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Runners begin the course. Madeline Peace photo.

As the sun creeps over the arid desert during the early morning hours , runners listen in silence as a cadent Hopi prayer is recited by an elder over the intercom, initiating their 31-mile journey. His voice is soft, giving no thought to how he may sound through a microphone; his prayers and intents do not need amplification. A few modest tents containing registration information and snacks circle the small group of pulsing runners as they wait for the clock to start. …

By Jacqueline Thompson

T he Cascades truly blossom into their namesake in summer, as water rushes from glaciated peaks to feed the land and wild plants. For foragers and herbalists, summer in the Northwest is not simply abundant — it is totally epic. Sixteen-hour days hyper power a flurry of plant activity. Plant nerds stuff their noses into foliage with the same tenacity and elation as the mountaineers scrambling up nearby peaks.

Summer, despite (and thanks to) its glories, can burn people out. Between projects, festivals, outdoor adventures and heat, it is all too easy to find oneself in an overstimulated or depleted state. …

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By Jacqueline Thompson

A s the cozy months of long nights, hearty meals and hot drinks come to an end, windows and doors fly open and we greet the sunshine and the new growth of spring. People usually want to lighten up their minds and bodies this time of year — hence purging household clutter. That’s one way to embrace spring. However, food is one of the most potent ways to incorporate seasonality into everyday life, and fresh local food is finally abundant again in spring.

In other words: bring spring cleaning from home to body with the help of the fresh harvest. Living in tune with the seasons is an undeniably satisfying practice rooted in tradition, history and medicine. Eating seasonally is a tried and true method in herbalism and traditional medicine for preventing seasonal illness. And for nearly all of the 200,000 years we’ve been around, it’s the way eating had to be. …

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Story by Jacqueline Thompson | Photos by Brett Baunton

Westbound water, trickling from icy blue glaciers and building into the mighty Nooksack River, flows in magnificent volume through Whatcom County’s temperate rainforests to the Salish Sea.

The Nooksack is an iconic attribute to the northwest corner of Washington state; the glacial river remains undammed in its main course even as a growing human population chokes more and more rivers with dams and diversion projects. …

Earth Day is a celebration of awareness-of our planet, the environment and how our actions and practices impact it. Hopefully we are always keeping our impact in mind as we move through life, but sometimes we need a holiday to remind us to pay attention to how we affect the places we inhabit-and it’s a good excuse to leave work early and play outside, too!

Here are five ways to mindfully reduce your environmental impact while on the trails.

Long distance runners need fuel on the trails, and we certainly love our run-ready options. The individual packaging adds up though, and winds up in the garbage-or worse, on the trail. It goes without saying that we should pack out every scrap of plastic and tin foil that we bring onto the trails with us. However, even if your gel packets and bar wrappings end up at home in the trash can, there is still a massive waste impact. …

On Saturday, February 10th, in the Franklin Mountains outside of El Paso, Texas, not only did Meltzer win the Lone Star 100 Mile , he set the new course record at 23:38:18. Not to mention that it was his 40th 100-mile-race victory.

After 18 consecutive years of winning ultramarathons, Meltzer, now 50 , holds the world record for most 100-mile wins in a calendar year (six in 2006) and for number of overall 100-mile wins. He also has the honor of the most wins at Colorado’s notoriously rugged Hardrock 100 (five), followed by Kilian Jornet (four).

Meltzer specializes in the 100-mile distance, but his successes cover a broader spectrum. In 2010, he became the first person to run the Red Bull Human Express: the full 2,064 miles of the original Pony Express Trail, from Sacramento, California, to St. Joseph, Missouri. …

Pre-packaged running snacks are convenient and easy-but they can be expensive and full of unwanted ingredients. That is why we are searching high and low for do-it-yourself trail meals and snacks that will save you money, give you more dietary flexibility and taste amazing. Tested by dirtbags, for dirtbags.

To participate, send your recipe and high-quality photos of prep and trail tasting to Subject line: Gourmet Dirtbag

By now, most ultra and trail runners have read by Christopher McDougall, which introduces the Tarahumara tribe of Copper Canyon in Mexico to the modern running world. The tribe is now famous for being some of the most talented long distance runners in the world. Their fuel? …

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of sources

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Mount Kinesava. SummitPost.

I was sunburnt, hot and thirsty.

My climbing partner had just finished coiling the rope when we scrambled up the last sandstone blocks to the final pinnacle.

We had climbed a route called “Cowboy Ridge,” a semi-technical ridge traverse on Mount Kinesava, just outside of Zion, Utah. We were in what we thought was rock climber’s territory — accessing places only attainable by those who excel in the vertical realm.

Upon surmounting a final boulder, we were amazed to discover a wall on the far end of the desert meadow that was covered with… petroglyphs? …

By Keely Damara, Taylor Haynes, Matthew Kiewiet and Jacky Thompson

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Wastewater from the Gold King Mine spewing into Cement Creek near Silverton, Colo., Aug. 5, 2015. Courtesy of EPA

On Oct. 6, it was announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who was responsible for the 2015 Gold King Mine spill would not face prosecution. This was based on a year-long investigation by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General.

The Gold King Mine spill, on Aug. 5, 2015, attracted national attention. The mustard yellow sludge that was once the Animas River in southwestern Colorado was plastered across the front pages of newspapers and broadcasted across the country. Due to an EPA investigation at an abandoned mine outside of Silverton, Colo., led by Hays Griswold, three million gallons of acid mine drainage were sent flowing down the waterway. …

By Jacky Thompson and Taylor Haynes

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Runners along the trail on the morning of Sept. 10

Listen to the audio piece here.

As the sun crept over the arid desert during the early morning hours of Sept. 10, a group of about 50 ran along a network of trails crossing northeastern Arizona. The paths dipped into dry river beds and climbed mesas rising thousands of feet in the air.

The run, known to English-speakers as the Water is Life Run and to the Hopi people as the Paatuwaqatsi Run, consists of a 50K ultra-marathon and shorter 10 mile run.

While there is a clock present, this event differs from other races. Time doesn’t matter on these trails, which have been used by the Hopi people for generations to connect communities. The trails often pass springs, where water is collected for traditional Hopi ceremonies. …


Wild Wayfarer

Environmentalist, yoga practitioner, wild outdoor enthusiast, musician, traveler.

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