Expedition Tales

  • Hiking with a New Baby

    Two members of the Feathered Friends staff recently welcomed new additions to their families, so we are sharing a blog post written by the Washington Trails youth Programs Director Krista Dooley about hiking with a new baby (originally published on WTA's awesome Signpost Blog). Kris shares what it was like to recuperate from birth, and how hiking has changed for her and her husband now that they're sharing the trail with a third little hiker.

    Krista Dooley with AJ on Mount Walker. Photo Courtesy of Krista Krista Dooley with AJ on Mount Walker. Photo Courtesy of Krista Dooley.

    While I was pregnant my husband and I dreamed of being an outdoorsy family. We talked about the outdoor adventures we wanted to share with our new baby, and how we would do monthly family outdoor adventures. We'd start with hikes, then go camping, fishing and more adventurous outings.

    We each have our preferred activities. I like to hike, backpack, camp, run, and bike, while my husband enjoys rock climbing and mountaineering. We share a love of fly fishing. I’ve seen many families on trail and always imagined the day I would hike with my own child and how amazing those shared outdoor experiences would shape her view of the world.

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  • Sketching the Alpine Lake Wilderness

    Earlier in the summer a Feathered Friends staff member embarked on a five day backpacking trip through one of the most spectacular regions of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Her goal was to document the trip through daily sketches of the scenery she encountered. Here is an account of what it takes to paint and draw while exploring the backcoutnry. Pictures, paintings, and words by Claire Giordano.

    little annapurna sketch giordano

    The light shifts continually, playing across the face of the massive andesite rock walls rising from the crystalline lake at my feet. I work quickly, my paintbrush dancing between my sketchbook and the watercolor palette. Between strokes, I swat at the mosquitoes that hound my ears and bite my hands. It is just after dawn, and the alpenglow of sunrise has already changed from the palest of pinks to brilliant yellow. Soon, the light show will be over, and I hurriedly try to capture it’s colors before they are gone.

    In July I had the lucky fortune to be invited on a backpacking trip to one of the most beautiful and highly regulated areas of wilderness: the Enchantments. Thousands of permit applications are sent in each year to visit this zone of alpine lakes, towering peaks, and fragile meadows. With so few chances to visit this area, I wanted to make the most of my experience and immerse myself in the landscape. My strategy was to bring a sketchbook, pens, and watercolor paper to record the things I saw each day that inspired me.

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  • Get Your Kid in a Park This Year

    Looking for some ideas on ways to enjoy the first few weeks of fall? Our friends at the Washington Trails Association created this great article with ideas on what to do with your kids in our Washington. This blog post was originally published on WTA's Signpost blog, which is a fantastic resource for hikers and families looking to plan their next trip.

    kid on a beach

    Every Kid in a Park is a national initiative started last spring that connects fourth graders and their families with the trails, wildlife, resources, and history on federal public lands for free in 2016.

    Many fourth graders have already received their passes, and there is still plenty of time left for your next big outing. Your pass is good in all six of Washington's National Forests, as well as the National Parks. Not all trailheads on National Forests require a pass, but if you're not sure, it's always good to have it displayed just in case.

    All of these places have fantastic family adventure options. Take a look at our suggestions below, or search our hiking guide to make your own adventure.

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  • Instagram Photo Contest Winners!

    Photo contest headline image

    After two weeks of amazing submissions, the results are in for our #NPS100 and #FeatheredFriendsGear Instagram photo contest. Enjoy the pictures below, and check out the rest of their instagram galleries which are full of adventure inspiration. Thank you to everyone who submitted their pictures and memories!

    First Place: @mountphillip (Phillip Rodriguez). Continue reading

  • Max Neale Spoonbill Review

    The Spoonbill is one of our most unique sleeping bags, and gear-tester-epic-adventurer Max Neale put the bag through it paces over the last four years.

    Here is a snippet from his full reivew (which we highly recommend you read!): The Best Ultralight Four-Season Sleeping Bag: Feathered Friends Spoonbill Review.

    Spoonbill on Denali

    "I have tested at least 60 different sleeping bags, including six Feathered Friends bags, watched the Spoonbill in production at Feathered Friends’ Seattle factory, and feel it’s their best product. If you’re serious about saving weight for colder weather backcountry trips, the Spoonbill is an essential purchase. Next to another person, and with the right clothing, the bag can be used in the coldest winter conditions. Compared to bringing two warm winter bags, it can save four pounds! Since 2012, my Spoonbill has been used on trips of all types by ten people. The best test was in 2014 when Zeb and I used it at 17,700 ft on the third night of climbing Denali’s Cassin Ridge. I’ve also used it on Mt. Huntington’s Harvard Route, a climb-ski-packraft trip out of the Alaska Range, and on a lot of shorter hiking and skiing trips in Alaska and the lower 48. This is one of my all-time favorite pieces of outdoor gear."

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