a world filled with goals, objectives, and deadlines, a short walk in the woods can be fabulous way to break out of the rhythm of the day-to-day world and establish — even if just for an hour or two — a new rhythm. A rhythm of footfalls and heartbeats. I find that incredibly renewing.

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Hiking: The Eleventh Essential

It doesn’t take much in terms of altitude gain, weather shift, or getting lost to make the “10 Essentials” of hiking seem pretty darned — well, essential. Here is my version of the list.

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Dog Days In The Columbia Gorge

“Dog days” in the Columbia Gorge might well be April, May, and — in a cool year — early June. That’s when Dog Mountain shows its stuff — it’s a wildflower paradise. Of course, some dogs have a mean streak, and this Dog has two: steepness and wind.

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Writing The Backroads: Part 1

My soaked bike and sodden Lycra are crammed in the back of my Jeep awaiting a break in the storm. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I set out to write a bicycling guidebook. But then, I’ve learned a lot over the past few weeks.

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