Crater Lake: a spectacular hike, a cold swim

In this recent photo, boats float in the water at the dock area at Crater Lake National Park from the Cleetwood Cove Trail at Crater Lake National Park about 90 miles south of Bend, Ore. (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Alisha Roemeling)

CRATER LAKE, Ore. (AP) — “Photos don’t do it justice.” That’s what I’d heard from almost everyone I spoke with before embarking on my very first trip to Crater Lake National Park.

The magic of Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND, JUNE 28-29 - In this May 2013, photo, Mount Rainier in Washington is reflected in Eunice Lake. SEATTLE OUT, USA TODAY OUT, MAGAZINES OUT, TV OUT NO SALES MANDATORY CREDIT TO: BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES.

SEATTLE (AP) — A national park has a way of imprinting itself on you. Maybe it’s the first place you went camping as a kid. Or it was your introduction to whistling marmots.

Geology, history, recreation at Sluice Boxes

This June 7, 2014 photo, paddlers navigate the confines of Belt Creek Canyon in Sluice Boxes State Park, Mont. The 1,450-acre park near Belt includes trails, swimming holes and the remnants of an old mining town. (AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Ben Pierce)

SLUICE BOXES STATE PARK, Mont. (AP) — Daniel Edwards’ shorts were still dripping when I ran into him on the high ochre cliffs that tower above Belt Creek.

A fun new mountain biking trail in Idaho

In this June 8, 2014 photo, Scott Jensen of Meridian, Idaho, rides Around the Mountain Trail at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, in Boise, Idaho. Trails in the Central Idaho mountains are opening up for riders and hikers. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips) LOCAL TELEVISION OUT (KTVB 7)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Riding the Around the Mountain Trail reminds you why it’s called mountain biking.

Lightning survivor has no memory of deadly strike

A storm gathers over Rocky Mountain National Park just west of Estes Park, Colo., Monday, July 14, 2014. Two fatal lightning strikes on consecutive days the previous weekend pinpoint dangers not always apparent to visitors to the 11,000-foot exposed high country of the park. Afternoon storms visible miles away arrive overhead suddenly. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

DENVER (AP) — Justin Teilhet doesn’t remember hearing a boom or feeling a sting, just waking up numb on the treeless tundra high in Rocky Mountain National Park and discovering his good friend was

Lightning safety tips for mountain visitors

A family stops at a pull off on Trail Ridge Road, inside Rocky Mountain National Park just west of Estes Park, Colo., Monday, July 14, 2014. Two fatal lightning strikes on consecutive days the previous weekend on the high-altitude road pinpoint dangers not always apparent to visitors to the exposed high country of the park. Afternoon storms visible miles away arrive overhead suddenly. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

DENVER (AP) — Lightning strikes have killed two tourists and injured others in recent days in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A Cascades lake might lose its Atlantic salmon

In this Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 photo, fisherman Dan Quick of Corvallis, Ore. brings his float tube to shore at Hosmer Lake as the moon rises next to Mt. Bachelor. In 2013, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began introducing other fish to the lake to see how they would fare. Depending upon how the cutthroat and rainbow trout do, the agency may decide to stop stocking the lake with salmon. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Rob Kerr)

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Atlantic salmon may not be swimming in Hosmer Lake off the Cascade Lakes Highway much longer.

Revamped wildlife refuge has a lot to offer

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS JULY 5-6 - In this Aug. 11, 2013 photo, Joel Anderson peers out of the wildlife viewing blind along the McDowell Marsh Environmental Education Trail in the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge in Colville, Wash. The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge southeast of Colville is celebrating its 75th anniversary this summer to acquaint more people with recent visitor-friendly improvements to a niche thats protected mostly for wildlife. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers) COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT

COLVILLE, Wash.

Cavorting with climbing dirt baggers

A woman climbs up a steep, overhung wall at a formation known as Minimum Crag in Maple Canyon near Fountain Green, Utah on Saturday. The unique cobblestone cliffs at Maple Canyon attract rock climbers from around the country. (Photo by Chris Henvits)

My friend Chris Henvit and I drove to Maple Canyon near Fountain Green, Utah, last week and when we stepped out of our car, we walked into a weird subculture of gypsy rock climbers.

Hungry trout feast at Montana’s Hebgen Lake

In this May 25, 2014 photo, anglers fish for gulpers on Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone, Mont. Hebgen Lake, just outside West Yellowstone on the border of Yellowstone National Park, is quite a bug factory. And all those insects provide a food base for a robust trout fishery. As soon as the ice comes off the lake in the spring, brown and rainbow trout cruise the surface looking for a meal. (AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Ben Pierce)

HEBGEN LAKE, Mont. — The first time I heard the swelling crescendo by the lakeshore I thought it was an airplane nearing overhead.

Oregon grass-skier devoted to the sport

Brian McKay grass-skis down a slalom course that he set up at Emigrant Lake near Ashland Ore., in May 2014. McKay hopes to introduce grass-skiing to other Southern Oregon extreme-sports enthusiasts. (AP Photo/Mail Tribune, Jamie Lusch)

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) — Brian McKay deftly slices his way through the slalom gates, planting his poles to carve his downhill turns until one of his skis catches an edge and he spirals off course.

Activities aplenty on Middle Fork of the Payette

This June 2014 photo shows Joann Leone, left, and Joe Novak, of Boise, relaxing on the Middle Fork of the Payette River. Most campsites along the Middle Fork of the Payette River are close to the river and make ideal places for lounging and swimming in the river. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Pete Zimowsky)

CROUCH (AP) — The Middle Fork of the Payette River means a lot of different things to different folks.

Birders flock to Montana festival

A male yellow-headed blackbird flies toward the sound of a potential mate in its habitat in cattail emergent marshlands at the Cherry River fishing access on June 3, 2014, near Bozeman, Mont. The area is one of 16 birding hot spots listed by the local Audubon Society. (AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Mike Greener)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — With mountain bluebirds, it’s all about location, location, location.

Iconic Utah arch could soon close to rope swinging

In this Nov. 4, 2012 photo, a person swings on the Corona Arch near Moab, Utah. The arch has become popular for daredevil rope-swinging after climbers figured out how to adapt climbing gear to set up a pendulum ride under the arch. Federal officials are considering outlawing the stunt made so popular on YouTube that state authorities banned from commercial outfitters in 2013. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Brian Maffly) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A signature towering arch in southern Utah could soon be closed to rope-swinging and other daredevil activities amid frustration from visitors who came to marvel at a natural

Pacific Crest Trail speed-hiking champ looks back

In this May 14 photo, Pacific Crest Trail self-supported speed record setter Heather Anderson of Bellingham, Wash., enjoys the scent of blooming serviceberry while hiking near Sandpoint. In 2013, Anderson, who goes by the trail name Anish, didn’t have time to smell the flowers as she hiked the trail from Mexico to Canada in 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes, beating the previous record of 64 days.

SPOKANE, Wash. — “I’m not a particularly fast walker,” ?Heather Anderson said — much to the relief of ?her interviewer — as she recently hiked a North Idaho trail.

Campers can find solitude off Idaho’s beaten path

This undated photo shows a camp site by the North Fork of the Boise River in Idaho. There are lots of reasons to take the road less traveled and find some of Idaho’s most remote campgrounds. After the washboardy mountain roads, you’ll end up in a less-crowded campground. The adventurous camper can find solitude in developed campgrounds if he or she is willing to rough it on the road there, not at just the campsite. You will be a long ways from pavement and the RV crowd.

BOISE — There are lots of reasons to take the road less traveled and find some of Idaho’s most remote campgrounds.

Crowded but gorgeous: Dog Mountain on the Columbia

This photo taken May 15, 2014, shows a person walking along a trail along the upper meadows of Dog Mountain on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge near Stevenson, Wash. The mountain features a spectacular carpet of yellow balsamroot during May and early June. Reaching this paradise, which also offers excellent views of the Columbia River, requires a 2800 foot climb. (AP Photo/Statesman Journal, Zach Urness)

STEVENSON, Wash. (AP) — To climb Dog Mountain during the height of wildflower season is to experience the very best, and very worst, of the Columbia River Gorge all at once.

Idaho Trails: Hiking winter trails in the summer

On Saturday, Julie Painter hikes along the Tyro Loop trail near Kelly Canyon by following the blue diamond-shaped markers meant to guide cross-country skiers during the winter.

There was a turkey feather lying in the middle of the trail we were hiking on Saturday near Kelly Canyon. I reached down and picked it up and showed it to my dog Sunny. He started nibbling on it.

Thrill of the aantler gather in northwest Wyoming

Matt Clark, of Afton, Wyo., relieves his horse of two saddle bags full of elk antlers Thursday, May 1, 2014, after spending the night searching for sheds in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson, Wyo. (AP Photo / Jackson Hole News&Guide, Bradly J. Boner)

JACKSON — Don Hoard and his 16-year-old daughter Alex Howell were the first in line at the South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area at 9 p.m. April 30.

Uncrowded fishing on Colville Reservation

Fly fisherman Walt Balek stands with his dog, Cargo, as he lands a Lahontan cutthroat trout at Omak Lake, May 5, 2014, on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington. Scattered about the million-acre reservation, two dozen of about 35 fishable lakes are open to non-tribal anglers. A few of them range from good to outstanding. All of them are crowd-free. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)

NESPELEM, Wash. (AP) — The Colville Indian Reservation may be the best fishing destination in the state where most Washington anglers have never wet a line.

Nature column: Time to celebrate birds

This marsh wren says “You don’t need a reason to celebrate birds,” but if you want to join in the fun of International Migratory Bird Day on May 17, unite other wildlife enthusiasts at the Ducks Unlimited Market Lake Ranch at Roberts.

I fretted about the upcoming International Migratory Bird Day this Saturday and its theme, Why Birds Matter, as I watched the swallows at Market Lake stitch the air with their aerobatic flight.

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