Monday, August 29, 2011

Olympic Peaks

Another beautiful sunrise from Hurricane Ridge surrounded by the Olympic peaks.  Hiked up to Hurricane Hill for breathtaking 360 degree views into Canada and back to Mt Baker and Mt Rainier.  Olympic has it all...beautiful coastline, waterfalls, wildlife and majestic mountain peaks.  But its time to say goodbye, been a great adventure!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lupine Field

Sunrise at Hurricane Ridge with beautiful lupine fields.  This area is surrounded with snow capped peaks of the Olympic Range.  The wildflower displays are amazing with paintbrush and columbine everywhere!  The road travels along the ridge offering open views along the way.  Seen lots of wildlife including fawns, marmots and Ptarmigan.  The mosquitos are out in full force so sporting a stylish bug net to tolerate the little pests.  But the views and scenery are worth it.  Great weather with clear views as far as you can see.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Olympic Coast

Arrived in Olympic National Park yesterday and watched an amazing sunset last night.  Started again at daybreak this morning and did a long hike along the rocky shore at Rialto Beach.  It is covered in perfectly polished river rocks in all colors.  And the tides wash in cool little colorful sea creatures like starfish and urchins.  Also hiked through the Hoh Rainforest which was lush with ferns and a variety of trees.

Friday, August 26, 2011


The Columbia River Gorge lies just south of the Washington state line in Oregon. It is a beautiful corridor lined with waterfalls. The tallest is Multnomah Falls which has two tiers.  Hiked up to the bridge that crosses the falls and offers nice vantage point to view the upper falls.  Also hiked to several other falls in the gorge, but unfortunately had sunny skies so not many great photo ops.  

On the drive leaving the gorge and headed to Olympic, you can see Mt St Helens and Mt Hood in the distance.  Its cool driving around the Pacific Northwest and always having a snow capped volcanic peak like Mt Baker or Mt Rainier within view.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mt Rainier

Final day at Mt Rainier.  The weather has been great with clear views of the mountain everyday, very unusual.  And the hiking here is amazing with views like this one to enjoy along the way.  Could easily spend another week here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Hiked in the Paradise Valley at the heart of Mt Rainier.   Another clear day.   The Tatoosh Range dominated the views to the south. The trails in this valley are steep and the higher elevation trails are still covered in snow, but a few wildflowers were popping up.  Saw a family of marmots playing in the meadows.  And greeted by a Doe and Fawn on the way back down trail.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reflections & Rainbows

Narada Falls
Wow!  Mt Rainier is so massive, it doesn't look real.  It just towers over everything.
Been lucky with the weather so far with clear views of the mountain.  Spent today in the Paradise area of park and did some great hikes to glacial lakes surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Some patches of wildflowers, but due to late snow melt, the flowers are not putting on their normal show.

Hiked down to Narada Falls.  Timed it just right to catch a rainbow in the midst coming off the falls.  But got drenched in the process.

Tipsoo Lake

Sunrise at Tipsoo Lake with amazing view of Mt Rainier.  The hillsides are still covered in snow and part of the lake is still frozen as this area had one of its largest snowfalls this past winter.

Spent rest of the day hiking in Sunrise area of park. The drive was amazing with incredible views.  The trails were clear of snow and the hillsides carpeted in wildflowers.  Also lucky enough to have a couple of sightings of cinnamon colored black bears along the trail!  Check out the action in the video...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mt Baker

Explored the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest from the north and also from the south at Baker Lake.  Lots of wildflowers blooming along the trails including Avalanche Lilies and Monkey Flowers.  The cascades and waterfalls were gorgeous and flowing strong due to snow melt.  Visited North Cascades National Park and enjoyed some nice hikes and a beautiful drive around Diablo Lake.  Now enroute to Mt Rainier National Park, but stopped off at Leavenworth which is a cool and lively Alpine Bavarian-style village.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Orca Whales

Spent the morning on a boat tour of the San Juan Islands crossing over into Canada.  Saw bald eagles, sea otters and dozens of Orca Whales.  We watched several pods as they cruised around us and they put on quite a show. Check out the video...

Pacific Northwest

Touring the Pacific Northwest exploring the Cascade Mountains and several National Parks.  I've been waiting for years to see Mt Shuksan in the Cascades and finally made it!  The light on the peak in the evening is magical and surrounding scenery breathtaking.  The road continues to Artist Point, but is closed off this year due to snow even though its August!  Will definitely have to return...