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Be on the lookout!! Fitness and Cycling articles on the way|
Well everyone, it's been way too long since I updated content beyond hikes and trail reviews, and I think the site could use some fresh content. I am going to be adding fitness articles, along with introducing my second passion which is Cycling!!!.. Stay tuned, and i hope you find the site useful.
|Backpacking Trips: Wonderland Trail to Indian Bar|
Tuesday, September 03 @ 12:34:19 PDT by Drew (548 reads)
About 69 miles southeast of Seattle, WA in Mt. Rainier National Park.
From Seattle: Follow I-5 South for 25 miles and take exit 142A to merge
onto WA Highway 18 East toward North Bend/Auburn. Drive 4.4 miles and take the
Auburn Way/WA Highway 164 East exit toward Enumclaw for 0.2 mile.
From Enumclaw, drive about 47 miles on Hwy 410 and continue south onto Hwy 123.
In about 6 miles turn right and drive about 4 miles and take the first left
after the tunnel, into the parking area.
Take I-5 North towards Seattle and drive for about
Take exit 68 for US-12 East. At the top of the off ramp, turn right onto US-12
and travel about 71.8 miles. This takes you past Morton and through Packwood.
From Packwood, drive about 8 miles and turn north at the junction for Highway
123. Drive about 6 miles, past the Ohanapecosh Campground and turn left on
Stevens Canyon Road. Drive about 4 miles and take the first left after the
tunnel, into the parking area.
There are bathrooms and water at the trailhead until mid-October.
Pets are not allowed on the trails in National Parks.
A permit is needed to park.
Wonderland Trail with connection to Box Canyon Trail.
, Download Garmin.gpx file
Length and Elevation:
14.5 miles round trip. Elevation gain of 2,900 feet and loss of 800 feet.
Elevation at the trailhead at 3,100 feet, highest point is at 5,914 feet.
Lowest elevation is 3,100 feet.
Review: October 26, 2013.
From the parking lot, walk across the street and look for the brown Wonderland
Trail sign. Follow the skimpy trail over glacially scraped rocks to a sketchy
trail junction and turn right. If you miss the junction you will walk onto the
trail around Box Canyon after a couple hundred feet.
From the junction, the trail gently ascends through an semi-open forest with an
understory of Alder and Vine Maples. In the fall there are many kinds of
mushrooms and conks in the forest and the leaves are artfully strewn along the
trail. In about .8 mile from the trailhead, gently descend down to Nickel Creek
and cross on a single-log footbridge. About .1 mile from the creek you will
pass the junction to the backcountry campsites of Nickel Creek. There is a
group site and a few individual sites, along with a toilet within the sound of
From the camp, you enter a darker forest of fir and hemlock, walking about .2
mile before beginning a long, steady ascent up the side of Cowlitz Divide.
Follow the trail up many switchbacks, sometimes in the silent forest, sometimes
near a rushing creek, until leveling out after climbing for about an hour.
Still in the trees, you’ll pass the junction that drops down to Olallie Camp
and eventually to Ohanapecosh Campground. You’ll probably see elk and bear scat
in the trail and look for elk rubbings, which are where the elk have shredded
the bark off little trees while rubbing the velvet off their antlers. I
saw three saplings with the bark rubbed off on this trip.
It isn’t long before the climb begins again in earnest. The rutted trail shows
the effects of years of inadequate trail maintenance but thankfully isn’t
usually very muddy. After navigating a few more switchbacks you’ll walk across
a mountain meadow with nice views to the southeast. From here the views improve
as the increased elevation travels into an alpine environment. Take a well
deserved break at the first great view of Mt. Rainier along the trail.
Hopefully you have chosen this trail on a relatively clear day.
Continue along the ridge, enjoying views of Mt. Adams to the southeast and Goat
Rocks to the east. The trail dips and climbs as it generally follows the
ridgeline for the next few miles. The philosophy of the Wonderland Trail
builders was that climb every promontory to get another view of Mt. Rainier.
And what spectacular views they can be. Since this is the east side of the
Mountain, the sun shines at a nice angle on Mt. Rainier for most of the day,
highlighting the Cowlitz glacier and Little Tahoma.
Of course nearly all views of Mt. Rainier are spectacular, there are some
particularly fine views as the ground drops away from you, only to steeply rise
on the flanks of Mt. Rainer, rising to the eternal snows of the summit.
After a few miles, the you pass the high point of this hike, drop down and
cross a small saddle, then climb again. The trail deceptively climbs several
high points. Each knoll tantalizing you into thinking it is the high point. To
the northeast Twin Peaks and the Cowlitz Chimneys come into view to the
northeast. The location of Panhandle Gap, the highest point on the Wonderland
Trail, can be guessed by looking at a northern spine of Mt. Rainier and looking
where there is a divot in the spine in the far distance. In the summer and
early fall, this is about the summer snow line at 7,200 feet. By now you can
see a valley carved into the slopes of Mt. Rainer. This is where Ohanapecosh
River flows from the Ohanapecosh Glacier and has created Indian Bar. Indian Bar
is a large, sloping gravel bar and ends in a narrow chasm crossed by a wooden
footbridge. The shelter at Indian Bar is right where the gravel bar comes to a
Now the trail starts dropping, going through a small gully, through small
groves of trees, and turning to the left, At first the trail drops at a
moderate grade but soon steepens the decent with a series of wooden check
steps. The trail passes through groves of trees and descending along a small
stream towards Indian Bar. The view of the summit is hidden in the valley, but
there are some rugged vistas at the head of the valley.
Drop down along a small stream and you will see the shelter on the left. Walk
along a small creek for a bit, then step across the creek to arrive at the
The valley upstream is broad and green with a dozen waterfalls cascading down.
Just below the shelter the Ohanapecosh River is squeezed into a tiny canyon and
over Wauhaukaupauken Falls, then flows rapidly away down the mountain.
We hiked this in the fall, but in July the flowers are spectacular along the
divide. From the shelter, it is easy to walk upstream and explore the area,
perhaps enjoying mountain reflections in still pools along the river.
The shelter is home to several kinds of wildlife as you will soon find if you
leave any food unprotected. You may be amazed how quickly they can chew through
a pocket on your pack to get at some tasty treat. In the shelter many people
have left their names or initials carved into the wood. It is vandalism but at
the same time, it is interesting. As you probably guessed, the shelter
was built by
the Civilian Conservation Corps. Since its construction in 1940, it has had some
lapses in repair attested to the green algae stains on the fireplace. Some new
log posts and roof repairs are keeping it all dry at the present time.
Above the shelter at Indian Bar there is an open-air toilet that is not for the
bashful kind. There are individual campsites across the river and through the
When it is time to head back, it feels like a long climb out of the valley and
along the small stream but soon the mountain views make it all worthwhile. Once
back in the forest, the rest of the trip is mostly downhill. After crossing
Nickel Creek, it seems too short of a time before the traffic noise intrudes
and the parking lot comes into view.
This is one of my favorite longer day trips in the park with wonderful views of
Mt. Rainier and the east side of the park.
Enjoy the Photos!
|(Read More... | Backpacking Trips | Score: 0)|
|Dayhikes: Whittier Ridge Trail, WA|
Tuesday, September 03 @ 12:33:46 PDT by Drew (618 reads)
Notice: 10/15/13 -
This trail will probably only be navigable until the next snowfall.
About 10 miles north of Mt. St. Helens, WA in the Gifford Pinchot National
Drive to the Norway Pass
Portland, drive north on I-5 to exit 21 at Woodland. Turn right and drive east
for 27.5 miles on SR503 to the small community of Cougar. Continue east through
Cougar and SR503 turns into FR90 for 18.6 miles and bear slightly left to take
FR25 for 24.3 miles to FR99.
FR99, drive 8.8 miles to the junction with FR26. Turn right onto FR26 and drive
1 more mile to the Norway Pass Trailhead. From Portland, plan on drive for 2 ½ to
almost 3 hours depending on road conditions and traffic.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead.
dogs are allowed on the trail and mountain bikes are only allowed on parts of
There is a restroom at the trailhead.
Boundary Trail #1, Whittier Ridge Trail, Lakes Trail #211 with connections to Independence
Ridge Trail #227A, Independence Ridge Trail #227. Shovel Lake Trail #211C, Panhandle
Lake Trail #211B.
, Download Garmin.gpx file
Length and Elevation:
This is a loop hike and the distance is 14.9 miles. Trailhead elevation
is 3645 ft. There is 4,700 feet elevation gain and 4,700 feet of elevation
Review: October 13, 2013.
This is a loop trail but weather conditions may dictate an out-and-back trip.
From the north end of the parking lot, head north, straight
away from the parking lot. You are walking on Boundary Trail #1 which can be a
bit confusing because right near the parking lot you pass a junction with
Boundary Trail #1 on the right. The trail you need to take curves slightly to
the left and in about 200 feet, drops down a bit and crosses a footbridge over
a small creek. From here the climb begins.
In about 1.1 miles there is a junction with Boundary Trail #1 and the first
junction with Independence Ridge Trail #227A. Keep to the right at this
junction and the next one, a junction with Independence Ridge Trail #227. The
Independence Ridge Trail tends to have washouts and seems to be closed often.
Just after the junction, drop down to Norway Pass, a small saddle with
wonderful views of Spirit Lake. If conditions are right, then logs floating on
the lake will be pushed into the northern arm of the lake. These logs were
blown down by the cataclysmic explosion from 1980, then a huge lahar swept into
the lake raising the lake level several hundred feet and sloshing the lake up
the slopes and scouring off the fallen trees. After contemplating the
devastation from the blast and wondering how logs can still be floating after
more than 30 years, ascend up the well-maintained trail.
In about .7 mile is a junction for the Lakes Trail #211. Continue heading
straight to stay on Boundary Trail #1. The Lakes Trail will be used on the
return leg of the trip if all goes well. After a while, you’ll pass a nice rock
overlooking the valley, then come to one of the Mt. Margaret backcountry camps.
The camp has an outdoor composting toilet. There is a seasonal stream at the
campsite which can be dry just before the fall rains start. Some years there is
a snow patch near the camp that can be used for water. Remember not to use pink
or red snow. Being in the blast zone gives constant views of Mt. St. Helens and
walking the trail provides one continuous panoramic view of the nearby and
Make a left at the camp and follow the trail as it continues uphill to a small
saddle with nice views of Boot Lake and Obscurity Lakes which were carved out
by glaciers long ago. Follow the trail along the south side of the slope for .2
mile to another saddle wherein lies the junction for Mt. Margaret and Mt.
Taking the Whittier Ridge junction to the right, you will immediately notice a
difference in the trail. It is brushy from being lightly travelled and there are
some deadfalls to negotiate.
Do not take the trail over Whittier Ridge is there is still spring snow. Parts
of the trail are shaded most of the day and are very dangerous when covered in
icy snow. Part of the trail is on a near knife edge only about 2 foot wide,
other portions are blasted from the side of the cliff, and there are a few
short scrambles. If you are at all uncomfortable with heights, do not take this
trail. If the weather is very windy or the trail is socked in, do not take this
The trail comes out after a bit then then comes to a little peak ahead of you.
The trail goes to the right side of the rock, 5 ¼ miles from the trailhead
comes to a spine that connects to the south shoulder of Mt. Whittier. If you
look across the valley you may be able to see the trail switchbacking up the
side of the ridge. From here you have a great view to the right of Boot Lake
and Mt. Rainier on the right, and Mt. St Helens on the left. Behind you can see
Mt. Adams on a clear day.
From the summit of Mt. Whittier is a 360 degree panoramic view of mountains too
numerous to mention them all. All the major volcanic peaks are in view along
with several lakes. Holmstedt Lake lies just to the northeast of the peak. In
the west, you can see a sliver of Coldwater Lake, which was created when a
mudflow dammed Coldwater Creek.
At mile 5.4, the trail skirts a section where the trail was blasted out of the
cliff face. If the weather is bad or in early spring, this is a dangerous
portion because it is shaded all afternoon and is slow to melt out in the
spring. Next the trail heads pretty steeply uphill to gain the ridgeline. There
are places that aren’t marked and the only way to find the trail is to scout
where other people have walked.
On the ridge the trail is very sketchy in places and you have to pick your way along
the splintered ridge. Sometimes dropping off the ridge a bit to cir*****vent an
especially rugged spot.
Near the end of the ridge is a place where the trail was rerouted several years
ago. The reroute gains just a bit of elevation, then drops sharply off the
right side of the ridge. Follow this poor trail down a few switchbacks. The
track quickly improves, then descends across a steeply sloped meadow down into
tree cover and connect with Lakes Trail at Pleasant Pass.
If you try to take the old trail, this abandoned trail descends the left side
of the ridge, then turns sharply right and goes beneath rock cliffs. Part of
the old trail has broken away from the cliffs and would be quite time consuming
At the Lakes Trail it is about 6.3 miles back to Norway Pass. Turn right and
head east on the mostly level trail. The trail soon passes the junction to Shovel
Lake on the right and continues to some cliffs with a great view down into
Panhandle Lake is fed by a lovely stream that cascades down the hillside above
the lake providing a good flow of water. The stream takes a few steps to hop
across. The trail drops down and goes along Panhandle Lake, then starts
climbing out of the bowel the lake sits in.
You’ll start crossing a series of seasonal and all year streams from Panhandle
Lake and past Obscurity to Grizzly Lake. All the streams are easily navigated
by stepping on rocks piled in the streams.
This year there has been maintenance on the Lakes Trial. The Alders have been
brushed away and some of the washout areas have been repaired.
The trail climbs fairly steeply up to Grizzly Lake, which is a small log-choked
lake without much appeal. The trail continues climbing at a moderate rate for
about another 900 feet up to Grizzly Pass. It is a long 900 foot slog up to
Bear Pass and by now you’re getting pretty tired as you climb up to Bear Pass.
Coming back from Norway Pass, you may have forgotten that you had some downhill
sections coming from the trailhead. How easy it is to forget that the first two
miles of the trail had elevation gains and losses, but the climbs on the return
leg have to be negotiated so you can finish this awesome hike.
Do not take the trail over Whittier Ridge is
there is still spring snow. Parts of the trail are shaded most of the day and
are very dangerous when covered in icy snow. Part of the trail is on a near
knife edge only about 2 foot wide, other portions are blasted from the side of
the cliff, and there are a few short scrambles. If you are at all uncomfortable
with heights, do not take this trail. If the weather is very windy or the trail
is socked in, do not take this trail.
Average speed was 1.6 mph. We hiked for 9 ½ hours.
Waypoints and map coming soon.
Enjoy the photos!
|(Read More... | Dayhikes | Score: 0)|
|Cycling: 2013 Portland Century|
Tuesday, September 03 @ 12:32:16 PDT by Drew (16171 reads)
|Rode the Portland Century again this year, it was basically a completely new route. This time we headed West from Portland and rode the hills and flats out and around areas like Forest Grove and Hillsboro. With a climb up to the Zoo on the return leg, it made for some fun times.. You can see my GPS stats at the link below..|
Ride Information located here
|(Read More... | 514 bytes more | Cycling | Score: 0)|
|Home Cooking: My take on Super Spackle!|
Tuesday, September 03 @ 12:29:09 PDT by (397 reads)
|Drew writes "I
tried a new recipe for a Century ride called the High Pass Challenge, I
felt like I was going to need something extra for this ride. I was
right.. Check out my little adventure here. |
Working with the Washington Trails Association, doing trail
maintenance in the Enchantments during Aug. 2012, our camp host told me
of a snack called "Super Spackle" He said that he had heard about it in
a book, but forgot who the author was, and that
had modified it somewhat from the original recipe.
and cyclists typically are not dieting when on the trail or the road, I
figured this might be the ticket! This can be used as a substitute to
GORP, or a powerbar, and with my little addition, even a replacement for
the popular GU packs,
of the ingredients might be a little tough to get, but if you can find
yourself an organic grocery store and you should be fine.
List of ingredients:
make this wonderful concoction, start by adding together the drier
components, the Almond and Cashew butter. Then add in the other
ingredients which are the liquid ones.
- 1 Cup unsalted almond butter
- 1 Cup unsalted cashew butter
- ½ Cup agave syrup
- ¼ Cup almond oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 Teaspoon almond extract
- A touch of salt. (if you add the gel base, you can skip this)
- See below for my "special addition"
all this together in a bowl with a large wooden spoon, or something
other than your little mixer, as mine did not like the thick goopy
it!! Basically you're done with the recipe that he gave me, he told me
just to store it in an airtight container He didn't even refrigerate his
mixture, this makes sense since it lives either in a backpack, or cycling jersey while backpacking or riding.
Total Fat334.2 g
Saturated Fat39.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat52.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat170.5 g
Total Carbohydrate217.3 g
Dietary Fiber14.4 g
Amount Per 1 Tbsp Serving (30 servings)
Total Fat11.1 g
Saturated Fat1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat5.7 g
Total Carbohydrate7.2 g
Dietary Fiber0.5 g
read on for a twist on the original! (This version should be kept in
the fridge until you're ready to go due to the gel base addition)
I took things once step further for my century ride, I added about a 1/8 cup of Energy Gel Base from http://www.energygelcentral.com/
This took things to a whole other level…
I use the unflavored gel base w/caffeine which contains;
Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Fructose, Citric acid, and Sea Salt
First, I followed the directions to make the energy gel,
1 cup (8 oz.) of water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add
the entire contents of gel powder to the pot and stir well.
heat to medium low and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until most
of the white lumps have disappeared; the gel will have a thin
from heat. Add flavor(s) if desired and let cool for 20-30 minutes. It
is normal for a film to develop on the surface while the heat
As it continues to cool, the gel base will thicken
to the viscosity of honey. Refrigerate in an airtight container until
Then I added it to the Super Spackle mix at the end, and combined it altogether.
Note: A 1 oz. serving (by weight) of prepared gel is equal to a volume of approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons.
bag of EGC base will produce 32 1-oz servings (by weight), which is
equivalent to about 24 fluid ounces (when measured by volume).
I used Coghlan's Squeeze Tubes to put the mixture in, it worked out great. A two pack is $4.75 at REI
give it a try with or without the energy gel added, I bet you will be
surprised on how much energy it gives you,and doesn't leave you hungry
every half hour!! Enjoy
|(Read More... | Home Cooking | Score: 0)|
|Dayhikes: High Rock Overlook Trail, WA|
Friday, February 15 @ 10:54:00 PST by Drew (777 reads)
About 14 miles east of Ashford, WA in Mt. Rainier National Park.
From Portland, take I-5 North and take exit 68 to Hwy 12. Take Hwy 12 for about 30 miles to Morton. Turn left on Hwy 7 and drive about 17 miles to Hwy 706. Turn right on Hwy 706 and drive to through Ashford.
From Seattle, take I-5 South to Hwy 512 East and go towards Puyallup (Exit 127). Follow Hwy 512 East for about 2 miles. Turn south onto Hwy 7 towards Mt. Rainier. Follow Hwy 7 south to Elbe. At Elbe, turn left onto Hwy 706, travel through Ashford.
From Seattle or Portland, once past Ashford, drive about 2.4 miles and look for the sign for FR52/Skate Creek Road. Turn right onto Kernahan Road, Which turns into Skate Creek Road. Skate Creek Road turns into Forest Road 52. Drive 4.7 miles to the junction with Forest Road 84 and turn right.
Continue along FR84, which is a dirt road and in 4.2 miles you reach the junction for FR8420, stay left on FR84.
At about 6.8 miles, you come to the junction for FR8440. Turn right and go uphill on the dirt road for about 2.6 miles.
After driving 9.5 miles from Hwy 706, you come around a large hairpin turn. Parking is at this wide spot in the road.
No permits are needed to park at the trailhead.
There may be a better route using FR85, but I couldn’t find it at the time of this review.
No restrooms are at the trailhead. The nearest restrooms are at Ashford.
High Rock Overlook Trail #266.with connection to Allen Mountain Trail #253.
Topo Map - future, Download Garmin .gpx file
Length and Elevation:
3.4 miles round trip. Elevation gain 1,375 feet and about 30 feet of loss. Total gain and loss is 2,810 feet. Elevation at the trailhead is 4,320 feet, the high point of the trail is 5,685 feet.
Review: July 14, 2013.
High Rock Overlook Trail is an out and back trail with a potential loop.
The trail starts out by climbing through Huckleberries and Bear Grass. The trail is basically along Sawtooth Ridge which is fairly sandy and the forest is fairly open. There are views of the forested ridge off to your left.
The trail soon makes a pair of switchbacks and then comes out along the top of the ridge, following the spine of the ridge through a heavy forest that doesn’t afford views of the nearby mountain ridges.
The trail starts to get steeper after the first .5 mile. At about .6 mile the trail gets very steep as it continues to follow the ridge without switchbacks. The forest is still pretty dense along here. In July Beargrass and Lupine dot the trail. You can see this trail hasn’t had as much maintenance as it should have because the trail is in a fairly deep rut on a couple of the uphill portions. Luckily the trail is on the side of the ridge and the water can easily flow off the trail.
After a bit the trail levels off for a short distance and even drops down a few feet, passing a wooden bench where you can sit down and take a rest. All too soon you begin climbing again along the spine of the ridge.
After climbing steadily for 1.25 miles, you reach the first nice viewpoint of Mt. Rainier and the destination of the hike. You can see the fire lookout perched near the edge of a sheer cliff.
In about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail passes an old cabin that has fallen down and in a few more feet, comes out onto a monolithic rock with the lookout on the top. Follow wherever convenient up to the lookout. The lookout was built in 1929 and is one of the three remaining lookouts in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and is open to visitors.
The north side of the rock ends in a 600 foot cliff, then about 1,000 foot drop down to Cora Lake. After exploring the fire lookout and nearby viewpoints overlooking Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier, you can either go back the way you came, or make a bit of a scramble along the cliff edge back down to the trail. Looping along the cliff takes some effort, be careful not to slip on the loose rocks, but there are nice views of the fire lookout and Mt. Rainier along this way trail.
The loop heads steeply down a rock slope towards pillar of rock jutting into the air. Just before you drop down into the swale in front of the stone pillar, cut off to the right and look for any boot path that drops down to the trail nearby.
This loop option is not for small children because it is steep, at the edge of a cliff, and the footing can be slippery on the loose rocks. If you have problems negotiating steep slopes with loose rocks do not take this loop option, but return to the trailhead using the main trail.
Enjoy the Photos!
|(Read More... | Dayhikes | Score: 0)|| |
|Friday, February 15|
|·|| Pinnacle Peak Trail, WA |
|·|| Rogue River, OR |
|·|| South Cinder Cone, OR |
|·|| Barlow Butte, OR |
|Monday, October 22|
|·|| Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail, WA |
|·|| Klickitat River Trail, WA |
|·|| Kynd Outdoors |
|·|| Otter Bench, OR |
|Tuesday, September 18|
|·|| Smith Rock State Park, OR |
|·|| Horseshoe Ridge, WA |
|·|| Glacier Basin, WA |
|·|| Emmons Moraine Trail, WA |
|Tuesday, June 26|
|·|| Plaikni Falls, OR |
|·|| Garfield Peak, OR |
|·|| Sun Notch, OR |
|·|| Sweet Creek Falls Trail, OR |
|·|| Coldwater Lake, WA |
|·|| Triple C Trail, OR |
|·|| Table Mountain, WA (From the north) |
|Thursday, November 03|
|·|| Augspurger Mtn, WA |
|One Day like Today...|