Skyline with my loves

I’ve heard it said that happiness is only real if shared, and while I might not agree with this entirely, I do believe there is great joy in sharing our happiness with those we love and treasure.

With that in mind, it pleased my soul to spend another weekend in the glorious outdoors of the Pacific Northwest with my sweetheart, my son, and some dear friends.

 Heading up – it’s only a little over a mile, but it’s a steep mile! 😄💪

My son started out on skis but quickly tired. I got frustrated and chucked his skis in the woods, then had second thoughts and being attached to the sled, asked my darling if she wouldn’t mind retrieving them. 😘 

Our merry band arriving at Skyline Lake!

Camp was set up in good time ⛺ 

Woke up to fresh snow and blue skies! Coffee lap of the lake with my boy 😍☕ 

Categories: Alpine touring, backcountry, camping, Environment, Family, Father Son, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, Outdoors, parenting, randonee, ski, washington, winter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father and Son visit the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River during Seattle Snowmageddon 2017 ❄⛄:) 

We awoke Monday morning to some 4 or 5 inches of fresh snow in Redmond and notice from the school district that all schools would be closed due to the inability of folks in these parts to drive in snow 😉

We went outside at the crack of dawn to play in the fresh snow and survey the damage-


I wanted to get out and enjoy the fresh snow so loaded up the truck with some picnic supplies and then my son and I headed out to brave the snowy roads and explore the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River 🙂

I was quite surprised to arrive at the large trailhead parking and discover that no one had been there; we had the Middle Fork all to ourselves.

Happy Trails!! 😘🗻👍 

Categories: alpine lakes wilderness, backcountry, Environment, Family, Father Son, Hiking, Inspiration, mountains, washington, winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Snow cave camping at Artist Point with my son ⛄🗻❄ 

A brilliant weekend outing with wonderful friends to Artist Point, adjacent to the Mount Baker ski resort.

Categories: Alpine touring, backcountry, camping, Environment, Family, Father Son, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, Outdoors, parenting, randonee, ski, washington, winter | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Winter climb to the historic Winchester Lookout

A beautiful, if long, night hike to the summit of Winchester Mountain and the historic fire lookout!


What a sunrise!!






Nap time!





Larabee- we wanted to summit this gorgeous peak but avalanche conditions forced us to cancel this plan.


Breakfast of Champions for Quinn: non alcoholic beer and Gummi bears!


A special pic for our buddy Dave who has an orange peel fetish 😉


Calvin and Shea perched on the roof of the Winchester Lookout


Snow softened up nicely in the afternoon sun. Fresh turns = Happiness!



Quinn and Shea


Cheryl and her growlers 🙂


A gorgeous sunset!


Some cool cats showed up just after sunset with a pissy little shitster of a dog. The lookout was rocking on Saturday night!



Good night!


Good morning! 😉 I was roused from my slumber by the monumental crash of Grumpy Cat falling out of bed!


I was told to go back to sleep but couldn’t. Put the kettle on and went out to enjoy another spectacular sunrise –




Back in the lookout everyone was still sound asleep…


I passed the time sipping coffee and perusing the lookout library 🙂


Signs of life! Let’s get packed and head on down before it gets too “avalanchy”!


Me n Quinn 🙂


Adios Winchester and Larabee! I’ll be back!


Larabee and the border peaks –


I keep telling Grumpy Cat that skis work better when attached to feet, but she does look pretty bad ass lugging them around on her back…


We took the direct route down from Winchester Lookout to the Twin Lakes, a decision which, in hindsight, was perhaps not ideal for everyone in our merry band…


On the plus side, Cheryl got to practice life or death self arrest techniques and Grumpy Cat cleaned up the Winchester yard sale after bowling Cheryl’s pack down the mountain…


The yard sale crew walked what was left of Zig Zag’s battered pack down the mountain collecting pieces and parts along the way.


Quinn, Shea and Calvin on Winchester Mountain

Calvin and I had gravity on our side and zipped down and across the Twin Lakes, fired up the kettle and cooked a meal while awaiting our companions.

After biscuits and gravy and a pot of tea our mates were still dicking around on the far side of the lakes so Calvin and I decided to hike part way up the little mountain on the south side of the Twin Lakes to enjoy some fresh turns in the warm spring conditions. Ah, how nice to climb and ski sans pack!


By the time we got down Zig Zag, Grumpy Cat and the Quinnster had made it across the lakes and we headed down the Twin Lakes road to where we’d left the cars. High fives and beers and then Calvin slid off the road… Ooops!

Fortunately I had my high lift and straps and Quinn had plenty of beer. It took us a while to drag Calvin’s truck to a point where we could set up a pulley on a tree and pull him out of the ditch. Good fun!

Categories: Alpine touring, backcountry, camping, Environment, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors, randonee, ski, washington, winter | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Hidden Lake Lookout, Day 2!

Good morning from Hidden Lake Lookout! What a sunrise!!

Three more friends were going to meet us today and the original plan had been for us to hike / ski / roll down to the trailhead to meet them for a group hike up. Fortunately, they got a pretty early start which saved us from going all the way down and back! Douchebag Dave lost his vagina and decided to play house while Zig Zag and I went down to meet the inbound bastards 🙂

I was a bit nervous traversing the east bowl, fearing it would be as icy as my ex-wife’s heart, but fortunately by the time we got there the sun had been on it long enough that it was softening up.

I stopped about half way across and chilled for a bit, just taking it all in. These mountains are truly good for the soul!


Here comes Zig Zag! I hear she cried off most her sunscreen right about here- 😉


I continued across and took a few more pics from the safety of the saddle-


Looking NE towards the true summit of Hidden Lake, elevation 7088″-


The west facing slopes haven’t had much sun on them yet so it’s an icy ski down, but still, a crappy ski beats a good day at the office any day! ^_^


Zig Zag was on snowshoes so I let her follow the track we’d made the day before while I stayed high in search of some decent turns. She snapped these rather cool pics 🙂


Then I got killed in an avalanche…

20160402_103455Ok, ok, I wasn’t really dead! 😉


Then, as Zig Zag was digging me out, she got buried by the murderous slide!


Scary stuff, eh? I still don’t know how we survived!


Anyway, let’s keep going!


A few more turns and who do I spot? The bastards!!! Midnight Rider, Quinnster and Grumpy Cat have arrived! ^_^ I tackled the Midnight Rider in a big bear hug cuz I know how much she LOVES to snuggle, then we headed back in the direction of the lookout. I cut high with Grumpy Cat in tow while the other bastards stuck to the established trail. We made good time to the saddle and chilled there for a bit until the rest of our merry band arrived.

I had regaled the Midnight Rider with tales of the wonderful traverse that awaited her beneath the Hidden Lake Lookout- there you have it!


I was impressed- there was no complaining or talk of turning back. Bastards in the mist 😉


Everyone vag’d up and pushed on! Grumpy Cat was behind me, hoping she could somehow squeeze her fat powder boards into my skinny tracks. Oh, and did I mention she’s just learning to ski? Well, if she lost it she’d just roll down the mountain and PROBABLY be ok… Grumpy Cat broke character and made it across with a smile 🙂


The rest of the miscreants followed; should we tell them to space out so that they don’t all get taken out in the event of a slide? Nah! Ignorance really can be bliss sometimes! ^_^


Douche Bag Dave was waiting for us and much merriment ensued ^_^  Midnight Rider passed out in her goggles and Zig Zag soon joined her, proving once and for all that the former actually doesn’t mind snuggles as much as she lets on.

Someone mentioned having to take a dump and we knew there’s a Spectacular Throne® buried some ~500″ down the mountain, we grabbed shovels and rakes and instruments of destruction and headed down to Alice’s Restaurant, ahem, I mean, the shitter 🙂

I actually completely missed the great shit dig of ’16 because I skied down and totally blew past the battle zone. By the time I skinned back up it was Mission accomplished! (Of course, no good deed goes unpunished to I proceeded to lob snowballs at Zig Zag from a strategic position, because that’s just the kind of friend I am ^_^ )


Douchebag Dave took the crapper for a test run 🙂

20160402_152644Sure as shit beats hauling out blue bags, eh?

Back at the lookout we attended to domestic chores, such as melting snow for drinking water in case the beer and whiskey ran out-


And I prepped the windows in anticipation of another spectacular sunset 🙂


The day was still young so I went off for a wee little ski tour down the south face of the lookout peak. Sweetness! ^_^



Finally the shadows began to lengthen and we prepared for the show that mother nature had prepared for us-


Oh, wait, wrong show! If you’ll pivot 180 degrees away from the moon you’ll be rewarded with an entirely more wholesome view-

It was such a beautiful night that a bunch of folks ended up sleeping outside leaving me to snuggle with the lookout mice.

Sweet rodent dreams! ♥


Categories: Alpine touring, backcountry, camping, Environment, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors, randonee, ski, washington, winter | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring the Alpine Lakes Wilderness – Gem and Snow Lakes













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Shelters from the storm- a night on a mountain top in a historic fire Lookout.

Forecast called for a weekend of heavy rain and high winds. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to forego my decidedly wimpy 3-season tent in favor of something sturdier and more robust.

The Park Butte Lookout, built in the early 1930’s seemed like a good choice.







Alpine Tarn, the calm after the storm.


Pocket Lake


Sunrise after the storm.


Mighty Koma Kulshan


Categories: backcountry, camping, Environment, Hiking, mountaineering, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day tripping the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington, USA

Another beautiful warm sunny summer day in Washington- let’s go hiking!


Headed out with a friend and co-worker from Morocco- no idea what kind of shape he’s in, so decided we’d start with the easy hike to Talapus Lake and see how it went.


Beautiful Talapus Lake!


Ibrahim was keen to press on, so on we went!


I thought we’d head to Pratt Lake, but when we reached the junction to the Mount Defiance Trail we decided to hang a left and go check out Island and Rainbow Lakes. Got a bit steep in spots, but Ibrahim powered on!


Rainbow Lake- no better spot to enjoy a Black Raven Trickster IPA ^_^




Chillin at Rainbow Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington, USA!

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Ibrahim found a nice shady spot to chill 🙂


Adios Rainbow Lake- would be fun to come back here for an overnight!


Oh, and the blueberries!!

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Like something out of a Monet painting!


Island Lake!

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A shitter with a view!

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Ollalie Lake!

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Happy Trails!

Categories: alpine lakes wilderness, backcountry, camping, Environment, Hiking, Inspiration, mountains, Outdoors, washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Independence Day at Hidden Lake, North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” William Shakespeare

Welcome to the Hidden Lake trail!

Hidden Lake Lookout


North Cascades


8.0 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 3300 ft.
Highest Point: 6900 ft.


Not a very long trail, but it’s got some nice vertical!


Gorgeous day- July 3rd, 2015!


Flowers in bloom as far as the eye can see!

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First glimpse of Hidden Lake Lookout, perched in what looks like an impossible spot far above!

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Off in the distance- magnificent Mount Baker!DSC_1285

First look at Hidden Lake!DSC_1287

First look inside the Hidden Lake Lookout!


Built in 1931!!


Surrounded by mountains on all sides!

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A nice library in the lookout- I chose the history of the Mountaineers- a great read!



It was a tough hike up with a very heavy pack- I think I’ve earned this!

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The sun is dropping towards the western horizon and Hidden Lake is quickly in shadow-




Sunset on the Hidden Lake Lookout- DSC_1315 DSC_1316 DSC_1317Edit

Say hello to my little friend 😉DSC_1328 DSC_1329 DSC_1330

Moon over the Cascades!


Moon over the Hidden Lake Lookout!


Good morning selfie 🙂


Time to hit the lake! It’s a lot farther than it looks!

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Amazing blue waters and rugged shoreline of Hidden Lake-

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Chilled in an ice cold mountain stream- no better spot for a picnic and Vitamin R 😉


Hidden Lake selfie 😉


Back to the lookout-


Who needs 4th of July fireworks when you’ve got a sunset like this? ^_^

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Couldn’t ask for nice accommodations!


Cleaned and swept and storm door back in place- adios Hidden Lake Lookout! DSC_1379

Plenty of nice camp spots along the Hidden Lake trail-


Amazing fields of wildflowers and swarms of honey bees and butterflies- paradise!!

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Ripe salmon berries at lower elevations really hit the spot!


The End 🙂
Categories: backcountry, camping, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiking to Lake Colchuk and Aasgard Pass, gateway to the Enchantments!

This is the second to last weekend before the permit season starts; starting mid-June the only way to overnight in the Enchantments is via a very hard to get permit that is awarded by lottery. Seems I wasn’t the only one out to bag a night before permit season!

Stuart Lake Trailhead:

Stuart Lake Trailhead Sign

Clearly posted: NO DOGS ALLOWED (more on that later…)

No dogs allowed in the Enchantments

Why aren’t dogs allowed here you might ask? Well here’s your answer:

> Dogs are not allowed in the Enchantments for a few reasons. When they were permitted, the goats and ptarmigan disappeared. Measurable levels of fecal coliform pollution were detected in the basin’s pristine alpine lakes. And dog barks sometimes echoed off the surrounding rock through the night, prompting complaints. (http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/A-heavenly-reward-awaits-in-the-Enchantment-Lakes-1157203.php#page-2 )

Anyway, on with the hike!

Nice trail in good shape through the woods with some cool bridges along the way-

Footbridge on the Stuart Lake Trail Crossing some rapids on the Stuart Lake Trail A cool footbridge on the Stuart Lake Trail

As the trail climbs you begin to get some nice views-

View from the Stuart Lake Trail

It’s roughly 4 miles to Lake Colchuk.

OSMand Stuart Lake Trail to Lake Colchuk Map

The effort is well worth it! Welcome to Colchuk Lake!!


The magnificent Dragontail Peak looming above Colchuk Lake!


Stunning clear icy cold glacial blue water- can you see the trout swimming below?

Trout in Lake Colchuk, Alpine Lakes Wilderness!

Pressing on- considering how crowded the trailhead parking was I’m a bit worried about finding a camping spot. The amazing views never quit up here!


I’ve long heard about Washington’s mountain goats, but never seen one until today!

Mountain goat!

Scrambling over some fallen trees I tear a nice hole in my $3.99 Goodwill wool hiking pants…

Holy wool pants

On the plus side I found a really nice spot to camp!

Camping at Colchuk Lake

Ah it felt good to take off the boots and soak my feet in the freezing water of Lake Colchuk!


The day is still young and across the lake Aasgard Pass beckons!


I packed some snacks and water and headed off in the direction of Aasgard Pass, not really thinking I’d go all the way up, but wanting to reach the snow at least. From Colchuk Lake to the top of Aasgard Pass is over 2000 feet of elevation in less than a mile- STEEP!

Up there is Colchuk Glacier!


Looking up towards Aasgard Pass far above- it’s a bit of a scramble just to get to the base-


Beginning the climb-

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It was a tough hike, but the views along the way were simply breathtaking!

Snow crossings on the way to Aasgard Pass DSC_0888 The view from Aasgard Pass

Made it to the top of Aasgard Pass, gateway to the Enchantments!

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Even up here at 7800′ it was warm and sunny- perfect spot for a picnic and a nap! 🙂


The climb was tough and I’m running low on water- time to head back down to Colchuk

Colchuk Lake as seen from Aasgard Pass

To Be Continued!

Categories: backcountry, camping, Environment, Hiking, Inspiration, mountaineering, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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