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.


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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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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Coldwater Lake Kayak, Mt. St. Helens

J. and I had a great 2 days camping at Seaquest State park, kayaking Coldwater Lake by Mt. St. Helens, and hiking for wildflowers by Johnston Ridge Observatory. Coldwater Lake used to be a little creek, and was formed when St. Helens erupted and a natural dam blocked the valley, creating a beautiful 5-mile lake perfect for kayaking. We ‘yaked 3 miles out, and turned as weather started to change and get windy, so 6+ miles overall. By the time we got close to to the dock, sun was out and it was HOT, but perfect for being on the water.

The next morning we were up at 5 a.m. to hike Harry’s Ridge trail, but were in low, heavy cloud cover and only ended up hiking a couple of miles. No crater viewing today, but the wildflowers were putting on a beautiful show for us.


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Orcas Island Kayak

Tori and I had a wonderful 3 days on Orcas Island, in perfect weather. After the ferry ride and setting up camp, we took our two Point65 modular kayaks out on Cascade Lake at Moran State Park. Early on the second morning we drove up to Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands, where the view of the Islands is amazing, with Mt. Baker as the perfect backdrop. We also did a sea kayak tour out to Point Doughty State Park, accessible only by kayak. Early on the last morning, we did a nice lazy kayak float on Cascade Lake again, enjoying having the entire lake mostly to ourselves. All in all, with the weather being so perfect, it was a wonderful way to start the summer with my daughter. We’re so glad we got our kayaks, have been thoroughly enjoying them 🙂

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