Duckabush River, 06/25/11

I spent the better part of a week in June all alone at home, with both Nicole and Adelaide back in Wisconsin, where they remained after the three of us flew out last-minute to visit my Grandpa in the hospital.  Evenings were quiet; I vacillated between missing my three-and-a-half-month-old daughter fiercely and reflecting on the time I spent with my Grandpa in my youth and as I grew up and moved away from home.

I did plan, though, on taking advantage of this time alone by doing something.  While a backpack sounded good in theory, I knew that I was out of shape, out of practice, and unprepared even as the weekend approached.  So I thought a day spent walking along a river would do well for me—I’d stroll along leisurely, set up my tripod liberally, and see how far I got up the Duckabush River before turning around and heading home.

A detail of the Duckabush River.

I like driving over to the Olympic Peninsula early in the morning: down through Olympia, up along the Hood Canal with the cruise control set just right until you begin passing through all the small towns with their pickup trucks driven out onto the saltwater flats the tide has revealed.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Rattlesnake Ledge, 05/22/11

A couple of months ago, I got out on the trail for the first time this year–a friend is getting married and, though new to Seattle, he’s in to hiking; I and several other friends went out to nearby Rattlesnake Ledge while the ladies (and the baby) had brunch.

While I can’t recall too many details from the hike, I will say it felt good to get moving—even with the fast food sitting immobile in the pit of my stomach.  We set a healthy pace uphill (and it’s all uphill) until we poked out onto the first ledge among a dozen or two dozen other hikers.

Casey overlooks Rattlesnake Lake.

The views were great, and the ledge was frightening enough to stay back from.  After a brief rest, we continued on up the trail, as we all wanted a bit more than the ~4 miles round-trip it would’ve been to the first ledge.  In just a few minutes, we found ourselves on another ledge, overlooking the first.  Here we were all alone, and so sat down and enjoyed the view for a bit longer before continuing.

Looking down on the first Ledge.

Details after this point have faded into: much more solitude, poor signage, rusty steel cable, trail becoming road, and a fair amount of snow that found its way into spherical projectile form.  At some point, sure we weren’t ever going to arrive anywhere else, we turned around and headed back down to the lake, where we skipped stones and/or soaked our feet before heading back to Seattle.

Actually, I enjoyed this hike more than I thought I would.  The company helped, but once past the first ledge, it was quite quiet.  I wouldn’t mind doing it again sometime.  Maybe with Adelaide.  Maybe soon.

Stats: ~7 miles round-trip, probably, ~1400′ of elevation gain/loss, probably.  Probably topped out around 2300′.

The Year in Review, 2010 Edition

What with the pregnancy we discovered exactly one year ago today, the Summer of 2010 didn’t end up being the most productive of hiking times.  But we still managed to eek out a few good ones last year, as evidenced by the book I just received from Apple that contains the contents of those very same 2010 posts (plus more pictures).  So, I better officially wrap it up, and create space for what we’ll surprise ourselves with in 2011:

HIkers on Cathedral's ledge.

1. Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona, 01/02/10

2. Paradise Snowshoe, 02/06/10

3. Oyster Dome, 02/21/10

4. Zion National Park, 05/28/10-05/31/10

5. Carbon River Road and Glacier, 06/12/10-06/13/10

6. Johnston Ridge, MSHNVM, 06/26/10

7. Sisters, Oregon, 07/03/10-07/04/10

8. Railroad Grade via Park Butte Trail, 07/10/10

9. Klapatche Park, 07/24/10-07/25/10

10. Rainbow Ridge, 08/13/10-08/15/10

Hey, we did some really good stuff last year!  Wonder what Adelaide will want to do this year?

2010 stats: ~90 miles of hiking, and a whole lotta pictures.

Rainbow Ridge, 08/13/10-08/15/10

After a long hiatus, I decided that if I’m to do a proper year-end post, I should probably first make a brief mention of a one-night backpacking trip we took in August with our friends Cameron and Casey.  They’d never been backpacking, and it was something we really wanted to introduce them to, so we’d long planned to go out together on the peak weekend of the Perseid Meteor Shower. With Nicole being pregnant—yes, that is why this summer was a little quieter on the site, here—and with a couple newbies along for the ride, I wanted something short, quiet, and with big skies.  Rainbow Ridge sounded like just the thing—if perhaps a little more adventurous than some participants might be expecting.  It’s a non-maintained trail…

A rewarding view from atop Rainbow Ridge.

Since we’re all now months-removed from the event, I won’t recount how we pulled off to the side of the road late Friday night to throw up some tents, only to find I’d forgotten the majority of our food.  Or our search for that side-of-the-road location.  But the skies from the side of the road that night were beautiful, and softened the blow to my ego a bit.

Read more of this post

Klapatche Park, 07/24/10-07/25/10

When I first flipped through my copy of 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park and saw Ira Spring’s photograph of Klapatche Park, the destination shot to the top of my to-hike list. And like most locations on my to-hike list, it just stayed there. I was reminded of it again last year, while watching The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which briefly flashed another Ira Spring photograph of the same location, this one from many years earlier.

The problem is, Klapatche Park isn’t all that easy to get to. In the not-too-distant past, one could park their car within three miles of it, but the road washed out twenty-one years ago and left the western side of The Mountain more isolated than most of the rest.

After walking the more recently decommissioned Carbon River Road earlier this year, I decided that it was time to walk the Westside Road and visit the fabled Klapatche. The weekend’s weather would be perfect, and from what I’d read on the Mt. Rainier National Park website, snow levels seemed pretty favorable, too.

This trip would be solo.

Read more of this post