Trees. Big Trees.

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors

I have spent the best part of the last two weeks with a few co-workers identifying hazard trees in campgrounds. We have looked at hundreds of trees and have found signs of disease while wandering through the woods dodging devil’s club and downed giants – climbing over, around, and through the sometimes tangled understory.

While wandering about it is quite interesting to not just look at the trees, since that is what we are doing to look for problems, but to touch and be up close and personal with them. A few Douglas Fir trees that we looked at were massive – over six feet around the trunk and one was nearly 300 feet tall. Think about that for a moment…THREE HUNDRED FEET! That is one big tree. And those are not even as big as the some of the redwoods or giant sequoia.

It makes me think about what the views are from the top of that majestic tree. That has to be incredible. I know that there are people who climb to the top of the redwoods for research and that has to be an amazing thing to do. There are canopy tour companies and I may just have to find one in California and give that a try. (I have another tree-based adventure I am planning on doing this summer. I will post on that only when I actually get to do it.)

It also makes me think about the things these trees have seen in their lifetimes and the challenges they overcame (and keep having to struggle through thanks to humans) to become that big and live that long. They have not been around nearly as long as the bristlecone pines we saw in Colorado, but the bristlecones we saw were nowhere the size of these trees.

It’s just like looking at the stars on a dark summer’s night; it really kind of puts you in your place in the grand scheme of things. We humans are pretty small and insignificant comparatively speaking, yet we can have such devastating effects.

Go out in the woods and take the time to really look around you. It’s pretty amazing what you can find if you just slow down to look, listen, smell, and sometimes even taste.

Perhaps it will awaken something in you as well.

August 7, 2015

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Yesterday I came over to hang with Meghan at her place in Skykomish. I got here late in the day so didn’t get to see much. I have been through this area before but was just passing through.

It is a pretty area and quite reminiscent of parts of Colorado except some of the peaks, like Mt. Index, are very jagged like the Sawtooths in Idaho. There are beautiful streams and lots of trails as well, and Saturday I am going on an all-day hike.

Today I saw Meghan at work and she showed me around the Forest Service office she works in. That was pretty cool to see. After that I did a short loop trail by Deception Falls. It was the first forest hike I have done in over a year – between work and the wreck I have not been out in the woods much and I have missed it.

Meghan at Work

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Meghan got off work early and we went to an airplane museum, where we saw some interesting planes. One thing that was really cool was the DC-3, and they even fired up the engines whole we were standing there!

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It is great to see Meghan again and it was great to be in the woods again. I have had quite a bit on my mind lately and badly need to decompress and try to regroup. I did not really realize how bad I needed this weekend until today when I set foot on that trail and saw those giant trees and the waterfalls. I felt a sense of peace that I have not had in a long while and I really am looking forward to being being high on the trail tomorrow.

Until then…

It damn sure won’t be another year between hikes like that.

A Hike In Olympic National Park – 07/31/13

Adventure, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

On the recommendation of a friend, I took a hike from Obstruction Point in Olympic National Park today. I slept in longer than I thought I would this morning so I got a later start than I wanted, but I got there. It was a beautiful day and it was a great hike. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to hike this beautiful park.

The mountains have always been a magic place for me and those that know me know that I have always loved the mountains. Moving up here I took a bit of a break from them and have been enjoying the water quite a bit. Getting back into the mountains was a bit of a “coming home” for me. The sights, sounds, and the smell of the trees took me right back to a place inside that is quite special and I had not been in some time. The day even started out driving up Hurricane Ridge Rd. to the top, then taking a left onto the 8-mile long gravel road leading to the parking area at Obstruction Point. Woo-hoo! Off-roading! Damn… I sure miss my Jeep “Big Red”. It’s just not quite the same in my Ford Explorer.

Being away from it for a while made it all new again. This park is really quite a place and the mountains are just as spectacular as Colorado, but not as tall. The thing to remember is the vertical height. A 14,000 foot high mountain is tall no doubt, but when you start at 8,000 feet that gives you 6,000 feet of vertical. Here they start pretty much at sea level and Mt. Olympus is 7,980 feet tall. That is a pretty righteous vertical there.

Anyhoo I hiked a six mile loop, and it was quite a hike. It was a challenging trail in spots with loose rock and steep drop-offs, and the second leg from the Deer Park Trail down to Beaver Valley was pretty much straight down the side of a mountain. I DO mean “straight down”. I have never hiked a trail that steep, and it was a long way to get down to the valley. The pictures of the trail show what I hiked.

The wildflowers were incredible. There was a lot of color and some plants similar to what I have seen in CO, while others I have not. I saw some streams, and at one I stopped and heated up some lunch on my backpack stove. There were waterfalls, high mountain lakes, snow, goat tracks and bear poop on the trail… all of the things that make nature, well, nature.

I think I will let the pics speak for themselves. Click on them to see larger pictures. (Again, all things on this website are copyrighted and owned by me so please respect that.)