Monday, March 23, 2015

Sweeping Chuckanut 50k - v2

The Chuckanut 50k was my first ultra, so I guess I have a soft spot for being a part of the event. For the second year in a row I joined the old-timer sweep team led by Big Steve and cohort Andy. Kevin was able to join in and Michael from West Seattle rounded out the group.

A final few hours in sunny 60-degree weather helped forget the morning's rain and mud.

Unfortunately, there was way more garbage to be picked up this year than last...especially ripped-off gel tops.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Gorge, Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness 50k loop

Third trip down to the Columbia River Gorge with some new trails, a good group of guys and a smattering of warm spring weather.

We had a longer route planned, but the 30 miles we did still had 7,000'+ of gain; plenty for this early in the season, as it turned out. Our route started from the lower Eagle Creek parking lot: Buck Point/Ruckel Ridge, Benson Plateau, Pacific Crest Trail to Chinidere Mountain summit, Herman Creek trail to Tomlike Mountain out-and-back to summit, Wahtum Lake and exit via Eagle Creek.

Thanks to Ben for putting the route together and to Ethan and Will for coming along!

Bonneville Dam, from low on Ruckel Ridge
Heading up Ruckel Ridge; Will's photo
Will on Ruckel Ridge
Ruckel Ridge; Ben's photo
Ethan on one of the little catwalk sections on Ruckel Ridge
Ruckel Ridge; Ben's photo
Ruckel Ridge; Ben's photo
Upper Ruckel Creek on the Benson Plateau
Grassy forest on Benson Plateau
Ethan on the PCT with Adams and Rainier
Ethan's photo
Chinidere Mountain summit, with the southern Washington volcanoes
And Mt. Hood; Will's photo
Headed to Tomlike Mountain, a super fun trail
Ridge below Tomlike Mountain summit; Ben's photo
The boys on Tomlike Mountain
Ben descending from Tomlike Mountain
Falls in upper Eagle Creek
Upper Eagle Creek; Ben's photo
Will on the Eagle Creek trail; Ben's photo

Sunday, March 1, 2015

High Divide loop, Olympic National Park

The last time I was on the High Divide was 1997 as a young teen on an outdoor leadership program. I remember it being warmer; there were more bears and a healthy dose of pubescent insecurity, but equally-beautiful views.

It's another Washington classic that I unfortunately didn't make it to during summer or fall, and it's absurd to be able to do it on foot in February. Thanks to Sir Hikes and Jessica for the enjoyable day out there. 

Friday's snow was heavily windblown, resulting in some bare areas with only old, crusty snow and some fresh drifts a good 4'+. It mostly was just ankle-to-shin deep, with a few knee-deep sections, though. Never used any traction but poles were nice on some of the traversing sections. 

Deer Lake
Tarns above Deer Lake, Sol Duc valley in the background
Sir Hikes and Jessica, above the Bogachiel River headwaters
Approaching the switchbacks before Bogachiel Peak; Jessica's photo
Switchbacks before Bogachiel Peak; Sir Hikes photo
Jessica below Bogachiel Peak
High Divide above Seven Lakes Basin; Sir Hikes photo
Sir Hikes above Seven Lakes Basin with a good example of the snow drifts; trail traverses the slope below the small cliff band and toward the trees on the ridge
Seven Lakes Basin; Mount Appleton (l) and Cat Peak and Mount Carrie (r)
Sir Hikes on the High Divide

Mount Carrie (l), the Bailey Range and the Mount Olympus massif over the Hoh River valley
High Divide above Lake No. 8; Sir Hikes photo
Sir Hikes
Jessica; Sir Hikes photo
Mount Olympus from the High Divide
Descending to Heart Lake; Jessica's photo
Jessica descending to Heart Lake

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mount St. Helens north

Last week on the Loowit Ben and I convinced ourselves that the trails to the north of Mount St. Helens in the Mount Margaret Backcountry area were looking good for a long run. A cool-looking 50k was mapped and Kevin joined in.

Well, it is February. And there were some big snow drifts that resulted in steep traverses with less-than-favorable runouts. About 14 miles in we made the call that pushing on wasn't the best choice and we still made a nice loop out of day that clocked in at ~25 miles with over 6,000' of climbing.

It was another gorgeous outing with good guys and from the summit of The Dome off Boundary Trail #1 we could see Jefferson, Hood, St. Helens, Adams and Rainier; Cascade volcanoes abound!

Starting out from the Hummocks TH
Low on the Johnston Ridge trail; Kevin's photo
Johnston Ridge trail
Johnston Ridge trail
Keyhole before Coldwater Peak
Mt. Rainier from the shoulder of Coldwater Peak
Rainier, Adams, St. Helens Lake, Spirit Lake, Hood, St. Helens; from the shoulder of Coldwater Peak
Kevin descending from most of the way up Coldwater Peak
Mount St. Helens' lava dome
Above St. Helens Lake; Ben's photo

Boundary Trail #1; Kevin's photo
Below The Dome
Looking over at Mt. Margaret, from where we turned around
Kevin styling; a little bit back from where we turned around
Ben, Kevin, me; summit of The Dome
Ben descending The Dome, with Mt. Adams and Spirit Lake

Kevin's photo
Looking up Coldwater Creek into the Mt. Margaret Backcountry
Numerous creeks along the Coldwater Lake trail
Finishing up along Coldwater Lake