THE PLACE TO GO WHEN YOU CAN'T GO BACKPACKING

Author

Kristin Wuhrman

Kristin Wuhrman has 18 articles published.

Running: Ideal Active Meditation

in Community by
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active meditation
Hit the trail on your next run and use active meditation to reduce stress, become more creative, and become more mindful.  Photo Source: mindbodygreen.com

Have you ever experienced running along a trail, connecting with nature, feeling alive and then having a “break through” moment where your mind clears and your body takes control while you “observe”? This phenomenal experience is called active  meditation (or movement meditation), where the mind, body and soul start performing together and an inner high spot is reached. Active meditation is exhilarating because you literally enter a state where you don’t feel like you are making conscious decisions to move, but instead your body is just flowing and you are along for the ride.

In a recent survey, Runner’s World magazine asked readers why they run. 95.3 percent said because it makes them feel good mentally, and 85.8 percent said for stress relief.  Not surprisingly, 93 percent of Americans say that stress affects their perceptions, thoughts and choices. Science backs up the idea that running actually undoes the damage caused by the stress response. There have been numerous studies looking at the benefits of endorphins associated with the famous “runner’s high” as well as other dopamine/feel-good hormones that are suppressed with cortisol levels (stress hormone) are high. Running makes an excellent movement meditation, during which you can deeply connect to the present moment.

“By paying attention to how your mind and body feel … this changes running from simple exercise to a journey of discovery and growth.” -Sakyong Mipham

 

Increased Creativity

active meditationActive meditation is commonly explained as moments that are not spent consuming information but moments that can be used to boost mental health and abundance. When you combine meditation with physical activity it creates both novel and unique health benefits. There is an increase in blood circulation within the brain that fuels an improvement in the ability to function and dive into creativity.

Do you ever find yourself coming up with exciting and creative ideas while you run? Since running is an aerobic repeat-pattern activity, it stimulates the right brain and therefore creativity. Some of the best thoughts come out of a run! Also, when you are in this mindful state, you have access to an incredible tool for reducing stress and increasing joy that leaves you feeling mentally refreshed and rejuvenated even after a long trail run.

Try Active Meditation While You Run

active meditation
Try running in nature, the quiet fascination of the trail will help you get into the active meditation zone.

Allow yourself some time to get into the zone. The hardest but most important part is being able to push past resistance. There’s always this period of time when the muscles aren’t quite ready or your mind is still racing coming off of where you just left – whether it’s the laundry, emails, a presentation you have to give, etc. This does take some time and work, but then all of a sudden you find steady and clear focus.

Overall, active meditation is a challenging yet unique battle with metamorphic results. When you are able to reach that point of everything being okay and it’s just you in the action, fuzzy feelings between unreal and real, you have reached this transformative state!

 

Peace. Love. Running.

Healthy Outdoor Food – 2nd Annual Vegan Food Crawl

in Community/Food by
VEGAN Food Crawl (1)

 

Healthy Outdoor Food
Find healthy outdoor food options at the 2016 vegan food crawl.

 

It’s time to get stoked! Are you a long-time vegan, a new vegan or just starting to explore how to reduce the amount of animal products in your diet? Seattle Backpackers Magazine is committed to healthy outdoor food.  It’s time to get excited, connect, learn about healthy outdoor food, and have fun during the 2nd Annual Vegan Food Crawl at Downtown Bellevue on Sunday, August 14, 2016. This year’s lineup is something to get excited about as vegan has become more mainstream and offers so many delicious options.

As this new innovative food economy is rising, numerous new businesses and restaurants are working to enhance our food system by offering healthier, more sustainable foods. What a better time to experience this shift than joining others in a fun, community event walking all over Downtown Bellevue in hip matching t-shirts enjoying amazing vegan food, and finding out about some healthy outdoor food options.

Restaurant Line-up:

  1. Jujubeet
  2. Araya’s Place
  3. Moksha
  4. The Essential Baking Company

Healthy Outdoor FoodHealthy Outdoor FoodHealthy Outdoor FoodHealthy Outdoor Food

Event Details:
Sunday, August 14th 2016
Registration: 10:30-11:30am @ Ashwood Playfield Park
The Crawl: 11:30am – 3:30pm

Price:
$30/per person (includes crawl menu and vegan food crawl t-shirt)

Registration Deadline:
July 29th, 2016
80 spots available

Registration Information Booths:

  • The Humane League
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • Mercy for Animals
  • NARN
  • Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
  • Manitoba Harvest

 

Event Details and Registration:

www.veganfoodcrawl.com

 

Vegan Backpacking Meal Plan: 3-4 Day Minimalist Style

in Food by
18_Veganism
vegan backpacking meal
Check out this vegan backpacking meal, it has never been easier to be a vegan in the outdoors.  Photo Source: chscourier.com

Last week we covered vegan backpacking tips and tricks to optimize your outdoor performance.  This week I present a sample 3-4 day minimalist vegan backpacking meal plan.  Get your backpack ready, it has never been easier or more fun to be a vegan in the outdoors!

Breakfast Options

  1. Vega One, Vooluu, or other “complete shake” with hemp milk/water. Add in 1-2 tbsp. of hemp oil or flaxseed oil.
  2. Oatmeal (or overnight oats) with coconut oil/natural butter and hemp seeds
  3. Sprouted grain wrap with natural nut butter, hemp seeds and dehydrated fruit
  4. Buckwheat overnight groats with nut butter and hemp seeds

 Lunch Options

  1. Sprouted grain wrap with dehydrated refried beans, dehydrated veggies, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.
  2. Sprouted grain wrap with dehydrated hummus, dehydrated veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, sea salt and pepper.
  3. Mashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich/Wrap (Chickpeas, sunflower seeds and smashed avocado with seasoning)
  4. Bombay Potatoes (Tasty Bite) with Brown Rice

 Dinner Options

  1. Vegan Tacos: Quinoa, avocado, dehydrated veggies, dehydrated refried beans and nutritional yeast served in a wrap.
  2. Vegan Burrito Bowl: Brown or wild rice, beans of choice, dehydrated veggies, seasoning of choice, salsa.
  3. Vegan Pasta – Koyo Organic Ramen noodles with pasta sauce (pasta sauce with nutritional yeast, veggies and olive oil blended in advance of trip)
  4. Curried Rice with Cashews –combine all ingredients in sealable bag pre-trip: rice of choice, curry powder, dried onion flakes, coconut sugar, veggie bouillon cube, garlic powder, turmeric and cashew halves. Eat out of bag or warm with a little water if available.

Quick Grabs/Snacks:

These are imperative to keep your energy up, blood sugar balanced and your body in good shape all day. Great examples include:

  • Clean/limited ingredient energy bars or make your own!
  • Sandwich/wrap filled with natural nut butter
  • Half an avocado filled with hemp seeds
  • Homemade trail mix or gorp (good old raisins and peanuts)
  • Nuts (all varieties)
  • Hemp Seeds (Manitoba Harvest sells small packs or you can also buy in bulk and bag)
  • Sweet potato mashed with almond butter and vanilla plant protein powder
  • Dates stuffed with peanut butter

Resources

Looking for some of the items mentioned in this article for your next vegan backpacking meal?  Check out these websites.

Manitoba Harvest

Koyo Natural Foods

Karen’s Naturals

 

Vegan Backpacking Tips and Tricks for Optimal Performance

in Food by

Vegan BackpackingVegan backpacking provides an incredible way to rediscover our wonderful outdoors that is cruelty-free and healthy, in addition to connecting even closer to Mother Nature. If you are new to vegan backpacking, it may seem difficult, however with strategic planning, it’s easy and quite fun! Fueling with wholesome, nutrient-dense plant foods to maximize performance is exciting and important to understand when preparing for a backpacking trip in the backcountry. Knowing how plant-based food pairing works will not only strengthen your planning, it will also give you superpower energy when you are trekking and traversing with 40+ pounds on your back.

Here are some prized vegan backpacking tips to get you stoked about taking on the backcountry cruelty-free with vibrant energy.

First and foremost, plan!

When vegan backpacking, you need foods that do well with constant movement, longevity, and temperature changes. Plant-based foods make this easy as most options stand up well in this environment. Also, there are so many lovely earth-driven options that keep your food interesting! With that being said, knowing how to calculate energy density (calorie-to-ounce ratio) and what foods to pair together for maximum digestion and usability will not only give you the energy needed to tackle elevations and switchbacks, but lighten up your load.

Energy and Nutrition:

Vegan Backpacking

  • All nutrients are important, however knowing your caloric needs is extremely helpful because it will most likely increase significantly once you hit the trails for a full day of exertion.
  • Aim for a protein-fiber-carbohydrate-fat variety with strong focus on fat.
  • Be mindful with higher glycemic foods: Foods with too much sugar will give you a quick boost, but they won’t help you for the long haul as your blood sugar will spike and plummet. Protein, fat, and fiber digest more slowly than carbs, and help keep you going longer.
  • Speaking of fat; it is the most energy-dense fuel and the preferred fuel for long-duration exercise. Also, fat consumed in the diet spares muscles glycogen. As a bonus, fat not only provides the fuel your muscles are using, it doesn’t weigh that much. When our bodies run out of fuel, they start using the reserve tank – then, it starts eating up important things you need like muscle.
  • Be on top of what you are consuming even when you don’t have a strong appetite to keep your fuel steady!

Vegan Backpacking Shopping List

If you are able to pre-cook and pack some foods in airtight bags as much as possible, awesome! However there are several healthy pre-cooked options available for convenience.

vegan backpacking vegan backpacking Vegan Backpacking vegan backpacking vegan backpacking

  • Grains and noodles: Be sure to add fat and or protein to these to increase the nutrition density. Checkout Tasty Bites, Seeds of Change and Koyo Organic Ramen. Trader Joes and Target also have nice options.
  • Lentils, beans and hummus: There are excellent products which are dehydrated, vacuum packed and in small cartons. Checkout Fantastic World Foods. Also, Trader Joes, Target, and Whole Foods have excellent options.
  • Dehydrated and vacuum-packed fruits and veggies: Karen’s Naturals is fabulous.
  • Wraps or breads: Get an extra nutrition boost by opting for sprouted grains, like Food For Life
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado, coconut oil, hemp seeds, nuts and seeds
  • Seeds, nuts, and nut butters: While you’re out exploring, eating a variety of seeds and nuts is extremely important for calorie density, fat, and protein. Try making your own granola/trail mix with a variety of flavor and superfood nutrition. Nut butters can be eaten with a spoon, in a wrap or in oats. Checkout Justin’s for individual serving packs.
  • Dehydrated and vacuum-packed meals: These are a good idea to pack since they are lightweight and nutritious. Great vegan options include: Outdoor Herbivore, Harmony House, Good To-Go, and Backpacker’s Pantry.
  • Clean/Limited Ingredient Bars: Bearded Brothers, Amrita Bars, Picky Bars, Pro Bars, Plus Bars, GoMacro Bars, and Vega One Bar are great options.
  • Green Drinks: An excellent brand is Amazing Grass. They sell a few single-serving options that you mix with water. These are a great way to get some micronutrients into you backpacking diet.
  • Vegan Complete Meal & Protein Powders: A great way to add significant nutrients to your day. Mix with water, in oats, etc. Several great options available in individual serving packets.
  • Fresh Veggies and Fruit: Depending on how long your trip is some sturdy fresh veggies and fruit can withstand room temperature for days to making you feel healthy along the trails. (I.e.: Apples, carrots, avocados) However, these do add weight so you may consider packing dehydrated options, such as Karen’s Naturals.

Next Week

Check back next week when I will give you an awesome 3-4 day vegan backpacking sample meal plan (minimalist style).  This plan tastes great and will keep you going strong on the trail.  See you next week!

Kristin

 

9 Hiking Tips for New Hikers

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Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Hiking is an excellent way to find adventure and connect with nature, while delivering multiple physical and mental benefits beyond scenery and fun. Just being outdoors in nature brings a sense of wanderlust and ambition for adventure, and there’s no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than hitting the trails. While hiking might seem straightforward, there are many unpredictable variables. Below are nine hiking tips for new hikers to help you prepare and avoid mistakes on your first trek in the back country while discovering your inner adventurer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Become familiar with the trail you’re hiking.

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Do your research and select a trail that’s a good fit for your first trek. Be sure to obtain a map of the area and review trip reports and data. There are some excellent online resources available. Things to look for: 1) Is the trail a loop, or an out-and-back where you’ll have to backtrack or spot a second car? 2) Study all intersecting trails where you could potentially make a wrong turn. 3) Read trip reports about a good lunch spot, such as a lake or summit with a view.

 

2. Choose the right hiking partner.

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Hikers hike for many different reasons – some hiking faster, some slower or further, while some are training to summit large peaks. It’s really up to you. The beauty of hiking is that you get to do what you want to do. Plan a hike that is suitable for everyone in your party, and let the slower person set the pace.

 

3. Listen to your body – know your own physical condition.

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Pace yourself and pick a pace you can maintain all day, remembering to take breaks when needed – breaks are a great time to take in the views and clean air. Some other tips include: removing layers before overheating, adding layers before getting chills, drinking often and eating regularly.

 

4. Packing 101

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Carry gear that you feel will maintain your highest level of security. The goal is to pack the smallest, lightest, highest-quality versions of that gear (i.e., travel-size tubes vs. full-size).

A pocketknife, compass and whistle are at the top of the list. Don’t forget a first-aid kit, matches or a lighter and plenty of food and water. If you’re hiking in a cold climate, bring warm clothes. If you’re staying overnight, bring what you need for camping.

 

5. Dress for purpose and comfort.

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Synthetics work best over cotton, as they help regulate your body temperature and dry quickly. Wear layers that you can add or shed when needed. Pack an insulting layer beyond what you think you’ll need, preferably something that will block wind, too.

 

6. Be kind to your feet.

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Painful feet can ruin a hike. Invest in quality hiking shoes and socks. This doesn’t always mean 3- or 4-season hiking boots, as there are a lot of light hikers and trail sneakers available that provide plenty of stability and traction, depending on where you’re hiking. Invest in the right socks, and stay away from cotton. It’s smart to also pack blister dressings, just in case.

 

7. Tell someone where you’re going.

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

Leave your hiking plan with someone back home, and call when you get off the trail. It’s important that someone not on the hike knows the itinerary and what time to start worrying and call for help. Also a good idea is to carry an emergency device such as the SPOT tracker, which allows you to call for emergency assistance by satellite.

 

8. Embrace “Leave No Trace” Ethics.

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

The fascinating trails we love will only stay this way if we care for them. Take time to read the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and follow them. It’s up to every outdoor enthusiast to take care of our natural spaces. Using these open spaces is a privilege we need to keep available to others for many years.

 

9. The 10 Essentials

Hiking Tips For New Hikers

The 10 Essentials packing list was created to make sure that hikers were prepared and could respond with certainty to an accident or emergency, as well as remain safe if forced to spend one or more nights outdoors. It has shifted from a list of items to a list of systems. Get to know these systems, as you should pack them to insure safety in the back country, including facing a potential overnight. Depending on the details of your hike, expand or minimize each system. 

  1. Navigation (map, compass, whistle)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)

Trip Report: Camp Muir, Mount Rainier

in Trails by
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Camp Muir

Planning a trek up the Big One – Mount Rainier – gets my adrenaline pumping the minute I start packing my backpack.

My husband and I hit the road before sunset last weekend and headed to Ashford, WA, a quaint town just outside of the Nisqually Entrance into Mount Rainier National Park. Camp MuirWe were excited to do one of our favorite mountaineering day treks, Camp Muir. Nothing is more exhilarating than taking on this glaciated peak in one day on a 8.4 mile out-and-back that climbs 4,660 to a high-altitude camp above the Muir Snowfield situated on Mount Rainier’s south side at 10,080 ft. (Just about two miles from the mountain’s crown.) Camp Muir is a popular base camp for climbers and day hiking destination with an alpine mountaineering experience.

We arrived at Paradise at 8:00 am – early enough before the parking lot became packed. Paradise attracts more visitors than any other place in the park, so it’s important to get there as early as possible.

All geared up, we walked towards the Grande John Muir Steps, hitting the trailhead around 8:30am. We took the Skyline Trail and had incredible views of wildflower meadows, rumbling creeks and, of course, Mount Rainier. We even saw resident marmots and deer enjoying nature and were able to get some great photos of them. The initial part of the Skyline Trail is wide and paved, then it changes to rocky paths with narrow areas. The Skyline Trail traverses a small ridge, offering terrific views of Nisqually Glacier on one side and a large alpine meadow on the other. You will reach signs pointing to Pebble Creek and Camp Muir, then pass through Pebble Creek at about 2 miles where you’ll see the knob of McClure Rock on your right.

Camp Muir

Upon reaching Pebble Creek and carefully traversing the hopscotch rocks that divide the trail from the edge of the snowfield, you get a glimpse of the vastness and matchlessness of the Camp Muir hike. Typically, this is where the snowfields begin; however, with the ongoing heat we’ve had this summer, it has caused the snow line to be much higher than normal. We didn’t use crampons or poles and were just fine in our mountaineering boots, but they may be something you consider bringing, being there is more rock hiking than usual.

The official ‘visible’ NPS trail ends near 7,300 feet and is then marked with thin poles and pieces of colored duct tape when the snowfields start. Most people choose to make their own way up, staying near the poles, as you will find with footprints. Depending on the day you go, the snowfield will be dotted with dozens of figures, including those planning on summiting to the top with guides. It’s very important to wear eye protection and keep sunscreen and lip protectant handy, as the sun can be fierce. Even if it’s cloudy you can get burned.

When we were about halfway through the snowfield, we heard several apocalyptic cracks and rumbles from the nearby glaciers. As the sun and the rising temperatures reach the glaciers, the crevasses open wider and create those uncertain tremors through the air. At about 9,000 feet, Camp Muir comes into view and looks close, yet is still a ways away –- the last 250 feet, marked by a rocky ridge to your right, will feel never-ending!

Camp Muir

Approaching Base Camp

When you approach Camp Muir, you will head up some stone steps and join many others. This is an accomplishment in itself! Base camp has the feeling of a small village with lots of friendly hikers and mountaineers who just came down from summiting. We spent 45 minutes sitting high alongside Mount Rainier’s glaciers, while enjoying our lunch. We packed extra layers because it’s usually cooler, however, this time, t-shirts and shorts were comfortable. Enjoy the breathtaking views of hanging glaciers, massive seracs, wide crevasses and thundering rock fall. Be sure to take photos! It was so clear that we were able to see Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson.

Camp Muir

On the way down – glissade!

We packed up our bags and put on our rain gear, eager for the addicting thrill of sliding 2.2 miles down Rainier back to Pebble Creek. It makes you feel like a kid again and cuts the descent time in half! However, this trip, there were only a few chutes where we were in a comfortable sitting glissade. If you plan to slide, be sure to bring a plastic bag, or at least a change of pants. We use roll up sleds that work great. Be mindful of the direction, as you don’t want to veer off to the right. As you descend, you will notice the wind gradually drops, and you will most likely be removing layers by the time you get back to Pebble Creek. I couldn’t take enough pictures of the sun angles hitting longer rays, making the view of Mount Rainer even more beautiful.

Overall, our mountaineering trek was fantastic, as always, and the warmer temps changing the snow line added some pizzazz to our trip.

Camp Muir

Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2 Review

in Gear by
Berghaus VapourLight 4

Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2

The World’s lightest waterproof jacket and 2014/2015 ISPO Award Winner. This bold, yet true statement made by Berghaus completely changed my conception of what it meant for a waterproof jacket to be lightweight. I was somewhat dubious when I first received this jacket, feeling how light the fabric was and wondering how it could possibly offer enough resistance to the elements. This marvelous, patented Hypershell fabric is both completely waterproof and extremely breathable.

Living in Seattle, I was able to test the Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2 rather quickly, with the normal, ongoing, drizzly rain I experience on my morning runs. At roughly three ounces, this jacket offers all of the protection of a waterproof jacket and lives up to its expectations. It also has rock star performance out in the backcountry and passed my test on a 9 mile out-and-back rainy hike with strong winds in the mountains, proving it to be remarkably windproof as well.

As a minimalist trail runner and hiker, my issue with most waterproof jackets didn’t apply to the VapourLight Hyper Smock – Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2I barely felt it there, even after running an hour in the rain. Not once did I feel uncomfortable, get overheated, or feel that it wasn’t breathing as well as I wanted it to. Berghaus does a tremendous job working with their athletes to drive improvements. Every aspect of the design is considered and has everything I needed – from a close fitting hood with a binding opening and tab down feature when not in use, brilliant elasticated binding on the cuffs and hem, and a practical, small chest pocket that comes in handy for essentials. It feels like your own skin, as it’s so minimal that you hardly notice it’s there. My favorite feature that makes this product incredibly unique is the minimalist design that literally packs down to the size of a small avocado!

Bottom Line:

This jacket is a must-have for everything from backpacking to running, as there is always a need for a lightweight shell that can protect you from the elements. No matter what activities you plan on engaging in, the Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2 is a steal for just $150.

Tech Specs:

Style Tested: Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock 2.0

Size Tested: xs

Sizes Available: xs-xl

Colors Available: Flame Scarlet/Big Orange and Dark Cerise/Hot Raspberry

Center Back Length: 27.5”

Recommended Use: Hiking, Trail Running, or Active Pursuits

Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Type: Ultra-Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket

Shell Material: 100% polyamide w/ urethane coating

Number of Pockets: 1

Item Weight: Approximately 67g

 

Drilite™ Jetty Sack from Seattle Sports Review

in Gear by
DriLite Jetty Dry Sacks 14

Jetty Sack

When you pack for your paddle adventure, it’s important to keep your precious things dry, including clothing, gear and essentials. You can never predict when things might get wet. Dry bags are essential tools on any paddle excursion whether it’s a long or short trip.

My dry bags get used primarily on canoeing adventures in the Seattle area and in the backcountry rather than during canyoneering, ocean racing, etc. Jetty SackI’ve used roll-top closures for a long time, and they have proven to be really durable for my needs. I had the opportunity to review the Drilite™ Jetty Sack from Seattle Sports (both 4L and 10L) and, overall, was very pleased. I tested these versatile, lightweight 3-top closure packs on a few trips and put them through the ringer to see how they handled splashing, rain and submersion. As a result, I found that they were extremely water resistant in the wettest conditions, keeping my things dry. For frequent splashing, waves from the wake of other boats, and Seattle showers, the Drilite™ Jetty Sacks perform very well. However, I recommend adding another layer of waterproof protection for electronic devices, in the event that the canoe tips over. I would not classify these at waterproof as the “roll-over” closure (not 100% water-tight) and lightweight nylon material did allow some water inside when submerged for a long time into the lake. If 100% water-tight, waterproof is your goal, you will need to look into other options.

These dry sacks are proudly made in the USA and are covered by a 12 month limited warranty. The two size options (4L and 10L) and two colors options (orange and blue) made things nice and simple for packing and organization. I used the 4L sack for packing the essentials (Duct Tape, hand towels, first aid kit, super glue, multi-tool, cell phone, energy bars, water, emergency blanket, mirror, whistle, matches/lighter, car keys and money) and the 10L for extra clothing and gear. Bonus: The roll top closure once fastened forms a convenient carry handle.

Jetty Sack

Bottom Line:

For the price, these are versatile lightweight nylon dry bags that perform well, keeping your things dry; however, if you are looking for 100% waterproof protection, they are not as effective as heavier, stiffer, more expensive materials.

Tech Specs:

Date Available: Available now

MRSP: 4L – $17.95 & 10L – $23.95

Weight: 4L – 3oz & 10L – 5.8oz

Material:

210D PU coated rip-stop nylon

RF welded seams

Flat seam construction

PVC-Free

Mailbox Peak via the Old Trail: Trip Report

in Trails by
New Mailbox on Mailbox Peak

Mailbox Peak

A trip up Mailbox Peak via the Old Trail (7.3 miles roundtrip) – another hike checked off the bucket list. The views from Mailbox are phenomenal, but you will pay for them. Ascending via the Old Trail is essentially a 2.6-mile scramble over an exposed root system with 4000 feet elevation gain; certainly a tough hike that is extremely steep, challenging and perfect if you are looking for a killer burn or training to summit taller mountains, like Mt. Rainier or Mt. Baker. We loved it, and plan on doing the hike many more times!

Mailbox PeakWe arrived at the parking lot around 8am, planning to beat the crowds; however, the trailhead was starting to get busy. There are two parking lots that can be confusing, but both will get you to the trailhead. The trailheads (New Trail and Old Trail) are located through the gated road. If you’re planning to do the Old Trail, you’ll continue past the trailhead for the New Trail up the road for a few minutes, then you’ll see the trailhead for the Old Trail on the left with warning signs and advisories from Search & Rescue and the King County Sheriff. Take a minute to read them.

The trail starts off in the sheltering forest with tiny switchbacks (basically straight up) and continues like this for about two thirds of the way. There’s a tree blown down that you have to duck under near the beginning of the trail and one or two more that are easy to climb over. Otherwise, the main condition of the Old Trail is just straight up with lots of roots to climb over. It’s very easy to feel like you’re lost, since there isn’t a defined trail anywhere. Look for the white diamond reflectors on the trees; they will keep you on track. Mailbox PeakThere’s a blue “sign” on a tree to look forward to at 1000’ vertical feet from the creek. It took us about 30 minutes to get to this point from the trailhead.

The tiny switchbacks eventually fade out, and the trail is immediately taken over with a moderate-to-severe grade incline of tree roots. There is no defined trail, just lots of stepping over roots. Use the roots to your advantage, as they give you something to grab onto as you’re climbing up!

 

You’ll then start exiting the forest and merging with the New Trail. There’s even a small portion of intersection. Turn left and prepare for a tough final push to the top. This is a great time to hydrate and eat something. The last half-mile is pretty much a scramble, as the trail steeply climbs the ridge over a tangle of roots and rocks. Not far from the junction, you’ll emerge from the trees to see the Mailbox Peakexposed summit in the distance. Press upward and follow the train of people over rock and loose soil to the mailbox. The views are unbelievable!

The 4822 ft summit is amazing. There is a brand new mailbox that is already stuffed full of random ‘treasures.’ Make sure to sign your name in the log book. We could see Mount Si, Teneriffe, Defiance, Bandera and even Iron Horse Trail. You’ll get breathtaking views of the valley and all the way to the city. Rainier is right in your face. Take a few minutes to sit down for a well-deserved rest and fuel break. We reached the summit at just over 2 hours.

To save our knees, we headed down the New Trail (4.7 miles), which is a very well built and well-graded trail. It was also deceiving, not having any idea how far we’d gone, because we didn’t come up this way. Down was a bit faster than up, and we made it back to the parking lot in a little over an hour and a half. Overall, this was a fantastic training hike and we plan on repeating the adventure many times!Mailbox Peak

Seattleites Welcome the Patagonia Worn Wagon Tour

in Community by
Patagona Worn Wagon Tour Feathered Friends

Patagonia Worn Wagon Tour

On April 15th, Yale Avenue was filled with zealous Seattle Patagonia patrons, anxiously awaiting the Worn Wagon’s arrival in front of Feathered Friends; eager to fix their worn gear, busted zippers, rips and tears. The Patagonia repair team hit the road for a cross-country spring tour, traveling coast-to-coast doing free repairs with an industrial sewing machine, while also teaching customers how to fix their own gear with DIY stations. Even if you didn’t have any worn gear, they supplied it with a reward: fix it and you can keep it. I was on the scene to check out the tour and see how the repair process worked.

Patagonia Worn Wagon Tour

Patagonia actively helps and encourages customers to bring new life into clothes, keeping their gear in action longer and taking some pressure off our planet. The overall goal of the wagon tour is to raise mindfulness about renewing clothing. Patagonia joins others in the outdoor industry, such as L.L. Bean, in standing by their gear’s longevity and offering free repairs to its customers. Since the success of outdoor product companies is based on getting their customers outside to enjoy nature, many are increasingly focusing on environmental issues in regard to their company policies. More and more, we are seeing companies support specific environmental causes, encourage long-term use of their products, and seek out local materials in the interest of being environmentally friendly. Patagonia’s Worn Wear campaign is a reflection of these efforts across the industry.

Better Than New: “One of the most responsible things we can do as a company is to make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it. The Worn Wear program celebrates the stories we wear and keeps your gear in action longer to take some of the pressure off the planet.” – Patagonia

 

Patagonia Worn Wagon Tour

Seattle is known for its welcoming community of open-minded people with diverse backgrounds that have interests in inner exploration and outdoor adventures. Seattleites reinforced this eminence with a rousing welcome upon the Worn Wagon’s arrival. There was loud cheering and clapping with cameras going off like crazy! One patron described the wagon as “a sweet, back road, gnarly mountain hippie truck.”

The Patagonia Wagon Wear wagon is a recycled, custom biodiesel fueled 1991 Dodge Cummins truck. Its shell is a handmade redwood camper, made from salvaged wine barrels, by artist and surfer Jay Nelson. The wagon runs on biodiesel while driving and solar power when the sewing machines are spinning.

Patagonia Worn Wagon Tour

If you missed the stop, no worries! The Patagonia Seattle store located in Belltown, offers repair services in addition to a Worn Wear section as part of the Common Threads Partnership.

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