Cascade Mountain Tech News

Lessons Learned While Van Camping in Moab
September 15, 2020

Lessons Learned While Van Camping in Moab

I woke to the sound of loud rapping on the window of our van, with police lights flashing behind the curtains. I could barely register my husband nudging me through my sleepy haze, as the pounding on the window got louder. “Wake up!” Callan said, and as I sat up, it dawned on me that we were in trouble.

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Lesser Known Thru-Hikes in the United States
June 09, 2020

Lesser Known Thru-Hikes in the United States

While many thru-hikers see trails like the Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Continental Divide Trails as the ultimate in thru-hiking adventures, there are dozens of lesser-known routes that lead through the spectacular wilderness all around North America. Whether you are looking for a hike that lasts a few days or a trail that you’ll explore for months, I have gathered eight of my favorite lesser-known thru-hiking routes that are sure to stoke your wanderlust.

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waterfall at havasupai
May 12, 2020

Your Desert Oasis Awaits at Havasupai

Havasupai was always on my bucket list of places to visit. All the photos and videos that I have seen made it seem too good to be true, but in reality, no photos or videos can really do Havasupai justice. Imagine my excitement when a friend called and told me she had won the permit lottery for four camping permits! 

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national park covid-19
March 26, 2020

National Park and State Park Closures Related to COVID-19

For outdoor lovers, quarantine can feel extra quarantine-y.  Social distancing sounds like a codeword for camping to us.  But in looking for information about the status of national parks and state parks, we found the answers to be scattered and hard to track. To help you adventure responsibly during the coronavirus pandemic, we put together this comprehensive guide to park closures, updates, and resources.

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Yellowstone National Park by Snowshoe: Out and back to Mystic Falls
February 12, 2020

Yellowstone National Park by Snowshoe: Out and back to Mystic Falls

Out in the backcountry, alone to ourselves below Mystic Falls, we gazed at the thermally colored canyon walls and soaked in the solitude.  We were in no hurry to leave.  Yellowstone had us entranced.

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What’s With the Pink Snow?: A Backcountry Ski Expedition in the Name of Science
December 17, 2019

What’s With the Pink Snow?: A Backcountry Ski Expedition in the Name of Science

he cool air rushed down out of the gully’s opening. The trail quickly disappeared among the tumble of rocks and boulders strewn about. A stream coursed out from under the snout of the receding snowfield that was once known as Spider Glacier. I wasn’t sure whether the goosebumps were from the chill of the cool air or from my excitement. I made it. Within a few steps onto the snowfield, I found what I was looking for, the main reason I had come nine miles into the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the ancestral lands of the Chelan, Wenatchi, Entiat, Yakama and Okanagan peoples. Pink, living, snow. 

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Exploring Colorado: A Look Inside Rocky Mountain National Park
November 07, 2019

Exploring Colorado: A Look Inside Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, a breathtaking 415-square mile National Park located just west of Colorado’s Front Range, is an American icon. Jagged peaks soar above alpine lakes, elk herds graze in mountain meadows, and wildflowers takeover the grasslands in summer. I recently caught up with Barbara Scott, a 20-year National Park Service veteran and Supervisory Park Ranger of Interpretation & Education at Rocky Mountain National Park, to talk about her career in the Park Service, her passion for Rocky Mountain, and what makes this Colorado National Park so special.

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Preparation Meets Opportunity: Lessons Learned on a Summit Attempt at Mt. Rainier
October 02, 2019

Preparation Meets Opportunity: Lessons Learned on a Summit Attempt at Mt. Rainier

In my past life, I was a professional football player in the NFL, but today, my sights are set on climbing the Seven Summits, with only Mt Everest left unchecked on my list. This past August, I was invited to co-guide a bunch of guys up the slopes of Mt Rainier, a recognizable and majestic peak towering at 14,411’ and located a few hours outside of Seattle. My good buddy, former NFL & college head coach Jim Mora, trained an insane amount of hours alongside me in the month of July to prepare for this endeavor. Unfortunately, this was not the case for our entire group.

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Exploring Colorado: A Look Inside Mesa Verde National Park
September 16, 2019

Exploring Colorado: A Look Inside Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park, a breathtaking expanse of both archaeological and wild landscapes, became Colorado’s first National Park in 1906, and it was also the first in the country established to preserve archaeological history. There are nearly 5,000 archaeological sites—600 of which are cliff dwellings—within the boundaries of the park. I spoke with Jill Blumenthal, Education Coordinator and Volunteer Program Manager for Mesa Verde National Park and Yucca House National Monument, to learn more about the park, her career in the Park Service, and some suggestions about how visitors can enjoy the park today.

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Easy Access Backpacking: A Trip to Shi Shi Beach
September 04, 2019

Easy Access Backpacking: A Trip to Shi Shi Beach

There’s a thrill that comes from seeing the edge of something – a cliff, a horizon, a coastline. That’s it. That’s where it all ends. What’s over the edge? You can google it, sure, or you can let your imagination run for a while. If you’re looking for an all-time edge – a place that really whips the imagination into a frenzy – head to Shi Shi Beach on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Sitting in the upper left corner of the continental United States (yes you can see Canada from the beach), Shi Shi is an accessible backpacking destination ideal for families, novice backpackers and veterans looking to warm up to or unwind from a gnarly season in the backcountry. 

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Surrendering to the Road – A Journey to Burning Man
August 14, 2019

Surrendering to the Road – A Journey to Burning Man

If you’re going to take a road trip, I believe that you should try to get as much as you possibly can from every single mile. That is exactly how my road trip to Burning Man turned into a week-long venture with daily mini-adventures. I was determined to breathe in as much as I could along the way. That said, my journey really began long before I started mapping out the route. 

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Exploring Colorado: Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
August 05, 2019

Exploring Colorado: Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, a 150,000-acre National Park located in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, is flanked by the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range to its east and the San Juan Mountains to its west. There are six types of dunes in the park—Reversing, Star, Parabolic, Barchan, Transverse, Nebkha—and the tallest reaches 755 feet above the valley floor.

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Exploring Colorado: A Look Inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
May 23, 2019

Exploring Colorado: A Look Inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Known as Colorado’s Grand Canyon, the 30,950 acres that make up Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park do no less than wow visitors who venture to its edges or into its depths. 2,700-foot sheer-walled cliffs tower over the Gunnison River below – two million years of rushing waters carved out the formidable canyon, exposing metamorphic rock from Earth’s Precambrian era (more than 540 million years ago). Today, the more than 300,000 visitors per year can hike along the rim and in the canyon, raft and fish the Gunnison River, and enjoy scenic drives along both the North and South Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. 

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A Visit to Joshua Tree Post Government Shutdown
April 25, 2019

A Visit to Joshua Tree Post Government Shutdown

Nestled amongst the boulders in the heart of Joshua Tree, we watched as the sun crested over the outcrops of the smooth granite rocks, bringing life into Hidden Valley campground. Early risers were already scaling The Old Woman, one of the countless formations that dot the park’s otherworldly landscape. It's March. The rains have mostly subsided, as have the icy winds that kept many away during the earlier part of the month. Daylight savings has also ended, which means more sunlight, warmer weather, and of course, more visitors.

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Views from the Top: Fremont Lookout – Mt. Rainier National Park
April 02, 2019

Views from the Top: Fremont Lookout – Mt. Rainier National Park

Mondays are for the mountains…

As my wife and I make the transition back to life in the Pacific Northwest after a handful of years in Nashville, we made the decision to dedicate our Mondays to the mountains. After all, the Cascade Mountain Range was the leading reason for us to move back to Washington State. It only took a few years away from these great mountains to realize exactly how much they really meant to us, so this time around we are committed to spending even more time in and around these majestic peaks. 

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Views from the Top: Half-Dome, Yosemite National Park
January 03, 2019

Views from the Top: Half-Dome, Yosemite National Park

This summer I've been on a terror to check some things off my bucket list. Despite my fear of heights, Half Dome has always been a destination I've wanted to see. I had been trying for the annual lottery since I first moved to California, and was never lucky enough to pull it off, but last week my friends inspired me to try for the daily lottery when they got selected on a whim.

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Views from the Top: Lookout Point – Kings Canyon
October 17, 2018

Views from the Top: Lookout Point – Kings Canyon

In my latest quest to explore more national parks, I recently had a weekend adventure in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. I frequently visit Joshua Tree, and I had visited Zion National Park a few weeks prior, so I was looking forward to heading somewhere that was a little more mountainous and that offered some bouldering and steep hikes with a good amount of elevation gain. These parks delivered.

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Views from the Top: Enchanted Valley, WA
September 26, 2018

Views from the Top: Enchanted Valley, WA

It takes a marquee name like Enchanted Valley to coordinate 8 friends across 2 different states to trek into Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Enchanted as this valley may be, the 34-mile round trip price of admission is neither a small feat nor an easy sell to your backpacking buddies. The final destination and trail leading up to the valley, however, is well-deserving of its namesake.

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Views from the Top: High Divide Loop, WA
September 05, 2018

Views from the Top: High Divide Loop, WA

The alarm sounded at 3:30am on Sunday, August 12th, and the four of us awoke from our slumber alongside Lake Crescent within the Olympic National Park. We reluctantly began packing up camp so that we could hit the road in order to arrive at the Sol Duc Falls trailhead nice and early to tackle the entire High Divide Loop in a single day. 

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