It was September 2012, and I awoke to another Saturday of smoke. The valley was flooded with it, eliminating the possibility of outdoor recreation. Instead, I figured I’d get some work done at the office.
The Eastern foothills of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains slope gently downward into the Yakima Highlands, dry lands thick with sagebrush and bunchgrass, rabbitbrush and wildflowers blooming in season. Here, where this upland desert gives way to the lush green leaves of apple trees growing neatly in rows, sits the city of Tieton, Washington.
To get back to roots. Back to the woods and the mountains, great roaring streams—not roaring, really more like crashing, falling, cascading—yes, the Cascades were calling and we answered. It was time to get back.
It was high time we got downtown and refueled. After a brief stroll on the waterfront we landed at Pybus Market. Surprisingly,
FIELD REPORT No. 20180531AC
COMMENTS: With great excitement we made for the trailhead; it was to be our very first hike of the season. The day was warm and full of optimism. After many stops for "go power," at last we found our way to the top of the hill. And the Wenatchee valley view did not disappoint.
Already the green of spring was passing and the bright blooms of arrowleaf balsamroot were turning dull. The temperature rose as we descended, and was downright hot by the time we were back at the car.
RECOMMENDATIONS: If you're in Wenatchee and looking or a quick and rewarding hike consider the Jacobson Preserve Trail. It makes for a fantastic morning sortie, if you need to get your heart pumping.
Where should we go? What should we do? Who are the key players? The names that come up repeatedly are the people we tend to pursue. The name “Spaceworks” came up a handful of times, and we didn’t really know what it was...
We didn’t need to win the permit lottery to hike the Alpine Lakes because we got out there early in the season when snow was still packed down on the trail. We pursued...
The air is like water. It has a current all its own, flowing softly and evenly and we are immersed in it. Surrounding me crisp and cold and it presses up against my face, my legs, and my jacket. Although it’s windproof it feels like it isn’t because the air is pressing up against it, the air that is cold and flows like water, the air that we are immersed in.
The air is fragrant, it smells like pine forrest, and snow, rich and wholesome. When I open my mouth it pours over my tongue and down my throat like ice cold mountain water—the water that is life-giving air. Its coldness fills my lungs and my body consumes it, heats it, and exhales it. The crazy thing is, I don’t think about it at all; it’s second nature.
We’re at Mission Ridge with the family and it’s an average day. By average I mean, awesome snow and a tremendous time. I’m not sure I qualify as a skier. I do ski, however I feel that the term “skier” denotes a certain level of skill and know-how that I most assuredly do not possess.
Last season, a freak accident last cut my learning period short (on day two, to be precise). So this season I’ve had all kinds of hang ups. The first trip down Mimi (green) this season was mental anguish and about halfway down I was ready to quit forever. I cannot describe in words how difficult it was to complete that run. I ended up doing it a couple more times that day and saying things like “I think I’ll just keep keep doing this one until I’m comfortable, maybe all season.”
It’s turns out I was full of crap though because the next time out, the siren song of skiing called me higher up Mission. I was still obsessing over perfectly groomed terrain, complete control at all times, not going too fast, the way my boots felt, the way the skis turned, the pitch of the run, other people nearby, and pretty much anything else you can think of. But I’ve caught the bug— correction— it’s not a bug is more of a drug (in the best sense of the word) and I couldn't get enough.
On this particular day though, the perfectly average amazing cold air day at Mission Ridge with the family it felt like we had the whole hill to ourselves. We did run after run after run (no black diamonds for me, yet) on fresh powder, under blue skies breathing in that life-giving air as we skied. And then something funny happened, I realized I wasn’t thinking about it at all. It felt second nature... mostly.
Swinging by The Blackbird before they opened, we asked owner Patrick McPherson his opinion on the best breweries in Spokane.
This time of year we all start to itch for some outdoor adventure free of cold and snow. It's easy to be tempted to violate closed preserves and other no-access lands.
He’s one of a handful of Northwest artists who specialize in the mokume-gane. In the foreground of Stone Parker’s work, the story of people’s lives are layered, soldered and polished...
The water is cool and the air moves slowly past; it’s a calm day and friends are within earshot. Looking around, one imagines spending a fishing day among the Methow tribal people...
When I met Jerry in 2009, he was sitting in a café writing poems. On leave from a teaching job, he was exploring ways to engage with the community around salmon preservation and environmental policy. But it was poetry that...
"We watched. We remembered that long winter on the farm, the solitude of hill after hill rolling white toward some faint horizon, beautiful and bare."
FIELD REPORT No. 20180115DS
COMMENTS: It was just one of those days! A winter storm watch made for a crazy travel day around the region, and lots of folks hunkered down to watch the snow fall, rather than try and fight it. The next day brought clear skies, however and a blue bird day after a storm is hard to beat. Lighter than air powder, the sun beating down, and and my favorite, the golden powder glow seen here when Bridget Shae turns after dropping through the bomber chutes at Mission Ridge.
KEY FEATURES: Arguably the best powder in the state is found in Wenatchee, WA at Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort. It features four chair lifts and 36 designated runs. You'll find trails, chutes, screamers, and bowls with a 2,250 foot vertical drop. The backcountry is easy to access, but do remember to check in with ski-patrol before you head out.
Glover, a Spokane-based adventurer who often leads young people on transformational outdoor experiences with Peak 7 Adventures, says setting that early alarm for those first days of turns is "always worth it."
Field Report No. 20170807AC
COMMENTS: It was a quick trip, but well worth it. So much art and history, it's hard to pace oneself; we stopped to have a look at the Oregon Trail on our way in to town. Downtown is incredibly walkable and very accessible with plenty of parking (especially if you venture off Main). Temperatures approached 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but we made the best of it at a few of the local wineries.