Rudy Giecek practices what he podcasts.
And podcasts what he practices.
The avid hiker has done more than 50 episodes since creating the Cascade Hiker Podcast in his basement about a year ago.
Giecek, 40, grew up in Granite Falls, hiking the Mountain Loop trails repetitively.
“Snohomish County is a great launching pad to the mountains. Highway 2, Granite Falls, Darrington and a short drive to the North Cascades Highway. Bring it on,” he said.
He lives in Arlington with his wife, Rhonda, and their daughters, Reggie, 4, and Raichel, 8. The family owns a Pepperidge Farm distributorship, so his day job is delivering cookies and crackers to stores in the region.
He began taking Raichel and Reggie on hikes as babies. “I carried both of them on my back until they were 3,” he said.
The girls go on a hike with him almost every week. Sometimes he even takes his mom, who uses a wheelchair. Several of his podcasts are about ADA accessible hikes.
His wife doesn’t hike, “but she loves that the girls have been hiking since infants,” he said. “She always tells people, ‘Our girls don’t know a life without hiking and being in nature.’ That makes me smile.”
They join him in the podcast studio. Raichel has done three episodes of her own podcast at www.northcascadehiker.com/kids-cascade-hiker-podcast.
His podcasts are informative yet informal. He’s been known to say, “Excuse me, I’m drinking a beer here.”
Talk about your podcast.
The Cascade Hiker Podcast started when I realized that there are a ton of great stories to be told by a huge community of hikers right here in the Pacific Northwest. I liken it to scratching my own itch: If this is something that I want to listen to, then there must be others who would want to listen as well.
The hope in talking with hikers who have done some amazing trips or written some fun books is to inspire future hikers. I listen to a variety of different podcasts and saw a void when looking to hear stories from our area. The podcast format allows the listeners to really feel like they are there and a part of the conversation. They can laugh or cringe as we swap stories or talk about a continuous 2,000-3,000 mile “thru-hike.”
Some of my guests include bloggers like Shannon Cunningham, who lives in Everett, and her site www.musthikemusteat.com is about her adventures and how she is able to eat healthy on the trail. Gary Paull from Darrington is the Wilderness Trails program manager for the Mount Baker-National Forest, and in episode 27 he answers my questions about federal funding and parking issues at trailheads. Another episode was with Malcolm Bates of Snohomish and author of the book “Three Fingers: The Mountain, The Men and a Lookout.” He met all of the characters who created most of the trails and built the lookouts in the beginning of the Darrington Ranger District.
Are there many podcast devoted to hiking? List some you like.
The First 40 Miles (www.thefirst40miles.com) is perfect for folks who are just starting out, and one of the hosts is from Arlington, though they are based out of Oregon.
Sounds of the Trail (www.soundsofthetrail.com) and Trailside Radio (www.trailsideradio.com) are interviews from the trail while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail or the Appalachian Trail.
The Dirtbag Diaries (www.dirtbagdiaries.com) has some great stories of intense outdoor activities.
Are your daughters always willing accomplices or do you have to bribe them?
My girls are really starting to love hiking, though it was a struggle at first. Young kids need a reason to keep going. Us adults love the views we get from a big climb, but kids aren’t able to appreciate it and wonder, “Why did we climb all the way up here?”
Nick Lenn talks about some great tips to getting kids to like hiking in our discussion on episode 37 of my podcast.
Can anybody hike? What are some basic tips and required essentials?
Yes, anyone can hike. I even get my mom out in her wheelchair. I’ve got a list of some great wheelchair hikes that can double as kids/family hikes for starters. Find it by searching ADA hikes in the northern Cascades (www.northcascadehiker.com/ada-hikes-in-the-northern-cascades).
What are your favorite hikes?
I personally have a goal to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail in Washington. I have 115 miles of the PCT left and over 800 miles of the PNT to finish.
With the girls, we stay close to home here in Snohomish County. Boulder River Falls, Lake 22, the Ice Caves and all of the trails at Rockport State Park are very underrated.
What are some ways to listen to a podcast?
You can listen directly from the website or use a podcast app, which is the preferred method because it will automatically tell you when there is a new episode on a show that you subscribe to. If you have an iPhone, then you already have the app that I use. It is on the phone already and called Podcasts. If you have another phone, I would recommend downloading the Podcast Addict app.
If you could have a drink with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would sit down and have a drink with my grandpa, Al Christensen. He was a very accomplished educator with Edmonds School District in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. I would love to talk with him about his many accomplishments in backpacking and hiking. He was the inspiration to both of my parents, Pam and Ed Giecek.
People would be shocked to know…
That I am one of the original people involved with the social media page Skagit Breaking. My kids and I were hiking the Boulder River Trail and drove through the 530 slide area about a half hour before the slide. We hiked to the falls and came out to the road greeted by a person holding a sign saying that it was closed and we would have to go around. The person told us that there was some debris on the road and it would be a few hours before it would open. Obviously they weren’t informed very well. My oldest daughter and I got involved helping out in the town of Darrington over the next few weeks, and I was able to add a lot to the Skagit Breaking page though my connections.
What are three things in your fridge?
I like to support our local breweries and I enjoy a great beer. I have a growler of beer from River Time Brewing Co., a nearly finished growler of beer from Whitewall Brewing Co. and a four-pack of Skookum’s Murder of Crows beer.
What do you want people to know about the upcoming trail skills event in Darrington?
The Pacific Crest Trail Association is holding their annual Trails Skill College in Darrington on May 20 and 21. Those who sign up will learn various skills from instructors from Washington Trails Association and PCTA. The work will be done in Darrington and at Rockport State Park, building a bridge and tread work. One can also learn the skill of clearing logs from the trail or how a camp cooperates in the wilderness. There will be a presentation by the Backcountry Horsemen, showing how they pack gear into remote campsites to work on trails that might otherwise never get aid. Food is provided and guests from the Washington Conservation Corp, EarthCorps and the Darrington Ranger District will be there as well. More at www.pcta.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.