Extraordinary Outdoor Guides Author Speaks in Tri-Cities


Amphitheater Mountain above Cathedral Lakes, Pasayten Wilderness.

Courtesy of Craig Romano

Hiking and backpacking authority, outdoor writer, and guidebook author Craig Romano will be in the Tri-Cities on June 22, speaking about “Backpacking in Washington” in a presentation at the Reach Museum.

The conference, free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. and is sponsored by the Club Alpin Inter-Montagne (www.imacnw.org).

Romano has written, co-written or collaborated on more than 25 outdoor guides, mostly published by Mountaineers Books Seattleincluding a series of highly regarded and popular regional day hike guides and another series of urban hike travel guides.

Romano will share his knowledge and experiences from over 40 years of backpacking and backpacking in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

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Klapatche Park on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Courtesy of Craig Romano

His first backpacking adventure was with the Boy Scouts in the early 1970s in New Hampshire’s Lake District. Since then, he’s hiked and hiked through parks and forests from Quebec to Chile, and become an end-to-ender on Vermont’s Long Trail.

He moved to Washington in 1989 and decided to stay after a magical solo hiking experience sharing a campsite with a curious young coyote, several bellowing marmots, five bears and three moose while hiking the High Divide of Olympic National Park.

“I felt like I was in a Walt Disney movie,” he confessed. “I was addicted to the Pacific Northwest”.

Since then, he has hiked and backpacked more than 32,000 miles in Evergreen State and cycled across North America three times in 49 states and all 10 Canadian provinces.

He started ultra-running in his late 40s and has run more than 30 marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1991, and several ultra-distance races across the country, including the White River 50 Mile Trail Run near of Mount Rainier National Park.

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Hawkeye Point via Goat Ridge Trail near Packwood, Washington offers stunning views of Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens. Courtesy of Craig Romano

Even a diagnosis in 2021 of an autoimmune inflammatory disease called polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) doesn’t really slow him down. The pain was successfully treated with medication and the fear of health motivated him to review his diet, eliminate processed foods, lose weight and focus even more on his goals.

He continues to maintain a remarkable calendar filled with ambitious ultra-running events, hikes and backpacking trips. He celebrated his 60th birthdaye anniversary with four others by completing the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains – 19.5 miles, 8,600 vertical feet, seven summits and two sub-summits, in 14 hours.

Last summer he hiked the Timberline Trail around Mount Hood – 41 miles and 10,000 feet of elevation gain in 15 hours. In August 2021, he completed 325 miles as part of his annual race Hike-a-Thon fundraiser for the Washington Trails Association.

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Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus in Olympic National Park. Courtesy of Craig Romano

Romano collects data and writes mile by mile and continues to challenge himself.

“I’m working on several books and projects that get me 2,200 to 2,500 miles every year,” Romano said. “That’s what I live for. I’m going to do my best to shake things up and share what I find with others.

Romano will talk about his latest book, “Backpacking Washington 2nd Editionand showcasing a wide range of 16- to 50-mile hiking routes across the state.

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When asked to identify his five favorite backpacking trips in Washington, he replied, “It’s hard to answer because there are so many great ones – like the 80 in my book!” then he happily provided this list:

  • Cathedral Lakes in the Pasayten Wilderness
  • Image Lake in the Glacier Peak Wilderness
  • Gray Wolf Pass-Cameron Pass Loop in Olympic National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park North Loop
  • Goat Lake-Hawkeye Point Goat Rocks Wilderness

Craig also points out wonderful hiking trails in the Goat Rock Wilderness, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Mount Rainier National Park and the Wenaha Tucannon Wilderness which are all within 3-4 hours of the Tri-Cities.

Craig Romano will speak for one hour, plus time for questions.

“My talk is about where to backpack, not how to backpack. But I always insist on leaving no trace, treading light on the ground and trying to find the path less travelled,” he said. “Many routes in my book are ones that are not popular, giving hikers the chance to escape crowded popular spots.”

He is currently working on the second edition of “Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge”, spending a lot of time in and around the gorge; doing some serious ultra-running, including a 50K at Mount St. Helens and starting work on a new book about Washington’s rail trails that will have me biking and running all over the state.

He lives with his wife Heather, son Giovanni and Maine Coon Kitty in Skagit County. You can learn more about www.CraigRomano.com.

The event begins at 7 p.m. on June 22 at the Reach Museum. Places are limited so arrive early.

This story was originally published June 17, 2022 11:15 a.m.

Lola R. McClure