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.

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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 43 – Mist Rising from Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

Sometimes in my wanderings I find myself passing through a place at the perfect time, when the lighting and conditions are so perfect, that I have to stop and try to capture the moment as best as possible. In July of 2015, on my way to the Rainy Pass trailhead to pick up a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail, I passed over the bridge along the small spur of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, just as the sun was cresting the mountains to the east, creating a thin layer of fog that hung over the lake in an eerily beautiful haze.

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Mist Rising from Diablo Lake

 

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Sometimes in my wanderings I find myself passing through a place at the perfect time, when the lighting and conditions are so perfect, that I have to stop and try to capture the moment as best as possible.  In July of 2015, on my way to the Rainy Pass trailhead to pick up a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail, I passed over the bridge along the small spur of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, just as the sun was cresting the mountains to the east, creating a thin layer of fog that hung over the lake in an eerily beautiful haze.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 43 – Mist Rising from Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 39 – Golden Dawn – Crater Lake National Park

Sunrises over Crater Lake are always dramatic, but when the smoke from nearby wildfires obscured the sun during my visit there in September of 2015, I was treated to this remarkable scene across the lake. As damaging and dangerous as wildfires can be, I love the way they impact the light of the rising and setting sun.

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Golden Dawn

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Sunrises over Crater Lake are always dramatic, but when the smoke from nearby wildfires obscured the sun during my visit there in September of 2015, I was treated to this remarkable scene across the lake.  As damaging and dangerous as wildfires can be, I love the way they impact the light of the rising and setting sun.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 39 – Golden Dawn – Crater Lake National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 24 – Rocky Pass, North Cascades

One of the things I absolutely am excited for in the coming months is the prospect of further exploring the wilderness of North Cascades National Park. The huge glacial valleys and craggy peaks are simply magical, and walking along the ridges and through the forests of this wilderness is one of the most primal experiences I’ve ever had the joy of undertaking.

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Rocky Pass

One of the things I absolutely am excited for in the coming months is the prospect of further exploring the wilderness of North Cascades National Park.  The huge glacial valleys and craggy peaks are simply magical, and walking along the ridges and through the forests of this wilderness is one of the most primal experiences I’ve ever had the joy of undertaking.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 24 – Rocky Pass, North Cascades”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 8 – Watchman Overlook, Crater Lake National Park

Watchman Overlook

Crater Lake is Oregon’s only National Park, and stands out as one of the most impressive sights in all of the Pacific Northwest. It’s America’s deepest lake, and it’s pristine blue waters seem unfathomable perched on the rim.

I visited the park for the first time in almost 15 years in September of 2015, driving through what was left of the wildfire scorched northern forest, and sleeping out on the rim, waiting for this amazing sunrise to come up over the eastern horizon. There is something profoundly captivating about this lake and its mysterious depths, the way the water seems eternally still, dark, and full of secrets. It was one of the things I wanted to see the most when I set out on my Pacific Crest Trail hike, and I was glad to have had the opportunity to hike along the rim this past summer, truly a highlight of my year.

Watchman Overlook

Watchman Overlook
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Crater Lake is Oregon’s only National Park, and stands out as one of the most impressive sights in all of the Pacific Northwest.  It’s America’s deepest lake, and it’s pristine blue waters seem unfathomable perched on the rim.

I visited the park for the first time in almost 15 years in September of 2015, driving through what was left of the wildfire scorched northern forest, and sleeping out on the rim, waiting for this amazing sunrise to come up over the eastern horizon.  There is something profoundly captivating about this lake and its mysterious depths, the way the water seems eternally still, dark, and full of secrets.  It was one of the things I wanted to see the most when I set out on my Pacific Crest Trail hike, and I was glad to have had the opportunity to hike along the rim this past summer, truly a highlight of my year.

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
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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”