The Pacific NorthWest – Where to Go?
The Pacific Northwest and hiking go hand in hand like bread and butter. survivalist and nature enthusiasts alike flock to the Pacific Northwest to enjoy it’s array of outdoor activities. From hiking and camping, to rock climbing and white water rafting. The area has everything you need to fulfill your desire to be in nature. Photogenic views and scenic getaways are also part of the package that’s included in this wonderful area many people call home.
The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place, full of scenic views and nature trails. The dense forests and large dry plains, with large and small wildlife makes it a location full of wonders, but also dangers. Lot’s of these dangers are hidden and out of sight. Which means being prepared falls on your shoulders. It is important to keep in mind that there are many hazards on a simple trail hike. Many of the trails are user-friendly, meaning it is common to see other hikers and travelers along the way. Interactions occur from time to time. Be friendly, be kind.
Once you become an avid hiker and camper, you will want to experience more than just the basics. These experiences lead to a want to do more, and see more. Many dangerous scenarios occur because the person(s) have reached the limit of their capabilities, nature is dangerous, and nobody can outwit her. No matter what your skill level, always be prepared for the conditions and don’t stray too far from the path.
The Pacific Northwest is full of adverse and changing weather cconditions. In many areas, rainfall and sunshine go hand in hand. Being prepared will not only allow you to stay safe, it will allow you to truly enjoy what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Weather patterns can change rapidly, even in the short time it takes for you to drive to the hike.
Here are a few steps you can take to better prepare yourself and improve your chances of staying safe.
- Inform SOMEONE of your plans to hike, roommate, friends or family. Having a backup is better than having nothing at all.
- Plan your hike accordingly. If you have not walked more than two miles, and are planning a ten-mile hike, you might not enjoy it or you might hurt yourself. Move up slowly. If it is your first hike in years, don’t strain yourself. Nothing is worse than regretting a hike.
- Plan the time it will take for you to complete your hike. If you begin your hike later in the day, and it turns dark and you didn’t pack a flashlight, you won’t be in the best mood finding your way back.
- Basic first aid. Do you know how to apply a band-aid? Being prepared can save you a lot of time and energy. Do you know how to treat minor bleeding, stings, or sprains? If not, educate yourself before you tread outside into the wilderness, you never know what events could unfold.
- Always pack a first-aid kit. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. You won’t enjoy wrapping your sweaty sock or shirt over a minor wound.
- Wear proper attire. Being too hot, and too cold, could cause major problems. Know the symptoms of these conditions and bring extra water with you. Staying hydrated is key.
There are many types of animals that call the Pacific Northwest their homes. There are so many that we will only go over the large wildlife in this section. As large wildlife could potentially be a hazard in any situation, it’s important to know that YOU are in THEIR area. Always remain calm and educate yourself on the wildlife that could be in the area you are trekking in. Always be aware of your surroundings.
Some common wildlife you could encounter is Mountain Elk, White-tailed deer, Moose, American Black Bear, Coyotes, Cougars and Bobcats. Wolves are also becoming more common in the Washington and Idaho regions, however it is a rare occurrence to see them. Many of these animals are docile and will more than likely ignore your presence. The wildlife you should focus on would be the American Black Bear, and the cougar. This is wildlife that is seen on a more than probable basis, and should be considered in any outdoor activity you are interested in. As someone who has lived in the PNW, the sight of cougars and bears is all but second nature now. Stay vigilant!
The geography of the Pacific Northwest is always on the move and extremely diverse. In this article we will focus mostly on the geography of Washington State.
On one side we have Eastern Washington, and on the other Western Washington, which is split by the Cascade Range. This range hosts a variety of beautiful hikes and mountain peaks. Active Volcanoes in the region include Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Rainier, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Adams. All in the Washington area. These host beautiful peaks and scenic views for all types of enthusiasts.
Western Washington is known for its wet and humid climate, with clouds being frequent and rainfall a common occurrence. Snowfall is an exception rather than a rule.
Eastern Washington is known more for its dry and arid climate. The Cascades catch-all of the rain and precipitation, so you can expect hot and dry areas. Less mountains and more plains. The Columbia Gorge is a top spot for hiking enthusiasts to explore and study the eroding rock features.
The Pacific Northwest is home to many. As survivalist and hikers, we must always focus on the impact we are having on the environment when traveling around, nature takes a lot of time to become what it is, stay clean, stay friendly, and don’t litter. Many of us want our children to enjoy the Pacific Northwest as we do now. So here are a few steps you can take to minimize your footprint on the beautiful environment.
- Pack out your trash, it seems obvious, however many of us do not consider what garbage we bring with us, water bottles, protein bar wrappers, and even orange peels leave an impact on the environment. Use the survival kit you brought with you as a temporary garbage bag.
- Be kind and courteous to other trail users, this includes bikers and stock riders. In many areas the trails are multi-use, so you can encounter other people and livestock.
In this segment we went over the hazards of outdoor recreation, the geography of the region, and the impact you can cause by not being prepared. Always remember to stay safe, stay vigilant, and stay prepared, so come by next time for our next article!
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