Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

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March 2019   I recently got home from a phenomenal trip to New Zealand – Absolutely some of the best backpacking and hiking I’ve ever done in my life!  There is so much more I still want to see and explore there, I wish I could get on a plane and go back.  Click on the New Zealand 2019 page to the right for photos.

This year I’ll be re-visiting the Redwoods in northern California as well as the Eagle Cap area of eastern Oregon, and I’ll do more exploring and traveling with my Hiker trailer (www.hikertrailers.com).  Of course, always more hiking around Mt. Rainier, my home base 🙂  Here’s to a happy and adventurous 2019!!!

~~ Andrea ~~

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New Zealand

I recently got home from a phenomenal trip to New Zealand. It’s been on the top of my bucket-list for many years, and I finally spent 5 weeks exploring both islands. I’m so thankful I was finally able to get there.

I hiked the Milford Track, much of the Abel Tasman Track, and I did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. I also spent time visiting geothermal areas, going on riverjets, swinging on ziplines, kayaking, walking through redwoods canopy, visiting with family, and hiking several areas around Kaiteriteri and Takaka.  Overall I hiked over 92 miles. The Milford Track was the best multi-day hiking/backpacking trip I’ve ever been on, and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing was the best dayhike I’ve ever done in my life. Click on the “New Zealand 2019” page to the right for more photos and comments.

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Another from Mary Oliver…

She was so brilliant at capturing a feeling with her words

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Mary Oliver’s words

Our world lost an amazing woman last week, Mary Oliver. She had such a wonderful way with words, not overdone, not too little, just right (kinda like Goldilocks). She spent decades out in nature just observing and being part of the amazing world around us. Many people never stop to appreciate the small things, but she saw them all and wrote about them. I like hiking alone, AND with friends. It’s a balance of both for me. But when I’m feeling introspective, I swear she wrote this poem just for me 🙂 Thank you Mary Oliver for sharing your gift. 
 
How I go to the woods
 
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.
 
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
 
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
 
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.”
 
― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
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MTTA Bruni’s Snowbowl Hut

The MTTA (skimtta.org) 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 🙂

sunrise

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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…

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