Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

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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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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Glencoe Valley, Scotland Highlands

We spent a week exploring and hiking around the Glencoe area of Scotland in May. This is one of those places where photos don’t come close to doing justice to the beauty of the area. We were incredibly fortunate to have a streak of warm and sunny weather while there, and we made full use of it! We stayed in a small town south of Fort William called Ballachulish, which used to be the site of an old slate quarry. From here, it’s a short 15 minute drive to the gorgeous Glencoe Valley area, with stops everywhere for exploring and hiking. It’s a very desolate-looking area, in a very beautiful and surreal way. It’s either rocky or boggy, with not much else for miles and miles. It’s also close to the Inner Hebrides Islands along the coast of Scotland. Some day I’ll go back here, there is still a lot more exploring to be done here!

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Kalaloch and Ruby Beaches, ONP

Every once in a while we get an amazing few days of weather in early spring, and I took full advantage of that last weekend, hitched up my Hiker trailer (www.hikertrailers.com), and headed to Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park on the Washington Coast. I managed to get one of the best sites in the entire campground with a perfect view. To be able to wander the beaches in March barefoot, in shorts and a tank top, is such a treat and I loved every minute of it.

After getting set up at the campground, I headed north to Ruby Beach for the afternoon. Ruby is by far my favorite beach on the Washington Coastline. I spent all afternoon walking miles barefoot in the sand and soaking up the sunshine. Back to Kalaloch campground for dinner and watching the sunset from my incredible campsite before snuggling into my trailer for a wonderful night’s sleep.

The next morning after a refreshing sleep, I walked Kalaloch beach, found an amazing huge driftwood log, and did some yoga to start my day. What a wonderfully restorative, peaceful, beautiful trip 🙂

 

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Crater Lake National Park, OR

Fran and were supposed to backpack at Goat Rocks, but there was still snow where I wanted to camp so we changed plans and headed down to Crater Lake instead. We camped at Broken Arrow campground on Diamond Lake by Mt. Thielsen, just north of Crater Lake.

I’ve been before, but it was Fran’s first time. It’s such a beautiful and unexpected first sight, you would have no idea a massive lake was hiding up there. It has some of the clearest and purest water in the world. The secret geologist in me loves learning about how Crater Lake was formed. (It’s technically a caldera, not a crater.)  Unfortunately there was a far-off wildfire and the smoke made everything quite hazy, and our pre-paid boat trip around the lake and exploring Wizard Island was cancelled due to mechanical failure. We still managed to have a great time, and I hiked some trails that were new to me. I also got in a little bit of “dawn yoga” at Cloudcap overlook. Such an amazing place, and we’ll have to go back next summer when the boats are working so we can do the boat tour, it’s well worth it.

 

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Grand Park MRNP

Fran and I hiked out to Grand Park via Lake Eleanor on July 3rd, and we hit the perfect time because flowers were starting to bloom but mosquitoes were not hatched out yet. Perfect day! It was so good that we stopped at the ranger station on the way home and I got a permit to backpack there the next night. On July 4th, I packed up in the afternoon and drove back out. As I hiked up, all the other day hikers were leaving and I knew that I would have the whole place to myself… Apparently, Mr. Bear had the same idea in mind.

As I entered the meadow I saw him run across the trail in front of me and back into the trees. I decided to hang out for a while since I had about 3 hours of daylight left. As soon as I sat down, the mosquitoes swarmed. They had hatched within the last 24 hours and thought I was delicious. About 45 minutes later, I saw Mr. Bear again from a distance, in the general area where I had planned on pitching my tent. I decided that I’d head back to the car and not camp overnight alone in a bear’s home turf. Even though I didn’t stay as planned, I had a chance to break in my new Gregory Maven backpack and have some amazing solitude and peace in one of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen.

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