Pratt Lake Trailhead to Denny Creek Trailhead Date: August 12, 2017 Difficulty: 9 out of 10 Distance: 13.5 miles / 21.7 Kilometers round-trip Elevation Gain: 3,600 feet / 1,097 meters (total gain) Time: 6 to 8 hours Location: Exit 47, Off I-90 in Washington Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Discovery Pass Trail Conditions: Dry Hiking With: , Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling & the Wonder Dog Macho
West I-90 Overpass
Beautiful Pratt Lake
Scary Tree Along Trail
I haven’t hiked the Pratt Lake trailhead to Denny Creek trailhead for about 13 years and guess what…it hasn’t gotten any easier. Craig Schilling and Matt Kerby joined me on this beautiful tough 13.5 mile loop.
I took off from my Fall City house at 4:30 a.m. heading down the hill to get on I-90 near exit 17…but before I got to the bottom I was picked-up for driving 65 mph in a 40 mph zone by the Washington State Patrol. I told him the truth, I was speeding damn fast, but explained the gravitational pull on a heavy S6 Audi especially downhill. Officer Steele gave me a break…a verbal warning! I was still able to pick up Matt Kerby at the Denny Creek trailhead at the predetermined time of 5:15 a.m. He left his car at the trailhead and loaded up in my Audi and then met Craig at the Pratt Lake/Granite Mountain trailhead and started hiking at 5:42 a.m.
Right before the split heading down to Pratt Lake we stopped for a much needed snack at the open area over looking Olallie Lake. We didn’t see any other hikers until the Pratt Lake Basin, some backpackers heading home. The trail from Pratt Lake to the Lower Tuscohatchie was pretty good shape considering the lack of foot traffic. The trail seems to get a bit rougher after Lower Tuscohatchie Lake with over-grown vegetation, large rocks and at times a very narrow trail. All three of us fell in this area with Matt probably getting bruised the worst with his knee hitting a rock when he fell. I went over a steep hillside in a thorny area….legs got scuffed up some.
Once we hit Melakwa Lake it was sprinkling pretty good so we decided not to go for a swim, but enjoyed our lunch instead. Our descent from Melakwa to Denny Creek Trail head was busy with hikers coming up. We spent a total of 7 hours of hiking, snacking, falling, resting and bullshitting.
Mailbox Peak Date: July 30, 2017 Difficulty: 9 out of 10 Distance: 5.3 miles / 8.4 Kilometers round-trip Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 meters Time: 4 to 5 hours Location: Near North Bend, Washington Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Discovery Pass Trail Conditions: Dry Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and my Wonderdog Macho
Mailbox Peak Glow
Schilling & Freeman
My third trip to the famous Mailbox Peak and my fourth sunrise hike this year. Linna and I woke up at 1:15 a.m. this morning to meet Matt Kerby and Craig Schilling at the Mailbox Peak lower parking lot at 2:45 a.m. and started hiking the old trail at 3:04 a.m.
If you think it’s tough staying on the trail during the day, it’s worse in middle of night. Craig got a little behind in the group and found himself off-trail so he started hiking straight up to our lights that was illuminating from our headlamps. The white diamonds sporadically located in the trees came in useful…they would shine like stars once your headlamp hit them.
We made it up in 2 1/2 hours and even had to wait for the sun to show it’s face. We had the summit, sunrise and the mailbox to ourselves until we had our fill. We headed back the same way as we came up…old trail baby. I have descended the new longer trail and it just feels forever and I rather get the pain over with on the shorter steep old trail.
Date: July 22, 2013 Difficulty: 7 out of 10 Distance: 8.6 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 3,875 Feet Time: 4 to 5 hours Location: Near Verlot, Washington (Mountain Loop Highway) Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Trail Conditions: Dry To One Patch Of Snow Hiking with: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling & Macho the Wonderdog
My Heart Rate
Freeman On Top
Can You Find Me?
Linna, Rick & Craig
The Man – The Pose
This was supposed to be our third sunrise hike, but the low clouds made it impossible to see the sunrise. The last time I was on top of Mt. Dickerman was early June 4 years ago with a lot of snow, today’s hike was snow free. We made the summit in 2 1/2 hours with a couple of tents perched on top….our group woke them.
We hung on top for 45 minutes to take all of those non-sunrise pictures, but even without the sunrise you have a 360 view of sheer beauty. On the way down we started to run into those Saturday morning hikers and the lot was full by the time we got back to our car at 8:30 a.m.
Camp Muir Date: July 12, 2017 Difficulty: 9 out of 10 Distance: 9 Miles / 14.5 Kilometers Round-trip Elevation Gain: 4,700 Feet / 1,433 Meters Time: 6 to 7 hours Location: Near Ashford, Washington Users Group: Hikers / Climbers Only Permits: National Park Pass Trail Conditions: Dry to Snowpack Hiking With: Matt Kerby
Approaching Camp Muir
Just Getting Started
Helicopter Hauling Trash
Marmots In Heat
Marmots Getting It On
Kerby & Freeman
Camp Muir In The Background
6:30 A.M. In The Parking Lot
The last time I hiked up to Camp Muir was 4 years ago so it was time to knock it off again. Plus…I was looking for something big to do locally for my 57th birthday. I asked my good friend Matt Kerby to join me on my birthday hike. I picked up Matt in Bellevue at 4:00 a.m. and we made it to the Paradise Parking lot by 6:15 a.m. There was only maybe 12 to 15 vehicles in the upper parking lot…good timing on our part.
We started at 6:50 on Skyline Trail and finally hit constant snow near Glacier Vista where we ended up putting on our hiking spikes. I have been using these mini-crampons for most of my winter hiking, but I will probably bring my full size crampons next time for extra grip on the Camp Muir snowfield.
This was maybe my 10th time on Muir and it’s always the same…tough and real tough. I always pick sunny days for the photos and safety factor, but with sun brings heat and sunburns. I was wearing full length pants and a long sleeve shirt to reduce the need to lather up on sunscreen all over except for my face.
Matt and I are both strong hikers but it still took us 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach Camp Muir, we wasn’t in a hurry and we took many water/snack breaks along the way. We took our time on top…lunching, bullshitting and taking random photos. The climbing teams must have hired a helicopter to haul trash/empty fuel canisters…it was cool to see a copter up a 10,000 foot mountain.
We got back to the car in 2 ½ hours and left the parking lot around 2:30 p.m. We skipped the Paradise Inn beer because I told Matt that Linna wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t get back home by 5:30 p.m. She was having my birthday dinner at the house with 2 other couples. Well…I had no idea that she was throwing me a surprise birthday party and Matt was in on it. Matt made sure he was keeping me on track for time…there was a bunch of people at the house waiting for us.
The last time I was in Spain was maybe 16 years ago….when camera’s were still using film and where my camera was stolen along with my film. We invited John Biltucci and his wife XiuYun Jiang for this short 8 day trip visiting Barcelona, Madrid and Segovia. This was their first trip to Spain…and Linna’s too.
Mailbox Peak Date: October 30, 2016 Difficulty: 9 out of 10 Distance: 5 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet Time: 4 to 5 hours Location: Near North Bend, Washington Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only Permits: Discovery Pass Trail Conditions: Dry Hiking With: My Wife Linna Wei & our Wonder Dog Macho
Rick & Linna Freeman
Linna Looking On
Linna and I decided to get Macho out for some fall weather hiking.
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
Rick Freeman & Jim Darmiento
Freeman The Exorcist
Jim & Ione Darmiento
Jim & Ione Darmiento
Linna Freeman Loving The Views
Darmiento & Freeman With Mt. Shuskan
Our Hiking Route
John Biltucci, Jim Darmiento, Rick Freeman & Erik Espling
Rick Freeman On Top Of Yellow Aster Butte
Our Wonder Dog Macho
Heading To The Top Of Yellow Aster
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.