Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Early Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

We'll be trying to fly out to Phoenix on Christmas Eve... so I'm just posting some early holiday greetings.

With our flight cancellations there is a slight chance my book might be delivered before we leave the house ... it would be a Christmas Miracle! I could share it with stranded Seatac passengers and other captive audiences throughout our trip.


Hopefully it meets my expectations.

The Jan. 10th outing is still a tentative date but it will be nice to play in the snow in the Mountains instead of the lowlands. Sheesh... enough already! Bring on the rain!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hey Look! It's a book!

Many people have switched from film cameras to digital cameras. Logically, a lot of people order prints online. Many websites that provide the prints also offer other opportunities to 'make stuff' with your photo... like a photobook. Like a scrapbook, but easier for those of us who aren't so hands-on-artsy-fartsy.

I contemplated making a photobook for quite a while... and then threw one together at www.lulu.com which contains only photos from hikes during 2008. In the end, it was way too expensive for pages of pictures and nothing else. It was all pictures. No words, except a title. I was disappointed. Plus, it felt like I was picking at the bottom of the barrel for a few of the pictures.

Then I found www.blurb.com.
So, I started pulling together somthing that was much more than a photobook. Well, it feels like 'more than a photobook' to me because it actually has some text in it and I was able to put in most of my favorite photos while ignoring the crappy photos. Additionally, I think it flows pretty well from start to finish without getting too wordy or dull.

I ordered one for myself just the other day and can't wait to see the finished product. Unfortunatly, due to the busy shipping season (and a family vacation), it probably won't arrive until the end of the month.

You can preview the first 15 pages online by following the link to blurb.com:
Big Rock Excursions 2004-2008
Really, the first 15 pages just don't do it justice in my opinion, but I'll gladly show you my copy next time we see each other.

The full book is 72 pages long, with more than 100 pictures and 40 different destinations taken over a 4 year period and encompassing 70 "hike days" overall. Many of you who have hiked with me have your picture in the book as well, including: Dad, Rob, Erik, Steve, Chris, Tim, Kyle, Rachel and of course my family.

My original photobook (with a full online preview) posted at lulu.com can be viewed here: 2008 Photobook
It's a little cheaper than the blurb version, but I really think the blurb version is 100x better. In fact, I'm not even ordering the lulu version for myself.

With all that out of the way, you can look forward to the 2008 Video that I'll be creating over the next few weeks.

Next outing is tentatively scheduled for January 10, 2009. Now that we have some snow, I'll be looking forward to some good snowshoeing and might start off with a trip to the popular Skyline Lake at Steven's Pass. As always, the date and destination are subject to change at anytime.

Cheers to you all and have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snow Lake 12/06/08

Well... I was right. There was less than a foot of snow on our hike. In fact, there was absolutely NO snow at Snoqualmie Pass. Good thing I left the snowshoes, avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe at home as they would have just been extra weight.

Click here for the official Snow Lake Trail description.

This trail is very popular in the summer, frequently having 800 visitors on the weekends. In the winter, however, the avalanche prone slopes keep most people away from this area. Without snow, we shared the trail with a few people, but they were few and far between.

The weather was fantastic!
I left home about 6:40am and enjoyed watching the colors of dawn grow over the cascades as I cruised south toward Lynnwood to pick up Steve at 7:30am.
Dawn and Mt. Pilchuck (from the car):

Dawn and Mount Rainier (from the car):

Here are a few of the views you may get to enjoy from this trail on a sunny day:

Tree and reflection in distant lake:

Early view of Snow Lake, from the ridge

The trail was snow-free, but did have sections of solid ice, due to snow melt and recent rains and runoff combined with cold weather. Once over the ridge to descend toward the lake the amount of ice increases drastically. We put on extra traction devices for safety and they worked great! I like Stabilicers and Steve likes Yak Trax.

Waterfall and Ice

Structure Remains (not sure what this was - possibly a ranger station or private cabin?)

View across Snow Lake

Frozen Waterfall

Frozen Tarn, with sun

Grey Jay on my Hiking Pole:

Southern View of Alpental and valley

Pika above Source Lake

Another view of Snow Lake

Tibetan Prayer Flags:

Cousin of Loch Ness Monster? No, just a floating log I guess.

Glinda, the good witch, tries to interrupt a photo opportunity.

Here is a short video (90 seconds) of some clips I shot during this trip... just experimenting with various settings.

Thanks for reading my trip report. A similar version is available here at nwhikers.net.
Next outing is scheduled for Saturday, January 10th, 2009... more than a month away.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Itinerary for 12/06/08 Dayhike to Snow Lake

Meeting Steve in Lynnwood at the Park & Ride just north of I-405 at 7:30am and heading off toward Snoqualmie Pass with the expectation that we'll hike to Snow Lake.

Near as I can tell, there is less than a foot of snow up there, but we'll have snowshoes along, just in case we need them. By this time of year this trail is typically buried deep under snow and used as a snowshoe route, in the right conditions. Obviously we're a little light on the snow so far this year.

We should have plenty of time for the approx. 6 mile round trip trail before dark.

Steve has been on this trail before (although it was some time ago) but this is 'new to me'. Also, my eTrex GPS is officially a paperweight now, so it will be staying home, leaving us to a map and compass in the event we decide we're lost.

The backup plan is to tackle Granite Mountain... which is on my hit list after being denied the summit last month.

Pics and report to follow soon...

Happy Trails!