Zipping through a Hawaiian jungle

Zipping through a Hawaiian jungle

The tall, good-looking Kamuela was waiting with the other adventurers when we slid in five minutes past our appointment time.

We had signed up with Skyline Eco Adventures to go ziplining on the Big Island of Hawaii. Because of road construction, we were running late. Delighted to see they had waited for us, we hurried through the requisite waiver-signing before our guides Kamuela and Corey strapped us into harnesses. We donned our helmets, stowed our cellphones in fanny packs and...

more »
Scouting the Castle Crags

Scouting the Castle Crags

For many years I served as a Boy Scout leader. Almost every month, regardless of weather, I took my two oldest sons and other boys their age backpacking into remote mountain areas for overnight or multiday camping trips.
more »
Going wild on the Klamath

Going wild on the Klamath

The Klamath River offers some of the best fly-fishing for steelhead in the State of Jefferson. Sometimes regarded as the stepchild when compared to the Rogue or Umpqua rivers, the Klamath is really a Cinderella.

Just south of the Oregon border, the Klamath has many advantages over its northern brethren: more wild steelhead, fewer boats, fewer anglers, and it's closer to Ashland and Medford than the Umpqua and many sections of the Rogue.

Autumn and early winter are when these...

more »
Glaciers highlight Tatshenshini River expedition

Glaciers highlight Tatshenshini River expedition

The Tatshenshini River flows through Glacier Bay National Park, an area of incredible pristine wilderness. It is also part of the Tongass National Forest, the largest block of protected park land in the world.

Glacial rivers of frozen ice ease their way between rugged mountain peaks to dump their load of ground-up rocks, cobbles and boulders into the main river channel.

Alaska was on my bucket list so I could complete a visit to all 50 states, and with the effects of global.....

more »
Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

The old backcountry trails of the remote and rugged south Kalmiopsis Wilderness are the stuff of legend. Tall tales of Bigfoot, strange mountain men, ill-fated mining ventures and carnivorous plants abound, and at least in the case of the carnivorous plants, some of the bizarre old-time stories are actually true.
more »
Sleepless in a sleeping bag

Sleepless in a sleeping bag

Who knew that bitterns have appetites as voracious as tigers’?

I have just witnessed one of these brown, chicken-sized birds catch and eat a frog. A minute later, it snagged and swallowed a fish. To put this in human terms, it’s equivalent, I figure, of devouring a slab of prime rib followed immediately by a halibut steak.
more »
You showed me the ocean, again

You showed me the ocean, again

Our daughter is teaching us about trees as we hike the Waxmyrtle Trail in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Specifically, she is breaking the news that certain evergreens we have always called cedars — incense cedars and western redcedars, for example — aren’t true cedars, scientifically speaking.

She is a forestry student at Oregon State University, so we trust she learned this from a reliable source and not from Tree Dude on the Internet.

This talk of.....

more »
Sprinkling a little magic on the trail

Sprinkling a little magic on the trail

The curtain is closing on Summer 2015, and another chapter of the Pacific Crest Trail is coming to an end as a record-setting class of through-hikers nears their destination. Hikers from around the world have endured months of sweat, smoke, snow, withdrawals, breakthroughs, accomplishments and failures on the trail from Mexico to Canada, and I had the opportunity to share some of their stories.

This summer I maintained a cache of hiker treats near the California-Oregon border for PCT...

more »
Peak experience on Preston Peak

Peak experience on Preston Peak

Preston Peak is not the highest mountain in the Siskiyous, but it is certainly the most iconic. Standing tall amidst a range of wilderness peaks and looking down on Raspberry Lake, Rattlesnake Meadows and the expansive old-growth forests of the aptly named Clear Creek Watershed, Preston is special. It offers both the macro of stunningly rugged mountain cliffs that overwhelm the landscape and the micro of botanical treasures that reward those with a careful eye.

My only previous climb...

more »
Summiting the spire

Summiting the spire

Some say it's food that unites people, but in our case, it was the mountains.

On a recent Saturday morning, three of us — a traveling nurse and two foresters — decided to tackle an ascent of Mount Thielsen.

None of us knew each other well before that day. I'm a traveling nurse from Pennsylvania who currently resides in Central Point until December. James and I met a few days earlier, and somehow the subject of climbing came up, and the topic of Mount Thielsen, how...

more »
My Adventure: Hot springs, fishing and Steens Mountain getaway

My Adventure: Hot springs, fishing and Steens Mountain getaway

Several years ago my wife and I did a hot springs tour of Central and Eastern Oregon, visiting seven different natural springs in five days. However, we missed the opportunity to visit Steens Mountain because the road was still closed in June due to snow.

This year I was able to go back to Steens Mountain with my son, Lucas, who was visiting from New York. While there still were patches of snow on top, the 52-mile loop gravel road was clear and accessible to passenger cars in...

more »
Staring into the depths of Thor's Well

Staring into the depths of Thor's Well

The Oregon Coast has a geological feature that seems co-authored in design — a shared effort between J.R.R. Tolkien and Marvel Comics.

This fantasy oracle of olde is a short drive south from Newport, maybe a half hour, a landmark just off the shore of Cape Perpetua.

My uncle told me about it last weekend during a family gathering. Thor’s Well (or the Spouting Horn if it please ye), he said, looks like a hole in the ocean when the tide’s high enough. Think of.....

more »
Hard Slog To Stuart Falls

Hard Slog To Stuart Falls

A few years back, the route up Red Blanket Creek to Stuart Falls was a scenic and relatively easy 9-mile round-trip day hike.

In 2014, the 790 fire in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area burned about 3,000 acres in a beautiful mosaic pattern near the southern boundary of the Crater Lake National Park. The old-growth forest canopy in the Red Blanket watershed is still largely intact, and the rejuvenating ecological effects of the fire are evident everywhere.

The Red Blanket Trail is in.....

more »
Paulina Creek hike offers sights, swimming holes

Paulina Creek hike offers sights, swimming holes

No offense to infants, but Map Guy was as fussy as a nap-needing, colicky baby when we set off from McKay Crossing Campground to hike a stretch of Peter Skene Ogden National Scenic Trail on the flank of Newberry Volcano, south of Bend.

It’s not the best side of my frequent outing cohort, but what are you going to do? I’m stuck with Map Guy, and the world needs cranky sexagenarians, too, probably.

The good thing with Map Guys — let’s pluralize it, for...

more »
Searching for conifers in the 'Miracle Mile'

Searching for conifers in the 'Miracle Mile'

Tell most people you’ve been backpacking in the Russian Wilderness, and they’ll either look totally perplexed or wonder if you’re referring to one of the wintery settings in the film “Doctor Zhivago.”

We hadn’t been watching the classic movie or reading Boris Pasternak’s epic novel or, as some speculated, exploring the wilds of Siberian Russia. We had been exploring a section of the Russian Wilderness, a reclusive 12,000-acre wilderness.....

more »
An unexpected trail

An unexpected trail

Fungi were sprouting from the side of a massive redwood tree like tiny white umbrellas. My wife and I stopped to inspect, marveling at how delicate yet sturdy the stems and caps appeared.

Just a half-mile away, in busy Simpson-Reed Grove along Highway 199, such leisurely scrutiny might be considered rude. We would probably be blocking the way of someone coming up from behind us.

But the trail we were on was deserted, except for us. It didn’t even have a name, as far as we.....

more »
No snow makes Marble Mountains accessible early

No snow makes Marble Mountains accessible early

The iconic backcountry wilderness hike to Marble Valley is a bucket-list destination that attracts nature lovers from far and wide. I’ve arrived during summer months to find dozens of rigs at the trailhead parking lot and stiff competition for prime camping spots. Never did I think I would hike the 16-mile loop up Red Rock Valley, follow the Pacific Crest Trail north through Little Marble and Marble Valleys, and descend down Canyon Creek without seeing another soul on the...

more »
Cycling through the pear blossoms

Cycling through the pear blossoms

The fragrance of flowering pear blossoms coupled with the lush, green foothills are one of the best treasures in the state of Jefferson, and a bike ride through the orchards in early April with thousands of pear trees in bloom is a visual symphony.

Every year my wife, Barb, and I look forward to cycling through the pear orchards when they are transformed into a white, fairy-tale landscape. It is our annual rite of spring. We have different cycling routes along the east and west sides...

more »
The Pacific Crest Trail in 30 Years

The Pacific Crest Trail in 30 Years

I was 30, married, raising four children and teaching full time when I first heard about the Pacific Crest Trail. I had backpacked the Rogue River Trail and into the Seven Lakes area. The thought of hiking from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada intrigued me, but I couldn’t imagine how to manage it. I couldn’t leave my young children or my career for six to eight months.
more »
Call of the wild is sometimes a solitary song

Call of the wild is sometimes a solitary song

Sometimes the best way to experience the outdoors is alone. That's why I continually choose to overlook the many warnings against solo hiking.

Whether it's the official website of a national park, a sign at the trailhead or a word from a friend, the message is always the same: Don't hike alone. But as an adventurous individual seeking solitude, what am I to do? To me, the freedom found in solo hiking is worth the risk.

I solo summited South Sister in Bend last summer when none of....

more »
Click here to send us your story to be published in Oregon Outdoors