Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

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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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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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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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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