“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.”
I must admit that the more October days I spend in the Pacific Northwest's forests and mountains, the more I fall in love with its colorful beauty. It is not only the heartwarming yellows, golds, oranges and reds that impress me, but the ever so soft sunrays that no longer burn the skin and instead just warm the body in their loving embrace.
"Nature's first green is gold,
Every autumn thousands of nature lovers make their pilgrimage to see the golden beauty of the turning larches at Ingalls Pass. This year is no exception. The trailhead carpark was already full when we arrived at 9:30am on a Monday morning. You can easily imagine the weekend crowds.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
Located in the North Cascades, Mount Baker area, roughly 2.5 hrs' drive from Seattle, the Anderson and Watson Lakes are a real treat to experience. The trail to the lakes and back is only 6 miles long with 1100 ft of elevation gain, which makes it suitable for most hikers and backpackers.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
The privilege to see "one of the most spectacular locations in the Cascade Range" has to be earned. First, you will need to win the Enchantments overnight permit lottery, and then it will 'cost you' a climb of 2,200 feet (670 m) in 0.8 miles (1.3 km) should you choose to start from the south end of Colchuck Lake and go up Aasgard Pass. And that is just the beginning of your journey into this natural wonder.
"Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action."
August is a great month to visit the two treasures of Mt Rainier - Summerland and Panhandle Gap. Most of the snow covering the steep slopes near the top of the gap is gone, which makes for an easier access to its expansive views of the Goat Rocks, Mt Adams, and on clear days Oregon's Mt Hood.
“People used to avoid mountains, but now we seek their company. We come for the pretty sights, but also to find a place still free from those life-saving constraints.
This year July turned out to be a great month, full of adventure and joy. We visited several alpine lakes and even got to swim in one. However, our hike along the Skyline Trail in the Mt Rainier National Park became a highlight of the month.
“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.
With all the great new MTB trails around Tiger Mountain there is something fun for everyone. Thanks to the continuous building efforts of the Evergreen MTB Alliance with its numerous volunteers, we now have a variety of trails suitable for all skill levels.
Join Wellness Through Adventure on a back country snowshoe trip along the West Fork Foss River to Trout Lake and back.
Located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, near Stevens Pass in Central Cascades, Trout Lake is a popular day-hiking and backpacking destination. If you appreciate and seek solitude and have back country navigation skills, winter is a great time to visit.
Sunshine, deep blue skies, snow covered trees, and frozen alpine lakes surrounded by majestic mountain peaks were our companions on this mid-week snowshoeing adventure at Snoqualmie Pass, WA.
"What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live.
Joy was exactly what we experienced snowshoeing along the deep snow covered Commonwealth Basin Trail earlier this month. We picked this destination after careful consideration of the avalanche danger and decision to stay away from the steep slopes surrounding the area.
"Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, 'I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway.'"
New Year's Eve served us a real feast for the senses. After several days of snow showers we got a perfect, sunny day to say "Goodbye" to 2018. Despite of the heartwarming rays, it was still too cold for the bikinis, but turned out great for the snowshoes.
"Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we decide to go."
Few of us would disagree with the statement that the beauty of the mountains is addicting and soothing to our hearts and souls. This North Cascades' peak named after the local Sauk-Suiattle tribe is no exception when it comes to deeply touching the core of our being.
"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."
With all the wildfires we had this Summer, it was pretty hard to find a smoke-free view of the North Cascades. Fortunately, it all cleared in September, after a few days of long awaited rain showers. Moreover, the changing colors have been spectacular this year, making Autumn a particularly special season this time around.
"Kindness is like snow - It beautifies everything it covers."
Fantastic scenery, waterfalls, creeks, rocky switchbacks, snow fields, steep cliffs, wildflowers, rolling clouds, ice and snow covered lake = Snow Lake Adventure.
"Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed."
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.
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.
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!
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.