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
It’s mid-February and a rare few days of sunny weather has hit the Washington State’s notoriously wet and stormy Pacific coast. So I packed my backpack and drove west from our home near Seattle to land’s end – Cape Alava – the westernmost point in the coterminous United States and a remote point in the wilderness of Olympic National Park. (see coastal hiking information at the end of the article). 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.
While kayaking off the coast of Whidbey Island in Puget Sound north of Seattle a young seal pup swam up to examine us. After swimming around and under our kayaks he decided to jump aboard to rest awhile. No, it’s not a trained seal and we weren’t feeding him, just curious I guess.
Its mid-November and the first snows have dusted Washington State’s Cascade Mountains, but it isn’t deep yet. Still time for some day hikes into the high country. So, referring to my ancient copy of Ira Spring’s hiking guidebook, “100 Hikes in Washington’s Glacier Peak Region” I picked out an obscure hike to Greider Lakes, a pair of small alpine lakes high up in a lonely basin surrounded by cliffs outside of the tiny town of Sultan, Washington.
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
Our friends Brice and Aline stayed with us in August and September with wilderness backpacking and sea kayaking high on the priority list of things to do. So, we prepared for three backbacking trips and a day of sea kayaking starting with a strenuous trek into the glaciated peaks of the North Cascades (see A Tough Trip Through Paradise in What’s New). After that we backpacked into Mt Baker, at almost 11,000 feet elevation it’s the most heavily glaciated mountain in the United States outside of Alaska. We kayaked into the deep water of Possession Sound off of Whidbey Island north of Seattle seeing sea lions, porpoise and eagles, and finished with a short, but strenuous overnight trip to Rampart Lakes high in the mountains overlooking Snoqualmie Pass, the main highway from the east into Seattle. 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