Friday, May 30, 2014

Barrier Falls

Barrier Falls
Due to heavy memorial day traffic (so many campers!) and a tight schedule I was unable to do as much as I would have liked to on the way home from a weekend on the Long Beach Peninsula. We decided to drive home via the Oregon side of the Columbia River, because for some inexplicable reason we thought it might be easier to cope with the hoards of camper on the long straight stretches of Highway 30 than the on the curving rollercoaster of roads on the Northern side of the river! It didn't make much difference; apparently all the roads of the Pacific Northwest are bumper-to-bumper campers on Memorial day.

However I did get a chance to stop a photograph Barrier Falls; a beautiful cascade just a short walk from the Gnat Creek fish hatchery, which is located less than 30 minutes to the north of Astoria along highway 30. So enjoy the photos while I try to get the memories of crawling along at 30 miles per hour on a 50 MPH highway behind the Great White Landwhales, out of my head.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

North Cascades article published in Seattle Backpackers Magazine!

Today Seattle Backpackers Magazine published my article Land of the Golden Larches. My sincerest thanks to the folks at SBM for publishing the story, and for their fine editing work!

So check out the article and begin planning your own trip to high peaks of the North Cascades!

Here's some photos that didn't make it into the article:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meet Earl: the rugged tablet every outdoors enthusiast should own.

Update: Earl has experienced significant delays, don't expect it to be released until mid 2015 at the earliest.

Rewind time by two years and you will find me doodling out my idea of the perfect tablet. Those who follow my blog will know that I am an avid hiker who is not unfamiliar with rain drenched winter trips and precipitous off-trail treks. My perfect tablet would have to be able to be water proof, temperature resistant, and able to withstand the rigors of trekking through rough terrain. It would need a solar panel to stay juiced on long backpacking trips, and an E-Ink screen to preserve battery life and provide greater readability in bright sunlight. It would need a GPS, and a variety of sensors to help gauge changing mountain weather. This was all just idle day dreaming; though I could easily have assembled most of the parts into a working android device, I lacked the skills and resources to build a case, and to program the necessary functions into the completed device. I am also blessed with an extraordinarily short attention span, so the tablet doodle was soon joined by a futuristic car doodle and a doodle for a combination back pack - jet pack!

Travel forward in time by a year and a half, and you will find me just signing up for Twitter.  I tweet a few hesitant messages promoting my newly created blog, and then out of curiosity peruse my twitter feed. After sorting through piles of dumb spam, I finally come upon a tweet right out of an old techy day dream: meet Earl, the world's first true survival tablet.

A prototype model of the Earl, taken from a recent progress update on the Official Earl Website

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring skiing at Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood is still draped in snow, but the icy grip of winter is slowly relinquishing its hold on Wy'East. Skiing through the slush along Vista Ridge this was apparent, for on every subsequent run down the mountain a few new brown spots would appear beneath the groomed ski trails atop the ridge. I had never been to Mt. Hood, in winter or in summer and I was suitably impressed by the glacier capped volcano.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Deception Pass

Bowman Bay Pier
Bowman Bay
Pulling into the Bowman Bay campground after dark with the light of the full moon streaming through the trees, we discovered that Deception Pass had been appropriately named: on the Washington State Parks reservations website, our campsite had been portrayed as secluded, nestled among the bushes and trees-a great distance from any neighbors. In reality, our tent site was exposed and crowded beside similar sites, each occupied by a hulking motorhome, their windows shedding baleful light that overwhelmed the comforting moon glow. So tired were we from our 5 hour drive (which included the rigors of the Puget Sound rush hour), that we barely grumbled about our surroundings, and collapsed quickly into our sleeping bags.