The early summer weather continued into another week, with midweek temperatures climbing over 90° - unheard of for June in the PNW. With plans for backpacking over the weekend, I spent the week carefully monitoring the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, worrying about hot dry weather. To my relief, by Friday we had some relief in the form of rain and the weekend forecast had dropped from the mid nineties down to the low seventies, with some cloudy skies thrown in for good measure. Much better hiking weather! After our foraging last weekend, Andy and I had morels to enjoy, and while I had plans to try several new recipes - including a morel risotto I still want to try out - we liked them sautéed in an excessive amount of butter and tossed into a bowl of ramen so much that we ate it for dinner twice, even with the heat!Read More
Each year, by the time spring rolls around, I find myself struggling against a desperation to break out my backpacking gear, stashed away since the previous fall. After the darkness and rain of winter, I'm itching to spend the night camped out on some wild and peaceful trail. There are always many problems with this desire; spring is a busy time for me at work, and I have several family birthdays to celebrate, so a free weekend before summer is in full swing is a rare thing indeed. The past few years, I've even had a particular trail in mind when dreaming of my early-season backpacking trips — Ingalls Creek. While many other trails in the area are still heaped with a mess of rapidly melting snow, this meandering trail in Teanaway is typically snow free for at least the first several miles. In the spring, like many other trails in the area, Ingalls Creek is decorated with a colorful blanket of wildflowers.Read More
I've already written a little about our recent night spent at Lizard Lakes, but the nocturnal drama aside, it was a great trip. While it was overcast and a little chilly as we left the trailhead, it wasn't raining - a first for us hiking this trail! I'd chosen the trail to Lily & Lizard Lakes for this trip for several reasons, but mostly I looked forward to exploring the network of trails more. I also hoped we'd get to enjoy a great sunset from nearby Oyster Dome! For a few years now, I've had a picture in my head of a dreamy solstice backpacking trip, with long days to explore a rocky alpine wonderland and a phenomenal sunset. With so much snow still left in the mountains, an alpine adventure wasn't an option, but this seemed like an excellent alternative.Read More
We had an adventure of a week! Our weekdays were mostly quiet and sunny, but I had grand plans for the weekend. I wanted to get out for at least one backpacking trip this spring, and with the summer solstice fast approaching, this weekend was it. During the week, our evenings were spent sorting through our gear and getting everything packed an ready for a early start on Saturday. For the first trip of the year, especially with so much snow lingering in the mountains, we decided to stick to a familiar lowland area - Blanchard Mountain. We've hiked the trail to Lily & Lizard Lakes twice, and knew it was a placed we wanted to camp.
We had a lovely time Saturday, getting an early start so we had plenty plenty of time to relax and explore. We spent the evening sharing a campfire with a couple and solo hiker camping near us at Lizard Lake, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and swapping stories. The excitement didn't start until late that nightRead More
On this cold, dark, autumn day, the trip Andy and I took on one of the hottest weekends of the summer seems forever ago. Normally, I plan all our hikes obsessively, especially overnight ones, checking weather forecasts daily for the week leading up the trip. Somehow I managed to avoid reading a single forecast in preparation for this trip, but I'm glad I did! If I'd known how hot it would be, we never would have gone, and even with all the extreme crowds, dust, and heat, it was such a rewarding trip!
I realized on the drive from home that I'd forgotten my paper topo map, but knew the trail was well marked to Gem Lake, and figured we could find our way based on the WTA description from there. I didn't want to turn back and delay our early start - an absolute necessity for the Snow Lake trail on a hot summer day. By the time we reached the ridge above Snow Lake, the sun was high above us, and the heat and sun were almost inescapable! Thankfully there was a little more in the way of shade as we skirted around Snow Lake, but as we began the climb up to Gem Lake, we were once again roasting. We took our time climbing to Gem Lake, taking water breaks any time there was a good patch of shade. Gem Lake was absolutely worth the climb, and we stopped for a leisurely lunch to admire the view. By the time we'd finished eating and refilling our water bottles, it was already 3:00, and according to the mileage listed on the WTA description, we were still 3.3 miles from our final destination for the night!Read More