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′.

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

A few months back, Nicole’s dad (a.k.a. Jim) said he wanted to meet up with us and his son (a.k.a. Miles) over Memorial Day weekend and do some backpacking or hiking. He suggested Yosemite, but snow levels and full campgrounds sent us searching for alternatives. I researched other areas in California, where Nicole’s dad and brother both live, but eventually put forth the option of Zion National Park in Utah—if they didn’t mind flying.

Zion sandstone in black and white.

Jim enthusiastically agreed and we quickly purchased airline tickets, booked a hotel room, and reserved a rental car. Prices and flight times conspired to send us into Salt Lake City (a 5-hour-from-Zion drive) instead of Las Vegas (a 3-hour-from-Zion drive). We’d leave Seattle Thursday night and return Monday evening…

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Thunder Creek, 05/23/09-05/25/09

This Memorial Day Weekend marked our one-year backpacking anniversary. Last year, we spent two nights on the Olympic coast. This year, while we were tempted to try something similar, a quick filter of our newly created and creatively named “Hikes We Want To Do” spreadsheet sent the Thunder Creek trail in North Cascades National Park to the top of our list. Early season accessibility and the meager elevation gain and distance conducive to a first-of-the-season backpack will tend to do that. I penciled it in my calendar several weeks ago, and there it stayed.

Tricouni Peak as viewed from Junction Camp.

Tricouni Peak as viewed from Junction Camp.

We left the house at 05:20, after oversleeping fifteen minutes and scrambling some eggs. Since we’d be spending the night–two, actually–within the National Park, we had to stop at the ranger station in Marblemount to pick up our permits. At 07:15 we pulled up to the ranger station and got in line behind the several parties that had arrived before us. (The ranger station opened at 07:00.) Their destinations were varied, but there was a common answer to one of the ranger’s questions: Subaru. The repetition became quite comical by the end of the line. We were the end of the line.

I’d read somewhere on NWHikers that Tricouni Camp was nice, and when the ranger said there were only two sites at that camp, I was sold. It also helped that the camp is ~7.7 miles in (according to Green Trails Map #48) and just before the most significant elevation gain of the entire trail. The ranger warned us of pesky deer, issued our permit, and we were back on the road.

At 08:10, we pulled into the trailhead at the south end of Colonial Creek Campground and hit the trail fifteen minutes later. Last year, we spent the night at the campground and went for an ill-fated day hike up to Fourth of July Pass. The first ~1.5 miles of that hike and this backpack are both along the Thunder Creek trail, so we had an idea what to expect, and I won’t elaborate on what I’ve basically written before.

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