Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Seven months in the Pacific NW...

and I can't imagine ever leaving. I've neglected this blog but I'm going to try to keep up with it from now on. Moving to the other side of the country on my own is the biggest challenge I've ever had the pleasure of overcoming - I mean that - it's been a pleasure even when it hasn't been fun. If you haven't put yourself out of your comfort zone for a while... I highly recommend it. Besides all the outdoor adventures I've had, I've had countless adventures related to moving, my new career and dating/relationships. All those are less interesting than the outdoor adventures, though.

I'll just give you a taste of what I've been doing based on my adventure-tracking document. 

2012.08.31 - Crater Lake: an amazing way to start my time in the Pacific NW. I went on this trip, spur of the moment, with a group of people I met earlier in the week. We climbed to the top of Mt. Scott and down to the water - I jumped off a cliff into Crater Lake - click here to see a video of it! I don't think I've seen anything as beautiful as the views I saw on this trip.

2012.09.14 - Early Saturday morning, we drove to the parking spot on the south end of Ecola State Park. I couldn't believe we were actually seeing the ocean! Then we all jumped into my car and I drove us to the starting point of the hike 8 miles north. Most of the hike was forested but we occasionally saw the ocean through the trees. It was like we were in a jungle... I guess we kind of were? We stopped for a while when we got to Indian Beach.

It was so amazing and sunny and beautiful. Oh man. We walked along the entire length of the beach before we finished the hike and got to the car. On Sunday, we went to the beach right by our campsite in Ft. Stevens park. We saw the shipwreck there and it was really neat. That beach was so peaceful in the early morning.

2012.10.07 - Indian Heaven Wilderness: What an amazing hike! 14 miles; 5.5 hours. Not too strenuous. I used my new day pack which I love... I have to be careful not to lay ON the drinking part of the hydration system, though, because I accidentally squeezed all the water out of the container 3/4 through the hike. Sigh... amateur hour. This area really reminded me of Dolly Sods, WV!
2013.03.29 - Coyote Wall: First hike with EB! Ohmygod it was so beautiful! This hike should be done when it's sunny as long as it's not too hot - it's very exposed. The wild flowers were just beginning to bloom... and they were so lovely! We stopped for lunch and took our time and it was JUST what I needed. We saw many mountain bikers.
2013.03.30 - Mount St. Helens: Wow. What an amazing hike. It was worth the four hours of driving (round trip). We started at Hummocks and walked for about 1.8 miles. Then we reached the start of Boundary trail which gained almost 2000 feet of elevation in about 4 miles. This trail was SO windy - I mean, my hat blew off and I had to chase after it! Keep in mind that the trail was on the side of a cliff... if you fall, you're dead. 
We weren't sure if there was going to be snow so I rented snow shoes from REI and strapped them onto my day pack with bungee cords. I didn't end up using them even though we definitely hiked through some snow. Most of it was packed down pretty well, but I did sink in to my knees a couple of times. At several points we lost the trail; however, the area was so open and exposed it was easy to stay on track. 
There wasn't a cloud in the sky all day and it was just amazing! Oh! We saw a herd of elk up on the mountain - about 8 of them! We decided to walk back via the road which was closed to all cars for the season. This was a really long walk. We were exhausted and the sun was beating down on us. Overall... an amazing, wonderful, awesome hike!!

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