Why solo hiking lets you see the wilderness (and yourself) in a new way.

aw15This is a great article in Backpacker Magazine about the merits and risks of backcountry travel alone. Alone, but not lonely.

http://www.backpacker.com/destinations-stories/solo-hiking/3/#sthash.6N8W6vTS.dpuf

Advertisements

Why choose? at Anderson & Watson Lakes

November and the high country is still accessible? I’ll take it! It has been a supremely soggy fall, but the temps have not fallen enough to lay down the typical dozens of feet of snow that can make alpine travel so difficult.P1080099 At the last minute I packed a map, and on that map were several 4,000ft jewels. Continue reading

Never NOT been frozen at Ice Lakes.

Once a year Gwen and I get out for an extended trip. This year it worked out to only be the long weekend over labor day; easily the single most popular weekend for backpackers and campers alike.il1The forecast was for showers the first day, some wind, 40 degree nights, and clearing by the third day. Not bad really if you have moderate protection and breaks in the storms. Continue reading

Truly a “mountain” bike…at Cutthroat Pass

I learned to ride singletrack on the sweeping bluffs of NE Iowa. While the network of trails around Decorah, IA were varied, fast, and full of solitude, they rarely offered views thanks to a dense deciduous cover. And until now, foothills in this mountainous West have been where my 2001 mtn bike has primarily traveled. P1070803P1070797

For the past 7 weeks, Ive been interning at a Physical Therapy clinic where panoramic views of the Cascades and poster-size maps of nearby mtn bike trails hang on treatment room walls. My kind of place! The therapists spend their downtime reliving their last adventure or scheming their next one via Google Maps.  Continue reading

“ReWilding” on Hannegan Peak

Having just listened to a couple of interviews of Daniel Vitalis about how to bring some wildness back into our overly domesticated lives, I was primed for a little adventure. In the mountains, that generally means either going someplace new, someplace old in a different season, or choosing a new route to an old destination.

I formulated the latter yesterday and in transcending the healthy discomfort of the unknown, was handsomely rewarded with WILDlife, world-class views, and the type of satisfaction one only finds from DIY (Do It Yourself)!P1020949Goats at left snowfield: Continue reading

Flatlanders in the mountains

This weekend we have family visiting from Iowa who obligingly packed their hiking boots…P1020548Iowa is known more for its depth than its height. Historically, there have been several feet of dark loamy topsoil covering much of the state. Unfortunately, this important resource is dwindling frighteningly fast through our subsidizing of the Big Ag juggernaut with its GPS-driven monster tractors and petroleum-fueled pharming practices.  Continue reading

Ptarmigan Ridge; impromptu reconnaissance

A crystal clear blue sky presented itself yesterday, begging a vantage from some high point. Forgoing my original plan of an easy lakeside stroll, I headed up to the nearest and highest trailhead around – Artist’s Point. This remarkable spot is typically plowed open by early summer, though some years it remains completely buried. P1020496For many folks, this is a destination in and of itself and understandably so. You clearly don’t have to go far to enjoy spectacular views. Summer sledding on consolidated sun-cupped snow is just not my thing, however. Perhaps it is an inherent lack of cushioning to my tailbone. Continue reading

Twisp, WA; home of the Lorax?

I’ve always thought the town of Twisp, WA sounded like it belongs inside a Dr. Seuss book. And truly, the idyllic mountain town always seems like a fantasy-land whenever I visit. Having spent very little time there, my distant vantage probably polishes the tangible charm to a spectacularly bright sheen. panoThe Methow valley is sun drenched, yet green, thanks to its proximity to the Cascade Crest (where: West = wet & East = dry) and a steady supply of snow melt from the high peaks. Surely this area has ranked atop lists of best places to retire for eons. I love to head East from our spongey density to this more sparsely forested landscape. Continue reading