Posts Tagged ‘Day Hiking’

The day was cool at 7:30 am.  The trail head was quiet.   2500 vertical ft above us, on a steep scree slope above timberline, we could see our destination.  This trail had intrigued me since I first noticed it.  At that time, I was hiking through Maloney Basin in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness.  The trail ran from left to right, high above me on an open mountainside.  It seemed incredibley HIGH. But that’s Montana; everything’s big.  The mountains match the sky in that regard.

We started walking and 3 hours later, at 9500 ft, we would look down to see the truck waiting for our return.

It never ceases to amaze me what putting one foot in front of the other can achieve.  This day hike delivered alpine beauty beyond our expectations.  

Macro views of the high peaks of the Pintler Range.

Micro wonders of lichen and flowers fresh from recent rains.

Also a spring so cold that our hot feet could stand only a few minutes of submersion.  We sucked down long swallows of the pristine water; unfiltered and full of elemental energy.  Restored, we sprinted back up 1000 ft to retrieve a trekking pole forgotten in our dreamy alpine distraction.  

Another day in Montana.


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Yesterday we opened the door and walked outside.  And we just kept walking.  Ended up going about 2 miles down the Rock Creek canyon.  One slow car passed us as we walked along the narrow creek-side country road.  There we found an old homestead originally settled by an African american woman in 1894!  It has recently been restored by the forest service.

While wandering around the 300+ acres of the old homestead we experienced a Trifecta of Wildlife Viewing
1.  A fox came trotting toward us casually headed to the creek.  Once we were seen, the casual pace changed to a swift dash in the other direction.
2.  About 20 minutes later, walking along the creek, we spotted a black bear grazing on the other side.  We watched it bumble along for a time, before we were spotted.  The bear became very alert and scampered straight up the slope away from the creek and the unexpected humans.
3.  Then, when heading back toward the old homestead cabin, we spotted an eagle’s nest in one of the clusters of tall cottonwood trees.  With at least 2 babies.
It was a delightful day in the sun.
On the walk back we looked up at the cliffs and noticed the bighorn sheep were watching us.  I didn’t count them in the Trifecta since we see them all the time. (and I didn’t know what to call a 4 x viewing.  Quadra-fecta sounds a little forced.)

It was quite a rich wildlife day, even by Montana standards.  I returned later in the day to do some fly fishing.  After all, it is Rock Creek.

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I’m always amazed by their grandeur.  Their presence. Their fullness of being.  The Redwoods are all that.

We had perfect weather for camper camping and hiking all day.  The beach campground, Gold Bluff, was closed.  Bad because we love to camp there.  Good because we could camp at the meadow 5 miles from the beach and hike through old growth redwoods to a relatively deserted coastline.  More deserted than usual because the campground was closed.  Lunch on the beach.  Then return by a different route.  Wonderful, as in full of wonder.  Here are a few photos that only hint at the incredible beauty of the place.

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Spring is finally here in the high country.  Not summer mind you, but spring.  We headed into the Anaconda Pintlar Wilderness of SW Montana for a short day hike.

Three miles in and three miles out.  Sounds pretty easy.  However the trail gains about 1500 ft, so it should be steep.  It was.  In fact all the elevation gain is achieved in the first 2 miles on an old road.  Occasional views of the nearby peaks and the sound of a small creek provide welcome distractions from the steady climb.

Once at the real trail head, two miles in, you are done climbing.  A lovely and blessedly level trail leads on to Ivanhoe Lake.

This path often achieves what I call the Trifecta of hiking:  a 1.Level 2.Shady patch with a 3.Breeze.  If you’ve ever hiked up hill on a sunny windless day, you know what I’m talking about.  The Trifecta is wonderful.

Anyway, then comes the lake.  A beautiful glacial cirque.  Looks like no one has made it up here this season, except maybe a moose and calf, judging from the tracks.  This has us a little concerned.  Sitting quietly lakeside we see a brown thing, a big brown thing, emerge from the trees about 50 yds away across a small finger of the lake.  First we thought it was the moose we feared.  But we soon realized it was a spike horned elk.  We were down wind and it didn’t know we were there.  To our delight it went for a frolicking swim!

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It’s been a very wet spring in Southern Oregon.  And although the snow is keeping me in the lower reaches, I’m enjoying the lush green meadows and exceptional wildflowers this year.

This hike was no exception.  An old road running along the Illinois River provides access to long abandoned mining sites, wildflower filled meadows and the river itself.  The stark contrast between the rocky landscape and the amount of water & soft vegetation is lovely.

In the distance the gray patches of trees are the result of the 2002 Biscuit fire.  It burned most of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. 

I continue to enjoy the post-fire wilderness, but most people stay away now.  That’s okay.  The Big K is becoming a true wilderness.

The small spots of color splattered through out the green sward were worthy of closer inspection.

With the river flowing greenly along, time slowed down and we all relaxed.

A small frog shared the sun with us.

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I’ve been eating raw food lately.  It has more nutritional value than cooked food and, as a result, I’ve been enjoying increased health & energy.  But, carrots and apples don’t go well with the lightweight backpacking philosophy.  So, I’ve been dehydrating.  If you keep the temps down below 110 F food is still considered raw,  retaining all it’s life force.   Here’s an all-raw cookie recipe that I discovered as a result of making my own Almond Milk.

Almond Milk is just raw almonds and water (a little salt or vanilla if you want).  After blending and straining of the milk there is a residue of almond pulp.  I wondered what I could do with this stuff besides toss it.  So it has become the basis of my cookies.  They are great! (if I do say so myself).  And super easy.  But, you will need a dehydrator and a blender for this recipe. If you’re into raw food, you’ll need these two tools anyway.

2 cups Raw Almond Pulp (what’s left after making Almond Milk)

1 cup Raw Almond or Macadamia Nuts ground in a coffee grinder

1/2 cup Agave Syrup

1/4 cup Coconut Oil

2 t Sea Salt

2 T Maca Powder optional (a Peruvian Root, found at most health food stores)

3/4 cup whole Raw Sunflower Seeds

1/3 cup Raw Sesame Seeds ground in a coffee grinder

2 t Vanilla

Mix ingredients together in mixing bowl.  Place on 2 Tel-flex sheets from dehydrator.  Cover with wax paper and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.  Remove wax paper.  Score with knife or other tool to make 1.5″ square cookies.  Dry on 145 F for one hour.  (the evaporation for the first hour keeps the cookies temp below 110 F)   After an hour turn them down to 105 F overnight.  Flip cookies onto mesh panel dryer tray without Tel-flex sheet by placing one dryer panel on top of the other and turning them over.  Then remove top panel and carefully peal off Tel-flex sheet from back of cookies.  Continue drying until ready to eat (about 15 more hours).  Timing isn’t critical on these, except only an hour at 145 F.

I took them on a day hike yesterday.  I think they’ll be a great Clif Bar substitute.  I’m working on other ideas for trail food from the dehydrator.

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The redwoods have enchanted me for decades.  This New Years Day hike was no exception. 

No new gear on this one, just old trees and one repaired knee (my knee surgery was a resounding success!).

When it’s cold here in Southern Oregon, I like to go west to the Crescent City area of Northern California.  The temps were pushing 60 and there was rain, wind, sun and fog over the 5 day stint.  We hiked in the fog and biked in the sun.  

We found a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle at a thrift store for a $1 and assembled it on the 50 mph windy, rainy day.

The biking North of town is outstanding for boomers, if you like easy scenic mountain biking.  This road ride goes right along the coast for about 10 miles.  There’s very little traffic and the few cars you see are going 25 mph. 

It ends at a secluded beach looking out to the historic lighthouse at Point St. George.

We also biked an old gravel road in another area just North of Crescent City:  Lake Earl.  It’s a 5500-acre coastal lagoon bracketed by 5000 rolling acres of state park land and another 5000 acres of a Department of Fish and Game preserve.  This area is closed to vehicles and open to many birds.  In the past we’ve also flat water kayaked and fished here.  As you can see in the aerial photo, it’s adjacent to the sea.  There is also a stretch of wild beach that runs for many miles.

A fine way to start the year.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! Get out there and experience our beautiful world!

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