hiking

  • Arc'teryx Phase AR Baselayer Review

    Phase AR in action in WA Review by Claire Giordano

    Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, there are two items I will never have too many of; baselayers and fleece jackets. A good baselayer top is the foundation of an effective layering system ready to meet changeable weather conditions from coastal rains to snowy peaks. Because we take our baselayers so many places, we demand a lot from them. We expect them to be warm but not too hot, durable and yet lightweight, and cozy but not overly bulky.

    Over the last five months I got to adventure with the new Arc’teryx Phase AR baselayer, and it is now my top-pick for a synthetic shirt.

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  • Mountain Training Tips Part Two

    Mount Rainier

    Have you started training for that mountain yet? It has been two weeks since our last post, and it is already March!

    Below are a few more tips to keep in mind as you try to get your body and mind ready to climb.

    As before, be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any new activity. These posts are not a comprehensive training program, and don't forget to learn and practice the necessary technical skills as well!
    Words and photographs by Claire Giordano.

    1. Simulate the climb with back-to-back training days

    Will your climb be one day, two days, or three or more? Most of the volcanoes in Washington are two day climbs (unless you are a trail runner or doing a longer trip with multiple objectives and skill building lessons). This means our bodies must perform a few days in a row, and the best way to prepare for this is to do back-to-back training days or overnight backpacks.

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  • Arc'teryx Alpha SL Jacket Review

    A waterproof and windproof hardshell is the heart of my outdoor adventure kit. It is a piece of gear that goes on every single trip from a short day hike on my favorite local mountain to week-long backpacks in remote areas. Over the last year I searched for a new favorite hardshell, and I think I finally found it in the Arc’teryx Alpha SL.

    Alpha SL Jacket on Wonderland Trail day hike. Picture by Grace Giordano. Alpha SL Jacket on a Wonderland Trail day hike. Picture by Grace Giordano. Review by Claire Giordano.

    At the end of September I took the jacket on a slew of day hikes and a multi-day backpacking trip. Fall hiking in Washington guarantees a mixed bag of weather, and we got a little bit of everything from rain to cold wind and sunshine. I was happy through it all in the Alpha SL.

    The first thing I noticed about the jacket is how LIGHT it is. The women’s jacket (size M) clocked in at a pleasant 9.3 oz. This shaves significant ounces off the other jackets I usually carry, and I barely noticed the jacket while wearing it. The GORE-TEX® PacLite® fabric is not only light, but is less crinkly and compresses into a stuff sack that came with the jacket. Lightweight and packable, it was a no brainer to take it with me everyday.

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  • 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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