Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

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September 2018 –  I had a wonderful 3-week trip to Ireland and Scotland in May – I got to cross off hiking in the Scotland Highlands from my bucket list (see photos below), it is so beautiful there!

I had a wonderful time in Wyoming and South Dakota this summer, exploring areas new to me: Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Devils Tower. Must go back and explore Badlands NP more, it’s just stunning!

On a side note… I’m currently in YTT class (yoga teacher training). I’ll finish and be certified to teach in December. I’m really hoping next year to be able to combine my love of the wilderness with yoga somehow, maybe a couple of weekend get-aways or backpacking trips with yoga added in?

Coming in 2019: I’ve just booked permits for 3 of the New Zealand Great Walks for next year: Abel Tasman, Milford, and Heaphy. MAJOR BUCKET LIST TRIP!!!!  I’m still pinching myself that this is real 🙂

~~ Andrea ~~

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Summerland, Mt. Rainier MRNP

10 miles R/T, 2500+ feet elevation gain, beautiful sunshine, autumn colors, spectacular views, hours of complete solitude. So peaceful!

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Grand Park, MRNP

No words needed, other than to say this is how I spent my Saturday 🙂  It doesn’t get much better than this!

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Naches Loop, Chinook Pass WA

RIOTS OF COLOR!!!  That’s what yesterday was.

Naches Loop is a short, sweet, easy hike at the top of Hwy 410 at Chinook Pass. It’s hands-down my favorite autumn hike for brilliant colors. Weather conditions could not have been more perfect, and it felt amazing to have the sun shining on me while I got to soak in the incredible colors all around. Days like this are good for the soul…

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Skyline Trail, Paradise, Mt. Rainier

I was just 5 days out from shoulder surgery yesterday (scar tissue cleanout and hardware removal), but the weather was so perfect that I had to get out on the trail 🙂  Fall colors in the Paradise area at Mt. Rainier are amazing, and that’s what I went to see. I hiked the High Skyline Trail and really took my time, a lot of rest stops, a half-hour meditation with the best view in the world, a flask of hot tea, several marmots, and such incredible views of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood. You don’t need to go far from the parking lot to see incredible autumn colors, the best spot is just behind the lodge along the Edith Creek Basin trail 🙂  Such a good day, achy for the shoulder, but good for the soul!!

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Wyoming and South Dakota

I just got home from a wonderful trip with my new Hiker Trailer to Wyoming and South Dakota.  Please click the “Wyoming and South Dakota” button on the right side of the page to see more!

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Diablo Lake, North Cascades NP

I finally made it to North Cascades National Park! K. and I decided to kayak Diablo Lake instead of hike because of the heat, and it was a great decision. On our second day it was 98 degrees, the cold water felt wonderful for cooling off 🙂  Yes, the water really is that amazing color.

On day 1 we put our kayaks in at Colonial Creek campground where there is a nice boat launch area with plenty of parking. We kayaked that arm of Diablo Lake, taking in the amazing color of the water and the surrounding mountains. On day 2 we put our kayaks in at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center near Diablo Dam. You have to drive over the dam to get there, which is fun in itself. We spent hours paddling around the lake, had lunch on a nice island, and then went even further toward Ross Dam. The wind tends to pick up by early afternoon, and we had to really paddle hard to make it all the way back across the lake to our cars. It was so hot, so of course we had to dunk in the water several times to cool off.

We stayed at Newhalem campground both nights, which is nice and shady and made the heat bearable. The morning I left, I hiked down to Ross Dam, but it was already hot out so I decided to head home… too hot to hike!

Such a gorgeous place, I need to do a lot more exploring out here, just not when the temps are in the high 90s.

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Eastside Trail, Mt. Rainier NP

After a lovely (but tiring!) day of yoga and hiking at Crystal Mountain Resort the day before, V. and I hiked the Eastside Trail at Mt. Rainier. It was hot, so spending time hiking through shady old-growth forest with a lot of waterfalls was perfect! We left one car at the Grove of the Patriarchs parking lot, and drove up to the Owyhigh Lakes trailhead on Hwy 123, and hiked downhill. We didn’t see another human for over 6 miles, which is just the way I like it! There are so many beautiful waterfalls along this trail, there is a wonderful choice of picnic lunch spots all along the route 🙂 We ended the hike by taking in the huge old trees in the Grove of the Patriarchs, which makes me desperately want to get back to the Redwoods soon!

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Crystal Mountain Hike + Yoga retreat

Another beautiful yoga + hike retreat at the Crystal Mountain ski resort 🙂  It was hot, but so clear and beautiful!  Nothing is better than a couple of hours of yoga on the platform at the top of Crystal after riding the gondola up, then lunch and hiking back down!!

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Skyscraper Pass, Mt. Rainier NP

I know, I know… more photos of Mt. Rainier!  I can’t help myself, I love it up here so much.  I don’t care for crowds and I prefer to hike alone or with just 1 or 2 other people. The best way to do this is to get up at 5 a.m. on a weekday and head out, with my goal being boots on trail by 7 a.m. I had a wonderful, early, human-free hike out to Skyscraper Pass from Sunrise. Skyscraper is my favorite place in the whole park to just sit quietly and take it all in. I’ve been known to brew up a pot of tea and sit and read here for hours. I was hoping for mountain goats, but instead I was kept company by 7 marmots along the trail, one who decided to keep me company at the pass for quite a while.

So, yes, more Rainier photos. This is my happy place, where my heart is full and I’m content to just be in the present moment.

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Walupt Lake kayak and Silver Falls hike

I had a lovely visit with friends in Packwood this week. We hiked to Silver Falls in Mt. Rainier National Park, and the next day took the kayaks to Walupt Lake for a lovely paddle and picnic lunch.  Good good times! I can’t say enough how much I love my Point 65 North modular kayaks because they are ridiculously easy to load and unload – I can fit 2 full kayaks in the back of my Rav4 without having to lift them up onto a roof rack, which would never happen with my shoulder issues.  Life is good….

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