Editor's Log 2016, Photo Gallery, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Editor's Log 2016
Rocky Mountain National Park
This photo gallery is a chronological record of 2016 field work. Each day in the field is represented by a single photo; an exception is made for days when two distinct trails were hiked, or with two distinct destinations.
1.1.16 | Elephant Canyon, Canyonlands NP | 2016 began in the frigid canyons of the Needles District. I only saw one other hiker, and we were both amused by the uncommonly cold temps and unlikelihood of seeing anyone out in that on NYD.
1.2.16 | Broken Arch, Arches National Park | Made the most of this cold but sunny day by getting to a number of attractions along Park Blvd. Snow drifts ranged 8"- 10".
2.9.16 | Chimney Rock Loop, Capitol Reef National Park | Great to be back in CRNP after so many years. Late afternoon hike with fresh, untracked snow on the backside. Lost the route for long stretches, but got lucky when it mattered!
2.10.16 | Hickman Natural Bridge, Capitol Reef | Geologically striking landscape leading to the bridge, which I was lucky to have to myself.
2.10.16 | Navajo Knobs, Capitol Reef | Backtracked from Hickman and continued up to NK with some of the best views in the park. You can really see the tilt of the waterpocket fold from these high rims. Improvised a lot on open, snow-covered slickrock.
2.11.16 | Cassidy Arch, Capitol Reef | The high-open, snow-covered slickrock over the arch was extremely fun to romp around on, but if you fell....
2.11.16 | Fremont Gorge, Capitol Reef | Interesting from a work standpoint, but not the first trail I'd recommend. This grassy plateau had me on the lookout for wildlife as I hiked back at dusk.
2.12.16 | Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef | This was one of my favorites in CR, though there wasn't one 'great' picture to capture it. Steep north faces had 8-12" that completely covered cairns. Luckily I was focused and efficient on this tough day.
2.12.16 | Grand Wash, Capitol Reef | After returning from Frying Pan I continued east in the wash, a rare natural passage through the Waterpocket Fold. Awesome late-day light on narrow, vertical walls. Despite many droppings, didn't see sheep.
2.24.16 | Golden Throne, Capitol Reef | Was hooked on CR and managed a quick return. Cool hike, but best part was the early morning drive through Capitol Gorge.
2.24.16 | Pleasant Creek, Capitol Reef | Raced through Golden Throne to get to the ultimate purpose of this trip: returning to Pleasant Creek. Categorically amazing, and the impetus for starting ProTrails. Remote desert backcountry with many petroglyphs.
2.25.16 | Wagon Trail, Capitol Reef | The full loop was overkill, but I definitely recommend coming up at sunset for some of the most expansive views across the Waterpocket Fold.
2.25.16 | Capitol Gorge, Capitol Reef | Another great trek through the Waterpocket Fold with petroglyphs and slots. Had a little scare losing the way back from The Tanks. Really enjoyed seeing the transition to low desert on the east side.
2.26.16 | Spring Canyon, Capitol Reef | Would love to see this one in early May. Very diverse, and amazing hike in before you even reach it. Crossed several wide, frozen creeks and pushed through some surprisingly deep snow on shady banks.
2.26.16 | Sunset Point, Capitol Reef | Great views down the Fremont and out to the Henry's. Nice chance to process all that I'd seen of CR that month. Eventually got cold and somehow managed to make the .3 mile walk back to the car look difficult.
5.14.16 | Little River Trail, Olympic National Park | After two relentless days driving I was back in Olympic and wasted no time getting to what I'd not seen in 7 months: Green and Water! Careless fall left me with new scar on thigh. Deserved it.
5.15.16 | Gray Wolf River, Buckhorn Wilderness | It was cool hiking here during peak runoff. It was absolutely raging, and a good reminder to respect these rivers.
5.17.16 | Lake Angeles, Olympic NP | Last time I was here it was completely socked in, so really enjoyed this clear day (it's a hard-nose climb to this point). Tried to go further, but got into deep snow and tricky terrain.
5.20.16 | Striped Peak, Salt Creek Rec Area | Nice hike to the summit (confusing service roads without directions notwithstanding). Best part was a spur down to this cove. Caught in high tide so had to bail sooner than I wanted.
5.20.16 | Second Beach, Olympic NP | Thought about this beach for four years and it was great to finally be back. Fog burned off late but just in time.
5.24.16 | Little River to Klahhane Ridge , Olympic NP | I was itching to go further up Little River, and managed through some pretty deep snow with the help of GPS to reach the ridge. Socked in but still very gratifying to have made it.
5.25.16 | Mount Jupiter, Brothers Wilderness | Good forecast, but it is the Olympic Peninsula after all. Tough climb only to be completely socked in on the summit. Hiked down with a guy who made headlines for getting lost and surviving 9 days in ONP.
5.27.16 | North Fork Skokomish, Olympic NP | Some great old growth before a steep climb to our camp at 3 Bear. I cont'd on to First Divide in deep snow and flat light. Very tough navigating and had some worried moments. Glad I did it, but risky.
5.31.16 | Mount Jupiter, Brothers Wilderness | Couldn't get Jupiter off the brain - so much effort that first time to see nothing! Went back on a clear day and had an amazing time. Totally worth it.
6.3.16 | Rialto-Ozette, Olympic NP | Planned well and made it to Cedar Creek with only one major hang up in high tide. A few tough headlands but amazing beaches. Got in a little earlier than expected and caught the best of a long afternoon @ low tide.
6.4.16 | Rialto-Ozette, Olympic NP | Got up early and fired up to tackle the hardest part of my route up to Yellow Banks. It's as tedious and precarious as everyone says. This tent looks idyllic, but then the tide came in at 12:30 a. Learned A LOT!
6.5.16 | Rialto-Ozette, Olympic NP | Once through some tricky scrambles on the north end of Yellow Banks, travel eased across several coves and beaches before turning off on the Sand Point Trail to catch my ride. Well executed trip with perfect weather.
6.8.16 | Mildred Lakes, Mt Skokomish Wilderness | Mildred is as tough as advertised, and I was prepared, patient and methodical through some really hard sections. Met two great guys at the upper lake. The lakes were just eh, but glad I can say I did it.
6.12.16 | Anderson Pass, Olympic NP | Enjoyable hike in to our camp at Big Timber. Lots of time to enjoy the river and make a killer fire.
6.13.16 | Anderson Pass, Olympic NP | A short first day meant a long second day to the pass and back home. Found the push to Honeymoon fairly difficult, only to hit snow as the weather turned. Seeing the sign for Enchanted Valley was a major highlight.
6.17.16 | Heather Park, Olympic NP | Gambled on weather and lost big time. Pushed across some precarious slopes between HP and Victor Pass. Terrible weather, I broke off my route and went to Hurricane Ridge and hitched a ride back. Lots of goats!
6.20.16 | North Fork Quinault, Olympic NP | 16 mile grinder up to Low Divide. Thunder was cracking as I filled water and these guys walked the slope behind me. Was able to build a big fire quickly, warm up and have a peaceful night.
6.21.16 | North Fork Quinault, Olympic NP | Woke up to a sliver of sun before weather moved in again. Overall, I covered a lot of ground in a short period and felt comfortable deep in this lightly traveled branch of the Quinault Rainforest.
6.26.16 | Klahhane Ridge Loop, Olympic NP | Went up the Lake Angeles side with great views from above the fog bank. The ridge walk was amazing. The Heather Park side had melted down and was much easier, though a large rockslide nearby startled me a bit.
6.29.16 | Heart Lake, Olympic NP | Itching for more high country so made the long day-trek to Heart Lake on High Divide. Happy to find it mostly clear and see others doing the full loop. Went on to The Roost for amazing interior mountain views.
7.2.16 | Klahhane Ridge, Olympic NP | Went up the Angeles side with pretty clear conditions to the ridge, save some snowfields we would later slide down. Close up encounters with goats, per norm up there.
7.4.16 | Grand Valley, Olympic NP | Good weather below but caught in cold fog up top. Forgot my spikes but was still able to get up some long, steep snowfields to the pass with awesome views. Met some ultras on an epic 40 mile training run.
7.9.16 | Little Divide Loop, Olympic NP | Stubborn 'June Gloom' weather creeping into July, so took what I could get on this loop. Wouldn't recommend the whole thing, but the Lovers Lane portion, as always, was awesome.
7.12.16 | Maroon Bells-Snowmass Thru Hike, Aspen | Back in Aspen for the week, I was dropped off at Maroon Bells on a perfect day and went to Willow Pass, on to East Maroon Pass, and down to S-mass where I caught the shuttle. Best 17 mile route in town.
7.20.16 | Lake of the Angels, Olympic NP | Steep as advertised, but prepared for it. Lots of goats around empty tent at lake. Met the campers on a pass and together aimed for Hagen; didn't make it but saw an elk herd and a bear in adjacent basin.
7.21.16 | Mount Ellinor, Mt Skokomish Wilderness | Started at the lower trailhead and glad I did - that forest is underrated. Steep and lots of goats, plus TONS of people. But gotta do it. Popular hike for good reason.
7.25.16 | Crystal Peak, Mount Rainier NP | Long awaited trip to Rainier, and picked a great one to start. Met a guy on the summit who knew the park really well and gave invaluable advice. Would run into him a few days later at Palisades.
7.25.16 | Crystal Lakes, Mount Rainier NP | Backtracked from the summit and turned up-valley to the Crystal Lakes. Roamed all over the open basin. Just a great, productive first day.
7.26.16 | Summerland, Mount Rainier NP | It's wrong to have just one photo for this hike - it's among the nicest in Rainier. The leg between S-land and Panhandle was surreal. Glaciers, waterfalls, snowfields and a sketchy climb to the pass.
7.27.16 | Glacier Basin, Mount Rainier NP | Another stunner, and got out early enough to beat the crowds. Went to the base of Inter Glacier and spoke at length with descending climbers.
7.27.16 | Palisades Lakes, Mount Rainier NP | Raced from GB to Sunrise and started this hike early afternoon. A little more up-down than expected, but worth it. Amazing string of multiple meadows and lakes. Glad I pushed to Hidden Lake. Love this area.
7.28.16 | Owyhigh Lakes, Mount Rainier NP | Unremarkable hike until it opens up at the lakes. The lakes are okay, but surrounding meadows were impressive. Went further up valley into more meadows. Not the very best of Rainier, but still cool.
8.3.16 | Enchantments Lakes Loop, Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Ask me about this one separately. Superlatives include: Hardest day hike I've ever done - by far. Top 5 most beautiful of all time (easily). Jaw dropping. Surreal. Will be hard to match.
8.5.16 | Naches Loop, Mount Rainier NP | With legs still stinging from the Enchantments I picked a relatively easy one to kick this trip off. Short loop with INSANE flowers! Side trip to Dewey Lake along the PCT.
8.6.16 | Fremont Lookout, Mount Rainier NP | Refreshed, I set out on a longer day beginning with the lookout. Amazing views, particularly across northern drainages. Met park officials who had spent the night in the tower.
8.6.16 | Burroughs Mountain, Mount Rainier NP | Not fair to have just one pic for this. Came down from the tower and right back up the Burroughs. Open tundra snow travel to the third Burrough was tough but uncomplicated. Highly recommend this one.
8.7.16 | Emmons Moraine, Mount Rainier NP | Fatigue settled back in so looked for an easy one before heading home. Only this brief glimpse of sun on Little Tacoma. Great seeing significant terminal moraine features up close.
8.15.16 | Eagle Peak, Mount Rainier NP | Early morning drive and business-like climb to the saddle. Vacillated about scrambling to the summit. Met a climber and followed him halfway, but lost nerve/will and turned back. Still bothered about quitting.
8.16.16 | Paradise, Mount Rainier NP | It's called Paradise for a reason. Fact: it's the snowiest place on earth. Headed to base of Muir snowfield and improvised across varied tundra. Insane flowers. Saw a bear and cub on backside of loop.
8.16.16 | Paradise Glacier, Mount Rainier NP | Peeled off the main loop to the base of the glacier. Was apprehensive about crevasses, but met a guy who was game to go. We wound up going all the way to the Cowlitz Rocks. One of my favorite days -ever.
8.17.16 | Kautz Creek, Mount Rainier NP | Relentless, no-frills climb until things opened up in the meadows. Met a trail runner who had just seen a bear. Loved the destination, just wish it was easier to reach!
8.18.16 | Pinnacle Peak, Mount Rainier NP | This hike is a great 'value' - reasonable climb for big payoff on the saddle. Tried to reach summit but not enough time (or skill). Dropped down the backside instead and followed paths through gorgeous heather.
8.18.16 | Bench Lake and Snow Lake, Mount Rainier NP | Too close to pass up, went on to Bench and Snow before heading home. Easy hike with two great lakes. Took a little longer because I was now a little tired and COULD NOT STOP eating berries.
8.30.16 | Dorothy, Bear, Deer, and Snoqualmie lakes, Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Long trip and started midday on this lengthy hike. Greyed out by weather, and a little dull overall. Not sure I'd go back, but enjoyed the deep backcountry.
8.31.16 | Eightmile Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Nice hike through recent burn area to this popular lake. Nice enough, but a little scraggily and there are others nearby I'd pick first (like anything in the Enchantments Core).
8.31.16 | Caroline and Little Caroline Lakes, Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Backtracked from 8-mile and made the steep climb up and over to Caroline. Tough light and underwhelming, but went on to Little C, which I liked. I'd go back and head to Windy Pass.
9.4.16 | High Divide Loop, Olympic NP | First time doing this epic loop in a single day. Had a lot of fun improvising across the basin. Ran into a beehive and it almost got ugly! Otherwise awesome. Saw three bears.
9.12.16 | Josephine Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Liked this one. Beautiful descent from top of ski area to the wilderness boundary. Very light post-Labor Day traffic. Peak blueberries and had the lake all to myself.
9.13.16 | Lake Valhalla, Henry Jackson Wilderness | Discovering why Washingtonians see Sept as the best month to hike. Ho-Hum start but great finish at the lake. Berry bumper crop. Spoke to many PCTers and learned a lot about these amazing people.
9.14.16 | Lake Janus, Henry Jackson Wilderness | Another day, another stretch of perfect weather and non-stop berries. Met an interesting old timer hiking the PCT. Too nice to stop, I went on to Grizzly Peak.
9.14.16 | Grizzly Peak, Henry Jackson Wilderness | Glad I continued - views and the landscape were just phenomenal along this rugged section of the crest. Spoke at length with many PCTers on the home stretch. One of my favorite hikes of the summer.
9.15.16 | Hope Lake and Trap Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness | Feeling at home in this part of the Cascades. More perfect weather, berries and rock star PCT hikers. I think Trap Lake may get overlooked a bit, but I'd go back in a heartbeat.
9.23.16 | Hurricane Hill, Olympic NP | Not bad for an impromptu afterwork jaunt! Somehow had signal and took a work call while watching goats negotiate some improbable terrain.
9.24.16 | Third Beach to Toleak Point, Olympic NP | Fun day on the coast despite the weather. Forgot how tough some of those headland climbs and descents were on this stretch. Lots of seals and a few eagles. I never get bored of the coast.
10.3.16 | Punchbowl Falls and Tunnel Falls, Columbia River Gorge | The trip almost ended before it started with a bad fall on an ill-advised scramble to the base of Tunnel. First of many amazing days this year in the gorge.
10.5.16 | Multnomah Falls Loop, Columbia River Gorge | I gingerly walked this phenomenal loop after a day resting a badly swollen knee. With several iconic falls, this entry really deserves multiple pics. Crazy crowds - avoid peak season!
10.6.16 | Ponytail Falls, Columbia River Gorge | One of three nice ones on this route. Trail goes right under/behind it. Met a trail runner with useful insight and suggestions. Good looking but kept it professional :)
10.6.16 | Wahclella Falls, Columbia River Gorge | Made a wrong turn heading home but just as well - wound up at this trailhead so might as well do it. Doesn't film well but trust me - it's very powerful. The mist was hard to keep off the lens.
10.7.16 | Upper McCord Creek Falls, Columbia River Gorge | Short hike, but the narrow-rail section along a cliff might not be for everyone. Driving rain made field work difficult.
10.7.16 | Elowah Falls, Columbia River Gorge | Backtracked and split off on the short hike to this one. Driving rain and heavy mist limited photo opps. Still, it was one of my favorites in the entire gorge. Need to go back.
10.7.16 | Dry Creek Falls, Columbia River Gorge | By now I was so soaked that I might as well keep going. Went to Bridge of the Gods and hiked south on the PCT. Nice falls but enjoyed the creek below even more.
10.8.16 | PCT to Benson Plateau, Columbia River Gorge | Not sure anyone takes this very long route to Benson, but I liked the idea of spending all day on the PCT and seeing it through thru-hikers eyes - it's the last segment in OR before crossing into WA.
10.10.16 | Mount Defiance, Columbia River Gorge | Finally a sunny day, and couldn't have picked a better trail for it. Defiance is considered one of the hardest hikes in the gorge. You have to be up for it. Hiked down with a local who taught me a lot.
10.11.16 | Herman Creek, Columbia River Gorge | This valley has one of the highest concentrations of old growth in the gorge, but you have to hike in a long way to see it (so I did). Highlight was meeting a guy who was veritable NW hiking encyclopedia.
10.12.16 | Bridal Veil and Latourell Falls, Columbia River Gorge | Quick run to BV, then Latourell before the long drive home. LF is pretty striking. The upper fall (shown here) is a mini Ponytail. Great wrap to a great trip.
10.27.16 | Oneonta Gorge, Columbia River Gorge | I was utterly ill-equipped to reach the falls! After I spoke to guys returning in full body wet suits, I learned why. Met a Norwegian photographer who was up there earlier and helped me start the logjam.
10.28.16 | Larch Mountain, Columbia River Gorge | Easily my favorite hike in the gorge. Check out the trail description to see why. Was totally confused near the summit, but kept the legs moving and eventually met people who directed me to Sherrard Point.
10.29.16 | Falls Creek Falls, Columbia River Gorge (WA) | Another soaking rain, but perfect for seeing waterfalls. This picture is a total injustice to the real size, scale and volume. Trust me, it's one of the most breathtaking in the gorge.
10.29.16 | Panther Creek Falls, Columbia River Gorge (WA) | Met people at FCF who let me follow them to PC. Might not have found it without them-thank you whoever you are! The falls are amazing but to avoid another injustice, only the creek is shown here.
10.31.16 | Pool of the Winds, Columbia River Gorge (WA) | I was a little underwhelmed with the two main falls, and couldn't motivate up to the summit to make more of this day. The cold and constant rain was starting to add up!
11.1.16 | North Lake, Columbia River Gorge | This is a long, tough hike with few notable features and a forgettable lake. The forest on the last mile is pretty special though. One of those days where simply accomplishing it is enough to make you happy.
11.2.16 | Mosier Falls, Columbia River Gorge | A little worn out from North Lake, I sought out the easiest hike possible. Cross it off the list! Highlight was seeing dramatic ecological changes on the east end of the gorge.
11.3.16 | Angels Rest, Columbia River Gorge | The hike itself paled compared to others, but the views are very legit. I was driving back that day so rushed a bit - I'd like to do this one again.
11.25.16 | Dungeness Spit, Sequim WA | Not bad for a local hike! High tide and heavy surf really pushed me up onto the spine, but not a problem. Went to the lighthouse, and the volunteer keepers told me they'd just seen orcas in the harbor a few days ago.
12.2.16 | Lovers Lane, Olympic NP | Took a visiting friend on a cold, rainy day to Sol Duc. Came across some big deadfall on Lovers Lane (it definitely wasn't there back in July). Scrambled out to a cool gravel bar on the river before turning back.
12.3.16 | South Fork Hoh, Olympic NP | Been wanting to go here for a long time. This place is awesome. Don't tell anyone about it. Huge trees! Got out onto a wide gravel bar and hopped a few braids.
12.23.16 | Ruby Beach, Olympic NP | After fishing the Hoh (unsuccessfully) I ducked off to Ruby Beach for sunset. Caught low tide and saw an exuberant deer running all over the beach.
12.24.16 | Rialto Beach, Olympic NP | Icy roads but sunny skies caused me to change plans and head to the beach. Great call. Just an amazing day that felt like summer. Perfect way to wrap the year!