"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Loving nature, but danger under foot

By on September 24, 2018 in Columnist with 0 Comments

Mike CassidyBy Mike Cassidy


Boy, are we loaded with outdoor and hiking stories this month.

You might say we could use a pack animal to carry this load of outdoor adventure to our fine readers.

Speaking of beasts of burden, one of our stories features the cantankerous but strong South American llama.

Here’s how outdoor lover Brad Brisbine framed the llama story in an email to us:

“Here is the story of a Wenatcheeite’s 43-year love affair with backpacking Cascade high lakes, until years of heavy packs spells the end because of back nerve impingement.”

Now, continued Brad, “I’m relegated to only day hikes.”

Then, before the Labor Day weekend, when Brad called his long-term hiking partner to suggest a day hike, the partner replied: “Get packed, we’re leaving the next day on a three-day llama trip to Blue Lake.”

Wow, realized Brad, “My typical 50-pound burden would be cut in half. I’m back baby!”

Brad went on to say, “I could even insert a paragraph about how my sadness of no longer seeing the alpenglow in the mornings and evenings” caused him to buy a vintage Honda Trail 110 bike.

But it didn’t meet expectations as not many scenic lakes are available to cycles. “And our summer destination into the Chelan Sawtooths was disappointing. We turned back after five miles up the Foggy Dew Trail. That steep, rocky trail chewed me up and spit me out.”

Check out Brad’s photos and story on pages 14 and 15.

Andy Dappen’s story about rowing and paddling the inside passage to Juneau wasn’t so spontaneous. In fact, it was more than 40 years in the making.

Andy, his brother, Alan, and a motley crew of youths with ’70’s era haircuts set off from just north of Vancouver for Juneau in 1974 (three years before Saturday Night Fever discoed into theaters).

They came up short, but the Dappen brothers are nothing if not persistent, and went back to finish their paddle trip last summer.

Andy is writing the story now because he will show a film of the trip during a presentation at the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center on Oct. 16.

That’s Oct. 16 of this year, not of, say, 2058…

We love to glory in the beauty and psychic healing power of nature, but let’s be honest, there is also danger in the outdoors.

And while most of us might think that danger can be averted by keeping our eyes up, looking around for bears, cougars and wolves — or just staying on the marked path because doesn’t every “hiker lost in the woods” story begin when said hiker leaves the trail? — trouble might be right under our feet.

That’s right, mushroom hunters, we’re talking about you.

Susan Sampson shares her story (exposé?) with the headline: “The ugly truth about mushrooms.”

See page 11, and be warned.

Pack on the adventure, and enjoy The Good Life.

— Mike

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