The Adventure Sports Podcast is an interview-based hour long, Colorado-based podcast that tells stories about all sorts of outdoor adventures. I had a lot of fun taking a break from my Denver-Colfax urban thru-hike to sit down with Travis from the podcast and talk about hikes, projects I’m working on, and why I love hiking.
When it comes to trails, not only do I love hiking, but I also am a huge policy geek. I love understanding how our national landscape system has come to be, and as a result, have come to realize what an enormous privilege it is that we as Americans have long tracts of land where just any ol’ person can go and hike!
Part of what makes this difficult, though, is that there is often private land around the public areas we love to recreate. And while we hikers dream that one day, there will be more public access areas to hike, we have to do our part to be respectful to the people and ways of life associated with private land. While this is plain kindness, it also makes landowners feel more comfortable with hikers and helps our trail organizations maybe one day make an agreement to protect more scenic areas.
I wrote these tips based on my own experiences hiking near private land. I hope you will read this tips and think about them next time you’re out on a trail near private land!
This summer, I joined with ALDHA-W President Allgood Whitney LaRuffa, his hiking dog, Karluk, and Triple Crowner Tomato Brian Boshart to pioneer the Chinook Trail, a 300-mile horseshoe traverse of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington and Oregon.
The Chinook Trail was dreamed up in the 1980s by Ed Robertson and Don Cannard, but until now, no one had ever hiked it. The route connects National Recreation Trails, National Historic Trails, and a National Scenic Trail (the PCT) to provide hikers with a trail that incorporates some of the CDT’s route finding challenges in a Pacific Northwest setting. The two termini are just 45 minutes from a major airport and a city jam-packed with ALDHA-W members (Portland), making transit to and from the trail simple and trail magic from friends quite likely.
I found one of the joys of the Chinook Trail to be experiencing abrupt ecosystem changes—within 150 miles, we went from temperate rainforests to dry grasslands to 5,000 foot tall alpine peaks to nearly sea level at the Columbia River. The four of us explored forest, ranchland, a Native American reservation, the dry and tumbleweeded Oregon Trail, and the fertile Hood River Valley, which abounded with wineries and pick-your-own apricot, cherry, and blueberry farms.
With a never-before-done route, what looks fun on a map doesn’t always translate to a pleasant-to-walk adventure. Now, having completed the trip, Allgood, Tomato, and I are eager to gush about the good times we had together and encourage others to walk the Chinook Trail.