-A trip to Breitenbush Hot Springs in the Wilamette National Forest in Oregon. Clothing extremely optional, I.E. I felt like a damn fool as the only person with a suit on when I first arrived. Don't worry, I got with the program! Amazing wet sauna here too. Just an incredible experience to dip naked in the lobster pot, surrounded by constant snowfall and a Narnia landscape.
-Amazing series of hikes the week of Christmas-New Years, which made up for a rough spot in my life. Hiking the Snow Lake/Source Lake trail solo the day after Christmas stands out in my mind as one of my favorite and more epic solo adventures this past year. I had the trail completely to myself that morning (#rare), until some back country skiers showed up and started doing insane jumps off icy rock cliffs dripping with icicles. I took their lead and veered wayyy off trail up avalanche territory to get a closer look at some of the ice formations. I also drank a few of the canned champagnes my sweet friend Jos gave me for Xmas! Highly recommend those puppies, they come with a mini straw and everything! They are the "Sofia" from Coppola Winery.
|Snow Lake Backcountry|
-I tried my hand at snowshoeing for the first time ever at one of the most stunning spots in Washington state- Artist's Point! I had never been to Mt. Baker before this, so even the road there was exciting for me. All praises to my neighbors Kalee and Trev for lending me their snowshoes. Rich and I had so much fun climbing up hills in our snowshoes and coming down them on our butts. It was an incredibly cool experience and I followed it up with another fun snowshoe outing to Skyline Lake at Stevens the next weekend. After climbing to the frozen lake, we veered off to the left and climbed some more to find the semi-hidden Boulder Garden above. I can't recommend this detour enough! Coasting into a pristine snow field crowded with towering rock formations was so beautiful and memorable. Crazy cool views of the National Forest from this side of the ridge as well. I posted up here, gazing out until my hands went numb.
|Artist's Point, Mt. Baker|
|Artist's Point, Mt. Baker|
|Mike in the Boulder Garden|
|Skyline Lake Backcountry|
|Heybrook Lookout Tower at the top of the trail|
|The view below the Tower|
|Near Icicle Ridge, Leavenworth|
|Icicle Road in The Enchantments Zone|
|Lake 22 off Mntn Loop Highway|
|The Golden Hour|
|Chasing after the Butt Wolf at Lake 22|
|Lake Valhalla on the East side of Stevens Pass|
-Last but not least, an uber inspiring trip to Tucson to meet my Dad and his friends at Saguaro National Park in February. I flew down and spent 5 days living the full time RV life with my Dad at Gilbert Ray Campground in the Tucson Mountains. We hiked all around there, Brown Mountain, and inside the park itself. I learned so much in that short time about birds, foliage, and desert life. I like to think of myself as a legit Arizonian after being attacked by a jumping cactus. Coming back from AZ was just about the roughest return to Seattle that I have ever had. I just wanted to say Fuck everything and catch a ride with my dad to the next destination. On this trip, I had someone ask me if I was stuck where I am. I said no, and defended this city for all the things I do love about it, namely the people within it who I struggle to imagine daily life without. But upon returning and thinking more about the trip and the lifestyle, I realized that I am absolutely stuck. Stuck by choice (and perhaps finances..), avoidable if deemed imperative, but stuck here for now nonetheless.
|Hiking Brown Mountain near Tucson|