Sunday, November 30, 2008

Next outing is 12/6/08 (Saturday)

My apologies for the late notice, but family events are going to prevent me from hitting the trails on Dec 13th as originally planned.

The only other open date I have is this coming Saturday: December 6th.

I'll check into weather and snow conditions in the next couple of days and come up with a tentative itinerary.

Off hand, maybe I'll head to Artist Point if the ski area hasn't opened... or maybe I'll head out to Lake 22 off the Mountain Loop Highway or possibly try to squeeze in a longer day at the Iron Goat trail out near Steven's Pass.

Drop me a note and let me know if you are available and interested for Dec 6th.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Granite Mountain Trip Report 11-15-08

Granite Mountain has been on my to-do list for a few years and almost all the pieces fell into place today to make this a reality.

This trail is located just off I-90 at Exit 47. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, it's about 47 miles east of Seattle, just before Snoqualmie Pass (where I-90 crosses from Western Washington into Eastern Washington).

Due to it's ease of access and proximity, the trail is used frequently - despite the 3,839 feet of elevation gain over 4.3 miles. So, it's steep - but not excessively steep, by Cascade standards anyway. The trail ends at about 5639 feet above sea level.

This hike has a couple of unique features:
The main attraction is the Fire Lookout that is located at the top of Granite Mountain. You can actually see the lookout from I-90, but today is the first time I've ever noticed it.

The second main attraction is the alternative 'scramble' route that follows the final ridge. You can either follow the regular trail (longer) or you can take the shorter 'scramble' route over and around boulders along the final ridge toward the Lookout.

The third main attraction, when the weather cooperates, are the fantastic views... including Mount Rainier. As a side note, due to all the recent flooding, almost all of the Mt. Rainier National Park is closed until this next Friday.

Lots of nice people on the trail today, but no wildlife of any kind --- except for bugs (believe it or not).

Pictures (in no particular order):

Despite the fantastic weather and great views, my body simply wasn't willing to cooperate on the trail today. Calf and thigh cramps started to plague me at about the 2 mile mark and despite my slowing pace, frequent hydrating and eating they wouldn't relent.

When my turnaround-time alarm sounded I was so close to the lookout, but my pace was only slowing and the cramps were increasing... so I'll have to head back next summer to finish the last 300 feet of vertical.

Even so, it was a beautiful day on the trail and I'm glad I became familiar with a trail that is 'new-to-me'.

Next outing is scheduled for December 13, 2008 but that date may have to change to accommodate family Christmas plans. Pleas stay tuned... or contact me to discuss it.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Itinerary update for 11/15/08

Opting to head southward to take advantage of a more favorable weather forecast.

I expect to spend my day on Granite Mountain, located at about Exit 47 off I-90. Here is a recent trip report from the Lykkens.
Depending on how much snow there is and the amount of light remaining when I return to the car, I may stop to check out Twin Falls State Park or a section of the John Wayne Trail crossing Change Creek as well.

Unfortunately, all my BFF's are otherwise engaged today (or maybe they are just smart and waiting for a better weather opportunity) so I'll be hiking solo.

It seems that my GPS unit finally gave up the ghost during my last outing, so, Santa, if you're reading this you should read up on the Garmin 60CSx. In the meantime, I'll continue to carry a map & compass (and hopefully not have to use them).

Happy Trails!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2009 Hiking Calendar

**Disclaimer: This will probably change, but for now it is what it is. Schedule at your own risk.**

Changed to Jan 17th (3rd Saturday of the month). Went to Skyline Lake for a beautiful sunny day of snowshoeing.

Changed to Feb 8th (2nd Sunday) - Postponed to Feb 21 -- Cancelled to take Alexia skiing (despite doctors reluctance).

Mar 7th (1st Saturday) - just after my birthday but well before Spring Break. -- Cancelled due to conflicting family schedules & medical tests. Did manage to get a short outing in at Point Defiance (sure, that counts!) on the 29th.

Apr 8th - took a day off work to play around at Heather Meadows and Cedar Lake.

Apr 18th (3rd Saturday) - RESCHEDULED for APRIL 26TH.

May 16th (3rd Saturday) - the weekend after Mother's Day (too late to use the 'shopping' excuse) - RESCHEDULED to May 23, 2009 (Saturday)

June 13th (2nd Saturday) - the weekend before Father's day weekend. Certainly your family will get enough of you on that day so you can escape for a day of hiking. Or... it's your early Father's Day present. Everybody wins!

July 11th (2nd Saturday) - weekend after the 4th of July.

Aug 8th (2nd Saturday)

Sept 13th changed to Sept 5th (1st weekend) - pressured by State Fair and Ushering duties at church, this hike will have to be during the Labor Day Weekend.

Oct 5th? (first Sunday) - Since I'm not getting an end-of-September hike and the hike scheduled for next weekend has turned into something 'bigger', I'm going to try to hit the trail this Sunday with hope of good fall colors. It could just as likely occur two weeks later I suppose.  Based on how busy we've been... this is unlikely to happen, but I do have some time off to used before the end of the year, so I'm keeping my eyes open for a weekday outing possibilities during Oct/November before the deep snow arrives.

Oct 10/11 (Saturday/Sunday) - Special trip... invite only.

Nov 14th (2nd Saturday) - before Thanksgiving of course.

Dec 12th (2nd Saturday) - before everyone departs on Christmas vacations.

Feel free to watch my video that summarizes my 2007 hikes:

If you made it through that video, feel free to watch this slideshow of photos taken from our house over the last nine months:
xx This link temporailly broken xx
Thanks for reading and watching!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Next Outing is 11/15/08 (Saturday)

Not sure what the conditions will be, nor the destination... nor the participants. The only thing I do know is that I will be enjoying outdoor recreation somewhere.

Hopefully with someone(s).

Some repeat destinations that I'm eyeing (if the snow holds off) include Park Butte Lookout (Mt. Baker), Kendall Katwalk (I-90 @ Snoqualmie) or the Iron Goat Trail (Hwy 2 @ Steven's Pass).

Check your calendar and let me know.

Participant Update:
Rob: Green light