Lifestyle

Trailsfest teaches skills for the great outdoors

Volunteer Sarah Stewart helps mom Beth Bruels of Bellevue and daughter Grace, 7, start their first-ever journey by kayak on Rattlesnake Lake during Trailsfest, Saturday, July 18. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Volunteer Sarah Stewart helps mom Beth Bruels of Bellevue and daughter Grace, 7, start their first-ever journey by kayak on Rattlesnake Lake during Trailsfest, Saturday, July 18.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Instilling a thrill for the outdoors in the next generation was a big part of the action at the Washington Trails Association’s annual Trailsfest, held Saturday, July 18, at Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend.

Families from the Valley and beyond learned skills useful for all ages, from paddling a kayak to backpacking with pets.

Jade Bayley, 6, of North Bend, tried her hand at a crosscut saw.

The five-foot, 30-pound saw dwarfed the little girl as she sliced off a chunk of wood with Trailsfest volunteer Alan Carter Mortimer.

Mortimer did most of the heavy lifting, but appreciated the help. He explained that the saw is the only legal means of cutting wood in certain parts of the backcountry.

“If you have a good partner, like she was, it’s a crosscut saw,” Mortimer said. But if you have a lazy partner, he explained, the saw is referred to as a “misery whip.”

“Since we moved here, I’ve been hiking more,” said dad Brian Bayley, who brought Jade to the event, where they explored exhibits and handled a mountain lion skull. “I want to get Jade hiking more.”

Sarah Stewart, a volunteer with Outdoors For All, helped mom Beth Bruels and daughter Grace, 7, get started on their first-ever kayak trip.

“We’re excited,” Bruels said. “She’s waited to go in a kayak. That’s why we’re here.”

Outdoors For All helps people of all abilities take part in outdoor activities.

“It’s great to get people in the outdoors,” Stewart said. “We’re in an incredible area. It’s amazing to be somewhere that’s so naturally beautiful, to have so many things to do and such easy access. The more we get out, the more people want to preserve the area we have.”

Vendors at Trailsfest showed off many ways to reach the out-of-doors — some with four legs and a tail

“Look, dad, he has a beard,” explained Tatemba Kimani, 8, of Lynnwood, pointing out the pack goats brought by Perry Burkhart of Evergreen Pack Goat Club to dad Tony.

The animals can carry 30 pounds of gear about 10 miles a day. Burkhart doesn’t even need to hold their leashes — the animals treat him as their pack leader and follow him wherever he goes.

Training is a matter of “teaching them manners and bonding with them,” he said. “If you really want them to come, a peanut does wonders.”

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