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 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
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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.

Bordeaux Ghost Town

I find that it’s often the greatest explorations that happen on the spur of the moment, without preplanning or research. Simply getting into the car or stepping out onto the trail without knowing what you’re going to find can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Often, I forget the simple joy of these unplanned wanderings, the emotional high that I can get just from setting out and driving through the woods, looking for something interesting.


I find that it’s often the greatest explorations that happen on the spur of the moment, without preplanning or research.  Simply getting into the car or stepping out onto the trail without knowing what you’re going to find can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.  Often, I forget the simple joy of these unplanned wanderings, the emotional high that I can get just from setting out and driving through the woods, looking for something interesting.

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Retracing Footsteps Buried in Snow

It’s safe to say I left a big part of myself behind on the Pacific Crest Trail when I decided to finally leave it in September of 2015. As I write about it for my book/memoir, tentatively titled I am Not a Thru-Hiker, I’m constantly brought back to my experiences hiking nearly 1400 miles of the 2663 mile trail, constantly reliving my interactions with other hikers and remembering the places that have branded themselves upon my memory for the rest of my life. Hiking the PCT was an experience like no other, and almost half a year later, I still long to be back out there, walking the lonely miles through deserts and forests and mountain passes.

It’s safe to say I left a big part of myself behind on the Pacific Crest Trail when I decided to finally leave it in September of 2015.  As I write about it for my book/memoir, tentatively titled I am Not a Thru-Hiker, I’m constantly brought back to my experiences hiking nearly 1400 miles of the 2663 mile trail, constantly reliving my interactions with other hikers and remembering the places that have branded themselves upon my memory for the rest of my life.  Hiking the PCT was an experience like no other, and almost half a year later, I still long to be back out there, walking the lonely miles through deserts and forests and mountain passes.

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A Taste of the Trinity Alps

At 10 hours from my previous home in Los Angeles, and tucked far enough away from I-5 to not even pass my radar, the Trinity Alps were a place I knew absolutely nothing about going into my hike on the PCT this past summer. When my thru-hike got derailed and I started looking at places I wanted to pick up before the summer ended, this section of Northern California wasn’t one I really looked too hard at, which turned out to be a huge mistake.

Trinity Alps

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In recently relocating to the Pacific Northwest, I find myself looking at new places for future explorations and wanderings.  I’ve spent a lot of time hiking the Olympics and Cascades in Washington and love them, have an insatiable desire to really explore the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood area, and know for a fact I need to spend like a week around Mt. Jefferson.  Above all of these places however, is the intrigue of the Trinity Alps in Northern California.

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