Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Deception Pass Campground

Deception Pass Campground
Camping
Location: Whidbey Island, Washington
Duration: Varies
Season: Year round
Distance: N/A
Difficulty: Easy



Deception Pass is one of Washington's favorite spots with visitors flocking to see the spectacular bridge and Pass, making it one of the most visited parks in the nation.
 
Because of Whidbey Island's temperate climate, many birds and waterfowl winter here, including an abundance of bald eagles. Fishing is popular in the area and tent and RV camping are available year round.
 
This area boasts giant old growth forests, 30 miles of hiking trails, 19 miles of saltwater shoreline, and 3 freshwater lakes. Deception Pass campground has 246 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits, along with an RV dump station.
 
The campground has paved roads, restrooms with water fountains and power hookups for RV's. Camping is permitted in designated campsites on a reservation basis. No more than 8 people to a site, along with 2 automobiles or 4 motorcycles, except for group campsites.
 
Pets are allowed on leash. No firearms, fireworks or explosives are allowed. And, there are bicycle and handicap accessible campsites available.
 
Directions: From Seattle, drive 64 miles north on Interstate 5 to exit 230 (Anacortes/Burlington). Turn west on State Highway 20 and drive about 12 miles to the Whidbey Island junction. Proceed about six miles south on State Highway 20 to the Deception Pass Bridge. Cross the bridge onto Whidbey Island and drive south down the hill and at the bottom take a right into the campground.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Deception Pass Campground


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Dalles Campground

Dalles Campground
Camping
Location: East of Missoula, Montana
Duration: Varies
Season: Spring - Fall
Distance: N/A
Difficulty: Easy


Dalles campground is located in the Lolo National Forest of Western Montana. This National Forest contains several major tributaries to the Clark Fork River of the Columbia River Basin.
 
Dalles campground is located on the banks of one of these tributaries, known as Rock Creek a blue-ribbon trout stream. Listed by Trout Unlimited as one of the top 100 streams in the US, Rock Creek winds its way through some of the most stunning terrain in Western Montana.
 
Dalles campground is a small campground along Rock Creek and bordering the Welcome Creek Wilderness. The location of this campground makes for easy access to numerous outdoor resources with opportunities for fishing and water sports, not to mention the numerous hiking and biking trails in the forests nearby.
 
The campground has 10 campsites with fire rings and tables. The camp has fairly nice toilets, running water from 5/15 to 9/30 (though a little colorful, so you may want to bring your own) and access to the river (steep).
 
This campground is not handicap accessible and is classified as a tent campground because of the lack of power hookups for trailers. There's a pack-in/pack-out garbage policy and all campsites are free on a first-come, first-served basis (no reservations).
 
Directions: 23 miles east of Missoula, MT take I-90 exit 126 and head South on Rock Creek Road for 14 miles until you reach the sign for Dalles campground.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Dalles Campground

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Cascade Falls Overlook Trail

Cascade Falls Overlook Trail
Hiking
Location: Near St. Regis, Montana
Duration: Duration
Season: Spring - Fall
Distance: ~ 3 miles, round trip
Difficulty: Easy


Cascade Falls Overlook Trail is located in the Lolo National Forest of western Montana. At 2.1 million acres of spectacular mountainous country, this forest is estimated to be the third largest National Forest in the northern region of the USDA Forest Service and contains several major tributaries to the Clark Fork River of the Columbia River Basin.
 
The Cascade Falls Overlook Trail is an easy day hike to an overlook above Cascade Falls. Cascade Falls is a 250ft waterfall that eventually runs into the Clark Fork River.
 
The trail follows the old Iron Mountain Road, an old mining road. It is well maintained and incorporates a 27 station interpretative trail. The hike is constantly climbing but holds a reasonable gradient. There are several benches along the way to take a rest and enjoy beautiful vistas.
 
You also have the option of continuing up the trail all the way to Nine-Mile Divide, which is a 14-mile round trip. Also, there's a trail to the base of the falls that is steep and wet for a bit more adventure.
 
You may want to stay at the campground that is located at the trailhead. This is a beautifully maintained campground with approximately nine sites and one group site. Each site offers a fire ring with a grill, picnic table, parking and even chopped wood.
 
Overnight stays cost and groups of 10 and up cost more. There is a self-pay station located at the obvious information sign with day use and parking free. Bears do not seem to be a significant problem, but they do inhabit the area. However, the squirrels on the other hand, may make off with you lunch if you do not pay attention.
 
Directions: LocationTake I-90 to the St. Regis exit #33. Drive North on Highway 135 for 16.5 miles. There is a well-marked sign on your right.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Cascade Falls Overlook Trail


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carthew Pass

Carthew Pass
Hiking
Location: Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada
Duration: 1-2 Day
Season: Summer - Fall
Distance: ~15 miles, round trip
Difficulty: Moderate


Known for it's spectacular views and diverse terrain, the trail from Cameron Lake to Carthew Pass is a must-see hike. Approximately 15 miles round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 2000 feet, it's a challenging hike that affords spectacular views, cool lakes and a sense of accomplishment.
 
Most people begin the hike at Cameron Lake. Walk through the visitor's center and turn left to get to the trail. It is well marked and well maintained. The trail begins to climb along the south shore of the lake.
 
Groomed switchbacks make the assent fairly easy. At about 3 km the trail flattens out and .5 km later you reach Summit Lake. This is a small lake with nice scenery in the background. Moose frequent this lake and are often seen mostly submerged, foraging for lake bottom vegetation.
 
The trail splits at the lake with the left fork climbing steadily to the top of the pass. This trail moves through the trees for about 1 km and then enters an open talus slope for another 2+ km to the summit.
 
This trail is well maintained and fairly wide. However, a few hikers will have anxiety with the steepness of the slope. The view from the Pass is spectacular in all directions. A small peak to the east along the ridge provides a better view.
 
From the pass, the trail descends to a chain of 3 lakes that are fed from a large snowfield. There are good picnic spots at the head of each lake. The trail winds around the left side of all the lakes and then drops steeply several km to Alderson Lake this lake is located in the trees with a rock wall around one side.
 
There is a backcountry campground here with corrals for horses and a bear platform. There is a trail that leaves Alderson Lake and descends through the trees to the Waterton town site, but most people prefer to backtrack over the Pass and return to Cameron Lake (The section of trail from Alderson Lake to Waterton is in very dense vegetation with limited views and lots of bugs).
 
Directions: The Waterton Park town site is located off of highway 5 about 45 km due west of Cardston Alberta. The park may also be approached from the north from Pincher Creek along highway 6 or from the south from the Chief Mountain Highway. The trailhead is at Cameron Lake located at the end of the Akimina Parkway. There is a shuttle that leaves the Tamarack Mall each morning. Check with visitor information for departure times.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Carthew Pass


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery
Hiking
Location: Makah Indian Res., Neah Bay, Washington
Duration: 1 Day
Season: Year round
Distance: ~2 miles, round trip
Difficulty: Easy


Hiking Cape Flattery offers approximately 6 miles round-trip, through a temperate rain forest and along the top of sea cliffs and giant caves, climaxing with a view of Tatoosh Island and lighthouse (the most Northwestern point of the continental United States).
 
From the many vantage points along the cliffs, hikers can view otters, sea lions, giant ocean caves and occasionally migrating whales. Part of an ecosystem stretching from Oregon to Alaska, the rain forest seldom sees temperatures below freezing in the winter or exceeding 80 degrees in the summer.
 
Travel is through a jungle like forest, along a mix of trail, stepping stone paths and moss covered boardwalk. Navigation is simple, the only clear path is on the main trail (you would have a tough time making it without a maintained trail) and vantage points are protected with guard rails.
 
The trail receives regular maintenance, but with so much rain (140 to 167 inches annually, bring rain gear), the trail can still wear down, so watch out for broken planks and worn sections.
 
Also, beware of slippery spots, Vibram soles do not give traction on wet or moss covered planks, roots or rocks. Pets are allowed on leash.
 
Directions: From Port Angeles take 101 west to Highway 112, go west on 112 to Neah Bay and on the west end of town there are signs for the Cape. Take a left at the sign and follow this road around the hill and past the tribal center, until it turns into a dirt road. At the dirt road, continue uphill until you see the signs and parking area for the trailhead.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Cape Flattery


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Boulder River

Boulder River
Hiking
Location: Boulder River Wilderness, Washington
Duration: 1 Day
Season: Year-round
Distance: ~ 7 miles, round trip
Difficulty: Easy


Boulder River is located in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest of Washington State. This immense forest ranges from Mt. Rainier National Park north to the Canadian border. This trip also falls within the Boulder Wilderness area of this forest which was established in 1984, with 49,000 acres of land. It includes six peaks that are above 5,600 feet in elevation. With an old Lookout on Three Fingers, lots of sheer rock cliffs on surrounding mountains and a total of about 25 trail miles.
 
Boulder Wilderness is the only virgin valley with old growth forest left in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Sitting on the western boundary of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, it has the ice-clad summits of Whitehorse Mountain and Three Fingers, to the dense, mossy, old growth forests of the valley. All travelers should be aware that the Cascade Mountains create their own weather. Check local weather stations and pack for a wide variety of conditions, from sun to rain, to the possibility of year-round snow at higher elevations.
 
As for the trip, Boulder River Trail was once a Forest Service trail over Tupso Pass to Canyon Creek. Also, being the shortest route at that time, up to Three Fingers Fire Lookout, the trail is now abandoned from Boulder Ford to Tupso Pass.
 
The trail begins on an old railroad-logging road. Traveling along the road/trail there are signs of old trees that were used to build the original road. About 3/4 mile in the road ends and you enter into a magnificent old growth forest. This marks the start of the Boulder Wilderness Area. The trail is very rooty and rocky, rolling up and down as you travel along with the river on your right.
 
The first of the two waterfalls are in about 1-1/4 miles, where there is a nice bench to sit for a view of the double waterfalls. There are several side paths that lead down about 100 feet to the river. One of the only two mountains, Mt. Ditney, is visible just after the falls on your right, and Three Fingers, which is at the end of the trail. As you travel through the old growth forest, one can't help but ogle at the huge Cedar and Fir trees. Over the years, quite a few have fallen to the ground.
 
The second waterfall is less than a mile further down the trail. At about 2 1/2 miles in, there is a huge old growth cedar down across the trail at least 5 feet in diameter. You have to scramble over, under, or around it. At this point, Boulder River goes through a gorge. After the huge log there are numerous fallen trees that block your way. Most of the creeks flowing into the river are forded using trees for bridges. These trees can be slippery. There is also a rockslide across the trail, which leads you on the side of a cliff, so caution is needed when navigating through here.
 
The trail winds down to the river about 4 1/4 miles from the trailhead, where there are a few campsites along the river. You can look up river and see Three Fingers or look across the river and see the flags for the trail on the other side. The trail ends here at Boulder Ford.
 
NOTE: Use caution if crossing during spring thaw. A faint trail does continues on up to Tupos Pass from the other side of the river.
 
Directions: Take Highway 530 east to Arlington; drive 19.8 miles, to French Creek Road # 2010. Turn right follow road for 3.6 miles to the end of the road. Boulder River Trailhead is there.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Boulder River

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ross Lake

Ross Lake
Canoe/Kayaking
Location: North Cascades NP, Washington
Duration: 6 Day
Season: Summer - Fall
Distance: 50+ miles, round trip
Difficulty: Moderate


Located in the North Cascades this is an incredible setting for a canoe trip. Surrounded by towering mountains and waterfalls this makes for a great week multi-day trip for the more experienced paddler.
 
From the Colonial Creek Boat Launch, paddle north on Diablo Lake hugging the right shore. As you reach the larger part of the lake at about the 2 mile mark, remember to stay against the right shore and you will turn east into the canal leading to the Ross Lake Dam.

As you paddle toward the dam, be very cautious of the power boats moving quickly around the blind corners, we nearly got ran over.
 
At the 4 mile mark you will see a glimpse of the dam and some buildings owned by Seattle City Lights, the Portage landing is on your right 100 yards before you reach the buildings. Be careful not to park your boats on the large concrete slab, that is for the barge they use to ferry vehicles with. Instead just around the floating dock is a nice gravel landing spot.
 
From here you need to hike up the road to the power building and use the phone to call and have them bring down the trucks to portage you up to the lake.
 
Be prepared to wait a while. Also, check the More Info Link for details on the portage fees. Once you portaged up onto Ross Lake, the rest of your trip depends on what you have pre-determined and your trip permit.
 
The authors trip is laid out on the map. There's plenty of campsites and lots of water for however long you want to stay.
 
Directions: From Diablo Washington follow North Cascades Highway #20 east about 4 miles till you reach the right turn for Colonial Creek Campground & boat launch (mile mark 130). The turn is directly before you reach the bridge that crosses Diablo Lake.


For a map, pictures and more info click on Ross Lake


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Pend Oreille Lake

Pend Oreille Lake
Canoe/Kayaking
Location: South of Sandpoint, Idaho
Duration: 2 Day
Season: Summer
Distance: 5 miles, round trip
Difficulty: Easy


Located in North Idaho, a land of dense forests and giant cedars, lies the state's largest lake, Lake Pend Oreille. Once the second largest U.S. naval training center in the world, with a surface area of 94,600 acres and numerous forested coves, it's a flat-water paddlers dream.
 
Starting at the put-in, paddle past the boat docks on your left (there is usually a little head wind as you pull out of Garfield Bay). As you round your first point heading East, on your left is the cave you can paddle into and explore, depending on the water level.
 
As you round each point heading North-East, there are many areas to camp along the shoreline, many of which are accessible by road.
 
The further you go, the better your chances of solitude. For a variation, some paddlers head South, where more camping spots can be found. It's a big lake, so explore, but be cautious of wind and waves. In the afternoon the waves usually get pretty big and then die down by the evening, so depending on what you like paddle early, mid-day or late.
 
Directions: From Coeur D'Alene drive 38 miles North on Highway 95 to Sagle. Watch for the sign on the right pointing to Garfield Bay (right after the flea market). Stay on Garfield Bay road as it winds East for another 7.5 miles, until you reach the lake. Pay attention some people go the wrong way at the "Y" in the road, about a mile before the lake. As you reach the lake, go a little bit past the large state run campgrounds. Park your car off the South side of the road, giving you easy access to the beach.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Pend Oreille Lake


See you on the trail,
--Greg

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Little Spokane River

Little Spokane River
Canoeing
Location: Spokane, Washington
Duration: 1 Day
Season: Spring - Fall
Distance: ~3.5 miles, one way
Difficulty: Easy


The Little Spokane River Natural Area is about 6 miles northwest of downtown Spokane. The natural area roughly parallels Rutter Parkway, and encompasses 7.3 river miles within its 1,993 acres.
 
Washington State Parks and Spokane County Parks have both acquired lands in the area to guarantee its protection. The area is managed as part of Riverside State Park under a joint interagency agreement with Spokane County Parks. To learn more about the area and Natural history look under our Resources link or visit the Spokane House Interpretive Center, off Highway 291, North of Nine Falls.
 
This trip is an easy 3.5-mile paddle through a rare freshwater marsh environment, that is home to a wide variety of songbirds, woodpeckers, raptors, and waterfowl. Not to mention, that a Great Blue Heron rookery can be found in the tall cottenwoods by the riverbanks, along with beaver, muskrat, porcupines, raccoons, coyotes, marmots, white-tailed deer and moose.

At the parking lot near the put-in spot there is an informative sign telling you a little bit about the area. There is also a small outhouse for your convenience.
 
To begin, haul your canoe or kayak down the narrow portage trail to the river edge where you can launch into the slow moving current. As you let the river carry you downstream, the first thing you'll notice is the endless numbers of waterfowl. We were also fortunate to see 2 moose grazing near the riverbank as we came around a corner.
 
The trip can take anywhere from 1 hour if your paddling, to 3 hours if you just let the current take you. A little after you pass under the bridge and when you see your first small rapids, you're at the end of the trip, the parking lot and take-out point are just before the rapids on your left. If you go over the rapids, you have gone too far.
 
NOTE: The are area restrictions such as NO: alcohol, air mattresses, inner tubes, pets, swimming, motor boats, bicycles, camping, fires, horses, hunting, or off-road vehicles
 
Directions: From I-90 at Spokane, WA take the Division Street exit and drive north, across the bridge and up the hill to Francis Ave. Turn left at Francis Ave. and follow it West until it ends and turns into Highway 291. Follow State Route 291 North past Nine Mile Falls. A mile past Rutter Parkway road is the turn off for the boat pick up area. You should leave a car here and then backtrack to Rutter Parkway road. Follow Rutter Parkway Rd. East until it intersects Indian Trail road, then head North across the Little Spokane River. The parking lot is your first left just after you cross the river and the portage trail is just out the back of the parking lot. (If you cross the river and start to go up the hill, you've gone too far).

For a map, pictures and more info click on Little Spokane River

See you on the trail,
--Greg

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How to Get a Campfire Started

By Jim Johnson

It has long been the custom to have a campfire when tent camping and sometimes it is a necessity. The size you make the fire will depend on whether you are going to use it for warmth or cooking, maybe you are going to do both. This article will show you an easy and fairly quick way to make your campfire.

First you have to find out if you are allowed to have a campfire in your campsite or your area of family tents. It is also true that one of the main causes for forest fires are campfires. So before light your fire up get permission to do so either from the park attendant or the forest ranger.

After getting permission, the next thing to do is select where to build your fire. Expert campers always say that the best and safest areas are those located some 10 feet away from the area where you put up your family tents as well as other things that will easily catch fire such as hung clothes, trees, and the like. This is because in the outdoors, anything can happen. One minute, the air is still and the next, the wind is blowing in the direction of your family tents.

When you have chosen the right area for your fire then you will need to go get some wood to burn. Big sticks, pieces of bark, and twigs will be good and you won't have to chop any wood that way. Just make sure all the wood is dry that you pick up.

After you have all the fuel for this campfire, then you need to place a tarp on the ground of the selected spot. This stops any mess from being left after the fire and when you leave the camping spot. Once you have the tarp on the ground you need to place a layer of dirt on it and even it out. This dirt acts as insulation for the tarp so the fire won't burn through it, so be certain to have a thick enough layer.

The next thing you need to do is make a teepee using your gathered wood. To do this correctly, put a good amount of dried leaves and twigs in the center of the teepee and put the bigger pieces of wood around them. The smaller pieces in the middle easily lights up and will consequently light the bigger pieces on its outsides after a few minutes.

Once the bigger pieces have caught fire, put more similarly sized pieces around them. In fact, it is always a good idea to completely cover the teepee wall with big pieces of wood. The only thing to remember though is to never cover the teepee. This area allows the oxygen in and thus be able to circulate in the tepee. As long as you allow a steady supply of oxygen into the campfire, the steadier your fire will be.

When constructing your campfire, be sure to always make it to a size, where you can maintain complete control of it. In the event you are going to be using the fire to cook with, just make the fire a bit bigger and strong by adding more wood to it. For warmth the fire can be a smaller one. The campfire should always be completely put out prior to people going to their family tents for the night.

About the Author:
About the author: Camping guru Jim Johnson loves to spend his free nights sleeping in a camping tent. He's offering a free download of his Camping Cookbook with 101 Camping and Outdoor Recipes and see the family tents that are among the best.


See you on the trail,
--Greg

FRS® Healthy Energy™ is a new kind of healthy energy food that provides sustained energy without the crash. Try FRS Free!*


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