This just in from the Spokane Highland Games. Any competition that includes gauntlets gets our vote of approval. Don’t miss it:
Spokane’s Scottish and Irish Tug Of War Held During Highland Games
Spokane’s Scottish and Irish community will compete for the Gilded Haggis Trophy on Saturday, August 7th, during the Spokane Highland Games at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center . The winner of the first ever Tug O’ War event will determine who goes home with the trophy.
The St. Andrew’s Society and Spokane Highland Games Association challenged the Spokane Limerick Sister City Society and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick to a Scottish style TUG O’ WAR at a public taunting and throw of the gauntlet on July 7, 2010 at the downtown Irish stronghold, O’Doherty’s Irish Grille. The Irish rose to the challenge and accepted.
The Spokane Highland Games is held every year on the first Saturday in August, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm at the Spokane County Fair and Expo, 404 N. Havana . This Scottish festival celebrates the traditions of Highland dance, bagpipe and drumming exhibitions, and Heavy Athletic competitions, along with Claymore sword demonstrations, historical reenactments, and Scots Gaelic classes. Children’s “Braveheart style” face painting and games begin at 1 PM. Celtic merchants and clan tents can be visited and blacksmith, cattle, and sheepdog demonstrations will be held. A Ceilidh (party) will be held after the closing ceremonies of the games from 6 to 8 pm. Adult tickets are $8, $5 seniors and youth, $3 ages 4-10 and under 4 get in free. For more information, visit www.spokanehighlandgames.org or call (509) 922-3661. (more…)
This is an update on a post re ran a while back about the The Access Fund working to preserve a climbing spot on the West Side. This is great example of how folks can work to preserve important outdoor recreation:
Washington Climbers Coalition pays off Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign loan for Index, returning funds to the revolving loan program
The Access Fund announced today that the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) has paid back its loan to the Access Fund for the option agreement on Lower Index Town Wall in Washington. The loan was administered under the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign (AFLCC).
In the spring of 2009, the Access Fund loaned the WCC $15,000 to secure an 18-month option agreement to protect the Lower Index Town Wall and surrounding crags from a quarrying operation. The option agreement protected the area while the WCC worked to raise the $300,000 needed to purchase and steward the 20-acre tract of land. (more…)
Liberty Lake Conservation Area.
Just got this notice from the Washington State Trails Association:
Did you know that your favorite hikes into Washington’s wildlands are made possible by the efforts of thousands of volunteers keeping these public trails in great condition? Washington Trails Association’s volunteer trail maintenance program fills this void, and is ever more important for the future of our hiking trails. We need your help to keep these trails in great shape for miles and miles to come. Give back to your favorite hiking trails with a day of volunteer trail work.
WTA hosts over 700 work parties throughout Washington each year. Volunteers remove downed logs after spring snowmelt, cut away brush, retread worn trail, and build bridges and drainage structures. No prior experience is necessary, just a desire to work with great people, to have fun playing in the dirt and to contribute to something that benefits all of us. We provide you with the tools and the training; you bring your lunch, work gloves, work at your own pace, and have fun. (more…)
Rings and Things GIRLS–a commute challenge winner. Photo courtesy of Rings and Things.
Just got this email from Spokane Bike to Work:
Dear Team Captains/Participants,
Well, the data crunching sure took a while! We know the registration update process gave some people problems, although judging by the number of people who had plenty of info in their data fields it worked for the vast majority of you (thank heavens!).
We had hoped to get word out sooner and to hear from team captains about shirt sizes so we could make shirts available to top teams at the July 11 Summer Parkways.
That isn’t going to work, and we apologize–not enough advance notice from us to you about which teams will receive shirts so you know to come looking for us, and not enough emails from team captains giving us shirt sizes so we could get them bagged up in advance.
(Many thanks to those of you who DID send sizes! But that was only about 4 captains out of 70)
News | 2
We received notice looking for written comments regarding Mt. Spokane non-motorized trails a couple of days ago. The deadline for submitting written comments is Thursday of this week:
According to state law, the proposed two actions are being reviewed under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
The projects are regarding Non-motorized trails at Mount Spokane State Park.
1) Non-motorized Trail 153 Connector: creating approximately ¼ mile long naturally surfaced non-motorized connector trail to provide a link between the Mount Spokane Ski Lodge 2 parking area and Trail 150.
2) Non-motorized Trail 140 Restoration and Reroute: restore ½ mile section of non-motorized trail and create approximately 1 ¼ mile long naturally surfaced non-motorized trail reroute between Smith Gap and the Mount Kit Carson Meadows.
For more information please see the June 2010 Mount Spokane State Park Facilities Master Plan at http://www.parks.wa.gov/plans/mtspokane/ “Stage 3 – 01 Mount Spokane State Park DEIS 2010-June. (more…)
The City of Spokane Parks and Recreation department is right now engaged in a great multi-year public planning process called “Roadmap to the Future.” In a recent draft of the planning process findings one word pops up again and again: trails. Some direct quotes from the draft:
• According to survey data, the greatest future need for outdoor facilities are trails and trail connections.
• According to survey data, parks and trails are the most important service the Department provides and have the highest current use and satisfaction rates amongst those surveyed.
This second finding is interesting because the Parks Department currently only encompasses three significant developed trails; the Fish Lake Trail, the Ben Burr Trail, and portions of the Centennial Trail. The trail inventory that the Department currently maintains is quite small compared to the entire parks system, yet it still rates at the top for use and satisfaction. Imagine what folks would think if we had an even better trail system.
According the draft report heightened interest in outdoor recreation and trails is a national trend. So, will the next Spokane Parks bond to build new facilities include new trails? Perhaps, but there are some significant obstacles. Right now our Spokane Parks system has a $35 million dollar backlog in deferred maintenance. Recently completed pools and the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex have only added more high maintenance facilities to that equation. It’s much easier to get folks to vote for building stuff than it is to get them to support a constant stream of money to maintain them. Have you ever been to a ribbon cutting ceremony for a lawnmower?
The second issue is the cost of trails. While trails are arguably a lot cheaper to build and maintain than other types of parks facilities the biggest cost for a new trail is usually acquiring the right-of-way. Any trail that is not just a short loop needs to cross multiple properties with multiple owners and completing these paths takes time and money.
Does that mean it can’t be done? Heck no. It just means that the best opportunity for trails may mean that Parks needs to partner with transportation funders to make it happen. The best trails aren’t just a way to bike and hike; they also help us get where we want to go. There’s a roadmap to the future.
JON SNYDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Editorial, Magazine Article |
I have this theory that in order to encourage summer you have to (almost) act like it’s already arrived. A couple months ago I stopped eating soup. On Tuesday, when it hit 62 degrees in Seattle, I wore shorts instead of pants. Think about it… soup, pants, these just aren’t the things of summer people, and I, I want my summer to know I’m ready for it. While we wait, there are certainly other indications that the season is “upon” us (let’s keep it in quotes until I see one solid week of sun) and we should hopeful-y approach some elements of summer with full force…
What’s interesting about THIS summer as opposed to last is that at this time last year, talking heads were celebrating the fact that entertainment had not taken a hit as a result of the economy. The Hangover, Star Trek and The Proposal drew big numbers at the box office and tours from acts like Nickelback and No Doubt were selling out amphitheatres. It appeared that people were making allowances where they saw fit.
This summer… things’ve changed. While it’s being widely acknowledged that the concert season across the boards is suffering, would-be giants in theatres are also under-performing. Iron Man 2 bested its predecessor (and The Karate Kid has serious legs), but Sex & the City 2 opened at nearly half its original ($31 mil) and big names couldn’t save Killers or revamped The A-Team from opening below projections as well ($16 mil and $25 mil, respectively).
Bottom line is that money is likely being re-prioritized (again), and the allowances of last year are no longer. It seems fitting therefore to spend some time highlighting the great FREE events happening this month—not in an effort to further sabotage the weakened industry, whether local or national, but rather to help guide you through the process of continuing to support it, however you might be able…
While MY July 4 weekend includes Rihanna at White River and a screening of “Eclipse” with my Nana and Mom (because I’m 14 years old, yep), one of my favorite things about Spokane in the summer are those 4th of July festivities in Riverfront Park. There’s music—Six Foot Swing, Matt Russell, Soul Proprietor, and a Spokane Idol competition(??)—and there’s a Saturday night screening of locally filmed The Basket at the Lilac Bowl. Food vendors aplenty and a fireworks display that caps off the weekend are not to be missed (I know I’ll be there)! Events start in the park each day at 11 a.m. More info at riverfrontpark.com.
The Browne’s Addition Concert Series is likely a little more low-key and lasts throughout the summer. Beginning July 1 with Big Red Barn, events happen every Thursday night in July and August from 6-8 p.m. at the park. Highlights include July 8 with Jenks along with crafts and games (attn: families), July 22 with Mon Cheri (attendees are encouraged to ride their bike), and Seattle artist Camille Bloom on August 12.
Newly renamed The Seaside features free karaoke nights on July 5 and 12, and a seriously amazingly-marketed “Broke Hipster Night” on July 1 which, while not free, might be worth your time. Featuring DJ Benjamin Jorgens, the night also boasts $1 beers, $3 chicken strips and fries, all for the $3 price of entry.
And since on my current workout routine, that “stuff” would lose me… for the rest of you, might I suggest a Twitter follow of celeb trainer Bob Harper (@MyTrainerBob) whose (semi-regular) daily challenges have been kicking my butt as of late. Example: Today drink 10 glasses of filtered water, do 50 pushups, 100 squats and shave 200 calories off your diet. Catch up with meee on Twitter at twitter.com/crushingrocks. Catch up with meee on http://twitter.com/crushingrocks.
Crushing Rocks, Magazine Article |
If you are a snowmobiler, fly fisher, canoeist, or hunter, then you are undoubtedly familiar with the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Many mountain bikers sing the praises of the Canfield Trail System, which is part of the CdA National Forest. But mountain biking is not the only way to explore this incredible area. The vastness of the CdA National Forest can be enjoyed on an appropriately configured long-distance bike with a suitable gear range and slightly plump tires.
The CdA National Forest is over 1000 square miles of scenic forest land in the Bitterroot mountain range. There are hundreds of roads, with every conceivable surface, sprawling across the forest. There are many lakes, ponds, streams, creeks, and a river. The Bitterroot range provides climbs for every kind of hill climber: from short and steep, to long and sweeping. And finally, because the forest is so huge, there is almost no traffic on the minor roads.
In short, the CdA National Forest has all of the components for a long-distance, dirt road cycling paradise. And while just minutes from downtown Coeur d’Alene, and at about an hour from Spokane by car, it’s a wonder that it’s not a major cycling destination.
Perhaps one reason it’s not a cycling destination is because the type of riding and exploring that is so satisfying in the CdA National Forest doesn’t fit neatly into mountain biking or road biking. Bikes that work well for long days of dirt road riding with lots of climbing and fast descending are unique bikes. The closest “off the shelf” bike type for this kind of riding would probably be a cyclocross bike. You want some volume in your tires for this kind of riding: likely a minimum of 35mm wide. In addition, the climbing and descending on dirt, at speed, require some knobbies on your tires. A wide gear range is essential, as is the ability to haul some food and supplies. And if you plan on riding all day, you want a bike that is as light as makes sense and that you can ride for 8 hours or so.
This list of requirements is a steep order, but once you dial in your bike to meet them, you can tackle nearly any route in the CdA National Forest. Because the forest has so many roads, you can pretty much drive into the forest, park anywhere and create a ride customized just for you. A great ride might start easy on a flat stretch by the North Fork CdA River then break off to a steep climb up to the top of a mountain. From there, you can spend the rest of the day descending back to your car, or riding the ridge line roads over the neighboring mountains. No matter the route, expect incredible views, nearly carless roads, and wildlife galore.
If you go to the CdA to go cycle exploring (I wish there was a good name for this kind of riding), be sure to pack the following stuff:
• Maps and a GPS. And give yourself time to get lost. Like most national forests, CdA is a snapshot of an ever-changing maze of roads. It’s been logged for over a century. It was mined. It was homesteaded. It was used for military purposes. There are roads everywhere: some are marked, some are not, one road (812) exists in two spots! Assuming you load up the USGS maps on your GPS, the best base paper map is the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that is available at the Idaho Panhandle National Forests office in the city of CdA. The MVUM map is free and it’s updated yearly. Free GPS maps of the area can be found at http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/45/.
• Emergency overnighter gear. Even with proper maps and GPS, it’s still easy to get lost or run out of daylight when you are exploring the CdA forest by bike. Bring an emergency “space blanket” bivy, stocking cap, and a bit of extra food just in case you end up making an unexpected overnighter out of the day trip.
• Lots of food and bring a water filter/treatment solution. Unless you stick to the road by the North Fork of the CdA river, which is the most travelled road in the forest, you will be climbing a lot. And climbing requires a lot of calories and water. Bonking 20 miles from your car in such an environment without food is not just inconvenient, it could be dangerous. There’s plenty of water at the bottom of the mountains. Be sure to filter or treat it, no matter where it comes from.
• Appropriate tools and bike supplies. In addition to the normal roadside repairs, you should be able to replace a spoke, repair/replace a torn tire, make your bike a single speed, and replace a shifter and brake cable.
• Clothing for varied weather. In a long day of riding with lots of climbing, you may encounter rain, cold, hot. And since you’ll be working hard, you’ll be sweating, so descents can be extra chilly if you’re not prepared. Bring a good shell and many light layers.
If you go there are multiple access roads into the CdA National Forest. One good spot to start a day ride from is Huckleberry campground. It’s relatively easy to get to from Spokane or Coeur d’Alene. To get there, get on East Fernan Lake Road, which turns into 268, and then go until 612, where you turn right.
John Speare grew up and lives in Spokane. He rides his bike everywhere. Check out his blog at http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com.
Everyday Cyclist, Magazine Article |
David Healihy is the author of The Lost Cyclist, a newly-published book about early 19th century round-the-world cyclist Frank Lenz. He shared with us some details on the book—and the research process that took him across the world and became a journey in its own right.
Herlihy will be reading in Spokane at Auntie’s Book Store on July 17th at 2:00 pm.
OTM: Tell us a little about the book.
David Herlihy: It’s about Frank Lenz, a young man who left his home in Pittsburgh in the spring of 1892 to cycle around the world on a new-fangled “pneumatic safety,” the prototype of the modern bicycle. That fall, he passed through Spokane and was much impressed by its development and surrounding beauty. Sadly, two years into his epic journey, just as he was nearing Europe, Lenz disappeared mysteriously.
OTM: How did you come upon the subject of this book?
DH: While researching my first book, Bicycle: The History, I read a lot of late 19th century cycling literature, and Lenz’s name came up frequently. At a certain point, I became aware of a photo album in private hands containing many photos Lenz had taken on his world tour—so I knew there was good book material to start with.
In fact, I was going to write the Lenz book first, but my editor at Yale at the time convinced me to write a general history book first, in order to establish myself as an authority on bicycles, so I did.
OTM: You write about Lenz’s experience in great detail, including his emotional responses to the situations he encountered. How in-depth are his journal entries and letters?
DH: His reports published in Outing [a travel magazine] are very detailed, and I was able to gather a fair amount of supplementary material from newspapers. Unfortunately, I was not privy to Lenz’s notebooks or diaries—though I know he kept them, they have been lost. I identified only two original letters Lenz wrote en route, though I did glean the substance of a few more from newspaper accounts.
OTM: You write about William Sachtleben, who cycled around the world around the same time Lenz did and later investigated Lenz’s disappearance. Do you believe Sachtleben solved the mystery of Lenz’s disappearance?
DH: I’m not convinced that he did. There clearly was some evidence to implicate the Kurd he fingered, but not conclusive evidence of murder. Nor was that Kurd the only one found with elements of Lenz’s gear.
OTM: How did politics in the region at the time impact his ability to do so?
DH: I think Sachtelben’s investigation was hampered first by a very late arrival at the scene of the alleged crime—about a year after Lenz’s disappearance—and, second, by Turkey’s extremely difficult political climate in the aftermath of a wave of Armenian massacres.
OTM: Did you do any traveling in your research? Are your descriptions of the locations based primarily on the cyclists’ journals?
DH: Lots. I wanted to gather all the newspapers articles I could along his route, in the U.S. and abroad. Sometimes I queried libraries via email, but in many cases I went myself to the depositories, like state libraries, that had lots of promising source material.
I thought it was important to supplement Lenz’s own writings with newspaper reports. Occasionally they included interviews with Lenz that yielded good information not available elsewhere. I did rely primarily on their own descriptions of the places they visited.
It was nonetheless helpful for me to visit Istanbul, Turkey to see for myself certain sites of interest still intact, like the American Bible House and the then-new train station. I was also able to travel by car up the Bosporus, which gave me a better idea of the scenery Sachtleben described.
OTM: How do the bikes Lenz, Sachtleben and Allen, Sachtleben’s partner, rode compare in comfort and efficiency to a modern touring bike?
DH: Not very well. Lenz’s bike was no doubt better suited for a world tour than the first two pairs purchased by Allen and Sachtleben, if not also the last two. But it was a very heavy bike (57 pounds); about twice the weight of a bike one might chose today, which of course would also have a selection of “on the fly” gears not present on Lenz’s bike.
OTM: Sachtelben argued that traveling in comfort “is like staying in your own country,” and that biking offered a more authentic travel experience. Do you think that remains true?
DH: I think that was essentially true and remains so today. I’m sure Sachtleben met and conversed with quite a few people on the road (including, in some parts, other cyclists). He might have been less likely to stop and chat had he been riding on horseback.
It’s true he might still have met locals had he traveled by rail or boat instead over the same terrain, but that might have largely confined his encounters to the “upper class” rather than a broad cross-section of the local population—that is, the kind of people one would tend to meet in public arenas. And he may have had less inclination to carry on conversations under such “detached” circumstances.
Pedestrians, of course, were probably equally inclined to chat with passersby, but they can’t cover nearly as much ground in a given period. In sum, the bicycle remains one of the best ways to cover diverse territory while still enjoying an intimacy with one’s surroundings.
OTM: Did these cyclists’ contribute to bicycles becoming popular as a form of transportation, not just a leisure sport?
DH: In my estimation, both Lenz and Sachtleben were true champions of the new bicycle. In a sense, they also helped to underscore its practical value, even if their missions were primarily educational or recreational in nature.
OTM: Have you been inspired to take any distance bike treks of your own?
DH: I could be inspired to take a reasonably long bike tour. Always wanted to cross the U.S. but never got around to it. I have done some cycling in different parts of the U.S. and in Europe—U.K., France and Italy.
When I was Lenz’s age, I took a few trips by bike—one along Germany’s Romantic Road and another in Greece’s Peloponnese. I would have been happy to spend much more time in the saddle, covering much more territory, had someone like Worman [Lenz’s sponsor] been willing to finance me.
Magazine Article |
Nick Murto was reading Laird Hamilton’s book, Force of Nature when he learned about a new water sport. The author raved about a sport called paddle surfing and claimed it was an incredible workout. Murto was interested, but couldn’t find any local retailers. Neither did he know where or how to rent a board, and the thought of spending $1,000 on something that “might be fun” seemed crazy. But as with most athletes, the thought of a new sport was too tempting to pass up.
“I do a lot of water sports in general but wakeboarding is my main thing,” he says. “Now that I’ve finally gotten into paddle surfing I can’t get enough of it. Spokane is a great place to board.”
Stand up paddle surfing (SUP) is an emerging global sport. The sport’s heritage traces back to Hawaii, where it was an ancient form of surfing. In the 1960s, surfing instructors from Hawaii began teaching beginner surfers with a one-bladed paddled, and extra long stand-up surfboard. Standing on the board gave riders a higher viewpoint, which increased their visibility of reefs and incoming swells.
After a great deal of research, Murto caved in and bought a board without ever trying it. He chose a spot along the Spokane River just by Gonzaga for his first attempt. “I’m pretty sure it was March and it may have been snowing,” he says. “I’ll do anything I can to extend the seasons with my dry suit. It’s cold but fun.”
Murto said the attempt was successful (he didn’t even fall) and fun. Here’s how he got on the board. First, start out in approximately one foot of water. Lay the paddle perpendicular to the middle of the board and climb up on your hands and knees. Paddle a little bit before standing up to your feet. Once standing, place both feet on the board, front facing, and bend slightly at the knees. Perform an alternate stroke with the paddle and the rest is up to balance.
You can make it as hard as you want to, Murto says. “The workout isn’t really strenuous unless you’re going upstream, but it’s really good for your balance and your core,” he says. “At the end your legs will feel like you just got a deep tissue massage. They’ll tingle from all the micro movements.”
To date, his longest ride was about 45 minutes from Minnehaha to C.I. Shenanigans. Murto says the river is perfect because it’s pretty and the weather is generally peaceful. “My favorite thing is get up early and go out and experience the river. It’s interesting to see the depth changes in water and fish under the Hamilton Bridge. The river is very clear and it’s amazing the crazy stuff you’ll find. It’s like a ghost town under the water with old structures and shopping carts.”
Although Murto hasn’t ventured from the river, this summer he plans to explore local lakes. As a beginner you can pretty much board anywhere as the long as the water is calm and there’s a body of water, he adds. One day, he hopes to be good enough to ride the waves in Hawaii. Until then, he’ll continue to explore a part of the river that no one seems to see.
“I’d love to see more people using them and being more active on the river,” he says. [If you use a S.U.P., or anything similar on the river we strongly urge you to wear a personal flotation device. - ed.] “Spokane is such a great place for water sports with all its nearby rivers and lakes. Paddle surfing takes no time to learn and it seems like it could be such a social sport. It’d be great to see people doing it.”
To spread the word about paddle surfing, Murto has created a Facebook page called SUP Spokane. Here’s the gear you catch him riding:
PADDLE BOARD: Murto rides a 12-foot long, SUP-ATX Stand Up Paddled Board
PADDLE: A seven-foot tall, carbon fiber handle paddle from SUP-ATX. The paddle length is supposed to be slightly taller than you are, he says.
DRYSUIT: Throughout the fall and winter Murto wears an O’Neill drysuit.
WATER SHOES: NRS booties really keep my feet warm, he says.
WATER GLOVES: NRS gloves.
SHORTS: Murto wears Ten-80 wakeboarding shorts throughout the summer season.
SUNGLASSES: Super Smith Methods sunglasses.
CAR RACK: Murto uses the Thule Food Surf Rack System to transport his board. “The board’s big, anywhere from 10-12 feet, but they did a good job designing it,” he says. “It’s not very heavy.
Magazine Article, What's Your Gear? |