Tag Archives: hiking

Hiking in Washington

Upper Falls Wallace State Park

The Upper Falls

Over spring break, my friend and I took a road trip over to Wallace Falls in Goldbar, Washington, and then went on a hike. Wallace Falls is a Washington State Park, and thus we needed a Discover Pass to park there. The Discover Pass is this yellow slip that you hang on the front mirror in your car, which allows you to park at these state parks. The Discover Pass is $10 for a day, or $30 annually. We bought the annual pass, since we knew that we would be hiking at other state parks through the year.

Once we got to Wallace Falls state park, we zipped up our layers (for me, I wore 3 coats, including one fleece and one rain coat). On the first small part of the trail, you’re walking under large electrial towers. Before we entered the woods, we stopped at one viewpoint that looked towards mountains, though it was too cloudy to see the mountains. We then entered the forest, we were met with a William Wordsworth quote: “Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.” After stopping to take a few pictures, we ventured on. We hiked up the Woody Trail, with the first 1/2 a mile being “easy”, according to the trail map. It had very little elevation gain, and took us on a muddy trail that was surrounded by moss-covered trees and ferns on the ground. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail at this point (around 10, on a Tuesday).

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Wild: The book, and now… the movie!

WildDo you like hiking? Nature? How about reckless adventures? Emotional memoirs?

If you answered, “yes” to any of those questions, I recommend checking out the book, and now the film, Wild.

Wild, a first-person memoir by Cheryl Strayed, tells the story of her expedition on the Pacific Crest Trail in the summer of 1995. In the four years leading up to her journey, her mother died (Cheryl was 22), her stepfather and siblings became disconnected from the family, and Cheryl turned to drugs to cope with her loss.  After wandering around the country for several months, she comes home and divorces her husband.  Feeling that she has lost her path in life and having nothing more to lose, she decides to set out, alone, on an 1100-mile long hike from southern California through Oregon.  Having never backpacked before, Cheryl describes the physical and mental struggles that challenged and healed her along the trail. Told with the utmost honesty, reflection, emotion, and suspense, the story of Wild is a deep and inspiring exploration.

The book was published in 2012 and received critical acclaim from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and The New York Times.Wild

The film was released in December 2014 and stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.  Overall, the film excellently captures the interplay between past memories and current challenges on the trail.  Witherspoon portrays Cheryl with true emotion, strength, and bravery.  IMBd gives the movie 7.5 out of 10 stars. That’s really good!

So, whether you’re an adventurous type or someone who searches for meaning in stories, a dedicated book lover or a film fanatic, I would recommend reading, or watching, (or both), Wild.  It might just make you want to take off on an epic hike of your own!

Check out the book!

Here’s where you can see the movie in the Seattle area.

–RuthMabel, Greenwood, Teen Blogger


The (Not-So) Great Outdoors and Why It's Worth It

This past weekend I, along with several of my schoolmates, embarked on a trek through the mountains to go snow camping. I approached the endeavor with a mite of trepidation, since it had been a good five years since the one and only time I had been camping. I felt a little like Hamish Bowles on his expedition for Vogue. This is not to say I am a novice outdoorsman (outdoorswoman?) per se, but never, in all my seventeen years, had I been backpacking. Especially not in the snow.

Starting out I felt great. The air was crisp and with my backpack strapped tight I felt ready to take on the world. Ten minutes later I was sweating, my hair was coming out of my braids, and my hip flexors were burning. But I trudged on, remembering my mother’s admonitions not to whine.

When we finally arrived at our campsite setting up camp was easy enough. We pitched the tents (I use the term “we” generously since I found tent construction beyond me) and then puttered about after, trying to keep busy (and warm) before dinner. As the sun set the cold arrived and after tortellini and hot chocolate everyone headed to bed.

I had expected the trip to be cold. I had imagined myself coming in from the biting night air, hopping in my deliciously warm sleeping bag, and drifting off to sleep. I was not prepared for the reality.

I found myself huddled in a ball on my disappointingly thin sleeping pad, desperately pressing hand warmers to my face in an effort to combat the bone-deep cold that had settled over the tent. I would finally lull myself to sleep only to awake an hour later, colder than before. My tentmates and I tried to huddle together for warmth, but the slope of the ground kept repeatedly rolling my friend Kate to the other side of the tent. Thirteen hellish hours later we emerged, stiff and sore from our sleeping bags. After oatmeal and some “snow-ga” (yoga in the snow), we packed up and headed out. The hike back was subdued, everyone keeping to themselves—a far cry from the day before. There was only one feeble attempt to make conversation about Sinead O’Connor which was greeted by silence from the rest of the group.

It may seem that this entry is written to warn everyone against camping or backpacking. However, as I reached the crest of the last hill and saw the parking lot below me, I was overcome with a feeling of accomplishment. All the aches and pains seemed to disappear as I dropped my pack to the ground and collapsed down next to it. I felt dirty, sweaty, tired, but above all, triumphant. As awful and cold the night before had been, I had gotten through it. I have a theory that snow camping is like childbirth. It sucks while you’re doing it but it’s worth it in the end. Plus back in the land of central heating and indoor plumbing you begin to forget just how truly miserable you were that night. Looking back I would say snow camping was worth it for the bonding and the stories to tell less adventurous friends and family. Now I don’t think I’ll ever go snow camping again, but I’ve already got my eye on the senior backpacking trip this summer . . .

If you’re heading to the great outdoors and are looking for good hikes throughout the Northwest check out these books for some ideas:

Hiking the great Northwest : 55 great trails in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Northern California, British Columbia, and the Canadian Rockies / Harvey Manning, Ira Spring, Vicky Spring.

Washington hiking : the complete guide to more than 400 hikes / Scott Leonard.

–Hannah, Teen Center Adviser