100 Days of National Parks: Day 30 – Doe, a Deer; Olympic National Park

Wildlife encounters when you’re in the backcountry can be some of the most exciting, and unexpected times that you can spend in the wilderness. When I’m hiking or backpacking, I’m often lost in my own thoughts, and invariably get surprised when I come across another life along the trail, be it person or creature. Most of the time these moments are fleeting, an elk bounding up fern-covered incline above me, or a marmot scurrying behind a rock as I walk past. Sometimes these moments are terrifying, like a bear encounter in the mountains, or lifting my pack to find a scorpion the size of my hand. Rarely, though, I get the chance to really observe the animal I come across, to connect with it for more than those few brief seconds it takes for it to run away.

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Doe, A Deer

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Wildlife encounters when you’re in the backcountry can be some of the most exciting, and unexpected times that you can spend in the wilderness.  When I’m hiking or backpacking, I’m often lost in my own thoughts, and invariably get surprised when I come across another life along the trail, be it person or creature.  Most of the time these moments are fleeting, an elk bounding up fern-covered incline above me, or a marmot scurrying behind a rock as I walk past.  Sometimes these moments are terrifying, like a bear encounter in the mountains, or lifting my pack to find a scorpion the size of my hand.  Rarely, though, I get the chance to really observe the animal I come across, to connect with it for more than those few brief seconds it takes for it to run away.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 30 – Doe, a Deer; Olympic National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 22 – Glines Canyon Dam, Olympic National Park

It’s Earth Day, and I believe it’s important to not only celebrate the beauty and need to preserve our National Parks, but also to highlight the ways these parks are helping to reverse or combat some of the most serious problems facing the environment today. From the unexpected environmental gains elicited by the reintroduction of the wolves into Yellowstone, to the protection and preservation of Cryptobiotic soil colonies in Arches and Canyonlands, National Parks are at the forefront of both large and small scale efforts to prevent the wanton destruction of the natural world, which as a species we seem so determined to do.

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Glines Canyon Dam

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In the moment of crisis, the Wise build bridges, and the Foolish build Dams…

– Nigerian Proverb

It’s Earth Day, and I believe it’s important to not only celebrate the beauty and need to preserve our National Parks, but also to highlight the ways these parks are helping to reverse or combat some of the most serious problems facing the environment today.  From the unexpected environmental gains elicited by the reintroduction of the wolves into Yellowstone, to the protection and preservation of Cryptobiotic soil colonies in Arches and Canyonlands, National Parks are at the forefront of both large and small scale efforts to prevent the wanton destruction of the natural world, which as a species we seem so determined to do.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 22 – Glines Canyon Dam, Olympic National Park”

100/100/100: Day 2 – Murhut Falls, Olympic National Park

Murhut Falls

One of my favorite aspects of Olympic National Park in western Washington is the mystery of it, the inaccessibility of its treasures when compared to many National Parks. There are only a few short access roads into the park, and most of the area is only visible via overnight backpacking trip. It calls for exploration and encourages wandering more than any other park I know.

I came across Murhut Falls while wandering along old fire roads, picking up trails as I come across them. It’s a highlight of the Eastern Olympics, a towering 200′ waterfall hidden away in the old growth forest, and is just one of many examples of the secrets this enchanting wilderness has to offer.

Murhut Falls

Murhut Falls
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One of my favorite aspects of Olympic National Park in western Washington is the mystery of it, the inaccessibility of its treasures when compared to many National Parks.  There are only a few short access roads into the park, and most of the area is only visible via overnight backpacking trip.  It calls for exploration and encourages wandering more than any other park I know.

I came across Murhut Falls while wandering along old fire roads, picking up trails as I come across them.  It’s a highlight of the Eastern Olympics, a towering 200′ waterfall hidden away in the old growth forest, and is just one of many examples of the secrets this enchanting wilderness has to offer.