Fort Cascades in Skamania County

Nestled just a stone’s throw beneath the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington lies an unassuming National Historic Site filled with stories worth telling. On a recent work trip to the south end of Skamania County, I stumbled upon this great heritage destination. If you’re looking to escape a bustling city without traveling too far into the void of central Washington, Skamania County is an excellent choice. I happened to be attending the annual Washington

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Old Alder: Visit before it vanishes

The term “ghost town” in today’s time has evolved from its more literal interpretation to describe any small town that has been abandoned or vacated. Most of the time, however, towns devoid of inhabitants have nowhere to grow but older. Not so for old Alder.

Hiking Olympia’s Watershed Park

Some could argue that “hiking” could be a bit of an exaggeration, given that Watershed Park is technically a city-owned property just a few blocks south of downtown Olympia. But do it on a day when the rain is coming down in lines and throw in eight soggy Cub Scouts and their parents along for the ride, and the challenge suddenly becomes more strenuous. I’m the Den Leader for a local bunch of scouts who needed to accomplish a one-mile hike

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Marketing in the Methow Valley

Thanks to my work with Scenic Washington, I was invited to be a presenter at their annual retreat in Winthrop. Since I haven’t been to Winthrop since I was about seven, I jumped at the chance to not only see the Methow Valley again but to help some of Washington’s tourism partners recognize the value in history, heritage and culture. The drive from Lacey to Winthrop is a long one, but since I knew the route well I wanted to

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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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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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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 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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Spending National Trails Day at Sahara Creek/Nicholson Horse Trail System

Several weeks ago, I spotted a Facebook post from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources which invited any and all participants to volunteer with trail repair and maintenance. Being that I was in need of some good, old-fashioned dirty, wet and muddy outdoor time I decided to sign up. I checked out the various locations in which DNR needed volunteers and decide that Sahara Creek/Nicholson Horse Trail System would be a great place for me to volunteer. I

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