Happy Trails

Who wants to go to an exhibition hall in the middle of the city to learn about the outdoors? Not many people. Which is why TrailsFest, an annual event sponsored by the Washington Trails Association, has moved away from its longtime home at Seattle Center. This Saturday's event takes place at Rattlesnake Lake and the Cedar River Watershed Educational Center about 30 minutes east of downtown Seattle via I-90.

"TrailsFest is going back outside, back to its roots," explains Dan Nelson, the WTA director of communications. "We'll be on the trails and in the woods on and the water."

Workshops focus on subjects ranging from leave-no-trace camping to plant identification to rescue dogs. Outdoor activities include hikes, rafting, trail-building projects, and GPS training. And since you simply must have all the latest gear, local retailers and manufacturers will also be on hand. See www.wta.org or call 625-1367 for complete details. Most events associated with TrailsFest are free, although some require advance registration.


One of the most bizarre and torturous outdoor athletic achievements of 2001 belonged to Brian Robinson, who walked the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide in a mere 300 days. The 41-year-old systems engineer from San Jose covered 7,371 total miles on this journey (or about 25 miles per day for 10 straight months), becoming the first person to accomplish this so-called triple crown of hiking in one calendar year. Equally impressive are the recent feats of Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer. At 4:15 a.m. on June 24, Keizer, 30, began his ascent of the first of the 46 High Peaks in the massive Adirondack Park of New York. An exhausting three days, 18 hours, and 14 minutes later, he had finished scaling all 46 of these summits, a trek that amounted to 140 total miles and 140,000 vertical feet. Read more about the ever-eccentric Cave Dog, who originally hails from Coos Bay, Ore., at www.thecavedog.com.


Need some more guidance before you hit the local hiking paths? Backpacker magazine will offer advice for both beginning day-trippers and experienced, long-distance trekkers in a lecture titled "Essential Backpacking Tips" at the Redmond REI, 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, and at the Seattle REI, 7 p.m. Friday, July 19. Free goodie bags for all who attend. See www.rei.com for details. . . . The Bike the Bluff fund-raiser is scheduled between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at Pop Munger Pool, 2535 32nd W. Proceeds benefit the Magnolia Helpline. For specifics, call 284-5631. . . . The Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon comes to Seward Park at 7 a.m. Sunday, July 21. The largest coed sprint- distance triathlon in Seattle, this half-mile swim, 12-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run caters to individuals and teams alike. Get complete registration information at www.signmeup.com/13058 or 728-0123, ext. 108. . . . Finally, drive north to Snohomish for the Kla Ha Ya Days festival,this weekend. Activities include hot-air balloons, a soapbox derby, bed races, pie-eating competitions, a frog-jumping contest, and fireworks. Call 360-568-7076 or see www.klahayadays.com.


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