SEATTLE — Love for the outdoors doesn't have an expiration date, for seniors that enjoy hiking, there are great trails in Western Washington that are easily accessible. In this interview, Teresa Hagerty of Cascade Mountain Adventures shares her five picks.
Interview correction: It is correct that a large section of this trail is on National Forest Land, and outside of the Mt. Rainier National Park boundaries, and allows canine companions. This is unfortunately not true for another section of this trail that does cross into Mt. Rainier National Park where dogs are not permitted. This is mitigated by simply not crossing into the Park Boundary with canine friends.
Selecting a Beginner Trail:
It is a great idea to start small and build up to more challenging mileage, elevation gain, and technically demanding terrain over time. A good place to start is on trails of no more than six miles in total length and no more than 1,000 ft. in elevation gain. The incredible free online resource of Washington Trails Association is a great place to search for new outdoor adventures.
The "Ten Essentials" and Gear: It is vitally important for hikers of all abilities to always carry the Ten Essentials. These are required items to support good self-care on the trail and preparedness for unexpected situations. These include adequate food, water, clothing layers, sun protection, navigational aids, headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter, pocket knife, and a fire starting kit. A great reference can be found here.
Senior hikers and hikers of all abilities may also benefit from the use of trekking poles. These provide additional points of balances for uneven terrain and creek crossing and can be knee savers for downhill trails.
Note: Please adhere to all state regulations for social distancing and respect Park closures. Check the park before you go to make sure they are open to the public. There is a great overview on safe hiking during coronavirus and listing of closures on the Washington Trails Association website.