Friday, December 13, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
Merry Christmas from the coast of Northern California! It’s been a wonderful year for the three of us. Here are some of the highlights…
January: In the silence of a late afternoon winter day, we skied into the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California, Jasper clinging to his daddy’s back. The sky was brilliant blue and the surrounding mountains covered in a mantle of snow. Soon, Jasper was giggling with delight!
February: With sunset came a sudden explosion of pink on the surrounding desert landscape near Dumont Dunes. Mike’s job as a BLM ranger continues to take him on many adventures, mostly locally on the beaches and in coastal mountains of Northern California, but also occasionally on details to the deserts of Nevada and Southern California.
March: With a big smile on his face, Jasper splashed around the pool…a now familiar scene to him as he completed his 1st swimming class.
April: The scene was perfect for a celebration: turquoise-blue river, a surrounding hillside of redwood trees and a cozy cabin. We were on the edge of the Chetco River in Southern Oregon for a celebration of Jasper’s first year of life!
May: As the sun dropped into the Pacific Ocean, we climbed to the rocky summit of Bear Basin Butte, then spent the night in the nearby lookout cabin.
July: Wildflowers danced in the warm sunshine and cool breeze at the edge of a stunning sub-alpine lake in the heart of the Trinity Mountains, our home for the night. It was one of those glorious summer days that seem to go on forever. Slowly, the sun dropped past the mountains to the west, the sky turned a deep red and faded to black as countless stars appeared.
August: After four days of lonely ridges and wild lakes, a view like no other lay before me. Crater Lake is a jewel rimmed by rugged mountains…a scene no words can truly describe. Susanna, Jasper and our friend Rori camped in the area for 8 nights while acting as our support crew, as my brother and I had an epic Pacific Crest Trail adventure in the wilderness of Southern Oregon.
October: Dark clouds swirled about the rocky, rugged peaks of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We walked slowly around a small lake gazing at the brilliant yellow leaves surrounding us.
November: A light rain was falling as we turned the corner into a steep-walled canyon. Elk tracks dotted the nearby meadow and massive redwood trees covered the surrounding hills. There was a late-fall hush in the wilds of Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
December: A deep quiet has descended upon the redwoods of Northern California. The cold, wet winter has begun. Even inside our cozy home, I can hear the roar of the ocean, just a mile or so away. We thank God every day for our wonderful family and the beauty of His creation all around us.
We hope you have all had an incredible 2013 and hope to see you in 2014!
Mike, Susanna and Jasper
Friday, November 8, 2013
|Virginia: Great Falls Park|
|Maryland: Catoctin Mountain Park|
|Rhode Island: Burlingame State Park|
|Massachusetts: The edge of the Atlantic in Scituate|
|Maine: Camden Hills State Park|
|Maine: Emerald Lake, Acadia National Park|
|New Hampshire: Crawford Notch State Park, White Mountains|
|Vermont: rural scene along highway 100 in the Green Mountains|
|New York: Ausable Chasm, near Lake Champlain|
|New York: Adirondack Park|
|Pennsylvania: Rickets Glen State Park|
Thursday, October 24, 2013
We began on a small dirt road north of the park and hiked south. With increasingly beautiful views, we entered in to the park and stopped for the night at Badger Flat (above photo). We watched dusk settle on a wild scene. Soon, an ancient sky of stars hung like diamonds above. Occasional stars would streak across the black sky.
The next day, we continued our hike south through recent burn areas, past sparkling lakes, along meadows, canyons and old growth trees. We swam in Swan Lake. Our campsite was just south of the park at a spectacular little rocky outcropping with views of Lassen Peak, Terminal Geyser and Willow Lake way below. As dusk settled, several Sandhill Cranes began to call, the sound echoing across the silent valley. Once again, the stars lit up a black, ancient sky. The scene was so utterly perfect it is hard to describe.
On our final day, we continued our hike south along ridges and valleys, past flowing rivers and mountains, to our final destination of highway 36, nearly 40 miles from the start. What a trip!
|Dave and I about to begin our adventure...|
|Some of our first views of Lassen Peak just north of the park|
|One of the Cluster Lakes with the charred forest surrounding it|
|Lower Twin Lake|
|Dropping in to Warner Valley|
|A dramatic view of the Boiling Springs Lake with Lassen Peak to the north|
|Dawn light from Rocky Knob, our second campsite|
|Sweeping views of Lassen Peak and the surrounding mountains on day 3|
Friday, August 16, 2013
Our trail continued on day 5 along the rim of Crater Lake. Our progress was slow as we kept stopping, taking photos and saying the word, "wow" in as many different ways as possible. It was an incredible morning, but all too soon, we were hiking north away from the lake and towards the wilds of Central Oregon.
We met back up with Susanna, Jasper and Rori just past highway 138 for some food and a much needed resupply of water. In late afternoon, we continued on in to Mt. Thielsen Wilderness.
Over the next four days, we hiked north another 78 miles past more mountains than we could count. In between the mountains were glorious lakes, some so small we could throw a rock over, some so large that we could only faintly see what was along the far shore.
Finally, with rain threatening, we climbed up to a rocky overlook of Odell Lake. Our final destination (Willamette Pass) was less than a mile away. Suddenly, a bald eagle flew by...perfect end to such an incredible trip!
|"The Watchman" (elevation 8,013 feet), the high point along the rim of Crater Lake|
|Taking in the view above Crater Lake|
|The trail north of Crater Lake...Mt. Thielsen off in the distance|
|A classic old PCT trail symbol on a huge, old tree|
|Campsite on a ridgeline with incredible views of Thielsen|
|Thielsen Creek with Mt. Thielsen beyond|
|Diamond Peak looms huge beyond Summit Lake|
|Backpacking along Diamond Peak on our final day|
On July 31, I met up with John at a PCT trailhead near Fish Lake. John had just completed a 36 mile segment from Green Springs Summit to Fish Lake (a segment I had already completed). Susanna and Jasper wished us luck and off we hiked, northbound, in to the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Over the next four days, we backpacked a little more than 61 miles. The land was spectacular, a mix of old forest, sparkling blue lakes and jagged mountains. On the morning of day four, we exited Sky Lakes Wilderness and entered Crater Lake Wilderness.
In the mid afternoon of day four, we met up with Susanna, Jasper and Rori along the rim of one of the most spectacular scenes in the world: Crater Lake! The first half of our journey was complete...
|Campsite on the shore of Trapper Lake|
|Trapper Lake with a perfect morning reflection|
|One of the Snow Lakes|
|Climbing up Shale Butte in the heart of Sky Lakes Wilderness|
|View of Devil's Peak from our lunch spot on day 3|
|Perfect lake for a swim (Cliff Lake)|
|Far off view of the mountains along the rim of Crater Lake|
|Crater Lake...certainly one of the most stunning scenes on earth!|
|Backpacking high above Crater Lake|