canyonwren: (coffee)
I snowshoed for several hours up the north side of the snow bowl today, opposite the ski lodge. It's the same general area as the trail to Lake Valhalla, but I didn't doublecheck the route and indeed, did not end up there. Upon looking at a map after I returned (yes, that's doing it backwards), it appears that if I'd gone a ways further, I would have ended up at a different lake.

It was a tough climb, but once I realized I was using my snowshoes to less than their full advantage, I figured out how to make it easy-ish. The bar behind my heel I thought was supposed to flip forward to keep my feet from sliding back. That confused me, although it's what the salesgrrl said, because my feet weren't sliding anywhere in those straps. What I realized, upon looking at their pic on the REI site, is that you're supposed to flip it straight up and use it as a heel-booster. Wow! Does that work or what! I kept heading off-trail to tackle amazingly steep slopes, and it's simply a dream. Of course, my enthusiasm led me to a couple of precarious positions, but the crampons did not let me down. I survived anyway. I did push the snowshoes far enough to seeing what their limit is. You can still slip and fall in them, but you have to really be asking for it.

I did not have my GPS up and running for this hike, and this one would have been a good test. It was very easy to leave the one general trail and strike off through the woods. I didn't let myself get too far, even though I thought it was a pretty tough place to get lost. All you have to do is head south and you hit HWY 2, after all.

canyonwren: (coffee)
For some reason, I had no lack of people offering to take my pic while up on the ridge.

I think it was my Take a Hike! t-shirt.

canyonwren: (Default)
Or rather, Snowshoeing Log: Hurricane Ridge

I did two hikes over two days, testing out my new MSRs and poles. The snowpack at Hurricane is marginally good--the further I got from the road, the better it got, and by the time I hit Hurricane Hill, the snow was pretty impressive. And beautiful. The Olympics are rugged and gorgeous--young, craggy mountains, not worn down by time. They seem wilder than the Cascades.

The snowshoes were great. )

Dungeness )
canyonwren: (In the garden)
I regret not taking my camera with me today, because I drove up to Steven's Pass to see the snow and ended up hiking up along the ridge for a few hours. Ski season is not yet upon us, so the only people up there were the teenagers and parents with young children who were playing in the snow of the parking lot, and glissading down hills to the parking lot. I hiked up and past the human noise, underneath the silent ski lift and across the bowl that cuddles the ski lodge. The mountains are only lightly white, compared to what they will be shortly, but there was a decent snow pack on the trail. The sound of absolute silence that can come in a snowfall wasn't there yet, and I intend to return with snowshoes a couple of times this winter to get away into that.

Did some qi gong, some deep breathing, and remembered exactly why it is I need to get out every moment I can.

Started feeding the squirrels and birds again at home. I phased it out over the summer, because momma squirrel was teaching her babies to rely on me for food. They've had several months to learn how to forage and also to store their goodies for winter. I know they've been building squirrel nests, because they get into the recycle bins and steal newspaper. There is shredded paper abundantly about, because they aren't too tidy about it.

I got a few birds today, and the short-tailed squirrel (Herbie calls him "Stub") came for a snack. I was pleased to see that it was just a nibble. Stub obviously wasn't hungry.

A woman at a cafe today complimented my hair and then, not even a breath later, said I should donate it. I didn't feel like explaining why her comment was ludicrous, so I just shook my head and said, "I'm NOT cutting my hair." She looked suprised. I found it sad and exasperating that she looked surprised.
canyonwren: (Default)
Hiking Log: Lake Valhalla, on the Pacific Crest Trail
Mileage: Thirteen miles, 'cause I went a little further than the lake. It's 11 miles round trip to the lake.
Buttkicking factor: Not bad...just long. I'm actually sore today even though the trail really isn't challenging in comparison to many of the Cascade hikes. The trail starts off flat for the first two miles or so, then there' s a fairly gentle climb. Short descent across the ridge down to the lake.

No valkyries included. )
canyonwren: (coffee)
Hiking Log later...I'm beat.

Lake Valhalla
canyonwren: (coffee)
Hiking Log: Glacier National Park

Cast of Characters:
[ profile] canyonwren, your heroine who drove over 1500 miles to go hiking
[ profile] kyra_ojosverdes, your other heroine
Eliza, daughter of [ profile] kyra_ojosverdes
Frank, the LJ goat

Once upon a time, in a land called, I mean Montana... )
canyonwren: (Default)
I'm being lax in my hiking log.

Hiking Log: Dorothy Lake
Mileage: the book initially said 2 m each way. After what felt more like four miles, I stopped at looked at the book again, and saw tagged onto the end something like, "Due to a flood, another 2.75 miles was added to the trail." You'd think they could just edit the mileage...? I didn't hike eight. It was probably somewhere around five or six.

I'm not going to do a full-fledged trip report. I liked the hike and it's really not that tough, but there's a steady incline that gets to you after a while, especially if it's 90 degrees out. However, there's more that I didn't like about this hike: the trail barely touches down by the lake. You have to bushwhack to get to the shore, for the most part (although the outlet spur might take you to a beach). Also, they "improved" the trail, and made it into a series of stairs and neatly log-defined paths. It's too...human-touched for me. I like a trail to be as far removed from human hands as possible, excluding some, but not all, bridges.

I'd probably do it again, but only if I wanted to stick relatively close to home. The plants were gorgeous, and there were some lovely views of the surrounding mountains once I actually got down to the lake. And a little frog kept me company as I ate my lunch.
canyonwren: (Default)
That is where I went today.

Hiking Log: Mt Pilchuck

I'm too wiped to write a detailed hiking log, but it was a tremendous day. This is my favorite local hike. It's relatively close by, but is also a climb to a definite peak with amazing vistas on all sides. There's a high amount of exposure and alpine-like plants on the way up, with almost a neverending view of the Cascades all craggy on one side and melting into the sea on the other.

It was still very snowy at the top, that rotten, melting snow that is actually more than a little treacherous. I went out on a spur ridge hike near the top, and turned back after a mile or so. Without an ice-axe, it was sheer folly. One slip and it'd be all over. It was hot, which was nice but also led to the rapid melting of the glacier. It melts from underneath, creating running streams and fragile crusts that can vanish underfoot with no warning.

Still, even if you turn back at the snowfield, it's worth it. And then it'd be worth it again to go in July or August and see it without the snow.

A fair amount of people attempting the summit today. Someone left the lights on in their Jeep Wrangler at the bottom. Luckily for them, it was a convertible, so I could reach inside and (after some effort) turn the lights off. I probably also turned their windshield wipers on. Upon some reflection, I left them a note explaining the situation, including why their battery might well be dead. The car was still there when I came off the mountain, so I don't know how that story ends.

Also handed out sunscreen. Folks, if you're going to hike in a snowfield, be sure to wear protection. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must. Also take bug repellent for the lower part of the hike. It is highly recommended for any locals, by the way. Even if you don't summit because of the snow, it's really worth it for the views.

Very tired. Did not go biking today--enough effort went into the climb.
canyonwren: (Default)
I've lived in the shadow of this volcano most of my life. Within seventy miles of this beautiful mountain that spouts steam visible to the naked eye. I've felt strange and adrift the times I've moved away from it's potentially lethal reach.

I was wandering around Baker Lake with Paul and Julie this weekend. Paul, I think, mentioned his distaste and reluctance to ever live landlocked. When you have lived on the coast your entire life, moving away is actually a strange idea. I dwelled on this a little when I moved to the Grand Canyon. But the lack of ocean didn't really hit me until I'd been there a while. And some nights, out of homesickness for the ocean, I would drive out to Mather Point around two am and just stand silently on the rim in the darkness. The only noise was the chirruping of insects and the only light was from the stars and the moon. But in that light and in that silence, I could see the ghost of the ocean that used to be there. And distant, down on the canyon floor, the twinkling light of Phantom Ranch was like a ghostly shipwreck.

I would lean against the rail and wait until I felt the ocean, then go home and go to bed.

I told that to Paul and Julie, and Julie said, "Ghost of an ocean?" with that note of intrigue in her voice.

"That's what it is," I said.
canyonwren: (Default)
Hiking Log: Delaware Water Gap

I snagged a cab to a rental car agency, snagged a car, tossed in my luggage, and set off before 8 am for the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center at the Delaware Water Gap. (Are you aware of all the different ways one can slaughter the pronounciation of "Kittatinny"? I kept calling it "Kittaninny," for starters.) This was supposedly only two hours away, but I took the scenic route up HWY 611, where cellphones do not work. Eventually, I pulled into a cemetary at the top of a hill and managed to place a call to Karenina, who I was meeting, and a Park Ranger, who reassured me that I was heading in the right direction. Nothing like driving around a state you don't know without a map.

Successfully met up with Karenina and Max (her dog), and headed up a trail from the Farview trailhead. I'd wanted to hang out by the river, but Karen was so excited about finding actual wilderness so close to home (Jersey City), that we just grabbed the first trail we found and headed up the "mountain" toward the Appalachian Trail. It was beautiful in a very early spring way. Penn/New Jersey is about three weeks behind Washington, and the trees were just beginning to think about leafing out. When they do, this entire area is going to explode in green. As it was now, it was bare and serene, and we talked and walked for a few hours, seeing barely anyone else.

We headed back when we were down to a small amount of water and Max was panting, and caravaned to Jersey City an hour away. Jersey City is the perfect place to look at the NYC skyline, as it is directly opposite the harbor from Manhattan, and Karen lives in an 18th floor condo a block from the water. We pulled up, me only a little shaken from the traffic, and prepped to go do Manhattan that night.

New York, New York! )

Back to the woods. )
canyonwren: (Default)
Hiking Log: Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
Yes, we have a petrified forest in Washington State.

And we also have petroglyphs. )

I drove over Steven's Pass... )
canyonwren: (Default)
Hiking Log: Bright Angel and Tonto trails, Grand Canyon. Some Rim trail.
Mileage: roughly 22
Buttkicking factor: Heh. The butt is distinctly rounder and firmer than before.

I set off about noon, after dubiously staring out over the rim. There was no visibility. None. It was snowing, a damp driven cold snow, and heavy fog guaranteed a definite lack of a view. After tossing the idea of cancelling around in my head for a few minutes, I gave that idea up as ludicrous and set off for the Backcountry Office. One of the rangers there turned out to be a former roommate from when I lived in the Canyon five years ago. We gossiped about everyone we knew in common while the other, impossibly young, ranger drew up my permit.

Britt-Marie said I hadn't aged a bit, upon which I felt compelled to point out the grad school-inflicted gray hairs. (Reminds me of that Dilbert cartoon, where Dogbert told a woman she looked nice and she responded something like, "Me? I look like a whale in a skirt with bad hair!" Dogbert went away whistling, thinking, "Why insult someone when it's so easy to get them to insult themselves?")

Anyway... )
canyonwren: (Default)
I'll post my hiking log later, but it was fabulous tho' extremely trying conditions. Hiked down in blizzard and white-out (fog) conditions, sheer ice on the trail. Down below we had snow below the redwall, hail, sleet, storms, wind, some sun breaks. The sky cleared up Saturday night, so I night hiked up in the starlight and watched the dawn break from the trail. It burst into the most beautiful day imaginable. There was also three inches of fresh powder over the trail, and that last mile and a half on the Bright Angel is a killer anyway. Almost no hikers.

Abandoned my faithful camp stove of ten years because two women hiked down into that mercurial weather to find out that their stove didn't work. I gave them mine the morning I hiked out, with the promise that they'll mail it back to me. We'll see, but one cannot be without a source of heat down there in those conditions. I'm such a girl scout.
canyonwren: (Default)
Mileage: 4 and a little
Buttkicking factor: Uphill, but I've done this hike so often that it just doesn't seem too tough anymore. Got my breath moving a little.

This is a hike on beautiful Chuckanut Drive heading into Bellingham, a scenic route easily overlooked if you aren't in the know. This is the way to approach Bellingham. It's so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that even if you've been along this stretch of sunny, rocky coastline before, you'll pull over in amazement at least twice.

One place to pull over is at this trailhead. It's opposite Larrabee State Park, so you can't miss it. Don't miss that, either, though. This trail takes you up first to a viewpoint looking over the islands, and then continues up to a serene little mountain lake. I'll post photos later. The only problem I have with this hike is that it's so popular it's hard to find true quiet up there, and this lake would be perfect for utter silence. If you head up early in the day, you're more likely to have the path around the lake, with the odd bench set up here and there, to yourself.

I was sitting on one of the benches, basking in the crystal-perfect reflection of the mountains and the trees in the water, when two people came up behind me. I had let my hair down from my chignon and was brushing it out with my fingers, and I impulsively asked the woman to take a photo of my hair (with my camera). She did, and then said, "You have a lot of hair."

Tangent into a rant. )

Good hike. Start work tomorrow. Sigh.
canyonwren: (Default)
Mileage: Not more than 4 miles.
Buttkicking factor: *shrug* It was up a mountain, but at such low elevation that I never felt much strain.

I've done Mt. Erie several times over the last years. First went there when I was practicing full-gear rockclimbing with CraigB and DanS, where they passed on such pearls of wisdom as, "If you feel yourself falling, yell, 'FALLING!'"

"Or, 'AAAAAAAAAAA!!!' will also do the trick."

When I did fall (and you generally do when you're first learning how to challenge gravity like this), attempting to even form a word that isn't a shriek is difficult, because somewhere, down deep inside, you don't really think that the belay is going to work, that the harness is going to hold, that you won't smash into the rock face and then, the ground. It was a lot of fun.


At Mt. Erie, I usually head at least halfway up the mountain, or even drive all the way to the top, and scramble and hike around the trails. This time, I parked at the bottom and headed up trail #215. I had the mountain to myself, and for a gray, drippy day, it was gorgeous. When I broke out into the meadow at the false summit, I could see the weather breaking out over the bay.

Not a difficult hike, but a lovely and very do-able low elevation jaunt during iffy weather. Got a bit of a workout, but more importantly, found some meditative time alone in a beautiful area.

One more pic. )
canyonwren: (Default)
Hiking Log: Wallace Falls
Distance: 5 miles
Buttkicking Factor: Up a mountain, but not tough.

A walk in the woods. )


canyonwren: (Default)
Jen Kleis

November 2014



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