May happened. Just think, it was the first and last May 2014. Ever. There will never be another.
Now it’s June’s turn. No need to dwell on the past. Except…take a moment to preuse these photos then start living in the moment.
Since I cannot count to five…
Enjoy June 2014. It will be the last one.
A walk in the woods? A night in a stone cabin with no electricity? S’mores, adult beverages and too much food? Three roaring fires? A few rounds of Catchphrase?
These are the things that a weekend make.
A mere two-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail and you arrive at the Myron Glaser Cabin. Optional evening Sasquatch hunt included.
Don’t take my word for it.
# Photos with # are courtesy of Ashley Edwards
(Originally posted February 13, 2007)
Not that you care, but someone once asked me to list my favorite hikes in Washington state when I was about to move across country to Washington, D.C. It got me thinking and I always ‘meant’ to create the list. Well, so much for procrastination, here it is to no fanfare. If you don’t live in Washington State, don’t complain to me that it lacks relevance, just don’t read it. If you don’t like to hike, then get bent. If you plan on going to Washington state, than read this.
I’ve done a good 50+ day hikes (usually between 6-12 miles each) in the state of Washington. Alas, I haven’t hiked in my majestic state of trees, mountains and lakes since moving to Washington, D.C.! (Update: I have since this was written) Such tragedy! They have strange ideas of what constituents a mountain over here. I’ve gone hiking in a few other places, so don’t worry too much. Maybe you’ll get a list of that someday. Don’t hold your breath.
Here are the ten best places to hike in Washington (so far – I’ll get back there someday). Someday I may scan in my pictures but don’t hold your breath.
10. Mount Si (6 trips) – Hate to put this on my list because it’s so crowded and the hike itself is boring (4 miles up!). But once you’re at the top, there may not be a better view anywhere. And it’s just easy to get to.
9. Fort Flagler State Park (1 trip + 1 camping trip) – A military base decommissioned after World War I, it’s great to hike along and suddenly find a lost, overgrown barracks or a gun battlement overlooking the Puget Sound. Like finding your own lost civilization in the middle of nowhere.
8. Ape Cave Trail (1 trip) – Two miles or so in a volcanic lava flume. Yes, underground and yes some spots are a bit of a tight squeeze. Bring your flashlight and don’t watch the movie “The Descent” before going.
7. Hoh River Trail (1 trip) – What is better than the biggest trees you’ve ever seen, a world covered in moss in the middle of a rainforest right on the Olympic peninsula?
6. Point of the Arches Trail (1 trip) – On the beach. With sea stacks. This is the same type of place that makes the Oregon coast so popular. Only it’s not in Oregon, it’s on the very tip of the Olympic peninsula with the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and the National Park.
5. Woody Trail to Wallace Falls (3 trips) – Walk uphill and get excited as three consecutive waterfalls appear on your right, the tallest being 265 ft.
4. Tolmie Peak Trail (2 trips) – Once you’re at the top of the fire tower you can see Mt. Rainer (almost close enough to touch) and a vista that goes on forever. You can almost see where my parents live some 50 miles away.
3. Cape Alava-Sand Point Loop (1 trip) – Walk to the beach for about 3 miles, walk in the sand and in the surf for 2-3 miles (harder than it sounds) then head back another 3 miles somewhat pleased with yourself for finding such a place.
2. Greenwater Trail (8 trips) – There is this tiny, serene lake (Quinn) with a giant moss-covered log on the surface that makes the whole trip worthwhile. Walk to the end of the log and look straight down into crystal clear water and see every log and rock at the bottom. Then you can continue to Lost Lake. Or alternately you could go to Echo Lake but each time I’ve been there (twice) it is has been foggy and cold.
1. Walt Bailey Trail (4 trips) – Well, this is after all named after my grandpa and I did on a few occasions help build/repair parts of the trail, but forget all that! This is a beautiful area with seven lakes at the top (Cutthroat Lakes) and a mountain (Bald Mountain) that you can scamper up, if you’re not afraid of death, for a view of everything. Don’t jump in the lakes unless you enjoy being a popsicle. You will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful hike anywhere.
Having spent a good deal of time exploring and hiking around Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park over the past few months, I feel compelled to share some of the highlights of the national park.
The Appalachian Trail – spanning 2,175 total miles, from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail (or the AT as it’s referred to by the serious about hiking sort) runs through the full length of the Shenandoah. About 101 miles of trail. I’ve done a range of different hikes in the park, and most of them included chunks of the AT. The AT uses white blazes (paint on trees and rocks) to distinguish it from the blue blazes used for other park trails (for hikers only).
Camp Hoover (or Rapidan Camp) – In 1929, President Herbert Hoover needed his very own fortress of solitude. He sent his minions out to find the perfect retreat to conduct state business while fishing and enjoying nature. The Marines built it smack dab in the middle of what would soon be the Shenandoah National Park. Camp Hoover was visited by other US presidents, but Roosevelt opened Camp David because it was not wheelchair accessible (get out your hiking boots if you want to go). The buildings that remain have been turned into a museum (the Brown House was Hoover’s residence) and showrooms in the middle of idyllic nowhere.
Dark Hollow Falls – with a nice 71 foot drop and a good climb, this is a great place for a scenic lunch and a few photos.
Matthew’s Arm campsite– Up north and slightly away from the crowds that go towards the middle of the park, this campsite had good sized sites and good shade. No showers, but then again, you do need that extra special scent to repel the bears and the mosquitoes.
Random cemetery – Until 1929, people actually lived where Shenandoah is now, but they got kicked out in favor of the National Park. There are still a few remnants of their existence, including one particular small, stone walled graveyard off Keyser Run Fire Road. A blue memorial plaque with a short poem describing their plight has been added, giving the place an even more melancholy atmosphere.
Trillium flowers – Big, white flowers (kind of like daffodils) everywhere along the trail, makes for a fine afternoon walkabout.
Stony Man Summit – One of the highest points in the Shenandoah (4010 ft elevation), this affords a startlingly, panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The rock formations are impressive and a good place to practice not falling off of a high cliff.
Bears! – Yes, there are bears. Black bears, to be precise. One was ambling along about 10 yards from the trail, not really caring about the nearby hikers (must have already snacked on a park ranger). No one was mauled. Yet.
Little Devil Stairs – Don’t let the ‘little’ fool you. This trail is all devil, all the time. Climbing about 1500 feet in a short distance this trail, weaving over (but not under) the churning and falling stream many many times, will kick your butt. It doesn’t help when it starts to pour down rain when you get to the top. The angry rattlesnake waiting to lunge at your ankle is also unnecessary.
South River Falls – Another waterfall (83 feet) to add to your photo collection. Or not.
White Oak Canyon Trail – descending a ridiculous amount (3,200+ feet), past a series of huge waterfalls, we finished at the bottom waterfall for a crisp, frigid dip in a nice deep swimming hole. Standing under the cascading waterfalls, you could get a bit of a water massage. Speaking of which…
Skinny dipping world record (July 11, 2009)– an attempt to set the Guinness world record for most skinny dippers at one time happened (I suppose) on July 11, 2009 at 3pm. Was it successful? No idea. While ‘dipping’ in the swimming hole on White Oaks Canyon trail, one of the hike leaders suggested we participate in the ‘skinny’ portion at 3pm. No one took him up on the offer. Besides, the water wasn’t going to do the guys any favors.
You’ve awakened, against your will, in the middle of a campsite. There’s a tent nearby. (Why aren’t you in it?) Someone is stoking a crackling fresh fire. A picnic table is being wiped off. Camp chairs set up. A folding camp stove transforms to life. Bugs buzz. Caterpillars crawl. Rain drizzles. It’s all in your periphery. You can sense them all. Feel them. But what is it that you see right in front of you? Where has your sleep walking taken you? To the bags and coolers full of delicious, delicious food. Time to fight off the bears, its chow time!
Hobo’s stew – meat, butter, potatoes, carrots, butter, onions, butter, salt, and pepper all wrapped in tin foil, lightly coated in butter, and thrust into the coals of your blazing fire. Pull it out, unwrap and swoon.
S’mores – Hershey’s chocolate squares and gooey toasted marshmallows squished between two graham crackers. Slip in some strawberries for a new sensation.
Bacon, eggs and coffee – in exactly that order.
Beer – I cannot stress how critical the perfect beer style, in just the right quantity, is for your camping experience. Minimum of 2-3 coolers full. Can be substituted for a bottle of wine in a pinch.
Hot dogs – good for baseball games and camping trips. Add chile or cream cheese and you’re sure to be a contestant on the next season of Top Chef.
Munchies – Doritos, gummy worms, cracker jacks, granola bars, beef jerky, berries, trail mix, or whatever you so desire, as long as there are lots and lots of options for your many, many moods. You will never eat as much in life as you do when you’re camping.
Mickey Mouse pancakes – wait…your Dad didn’t make you pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head while camping? That explains a lot.
Squeezable tube of peanut butter and jelly and a smashed loaf of white bread – not just for kids, this is fun for the whole family!
Bacon chocolate – combining two brilliant things together does not equal one brilliant thing.
Freeze dried food – you are not an astronaut. You are not overnight hiking 20 miles a day. So don’t intentionally eat this crap! Ice cream sandwiches are not meant to be crispy.
Instant Top Ramen Noodles – you are not in Boy Scouts nor are you a broke college freshman anymore. You have a real job, with real wages. Now act like it and stop buying this nasty instant stuff.
Slop Soup – throw all of your leftovers into a big boiling pot. Remove from fire, hang from tree and run. The bears have lost patience.