Oregon's Blue Mountains region contains some of the most rugged, diverse, and remote landscapes in the state. Conservationists have long tried to bring attention to the rivers, forests, prairies, canyons, fish, and wildlife that make up this remarkable region.
Our colleagues at Greater Hells Canyon Council recently dusted off the idea and created the Blue Mountains Trail. The 566-mile trail connects Joseph to John Day and traverses all seven wilderness areas in Northeast Oregon. Still in development, four experienced long-distance hikers spent last fall making two initial thru-hikes of the new route.
In this presentation, we learn more about this wonder-filled part of the state and hear about the adventures they had from walls of poison oak, traversing deep creeks, and more, all in the name of building a world-class trail system.
Jared Kennedy is the co-founder and former CEO of the Outdoor Project and was formerly on Oregon Wild's board. After serving as the project lead for developing the Blue Mountains Trail, Jared is now the Development Director for the Greater Hells Canyon Council.
Renee “She-Ra” Patrick is the Oregon Desert Trail Coordinator for the Oregon Natural Desert Association. The Blue Mountains Trail was her 12th long-distance hike and she is the first to have done it solo. Renee writes about her hikes on her blog.
Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa hails from rural New Hampshire. He has hiked over 10,000 miles on long-distance trails in the US including the first thru-hike of the Chinook Trail. Whitney is the VP of Sales & Marketing for Six Moon Designs, an ultralight backpacking gear company, and is the President Emeritus of the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West. Check out his blog!
Naomi “The Punisher” Hudetz has arranged her life to allow as much hiking as possible. Her first thru-hike was the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009.
Mike “Iron Mike” Unger has hiked over 25,000 miles on long trails and routes. Along with Naomi and Whitney, Mike was in the first group to thru-hike the full route.