Summer in Seattle - 2019

Our travel nursing adventure continues. From Bemidji, Minnesota we accepted a position in Bellevue, Washington outside of Seattle. We loaded up the car and drove to Seattle in April. I had worked in Mount Rainier National Park in college and had some familiarity with the area, but had only spent a few days in Seattle and had only the smallest idea of what life in the Northwest would be. Turns out, it’s just as rainy as everyone says.

While in Seattle, I accepted a contract engineering position at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington. That job cut significantly into my outdoor time but was a valuable professional experience. Enough about work, this post is about some of our selected adventures over the summer.

Olympic National Park

March 29, 2019 - April 1, 2019

Started our trip from Rialto Beach. The weather was pretty gray but not rainy. As we started out, we saw some real psychos surfing in the huge breaks off the beach. Surfing through the crashing surf, sunken logs, and rocky outcroppings…I guess that’s surfing in the Northwest?

The hiking was tough - everything from soft sand to pebbles to stacks of logs slick with moss and ocean water. We hiked north to Chilean Memorial just after lunch and found a nice flat tent spot above high tide. . We had a really relaxing afternoon of wandering the beach and checking out all the great tidal pools.

As the night approached, a few other groups showed up and camped nearby. I thought it was pretty funny because this group was so hesitant to ask us anything - even though I offered the site for sharing. It was like movie theater spacing but with campsites! We even had to twist arms to get them to share our fire instead of starting a new one. Oh, also they tried to filter seawater to make dinner! Not try, they did and must have had the saltiest freeze dried food ever. We then watched them make tea with sea water…After a few hours they asked us about freshwater sources and we were like, yeah there’s a creek about 50 feet away. I guess I should have said something earlier but I didn’t want to be a total know-it-all, maybe they had some saltwater filter? No. No they didn’t. I still think about this over a year later - how disguesting was that tea?

In the morning, we hiked out and got trapped about a mile down the trail because the tide was in. We ended up sitting on some rocks talking to a coffee salesman for a few hours while we waited for the beach to be passable.

Overall, wonderful, relaxing backpacking trip. We had no issues with rain, it wasn’t super strenuous, just a long, relaxing walk on the beach!

Gothic Basin and Del Campo Peak

June 15, 2019

Day hiked to Gothic Basin and up Del Campo Peak with Matt Mayo. This was a tough hike in and the basin and peak were snow covered. I was thankful for the full sun protection I was wearing. Saw a lot of day hikers doing this in tennis shoes, shorts, and tank tops. Sunburn city.

The scramble off the snow to the peak was awesome - classic Washington class 3 scramble with really solid rocks and astounding views.

Enchantments Thru Hike (Plus Little Annapurna)

July 6, 2019

My friend, old roommate, and rowing team mate Ross Wise dropped in for a long weekend. While he was here, I figured I should finally try the 19 mile thru hike of the Enchantments.

The Enchantments are a Washington staple. Permits are required to camp in the interior so the “easiest” option is to just hike through the core in one shot as a long day hike. By long, I mean 19 miles point to point and 6000 feet of elevation gain. Luckily, Ross is always up for a sufferfest and Mary was willing to shuttle us between trailheads.

We started early to beat crowds and because we anticpated taking 12 hours to finish after tacking on an additional sidetrip to the top of Little Annapurna, a small scramble off the main trail.

The first four miles of the trail were a slow inclined approach to Colchuck Lake, a beautiful lake at the foot of Aasgard Pass and Dragontail Peak. We made really good time through this first section then picked around the lake, through a boulder field and up the notorious Aasgard Pass - 1500 feet of gain in about half a mile. It’s a staircase of loose dirt and pebbles and if you get there too late in the day, it’s sunny the entire way up. We pushed to the top and enjoyed 6 amazing miles of flat hiking though the high elevation alpine lakes - still mostly frozen over. The trail was half snow, but it was a well traveled path through the maze of lakes.

Once you get through the lakes, the last 6-8 miles was a descent back through the woods, mostly uneventful and our feet were growing increasingly sore. We finally stumbled out just under 11 hours after starting.

Perry Creek and Mt Forgotten Meadows

July 19, 2019

I was feeling a bit cooped up at Boeing, so I left after work for a short overnight backpacking/photography trip to Mount Forgotten Meadows.

This trip typified what I love so much about getting outside in Washington. The hike was hard but the trail was well maintained. There was nobody else on the trail and I got to camp in a meadow with perfect views of Glacier Peak without any permits or reservations. All you have to deal with is the ever present thread of a storm!.

Snowking Mountain

August 31 - September 2, 2019

Mary and I met up with some Arthur and Kristi to do an out and back trip to Cyclone Lake and Snowking Mountain over Labor Day weekend.

The hike in was HARD, one of the steepest approaches I’ve ever seen with about 3500ft of elevation gained in 1.75 miles. I’ve done a lot of steep approaches over the years but the miles going up and down are on old climber trails through thick trees. It feels like climbing a staircase for miles, except on loose dirt. The cluster of lakes around the base of Snowking are unbelievable and the view from the summit might make the grind up worth it.

The route up Snowking is tons of fun with insane views and easy, solid scrambling. The view from the top was incredible and almost made us forget about the downhill trudge we had coming up. We even got in some good glissade tracks on the way down.