Friday, February 27, 2015

Hiking Hiatus

Though still hard at work on our house-building efforts, Michael and I decided that thanks to the successful accomplishment of the end of framing and -- especially -- getting our roof installed, we could afford a few days of our more traditional past-time: hiking in the beautiful Washington mountains. We celebrated the start of 2015 by heading out to a favorite hike of ours on New Year's Day: Surprise Creek in the Cascades. The recent snowfall greeted us with a pretty spectacular winter wonderland:

Other other two companions for the hike: Michael's brother Ariel, and our dog Unkai.
 What is that in Ariel's mouth? Why, snow, of course: J

The mushrooms growing on the trees seem to have their own towers/chimneys/hats of snow J

Awesome icicles!

One of the glimpses out of the valley of the peaks beyond J

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

And a month and a half later, we again sought the calming respite of the snowy mountainside, this time at another of our favorite hiking spots: Mount Rainier National Park.

Thanks to the unusually warm winter we've been having (yay for helping dry out the house faster, not so yay for this potential indication of global warming...), we enjoyed a day of 50 degree sunny weather in February, along with the wintry beauty of snow thanks to starting our hike around 4,500ft along the picturesque Paradise River.

Ariel posing on the surface of Louise Lake, our first destination for the day's outing. (Note that Ariel is walking along the lake despite the warning in our guide book, which states that although the lake "stays frozen over until June, that doesn't mean, however, that the ice is safe. This is an active volcano, and all that geothermal power keeps warm springs bubbling around and in most of the lakes in the area. That, in turn, keeps the ice on the lake surface thin and dangerous." Ah the joys of being young and reckless...)

Ariel enjoying his Jewish heritage, complete with a snow-Yamaka: J

Evidence of the many passersby along this secluded National Park Road: icy footprints left in the shady sections J

Celebrating the glory of Mount Rainier J

And enjoying a break on the steep, 1200ft climb up to the ridge-line along Pinnacle Saddle (6100ft). 

The beautiful view of Pinnacle Peak, beckoning us to keep climbing J

And we're getting closer!

And finally, we reach the top, with breath-taking views of southern mountain ranges: with Mount Adams on the left, Mount Hood down in Oregon just barely visible in the center, and Mount St Helens on the right. (And that's an ice-fort made of ice blocks created by some earlier campers J ) 

Michael and I enjoying the view (hmmm... slightly ironic??!) of Mount Adams after the short but strenuous snow-shoe climb 

Mount Adams on the left, and you can just make out Mount Hood down in Oregon towards the right

Mount St Helens

And of course, the magnificent Mount Rainier, as viewed back toward the north-side, on the other side of the valley J 

Going down proved to be much quicker and easier than the climb up, thanks to the discovery of the glissade-descent technique we picked up from some fellow hikers (essentially: sliding down the steep slope on your backside!). Ariel added his own additional twist, going face-first: J

And a final gift from our trip: a beautiful sunset along the drive home J


Anonymous said...

Cool Pictures

Erik said...

Nice trips and some great photos. Glad you continue to enjoy the great outdoors.

Helen Kline said...

Beautiful!! So glad you're still taking time to enjoy the area even though you're both so busy with the house.