After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, imagine submerging yourself in the healing energy, peace and beauty of Nature while elevating your body, mind, and soul surrounded by the supportive atmosphere of your guide and fellow adventurers. Sounds great, doesn't it?
Last December, in the spirit of the sacred economics, Wellness Through Adventure offered a new 6 week conditioning program designed to GRADUALLY elevate the participants from 100ft to 3900ft above sea level and prepare them for the 2018 spring and summer hiking seasons.
October happens to be one of the few months of the year when nature undergoes a significant change and serves a colorful feast for the eyes. One of its 'treats' is the larch tree, a rare conifer that turns golden and loses its needles in the Fall. Here, in the great PNW, the larches 'hang' high in the mountains and it takes a real hike to see them in their golden glory.
This week, we made multiple visits to Rattlesnake Lake, a local gem at the foot of the Rattlesnake Ridge (also known as Rattlesnake Ledge or Rattlesnake Mountain) located south of North Bend, Washington.
According to the Snoqualmie People's story of Prometheus, Mt Si is the dead body of Snoqualm, the Moon. The legend holds that "Snoqualm had ordered that a rope of cedar bark be stretched between the earth and the sky. But Fox and Blue Jay went up the rope and stole the sun from Snoqualm. Snoqualm chased them down the cedar rope, but it broke and he fell to his death. Fox then let the sun free in the sky and gave fire to the people. A face like Snoqualm's is visible on the rocks near the summit."
Located near North Bend and along the I-90 corridor, Granite Mountain has become one of my favorite local conditioning hikes. The trail's 3800 ft elevation gain in just over 4 miles makes it a great training hike for higher peaks such as Mt Baker, Mt Adams, or Mt Rainier.
In early January, the weather was so beautiful, that we decided to spend an afternoon in Nature and headed to Franklin Falls, located on the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River near Snoqualmie Pass.
Earlier this month, I successfully completed the Wilderness Navigation Course offered by the Seattle Mountaineers. The course combined an online class with a weekend field trip.
When I left home on a clear, early morning in mid-September, little did I know that I would end up meeting Mary, a wonderful young lover of nature on a backpacking adventure, and that both of us would receive a healing gift from a 'trail angel', called Paul, right at the foot of the magnificent Sahale Mountain. What an unexpected treat it was indeed!
Regarded as one of the gems of the North Cascades for its epical grandeur and beauty, the Maple Pass Loop does not fail to satisfy.
Earlier this month, I planned to backpack to the Sahale Glacier Camp, however despite of calling the Marblemount Ranger Station a day prior with regards to the availability of the relevant backcountry permits, heading out at 4:30am the next day, and arriving at the ranger station long before they opened, I was not able to secure a permit and decided to change my destination to Hidden Lake. As it turned out, this was exactly the best place for me to be in order to witness the glorious full Moon rises and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. As an additional bonus on the second day, I was lucky enough to stay overnight in the fire lookout itself - a longstanding dream of mine.
How I Ended up Sporting a Set of Raccoon Eyes and Earned the Right to Call Myself a Bonafide Redneck - Camp Muir
First of all, I must admit it was anything but easy. It took an elevation gain of over 4600 feet in 4 miles, my digital camera 'going swimming' in Pebble Creek, navigating the Muir snowfield through a whiteout, aching knee joints, sore feet, an altitude sickness related headache followed by mild nausea, and a general feeling of overwhelming joy of being close to the summit of the 'noblest' mountain in the PNW. In other words, it took hiking up to Mt Rainier's Camp Muir.
The boundless beauty of the PNW keeps me amazed. I have been to Mt Rainier's Carbon River Glacier area numerous times, but only recently hiked to Summit Lake (just outside of the park's boundary).
Yesterday, we visited Lake 22, a wonderland just off the Mountain Loop Highway, only 10 miles north of Granite Falls. The twisty and often rocky trail took us through old growth mountain rainforest, with several gorgeous waterfalls in close proximity to the numerous switchbacks we had to climb up to reach the lake.
Last Sunday we decided to check out Lake Valhalla, located near the Steven's Pass area and along the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). The weather did not look all that promising when we left in the morning. It even sprinkled slightly on the way to Steven's Pass, but instead of being caught in the rain, we were hiking in sunshine a great deal of the time.
Did you know that there is a natural healing modality called earthing, also referred to as grounding? It involves a simple, but mostly ignored practice of walking on the ground barefoot.
Did you know that there is a special kind of bath you can take which effects will last at least 7 days and sometimes up to a month? If not, let me introduce the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku also referred to as forest bathing.
Volumes have been written about the benefits of drinking sufficient amounts of water to prevent dehydration, but did you know that unless your intake of sodium is adjusted to compensate for the increase in water consumption, you might actually be hurting yourself and even end up with hyponatremia - a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low.
I decided to dedicate my very first blog post to SUNSHINE, which I consider the most important preventative measure against disease. We have all heard of the various benefits of Vitamin D, particularly the D3 component, however it might soon become widely accepted that the plain old sunshine 'taken' through the skin is far more beneficial to our overall health than the best D3 out there. Moreover, Vitamin D is a steroid hormone which is meant to be obtained through our skin's direct exposure to the Sun and not via any diet or supplements.