Friday, August 30, 2013


This is my three-day weekend, weekend.  Tack on Labour Day and it's a four-day!  I've visitors coming in and no agenda.  Think low-key, relaxed time.

Sunday is the annual Dakota Five-Oh.  I am sorry I won't be lining up this year.  I am aiming for this epic race for next year.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Non Woods Weekend

For those who might think I spend every weekend in the woods, not this past one.  Instead I made a trip to Seattle on Saturday.  I needed a bedroom dresser.  I found one.  I also managed to stay clear of REI.

Also instead of the woods, I organized some bike stuff.  I am making decisions on a few bikes I have.

About a year ago I bought a his and hers Schwinn Suburban.  They are both in pretty good shape though they need some care and updating.  I think I am going to tear the wheels apart.  I'm going to update the rims to lighter and stronger materials and to ensure modern tires will work well with them.  They should be re-cabled.  I'm not sure if I'll leave the original brakes on or update them as well.

A few years back I bought a 1977 Raleigh frame.  I had it sand blasted and then powder coated.  I build it up as a fixed gear bike.  Since moving to the hilly Pacific Northwest, this is the bike that doesn't see pretty much any ride time.  I'm considering converting this into a conventionally geared roadie type bike.  Though I have bikes that are pretty much pavement types, none are lighter weight, go faster, roadie type.

Lastly, I am considering gearing my coveted single speed Surly Cross Check.  I built this bike as my commuter.  I am sort of thinking internally geared hub on the back and maybe a dynamo hub on the front.  We'll see on this.  I am very split on going gears on this bike.  I'll be thinking on this a lot before any decisions are made.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Digital Detox

While playing around on the internets, I found an interesting site.  Digital Detox.

The website is HERE.

"Device Free Tips

If you have the urge to Instagram - draw it.

Instead of Tweeting.....Share with someone near you.

Write someone a note instead of a text.

LIKE us in person."

Sound advice all around.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Since I moved here in February I've been exploring around pretty much on my own.  I have been invited to participate in some group mountain bike outings.  A co-worker has been my roadie bike ride tour guide.  But, most things and especially wilderness things, have been solo, find my own way, efforts.

In an effort to expand my opportunities and meet like-minded individuals, I've joined two organizations.  The Mountaineers is one such group.  With various chapters around this area and a huge calendar of activities, this group is right up my alley.

I also found Cascade Orienteering Club.  With an orienteering event almost every weekend throughout the year, I intend to use this as a winter activity to get/stay fit and to keep my orienteering skills sharp.  As I get to know more of the area and want to get deeper into the wilderness, map and compass skills are needed.

Since orienteering meets are timed this could be my reintroduction to running, albeit trail running.  Placing well in meets is minor, getting and staying fit while keep my orienteering skills sharp is the primary focus.  I'll start looking at their calendar a bit harder after Labor Day.

Just like there's no shortage of outdoor recreational activities to do here, there's also no shortage of like-minded types and organizations to organize events.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Backpacking North Cascades National Park

This past Friday I got my carcass out of bed early.  I wanted to be on the road on my way to the Glacier, WA combined National Park Service / US Forest Service center there.  I was hoping to be there right when it opened at 8 AM to obtain a back country permit for North Cascades National Park.

I was able to get a permit, but, not what I was hoping for.  You see a short time ago a rock slide closed a portion of Washington highway 20.  This road cuts through the park and is the only way to get to a popular part of the park.  So, it seems everyone that was planning on visiting the park at the same time I was made an assault on the area I wanted to go.

My hope was to get a permit for Copper Creek for Friday night and Silesia for Saturday night.  No go.  Due to the overwhelming interest in the area of the park that was accessible, I was only offered a permit for US Cabin campsite.  I took it for both Friday night and Saturday night.

I made my way a bit farther east on the highway and then took the gravel road to the Hannegan Pass trailhead.  The parking area was overflowing with vehicles.  I did find a spot, parked, hung my pass, and hit the trail.  I had ten miles of hiking for the day ahead of me.

The first five miles were generally uphill to Hannegan Pass.  I stopped periodically to take pictures or a break.  I stopped at the top to enjoy the views and rest.  I took off down the other side of the pass.  The next five miles were almost all downhill to US Cabin camp.

I was right at tree line at the pass.  Decending down the other side I passed through open areas of wild flowers and a scree field before entering the woods once again.  Though the parking lot was full, and I did meet several people on the trail, I did not have the "crowded" feeling.

North Cascades is home to both black bears and grizzly bears.  There are estimated to be between 10 and 30 grizzly bears in all of Washington.  They are all supposed to be in this National Park, though from what I could read, farther north and east from where I was and was going.  Once again, for my entire stay in the wilderness, I did not see any bears.  I saw one (maybe two or three day old) poop pile, but no tracks, and no bear sightings.

I arrived at the campsite at about 4 PM that Friday afternoon.  The campsite is right on the Chilliwack river.  It was flowing well and water was easy to obtain.  Another dude was already there.  Another showed up later and a chick a bit later than that.  The campsites are well spread so we were not in too close proximity to each other.

That night I was mulling options.  I did have a permit for this campsite for two nights.  One option was to hang there for another day and do some out and back day hiking.  Another option was to head back the way I came and stay at the first-come-first-served US Forest Service campsite just the other side of Hannegan Pass.

I decided to start heading back on Saturday morning.  But, not too early.  I was thinking I'd stay at the US Forest Service campsite that night.  I figured I'd do all the climbing hiking on Saturday and then all the descending hiking on Sunday.

When I reached the pass on Saturday I stopped for a break and to eat.  I was enjoying the view but also noticing the clouds building.  The forecast was for off and on rain that day.  This looked more like rain was moving in for an extended period.

I made the decision to hike the rest of the way back to the car that evening.  I figured I'd avoid needing to dry stuff out and / or be confined to my tent.  I'd seen enough of this area of the park to know I'd be back.

My travels took me over the pass and down in the Chilliwack river valley.  An area I did not get to, but will in a future trip, is to take the left fork up the trail to Copper Ridge.  The other backpackers I talked to said the views from up there are amazing.  Crews will get the road re-opened and there will be less pressure on this area of the park.  I might get back there yet this season.

Though my trip was self shortened by a day, I still had a great time.  I will be going back.  North Cascades National Park is stunning and diverse.  To see all the pictures I took, unedited and out there to look at, click HERE.  My next trip might not need to be solo.  I've joined a couple of organizations.  More on that Wednesday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

To North Cascades National Park

In a few minutes I'll be departing for Glacier, WA to the National Park Service / Forest Service Center to obtain my (free!) back country permit for North Cascades National Park.  I should arrive ahead of the 8 AM opening to secure the places I want to go.

I've made some changes since my last backpacking adventure.  I've lightened my loaded backpack from 49.0 lbs on that trip to 38.6 lbs this trip.  This was mostly accomplished by not carrying as much water with me.  I also reduced the amount of food I'm carrying.  I had a bit left over last time.  I was going to switch out the Big Agnes Q-Core air matress for my thinner Thermarest.  However, the scale had them with in a few ounces of each other.

I'll be skirting the Nooksack River and the Chilliwack River on Friday.  If I need water, I'll filter some from there.

Click for bigger.

My intention is to make it to Copper Creek campground for Friday night.  Saturday I'll back-track to the fork and head up the Copper Ridge Trail to Silesia campground.  I'll either grab some water before I head up Copper Ridge Trail, or, make it to the campground, set up camp, and hike the 0.4 miles to Egg Lake to water up.

Sunday I'll make my way back down the trail to the Hannegan trailhead where my vehicle is (supposed to be) waiting.  That's where I'll be parking it later this morning.

I've been looking at some online stuff and some guide books.  I'm betting this is an area I'll want to come back to when I've more than just three days.  It would be pretty cool to touch the Canadian border on a future trip.

Pending my anticipated return to my domicile on Sunday evening, I'll have a recap, complete with pictures, on Monday.  Tuesday if I make it back late.  Since I'm keeping my daily mileage lower this trip, I should be back in plenty of time to unload, shower up, beer up, get some weekly groceries, AND download and upload pictures with the recap.  Or, maybe it will be so fricking awesome there I'll dawdle.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Next Trip

I spent yesterday evening sorting out my gear and figuring out my food.  The small bear keg came from REI.  It's not appreciably lighter than the bigger one, but, it does take up about half the space.

My game plan is to get up early on Friday and drive to Glacier, WA and stop and the Ranger station.  I'll gather my back country permit and be off.  If you have a map, I'll be headed up toward Mt. Baker taking I-5 North to Burlington, jogging over to highway 9, taking that North to highway 542, and then following 542 east to almost its end.  The goal is North Cascades National Park.

Here's a proximity map (click it for bigger):

At Silver Fir I'll be taking the dirt road to the Hannegan trailhead.  My destination is Copper Creek campground on the Chilliwack trail for Friday night.  On Saturday I'll head back West to Boundary campsite where I'll make a hard right hand turn and then take the Copper Ridge Trail to Selisia campsite.  That is where I'll stay Saturday night.  I'm keeping my daily mileage lower this trip.  I don't know this park at all.  If I move relatively quickly, I'll set up camp and then do some unloaded hiking to explore.

Tonight I'll make a grocery store run for a few items.  I need to mix up some more GORP, too.  Thursday night I'll be in bed early.  I need to get up early Friday for the drive.

I have a four day weekend on Labor Day weekend.  Sadly, it won't involve the Dakota Five-0 mountain bike race.  Instead I've company coming in.  I'll be tour guiding around.  My next longer weekend, two weekends after that one, I plan to be in the woods again.  I don't know how much longer I have before the monsoon season returns.  I plan to use every opportunity to be outside for as long as I can.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I had a nice, quiet, relaxing, sleeping in, type weekend.  I ran some errands, I did some household type chores.  I ordered stuff online from REI.  I sent some emails to some I'd not talked to in a while and wanted to reconnect with.  And, I checked the snail mail.

In the snail mail I received a little postcard thing reminding me that tickets to Bumbershoot were going to increase in price on August 15th.  What is Bumbershoot?  Bumbershoot is a three day outdoor festival that includes live music, one reel films, comedy, or directly from the website:

The word bumbershoot first appeared in America around 1915–20. It is thought to be an alteration of the umbre- part of umbrella plus a respelling of -chute (as in parachute).
The arts festival known originally as Festival ’71, then as Festival ’72, was dubbed Bumbershoot® in 1973. The name was chosen to describe the Festival as an umbrella for all of the various arts and performers it encompasses. 
Now in its 43rd year, Bumbershoot has consistently drawn artists representing the best in music, film, comedy, spoken word, dance, theatre, performance, and visual arts to Seattle every Labor Day weekend. 
North America’s largest urban arts festival, Bumbershoot takes place in the heart of the city at the 74-acre Seattle Center
Over 100,000 visitors from near and far spend the weekend experiencing groundbreaking local, national, and international artists in all arts disciplines and musical genres at venues large and small, indoor and outdoor. 
Bumbershoot also features a variety of food, merchandise, and urban craft vendors throughout Bumbershoot grounds—there’s plenty to eat, see, and do all weekend long.
Bumbershoot is produced by One Reel, in collaboration with Seattle Center.

The website?  It's HERE.  Got tickets?

Friday, August 9, 2013


It's going to be a relaxed weekend this weekend.  I've sort of neglected some of the things I should be doing around the place these past few weeks.  I'll take this weekend to do most of them.

But, I'll also do a bit of planning for the following weekend.  It will be a three-day for me.  My goal is three days of backpacking in North Cascades National Park up near the northwest corner toward the Mt. Baker ski area sort of.  For those who clicked up the wilderness map of the park, I'll start at the Hannegan trailhead and head into the park from there.  Drive until the road ends, start hiking.

Until next week, have a great weekend yourself, and have a little C,S, N & Y:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guess What's Coming !!!

I received, in my emaily inbox, notification of the Banff Mountain Film Festival headed in my general direction!  The link is HERE.  And the trailer is here:

I'm going to get my calendar and see which dates fit me best.  If you haven't been - go.  It is a GREAT time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Backpacking Olympic National Park

So, how about some recap from my three day backpacking trip in the Staircase part of Olympic National Park?  Okay?  Okay!

First, the usual ground rules.  Clicking on the pictures makes them bigger.  I'll give the words part of the recap in and amongst the pictures.  The words may, or may not, match the pictures.  A link to all the pictures will appear, without further fanfare, somewhere in here.  Now that's out of the way, onto the pertinent.

I've been a camper for some time.  I've even owned a pull-behind-the-vehicle camper at one point (no longer).  I've loaded my touring bike with gear and headed out.  I've loaded my vehicle with gear and have done the same.  But, I've never actually backpacked.  I guess there's a first time for everything.

Having done aforementioned camping, I had a pretty good idea on the food situation.  The picture below is what I took for food.  I made my own GORP, bagged it and packed it, I put instant oatmeal in baggies along with Poptarts, I made burrito things that included Italian dry salami, sharp cheddar cheese and a thing of string cheese, I brought freeze dried for supper, and opted to not bring coffee but brought tea bags instead.

I'm not much of a pots and pans cooker dude when I camp.  I bring my Jetboil, a plastic bowl, some plastic silverware I got at REI, a REI brand mug, and that's about it.

Breakfast is hot and cold.  I make up four packets of instant oatmeal, have two Poptarts, and a couple of cups of tea.  In the top of my pack I put a morning snack of GORP and a Clif Bar, dinner - the burrito things and berry Fig Newtons, and an afternoon snack that is the same as the morning snack.  Supper is always a freeze dried meal.

I arrived at Olympic National Park about 7:45 AM on Friday.  My intent was to be at the Ranger Station when it opened at 8:00 AM.  I was the first customer and Ranger girl Erin got me my back country permit.  For those not in the know, there's a $5 fee per group for back country multi-day travel and then $2 per person per night.  So for a whopping $9.00, I was on my way.

My pack, with a full water bladder, all my gear, and my bear keg, weighed in at a staggering 49 pounds.  I'll get into more of how I'll shed weight later.  I will say this about my dumb-ass mistake - there's no need to pack a bunch of water when you're hiking next to a river and going to a lake.

The first day was to be about eight miles.  I started out on the North Fork Skokomish river trail and followed it until I hit the turn to head to Flapjack Lakes.  Up until that time the trail had been uphill but only moderately so.  Once on the Flapjack Lakes trail, things went up fast.

I arrived about 2 PM.  I set up camp and had a look around.  Flapjack Lakes are two lakes that almost touch.  They are maybe 100 yards any direction you measure them.  I can see why it is a popular destination.

After I'd been settled in and had a look around I met Ranger Bruce.  Ranger Bruce is a back country Ranger.  He works from June 1st into October.  He's got a dream job.  He isn't just stationed at Flapjack Lakes.  He's free to establish his own plan to cover much of the southeast corner of Olympic National Park.  In other words, he's getting paid to backpack!

Ranger Bruce suggested I not follow my intended route.  He suggested I hike up to Gladys Divide, get off the trail where the trail ends (pretty nice when a Ranger says it's OK to get off the trail), follow the ridge, and then descend down cross country to Black and White Lakes.  This sounded like an excellent idea!  I had a topo map and compass with and feel very confident with my navigation skills.  However, the next morning the cloud level had descended as well making it look foggy at Flapjack and would be higher, too.

Instead I backtracked back down.  If you look at an Olympic National Park map, like the one I'd include in THIS post, you'll notice a little spur trail heading for Black and White Lake and then heading down to the main trail.  I was going to takes this - right up until the point I learned there were some 97 downed trees on that trail.

Instead I backtracked all the way down to the main trail and then headed north in search of Nine Stream camp.

I have to say, coming down is as hard on the legs - but in a different way - as going up.  It was to be a ten mile hike day for me.  By the time I got to Nine Stream, I was cooked.  I set up camp quickly and took a nap.  I got up long enough to eat supper and then crashed for all night.

Sleep does wonders.  I was up early and ready for the day.  After breakfast I filtered more water, reloaded the bladder, and was off back down the trail for the Staircase trailhead.  The day's travels was to be about ten miles.

Though there were a few uphill sections, mostly the trail followed the river downhill.  I left Nine Stream at about 9 AM and was at my truck about 1:30 PM.  I put the pack in my truck and immediately switched from hiking boots to Crocs.

I had a great three day backpacking trip.  Next time I'll reduce weight.  In the food department, I didn't need to bring Clif Bars.  Also, I could make my GORP portions slightly less.  If I know I'll have ready water sources, I'll not carry so much with me at one time.  Also, I'll probably switch out the Big Agnes Q-Core for a lighter sleeping pad.

There were bear wires to hoist food up.  Why did I bring the heavier bear keg if there were bear wires available?  MIce.  And, I wanted to check out how it would be to travel with it.  Of the model I have, the company that makes it also makes a smaller version.  I may pick it up.  I think I could get three days of food in a smaller one.  Four days or more, probably not.

Oh yeah.  Pictures.  The set is HERE.  I'd click on the slideshow option.  It's just below the picture count in the upper right-hand corner.  I had a great time!  The monsoon season shouldn't resume until some time on October.  That means more backpacking and more mountain biking.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I've got everything I need.  I'm going to pack the backpack this evening.  Friday morning, early, I'm departing for the Staircase Ranger Station of Olympic National Park.  They open at 8:00 AM.  I'm hoping to score one of the "first come, first served" back country permits.

Provided the permit is obtained, I'll be heading for Flapjack Lakes on Friday.  Saturday I'll head for Nine Stream camp.  Sunday I'll make my way back to the truck.  I do have a list of alternate sites but am hoping I won't have to use them.

I'll take pictures and post them with the recap when I get back.  Maybe that will available for a Monday morning post.  If not, check on Tuesday.

Do you like bikes?  Do you like bubble wrap?  What happens when you combine the two?  This: