canyonwren: (Leap)
Hiking log: Monte Cristo
Mileage: 8+
Buttkicking factor: Easy enough for anyone, really

Splitting off from the road to Barlowe Pass, up on the Mountain Loop road, there is a closed-off road with tons of warning signs. There is also an older sign with arrows pointing out the way to Monte Cristo. I'd been vaguely cognizant of it for a while, but I hadn't really been aware of it as a ghost town for a while. When I looked it up a while ago, I realized I had to go check it out. There's something absolute wonderful about abandoned places, especially off in the Cascades.

Welcome to Monte Cristo

Nature takes it back in the end. )

The full photoset. I have a number of more pics I haven't uploaded yet, but I probably will later. These were my favorites.
canyonwren: (Leap)
Hiking Log: Gothic Basin
Mileage: 9
Buttkicking factor: OMFG. This trail was built by the Monte Cristo miners who wanted to get to the top of the mountain as quick as possible. Can you say, "Steep as shit"? I knew you could! Yeah, tough trail, but I'm not hiking much else these days.
Photoset: Here for thumbnails and here to paginate.

In a sudden burst of comradeship, [ profile] dianyla and [ profile] trolleypup respectively drove up from Portland and flew up from San Francisco to spend the weekend with me. I met up with Dianyla at the local internet cafe and we killed time by going to Mukilteo and eating tons of seafood while waiting for Trolleypup's 12:30 am flight to land. We picked him up and whisked him back to my place. Not quite first thing in the morning, we headed out for Gothic Basin.

Like a cathedral in the mountains... )

And then today... )
canyonwren: (Leap)
Hiking Log: Snow Lake trail to the Lower Enchantments
Mileage: Roughly 18, possibly more

Buttkicking factor: Nearly passed out and/or vomited in the Bavarian Waffle Haus when I got down, and that had nuttin' to do with the food. This hike kicked my ass, in part because I didn't have enough time to do what I wanted to and pushed beyond all sense (for my fitness level). And it was a hella hard trail, not to mention it was raining straight from yesterday evening until I stumbled back to my car around noon today. (Actually, it kept raining past that, but I no longer cared.)

The scenery was absolutely amazing. Shangri-La, indeed. I'll post a link to my Flickr photoset as soon as I get them all uploaded.

My foray into the Enchantments )

I had a nightmare last night that Flush the Cat was hit by a car. Luckily it was just a bad dream. He came right out to meet me when I got home. He's wandering in the road as I write, though. I worry about that kitty.
canyonwren: (Leap)
Mileage: 7.2

I really wanted to spend time with my brother and parents this weekend, felt a bit obligated to do so, but also knew I would go quietly insane if I couldn't burn off some of this energy and get recharged in the mountains. I've either been working or with family the last few weeks, due to my dad's heart condition. (By the way, he's doing great. He's at home and walking about three miles every day.)

So. I hit on this great idea to get up to Bham early, pick up Tom, and head for the Mt. Baker region of the Cascades. He seemed a little reluctant at first, mainly because he's been running every day (for hours and miles over trails) and his legs were tired. I refused to take no for an answer (evil sister), and we set off pretty early yesterday for Yellow Aster Butte.

Remember, remember the damn INSECT REPELLENT! )


Jul. 5th, 2007 11:15 am
canyonwren: (Leap)

Wings, originally uploaded by Polyhex.

This is the summer of trying to discover flight...

canyonwren: (Leap)
Hiking Log: Bandera Mountain (Ira Springs Trail)
Distance: 6.5 miles
Buttkicking factor: Do not try this at home!

I was going to head out to Leavenworth again today, to catch the Chatter Creek Trail and possibly attempt Grindstone, but due to staying late at [ profile] sharkins's Solstice + 1 week bash, could not get up early this morning. A note on the bash: this was great fun, up at [ profile] sharkins's mountain hideaway. We got the bonfire to explode up to 20 feet high at one point. Christmas trees are nicely dried out by summer solstice and it's the perfect time to get rid of them.

The Mighty Tim was there. He's the reason the bash was postponed a week, as [ profile] sharkins wanted to have a Christian to roast and he was the only veggie Christian we knew. (Nice and tender!) He protested the cannibalism but agreed to give us the pleasure of his company anyway. We didn't eat him. I shall upload a picture into my Flickr account shortly to prove it. ETA: Alive, uneaten and well!

He's looking in fine fettle, living the life of the perpetual student. Only two more years until the Ph.D. is done and we all have to call him "doctor" with a straight face. I so wish I had a picture of him from our college years, swooning around while wearing a tricorn. (He probably still has the damn thing, at that.)

Anyway, I blew off Grindstone (probably saving my own life) and went up to Bandera instead. The problem with Snoqualmie Pass hikes, or hikes within an hour of Seattle, is that there are approximately 150 cars at any given trailhead. This was the case today, but I sighed and laced up my boots. The first mile or so was easy, but after that...holy cow! The trail turned mean. It was a real killer. I passed a miserable woman who bitched, "The book said this was a family trail. What did they mean? A family of mountain goats?"

I passed another woman who was walking on the trail through an avalanche field. Not particularly scary in my opinion, but with a cliff on either side. (Nothing like last week, Lynn.) She was chanting softly to herself, "I'm not scared, I'm not scared. I'm not going to die, I'm not going to die." Her boyfriend looked a little helpless, a little amused. The woman was sheet white and not joking around. I wondered why she didn't turn around. I was pretty sure she was heading to Mason Lake, because at the 2.5 mile mark, the trail branched, with a slightly more gentle path heading toward the lake.

I, however, wanted to summit Bandera and looked around for my trail. I eventually found what looked like a goat path, heading straight up (I mean, steep, ladies and gentlemen), straight up the mountain. It was actually tons of fun to climb, because you could not go fast. This was a grab-a-handhold type trail and went on forever. At one point, I looked down and saw a plane flying below me. Steep, but wonderful. It's a good thing I didn't try to take [ profile] polyhex on this trail.

The beargrass is in bloom and is outdoing itself this year. The entire mountain was alight with botanical torches and scented like lilies.

Two pics - hillsides of beargrass torches )

Going down was quicker, but a little harder on the knees. I hit sushi at Sushiman in Issaquah, bought some Lush in Bellevue, and blasted home. I'm dead tired, so off to bed. I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

P.S. Solstice party again... James has a really cool tattoo.

One more

Jun. 25th, 2007 09:26 am
canyonwren: (Default)
On the pass below Ingall's Peak -

Canyonwren and Polyhex )

We'd found an out-of-the way place just down from the pass to take some hair pics. We let our braids loose and spent some time playing with the self-timer to get a few shots. We didn't realize that the mountain goats had followed us down and a group of around eight hikers had followed them down. Quite the audience. It was a little startling when we turned around/looked up and sat all the human and non-human faces staring at us.
canyonwren: (Leap)
Mileage: Not sure... we couldn't get all the way to the lake due to not wanting to traverse down a mountainside still covered in snow. About 6, I think.

I picked up [ profile] polyhex at 8:00 am and shot out I-90 to the other side of the mountains. At Cle Elum, we turned into the Teanaway River Road and eventually ended up in the wonderful Teanaway Alpine Lakes region again. We headed up for Ingalls Lake, a roundtrip 10-mile hike. This was [ profile] polyhex's first hike, so I wanted to take it easy, but still wanted her to see some of the amazing vistas east of the mountains. Luckily, she came prepared for sun, rain and snow, as we got all of the above.

The hike up was a steady incline with a fair amount of altitude gain, but not that difficult. I don't know if my cardio health is that much improved over last year (possibly), or if the incline was really that gentle, but we made great time without killing ourselves. We hit rain at about 3 miles, then sleet and finally snow. We also hit some pretty scary cliffside trailwalking, where [ profile] polyhex reminded me that she's scared of heights. We have pretty firmly established that I'm not scared of height in the same way. Being scared of jumping out of an airplane is not technically a fear of heights.

She did great though, just sticking close behind me and keeping her eyes firmly turned toward the up cliffside instead of the down cliffside. When the snow started blowing, she gamely pulled on her Hefty garbage bag and then put up with the joshing of other hikers/climbers heading down. :D It did look pretty funny, but hey... whatever works.

About 20 minutes from the pass, I said wistfully, "I want to see a goat." Moments later, some hikers past us and mentioned that there were three goats at the summit. When we hit there, the weather miraculously cleared and we therefore took about 500 gazillion goat pictures, which I'm sure I'll bore you with later. There was a mom, a yearling kid and a brand new baby.

The rest of the trail down the other side to Ingall's Lake was steep and snowed-in enough to be unsafe without crampons or snowshoes and poles, so we hung out on the pass and ate lunch. Took some pictures of our hair, after finding a nice, out-of-the way place from the other people there. After a moment, we realized that the goats had come down to join us, and the other hikers had followed them, and we had an audience of about eight people watching us take pictures of our hair. *sigh*

We headed down shortly before the weather hit again. Dinner in Leavenworth, since [ profile] polyhex had never seen that crazy town, and home again.

canyonwren: (Leap)
A few more shots from yesterday's hike -

Wildflowers )
canyonwren: (Leap)
Iron Creek to Teanaway Ridge, just south of Bluwett Pass.
Mileage: ~8

I was going to get up before dawn to head over to the Teanaways this morning. It was pouring down rain i the pre-dawn hours, however, so I actually left town around 8:30. It's the best hiking region this time of year for a few reasons: 1) the snow is under control on the east side of the Cascades and 2) these hikes are, strangely, not covered in some of the most popular hiking books. This means that the number of people on the trail is far, far less than a hike of comparable distance that is written up. Plenty of people know about them, including the Hiking Borg (aka the Mountaineers), but my point was proven by seeing just one other car at the trailhead when I got there around 11:30 am.

However, there are a couple of different starting points to get up to the ridge, so after an hour or so, I did run into a large, fairly obnoxious group of people. I'm willing to bet a donut they were a Mounties group, with their trip leader and mishmosh of other folks. Loud, quizzing me on my route, and prone to screaming off cliffs. Oh, god. I went the other way as quickly as I could, but they still gave me a headache. This is exactly why I don't join the Mountaineers. If I were hiking with that group, I swear I'd throw myself on my sword. Or throw all of them on my sword. "Do not scream off the cliff, moron! Nobody wants to hear you! Die!"

Much prefer small groups of people I know, or no groups at all.

It was a climb, but not a particularly tough one. I spent most of the day photographing the wildflowers, which were out in abundance. I have decent shots of about 25 species and crappy shots of a few more. The larkspurs are almost completely faded, which is a shame. I always seem to miss them and they're one of my favorite wildflowers. The penstemon are also fading, but still pretty plentiful. Lupines are perking up everywhere. Balsamroot is everywhere. There is a bright pink succulent at higher elevations that someone else referred to as bitterroot. Whatever it is, it looks like cherry blossoms scattered over the rockface. Beautiful! The trillium are done, the vanilla leaf is still blooming, and there's a plethora of smaller flowers. Starflowers, triteleia, and a number which I don't know offhand. I need to start carrying a key with me.

The neatest part of the hike was the stream infested with hundreds of butterflies, however. I interrupted an actual, live butterfly parade. There were about thirty of the critters lined up along a splash of wet soil. It was a bizarre sight.

Came home over Steven's Pass again, even though I was worried about the traffic. It turned out okay, but as soon as I crested the summit at the ski area, the sunny weather turned back to rain. I guess it must have been raining on this side of the mountains all day.

Butterfly Parade )
canyonwren: (Leap)
"It's flat as a pancake," I assured [ profile] kyra_ojosverdes while selling her on the idea of driving clear out to the Washington coast for a 9.2 mile loop hike.

"Flat as a pancake, eh?" she threw back grimly as we were lowering ourselves off a cliff using various ropes tied to trees.

"Ummm.... I kind of forgot about this part," I said.

Beachwalking, petroglyphs and finding lost whales )

Hiking Log

Apr. 21st, 2007 09:45 pm
canyonwren: (Default)
Where: Dog Mountain, on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge
Mileage: 6.8, according to the website
With: [ profile] dianyla and [ profile] trolleypup

What do you do after an arduous, killer straight-up hike to the top of Dog Mountain? After 3+ miles of gluteal torture?

Why, get airborne! )


canyonwren: (Default)
Jen Kleis

November 2014



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