Explorer and fur trader David Thompson sat on the hard rock face cliff gazing down one more time into the turbulent river below. Something was wrong. All his calculations showed that the Columbia River must be near here, but the river he had been following was flowing north, not south or west toward the Pacific. It was 1809 and David Thompson was two decades away from his orphanage and boyhood home at the Grey Coat School in central London.
As the heart of summer has come upon our fair land, I was recently lucky enough to get out on one of the jewels of our National Trails System, our own Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT for short). Ever since starting with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA), I’ve been eager to get out to the eastern terminus of the trail in Glacier National Park to inspect trail signs, corridor conditions, and most of all to glimpse the unfolding of the journey a PNT eastbound thru-hiker embarks upon.
From the top of Oyster Dome we see our first glimpse west to Puget Sound and our path along the PNT to the distant Fidalgo Island and into the town of Anacortes. For the time being our mountain hiking is at an end and we can enjoy the level ground and smell of salt water in the air.
We recently caught up with Matt Hopkins (aka Free) as he was preparing for his upcoming thru-hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail.
Deep in the heart of the Pasayten Wilderness, along the original PNT route as laid out by Ron Strickland, we find the remnants of a 4,000 foot long backcountry airfield. In this vast and remote 530,000 acre wilderness we still find signs of man’s earlier incursion.
Howdy, y’all! My name is Stephanie Campbell, and I am the brand new Eastern Regional Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Trail Association!
The early dawn light was a welcome relief to Jack Rowley as he awoke from a fitful night’s sleep. It was spring, 1877 in the Washington Territory. For the last five years Jack had been yearning to search for that elusive mother lode of gold rumored to be in the upper Skagit River. As he opened his eyes that morning, Jack knew that somehow this time it was different. He had found the way to the gold.
This week marks one month that I have been at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA). Like any new job, it has been a whirlwind, but I'm steadily making progress. Since my start date in late March, I have been busy with the website, summer planning, and learning the ins-and-outs of our different programs. I'm excited to share some of the happenings that have kept me so busy.
This week, our first Service Knowledge Youth (SKY) trail crew of the 2015 season hit the trails at Blum Creek along the East Baker Lake trail in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The East Baker Lake trail is an alternate route to the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and allows users to avoid US Forest Service roads in the area.
Tucked inside a small valley, just east of the Washington-Idaho border on the PNT, northwest of Priest Lake, lies Hughes Meadow. Today it stands as treeless, boggy marsh with chest-deep grass. The stream running through the meadow is filled with beaver while migratory birds fly overhead. Look carefully in the black moist soil for bear tracks. This majestic natural meadow hides a rich history that is almost forgotten.