Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Backpacking Firsts

My friend Linda in WA has been backpacking, (that is different than hiking (single day)- backpacking would be staying overnight)  then after seeing a terrific home video of my brother and dad backpacking we thought it would be fun to try it. This first trip was to test our strength and supplies. My other friend, Michelle had been prepping a bit to do some backpacking later this summer but when I asked if she wanted to come along, she said yes. My planning wasn't the best as I thought it would be 12.8 miles with one section gaining some elevation. I was wrong on both counts!

We were going to camp Friday night at the primitive campground of Twin Pillars North and head straight south to Belknap trail, east, then look for a place to camp. Wake up early, hit the elevation then take the 4.8 miles N to Whistler Springs on Wildcat Trail to finish the 4.8 miles to Whistler Springs where Michelle had parked her car.
Here are the highlights of that trip:
 We camped on the edge of Bingham Prairie and it was beautiful! 
We have been hiking here before and knew some of the trail was open and had experienced fires. This canyon was called Desolation Canyon. 

A couple of miles in we made it to Twin Pillars. We hiked here last year from the opposite way and you can read about that HERE if you'd like.

 Signs of beauty in the desolation.
Snack time by a cold creek...and a time to rest our bodies. 

Yay! The cut off! 6 miles in and now we were going to find a place to camp for the night. 
I loved seeing the pillars get smaller and smaller.

Cory found us a great spot although is was a little further than we had anticipated. (which was a good thing, because the next day was going to be way harder then we imagined!)
After dinner, Cory's job was to hang our food up away from any bears that may 
think they had a free meal coming.
The next day we were in the forest for a few beautiful miles.If you look hard you can see Elsa on the trail carrying her own food and water. She was such a good dog!

 This answers the question: Does a bear crap in the woods??
 We made it to the next junction~! Home free! 4.8 miles to the car, except it was actually 6 miles.

 Looking east to the Ochoco forest.

Still smiling!
If you look really hard you can see the pillars!

 By this time we were in a more current burn. Cory lightened Elsa's load and carried her pack about the last 2 miles.
This was an area that had burned last year. Thankfully someone had flagged it so we could stay on the trail. (I have a great app for that too that doesn't need cell reception)  We were running low on water and Elsa got to put to use her booties to protect her paws. 

                          I could see we were going to be crossing Mill Creek soon so we forged on.
. We all re-hydrated and Elsa napped. 
The final push!

The end!
 Three happy tired backpackers conquered the first, of hopefully several more, trips!

Monday, June 25, 2018

First Camping of the Season

My niece and sister planned to meet and do a long weekend of camping. Because Cory worked on Saturday, Elsa and I did a quick overnighter with them! 
It was a new-to-us place that a co-worker told us about. It was very nice and not too many people camping.

 My sister and I did a bit of exploring. I couldn't believe how green this meadow was. This is the high desert, but they've had a wet spring. It was so pretty.

So many pretty wildflowers. It was so bright I had a hard time capturing them in photos.

Beautiful huge ponderosa pine trees.

Four of us drove to Myrtle Butte Look out. The structures/cabins have been abandoned and were trashed, but the lookout tower was very sturdy and is used in emergencies.

 It had an amazing view. 

 My BIL stayed at the bottom but he didn't have a camera to snap a photo of all 3 of us at the top. You can see my nephew about mid-way. My sister was just coming out of the crow's nest.

I hope you have some fun outdoor activities planned for this summer. It always goes by so fast!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Hiking Mt St Helens via the Worm Flow Winter Route

 If you've known me very long at all you know I love to hike and camp and be outdoors. About a year ago I joined a group on Facebook called American Women Who Hike. I met the admin, Bethany, in May 2017 when a group hiked Dog Mountain. I very rarely get to join in the hikes because I'm out here in the middle of the state of Oregon. But when she mentioned summiting Mt St Helens and getting permits for Flag Day, June 14th, 2018, I thought "Why not!?" I thought getting 2 permits was the challenge.....I was wrong! Because of the snow on the upper mountain the summer route was not open yet. We met our hiking group at Marble Mtn Sno Park where the winter route trailhead is. We car camped and hit the trail last in our group at 4:15AM.(The plan was for everyone to go at their own pace)
The first two miles were in trees. I took these on our way out since we left at dark. 

The Worm Flows

 The boulder fields.

 It was uphill most of the way. The ground was still damp so we had decent traction. 
Then we hiked a glacier! LOL
 Then we hit the snow and it was steep and scary!
At this point I was just putting one foot in front of another. 
Head down, digging in, 10 steps at a time. 
As we neared the summit the temps fell so I put on my down jacket. 
For about 30 seconds I wondered how the hell I was going to get down! But never once thought about giving up and not summitting! That was never an option.
I got vertigo and couldn't look down or out at this point.  I was talking to myself in my head, so thankful for all the days I put in strength training at the gym. I needed every ounce of strength and mental fortitude to get me to the top. (Having my hubby and 2 other young guys, Cory and Joe, climbing with us, helped so much! They were all so encouraging to me. )

 I knew when we could see Mt Rainier, we were at the top!
Smiles, photos (cause if there ain't photos it didn't happen!) lunch and rest. 

 And because it was flag day and my group is called American Women Who Hike we got a great photo with the 4 of us and our Flag.
 Crags around the crater. 
Mt Rainier on the left, Mt Adams on the right. 
I was surprised when I was told the time and figured it took us 7 hours to reach the top! 

And the going down didn't look so crazy from the top. 

 And this is how we got down the snow fields. It was a little crazy! Especially sliding backwards head first on my back pack!  We survived and it saved our legs and knees a bit of wear and tear.

We signed back in the climbers log at 4:30PM taking 12 hours and 15 minutes for the whole hike. All in all we had a total elevation gain of about 5700'. I've read the trail is anywhere from 9.1- 12 miles. At this point it doesn't matter.

Now it is time to recover and be thankful for an amazing body that can do way more than we think it can, and revel in God's beautiful world He created for us.

Now, go out and enjoy our amazing world!