They Play This Song

There's something sweetly sentimental and inspiring and downright toe-tappingly awesome about The Okee Dokee Brothers. These guys love the trail...and love their music. And we love them.

Here's the backstory: behind the scenes, Tmber is made up of some pretty great people (if we say so ourselves), and some of us happen to be related to each other too. Which, by the way, really does make us one happy hiking family. So one day, a sister gets a tip from her brother that his daughter – her niece – is digging this bluegrass band. Next thing you know, half the family buys tickets to see said band in concert in Seattle. The grandparents buy a CD, another brother downloads a song or two, and the other sister's kids come home humming some new tunes. End result? Three generations, all singing and wiggling along to The Okee Dokee Brothers.

Lifelong friends Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, natives of the great state of Colorado, are talented and witty and it's their mission to use their folk music to inspire young and old alike to get outside and appreciate nature. They composed their newest album, Through the Woods, as they hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail – embedding their adventures and the people they met along the way in each song. Their music videos are breathtaking and silly and funny and are bound to bring a smile to your face. Music of the people, yes, and music of the trail. We bet these guys will be playing in your home next...and we'll garner a guess that toes will be tapping away.

Photos and video courtesy of The Okee Dokee Brothers.


Where's Waldo?

With summer practically around the corner, we're knee deep in some craziness around here (more on that later). We ran across this photo the other day while doing some trail research, and were reminded that – as hiking season begins to ramp up – sometimes the people watching is just as good as the nature watching. Look close, and we think you'll tend to agree.

By the way, this sweet capture is of Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park. That's in Virginia, for those 'best coasters' out there who may not yet have ventured east. Photo credit unknown.


Diablo Lake

Highway 20

Clearing of Highway 20 is slated to start March 31. That means we're six short weeks away from the golden gateway into the North Cascades opening. NOCA! Our collective heart just skipped a beat. Follow the progress (amazing!) visually on the WSDOT's flickr page

That image of Diablo Lake above was taken from a viewpoint along the highway a couple years back. A viewpoint! You don't even have to leave your car for that. Imagine what you can see from the trail. Let the daydreaming commence.


Without Walls

Urban Outfitters is heading outdoors. Limited to just a few stores and the internet, Without Walls is Urban Outfitter's curated collection of outdoor clothing and gear, bringing together brands that don't usually mingle. Think Brooks England, hitting the trail with SmartWool. Or Onzie, out for a run with Patagonia. Honestly, we think it's pretty rad.

And it doesn't stop with the merchandise. Without Walls also pieces together a community of adventurers, doing their thing and sharing their stories from the mountains to the ocean to the road. Read about a trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, as documented by Alexa Miller. Or get inspired – and get running – with UndoOrdinary, a running community based in NYC.

The only thing we're wondering is when Without Walls will make an appearance in the Pacific Northwest, the epitome of outdoor style. Just saying. Until then, we'll content ourselves with perusing online.

All photos courtesy of Without Walls | Urban Outfitters.


We say cabin, you say cozy. Or in the woods. Or perhaps logs. We're guessing that 'glass' didn't come to your mind. After reading about the Glass Cabin in La Conner, Washington, though, you can bet it'll be the first word on our lips the next time we play this fun free association game.

Designed by architects Josh Brevoort and Lisa Chun of zeroplus, the cabin is comprised of structural steel members that interconnect to create a web, seemingly draped with glass. The resulting interior volumes merge with the site, where the surrounding trees and views of nearby Skagit Bay are as much a fixture in the space as the dining table or couch. The bedrooms and bath are enclosed within the greater glass shell, with strategically placed openings framing views of trees and sky.  The best part? The cabin is available as a vacation rental, which means you can pretend it's yours for a small space of time. Cozy, in the woods, and glass, yes. Logs, not this go around.

Photos and rental info courtesy of

We think it's safe to say that the combination of good beer, trail movies, and live music could be classified as a holy trifecta in the trail world. Beginning in Seattle this Sunday, March 9, Rainshadow Running kicks off The Trail Running Film Festival. Organizers promise an evening packed with full length and short films showcasing the challenges, beauty, and community inherent in the world of trail running, live music from The Pine Hearts, and of course, beer. Can't make it on Sunday? Never fear, as (appropriately, we think) this is a festival that's on the move. Check out the tour schedule to find out when the festival will be coming to a city near you.

Sometimes a crazy idea isn't so crazy after all. Like when you decide to take your three children on a road trip for their mid-winter break. Let me tell you, don't ever let someone (or your own memories) dissuade you from piling into the car and driving long distances. Really and truly, we had a blast. I will admit that the trek out was a whole lot more exciting than the trek back, though. You get to a point where you want to hightail it home, and no one wants to add another stop to the already long journey.

Which is how I found myself looking through the passenger side of the windshield for a solid eight hours last weekend, traversing through the serene landscape of central Oregon back to the bright lights and hustle of Seattle. I was struck how the windshield became a fixed lens, filtering and framing an ever-changing view in front of me. In the immortal words of Sting, it was (practically) all four seasons in one day, each equally as engagingly beautiful as the other.

And can I ask, how lucky am I for the good man next to me who did all the driving while I pondered the hours away?

Posted by Nina Franey


Galen Rowell

Sometimes (okay, maybe a lot of the time), social media is a great mindless timesink. Entertaining, but a timesink all the same. Once in a while, though, some intriguing tidbit floats by. Maybe it's a sweet photo of your nephew wearing his homemade robot costume. Or maybe it's that article citing evidence that there's no correlation between actually reading links before sharing them (which, by the way, we find a little disconcertening). In this case, it was a Facebook game that encourages readers to share work from a multitude of artists in an effort to break up the food/baby/game reward post monotony. We like art. Why not join in the fun?

We're glad we did, because in the process, we got lost in the work of outdoor photographer Galen Rowell for a while. Actually, for a really long while. Sure, we knew his name, and a couple of his photos seemed familiar. But really – the incredible depth and beauty that this brilliant photographer captured during his lifetime is nothing short of phenomenal. We picked out some our favorites to share with you. If you are equally as hooked, visit Rowell's site here to see more of his work, and read about his life and tragic early death here.