Back in Business

It seems that finally, after an unexpectedly long recovery from a inguinal hernia surgery, I am finally all healed up and ready to go.  After being injured for a few months, I couldn’t wait to hit the trails hard.  While it was touch and go at first, I am finally back on the trails at full speed.  Since returning to Seattle after a short stint at home in Connecticut, I haven’t wasted a moment.  I feel like a rodeo bull that’s been let out of the pen.

Recent adventures include:

Snoqualmie Falls

This was just a quick trip out to see the waterfall.  This isn’t really a hike, more of a tourist attraction.  Either way, it was nice to explore a new place.  The waterfall is tall and thunderous.  There are a few trails down to the river, which is a nice place to relax.

IMG_9671
Snoqualmie Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mt. Forgotten

This was an absolutely spectacular hike.  I chose this hike randomly, and I was not disappointed.  I had this mountain mostly to myself for the majority of the time.  This hike was very snowy at the time that I hiked it.  Heavy wads of melting snow were falling from every Douglas Fir tree around me, feeling almost like a bombardment.  I intended to go only up to a place called Mount Forgotten Meadows, which lies below the summit. However, I found the trail to the summit through the snow, and followed it all the way to the peak.  It was absolutely breathtaking!  This is one peak I will never forget.  It was very pointy at the top and there wasn’t much room to stand.  It was a true peak.  The views were outrageous.  Being the first big hike after my surgery, it definitely carried a great significance to me.  It was absolutely spectacular.

Mount Forgotten summit
Mount Forgotten summit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mt. Rainier

The very next day after hiking Mt. Forgotten, I made the spontaneous decision to drive to Mt. Rainier National Park.  I didn’t leave Seattle until around 12 pm.  I went with the intention of driving around a bit, and hiking to Comet Falls, the highest waterfall in the park.  I, in fact, missed the trailhead to Comet Falls, and it was the best mistake I ever made.  I ended up at the Paradise Visitor Center, and I made the best of it.  I hiked up into the snowfields below Mt. Rainier.  Though not far from the parking lot, I was all alone, in silence, standing beneath glaciers.  In fact, it was my first time ever seeing glaciers in person.  After staring in wonder under this powerful peak, I headed back down the road, stopping at Narada Falls to take a few pictures and place my feet on the Wonderland Trail.  I then headed down the Comet Falls Trail, and hiked up late in the afternoon.  It was an amazing waterfall, and I even got a mountain goat sighting!  I loved Rainier, and can’t wait to return!

Comet Falls
Comet Falls
Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Necklace Valley

It was only so long until I was going to sneak in my first west coast overnight.  It was time to sleep under the Washington sky, and I was given a perfect weekend to do so in May.  It was warm, with no poor weather predicted.  I had previously planned a trip to Necklace Valley so that I could pull it out and use it when the right time struck.  I headed through the valley and up to Jade and Emerald Lake.  I decided to camp at Emerald Lake.  I met a really nice couple, and we shared dinner, stories, and a campsite.  I slept under the stars with no tent, and what perfection it was.  The sky was clear, and the silence was pure.  The trip was quick and straightforward, but this was a great overnight.   It was much needed, and much appreciated.

Necklace Valley
Necklace Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granite Mountain

Hearing that Granite Mountain, exit 47 on I-90, was a strenuous hike, I was naturally drawn to it.  I wanted to go out for the day, and challenge myself.  I almost decided not to hike it, and stay at lower elevation, because the weather wasn’t looking too good.  However, I just went for it, and the skies cleared up, rewarding me for my decision.  It was a beautiful day, and the hike was pretty tough.  I had a lot of company however, but I seemed to be able to keep a pace that kept me between groups of people, rather than alongside them.  Reaching the summit was tough, as it was very snowy towards the top.  There was a way to get there through snow, and a way to get there over large boulders.  I chose the large boulder route.  It was strenuous, and reminded me of the hand over hand hiking that is sometimes required in the White Mountains.  The views to the north are unbelievable.  This is a place of great contradiction however.  Amongst its great beauty, lies a tattered and torn underbelly.  The trail is heavily eroded and switchbacks are cutoff, and there are countless informal trails. There is pollution and human food habituated animals.  This is due to this mountains heavy visitation, and a lack of education amongst its visitors.  I’m not here to judge, just share observations.  It was tough to look at sometimes, so I just tried to turn my head up and admire the view.  Oh, and there’s a cool lookout!

Granite Mountain lookout
Granite Mountain lookout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuck Lake/PCT

My most recent adventure was an interesting one, for sure!  I headed out into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness around Cle Elum, with the intention of heading up to Tuck and Robin Lakes, camping out, and looping back to my car via the Pacific Crest Trail and Cathedral Rock Trail.  Long story short, the hike up to Tuck Lake was great, but I couldn’t get up to Robin Lake due to snow/difficulty tracking the trail.  I found an amazing campsite near Tuck Lake, but the afternoon rolled into showers and thunderstorms.  The next day, I successfully made it over a gnarly river crossing on the PCT that is usually impassable this time of year, but was turned back at Cathedral Pass due to tons of snow and my inability to follow the trail.  I will admit here, off trail navigation in high elevation snowfields isn’t exactly my strong suit.  While there were some obstacles, and I didn’t get to complete my intended loop, this was still a great trip.  I had amazing views, many deer sightings, got to visit many cool sights such as Tuck Lake and Cathedral Pass/Rock, and most importantly, I got to set foot on the Pacific Crest Trail for the very first time!  This trip was characteristic of exactly what I expected when moving to Washington state:  alpine lakes and cold clear water, snow covered peaks, and picture perfect meadows!  I loved it!

First time on the PCT!
First time on the PCT!
In view:  Cathedral Rock and Hyas Lake
In view: Cathedral Rock and Hyas Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m quite happy to say, that I’m back in business.  As the weather warms, I hope you’re out taking advantage!  Happy hiking!

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