Enchantment Thru-Hike, Washington, August 2019

After our fourth time, Linna and I agreed that this will be the last time we hike this grueling twenty mile thru hike in the beautiful Enchantments in one day. Like most one day thru-hikers we started at Colchuck trailhead and descended down to Snows Lake trailhead. This is truly a brutal trek with 4,500 feet gain and 6,500 feet descent on not so easy terrain. Our group of 9 friends started around 7:00 a.m. and made it back to the vehicles around 10:00 p.m.. I packed a cooler in the morning, so we had cold beers waiting for us.

Just one of many crossings on top of the core of the enchantments.
On top of Asgard Pass look back at the beautiful Colchuck Lake.
Linna Freeman resting after hiking up the brutal Asgard Pass. Dragontail Peak is keeping her company.
The Enchantments are filled with Goats. Some of the goats were still shedding their coats.
Matt Kerby, our designated professional photographer. The photos are Matt’s handy work.
Happy and Tired Freeman. I was taking a break as I was heading up the very steep Asgard Pass. From the Colchuck Lake you ascend 2,000 feet in only 3/4 of a mile to reach the pass….or the gateway to the beautiful Enchantments.
The girls at Colchuck Lake
Leprechaun Lake
Linna Freeman leading the way through the core of the Enchantments.

Georgia & Armenia Trip, July 2019

For my 59th birthday, my wife Linna worked with local Georgian guide Davit Berishvili to provide a well-balanced 10 day journey that included hiking, site-seeing, food/wine tasting and culture gathering. We invited our good friend Michael Curry to join us on this truly once in a life-time vacation packed excursion.

This will be our first vacation/journey that we hired a professional guide for the duration of a trip and looking back at it now, I am so pleased that Linna organized it that way.  There would have been a language barrier at many of the locations and restaurants we visited. Also, there is a unique way of driving in Georgia, similar to China….there are no set of road lines or rules.  People will pass with on-coming traffic and at the same time deal with local cattle wandering on the road. But, we were so fortunate to have the best tour guide in Georgia…Gaga Chechelashvili.  Not only was he a safe aggressive driver, but also a fun tour guide and a true gentleman. Gaga picked us up at the Tbilisi airport in his 4×4 right hand drive Mitsubishi Pajero. Not sure, but maybe 1 in 10 cars were right hand drive purchased from Japan because of their excellent condition and reliability.

Beautiful village of Mestia, Georgia. The Svan tower homes were family living quarters and offered protection to their owners and to their livestock. Usually 4 to 5 floors with the first floor lacking of doors or windows.
Rick Freeman & Mike Curry hiking from Mestia to a tiny village of Tsvirmi.
Having beers with Gaga Chechelashvili and Mike Curry at the farm house in Tsvirmi.
Village
We toured Baia’s Winery. Once the grapes are harvested, everything (seeds, stems, skins & juice) is tossed into a Qvevri which a very large clay pot buried in the ground. This method of wine making in Georgia has been recorded by archaeologists back to 6000 BC.
Clay pots are buried at Baia’s Winery.
I purchased a bottle of Tsitska Tsolikouri at Baia’s Winery…this is a dry white wine. I am with the wine maker Gvanca Abuladze.
Mike Curry, Rick Freeman and Linna Freeman in front of Shkhara Glacier. We hiked from the village of Ushguli.
The Bridge of Peach that is 490 feet long that connects the old Tbilisi with the new district.
Villige
Many of the farm/guest houses that we stayed in had wood fired stoves for cooking and keeping warm.

Japan Trip, March 2019

I think March is a wonderful month to visit Japan….perfect temperature for a big boy like myself. I flew to Narita and then onto Osaka where my good friend Moto Tanaka was waiting for me.

My good friend Moto Tanaka found a great Japanese restaurant in Osaka, Japan.
Delicious Kobe beef, it melted like butter in your mouth.
It only takes a minute of cooking over 100% natural charcoal.
My good friends Tetsuya Tokumaru and Miya Moto in Osaka, Japan. I have known Tetsuya for over ten years now.
“Somehow” I lost my Canali suit jacket at the Narita airport after I walked off the plane. But Moto Tanaka and Hilton worked together and located it. I was able to pick it up on my way out from Narita Airport in Japan. This is not the first time I have left a suit jacket at the Narita airport.
My good friend Tom has his own whiskey bottle at his favorite restaurant.

Nashville Trip, February 2019

Nashville is a great city for music, restaurants and bar hopping, it has that feel of Biehl Street but a bit cleaner and safer. Not only is Nashville the Capital of Tennessee, but home to Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Grand Ole Opry House and the historic Ryman Auditorium. We also celebrated Linna’s 47th birthday in Nashville and attending a Fleetwood Mac concert.

Linna and I did a bourbon tour at Belle Meade in Nashville…we had a great experience.
A large Still at the Belle Meade distillery in Nashville.

We bought 6 bottles of select Belle Meade Bourbon to bring back to our highly whiskey taxed state of Washington. State of Washington has the highest state taxes on whiskey in United States. For each proof gallon is subject to a whopping $35.22 tax. Which means 50% of my whiskey cost in Washington is going to state and federal taxes. Tennessee state taxes is $4.46 for each proof gallon…thus the case of whiskey!
Visited the Space Museum in Huntsville, Alabama. Linna standing below Saturn V space rocket.
Space condom! This could be handy on long road trips. Or when you are overnight camping in a tent on a cold night.
Space Shuttle and Linna Freeman looking on.

Winthrop Trip, February 2019

Our good friend Jim Darmiento was celebrating his 50th birthday in Winthrop, Washington and asked a few friends to come along. He rented Hazel’s Overnight rental right across the street from Copper Glance restaurant in the heart of Winthrop. In fact our first night we had dinner and drinks at the Copper Glance. Due to a late night, we headed out snowshoeing Patterson Lake next day, followed with drinks and appetizers at the Sun Mountain Lodge.

Jimmy fell victim to a fast down slope on cross country skis, found himself face planted in the white stuff.
Paul Shinners having a blast on his first time on cross country skies.
Paul Shinners, Jim Darmiento, Rick Freeman, Linna Freeman, Mike Curry and Emelie Espling.
Linna Freeman
Totally recommend Hazel’s Overnight Rental. Located downtown Winthrop, 5 bedrooms and dependable fast internet.
Emelie Espling getting down in the tracks.
Michael Curry screaming for the love of life!

Shanghai Trip, November 2018

Fall is a good time to visit China, weather is cool and a few less tourists to deal with.  We asked our good friends Matt and Shelly Kerby to join us in China for some site seeing and indulging in wonderful food and drink. We spent two days in Shanghai before moving onto Huangshan Mountain.  

The Freeman Move on top of the Shanghai Tower, currently the second largest building in the world.  Shanghai Tower is 2,073 feet / 632 meters tall.

Linna Freeman lighting things up in front of the Pudong skyline. I started traveling to China back in 2000 and at the time there were only two tall buildings in Pudong. 

Looking down at the Pearl Tower and the famous Bund Street from the Shanghai Tower.

Looking down on the World Financial Center from Shanghai Tower in the Pudong district.  At this posting date, WFC is the 11th tallest building in the world at 1,614 feet / 492 meters.

Sitting comfortably on the G series bullet train heading to Huangshan Mountain. G is short for Gaosu Dongche meaning high-speed in Chinese. China has the world’s longest high speed railway network at 17,000 miles heading to 24,000 miles by 2025.

Matt Kerby munching on Yodi’s hand from Star Wars.

The fabulous Pudong skyline with the the Pearl and Shanghai Tower standing tall.

Our traveling partners, Shelly and Matt Kerby.  Matt is also my professional photographer.  

Having cocktails from the Jinmao Tower looking down on the beautiful Bund Street.

Olympic Backpacking Trip, August 2018

My good friend Jim Darmiento ask me to join him and two other friends on a four day/three night backpacking trip that actually turned into a three day/two night backpacking trip.

We started that the Dosewallips trail-head via the River Road…also known as the gateway to the eastern Olympic Mountains.  The River Road is wide gravel road good for bikes and horses and it was a great way to warm the legs up with 38 lb. pack before picking up elevation gain.  After walking pass the Elkhorn campground we finally started to ascend upon the river valley.

After about 9 miles or so the first day we made camp at the Dose Forks camp.  The camp was pretty full, but a couple who was only having lunch gave up a nice spot so we sit-up our single man tents.  AJ brought along some whisky, but it didn’t take long for the four of us to finish it off.  We all slept pretty well the first night.Our before picture at Dosewallips River Road, only 40 miles to go.  Paul Shinners, AJ Soule, Jim Darmiento and Rick Freeman

We set up our single man tents at the Dose Forks camp.  When our group first got here, there was no tent spots open.  Luckily, an young couple were sitting on the log (in background) having lunch and asked if we were looking for a spot to pitch our tent and it was like “oh hell yes”.

Jim and I in the hut at Camp Siberia.  It down poured through-out the night….we stayed dry under the shelter.

Third day at Anderson Pass.

We finished our third day and last day with 19 miles with wet backpacks at Graves Creek Campground.  Total trip was 40 miles!  I want to thank Paul for carrying my .45 caliber Kimber gun on the last long leg.

Scotland Trip, June 2018

My first time in Scotland was 3 years ago when I completed the 3 Peak Challenge with friends and we started near Fort Williams hiking Ben Nevus for our first peak. It was my wife Linna that wanted to make her first trip to Scotland with a focus on the Skye area.