This was my first trip to the beautiful country of Greece.
For my 61st birthday I decided to hike up Camp Muir. It was also a way to test out my new right knee replacement that happened on March 1st.
I asked a bunch of people to celebrate my birthday hike with me, but only Tao Song, Craig Schilling and Mike Curry took the challenge. We arrived at Paradise parking lot around 6:30 a.m. with only about twenty cars in the parking lot. We started up the trail around 6:45 a.m. and stopped after we crossed Icicle Creek…pretty much where the snow started. We had a snack and put on our traction devices before trudging on.
Tao lead the way to Camp Muir making sure she maintained a lead of 100 yards from of us tired boys. I have done this hike about 10 times now and it never gets easier. We all know what the last mile feels like…pure hell. At least we had beautiful clear sky and a warm sun beating down on us, no jacket required on top…just a dry shirt.
On the way down we made sure to hit every snow shoot there was. I brought a heavy duty garbage bag and it worked well for glissading. After descending and a change of clothes we stopped in Ashford for pizza and beer.
Rick Freeman & Mike Curry Glissading
Linna bought Chloe Wei and little ole me a tandem paragliding flight with our friend Yun Ling for our birthdays. Yun Ling has probably paraglided over 1,000 times in his four years of experience, so I felt completely safe.
My wife Linna decided to book a trip to Colombia last minute for some warm weather.
Six of us drove over to Southeast Washington to see the beautiful Palouse Falls and area.
Linna and I started in Munich and drove down to Austria and then over to Slovakia.
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.
The cold air and heavy snow made this sweet basic Pilchuck hike into a cold ass kicker. Washington received tons of snow this year so every hike this winter has seen heavy snow pack. The winter route up to Pilchuck is steep and deep in snow…..but still very worth it.
Linna and I were fortunate to be asked to come a long on a two night backpacking trip in the Enchantments, near Leavenworth, Washington. Linna’s Chinese friends were lucky enough to win the lottery for overnight camping in the upper Snow Lakes near the core of the Enchantments. We met up with the other 6 Chinese friends at the Snow Lakes trail-head on Friday morning and started around 8:00 a.m. on a cool sunny day.
Our group chose the very South end of upper Snow Lakes, which was 8.2 miles from the trail-head with 4,700 feet gain. We were completely surprised how low the lake was, it was difficult scurrying down the lake bank for water especially after carrying a 40 lb. pack all day.
One of the Chinese guys brought a liter of Bai Jiu liquor and Linna brought a pint of Scotch, which encourage a lot of loud obnoxious singing that I am sure the other backpackers around the lake could hear but not understand.
We spent all day Saturday exploring the core of the Enchantments and taking a zillion pictures of the beautiful lakes and Larches. After a long day of accent and decent from the core, we were in our warm sleeping bags right after a hot bag of Mountain House Chili Mac.
Sunday was another long day with heavy packs on the decent back to the cars, but cold beers and hot bratwursts awaited in Leavenworth for us.Our home for two nights, my 10 year old REI Half-Dome tent.
We hit the fall colors at the right time.
The larches in peak season.
Rick Freeman standing tall in the core of the Enchantments.
Linna got a great shot of a local goat.
Linna standing tall on Crystal Lake.
Date: January 1, 2018
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, Tao Song and my Wonder Dog Macho
Another new year and another Mailbox Peak on New Year’s Day.