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9 Search Results for ""hiking in washington state""

  • Mt. Rainier, Washington state Mt. Rainier, Washington state

    • From: DWaiste
    • Description:

      Mt. Rainier. in Washington state, is a lovely place to visit even in the summer.  Wildflowers are everywhere and the hiking is awesome.

    • 1 year ago
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    • From: ajjordan2
    • Description:

      Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Door County, Wisconsin is a quaint community of intriguing ancient history and lore that contains golfing grounds that once lay home to French immigrants 11,000 years ago. Named after the treacherous passage where the turbulent waters of Green Bay meet the open body of Lake Michigan, this “door” caused dozens of shipwrecks and thus gave birth to the name, Door County. Referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest by locals and vacationers alike, Door County, Wisconsin attracts thousands of golf lovers every year. The 483-square mile county is the largest county in Wisconsin, and offers a plethora of golf choices on its vast stretch of land.



      The aquatic layout of Door County grants scenic golf course landscapes. Sweeping views of the waters of Green Bay, Lake Michigan, and 400 million-year old limestone bluffs along the shorelines are some of the Door County Bluffs awe-inspiring sights to take in while golfing. Each of the 11 golf courses in the county are unique and challenging in their own way.  


      The Alpine Golf Resort features 36 holes, with the 9th hole on the Blue course famed as being the most scenic hole in Wisconsin. It features an exciting tee-off at 300 feet over a bluff, with the hole at ground level. According to Steve Habel, a seasoned golfer from Texas, the challenging Orchards at Egg Harbor is his favorite golf course in the county. The Orchards is a 72 par course with bent grass tees with at least 4 sets of tees on each hole, allowing for variable challenges. 



      Alpine Gold Course


      Golf TrailA popular destination for travelers to Door County is Washington Island, Wisconsin’s largest island at 36 square miles. Here, you can find swimming and snorkeling at one of the island’s three beaches, cave tours, museums featuring local artifacts, and Icelandic horses ready to giddy up. Also located on the island is the 9-hole Deer Run Golf Course, where chances of a deer ambling across your path are favorable. The course has been recently renovated to feature more doglegs, elevated tee boxes, and challenging greens. Another course, the 18-hole Idlewild Golf Course located in Sturgeon Bay was given a 4-star rating by Golf Digest as “One of the places to play”. The course is meticulously landscaped with lakes and elevated views of the nearby Potawatomi Park.



                                                              To experience the local’s choice for golf, visit the Bay Ridge Golf Course18- hole Peninsula State Park Golf Course. Dotted with cedar, oak, birch, and maple trees, the course offers a scenic backdrop of rolling woodlands. Views of Green Bay, Eagle Harbor and the village of Ephriam supplement this beautiful landscape. Also available in the Peninsula State Park are recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming. During the winter months, you can enjoy snow sports such as skiing and snowmobiling. Another prominent Door County golf course is the Cherry Hills course located in Sturgeon Bay. This 18-hole course offers three sets of tees on each hole, and is manicured with the popular local cherry tree.










      Door County fish boilTake a break from golf and enjoy some of the area’s off-the-green activities. Door County is one of the major contributors to the billion-dollar boating industry in the Great Lakes region. Take a sailing cruise or rent a boat at one of the marinas (Sister Bay or Sturgeon Bay). During the day, visit some of the wineries and breweries that offer free tours and wine tasting, such as Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Brewery. In the evenings, catch a performance at the American Folklore theatre (the oldest folklore theatre in the country), take part in quaint shopping in local villages, and sample boiled fish, one of the native cuisine choices in Door County. Door County fish boil


      Parasailing Door County                  Door County fish boilDoor County kayak


      Door County fish boil



      Parasailing Door County Door County fish boil











































    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Seattle Seattle

    • From: hoosierfan1997
    • Description:

      Set between two major mountain ranges, the Olympics and the Cascades, with the Puget Sound's fjord-like waters to the west and massive Lake Washington to the east, Seattle has one of the most dramatic settings of any city in the country.

      The frequent moody cloud cover can hide those jagged mountains but on clear days 14,411-foot (4297 meter) Mount Rainier can be seen from the city. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in the northwestern U.S. city.

      6 p.m. - If the clouds have lifted even a bit, there's no better place to watch the sunset over Elliott Bay than from the Seattle Art Museum's nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park on the downtown waterfront. Besides wandering about the 20 sculptures from major artists like Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson and Richard Serra, you can enjoy further views of the changeable bay by strolling along the paved trail through nearby Myrtle Edwards Park.

      7 p.m. - Head up to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and start the weekend with cocktails at Tavern Law, named by GQ Magazine as one of the 25 best bars in America.

      There are plenty of handcrafted cocktails to enjoy in the Prohibition-era surroundings, but celebrate the start of your getaway with a custom champagne cocktail. Peruse the menu. The oxtail banh mi sandwich, based on Vietnamese tradition, will give you a taste of the Pacific Rim influence that figures in so many Seattle menus.

      9 p.m. - Seattle takes its jazz seriously and there's no better spot than Dimitriou's Jazz Alley downtown to hear it. With any luck, a musician like Grammy Award-winning Arturo Sandoval will be holding court. Or maybe you'll catch the funky horn-driven Tower of Power.

      9 a.m. - Fortify yourself for the day ahead with one of the best Mexican breakfasts anywhere at Senor Moose in the lively Ballard neighborhood. The crowded restaurant offers breakfast specialties culled from regions throughout Mexico. Try the outstanding huevos motuleos with black beans inspired by the Yucatan breakfast staple. Even though it's early, go ahead and get an order of the flawless guacamole and chips. It's surprisingly good with a cup of Senor Moose's strong coffee.

      11 a.m. - Get a sense of Ballard's historic status as Seattle's Scandinavian neighborhood at the Nordic Heritage Museum and at stops such as the shop Scandinavian Specialties, where you can pick up house-made cured meats, homemade Swedish meatballs and a bowl of traditional yellow split pea soup.

      Ballard also has a lively shopping scene.  KAVU, a local Seattle clothing and gear company, offers the quintessential Northwest look, with hip interpretations of outdoorsy style clothes. Stop at The Secret Garden Bookshop which has a carefully chosen selection of books for children and adults. For lunch, head to the nearby Ray's Boathouse Cafe with views for which Seattle is famous, along with the seafood.

      3 p.m. - Spend the next two hours absorbing more of Asia's influence on Seattle at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The museum, which is situated in lovely Volunteer Park, showcases exquisite art from various centuries and numerous counties in Asia.

      5 p.m. - Continue your exploration of Seattle's hot cocktail scene at the Zig Zag Cafe tucked away behind the Pike Place Market. Try the One Legged Duck, a blend of Rye Whiskey, Dubonnet, Mandarine Napoleon and Fernet Branca. Order a plate of marinated olives to go with it, or try the cheese plate. Much of the food on the menu is sourced at the Pike Place Market.

      7 p.m. - Since you're already at Pike Place, head to Matt's in the Market on the third floor of the Corner Market Building, where the food matches the view. Meat lovers can try the Pork Belly Confit with kimchi broth. For those who prefer seafood try the clams with chorizo and cava or order anything with Dungeness crab or perhaps some oysters on the half shell. For a larger plate try the seafood stew.

      9 p.m. - For a great evening head to the Triple Door in the heart of downtown Seattle, which offers music ranging from pop chanteuse crooners to Apple Jam, a group presenting a critically praised tribute to the Beatles.  A great wine list is available, along with excellent cocktails and Southeast Asian inspired plates. The satays are a perennial favorite.



      10 a.m. - For brunch try Salty's at Alki in West Seattle. It can be crowded, but the views and lavish assortment of Northwest foods on offer more than make up for it, including piles of Dungeness crab and smoked salmon, along with brunch staples like Eggs Benedict and Belgian waffles. Afterwards walk for miles along the waterfront through Alki, Seattle's premiere people watching neighborhood and beach scene. Seals often pop their heads up here, and you'll see ferries chugging off to local islands.

      1 p.m. - Seattle is a book lover's town, and readers have many fine bookstores to visit. Seattle Mystery Bookshop in historic Pioneer Square is one of the best and offers both new and used books. Passionate, friendly staff can help you find the perfect read.

      For an excellent general selection, Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill has the goods, many with staff recommendations, plus a great selection of unique cards. It's easy to lose yourself in the stacks, so keep an eye on the clock if you need catch a flight.




      With booming family-friendly popularity, Seattle is an urban playground with wide open appeal for outdoor lovers. If you enjoy tall emerald forests and city parks, stunning views of distant snow-capped mountains and miles of Puget-Sound open water, you'll love Seattle. While many know Seattle as the rain capital, Seattleites boast their city actually gets less annual rain than New York or Miami. A little drizzle is no reason to miss out on exploring -- especially in summer.


      Most city attractions for kids are clustered at Seattle Center, a 74-acre downtown venue with the Space Needle, Children's Museum, Children's Theatre, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project and an indoor-outdoor amusement park. Large event fests are here; make sure to bring strollers for the little ones.

      ·         Pike Place Market. The nine-acre Market, which opened on August 17, 1907 according to its website (http://www.pikeplacemarket.com) is can't- miss for all ages as the city's heart and soul. The Market is a free National Historic District with more than 250 businesses, 100 farmers, 200 arts and craftspeople and open daily. Arrive at 10 a.m. to beat crowds. Mondays and Tuesdays are best for crafts; Wednesday-Sundays showcase amazing fresh produce. Kids love their photo with Rachel, the iconic life-sized bronze piggy. She's under the central Market clock by Pike Place Fish, where singing fishmongers throw fish.

      ·         Space Needle. This symbol of the 1962 World's Fair has an observation tower ("O Deck") at 520 feet high. Kids love scoping out Mount Rainier on free telescopes. SkyQ's interactive experience, with five touch-screen kiosks, entertains all. An often-crowded gift shop sells noteworthy souvenirs. Kids 3 and under free; kids ages 4-13 pay $9, ages 14-64 pay $16 and people over 65 years old pay $14.

      ·         Seattle Aquarium. While gazing into a 120,000-gallon aquarium, kids of all ages are astonished as they also see colorful salmon, rockfish, sea anemones and native Washington marine life. Also, there's storytelling for the youngest. On the waterfront at Pier 59, down a flight of stairs from Pike Place Market. It gets crowded, so arrive at 9:30 a.m. Kids ages 3 and under are admitted for free. Admission for youth (ages 4-12) is $10.50, and admission for adults is $16.

      ·         Pacific Science Center. This hands-on, six-acre facility is great for elementary-aged kids, with interactive exhibits and live science demonstrations. A tropical butterfly area is popular for all ages. Also, IMax movies, laser tag and the Planetarium offer an educational, yet fun way of showing kids information. Prices range from $17-$23 for adults and $10-$13 for kids.

      ·         Woodland Park Zoo. Its naturalistic settings rank the 92-acre Woodland Park among the country's top zoos with appeal to all animal lovers. Chilean flamingos, an African savanna, tropical rain forest, and covered activities such as parakeets feeding provide a full day's entertainment. Bring dollar bills for rides on an old-fashioned carousel (merry-go-round). Admission depends on the time of year. Kids under age 2 are admitted for free; admission for adults (October-April) is $11 and $16.50 during summer months. Admission for kids ages 3 through 12 is $11 during summer months and $8 the rest of the year. Be sure to rent a wagon (near admission entrance).

      ·         Experience Music Project Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. One of the world's largest collections of memorabilia from Seattle icon Jimi Hendrix. EMPSFM appeals to rockers, high school teens and parents who remember Hendrix. It celebrates American popular music genres. Also, a SpinKids Station amuses young kids. Kids ages 4 and under are admitted for free. Admission for youth (ages 5-17) is $12, and admission for adults is $15.

      ·         Tillicum Village & Tours. For a memorable four-hour evening, take a late afternoon cruise to scenic Blake Island State Park, birthplace of Chief Seattle, for a Northwest Coast Native American dance presentation. An all-you-can-eat traditional salmon bake dinner is yummy. Board from downtown waterfront's Pier 55. Kids under 4, free; kids aged 5-12 pay $30 and adults pay $79.95.

      ·         Bainbridge Island. Board a downtown Seattle walk-on ferry (about $7 roundtrip, no reservations) at downtown's Pier 52 for a 35-minute ride to charming 28-square-mile Bainbridge Island. It's a fun day trip for the family. Enjoy ice cream, coffees, lunch or picnic. Bring a stroller.

      ·         Olympic Sculpture Park. This free, downtown nine-acre sculpture park is a great spot to view Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains scenery. A z-shaped path rambles among permanent and rotating sculptures. Great for a picnic lunch with treats picked up from shops at nearby Pike Place Market.

      ·         Alki Beach Park. Kids love this true sandy free beach park, with a 2.5-mile pedestrian walkway. It's where the first white settlers arrived in Seattle in 1851. Catch a Metro Bus (Route 56) a block from Pike Place Market. Water temps average 46 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

      ·         University District Farmers market. Washington's largest "farmer's only" market is also Seattle's oldest market, taking place every Saturday throughout the year. Sample local farm foods and watch chef demonstrations. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. near University of Washington.

      ·         Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Kids love watching salmon climb up a fish ladder or catching a glimpse of a sea lion from a viewing window. Also known as the Ballard Locks, the locks raise and lower boats between fresh and salt water.

      ·         Downtown parking is expensive and is challenging to find. Keep it simple -- walk, ride Metro Buses or take a cab.

      ·         One-way streets and steady construction can cause direction confusion; ask for directions.

      ·         The city's scenic waterfront-area hills are steep. Pack each family member's most comfortable shoes.

      ·         At dusk, avoid historic Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market areas (hangouts for rowdy, alcohol-slugging vagrants).

      ·         During late spring and summer, throngs of visitors and cruise passengers frequent popular spots; arrive early in the morning. Arrange a meeting place if family members get separated.

      ·         Summer air conditioning is scarce, so plan accordingly. November kicks off the cool rainy season. In winter, dusk arrives come late afternoon.


      Other things things you should know

      ·         Seattle's Visitor Center and Concierge Services have free bookings and reservations for dining, tours, and transportation. Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Washington State Convention & Trade Center's Upper Pike Street lobby, 7th and Pike streets. 206-461-5800.

      ·         Most top children's attractions are conveniently located near Seattle Center, a 74-acre urban park, including the Space Needle, the modernistic 1962 World's Fair landmark.

      ·         Seattle's climate is refreshing from July through September. Pack a light jacket or sweater, but most humidity-free temps range from 50s Fahrenheit to the 80s.

      ·         Dressy attire not required. Seattle is casual and laid-back, with layered comfort a fashion standard.\

      ·         Multiple public parks, with green space for running and hiking (some with beaches) offer kid-friendly places for dissipating energy.

      ·         Caught in a downpour? Cool weather? The towering, downtown flagship REI, billed as the world's premier outdoor gear store, has a 65-foot freestanding indoor climbing wall. (Residents typically shun umbrellas).

      ·         At Pike Place Information Booth, corner of Pike Street and 1st Avenue, buy half-priced concert and play tickets for day of performance.

      ·         While walking downtown, have kids look for Seattle's iconic bronze pigs. Take pictures.

      ·         During the winter, rent a car for the day and take the kids skiing. Crystal Mountain has the state's highest vertical drop, along with scenic chairlift rides, hiking trails and biking trails (www.skicrystal.com). Also, the Summit at Snoqualmie has easy accessibility and lessons, both skiing and snowboarding, for adults and kids (www.summitatsnoqualmie.com).

      ·         Plan picnics after visits to the Pike Place Market area. Fresh fruits, cheese, meats and sweet treat food choices are abundant. Don't miss Beecher's for cheese near the market; kids love the homemade mac and cheese on a cool day.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Tunnel #13, Cairo, West Virgin Tunnel #13, Cairo, West Virginia

    • From: justicmf
    • Description:

      On a recent trip to Washington, DC from Cincinnati, my family took the slower, but more scenic, route on US-50 East.  We stopped overnight at North Bend State Park in Cairo, WV where we took a short hike on the North Bend Rail Trail, a 72-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail that traverses along the path of the old B & O Railroad.  Famous for its tunnels and bridges, the trail through the park is the the.site of historic Tunnel #13.  It was here in 1956 that the National Limited Passenger Train wrecked as it emerged from the tunnel.  I had been experimenting with my camera's aperture and was proud to capture this shot from inside the tunnel.  My children, Olivia and Luke,were standing in one of the alcoves used by pedestrians to avoid the train's travel through the narrow opening.  I love how the light reflects from the puddle, leaves, and brick.


    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 640
  • JackChason

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    • Since: 4 years ago
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  • Hidden Lake, North Cascades Hidden Lake, North Cascades

    • From: sheriryden
    • Description:

      A great destination for hiking in the U.S. is the North Cascades in Washington State.  One of the prettiest spots we found on a trip there in July 2009 is Hidden Lake in North Cascades National Park.  The trail to Hidden Lake starts just west of the park and climbs up to a fire tower.  This photo is a view of Hidden Lake from just under the fire tower.  Isn't it a gem?

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 1878
  • Hiking trail, Orcas Island Hiking trail, Orcas Island

    • From: billnorman
    • Description:

      Hiking trail in Moran State Park, on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands archipelago on Puget Sound

    • 5 years ago
    • Views: 924
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  • Mount Ranier in Washington Sta Mount Ranier in Washington State

    • From: mexicodave
    • Description:
      Hiking in sight of Mount ranier in the Cascade Range, Washington State
    • 6 years ago
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  • Backpacking in Olympic Nationa Backpacking in Olympic National Park, Washington State

    • From: chadallen77
    • Description:

      Campsite ona gravel bar in the Hoh River In the Beginning, We Were Ambitious

      I’d had the idea in the back of my head for a couple of years: climb Mt. Ranier in Washington State. I do a lot of hiking, including winter hiking, and Rainier is the destination of choice if you want to step things up a notch and get a taste of real mountaineering. It’s a difficult climb and it's modestly technical—there are glacial traverses, the weather can be extreme, and at 14,411 feet the summit push can induce altitude sickness. About 10,000 climbers attempt the summit each year, the vast majority of them as part of guided trips. Roughly half of these reach the summit. Alas, I would not belong to either of these groups.

      After roping my dad into the mission—he’s an avid mountain biker and I learned to love backcountry hiking from him—I started training. Running, cycling, hiking in upstate New York with a heavy backpack on the weekends. We booked the trip in March, and by the time September rolled around I was feeling confident I could make it to the top on our scheduled ascent the last weekend of that month. My dad was feeling pretty confident too: he’d been mountain biking on a regular basis and was working out in the gym. He’d pulled a calf muscle earlier in the summer at the company softball game, but assured me that it was “95% healed” by mid-August. Later that month, he was on his annual mountain biking trip in Moab, Utah, his final training push. I called my mom while he was there to get the real scoop on his physical condition. She confided that earlier in the week he had called from Moab to say that his calf was bothering him and that he had to “ride like a girl” (that’s my dad for you). This seemed inauspicious, to say the least. When dad got back from Utah I called and grilled him on the details of his physical fitness. He assured me that everything was good to go. It seemed plausible. Kind of. And then I met him at the airport in Seattle...

      He arrived a few hours before me (he lives in Michigan, I was coming in from New York), and was waiting in baggage claim when I arrived. He ambled over to greet me with what was not the minor, barely-visible limp of an old injury, but a shambling gait that clearly favored his left leg and made it look like he’d just been hit in the knee with a hockey stick.

      Mission Aborted

      The final summit push on Rainier is a 4000 foot vertical gain in a single morning, followed by a 16 mile descent the same day. Even at 95% fitness it would be a stretch, and this seemed more like 30% to me. I think the first thing I said was, “Are you kidding me?” My dad has an abiding belief in his ability to pull off anything through sheer force of will—and if willpower isn’t enough, he’ll usually try to make up the gap with duct tape and hanger wire. In this instance he had built a custom leg brace (he’s a Physical Therapist) out of plastic and machined aluminum. I was going to be climbing the most challenging mountain in the lower-48 with a do-it-yourself cyborg.

      We had a heart-to-heart on the spot, and I told him that it wasn’t really about climbing the mountain—in the end I just wanted us to share an adventure. When my brother and I were kids my dad had taken us backpacking in Washington’s Olympic Mountain range four or five summers in a row. Those trips are some of the best memories of my life, and so I suggested we bail on Rainier and do something more low key instead. I was 100% certain that we wouldn’t make the summit at that point. I think Dad was relieved—he knew I wanted to summit Rainier and that we would lose our non-refundable guide fee (next time, buy trip insurance!). But I think he also knew that summiting was out of the question for him.

      So we headed to the REI flagship store in Seattle. If you’re ever in town, be sure to check it out. Even if you’re not an outdoor junkie, it’s worth popping in to see the 65’ glass-enclosed indoor climbing wall, manmade waterfall, and mountain bike test-trails. You can also grab a decent cup of joe at the outdoor coffee shop. There’s plenty of stuff to buy for the non-enthusiast as well. If you need a new daypack and want to have a look at 200 different models, or if you’ve been dying to get your hands on a day-glow purple Nalgene bottle for your desk at work, this is your spot.

      We headed over to the U.S. Forest Ranger desk on the second floor, and browsed through the topo maps. We’d been to a lot of the prime destinations in the park on earlier trips, but with the help of the on-site Ranger we settled on a five-day, four-night backpacking trip up the Hoh River Valley to the glacier on Mount Olympus (no Greek deities guaranteed, though). We had planned to rent some of the extreme weather gear for the climb from our outfitter, so we didn’t have sleeping bags or a tent with us. Luckily, the REI store also has an extensive rental shop, so we grabbed some top-notch gear and hit the road.

      On The Trail


      Moss-covered payphoneAt the Hoh River trailhead we phoned home to mom with our itinerary (from a moss-covered payphone booth—no cell phone reception up here), did one last gear check, and set off down the trail. Our destination for the first day was a five mile hike up the trail, the aptly-named Five Mile Island.

      My dad with giant Cedar trees.As soon as we set off down the trail, I was struck anew by the scale of the Olympic forests. It’s one of the only temperate rainforests in the world, receiving an average of 150 inches of rainfall a year. I can best describe it as Jurassic—the Cedar trees dwarf anything you see on the east coast, moss covers everything, and giant ferns tower above your head.

      We’d heard that elk sightings had been frequent lately, and that large herds had been spotted along the trail. Not more than a mile in, on a section of the trail often used by day-hikers, we stumbled into the middle of a herd of 40 or more elk. I’d never seen elk that close; they're simply massive, and the bulls make a “bugle” call that sounds, well, like a bugle. They seemed aware of, but not frightened by, our presence-- and the herd gradually made its way across the trail about 10 yards in front of us. It was such a hypnotic procession that I completely forgot to reach for the camera. I swear it!

      The Hoh RiverAt Five Mile Island we set up camp on a gravel bar in the middle of the Hoh River, fired up the lightweight camp-stove and boiled some water for our freeze-dried dinner. Turkey Chili with Apple Cobbler for desert. I’ve never eaten freeze-dried food except after a long day of hiking with a heavy pack. It tastes pretty good at that point, but I have a feeling it’s only edible if your body is begging for calories. We got a chance to try out the new UV water filter I picked up at REI. Instead of treating water with iodine tablets (which take twenty minutes per liter, and leave an unpleasant aftertaste), or pumping it through a carbon filter (which are bulky and awkward), these compact, pen-shaped devices sport a small UV lamp that uses the same technology employed to sterilize surgical equipment. Using the UV lamp to purify drinking waterYou just swirl the lamp in a one-liter bottle of water for ninety-seconds and, presto—Giardia and all kinds of other micro- and macro-scopic critters that can ruin your trip are out of commission.

      The next day we hiked to Lewis Meadows, another five miles up the trail. We camped in a grassy meadow by the side of the river, and talked to some fellow hikers who had been up to Hoh Lake the day before. They claimed to have seen a dozen black bears grazing on the blueberry meadows on the slopes around the alpine lake. I’ve seen black bears in the wild before and they're amazing—but the report of seeing so many at once seemed unlikely. Nonetheless, we departed from our original plan of hiking up the valley and back to make a one-day side trip up to the lake on the following day.

      Bears, Bears, and More Bears.

      Filling water bottles at Hoh Lake.We weren’t disappointed. It was a grueling, 6-mile climb, with almost 1000-feet of elevation gain per mile. We arrived at the lake in the early afternoon, and it was everything you could ask from an alpine lake. Crystal clear, sitting in a bowl formed by the surrounding alpine meadows that led up to the four summits around the lake, and with views of the glaciers on Mount Olympus. And yes, there were bears. Elk at Hoh LakeMaybe not a dozen, but we counted at least eight. I’ve never understood how such massive animals can get by on a diet consisting mostly of berries and other flora, but this was definitely black bear heaven—there must have been fifty acres of alpine meadows absolutely covered in blueberry bushes. There were more elk to boot. It was a hard place to leave, but as the afternoon crept on we knew we had to start back down, reaching camp just before dusk.

      The next morning, Dad’s calf was feeling the strain of the previous day’s haul, so we decided to lay low and explore the area around Lewis Meadow. In sum: more elk, a lazy afternoon nap by the river, a quick dunk in the icy water, and yet another freeze-dried delicacy.

      On the penultimate day, we backtracked down to Five Mile Island. It was raining, so rather than set up camp on the exposed gravel bar, we chose a nice, dry spot under a large spruce to set up the tent. We cooked under the vestibule of the tent’s rain fly, and settled into our toasty sleeping bags. I fell asleep to the pitter-patter of rain on the tent roof, and fell asleep to the sort of pleasant, contradictory thoughts one has after four days on the trail: Why would anyone want to return to civilization? And: I can’t wait to have a cheeseburger.

      If it Rains 150 Inches a Year, Chances are You’ll See Some Rain

      Fog rolls into Hoh River Valley.About two hours later I woke up—the rain had increased in intensity and my feet were wet. In fact, the entire floor of the tent was soaked through and my thermarest was the only thing between me and the large pool of water forming inside the tent. I poked Dad until he stopped snoring and came-to: his feet were in even worse shape than mine. Tent floors are almost waterproof, but absent a groundcover sheet (and we were absent one), they’ll eventually soak through. I struggled into my rain gear, put on my headlamp, and went out into the downpour to assess the situation. The cozy spot we’d chosen under the spruce tree had two major flaws: (1) It was in the middle of a gentle downhill slope; (2) There was an inch of pine needles on the forest floor. This second flaw had originally seemed like a virtue: pine needles make a nice soft bed, and work to relieve the unforgiving cushion of the thermarest.

      Now, however, the needles were acting like a giant sponge. The water rolling downhill was being soaked up by the pine needles underneath our tent, which was in turn sucking the water out of the pine needles and into our sleeping bags. I frantically begin lifting the tent edges and scooping out pounds of sopping wet pine needles with my arms. I managed to clear things out pretty well, but now the tent floor was soaked and no longer waterproof, so the water rolling downhill and passing under the tent floor was still making things wet on the inside. I was cold, wet and tired, and none of these conditions seemed likely to improve without drastic measures. By drastic measures I mean: water diversion ditches. These are strictly prohibited within the park, because they disturb the natural soil structure and contribute to erosion. But my project was relatively small, and I was, as I said, cold, wet and tired. I found a couple of sticks that vaguely resembled shovels (in the way that sticks resemble shovels only when you’re in such a situation), and begin digging furiously. Within fifteen minutes I had constructed an elaborate network of ditches, canals and drainage pools that the Romans would have been jealous of. I crawled back into the tent, we dried out the floor with our pack towels, and I took a few minutes to watch my waterworks in action. Then I was out like a light, and didn’t wake up until the clouds broke and the morning sun started to heat up the inside of the tent.

      Walking down from Hoh LakeWe broke camp for the last time, ate some hot oatmeal, and headed back to the trailhead. Along the way we passed a couple of groups heading up the valley. We told them about the herds of elk and the swarms of bears, but they clearly thought were just spinning a yarn. I hope they were proven wrong. Back at the trailhead we packed up our gear, changed into clean clothes and headed to the closest town we could find with a burger joint.

    • Blog post
    • 6 years ago
    • Views: 9418
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