We had an incredible inaugural event last year and we are so stoked to “#OCCUPYLODGE” in 2019! Stay tuned for updates on presenters and programming.
Fall is a good time to be in the mountains. It is even better when those mountains are the North Cascades, where one can spend multiple days in a row on trails exploring alpine lakes, hanging glaciers, cascading creeks, and eating ripe huckleberries. And it might even be the best if, between the days of running you can return to a historic cabin, enjoy hot showers, eat delicious meals, and be surrounded by a community of friends who love to run and play in the mountains, too. This is the annual North Cascades Fall Trail Running Festival and Symposium. We hope you will join us.
From the door of the Mt. Baker Lodge, one steps into the wilderness. There’s no need to drive anywhere because each trail in the area is connected by a trailhead only a few hundred yards from the lodge. Most the trails end up above tree line, and runners will be greeted with expansive views of glaciated peaks, luminescent fall foliage, and wild berries.
Each day of the festival, formal and informal groups will be organized to experience different trails and explore the local contours. Link-ups, combinations, and variations of all these trails are all possibilities, so one can choose how much to run each day, from 10 to 30+ miles. Aspire will also be organizing shuttles to access additional trails along the scenic Highway 542 corridor. Below is a sampling of what this specific area has to offer. Detailed trail descriptions and trip reports are linked to the Washington Trails Association website.
- Chain Lakes, 8 mile loop
- Ptarmigan ridge, 9 mile out-n-back
- Copper Ridge, 34 mile loop
- Excelsior Ridge, 10 mile point-to-point
- Church Mountain, 8.5 mile out-n-back
- Yellow Aster Butte, 7.5 mile out-n-back
- Goat Mountain, 11 mile out-n-back
- Hannegan Peak, 10 mile out-n-back
- Heliotrope Ridge, 5.5 mile out-n-back
- Lake Anne, 8 mile out-n-back
The Baker Lodge sits high in the North Cascades surrounded by epic mountain views and hundreds of miles of trails. Owned and operated by the Mountaineers, the lodge is a hub of mountain activity in every season. It’s bunk-style accommodations holds up to 62 people and is divided between men’s, women’s, and family sleeping areas. It boasts a full kitchen, hot showers, and a gear drying room (typically used in winter but could come in handy). Aspire has reserved exclusive access to the lodge for the duration of the festival and it will serve as basecamp for the week’s activities. Check out more info on the lodge here.
As bookends to each day, the Aspire staff will have the lodge kitchen operating at full capacity serving up delicious breakfast and dinner fare. Healthy, seasonal, and local are the standard for these “lodge” cooked meals, and our menus cater to the carnivore, vegetarian, and vegan alike. For lunch, light fare will be available along with a sample selection of bars, gels, and assorted trail food.
2018 Programming…Stay Tuned for 2019 Info
Each evening there will be an opportunity to participate in a symposium style lecture/presentation wherein local naturalists, historians, and athletes will share stories and insights around the intersections connecting people to this place, the wildness and beauty of the North Cascades.
Abe Lloyd, “North Cascades Alpine Ethnobotany”
Many of us value mountains for their austere beauty, quiet solitude, and challenging terrain. While these sentiments are likely as potent for us today as they have been for countless cultures over thousands of years, Coast Salish and other Indigenous People living in the Pacific Northwest also value mountains for their excellent edibles. Join ethnobotanist Abe Lloyd as he explores the rich traditions of harvesting the wild roots, shoots, and fruits that grow so plentifully in the North Cascades.
Bio: Abe Lloyd is an adjunct professor of Natural History and Ethnobotany at Western Washington University and the director of Salal, the Cascadian Food Institute where he researches and promotes the regions indigenous foods. Look for his book “Wild Berries of Washington and Oregon.” Signed copies will be available at the event.
Katie Moriarty, “Weasels Worth Waiting For: Life History and Biology of Washington’s Rare Native Carnivores”
Washington is home to several species of rare carnivores, including Pacific martens, wolverines, red foxes, and lynx. After some basic background of our rare Pacific Northwest native carnivores we’ll explore the life history challenges of Pacific martens, a kitten-sized member of the weasel family. With an Integration of cutting edge research we’ll uncover new insights into the daily lives of martens characterized by dedicated persistence and predictably mysterious behavior.
Bio: Katie is a runner, mother, and postdoctoral research wildlife biologist for the USDA Forest Service. Her research aims to provide robust science-based information for forest managers and practitioners specifically aimed at balancing management with the long term conservation of forest-dependent species.
Ras and Kathy Vaughan, “Only Known Time: The Quest For Unique Achievement”
UltraPedestraianism is a celebration of the human capacity and a willingness to explore the limits of human endurance. Together we’ll explore the styles of adventures that transcend running as racing while highlighting stories from a 3000+ mile thru-hike linking sections of the Idaho Centennial Trail, the Oregon Desert Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail into a great Inland Northwestern loop.
Bio: Ras is the father of the OKT, the Only Known Time and hold this status on a Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Sextuple, a double Wonderland Circumnavigation, and “infinity loops” on Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. Kathy is a ultra-runner, a passionate nordic ultra-skier, and the positive force that set the tone for their family’s life of adventure. Together they are the founders of the UltraPedestrian Wilderness Challenge, parents, homesteaders, and fierce advocates for spending time in the hills.
4:00-6:00pm. Course check-in at the Baker Lodge.
- The lodge is located at mile marker 55 of WA State Highway 542.
- Parking is located in the Mt. Baker Ski Area upper Heather Meadows parking lot.
6:00pm. Welcome Dinner
7:30pm. Orientation and Program
8:30pm. Organize running groups, pack and prepare for a day in the hills!
10:30pm. Lights out in the Lodge.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
8:30am. Shuttle and organized groups depart.
- RUN. EXPLORE. PLAY. EAT BERRIES.
7:30pm. Evening Program
8:30pm. Organize running groups, pack and prep for a day in the hills!
10:30pm. Lights out in the Lodge.
8:30am. Clean up
10:00am. The party is officially over…till next year!
Each runner is responsible for their own running kit including snacks and clothing appropriate for the possibility of rain and/or snow and/or daytime temperatures in the mid 70’s. Comfortable evening and sleepwear, personal toiletries, and a sleeping bag/pillow are essential for the lodge.
Registration fee’s include: 4 nights stay at the Baker Lodge, all meals, shuttles, and access to all symposium programming.
Early Bird registration $800. Ends December 31
Regular registration $900. Ends March 31
Late Registration $1000. Closes September 23
Every year we have at least one runner who due to injury, illness, or personal/familial circumstances can not participate in their registered trip. While registrations can be transferred, Aspire does not issue refunds. See our FAQ’s. We strongly encourage each runner to purchase 3rd party trip insurance that will reimburse the cost of registration in the event that you are unable to participate in the event.