The Wine Cyclist

Tag: backpacking

A Southwest Recap in Pictures (Part 1)

by on Dec.27, 2009, under Miscellany

A photographic recap of the first month of my recent travels in the southwest.

Great Sand Dunes

San Juan Mountains

Mesa Verde

Canyonlands

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Red Rock Country

by on Nov.12, 2009, under Miscellany

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Olympic National Park

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Miscellany

IMG_0962I know, I know. I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been back from Olympic National Park for over a week now and I’m just getting around to writing the blog post. No excuses. Honestly, it’s hard to fully describe the experience. ONP has some of the most incredible scenery I’ve seen to date. So, I’m not sure what to write. I guess I’ll just spend a few paragraphs telling you what I got up to, and perhaps waxing philosophical, and then I think I’ll just throw a bunch of pictures at you (the one to the left there Mt Olympus). How does that sound?

I went in to the park the first time along the Boulder Creek Trail (near the Elwha River) on the day of the autumnal equinox. It was a fairly leisurely hike by my standards, so I spent some time that afternoon lounging about in the Boulder Creek hot springs. I do love me some hot springs. After that, I hiked my way up an incredibly scenic trail to Appleton Pass, my campsite for that first evening. From there it was back down to the Sol Duc River, up to Deer Lake for another night of camping and then up over Bogachiel Peak on day three.

IMG_0980Along the Hoh River making my way up to Elk Lake (my third campsite), I ran into Brian and Dev (pronounced Dave), who were hiking about the same area as I the next couple of days. It’s always good to have some company, especially for some of the crazy trails that make their way up to Blue Glacier (pictured to the right) and Mt Olympus. We spent a day checking out all of that, and the next day was a long hike out through the Hoh Rain Forest. Excellent times indeed hanging out with Brian and Dev. they even gave me a ride back into Port Angeles.

From PA, I schemed out my next adventure on the Olympic Peninsula, and two days after leaving the main area of the park, I was out along the coastal wilderness of Olympic near Lake Ozette. I spent two days doing some surprisingly difficult hiking south along the coast. There were many rock outcroppings that I needed to scramble over, and of course the rocks were wet, seaweed-covered and otherwise slippery, which makes for an interesting challenge.

Now, I’m back in the civilized world for a bit, but I guarantee it shall not last. In less than a week, I’m making my way for the southwest to explore many of the national parks, monuments, and other wonders of that incredible area. The adventure continues!

As promised, pictures of Olympic National Park…

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Keep On Walkin’

by on Sep.13, 2009, under Miscellany

IMG_0890Yeah, yeah… I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been hanging out in Seattle for a week and I haven’t gotten around to posting something until now. Sometimes I get distracted from such things, you know? A week was spent in the woods. It was fun. Oh, you want more detail than that, I suppose.

August 29th, I caught a ride from friends of mine in Portland out to the town of Cascade Locks, OR. That weekend there was a Pacific Crest Trail festival, with a few dozen thru-hikers and an assortment of other PCT-affiliated people. There was also beer. Tasty beer. By the keg. I met many people that evening, some of whom I even remember meeting (also known as the people I met before the kegs were tapped). The next day, after a ginormous breakfast in Cascade Locks, I crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Washington and began my walk north along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Despite being in good shape from all the cycling, it took me a while to get used to the whole backpacking thing. One uses many different muscles backpacking than you do cycling. The body as a whole also takes much greater impact. My feet, especially, were very sore from the plod-plod-plodding along, and my hips as well, from carrying the load of my pack. I worked many muscles while cycling, but since I was only really responsible for forward momentum and are not actually bearing the weight of the travel load myself, my legs didn’t take quite as much impact damage. Ibuprofen is a much closer friend to me, now.

So the first few days were relatively short (at least compared to the PCT thru-hikers, who have 4-5 months of backpacking under their belts at this point). I put in a couple 18 mile days, and a long, hard 23 mile day (that hurt), before getting used to things and settling nicely into a 20-25 mile per day habit.

The only reason I got off trail when I did was that things got very cold and rainy Labor Day Weekend, and I was camping at altitudes over 5,000 feet. I had rain gear, and some cold weather base layers, but I really wasn’t geared up for the extent of the temperature drop. I figured it was time to head coastward. So near Mt. Rainier, I moseyed my way to a road crossing and hitched my way into Seattle.

Enough talking. Here are some pictures for you…

View from Bunker Hill.

View from Bunker Hill.

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Trading Bicycle for Backpack

by on Aug.28, 2009, under Miscellany

Thank you all for the wonderful congratulatory comments on my last post. As much as I want to leave that picture up on the top page for a while, I figured I’d drop you all another post to tell you what I’ve been up to since and what I’m up to next.

I’ve been crashing with some friends of mine in Portland for about a week. For those of you who have never been, Portland is a very nice city, and I’ve only just scratched the surface with my brief time here. And yet, being back in civilization is strange. Fortunately, it’s not going to last. Tomorrow, I’m back out on the grand adventure bit. Only I’m not taking the bicycle…

The lovely red Trek FX that has served me well for 3,000 miles is taking a well-deserved break. Instead, I’ve picked myself up a backpack — a Gregory Baltoro 70 to be precise. I’ve loaded it up, and tomorrow I’m off into the woods! I’m headed over to Cascade Locks, OR for PCT Day. From there I’m walking north on the Pacific Crest Trail for a while, probably up to US 2. I know I’m encroaching on Russ Beebe‘s territory now, but I’ll try not to steal his thunder. In fact, I probably won’t be online much over the next few weeks to post updates and such, but I’ll tell you all about it… uh… you know… whenever I get back to civilization.

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Yellowstone and Back

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0542I was able to spend three very lovely days in Yellowstone National Park. I ended up purchasing an Interagency Annual Pass figuring I’ll probably also be hitting up Glacier, Olympic and who knows what else over the next twelve months. Well worth the cost.

My friend in West Yellowstone dropped me off Monday afternoon and I spent a couple days backpacking around the Fairy Falls area and camping out in the Yellowstone back country. This way I could stay away from most of the tourists during the peak season (though even getting back country camping spots was a challenge). Wednesday morning, I made my way over to the Old Faithful area and hiked up to Mallard Lake and back. I of course, watched the ever famous geyser as well (honestly, ho hum).

Fairy Falls
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The hike up to Mallard Lake.
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IMG_0566Yesterday morning, I set out from West Yellowstone headed back up the Madison River Valley. I ended up putting in 110 miles yesterday and made it all the way to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. This morning, I took the caverns tour, and that was quite a bit of fun as well.

Alas, I haven’t the time to upload those, or the many other pictures I’ve taken this week. I should have some more time as I get into the Missoula area. I’m about to head over Lemhi Pass and cross the Continental Divide tomorrow. I’ll be sure to check in again sometime next week with more details.

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