Backpacking Washington

June 22, 2001

True to form, Douglas Lorain captivated the Obsidians with a lively and witty review of his second book, “Backpacking Washington”. Doug’s presentation must reflect the boundless energy and sense of humor needed to withstand the rigors of some of the backpacking that he described.

As in his “Backpacking in Oregon” work, he has covered the state thoroughly: coastal, central and eastern from the Oregon to the Canadian borders. The hikes are generally longer (one of 100 miles) and again he has sought out many little-used trails (e.g., he recommends only the Alpine Lake part of the Pacific Crest Trail). As a result, and because of being further north than Oregon, there is a greater likelihood of encountering wildlife — including wolves, wolverines and grizzly bears! There are lots of black bears, which Doug considers to be benign. His adventures illustrate clearly that backpacking yields a far more interactive experience with nature.

Doug considers the wild Washington coast to be excelled only in Alaska. It is difficult hiking, but the weather is predictable — bad! As for the superlatives, he told us that the Olympic rain forest is the greatest biomass in the world, and that the Lake Chelan canyon is deeper (7500 ft.) than the Grand Canyon. He highly recommends the area of the upcoming Obsidian summer camp in the Northern Cascades (and, of course, his book covers that area). A good feature of the detailed information given in his book is suggesting the best times of year to go (re weather, wildflowers, etc.).

Doug’s favorite quote was written by an anonymous person in a climber’s registry on an isolated peak in Nevada. It read: “I’ll hire this God. I like his work”.

Bep Fontana

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