Monthly Newsletter, Aug 2015
Our travel plans in July were interrupted with twin injuries; to my knee and then my arm. But by August I’d recovered enough from the surgeries to fix them to plan our next trips. And, to host our friends from France visiting us to go backpacking in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State (see the post Wild Western Washington in our Wild Side section). Continue reading
Our friends Brice and Aline from France came in August to visit us at our home in Mukilteo, north of Seattle, and they wanted to go backpacking. So together we planned a series of trips into the wilds of western Washington starting with a short overnight backpack trip to Ptarmigan Ridge on the shoulder of volcanic Mt Baker. After that we car-camped a couple nights in the rain forest along the Hoh River in Olympic National Park, backpacked in for a couple nights at Foss Lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and finally packed along the wild Pacific coast of Olympic National Park although we’d originally planned a longer trip deep into the wilderness of North Cascades National Park to Beaver Pass. Unfortunately, forest fires kept us out of the North Cascades. We hoped for good weather and lots of wildlife and weren’t disappointed except for smoke from the worst forest fires in decades that covered most of western Washington for weeks. Continue reading
One of the classic backpack trips into the Cascade Mountains of Washington is the hike over cascade Pass and then up to Sahale Glacier. The view over the rugged Cascade Mountains from the foot of the glacier is worth the sweat to get there.
It’s early October, the rains have started in the Pacific Northwest, but my partner John wants to bag one last backpacking trip into the wilderness before winter sets in. This one would be into the wilderness surrounding Glacier Peak, the most remote of Washington State’s major glacier-clad volcanoes. Continue reading
Tough Trip Through Paradise; I borrowed the title of Andrew Garcia’s classic book documenting his travels through the old wild west to describe our backpack trip up to Kindy Ridge, a lonely rocky highland next to glacier-covered Snowking Mountain deep in Washington State’s North Cascade Mountains. You won’t find Kindy Ridge mentioned in many guidebooks or backpacker’s trip reports. Mountaineers know of it as an access route to climb Snowking and the “trail” is an unmarked, unmaintained steep goat track kicked into the mountainside by climbers’ boots. No doubt, it is a tough trip, but it’s paradise once you finally arrive. Continue reading
The massive volcano, glaciers and forests of Mt Rainier just outside of Seattle is one of America’s oldest National Parks, established in 1899. Since then the Seattle megalopolis has grown closer and closer until now Mt Rainier National Park is only a couple hour drive from the urban sprawl of Seattle. But wilderness it is and besides its glaciers and canyons, it is known for its abundant wildlife – including bears. Continue reading
No, . . . not a weekend at the local park. Not cruising in a self-contained recreational vehicle with kitchen and bathroom. In fact, not even staying in a campground of any sort. We’re talking about car camping, . . . loading up the car or pickup truck with camping gear, food, water, and driving deep into the outback to camp for days, weeks, even months at a time. And with hundreds of millions of acres of federal public land throughout the western United States to choose from there are plenty of places to go. Continue reading
There are 1,300 miles of Pacific coastline stretching from Mexico to Canada in the states of California, Oregon and Washington. It’s a magnificent coast and gets wilder and wilder the further north you go culminating in the last 73 miles within Olympic National Park where the coast becomes a wilderness with no roads, stores, houses – just eagles, tide pools and remote ocean-side camps. My favorite part is the South Coast Wilderness out of La Push, Washington. It’s hikable all year, but winters are stormy, cold and wet. Continue reading
After days of partying at our niece’s Quinceañera (keen-seen-YER-ah) in Chihuahua, Mexico we decided to take a day exploring the towns and high desert outside of town (see post, A Girl’s Coming of Age – La Quinceañera). I borrowed my brother-in-law’s Chevy Suburban, loaded it up with aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, mother-in-law, . . . thirteen people in all, and trundled off towards the Mennonite city of Cuahtemoc (Kwah-TAY-muk), 100 kilometers away (63 miles). But before we reach Cuahtemoc, we have a couple stops to make.
When our friends from France arrived we had to go backpacking into the wilderness, no way around it. Like many Europeans, they love the vast wildernesses and parks of the U.S. Fine with me since I’m a wilderness nut myself, so I planned two trips into some of the most iconic wilderness areas of Washington State; Robin Lakes and Sahale Glacier.