Normal people don’t pack this stuff

There are literally hundreds of camping pack lists you can find on the internet. I know, I’ve read dozens of them. Most of them have a lot of extra stuff you probably don’t need like cotton balls or earplugs, things I still can’t figure out why you would bring camping. But my wife sent me a list she found on National Geographic’s website, and it caught me totally by surprise. The reason Nat Geo’s Hiking and Camping Packing List is so

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Fish, fowl, fauna: American Expedition has it all

No offense, but Valentine’s Day caters to the ladies. Just look around any store you’ve been in since Christmas…flowers, chocolate, hearts, champagne, stuffed animals, cards, jewelry, and more. But if you’re looking for a unique, attractive and useful gift for your husband or boyfriend this Valentine’s Day, look no further than gear from American Expedition. That’s not to say that ladies won’t be interested in the vast collection of wildlife-adorned accoutrement. To the contrary, American Expedition has a great

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Mud and muck around Millersylvania State Park

Almost every year I pack up the family and head ten miles south of our Lacey home to go camping at Millersylvania State Park, and every time we make plans to take advantage of the miles of woodland trails skirting its edges. Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, we’ve never been able to actually hike those trails. But this weekend I was determined to spend some long-overdue and much-needed quality time in the Washington outdoors, so – since we

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Encourage family and friends to wear hearing protection

By John O’Connor, Guest Blogger bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com Hunting is a very popular sport and hobby for many people these days. It is also a favorite activity that many families engage in together as well. When picking a family hunting trip, a great destination to check out could be Washington State. Washington State is a great place to pick for a hunting trip because it is such a diverse area, not just when talking about different types of game but also

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Ascending Saint Helens, Part 4 of 4: The gear that got me there

I sincerely hope anyone reading this is inspired to climb a mountain of their own. I hope it’s one of the beloved mountains of Washington State, but any mountain that strikes a chord in your heart will suffice. It’s not just something other people talk about. You can do it too. Just make sure you have the right training, the right gear and the right attitude and you’d be surprised how high you can climb.

Ascending Saint Helens, Part 3 of 4: More than a mountain

I was almost five years old when I rode on my father’s back during a hike on Mt. Rainier one sunny Saturday afternoon. During that walk, he paused for a moment while viewing the distant, lofty, snow-capped peak to the southwest, speculating aloud on the possibility of one of the 18 volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range ever erupting. It was May 17th, 1980, and the next morning the world would forever be deprived of the last view my

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Ascending Saint Helens, Part 2 of 4: Rock-hopping at the jetty

After deciding to climb Mt. Saint Helens in early 2012 and committing myself by actually purchasing the permits back in February, Dad and I had been training for the climb for months as the ascent date approached. It wasn’t until August finally arrived that we fully realized the gravity of the task we were about to undertake and upon reevaluation, found ourselves lacking in several training areas. When deciding to climb a mountain (and having never attempted anything like

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Ascending Saint Helens, Part 1 of 4: Gaining in elevation

It was early February of this year when I decided I was going to climb Washington State’s Mt. Saint Helens and peer into the mile-wide crater of the active volcano. As a native Washingtonian, summiting every snowcapped peak in the state had been on my bucket list for longer than I can remember. Years ago, I asked my father – another native Washingtonian with a love for the outdoors – to join me in climbing Mt. Rainier. At 63,

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New camping jacket from Cabela’s

I’d been in the market for a new go-to fleece camping jacket for some time. After all, my current one (while very durable) is starting to show its age. Here’s a post where I talk about getting it as a gift in the early 90’s. At one point, I stupidly thought I’d iron it to help the Velcro pockets lay flat (here’s a little life lesson…DON’T EVER TRY TO IRON FLEECE). Needless to say, I’ve gotten a lot of

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Finally, the hunting begins

My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, and my first thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Even though I had gone to bed relatively early the night before, I still didn’t get much sleep since it was the night before my first real hunting trip. Fortunately, the excitement of the coming day was also enough to roust me out of bed at that ungodly hour and I crept across the room quietly so as not

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