Portland Hiker and Author of Hiking Books – Paul Gerald

Paul Gerald is the author and publisher of many books Two of his outdoor books that give up many of Portland`s hiking secrets caught my attention and are listed below.

I enjoyed completing an interview with Paul and really liked his blog. His blog is located at http://www.paulgerald.com and even has updates for one of his hiking guide books.

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

At a summer camp in northwest Wyoming. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, but when I was 12 I got to attend a camp where we took trips on foot, horseback and canoe into the Shoshone National Forest, Absoraka-Beartooth Wilderess, and Yellowstone National Park. I went there three summers, five weeks per summer, and when it was over, I knew I was never going to live in Memphis my whole life.

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

Lately Oregon, because it’s where I live.

Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.

I walked the Oregon section of the PCT in 2005, in two trips spanning a total of five weeks. It was such a fun trip, with mostly good weather, and we met a lot of cool folks that we wound up hiking with. Plus, it was a great introduction to all the wonderful natural beauty of our own state.

Have you ever experienced a wilderness medical emergency or been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.

Thankfully, no.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

The best one was at that summer camp. We were on a canoe trip in Yellowstone, and while we were out on the lake fishing, we watched a big grizzly go through our camp, sniffing at tents and the firepit. It didn’t do any damage and never returned, but we sure didn’t sleep too well that night!

If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?

The main wisdom I got from my PCT hike was twofold: one, weight really matters a lot, and two, that it takes me about a week to really settle into the groove.

What is your favourite outdoor website?
GORP.com
What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?
Next Adventure in Portland

Related Blogs

Oregon Adventure Secrets

I met Brenda Edin through Twitter and after researching several incredible Oregon adventures at www.OregonAdventurist.com I was in awe at the quality of her adventure website. Oregon Adventurist is a free reader-driven weekly web magazine, highlighting the best in Oregon’s lifestyle of adventure and exploration. The insider format offers unsolicited hints, highlights, recommendations and off-the-beaten track secrets from its readers and staff alike. Brenda is keen on building a community of folks that share her love of travel and exploration throughout the northwest. Enjoy her interview and a few Oregon secrets!

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

Raised in Minnesota, my brother and I spent a good deal of our growing up years out on the lake fishing and riding bikes through the countryside. We also did a lot of camping and road tripping with my family. Adventure and exploration has always been core for me, but it wasn’t until moving to Oregon in the late 90’s that I discovered the joy of hiking.  My first hike was actually on the drive into the state. After hours and hours of being in the car, we cut off I-84 onto the Historic Columbia River Highway and stopped at the first trailhead we saw – Oneonta Gorge. It’s still one of my favorite treks

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

The Pacific Northwest at-large is such a phenomenal part of the world that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one area. For camping and hiking, I’m a huge fan of the Columbia River Gorge. I also enjoy the high desert in Central Oregon, but to be fair, I can’t really think of an area in Oregon that DOESN’T offer spectacular outdoor adventure. We’ve got ocean, rivers, mountains, deserts, valleys – the diversity and recreational opportunity is pretty vast.

Have you ever experienced a wilderness medical emergency or been lost in the wilderness?

I’ve never been lost or had a wilderness medical emergency, but I have certainly overextended myself by underestimating the length of a trail or the weather conditions.  When I was new to the area I had friends come for a visit and wanted to show off the panoramic view from Larch Mountain. They arrived in November. I had previously taken the hike in June. Not realizing that the elevation meant snow cover that time of year, we didn’t plan for trekking in 2 feet of snow or the extra energy and time required to reach the viewpoint. Nothing critical, but we ended up walking down the trail in the dark, underdressed, miserably cold and incredibly hungry. Now I always pack a Camelback with water, a snack and an emergency blanket and we’ve outfitted our children with the same gear. My son has also taken on the responsibility of trail medic. In addition to his own gear, he packs a first aid kit and implements skills he’s learned from my partner, a longtime emergency medicine professional, whenever the need arises.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

This past summer we were out on a trek near Nehalem Bay on the Oregon coast and came across a family of three deer. Separated only by some tall grass, the deer were only 7-8 feet from us. My entire family, along with the deer, were all struck silent staring at each other perfectly frozen for what seemed to be an eternity. Being city folks, having that kind of encounter with wild animals is magical and highly memorable.  It was a moment where time stood still and we made a true connection with Nature.

What is your favourite outdoor website?

I love the reader-submitted adventures of our website OregonAdventurist.com Two of my personal, regular go-to sites for hiking include http://www.gorgefriends.org andhttp://www.oregonstateparks.org.  Oregon State Parks just came out with a stellar map of the Oregon Coast Trails http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/OCT_main.shtml

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

I’m partial to supporting local culture and economy so my favorites are Oregon-based companies. Because we outfit an entire family for our outdoor adventures, I like Columbia, Keen and Kleen Kanteen. They’ve got rugged, high quality gear that can not only stand up to the Elements, it can handle the wear and tear of active kids.

If you are a website administrator please add your url here.  http://www.OregonAdventurist.com

RN meets vicious banana slug on the trail

RN meets vicious banana slug on the trail

From interviewing folks who enjoy and have a passion for the outdoors, I am often amazed to find that there are many hikers just like me, that make simple outdoor mistakes which could result in disasters.  Of course, we learn from them and tell the story to help others avoid dangerous decisions.  Tami Yanutik, an RN from Oregon who loves the outdoors, is one of those adventurous folks.  One of the things that makes her unique is that she is the only hiker on planet Earth who evaded the unconscionable grip of death from a ….Banana Slug!

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

I was one of those kids who always wished for the paved streets and manicured lawns of urban life.  Instead it was pot-holed, gravel roads with knee high burr-laden, brown weeds in the boonies.  I lamented this geographically rural upbringing early on, but as I grew older, I came to appreciate the the smells, sights, sounds and serenity of the outdoors.

Enjoying the serenity.

Enjoying the serenity.

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

I have been born and raised in Oregon and have ventured and explored most of this great state’s nooks and crannies.  If I had to choose one area as a favorite it would probably be on the banks, along the crystal clear waters of the Illinois River.

Quiet Clear Waters

Quiet Clear Waters

Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.

I was taught to swim in the clarion pools of the Illinois along with our black lab Brutus.  Brute was a hulk of a canine and you never saw a kid dog paddle so fast as when Brute’s un-manicured claws where closing in.  Those very same claws came in handy on one occasion.  My eight year old imagination had me fancying myself as an pioneer woman.  In the books I’d read, the women pounded excess water out of their clothing with rocks.  The tales did not go into detail about the shape and texture of these early clothes dryers.  I picked up a promising pounding stone, one with many jagged, knife like protuberances and proceeded to pepper a new summer t-shirt with a multitude of diminutive holes.  Always a quick thinker (or a quick excuse maker), I came up with a brilliant explanation for those tiny breaches in the fabric.  It was simple.  Brutus, with his paws as big as pie tins, had walked his hulk over my shirt as it lay on the riverbank.  This was the story that spilled from my mouth as my father asked what had happened to my shirt.  It was the same fable told to my mother once back at home.  I escaped freely from that potential penalty with a hearty self-patting on the back.  I look back now as an adult on that incident and wonder if my parents knew but found too much mirth in the situation to let on?  I like to think I pulled it off!!

Have you ever experienced a wilderness medical emergency or been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.

I am an RN and fortunately have never had to kick any of my nursing skills into action out on the trails.  That is not to say I have not had close calls.  Just recently I went on what was to be a leisurely 5 – 6 mile hike with my cousin, visiting Montana boyfriend and Lolo, my Irish fairy dog (one blue eye, one brown eye).

Montana Friend at home in the wilderness.

Montana Friend at home in the wilderness.

The three of us, fairly fit, set out on the Briggs Creek Trail around 11am, day packs sparsely loaded and a liter canteen of water.  The trail follows along Taylor Creek in the old growth forest of the Siskiyou Wilderness.  The route was magical, with prehistoric sized aquatic plants, ancient colossal trees and piles of moss covered stones that were the tailings of old mining claims.

About 5 miles into the hike, we saw no sign of the road the trail was supposed to meet up with.   It was this road we planned on following back to where our vehicle was parked and our bountiful lunches were packed.  We unanimously voted to forge on a wee bit farther, feeling fortified by the hand full of grapes and gulps of water.  Two more miles and an extremely steep incline later, we came to a three-pronged fork in the trail.

Exploring the trail.

Exploring the trail.

Hugely disappointed in not seeing a maintained road we plopped down and devoured the remainder of our grapes, or what I will forever refer to as manna.  We were cursing ourselves at that point for a number of reasons, the most of which was the lack of sustenance, why didn’t I throw in that granola bar?  We had a choice, go the 7 miles back the way we came, or take one of the paths, which appeared more like a road, and kiss the dice for luck.

We gambled and took the downhill road…..we lost big time on that roll of the dice!  So there we were, 8 miles from the car, sun getting low in the sky and nothing to fuel our long trek back.  It was one foot in front of the other for the three of us humbled day trekkers on the 8 miles back.  Every leg muscle protested, my feet were soaked from a slip in a creek crossing and I dared not think of my grumbling stomach for fear I might puke.  Eight and a half hours and 15+ miles later, a finer site I had never seen as my SUV parked under the pine trees.

The three of us discussed our “deviations from accuracy” on the drive home.  We agreed, even those who have spent most of their lives hiking, camping, rafting, etc, can find themselves in unexpected situations.  While we were never truly lost, we knew we could retrace our steps and go out the way we came in, there are a smattering of things we would have done differently.  Always throw in an extra power bar or two, they take up very little room but provide great fuel.  Make sure your day pack has a flashlight and a thermal blanket.  We did not need these but there was that “oh sh*%” moment, at the bottom of the last road-to-nowhere when I thought we might.  Always tell someone back home exactly where you are going.  My cousin had told her parents but they are 70 and 80 years old and we weren’t sure they would remember!  Take an extra pair of socks, my feet were prunes from my misstep.

There was good to come out of this hike too.  I found out Lolo is a fantastic trail dog, tireless and obedient and the calories burned on the hike made the gorging on salt -n- vinegar chips guiltless!

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

Beware - Vicious Banana Slug!

Beware - Vicious Banana Slug!

I once came across a vicious banana slug on the trail.  How often do you get to see a real banana slug?!

What is your favourite outdoor website?

Loooove Women’s Adventure, it’s a magazine and a website.

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

I wouldn’t be a true Oregonian if I didn’t say Columbia, especially the deals at the outlet store!