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Showing posts with label Washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington. Show all posts

Two Ways To Experience Hell's Canyon

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Hells Canyon is a 10-mile (16 km) wide canyon located along the border of eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and western Idaho. It is North America's deepest river gorge at 7,993 feet (2,436 m) and part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

The cities of Lewiston, Clarkston are referred to as the gateway to Hells Canyon, and since it was on my way I decided to "visit Hells Canyon".

Once called the “Grand Canyon of the Snake River,” the Hells Canyon corridor is known for its magnificent but extremely rugged landscape. Only unlike its "big brother Grand Canyon", you can't just pull over, snap a few pictures, and call it a day.

There are few points of entry into Hells Canyon from both sides of the border, so traveling in this corridor takes time and effort.

The first and most exciting way to experience Hells Canyon is by floating through it, either by raft or jet boat.

I figured paying $100 for a jet boat ride is too "touristy", so I opted for a cheaper but more picturesque way - driving through it !

The Hells Canyon All-American Road is a nationally designated scenic byway. Although the route can be driven in as little as 5 hours, the Byway is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Though I really wish I had more time to explore it, my main goal was just to enjoy my ride...

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Where To Take A Basic Sea Kayaking Class In Washington

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A couple years ago, I had an awesome opportunity to take a basic sea kayaking class with Washington Kayak Club, state's largest and oldest kayaking club dedicated to all forms of paddle craft in the Pacific Northwest.

Author Paddling Under Deception Pass Bridge

The class took place at a beautiful place - Whidbey Island’s Coronet Bay Environmental Learning Center. During my two and a half day stay, I learned a lot, and had tons of fun ! Unfortunately, the event only takes place once a year...

Recently, I came a cross a post on Sea Kayaker Magazine about similar class offered by the Northwest Outdoor Center (NWOC).

They call it "Fundamentals of Sea Kayaking", and the class takes place closer to Greater Seattle Area ( Lake Union ), but, as far as I understood, they have the same "graduation ceremony" at the beautiful Deception Pass.
This 4-session class gives you three lake sessions to learn stroke and rescue techniques, a current lecture where you will learn what currents are and how they work in theory, and a daytrip where you get to practice all of the above in real-life situations. You will learn about the boats and related equipment, proper clothing, safety considerations, navigational tools, and resource material. You will learn how to rescue yourself and others, and how to prevent capsizing by using bracing strokes. During the stroke sessions you will learn how to use the paddling strokes for maximum efficiency and stability. For our saltwater outing, we will choose a location where we can practice working with, against, and across currents, in a tightly controlled situation. The emphasis of this class is to build good paddling skills along with good sea-sense. No experience necessary, but be prepared to get wet! This class will prepare you to deal with paddling inland waters in moderate current and wind conditions.
Kat Wertzler, the editorial assistant at Sea Kayaker Magazine, in this post offers you her observations as a novice, and shares her experiences of "Fundamentals of Sea Kayaking" with NWOC.

NOTE: I'd like to point out that "Basic Sea Kayaking Class" is not your typical "guided kayak tour".

The class normally takes about 2 days, and provides practical knowledge and skills necessary to feel comfortable in ( sometimes ) rough Puget Sound waters.

Learn A New Snowboarding Trick

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About two years ago I discovered for myself the joy and fun of riding at a terrain park.

At first it was quite intimidating ( and painful ! ). After catching a rail across my chest, hitting my head against a box, and twisting my knee after a bad landing I invested heavily into protective gear.

As I mentioned before, I couldn't find any classes that would teach the basics of park riding. With all my protective gear I felt saf(er), but my lack of knowledge greatly hindered my progress.

My only sauce of instructions were these short Youtube videos. So far I've "mastered" "Ollie", "Nollie", 180 frontside and backside spins, and finally overcame my fear of jumps.

If it wasn't for park riding, I think I would have lost interest in snowboarding ( at a ski area ). Just because you're an adult snowboarder doesn't mean that once you learn the basics, you have to keep doing the same thing over and over again. There are many ways in which you can alter your riding. You can do it by changing the terrain, the weather conditions, and how you ride. That's one of the great things about snowboarding: there's always room to stretch yourself and try new things. But only if you want to.

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Rafting guide - the best recession- proof job

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Even in this economic chaos, some jobs are recession resistant. There are jobs that will always be in demand: teachers, doctors, soldiers, lawyers...But nowadays, more and more people are looking for more than just a job. They are looking for their "True Calling", "Dream Job ", "Passion"...

According to a new report from the University of Chicago:

People looking for jobs that bring satisfaction and happiness should concentrate on professions that focus primarily on serving other people...
A river guide is perhaps the quintessential outdoor job. You are around people and the outdoors. The best part of the job ? Freedom ! You don't have to wear a suit and tie. You can just be yourself.

But remember- you are not on vacation ( have you noticed the word "Job " in " Dream Job ? " ). Because the river guide is responsible for the well-being and safety of his or her clients, quality river guide training is absolutely crucial.

Rivers Inc. offers the top Guide Training course in Washington: a highly intensive, hands-on series of classes taught by some of the top white water river rafting guides in the state. This course will teach you all that you need to know to begin guiding white water rafting trips and exceeds Washington State requirements for white water guide training.

Though, no previous experience is needed, commitment, dedication, and a willingness to constantly learn and improve throughout your career is a must.

To learn more about the course and register for the upcoming season, visit their web site - Rivers Inc.

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Today, January 5th, we were closer to the Sun than we will be any other day this year!
When 2012 began on January 1, our planet Earth was very close to its perihelion – its closest point to the sun for the year. In 2012, Earth will be closest to the sun on Thursday, January 5 at 1 hour Universal Time (UT). Translating UT to Central Time in the United Sates, perihelion happens today, on Wednesday, January 4, at 7:00 p.m.

Don't know about you, but I was pretty stoked ! After a few days of miserable rain, seeing the sun again was exciting...though, to be fair, in Seattle, seeing the sun any day of the year is pretty exciting :)

Made me happy:)...decided to take advantage of this sunny weather to go land paddling on Interurban:

State Of Washington Bicycle Law That Doesn't Make Sense Even to A Judge


On October 26th the City of Pacific Municipal Court Judge L. Stephen Rochon was surprised to find out that there was a law that prohibits "Too many people on a bicycle"

RCW 46.61.760
Riding on bicycles.

(1) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

(2) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

[1965 ex.s. c 155 § 81.]

Rules of court: Monetary penalty schedule -- IRLJ 6.2.

This law punishes cyclists with a hefty $103 fine !

It took Judge L. Stephen Rochon literally a few minutes just to imagine how many people on a bicycle would be "too many". I bet he was thinking of circus or some Red Bull bike stunt. But even that didn't spark he imagination, so he asked the "counselor/prosecutor" who was even dumber ( as it turned out later ) and had absolutely no idea about bike laws or anything that had to do with bike safety.

After reading the police report ( written by another bike hating/racist police officer Roger Gale ) both of them went into discussing "the safety concern" of my child bike seat.

According to Gales' report "the bike seat was taped to the frame". This REALLY escalated their concern, as my bike seat was "modified". The prosecutor "objected" saying that : " ...if I "modify" safety features on my BMW..." at which point I thought: " God, you're a fucking moron".

I was getting REALLY pissed off. Trying to stay calm, I stated that :


Just because it's sold at Wall Mart or Amazon doesn't make it a standard.

I couldn't believe they kept debating about something they had absolutely no fucking idea.

But the worse is yet to come !

"I'm giving you a break this time..." Really ? Me? A break ? FUCK YOU !


So, if I commit a murder, can you give me a break the first time, and then just play by the ear ?

The fine itself wasn't a concern for me at all. The reason I showed up at court wasn't to reduce/dismiss the ticket.


Can I and my son continue enjoying farther/son time riding OUR bike or not.
If not, then why ?
Will local police continue harassing bicyclists for "minor infractions" ?
How do we deal with it ? ( when I mentioned officer's aggressiveness, the judge said: " They are city's employees, we have nothing to do with them". )

But the main question remains:

WHAT THE FUCK IS RCW 46.61.760 (2) ???

P.S: After the "incident" it took me a lot of effort to talk my son into going biking with me again. We learned our lesson: we walk our bike to Interurban Trail, I wear a helmet, he dismounts the bike before crossing a street ( to make sure there are no police cars around )....He's only 4 y.o but already knows "not to fuck with Mother Law"

What Is Bouldering ?

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Bouldering is defined as: One of the purest forms of climbing, with no ropes or other protection and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas.

At fist glance, bouldering doesn't look like "real" climbing. The fact of the matter is that bouldering is a great way to advance one’s climbing ability without concern for equipment, climbing partners or even specific routes. A climber can, through bouldering, work on developing strength, technique, endurance, and memory.

Bouldering is a very social sport. A lot of bouldering is just hanging around a rock "solving problems". Boulder routes are most commonly referred to as "problems," because the nature of the climb is often short, curious, and much like problem solving.

One of the major appeals of bouldering is its relatively scant equipment requirements. You don't need ropes or any technical gear; all you need is a crash pad, some rock shoes, a chalk bag and a friend to spot you.

Though bouldering is considered to be very beginner friendly, it heavily relies on proper climbing techniques. Even though people may think bouldering to be tough, it's not, if you use the proper bouldering tips and techniques.

Central Washington is jamed-packed with quality granite boulders. Central Washington Bouldering: Leavenworth and Gold Bar guide book offers detailed description of more than 500 problems in Leavenworth and roughly 150 in Gold Bar. Specific beta,detailed maps,and dozens of rich images will get you psyched.

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Washington Ice Climbing : Banks Lake

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I'm nor sure if Banks Lake was featured in Washington Ice: A Climbing Guide book as one of Washington's premiere spots for ice climbing, but according to National Geographic Adventure:
An ice climber's paradise, Banks Lake has one of the highest concentrations of easily accessible ice in Washington.
Here is a great picture of Craig Pope, a rock climber from Moscow, Idaho crossing from an ice cave to a free-standing, 82-foot-tall icicle—without ropes or protection...

Washington Police Brutality and RCW 46.61.760


I sincerely believe that in this world there are a lot more good people than bad. Unfortunately it's not true when it comes to police officers.

How come that as soon as you get a little bit of power you feel that you absolutely must abuse it ? Were you bullied by other kids in school? Not happy with your job ? Not getting "respect" you think you "deserve" ? Or you just want to be The Big Man ?

It's not a surprise that nowadays police departments deal more in harassment than actual protecting and serving. Well, they still serve - tickets for a panoply of misdemeanors to collect money for the police department and the city, a legit racket cloaked in the shining metal of the badge.

The other day I was riding my bike with my son from my house to a nearby school's play ground. According to Google Map:

0.3 miles/2 min ride/7 min walk !

But first, let me tell you something about my new "invention".

Have you ever ridden a bike with one of those child bike seats in the back ?

I used to have a p.o.s cheap ass Bell Bicycle Child Carrier that I bought from Amazon for $45. Not only was it a pain in the ass to use ( hard to install, even harder to keep it up ), it was super uncomfortable for my son, he couldn't see shit, not to mention that you can forget about having father-to-son-heart-to-heart conversations while enjoying a ride together.

So, I started looking for a better alternative. I found 2 child bike seats that looked very interesting:

First was iBert Safe-T-Seat

Honestly, even for me it looked a bit "extreme". Flying myself over handle bars a few times, this seat reminded me of "child catapult". Besides, there were no reviews, and product didn't have any age/weight/height dimensions.

TYKE TOTER Front Mount Child Bicycle Seat on the other hand, looked like my child could enjoy the view while carrying a "meaningful conversation"

Instead, I came up with my own idea. I just took my son's bike seat off, and installed it on my bike fame.

We've been riding together on this bike the whole summer, mostly on Interurban Trail from Pacific to Kent. While crossing a few streets, we've encountered many patrol police cars before. And not a single one has ever stopped to tell me .... anything.

This time it was different....

Like I mentioned above, we were on our way to the school's playground...0.3 miles from my house...when a cop pulled over saying that "because it didn't have a seat, we couldn't ride that way".

I was trying to explain to him that there was a seat, and my son was wearing a helmet.

That's when the cop got out of the car to tell me that I'm "not in fucking Russia, and have to follow HIS rules" and that ".... if I tell you that you can't ride your fucking bike, you shouldn't argue with me and do what I say".

According to RCW 46.61.760
RCW 46.61.760
Riding on bicycles.

(1) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

(2) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

[1965 ex.s. c 155 § 81.]

Rules of court: Monetary penalty schedule -- IRLJ 6.2.
I got a $103 ticket for "Too many people on a bicycle" ( that's what it says on the ticket) , plus another $25 for riding without a helmet.

I understand it's the law, and that I'm a "fucking foreigner", but did he really have to be that way in front of a child ?

This picture was taken literally 5 minutes before the incident. We both look happy to spend some quality time together. On the walk back home ( "If you even think about riding this fucking bike back home, I'll arrest you"- the cop said), my son was crying and couldn't understand why "that man was angry at us".

I've learned how to deal with injustice in this life, I've realized that sometimes for a "small man" there is nothing you can do about stuff like that. But as a farther, I'm really concerned about the world my son will be living in.

According to CBS News, Washington is just one of 20 police departments nationwide that the Justice Department has investigated for civil rights violations in the last year - more than any time in history.

Newbie at the Summit at Snoqualmie Terrain Park

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At the end of last ski season I “discovered” for myself a terrain park located at Summit Central. By that time I had been snowboarding for just under two years, and felt a bit intimidated by all those jibs (fixture which can be ridden with the board/skis either parallel or perpendicular to ground : rails, boxes, trees…), plus, occupied mostly by teenagers, it didn’t feel like I was fitting in.

Before, I’d watched a few Youtube videos and was absolutely stoked by what those kids could do. They make riding rails look as easy as walking down the street. I thought I was ready to take my “snowboarding skills” to the next level.

The very first fixture looked pretty decent: low to the ground, wide and flat, it didn’t look dangerous at all. As it turned out, “table top “ ( and that’s what it was ) is the most common feature at a terrain park where many injuries occur… After landing on my back and regaining conscious…I was hooked!

To ride at the Summit Central Terrain Park you will need a pass. It’s really easy to get one: just go to ski patrol office , watch a safety movie for about 20 minutes, and then you can either opt for a one day free pass or purchase a season pass for $ 5. If you get a day pass, you’ll have to watch the same movie the next time you’ll want to ski/snowboard at the park. So, it’s more time effective just to buy one.

My biggest disappointment is that there are no “official” classes to learn all this “cool stuff”. Last year I wrote a post about the Barn, the first indoor ski and snowboard training facility at Copper Mountain Resort, CO. I wish we had something like this in Washington.

Hiking Lake Ingalls In Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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There are a few great hikes that go to Lake Ingalls. The 31 mile out and back, Ingalls Creek trail is one of the most strenuous, longest ( and loneliest ) in the whole Alpine Lake Wilderness. Few hikers complete the entire trail.
Lake Ann- Ingalls Peak loop is shorter ( 19 miles).

But even more hikers ( including me ) plan a short ( 10.8 miles round trip) and easy day hike straight to Lake Ingalls.

I hear that Lake Ingalls is a popular destination and draws crowds of people in summer time. Though, parking lot was full, we didn't meet too many people along the way or even by the lake.

A couple cool features of the trail :

Ingalls Pass is dotted with many great camping spots ( official with toilets and ...."less official" ).

Mountain goats roam around the lake as if they owe the place ( one particular goat struck a pose and practically told me : " It's time for you to go").

Ingalls Lake is beautiful, inviting and...freezingly cold. Yet, a few "brave" hikers reward themselves with a cool dip ( or a cold plunge ) in the lake.

If you happen to have "hiking fishing gear" among your "10 essentials" ( fish hooks, line and some artificial lures ), try your luck fishing for trout. Want to have more "fish fun" ? Try "trout tickling" :)

One piece of gear I would recommend - insect repellent.

For a guide book, check out Backpacking Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness

SUPing/Paddleboarding With Seattle REI

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Many people tell me that they would like to try activities like sea kayaking, climbing, mountaineering, or even skiing/snowboarding. The only thing that stops them is finances.

Remember, that you don't have to invest tons of money into gear just to try out an outdoor activity. The cheapest way to get a taste and see if something like kayaking, mountaineering or skiing is for you is to take a class. Usually, the outfitter provides all the necessary gear, basic training and makes sure that you'll be safe.

Even cheaper ( or to be exact - free ) is to attend a free demo presentation.

The past couple years , a few outfitters have been offering free SUP demos in the summer.

Last Saturday, I attended a free SUP on-the-water demo day at Magnuson Park organized by Seattle REI.

Paul "ExtraHyperActive" FrolovI've been on the fence about this sport. Should I spend $ 800-1000 on a board and a paddle, just so I could go paddling a few times during the summer ? Which board should I go with ? Is it really that much fun ( I did it last year a few times, but needed to reassure myself ) ?

After that demo...I think...I am going to buy one of those boards !

First, I realized that buying a cheap inflatable board ( like Solstice Stand-Up Inflatable Paddleboard ) is not worth saving the money.

Solstice by Swimline Bali Stand-Up Paddleboard

Second, The Ocean Kayak Nalu paddle board is not really an ocean kayak...or a paddle board.

Ocean Kayak SUP Nalu 12.5 Stand Up Paddleboard

Third, boards with thick traction pads ( stomp pads) that cover the majority of your board makes SUPing a much more enjoyable mission.

And finally, YES, it was a lot of fun ( OK, I admit, the hot weather was a huge part of that decision ) !

Looking for more outdoor activities, and Bucket List adventures in Washington state ?
Read more here...

Surfing Westport, WA

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They say : "Westport is Washington's premier place to surf..." .

I was looking forward to my first visit to this unofficial " surf capital of Washington". I heard a lot about unpredictable coastal weather : the average water temperature ranges from 40 to almost 60 degrees, enormous changes in the tide and wind that create gritty, unstable conditions, and waves that go from small in the summer to overhead in the winter making it tough getting good surf here.

It was all true. When I arrived there in the morning , it was ...depressing. Cold spring temperature, high, powerful wind, and dripping rain almost killed my desire to go into water. Besides, ( as usual ) I showed up unprepared, not even knowing where to surf.

Without even knowing it, I was just a mile away from Westhaven State Park, which is " Surf Central at Westport ".

Westport's waves are often too big to surf in the winter, but late spring and summer bring smaller waves, lighter breezes, and more surfers. At some point, I thought I would be the only " crazy " person with a board, but to my relief, there were more people than I expected.

The park has plenty of parking, bathrooms and hot showers. Westhaven offers three main places to surf: The Cove, the Jetty and "the Groins ".

As I still consider myself a beginner, I started at at The Jetty, that has lots of nice whitewater waves, and those are the best to learn or to improve your rusty skills on.

The water was cold, but I was ...super hot. I was wearing my diving 7 mm suit, and after spending 1.5 hours, I was sweating and couldn't really notice I was in cold water.

In the afternoon the sun came out, and for a moment it felt like I was in Hawaii or, at least, in California during winter.

Guided snowmobiling tours in Winthrop

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Not being able to get my "snowmobiling fix " in Chelan, I jumped on a great opportunity to go on a guided four hour snowmobiling trip in Winthrop.

Snowmobilers use Winthrop for their adventures into the North Cascade Mountains. Two popular snowmobiling parks near Winthrop are Boulder Creek and the Eight Mile Creek sno-park on the west side of the Chewuch River. The latter was the one, we went to for our tour. Here, sledders can cruise up one of the most popular, accessible and spectacular destinations around Sweetgrass Butte.

The tour was organized by Don Lundgren, the owner of the Chewack River Guest Ranch. The Ranch is conveniently located just 10 minutes away from downtown Winthrop. You have the choice of two and four hour guided tours. If you are an experienced rider, you can rent a snowmobile for a full or half day ( 4 hours), and they will deliver it to the trailhead ( minimum two riders/snowmobiles required). For guided trips they provide all the gear ( sled,full tank of gas, helmet, snow suit, boots ).

The ride itself was awesome. Having two guides ( one leading, another "sweeping") provided a safe and fast pace. Unfortunately, the weather that day ruined the whole experience . Thick fog, that set in over the weekend, obstructed the panoramic views of the entire Methow Valley.

In my opinion, exploring the backcountry with a guide is the best option for visitors who don't know the area or winter safety practices. While learning how to operate a snowmobile is the matter of minutes, there is more to it when it comes to your personal safety. Lot's of things can go wrong : you lose control of your sled, damage the machine, get stuck in the deep snow, run out of gas, get lost in the backcountry....

Another reason I prefer guided snowmobiling tours is that they are planned, hassle free, safe and fun adventures ! You don't have to load/unload, transport, fill in with gas, fix it, think where and how far you want to go... Besides, snowmobiling is not something I would personally do on a regular basis.