Thursday, July 25, 2013

On the edge of Deadfall Lake

Our fearless leader shows us the way south on the PCT!
In mid July, we ventured out in to a wild stretch of mountains east of the Trinity Alps and west of Mt. Shasta.  After a night of car camping near Scott Mountain, we began a backpacking trip on the PCT near the headwaters of Trinity River.  Our destination was a collection of beautiful mountain lakes called Deadfall Lakes, three miles in.  We spent a wonderful couple of days at the lake with a star-filled night in between.  It was a classic mid-summer trip with a warm sun and cool water for swimming.     

Arrival at our campsite:  Middle Deadfall Lake
Along the shore of Upper Deadfall Lake

Our campsite along Middle Deadfall Lake
Early morning reflection on Middle Deadfall Lake

Perfect reflection on one of the upper Deadfall Lakes
View back toward the countless mountains of the Trinity Alps

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More adventures beyond Seattle

Olympic National Park lived up to the hype!  After Port Townsend, we journeyed to Port Angeles to stay with our friends Rainey and Rich for two nights.  They work for Olympic NP and were excited to show us the sites.  We ventured up to Hurricane Ridge for a stunning mountain day of sunshine, trails, marmots and shifting fog off of the snow fields.   

The following day, under a steady rain, we ventured south to the town of Kelso.  We took a great walk in a local park, then went to dinner and a swim at our hotel.  We were awaiting one more grand adventure...Mt. St. Helens!  It was still raining the next day when we drove up toward this well-known volcano.  As the day progressed though, the rain stopped and the mountain slowly began to show itself through rapidly moving clouds.  We took a couple of nice walks and marveled at the brilliant wildflowers. 

By evening, we were back in Seattle and ready to fly back home the next morning.  Short, but sweet!
Family portrait on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic NP

Close up view of Mt. Olympus the highest mountain in the Olympics

There were many deer browsing on the early summer grasses
Fog rose mysteriously from the snow fields along Hurricane Ridge

Jasper leads us down a trail near Mt. St. Helens

A curious little boy!

Mt. St. Helens rises dramatically out of the clouds

Jasper is checking out the grasses and flowers on a hike near Mt. St. Helens

Stunning wildflowers frame Mt. St. Helens

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seattle and the land to the North

In late June, we flew to Seattle for a week-long exploration of NW Washington.  We spent the first day exploring downtown Seattle.  After an interesting stop at the visitor center of Klondike Gold Rush NHP, we explored Pike Place Market and a local park.  We then drove north to Bellingham to visit cousins, Elaine and Carl.  The rain hit the next day as we hiked in a local park to Whatcom Falls. 

From Bellingham, we drove up toward Mt. Baker.  By the time we got to the top, it seemed like we had slipped back in to winter.  Temps were in the 30's and there were piles of snow everywhere.  Ice flows hung in the lakes and a steady rain fell from a thick, gray sky.  The waterfalls were incredible.

On to Anacortes to visit friends Julie and Jay.  The following morning, the skies began to clear.  We hiked to a beautiful lake called Cranberry Lake, which was very Northwoods-like. 

We journeyed south down Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands to the ferry terminal to Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula.  By the time we made it to Port Townsend, the sun was blazing hot and the sky was brilliant blue.  As we played along the edge of the ocean, we looked forward to the adventure of Olympic National Park just around the corner...

Jasper at a local park chasing the pigeons! 

Whitcom Falls in Bellingham

A wintry world on the flanks of Mt. Baker

Glaciers through the fog on the flanks of Mt. Shuksan
Nooksack Falls near Mt. Baker

Cranberry Lake in Anacortes with Julie

Jasper excited about exploring the edge of the ocean!

The PCT in Southern Oregon

In mid-June, we traveled to Southern Oregon for two nights of camping along the Pacific Crest Trail.  After setting up camp along Hyatt Lake, Susanna dropped Jasper and I off at Green Springs Summit for the first leg of the journey, a 6 mile hike back to our campsite (northbound).  Jasper and I had a blast as we hiked through forest, alongside meadows and small lakes.  One stretch had spectacular views back toward Pilot Rock, Mt. Ashland and the Siskiyou Mountains.  Susanna set off hiking from our campsite and met us along the trail.

On day 2, Susanna and Jasper dropped me off along Dead Indian Road for the hike back to camp (southbound).  Temps were very cold for the first half of the day, but gradually warmed in to the 50's with a brilliant sun.  The hike took me along the flanks of Old Baldy with awesome views back toward Mt. Shasta.  About 18.5 miles later, I saw Jasper walking happily along the trail toward me and Susanna right behind!

After a crystal clear night with temps down to around freezing, we woke to mist rising above Hyatt Lake and Mt. Mcloughlin rising majestically in the distance.  After a short walk, we packed up and drove back to the Northern California coast. 

Little Hyatt Lake
Jasper meet me along the trail at the end of the 19 mile segment!
Views of distant Mt. Shasta from the flanks of Old Baldy

Jasper climbs the stairs down to our campsite along Hyatt Lake
Mt. Mcloughlin in the morning mist