100 Days of National Parks: Day 55 – One Does Not Simply Walk into Chinook Pass, Mt. Rainier National Park

Located on the easter edge of Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, where State Highway 410 crosses the Cascades before dropping down toward the town of Yakima, Chinook Pass is one of the major road crossings for the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington. I passed through the area in the summer of 2015 while section hiking portions of the trail through the state, amid the smoke from fires throughout the Cascade mountains that summer. As massive wildfires engulfed areas around Mt. Adams and elsewhere, thick smoke blanketed the sky throughout Washington, lending itself to amazingly apocalyptic light displays like the one above.

Read more…

One Does Not Simply Walk into Chinook Pass

Located on the easter edge of Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, where State Highway 410 crosses the Cascades before dropping down toward the town of Yakima, Chinook Pass is one of the major road crossings for the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington.  I passed through the area in the summer of 2015 while section hiking portions of the trail through the state, amid the smoke from fires throughout the Cascade mountains that summer.  As massive wildfires engulfed areas around Mt. Adams and elsewhere, thick smoke blanketed the sky throughout Washington, lending itself to amazingly apocalyptic light displays like the one above.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 55 – One Does Not Simply Walk into Chinook Pass, Mt. Rainier National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 44 – Chimney Peak, Olympic National Park

With the spring melt in full affect throughout Washington, I find myself looking toward the mountains of Olympic National Park, ready once more to get out and explore its vast wilderness areas.

Read more…

Chimney Peak

Buy Print

With the spring melt in full affect throughout Washington, I find myself looking toward the mountains of Olympic National Park, ready once more to get out and explore its vast wilderness areas.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 44 – Chimney Peak, Olympic National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 10 – First Light on North Peak, Yosemite National Park

First Light on North Peak

As I write this on a chilly Sunday morning at the Portland Saturday Market, I find myself warmed remembering the coldest morning I can ever recall out in the backcountry, beneath North Peak in the 20 Lakes Basin, on the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park.

We had hiked out to this beautiful camping spot overlooking Shamrock Lake, and set up camp the previous evening as the sun went down, and the temperatures began to drop. I awoke at 3:00am unable to sleep and freezing in the single digit temperatures that penetrated my sleeping bag and coated the tent with a film of ice. I crawled out, over my girlfriend’s dogs in a vain attempt not to wake her, and did jumping jacks on the rocky ledge overlooking the lake, watching the first rays of autumn hit the majestic peak to the west.

Sometimes the most beautiful moments come from the most discomfort, and I’ve found it’s always worth braving the cold or the elements to capture a perfect image.

First Light on North Peak

 

First Light on North Peak
Buy Print

 

As I write this on a chilly Sunday morning at the Portland Saturday Market, I find myself warmed remembering the coldest morning I can ever recall out in the backcountry, beneath North Peak in the 20 Lakes Basin, on the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park.

We had hiked out to this beautiful camping spot overlooking Shamrock Lake, and set up camp the previous evening as the sun went down, and the temperatures began to drop.  I awoke at 3:00am unable to sleep and freezing in the single digit temperatures that penetrated my sleeping bag and coated the tent with a film of ice.  I crawled out, over my girlfriend’s dogs in a vain attempt not to wake her, and did jumping jacks on the rocky ledge overlooking the lake, watching the first rays of autumn hit the majestic peak to the west.

Sometimes the most beautiful moments come from the most discomfort, and I’ve found it’s always worth braving the cold or the elements to capture a perfect image.

100/100/100: Day 7 – Three Fools Peak, North Cascades National Park

Three Fools Peak

Though technically just past the eastern boundary of North Cascades National Park, this impressive promontory is one of the last such peaks you see on the Pacific Crest Trail before making the descent to Canada from Hopkins Pass and the Devil’s Stairway. To me it is truly representative, however, of the dramatic vistas this off-the-beaten-path National Park has to offer. Only truly accessible in the summer, the mountains of the North Cascades are what I picture when I think of mountains: jagged peaks, sparkling lakes, and lush meadows abounding with wildflowers.

Following my broken leg in the Sierra section of the PCT in 2015, I spent my recovery in Washington, and attempted to get back on the trail by “flip-flopping,” tagging the Canadian border then reversing all the way back to the mountain that beat me, Mt. Whitney. I made it as far as this mountain, before the realization dawned on me that my injury was not completely healed, and I’d have to stumble back to a bail-out at Hart’s Pass some 25 miles to the south.

Three Fools Peak is my Northern Terminus, in many ways the end of the road for my thru-hiking dreams, but also the instigator for my subsequent section hiking for the following few months. I realized, after passing this mountain, that I would have neither the time, nor the physical ability, to complete my PCT adventure that summer, but that I could at the very least tag the highlights of places I’d always wanted to see, to pick up the pieces of a dream led astray. Every time I look at this picture, it reminds me that someday I’ll get beyond this point, someday I’ll make the full 2650 mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail

Three Fools Peak

Three Fools Peak
Buy Print

Marking the eastern edge of North Cascades National Park, this impressive promontory is one of the last such peaks you see on the Pacific Crest Trail before making the descent to Canada from Hopkins Pass and the Devil’s Stairway.  To me it is truly representative, however, of the dramatic vistas this off-the-beaten-path National Park has to offer.  Only truly accessible in the summer, the mountains of the North Cascades are what I picture when I think of mountains: jagged peaks, sparkling lakes, and lush meadows abounding with wildflowers.

Following my broken leg in the Sierra section of the PCT in 2015, I spent my recovery in Washington, and attempted to get back on the trail by “flip-flopping,” tagging the Canadian border then reversing all the way back to the mountain that beat me, Mt. Whitney.  I made it as far as this mountain, before the realization dawned on me that my injury was not completely healed, and I’d have to stumble back to a bail-out at Hart’s Pass some 25 miles to the south.

Three Fools Peak is my Northern Terminus, in many ways the end of the road for my thru-hiking dreams, but also the instigator for my subsequent section hiking for the following few months.  I realized, after passing this mountain, that I would have neither the time, nor the physical ability, to complete my PCT adventure that summer, but that I could at the very least tag the highlights of places I’d always wanted to see, to pick up the pieces of a dream led astray.  Every time I look at this picture, it reminds me that someday I’ll get beyond this point, someday I’ll make the full 2650 mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail

A Walk in the (Jefferson) Park

Desolation around Jefferson

In September of 2015, I found my days on the Pacific Crest Trail winding to a close. I’d spent the previous two and a half months picking up the pieces of what was supposed to be a continuous 2663 mile hike from Mexico to Canada, but was derailed by a stress fracture after less than a quarter of that. After recovering from my injury, I pushed to return to the trail, at first attempting a southbound hike from the Canadian border, then settling on a more piecemeal approach, targeting specific sections of the Trail that I’d wanted to see, but didn’t get the chance to.

In September of 2015, I found my days on the Pacific Crest Trail winding to a close.  I’d spent the previous two and a half months picking up the pieces of what was supposed to be a continuous 2663 mile hike from Mexico to Canada, but was derailed by a stress fracture after less than a quarter of that.  After recovering from my injury, I pushed to return to the trail, at first attempting a southbound hike from the Canadian border, then settling on a more piecemeal approach, targeting specific sections of the Trail that I’d wanted to see, but didn’t get the chance to.
Continue reading “A Walk in the (Jefferson) Park”