SnoCo’s Coolest Hiker & Dad

Cascade Hiker Podcast, Arlington

Over the last two years, hiking has become a major part of my life, as well as my daughter’s (The SnoCo Kid) and my other children. We’ve had ups and downs, some setbacks to our progress toward more difficult trails thanks to a car accident and my health struggles, but through it all we haven’t given up on hiking or on our ultimate goal trails, we’re just having to work a bit harder for it and them.

I have to admit though hiking isn’t all fun and games for us, it is also in my job description. Trails are an important part of encouraging all of you to get out and play local. I’m a photographer, so there’s that too (trails take twice as long as they should). These things are a point of contention between me and my kids. It’s not always easy to have fun when fun involves work.

Discovering Rudy Giecek, host of the Cascade Hiker Podcast, made me realize that I’m not alone, that the struggle is real. Not only is he an accomplished hiker, who has hiked more miles since starting his podcast then I’ll hike in a lifetime, he also works to inspire others to get out and hike, and his daughters come along for many of them.

We got the opportunity to not only watch one of Rudy’s podcasts live, but hike with him and his daughters as well. We had a blast doing both and really got the opportunity to see Rudy at work and learn more about his blog and podcast. Both contain a lot of cool and valuable info about trails, gear, and hiking in general. If you love hiking, it is a must follow.

Facebook & Instagram: @cascadehikerpodcast

www.cascadehikerpodcast.com

What did I learn from the experience? I have some new trails to check out now that my hiking season is officially underway, I’ve also gotten back into taken photos of the kid while we are hiking as part of trying to remember the trails are as much for fun and memories as they are for work. Then there is getting to meet a fellow blogger who is as into his work, and making his family a part of it, as I am. That’s probably the coolest part, but I’ll leave it up to you whether he is cooler at all of it than me.

Without further ado, here’s Rudy …

Have you always been a hiker? When did you really get serious about it and why?

Growing up in Granite Falls, I went hiking with my dad all of the time. We would hike a lot of the same trails each year because they were so close to us. [One of our favorites was] Mount Pilchuck because we had a view of it from our living room.

Once my dad started taking me on backpacking trips, I really started getting the itch for bigger and better hikes. I guess that is when I really started getting serious about it, but it has been a huge part of my life all along.

What made you get into blogging and doing a podcast about hiking?

As an adult, I started hiking less and less and drinking more and more. I found myself out of shape and my wife was pregnant with our first daughter. I used the blog to inspire myself and motivate me into the next journey. Soon I found myself back where I wanted to be, back in the wilderness.

By the time my second daughter came along, I was trekking across the state section by section on the Pacific Crest Trail. What I wasn’t doing, was passing along this passion [to my children]. Day hikes would become a regular thing from then on. It is a part of [them now], a tight connection to the outdoors.

I want others to have that too. My tag line is “Inspiring you to get out on the trail” and that is it. I figure if it inspires me, then it will inspire the listener as well.

The podcast came along naturally [from that, as I [found myself] listening to others. There really wasn’t a lot of hiking related podcasts and so I started to educate myself on how to do one myself. There was definitely a space for an interview style show about other hikers’ passions and accomplishments. I sprinkle in some of my own stories and have even now started a podcast for my daughters.

 

What kinds of guests do you feature?

My guests are all over the spectrum in the realm of the hiking community – authors, bloggers, gear [manufacturers],, sponsored hikers and leaders. Also, I have interviewed other hiking podcasters, highlighting their shows and hopefully bringing the community together.

My favorite shows are the people who are passionate about what they are doing. That is most of my guests of course. Passion is hard to ignore in a podcast interview.

What other resources and info can people find through your website that can help folks find trails and learn more about hiking?

I have some basic articles for people just starting out. Save Your Car Window at the Trail head, Trail Etiquette: The Rules Explained, The Essentials System and basic stuff like Why Should You Hike?

There is also a local section where families can find hikes while on a fun drive. They are split up by regions and are constantly growing as we go out and find new stops! [Currently it includes trails in the] Mountain Loop Highway, Whidbey Island, Mount Baker Highway, North Cascades Highway [areas], and even hikes for those who are disabled- ADA Hikes in the NORTHERN CASCADES. I also have a large section on recommended books from Guide Books of the PNW and Books on hiking.

What should hikers to take with them, even on the easiest of trails?

Some hiking experts would give you a list of exact items, but I prefer to explain this in broad terms and let people pick out items that fit the category and that work with their style best. I explain it in my article The Essentials System.

On a shorter day hike, the most important items are hydration, nutrition and first aid. These are always in my pack even if the trail is just a mile long. Of course the weather can cause you to need other essentials like sun protection or insulation.

What do you get out of hiking?

Mountains can give you what you need, when you need it most. Solitude, or solo hiking, can be mental healing for me. When I hike with my kids, it is easy to bring up memories from my own past and that helps me in my parenting. When I go on hikes with just my friends, there is no better way for deep conversation and really getting to know the other person.

Heather “Anish” Anderson put it best in episode 95 of my podcast- “I’ve gone hiking or to the mountains at whole bunch of different stages in my life and with a whole bunch of different needs and reasons. The beautiful thing about long trails and the mountains is that they are what you need them to be, even if you don’t know what you need them to be.” This quote from Heather came after I asked her do mountains heal.

What is the craziest and/or most dangerous thing that has happened to you while hiking?

When I was 12 years old, my dad, sister and I were confronted with a washed out bridge on Kennedy Creek deep in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. We would need to find a way across or hike 10 miles out of our way to get around.

Luckily my sister found a log! My dad looked dauntingly at the feat ahead of us. You see, he is deathly afraid of water. His perplexion defied our fate for only a moment before my sister suggested she go across first. “We can do this. I will come back for your packs,” she said as assuredly as she could. I was crying because the situation looked impossible and I was no daredevil.

She shimmied across first, came back for my dad’s pack, and then she followed Pop across, all the while sounding cheers of positivity. It was finally my turn. To say it was a scary situation is an understatement. I carefully started across the wet timber, going very slow, so as not to slip off into the raging river beneath me. Suddenly my dad called out, “Rudy wait! Let me take a picture!”

This was was scary and funny looking back all in the same moment.

Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!).

Monthly and electronic ($1.99) and print ($3.99) subscriptions can be bought HERE. Free home delivery to Snohomish County.

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