It’s Week 8 of Challenge The National Parks!

Boy!  Has this been a weird two months or what!?  June brought the promise of more open doors (for businesses, that is), July brought HOT!  WET HOT!  And MissionFiT’s Challenge The National Parks! Week 8 hikers are cooling off in the mountains of Washington state and Alaska.   Hey, bring back some sno-cones, will ya?

Team Standings for Week 8 of Challenge The National Parks:

  1. Team “A-Mays-ing Hikers”
  2. The Seelig Family
  3. The Bishop Family
  4. The Elmore Family
  5. Johnstone Families

Where Do The Tracks Lead?

This week, our hikers visit North Cascades and Olympic National Parks, both in Washington state.  Then, a cut through Canada and into Alaska to visit Denali, The Gates of the Arctic , Glacier Bay.and Katmai. Click on a park name to take a virtual tour of the park or skip to the Cliff Notes, just below.

Let’s Go To Bear School!

Brown bears hunting sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park, one stop during MissionFiT's Challenge the National Parks! Week 8

Brown bears looking for salmon

Yes.  Bear School.  Katmai National Park, located in King Salmon, Alaska, is serious about safety.  Because brown bears can be serious threats.  All NPS employees, volunteers, visitors, campers, and anyone else, is required to view a safety video when they go to Brooks Camp.

In addition to bear watching, visitors can hike, backpack, camp, hunt, fish and trap while in Katmai National Park.  This is the place to be if you love the outdoors and enjoy the wild!


Olympic National Park

Snow in Summer - one of the many site you see in Olympic National Park during Week 8 of Challenge the National Parks!

Hurricane Ridge in Summer. Note the snow still melting.

At 922,700 acres, Olympic is one of the larger national parks in the lower 48 states.  By car, you would drive at least 3 days, touring the sights of the park.  And the diversity of eco-systems within its boundaries would not disappoint!  Olympic has beaches, rain forests, hiking trails, mountains and valleys, and is a winter wonderland in the high country.

“Dam This Traffic Jam!”

In the early 1900’s, the Elwah and Glines Canyon Dams were built in response to the ever-expanding logging industry. Although the dams helped moved the logs along, the local fish & tribal home sites suffered.  Salmon weren’t able to reach spawning areas and the installation of the dams forced flooding into historic and cultural sites along the Elwah River.  It only took man about 100 years and a few adjustments along the way to begin revitalizing the river through restoration projects.  Releasing Radio-tagged Sockeye Salmon into the Elwah River; part of Elwah River Restoration during Challenge The National Parkls! Week 8The largest projects included removal of both dams, started and completed in the fall of 2011.  River restoration continues to this day, including re-vegetation efforts, research of the river’s ecology and restoration of various species of fish and wildlife all along the river.

Gates Of The Arctic

“The park name came from wilderness advocate Robert Marshall, who traveled the North Fork Koyukuk country frequently from 1929 to 1939. Marshall called two peaks, Frigid Crags and Boreal Mountain, the gates from Alaska’s central Brooks Range into the far north Arctic.” Hidden Valley reflected in Brooks Ridge

From birding to backpacking, there are many things visitors can do throughout the park.  Six rivers allow for great fishing and boating opportunities.  But you will need to make travel arrangements in order to get there.  Situated north of Fairbanks, Gates of the Arctic is accessible by air or by car.  However, once you get near the park, lace up your hikers ’cause you’ll have to walk in from the road.


Sled Dogs resting while on a trip through Alaska wilderness; one site to see on MissionFiT's Challenge The National Parks! Week 8Many people think of the annul Iditerod Sled Dog Race, winding from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.  A lot of preparation for animals and sledders is necessary before one treks through the Alaskan wilderness.  Read more about this preparation and a trip NPS Ranger Laurie made with sled teams and sno-mobiles.

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