Just a few resources for those of you who are looking to get into hiking, backpacking, trail running, snowshoeing, anything outdoorsy! I tried to keep the links diverse, but a lot of these sites overlap in content if you want a second opinion or more information. If you’re eager to get technical, get in touch and I’ll post some more extensive links.
- The Ten Essentials: What to bring on every day hike. Includes the old version as well as REI’s updated version. Further down the page, it goes into detail about each item. I’ll be honest, if it’s a short hike that I know very well, I tend to skimp on sun protection and fire starting tools. It’s a bad habit. Anything longer or unfamiliar, bring everything.
- Footwear, Clothing, and Packs: Part 2 of the Washington Trail Association’s “Hiking 101” series. Highly recommend reading the other two parts (choosing the right hike and trail manners) if you’re just getting started. Here is a slightly more extensive description of the anatomy a boot, available types, what they’re good for, and what you should look for.
- Trail Manners: Right of way, how to not annoy other hikers, etc. The one thing they don’t list is leave no trace, which is described next.
- Leave No Trace: Self explanatory. Step 1: Don’t be an asshole. Don’t leave trash, don’t stomp all over the moss, don’t ruin natural formations, use maps so there is no need for paint on the trail, be polite. Easy, right?
Where to Go:
- WTA: The washington Trail Association has a fantastic website for finding hikes, hiking advice, and recent trip reports, which are great for keeping up with weather, trail conditions, road conditions, and the like. Definitely a staple if you’re in Washington state. Also has a great map feature where you can look at a topographical map of Washington and see where trailheads are, so if you’re trying to stick close to a certain area, you’ll be able to scout out the right hike.
- Peakbagger: International resource for peaks wherever you so desire to explore. Often has reports on climbing routes the WTA does not detail, so if you’re aiming for some of the more technical climbs, look here. Also has more casual trails, for example Mt. McCausland (one of my favorites). Plus access to free topographical maps on every peak’s page!
- Alltrails: National Geographic’s trail website. Searchable by location, activity (trail run, hike, mountain bike, the list goes on), features (hot springs, waterfalls, etc) with access to maps if you sign up. Also has trip reports for recent information regarding trail quality. Great for hikes near major cities or with kids and pets.
- CascadeClimbers: I’m sending you straight to trip reports because I never look at anything else on this site.
- Turns All Year: For real skiiers and snowboarders, but fake skiiers like me and climbers can find pretty good beta regarding snowpack especially in the early season. Don’t use the search function. You won’t win.
- nwhikers.net: I’ll call them the “extreme backpackers” with some climbs thrown into the mix. Sending you straight to the trip report section here as well. Quite the rabbit hole!
- Summitpost: If your office tracks what your’e looking at, don’t even open it. You’ll never get back to work. Just google “[insert peak name] summitpost” and it’ll start your journey.
- Weather Forecasting in the Mountains: Outlines how to check weather online as well as what to watch for and when to start worrying once you’re actually out on a hike. Obviously weather in the mountains can change very quickly, which is why we recommend always having extra layers and paying attention. Links to my favorite weather stations: West Slopes North Cascades on NOAA, East Slopes North Cascades on NOAA, and Mountain Forecast. Click anywhere on the maps on NOAA to get coordinate specific conditions. And I use weather.com to check nearby cities. Mountain Forecast always seems optimistic, NOAA always seems pessimistic.
- REI Classes: I can’t recommend REI enough. If there’s one near you, check out what they offer. Often they’ll have very cheap beginner classes for things like snowshoeing, navigation, camping/hiking, even photography.
- Snowshoeing Basics: This was actually recommended to me since I just got started snowshoeing. Here’s to learning!
- Winter Camping: Yep, it’s a thing, and it’s beautiful. Ever heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.”? That’s right. Sure it’s cold, but dress right and snow shouldn’t stop you. REI mentions snowshoes, poles, ice axes, and crampons. One more link, since winter can require a little more research than a casual summer trip, and this one goes into skiis in their “gear” section if you’d rather ski to a campsite.
- Solo Hiking: Available to everyone. It’s not as scary or weird as it sounds. Most of my hikes are solo just due to my unpredictable retail schedule, which doesn’t allow me to have weekends off like the majority of my buddies, who have “real jobs.” It might take a while to develop the confidence, but backpacking and hiking solo is a more personal experience, and I’d definitely recommend giving it a chance.
- Trail Running: My personal activity of choice. If I go backpacking, it’s so I can wake up in a tent to sunrise the next morning and go for a run somewhere I wouldn’t be able to reach in just a day. You don’t have to be doing ultramarathons, even five miles on a trail is a trail run. Don’t be afraid to get dirty, either, and obviously, embrace your wipeouts!
- Seeking Ultra: Seriously, these guys do what I dream about. 34 milers around gorgeous scenery all year, with pics to prove it and Strava maps for me to attempt to follow when I’m feeling ballsy. Haven’t run more than 26.2, but the motivation is there – someday!
- Tamara’s Cameras: With Motivational Monday and Wildlife Wednesday, there are pretty routine posts to follow when I need some inspiration. Not to mention the fantastic photos that make me want to travel even more.
- Not Your Average Adventures: Crystal’s moving to New Zealand and has some killer photography skills she’s proven in Washington, so I can’t wait to see what comes from NZ.
- Solo Northwest Hiker: It’s validating knowing there are others out there who love solo hiking and I’m not just crazy! And of course, more photos for those of us who need to live vicariously when we’re stuck in the city.
- Spokalpine: An inspiring climbing buddy who I’ll catch up to in skills someday (yeah you heard me, watch out!).
- Steven Song: Both a climbing inspiration and a blogging inspiration. Incredibly detailed trip reports of all sorts, all over the US and Canada.
EXCELLENT set of resources!