This summer, I have been working with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association. The Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) is designed to take a hiker through some of the most rugged and isolated terrain in the region. It is the home of the grizzly bear, the woodland caribou, the bighorn sheep; a place where you can hear the high call of a coyote or a wolf or the bugle of an elk.
Over my summer as a naturalist and interpreter for the PNTA, I have travelled along the trail, guiding hikes along an 800-mile corridor of the trail. The hikes have spanned from the slopes of the Okanogan highlands to the shore of the Pacific Ocean. We have hiked through alpine meadows of wildflowers and to fire lookouts.
After an early season guiding hikes, I then transitioned to producing hiking guides for the PNTA. For many, the idea of “hiking the PNT” means completing the entire trail, from end to end. We hope that our hike finder tool will allow users who are not familiar with our trail to plan day-hikes or short backpacking trips on the PNT.
Despite it’s remote nature, though, the PNT isn’t just a trail that tells the story of forests and their fantastic beasts. These river basins and mountain valleys were home to many indigenous nations, as well as the colonist homesteaders, loggers, and miners who followed. The PNT tells the stories of these people and the dramatic transformation of the region. I hope that these hiking guides allow people to feel more comfortable venturing out onto the PNT, to get a chance to explore the trail and all of the stories it contains.