Monday, September 26, 2011

Pacific Crest Trail...Section J. Kendall Katwalk+++

  Once the summer turns in the Pac NW, there is no where better. Imagine sunny days in the 70's and 80's, no humidity, no bugs, and views of mountains everywhere you turn.  Take that image, then crank it up 10 notches and you would find yourself on the PCT.  Something every person should experience at least once in a lifetime, if not multiple times. I can only use amazing or wow so many times but it would not register by picks alone.  At times during the hike, the sights that lay before me cannot possibly be real. Too many times before have I thought this very sentiment during my adventures in the Pac NW and yet something inside tells me the exact same thing...This cannot be real, I cannot be living and experiencing such unbelievable sights.
  Yet, this is my life.
  Several years ago I turned to nature as my life, seemingly turned from great to downright terrible. Love lost can hit a person hard. It always hits me harder for some reason.  My saving grace was going out, seeking the beauty around me that I see everyday, the Cascades, Olympics, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Puget Sound, Lake Washington...etc. I called it my 'weekly medication,' as it seemed to work better than any anti-depressent could ever do. When I am on the trail my troubles leave me behind, if only for those moments that I am in nature.
  I wanted to return to Kendall Katwalk, since this was one of those defining times that brought out the best in me during a depressed time in my life. Looking at my trail book; "The Best Hikes within 85 miles of Seattle, BEYOND MOUNT SI" and the date I was last here, it was almost 2 years to the day that I was here last.  I am not sure if coincidental or just by fate but I wanted to go further than I have the previous time, past Alaska Lake.  I wasn't sure how much further, but enough to set in my mind that I have become better, I have progressed further than I ever thought I could, and to seek the beauty that is just around that next corner, having faith that unseen beauty exists and it is present right in front of us if you choose to seek it.
  I went further than I did previously, by several miles and the amazing beauty that I saw was far more than I ever thought I would see or imagine.
  I found this quote about the same time in my life that I try to put into practice, even though it can get very difficult to do so...
  "We are all capable of things we never believed, but first we need to believe..." Jesse Itzler.

Joe Lake and Me! 

                                                        My companion on my adventures.

Beautiful wildflowers everywhere! 
Mt. Rainier looming large and blustery.

About to go over the Kendall Katwalk
The PCT in the beautiful forest.
Halfway across Kendall Katwalk to the right, beauty to the left.
Surreal alpine views and the PCT continues.
Ridge Lake is a beauty.
Reflection on Gravel Lake.
Gravel Lake.

Above Alaska Lake.
A Marmot! 
Joe Lake with PCT half way up the mountain above Joe.

Me :) 
  Until next time my friends...
Adventure on!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hiking Little Ranger Peak w/my Dad & Miss Lucy!

  I did a little research to find this hike as it is not mentioned all that often or is that popular of a hike with regard to other's in the area. I wanted to find a hike that had a good view at the top, the right length in distance/elevation so Dad could hike it without too much pain the day of and the day after, as well as a new hike that I have not done before. I do not get down to the eastside of Mt. Rainier that much so a change-up was due.
  I personally did not like the drive past Enumclaw as the entire mountain range seemingly was clear cut at some point in the not so distant past. Talking percentages, I would say 95% was clear-cut...ugly destruction. The good thing about going this route from Bothell is that one does not have to drive I-5 through Tacoma or Olympia. It is always a gamble driving north or south on I-5 which can add hours to travel on any day at any time.
  As for the trail itself, it was in great shape without any major areas of rocks or roots on its path. I would personally like to come back to this trail and include a trail run past Little Ranger Peak. The grade is not that great which make the switchbacks long and easy to hike or run for that matter.  But, this day was strictly hiking to Little Ranger Peak. Most of the trail included some secondary old-growth with the last major cutting probably around 40 years ago or so. Thankfully, some of the older trees were spared the sawtooth.
  I did read somewhere that this trail was very green and lush. I would say that it was not as it is on the eastside of Mt. Rainier therefore a large percentage of the rainfall is sucked up on the westside of the mountain. It is green but not much and not a lot of ferns and moss that is typically found in wetter climates of the west side of the mountains in Washington.  Beautiful none the less. There was one slow running stream that you will cross about five or six times on the way to Little Ranger Peak and a bigger stream; Ranger Creek on the lower portions of the trail.  Although the trail does not go directly to Ranger Creek, a short and easy scramble will lead you to a beautiful section of this stream. I would love to do a little trail blazing and follow Ranger Creek out towards the trailhead near White River for a few miles. I am sure it is a constant array of beauty along this stream with a few challanging falls along the way!

Until next time my friends...