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 52 – Sunset over the Olympics, Olympic National Park

Sunset over the Olympics

Sometimes you come across a sunset that is so breathtaking, nothing else around you seems important. It doesn’t matter if you’re exhausted from a long day of hiking, or freezing from the bone-penetrating cold of winter in the mountains, or simply ready to get back on the road and return home to your bed and a much needed shower. Sometimes, you just stand and watch as the sky seems to burn with the reds and oranges of the setting sun.

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Sunset over the Olympics

Sunset over the Olympics
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Sometimes you come across a sunset that is so breathtaking, nothing else around you seems important.  It doesn’t matter if you’re exhausted from a long day of hiking, or freezing from the bone-penetrating cold of winter in the mountains, or simply ready to get back on the road and return home to your bed and a much needed shower.  Sometimes, you just stand and watch as the sky seems to burn with the reds and oranges of the setting sun.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 52 – Sunset over the Olympics, Olympic 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 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 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.