Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Mount Washington (Washington State)

Carly Kovacik and myself hiked Mount Washington during late November 2018. The Mt Washington trailhead is just a short drive from Seattle located immediately adjacent to I-90. The trail starts off steep, and since Carly is in elite shape, I was eating her dust for the first mile. My lungs and heart eventually woke up and the remaining 3 miles became progressively easier. One highlight of the hike was the ever-deepening snow we encountered with height. The trail was hard-packed, and traction probably would have made the journey easier (especially back down), but we summited nonetheless. The views from the top were outstanding...I-90 sat below our feet, and Mount Rainier loomed close by on our southern horizon. After descending back to the car, we drove over to Snoqualmie Brewing Company for beer and pizza, followed by a jaunt over to Snoqualmie Falls...both of which I would recommend anyone reading this to visit.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Downtown Seattle 2018

Carly Kovacik and myself spent a late November Saturday afternoon exploring downtown Seattle. We started the adventure with a search for food, ending up at the Alibi Room, which is adjacent to Pike Place Market. After pizza and beer, as well as the obligatory stroll through the market, which included some famous fish tossing, we decided to hike up to Kerry Park for views of downtown Seattle. Cloud cover obscured Mount Rainier, but the views of the skyline were still great nonetheless. We then hiked over to the Space Needle, followed by a long slog to Seapine Brewery. A few beers later, we hiked back to downtown, passing Starbucks Headquarters as well as Safeco Field. We finished the evening off at Elliott's Oyster House, where again, the food was fantastic. After all was said and done, we ended up hiking around 11 miles through downtown Seattle. Pictures are below, which include an awesome street cat, the Gum Wall, delicious fish and seafood, and of course a honey bucket.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Eureka, CA Elk River Trail Mountain Lions

Probably no surprise to most, but mountain lions have recently (recent meaning Thanksgiving 2018) been spotted along the Elk River Trail in the Headwaters Forest Reserve near Eureka, CA. Perhaps slightly stupid of me (haha), but I ran 4 miles of the trail regardless (luckily without incident). Still, smarter people beware!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Granite Lake - Trinity Alps

I hiked out to Granite Lake in the Trinity Alps on Nov 17th. The hike is about 10 miles roundtrip with only a modest vertical ascent. Since I am recently coming off of midnight shifts, I naturally woke up at midnight, and thus decided to start the hike early in the morning. This involved a 3 hour drive from Eureka to the trailhead. Upon the start of the hike, I was slightly spooked by the potential for mountain lion attack, and thus found a sharp pointy stick to defend myself with...which of course wouldn't have saved my life, but at least gave me comfort while walking. After 2-3 hours of hiking under a vividly starry sky, I reached Granite Lake right before sunrise. I sat on a log and watched reddish sunlight paint the granite spires towering above the lake. I was also amused by otters swimming near shore...who showed similar curiosity toward my presence. Pictures are below...and after reviewing these images, I've got to say that smart phone photo technology is definitely starting to rival traditional DSLR images (not quite, but getting close).

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lyon's Ranch Loop - Redwood National Park

I hiked a 10 mile ridge-to-valley-to-ridge loop in Redwood National Park during a sunny late October day. The hike began at the parking lot for Lyon's Ranch...it vectored north down Bald Hills Road, then branched off onto a ranch road that curved back to the north...eventually hooking up with the Lyon's Ranch homestead. Abundant sunshine, cool breeze, golden California grass, and ridge top views of rolling mountains for miles and miles...perfect way to spend a day-off from work.

At the beginning of the hike two Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies stopped me as I was slogging down Bald Hills Road. They informed me that a lunatic wearing an orange jacket was flashing a knife at motorists driving by. They asked me if I was the person doing that...I said no, and they let me continue on my way. Needless to say, I was turning around every 10 minutes during my hike looking for a crazy man ready to knife me. Luckily I survived. However, when I was at the Lyon's Ranch Homestead, I heard a loud rustling in a group of trees.  I thought to myself, perhaps, the crazy man was watching me from afar. It turns out it was a mother black bear and her cub, who dashed out in front of me five minutes later and ran down a hillside. The mother stopped as the cub climbed up a tree for safety...the mother started eyeing me, and I got the hint, and picked up the pace back towards my truck, which was still a mile away.  Great hike!

Prairie Creek Redwoods - Fern Canyon

Those looking for a moderately long (12 mile) day hike might want to consider the trail that leads from the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park headquarters out to Fern Canyon. The 6 miles out to the canyon go by fast as you marvel at the tall trees always-towering-above. The terrain is moderately rugged, the undergrowth is from a prehistoric movie, and the mist swirling through the trees enhances the mystical spiritual connection with a truly special natural wonder. I hiked this route during mid October. The canyon itself is not all that awe-inspiring...though there are several subsidiary slot-canyons spanned by bridges--with tiny streams embedded deep within the earth below. Nevertheless, the hike was fantastic. I truly appreciated reconnecting with the woods and forgetting about the human condition for a while.  As I've said before to many people, Prairie Creek State Park is hands down the best Redwood Park in Northwest California--both for hiking and for marveling.

Monday, September 17, 2018

San Francisco - 2018

San Francisco International Airport
California Street
China Town
Saints Peter and Paul Church
Lombard Street