Archive for July, 2007

alaska awaits

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

tyler and i are on our way to alaska. we’ll be back in about three weeks. i’ll post hiking adventures when i return.

silver star mountain

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

date hiked: july 10, 2007
distance: 10.09 miles
highest elevation: 4390 feet
elevation gain: 2300 feet
time: 4 hours 27 minutes

view from silver star mt

i’ve decided that it takes me three tries to get anywhere. i first attempted silver star mountain several weeks ago however, never found the trailhead. on second attempt, i found the trailhead, but hiked the wrong trail. this time…i got it right. my friend jen hiked with me…which probably explains why i ended up in the right place.

i should mention that jen is a rebel. she will try to tell you she follows the rules. but i know the truth…i know she doesn’t. don’t misunderstand me, i’m not any better. i think the shocking thing is…apparently everyone else is.

let me explain…the national weather service issued an extreme heat warning to our area. temperatures were predicted to reach 100 degrees. news media was instructing people to stay indoors, in air conditioning. now, not to dismiss the thousands of people that die from heat-related illnesses each year…but come on. jen and i were hiking anyway…damn the advisory to hell…ha, ha.

so…on our hike we had some questions:

1. what if you live in an area where 100 degree temperature is common? should you never go outside?

2. are people becoming more or less adventurous?

3. when people didn’t have a/c and they wore more clothing, were they better off from a moral and environmental standpoint but not from a medical one?

anyway, the weird thing was…we were the only ones on the trail. no one was out there. supposedly, this is a very popular trail. i guess everyone was inside, listening to the advisory, while we were outside wreaking havoc on the universe. as for the trail, it was full of rocks. and i do mean full of them. oh…and since much of the trail is an old jeep road, there are no switchbacks either. which is okay for jen because she’s a good hiker but really yucky for me, the bad hiker.

you can always tell an optimist on hike like this. as we would head up a steep section for the millionth time, jen would say, “we have to be at the top. we’re running out of trees”. i of course think, “there can always be more up”. lucky for me…i like it all…even the parts i suck at.

it didn’t seem that hot either.

crater peak trail – crater lake np

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

date hiked: july 7, 2007
distance: 6.4 miles
highest elevation: 7265 feet
elevation gain: 765 feet
time: 2 hours 6 minutes

crater peak trail moonrise

i have to give you a bit of a back story:

when we arrived in crater lake national park, we were given an 8-page newspaper with a variety of information about the park. being the freak that i am, i devoured it. i was announcing small facts to tyler about pine beetle outbreaks, park history, and forest fires. it was great. the center page of the paper had a list of hiking trails in the park in a table format, with facts about each hike. each hike was rated by ‘ranger karen’ with stars, the highest being five-stars. the paper didn’t actually say who ranger karen really was…and for some reason i found it all very amusing.

i decided to head out on the crater peak trail. according to ranger karen, it was worth three stars. not bad. but it was considered “off the beaten path”, according to the paper. and it was to the summit of a small volcano, which seemed very cool. of course, i was camping on the rim of a caldera (also very cool). since 6.4 miles qualifies as an actual hike, my resident anti-hiker tyler refused to join in on this adventure. with a test of our two-way radios, i was on my way.

the first 1/2 mile was amazing. the moon was shining at 10 am. the trail climbed a talus slope and had an awesome view of the canyon of sun creek. after that the trail entered a forest and things got ugly. no, really, it was ugly. it was the ugliest trail i have ever been on. there were dead trees everywhere. and the smell of dead animals. there was no one around (which seems to have become a theme). at some point in this adventure, i became convinced that there was a bear somewhere in the woods. i don’t know why. truth is, i love the outdoors…but do i really know anything? no…not much really. i do know a few things, though. i know that there were bear boxes in my campground. i know that on the way to crater lake a bear ran across the road. i also know that i read too many crazy books and watch too much discovery channel. all of this data came together in my feeble brain to form one conclusion, i needed to talk to the bear while i was hiking.

so, if you are all alone in the woods and decide to communicate loudly, what do you say? i believe that should be a poll. i first chose to imitate bear grylls, the host of man vs. wild (one of those discovery channel shows). i simply called “yo bear” repeatedly to announce my presence. however, bear grylls, did not look so bored when he was calling “yo bear” on television. maybe it would have worked better for me if I had a camera crew…or a bear. my second attempt at communication brings me back to ranger karen. for the remainder of my hike (once i got started, i was on a roll) i began to question, out loud, the validity of ranger karen’s three star rating for this hike. i admit, with slumped shoulders, that many expletives were a part of the discussion.

for future reference, if ranger karen says, “highlight: peaceful hike through forest, solitude” interpret it to mean, “no one ever hikes here because it’s really ugly and it smells bad and there might be a bear, but probably only if you watch too much discovery channel“.      

castle crest trail – crater lake np

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

date hiked: july 7, 2007
distance: 1 mile
highest elevation: unknown
elevation gain: 100 feet
time: 30 minutes

castle crest trail

tyler decided that there was no reason for the existence of mosquitos. most of the time, i try to contribute some rational ‘circle of life’ type logic to explain things…but i must say…sometimes it’s difficult. castle crest trail was supposed to be full of beautiful flower-filled meadows, in the midst of forest. oh, and a creek. definitely the makings of some kind of wonderful. alas, the constant sucking of your blood made it somewhat difficult to enjoy. i’m willing to live and let live…but mosquitos don’t quite do that, do they? i believe they are pedators (actually they’re vectors…but still). they still cause millions of deaths worldwide per year. and they ruin a perfectly good nature walk.

annie creek trail – crater lake np

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

date hiked: july 6, 2007
distance: 1.7 miles
highest elevation: 6004 feet
elevation gain: 200 feet
time: 41 minutes

annie creek

i’d like to have a romanticized story about this hike. i mean, the signs were all there. it was annie creek…and my name is annie. i felt a bond. the creek water was voted the best tasting water in oregon in 2004. in the early 1960’s two general motors executives were kidnapped from their car at the top of annie creek canyon and were murdered. ok…so the last part doesn’t sound romantic…just sad. but…my point is….there was a lot of history on this hike…and here i was…an annie….going to be a part of it. what story would i tell? what special kindred honor would i experience in my journey?

mosquitos. that’s my story. i have nothing special. no one spoke to me. i was bitten…several hundred times. and that’s with mosquito repellent. so…annie creek went by very fast. i ran through some of that journey.  

the pinnacles trail – crater lake np

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

date hiked: july 6, 2007
distance: approx. 1 mile
highest elevation: unknown
elevation gain: 10 feet
time: 30 minutes

the pinnacles

the pinnacles are chimneys formed when hot ash cooled after the massive eruption thousands of years ago.they are a colorful collection of 100-foot-tall spires, which are being eroded from the canyon wall. the spires are “fossil fumaroles,” each marking a site where volcanic gases rose through hot ash deposits, cementing the ash into more solid rock.

sun notch trail – crater lake national park

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

date hiked: july 6, 2007
distance: approx. .5 mile
highest elevation: unknown
elevation gain: 115 feet
time: 30 minutes

crater lake

the sun notch trail was a short walk to the edge of crater lake offering spectacular views of the rock island they’ve named “the phantom ship”. it also captured a different perspective of wizard island. tyler went down a side trail and found the following awesome shot:

crater lake

we still had so much more to explore. and marshmallows to roast!

toketee falls

Monday, July 9th, 2007

date hiked: july 5, 2007
distance: approx. 1 mile
highest elevation: unknown
elevation gain: unknown
time: unknown

toketee falls

according to the internet, toketee falls is the most famous waterfall in southern oregon. of course, that ruins my whole fantasy about discovering the falls by accident while driving by on my way to crater lake national park. i actually had never heard of the falls…but tyler and i needed to stretch our legs and toketee falls was on the map. i was intrigued because i didn’t know how to pronounce it. is it TOK-e-tee, tok-E-tee, or TOKE-tee? i still don’t know.

the trail has been updated with a number of staircases leading up to a viewing platform. although it’s only about one half mile, the trail is listed as difficult. we came across several groups of people…everyone said it was worth it.

amazingly, my resident anti-hiker tyler, agreed. 

snow in july

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

snow at crater lake np

tyler and i just returned from a four day camping and hiking excursion to crater lake national park in oregon. i’ll post hike specifics in the next few days, but wanted to take a moment to marvel out loud at two things. one…my teenage son brings me great joy. two…snow on the ground in july brings tyler great joy.

officially counting down

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

now that july has begun…there are only 18 days left until i leave on my alaskan adventure. there will be plenty of hiking to report upon return in august. we’ll be ferrying, driving, flying (and hiking) throughout the inside passage, southcentral, and parts of the interior regions. tyler says he’s most looking forward to denali national park, although he’s still adamant about his “no hiking” rule.