Norway Trip, February 2017

Really? A Norway trip during the winter….just what I thought when my wife Linna wanted to visit the Lofoten area for her February birthday. We invited a couple of other friends, Mike Curry and Emelie Espling to enjoy this winter wonderland with us.

We spent two nights and a full day in Oslo before flying up to Leknes via Bodo. More than two days in Oslo would be just a waste of time.

Yellow Aster Hike, September 2016

Yellow Aster Butte
Date: September 30, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 miles / 12.07 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet / 792 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near Glacier, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: My wife Linna, Jim & Ione Darmiento, Erik & Emelie Espling, John Biltucci

My wife Linna chose this hike months before our Mt. Baker weekend and she happened to picked the perfect date for beautiful fall colors. Our group rented a beautiful house near Glacier, Washington for the weekend.

Rim To Rim Hike, September 2016

Epic North Rim to South Rim hike all in one day with my wife Linna and 7 other good friends.

Colchuck Lake Hike, May 2016

Colchuck Lake
Date: May 22, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry To Some Muddy Spots
Hiking With: Emelie Espling, Sofia Hung, Max and my wife Linna Freeman

This was the second straight weekend we were in the Leavenworth, Washington area for another new hike, Colchuck Lake goo.gl/Tf1vg0. This hike was recommended by a friend and after hiking Colchuck Lake we are passing the recommendation onto other friends…it was absolute gorgeous.

I love the hikes this region offers, but it takes six hours from our house to the trailhead and back…throw in a hike and you are talking a long day. From Leavenworth you take Icicle Road onto Forest Road 7601 to Stuart Lake Trailhead, you will want to arrive early or you will find yourself parking way back on the road. I was totally flabbergasted by the lack of pot-holes on the forest road, I was expecting a rough ride with deep holes I would have to maneuver around. It was actually a very smooth ride, but I could tell on a hot dry summer day there would be a lot of dust stirred.

The Leavenworth area has numerous hikes, but Colchuck Lake hike is one of the two gateways to the famous Enchantments goo.gl/fodFj2. Finally hitting the lake, our group found the perfect lunch spot overlooking Dragontail Peak, Aasgard Pass and Colchuck Glacier/Peak. I definitely want to hike Colchuck Lake in the summer when the ice is finally gone and the lake has warmed up some….swimming looks refreshing.

Sauer’s Mountain Hike, May 2016

Sauer’s Mountain
Date: May 14, 2016
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: None
Trail Conditions: Dry To The Summit
Hiking With: Emelie and Eric Espling, Craig, Tao, Bill and Mae Yoke, Linna and Rick Freeman & my wonder dog Macho

My wife Linna and I have been doing a lot hikes that either start in snow or at least have some snow on the trail this year and we were due for an arid type hike. Usually the hikes on the Eastside of the Cascade Mountains provide a whole different environment…more pine like trees and no snow in the late spring. I found Sauer’s Mountain goo.gl/fzh3xz on Washington Trails Association and after reading a couple of trip reports it was exactly what I was looking for. No snow, dry with spring green and tons of flowers for Linna to photograph. We also invited a group friends to come along…Emelie and Eric Espling, Craig, Tao, Bill and Mae.

I had a funny feeling that we would see old man Sauer and when we pulled up to the trailhead there he was out in the open ready to direct us where to park. Old man Sauer is in his eighties and you can tell he loves people. This hike actually starts on his land and according to Sauer he built the trail…so I guess you can name the hike and mountain after yourself.

The hike is filled with carved totems, groovy art things and tons of flowers all the way to the summit. There was steepness to this hike but it’s short so it’s relatively easy. The old man will try to sell you some wine when you come back down to the trailhead. This wine is actually comes from his son Steve Sauer winery, Farmhand Winery. I think the old man built the trail so he could push wine sales, I bought one…small price to pay for a beautiful hike.