In the Shadow of the Mountain: Mount Rainier


For most perceptive Seattleites, Mount Rainier is a familiar sight. On a clear day the picturesque mountain graces our views. Mount Rainier National Park is a fabulous location for day hikes. Some of the In My Backyard team members went there for a day of hiking and research. There are several visitor centers at the park that serve as good starting points for hikes. We went to the Sunrise Visitor Center for our trip, but the Paradise Visitor Center is also a great location to begin a hike. Both of these visitor centers are starting points for many hiking trails that range in difficulty. Some of the hikes are super easy (even for me) and some of them are more challenging. At Sunrise, many of the hikes intersect so you can jump from hike to hike if you want to go to multiple locations.

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Hiking Fashion: How to Look Good While Hiking a Mountain


Running shoes are usually appropriate for easy-moderate hikes

When preparing for a hiking or camping trip, choosing the right apparel to bring is just as important as packing the right amount of supplies such as food and water. Whether or not you are comfortable in your clothing will affect your overall spirits and safety throughout the day/week.
It can be overwhelming and expensive when you’re trying to figure out how to outfit yourself for a hike. You want to be comfortable and safe without spending a ton of money. Read the following for some tips and tricks of the trek!

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As I have mentioned in several blog posts, I am quite out of shape. Simply put, I just don’t exercise. Many people I have spoken with rave about the great endorphin rush they feel after exercising, but I personally have never really noticed this. I’ve definitely tried to exercise, but running hurts my knees and spending time in the gym honestly just bores me. Although I don’t exercise, I still consider myself active as walking is my primary method of transportation. That being said, I live in San Jose, CA for the better part of the year where the land is as flat as possible.

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Elwha Exposé

During our four-day trip to Olympic National Park, the In My Backyard Team headed to the Elwha River. Beforehand, we, the SCA interns had put together some research to share with the group about the history of the Elwha, the construction of the dam, and finally the dam removal which is scheduled to conclude in September 2014.

To give you some background information, the Elwha is a 45-mile river on the Olympic Peninsula, intersecting the beautiful Olympic National Park. The river flows north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In 2012, the Elwha River dams, which had directly caused a dramatic decline in the salmon population, began to be removed.

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Started from the Bottom Now We’re Here: Hurricane Hill

While in Olympic National Park our team decided to head to Hurricane Ridge for some hiking. Hurricane Ridge is about 17 miles from Port Angeles and is a quick and beautiful car ride. Hurricane Ridge has a visitor center with exhibits and films. There are also a few short meadow trails around the visitor center that are only .25-.5 miles. We decided to hike the Hurricane Hill Trail which is about 1.6 miles one-way and 700 feet elevation gain. If you’re anything like me, you have no concept of elevation gain and have no idea what 700 feet looks like. To clarify, 700 feet in 1.6 miles is moderately difficult. (But I am pretty out of shape so you can make your own assumptions).

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Brush Bashing Down the Sol Duc

The Sol Duc Valley of Olympic National Park is known for its mossy rainforests, beautiful falls, and sulfurous hot springs. In addition to established trails such as Lover’s Lane, the area provides opportunities for off-trail adventures. Our group of interns sampled some of both options. While the others hiked to the Sol Duc Falls, Ranger Kelsey, Natasha, and I explored down river from the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. We started off by hiking down a service road away from the resort. The grass was a bit overgrown but it was still easy walking. Eventually, we took a right in hopes of reaching the river. From that point onwards, we were brush-bashing, or as it is more commonly called, bushwhacking. We wove through groves of trees, leaped over muddy puddles, and evaded prickly plants. Soon we reached the pebbly bank of the Sol Duc. At first, we avoided getting our feet wet which led to some tricky maneuvering over and under log jams on the river. My long legs gave me somewhat of an advantage when it came to jumping between logs but it was still quite a puzzle to figure out where to step next.

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Sunrise at Sunrise – Dawn on Rainier

DSC06795At 3am on a Sunday morning, I groggily hauled myself out of bed and stumbled to the family car. My dad and I had decided the afternoon before that we wanted to see the sunrise on Rainier before meeting up with our extended family for a hike. Even though we were tired, an hour long BBC special on the element tungsten made the two hour drive much more enjoyable. No seriously. Contact me if you have any questions about tungsten.

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Trail Work and Hiking at Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Early Monday morning we, the interns, piled into cars to drive up to Denny Creek10522754_1455928201329377_1582051132992096586_n in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (MSNF). After a groggy shopping stop in North Bend, we arrived at the Franklin Falls trailhead. There we met Marta, a former telephone company employee who after retirement joined the Forest Service and now leads trail work parties. Marta instructed us on how to use a totter (mechanical wheelbarrow) since we were spreading gravel along the trail.  We worked with a Student Conservation Association high school trail crew to fill the totter and   buckets with gravel. When the gravel was dumped on the trail we raked it out which was surprisingly tiring. We ate lunch on a rock overlooking the river which only became a problem when a plastic cap fell in. Luckily we were able to save it with some quick maneuvering. After lunch we continued with the gravel work but took turns removing roots from the trail. I find trail work very gratifying since it’s easy to see the progress I’ve made.

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Meet Sophie!


Hiking at Denny Creek in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Hey guys, I thought it was about time to introduce myself! I’m Sophie, one of four SCA (Student Conservation Association) interns doing outreach this summer at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park! I’m a born and raised Seattleite but I will be returning to school in the fall for my junior year at UCLA. At UCLA I’m a member of the Hiking Club and Student Wellness Commission’s Health, Nutrition and Fitness Committee. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a passion for the outdoors. My family and I have a tradition of going hiking together every summer. In college I go hiking almost every weekend with the Hiking Club at UCLA. During my junior year in high school I took my love of the outdoors to the next level by working with a Northwest Youth Corps back-country trail crew for five weeks in the Cascades. That meant five weeks of solely a diet of beans and rice and only one opportunity to shower. At the end of the trip we were rewarded with a steak dinner and copious amounts of ice cream. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.

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