Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

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January 2019 – 2019 has good things in store! I’ll be heading to New Zealand for some bucket-list backpacking, so right now I’m in the mode of keeping my endurance up to be able to hit several 10+ mile days out on the trail. I have permits for the Milford Track, the Heaphy Track, and part of the Abel Tasman Track. After backpacking (or tramping as it’s called in NZ), Fran will be meeting me there and we’ll spend time visiting with his extended family and doing fun things like zip lines, kayaking, rafting through glow-worm caves, visiting Tongariro National Park, etc. I’m excited!!!!

I just finished YTT class (yoga teacher training), as well as a certification to teach Yin yoga. I’m hoping to be able to combine my love of the wilderness with yoga somehow, maybe hiking+yoga retreats or “snowga” snowshoeing+yoga. I’m hoping to get my new website up and running soon!

This summer I’ll be re-visiting the Eagle Cap area of eastern Oregon, and do more exploring and traveling with my Hiker trailer (  Of course, always more hiking around Mt. Rainier, my home base 🙂  Here’s to a happy and adventurous 2019!!!

~~ Andrea ~~


MTTA Bruni’s Snowbowl Hut

The MTTA ( hut system south of Mt. Rainier is a true gem!  There are 3 huts and 1 yurt that are available by reservation (sno-park permit required at the parking area). All are heated and have fully equipped kitchens and sleeping spaces. They are accessible year round, but winter is my favorite time to snow-shoe up and stay at one of the huts. Bruni’s Snowbowl has space for 14 people. It’s a shared space with whoever else has reservations for the same night. The beauty of these huts is that you only need to bring your sleeping bag, clothes, and food. And of course, you need to pack out everything, including your own trash.

Weather was perfect a few days ago, and there were openings at the Snowbowl hut, so I went for it!  It was a 3.5 mile snowshoe to the hut, then I spent a lazy afternoon reading and enjoying the spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. There is a lovely gazebo and fire ring near the hut, and at sunset all of us staying there (even though we were strangers) went to the gazebo to share the sunset together. We had lovely conversation over dinner, all brought together by our love of being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of Mt. Rainier.

This is what recharges my batteries and fills my soul up. So much beauty!

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Mt. Rainier

I’ve lived here for over 30 years, and I see Mt. Rainier every day that isn’t overcast. Sometimes she surprises me and is still able to take my breath away! We woke up to the Winter Solstice with this amazing sunrise.  What a fitting way to celebrate a little bit more light every day 🙂


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Winter Forest Therapy

It’s harder to hike in winter. Finding a day in Western Washington where it isn’t rainy is hard, so when they come you have to grab them and go! We had a lovely 7-mile hike from Greenwater to The Dalles campground and back with V. and J. and their new pup Tooka, who is quite the adventure dog! We even got about 3 minutes of sunshine!

Beaches and oceans are beautiful, but I am definitely a forest and mountain girl to the core. There is nothing better than a day of forest therapy in good company, surrounded by Mother Nature.

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Paradise – It’s all in the name

Paradise at Mt. Rainier truly is a winter paradise. Tuesday was a bluebird day spent snowshoeing with good friends. It never got above freezing, but the sunshine was wonderful enough to be in a tank top for a short while. How am I so lucky to be able to do this? 

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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…


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!!


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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