Author: Hike Mike

DPS Crew Discovers Mysterious Monolith From Air In Remote Utah Wilderness

The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was assisting Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officers counting bighorn sheep when the crew spotted something mysterious from above.

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” said pilot Bret Hutchings. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘what.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”

The crew circled back and landed the helicopter to take a closer look. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Tucked in a red rock cove was a shiny metal monolith protruding from the ground.

“I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet-high,” Hutchings said. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”

Hutchings said it didn’t look like it was dropped into the ground from above. It was firmly planted there.

That said, the crew decided it didn’t appea..

The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was assisting Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officers counting bighorn sheep when the crew spotted something mysterious from above.

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” said pilot Bret Hutchings. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘what.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”

The crew circled back and landed the helicopter to take a closer look. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Tucked in a red rock cove was a shiny metal monolith protruding from the ground.

“I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet-high,” Hutchings said. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”

Hutchings said it didn’t look like it was dropped into the ground from above. It was firmly planted there.

That said, the crew decided it didn’t appear there was any scientific purpose to it. Hutchings said it looked as if it was manmade – perhaps more of an art form than any kind of alien lifeform.

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The UK will get more national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Some of the UK’s most breathtaking landscapes will be turned into national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to help protect the country’s rich biodiversity, the government has announced.

As part of their 25-year Environment Plan, the project is expected to restore the equivalent of 30,000 football pitches into wildlife-rich habitats, clean up pollution, create areas of woodland, and restore wetland.

While there are currently 15 national parks around the UK — including the South Downs in Sussex, New Forest, Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales — these ambitious plans will see more come to pass over a period of 25 years, giving everyone the chance to soak up nature.

Brilliantly, too, there are also hopes this scheme will help provide shelter for species such as the curlew, nightingale, horseshoe bat, pine marten, red squirrel and wild orchids.

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British Government Extends Boundaries Of Lake District And Yorkshire Dales National Parks
English..

Some of the UK’s most breathtaking landscapes will be turned into national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to help protect the country’s rich biodiversity, the government has announced.

As part of their 25-year Environment Plan, the project is expected to restore the equivalent of 30,000 football pitches into wildlife-rich habitats, clean up pollution, create areas of woodland, and restore wetland.

While there are currently 15 national parks around the UK — including the South Downs in Sussex, New Forest, Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales — these ambitious plans will see more come to pass over a period of 25 years, giving everyone the chance to soak up nature.

Brilliantly, too, there are also hopes this scheme will help provide shelter for species such as the curlew, nightingale, horseshoe bat, pine marten, red squirrel and wild orchids.

Cite…

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Federal money coming to WNC public lands

Public lands in Western North Carolina are set to get a chunk of the $9.5 billion approved for deferred maintenance projects with the ratification of the Great American Outdoors Act. The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service both released project lists last week.

Hailed as the largest single investment in public lands in the nation’s history, the bipartisan act dedicates up to $9.5 billion over five years to address the much larger maintenance backlog on federal lands, as well as $900 million per year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has for the past 50 years protected land for parks, wildlife refuges and recreation nationwide. The law requires that half of the money received from energy development revenues on federal lands and waters go toward these programs, not to exceed $1.9 billion in any fiscal year.

Nationwide, the Forest Service has a deferred maintenance backlog of $5.2 billion, while the Park Service’s stands at $12 billion. As of 2018, the last yea..

Public lands in Western North Carolina are set to get a chunk of the $9.5 billion approved for deferred maintenance projects with the ratification of the Great American Outdoors Act. The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service both released project lists last week.

Hailed as the largest single investment in public lands in the nation’s history, the bipartisan act dedicates up to $9.5 billion over five years to address the much larger maintenance backlog on federal lands, as well as $900 million per year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has for the past 50 years protected land for parks, wildlife refuges and recreation nationwide. The law requires that half of the money received from energy development revenues on federal lands and waters go toward these programs, not to exceed $1.9 billion in any fiscal year.

Nationwide, the Forest Service has a deferred maintenance backlog of $5.2 billion, while the Park Service’s stands at $12 billion. As of 2018, the last year for which figures are available, the backlog in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was worth $235.9 million, and the Blue Ridge Parkway carried a backlog of $508.1 million.

The funds will go to agencies under both the Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture, each of which is handling the process of prioritizing and carrying out the projects in a different way.

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20 signs that the climate crisis has come home to roost

Global warming isn’t the only reason the West is burning. The growing number of people in the woods has increased the likelihood of human-caused ignitions, while more than a century of aggressive fire suppression has contributed to the fires’ severity. In addition, unchecked development in fire-prone areas has resulted in greater loss of life and property.

Yet, it’s impossible to deny the role a warming planet plays in today’s blazes. “Something’s happening to the plumbing of the world,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

You only have to step outside for a moment and feel the scorching heat, witness the dwindling streams, and choke on the omnipresent smoke to know that something’s way off-kilter, climate-wise.

1. Lewistown, Montana, (70 degrees Fahrenheit) and Klamath Falls, Oregon, (65 degrees) set high-temperature records for the month of February.

2. California had its driest February on record.

3. In April, parts of southern Arizona and California saw the mercury climb past ..

Global warming isn’t the only reason the West is burning. The growing number of people in the woods has increased the likelihood of human-caused ignitions, while more than a century of aggressive fire suppression has contributed to the fires’ severity. In addition, unchecked development in fire-prone areas has resulted in greater loss of life and property.

Yet, it’s impossible to deny the role a warming planet plays in today’s blazes. “Something’s happening to the plumbing of the world,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

You only have to step outside for a moment and feel the scorching heat, witness the dwindling streams, and choke on the omnipresent smoke to know that something’s way off-kilter, climate-wise.

1. Lewistown, Montana, (70 degrees Fahrenheit) and Klamath Falls, Oregon, (65 degrees) set high-temperature records for the month of February.

2. California had its driest February on record.

3. In April, parts of southern Arizona and California saw the mercury climb past 100 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple days in a row, shattering records.

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A needed detour: NM volunteers reroute portion of Continental Divide Trail

Outdoor enthusiasts can now hike a brand new section of the Continental Divide Trail in the Gila National Forest.

The New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors partnered with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition earlier in October to reroute part of the trail in the forest’s Black Range west of Truth or Consequences.

The chairperson for New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, said the 1.5 miles of new trail will take the Continental Divide Trail off of a dirt Forest Service road.

The crew worked for six days, using a technique called “benching” to make a passable trail in the difficult terrain.

“Because the trail is going along a steep slope, it involves cutting a lot of soil and rock out of the side of the slope to create the trail and then refining it with other tools and making it less bumpyhairperson for New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, said the 1.5 miles of new trail will take the Continental Divide Trail off of a dirt Forest Service road.

A Youth Conservation Corps cre..

Outdoor enthusiasts can now hike a brand new section of the Continental Divide Trail in the Gila National Forest.

The New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors partnered with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition earlier in October to reroute part of the trail in the forest’s Black Range west of Truth or Consequences.

The chairperson for New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, said the 1.5 miles of new trail will take the Continental Divide Trail off of a dirt Forest Service road.

The crew worked for six days, using a technique called “benching” to make a passable trail in the difficult terrain.

“Because the trail is going along a steep slope, it involves cutting a lot of soil and rock out of the side of the slope to create the trail and then refining it with other tools and making it less bumpyhairperson for New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, said the 1.5 miles of new trail will take the Continental Divide Trail off of a dirt Forest Service road.

A Youth Conservation Corps crew completed about half the trail before the volunteers took over.

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The Story Behind the Growing Number of Tribal National Parks

This week brought with it the announcement of a new national park, one which will eventually encompass 444 acres on the border of Nebraska and Kansas. The governing body setting this new park up isn’t the National Park Service, however; instead, it’s being established by the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.

The Ioway Tribal National Park “will overlook a historic trading village where the Ioway people bartered for buffalo hides and pipestones with other tribes during the 13th to 15th centuries.” When it’s completed, Ioway Tribal National Park will join a growing number of tribal national parks across North America.

It’s worth mentioning here that this isn’t an exclusively American phenomenon. Similar parks have been established in other countries where Indigenous populations faced warfare, oppression and relocation in the name of colonialism. Booderee National Park, located on the east coast of Australia, is owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and jointly managed by Parks A..

This week brought with it the announcement of a new national park, one which will eventually encompass 444 acres on the border of Nebraska and Kansas. The governing body setting this new park up isn’t the National Park Service, however; instead, it’s being established by the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.

The Ioway Tribal National Park “will overlook a historic trading village where the Ioway people bartered for buffalo hides and pipestones with other tribes during the 13th to 15th centuries.” When it’s completed, Ioway Tribal National Park will join a growing number of tribal national parks across North America.

It’s worth mentioning here that this isn’t an exclusively American phenomenon. Similar parks have been established in other countries where Indigenous populations faced warfare, oppression and relocation in the name of colonialism. Booderee National Park, located on the east coast of Australia, is owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and jointly managed by Parks Australia and the Indigenous community there.

There is another factor in the establishment of tribal national parks: making sure that history is conveyed accurately and that visitors to sacred sites behave appropriately while there. The website for Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park mentions that several areas within Antelope Canyon can only be visited with a tour guide — something that helps keep the stunning landscapes protected for future generations.

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Wonders Of Sand And Stone: A History Of Utah’s National Parks And Monuments

The southern half of Utah is canyon country, a land of aridity, sparse vegetation, and unique and scenically spectacular topography and geology. It is a land rich in sites of archaeological importance and parts of it are sacred to indigenous people. It is also mostly public land, owned by the American people, part of their national legacy, and for a century it has been contested terrain.

Frederick Swanson, in Wonders of Sand and Stone, tells the story of the century-long battles between those who would preserve large parts of this spectacular landscape and those who would dedicate them to “multiple use,” principally grazing, mining, dams, and oil and gas development.

The story begins early in the history of America’s national parks when Utah’s redrock country was virtually inaccessible except to a few intrepid explorers, prospectors, and reaches to the 21st century conflicts over Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

This century of struggle over public land ..

The southern half of Utah is canyon country, a land of aridity, sparse vegetation, and unique and scenically spectacular topography and geology. It is a land rich in sites of archaeological importance and parts of it are sacred to indigenous people. It is also mostly public land, owned by the American people, part of their national legacy, and for a century it has been contested terrain.

Frederick Swanson, in Wonders of Sand and Stone, tells the story of the century-long battles between those who would preserve large parts of this spectacular landscape and those who would dedicate them to “multiple use,” principally grazing, mining, dams, and oil and gas development.

The story begins early in the history of America’s national parks when Utah’s redrock country was virtually inaccessible except to a few intrepid explorers, prospectors, and reaches to the 21st century conflicts over Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

This century of struggle over public land use has led to five national parks and eight national monuments managed by the National Park Service; the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, also managed by the Park Service; and the recently diminished Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears monuments managed, if that is the appropriate verb, by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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Cape Horn + Ladies Peak / 合恩角+蕾蒂絲峯

The pups haven’t been out since the end of June. So this weekend, we climbed Cape Horn and Ladies Peak. It’s also the black lab’s first overnight trip. But what a great way to relax after my final technical climb!

Cape Horn behind Lake Edna

See more trip photos here.

Cape Horn and Ladies Peak at a Glance

Access: Chatter Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 14.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2760′-7708′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Not That Cape Horn

The old black pup, the yellow dog, and I had visited a different Cap Horn. But being in the rain shadow, the scenery contrasted greatly. And the altitude, in comparison, was lower by about 5000′.

Cape Horn and Ladies Peak were right off the beaten path. I had planned on visiting them last November. But the area had received snowfall just days before. So we paid a visit to the nearby Icicle Ridge lookout instead.

Trailside view

See more trip photos here.

Chatter Creek

On the way to Lake Edna, we ran into an old friend Alast..

The pups haven’t been out since the end of June. So this weekend, we climbed Cape Horn and Ladies Peak. It’s also the black lab’s first overnight trip. But what a great way to relax after my final technical climb!

Cape Horn behind Lake Edna
Cape Horn behind Lake Edna

See more trip photos here.

Cape Horn and Ladies Peak at a Glance

Access: Chatter Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 14.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2760′-7708′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Not That Cape Horn

The old black pup, the yellow dog, and I had visited a different Cap Horn. But being in the rain shadow, the scenery contrasted greatly. And the altitude, in comparison, was lower by about 5000′.

Cape Horn and Ladies Peak were right off the beaten path. I had planned on visiting them last November. But the area had received snowfall just days before. So we paid a visit to the nearby Icicle Ridge lookout instead.

Trailside view
Trailside view

See more trip photos here.

Chatter Creek

On the way to Lake Edna, we ran into an old friend Alastair. He and I had met through the Seattle Mountaineers years back. We then did some catching up before he went on his merry way to climbing Snowgrass Mountain.

Later I marveled at the sight of Grindstone Mountain as we made our way through Chatter Creek Basin. The last time we were here, the weather was terrible. So we summited the mountain in a whiteout.

The pass above Chatter Creek Basin
The pass above Chatter Creek Basin

See more trip photos here.

Cap Horn Climb

Just as I had suspected, Lake Edna was a popular place for campers. We saw a family of four as the trail took us past the water. Before long, we were up on the northeastern slopes of Cape Horn.

From there, the summit was just another 200′. Then we used the decent climbers’ trail and reached the top shortly. The day was still young. So we enjoyed the views, including Ladies Peak, for a while.

Northern view from Cape Horn
Northern view from Cape Horn

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Camp

Before going back down, I noticed four backpackers bypassing the peak. Then later, we caught up to the group back on the trail. It turned out I had met one of them through Instagram several years ago. Small world, indeed!

I chatted with the group as we made our way down to Ladies Pass. Then I took a photo of them before we went our separate ways. They were going over to Upper Lake Florence. But the pups and I needed to find a place to camp on the pass.

Backpackers below Cape Horn
Backpackers below Cape Horn

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Ladies Peak Climb

As I had expected, there wasn’t any water on the saddle. But earlier from Cape Horn, I had noticed a few snow patches on the north side. So we set up our camp on the small ridge above the pass. It was right above Trail #1571.

Later we set off for Ladies Peak in the afternoon sun. The way to the top was very straightforward. Despite the rocky ground, we were able to stay on the crest mostly. Soon, we arrived at the windy summit at 800′ above the camp.

Next stop, Ladies Peak
Next stop, Ladies Peak

See more trip photos here.

Ladies Peak Summit

Cape Horn was shorter by 400′. But looked so much shorter from this angle. The afternoon sun had cast shadows on the western peaks. So it was hard to discern some of the familiar high points.

Views were immense in all directions. Even the long-running ridge of the Chiwakum Mountains seemed to go on forever. But The Cradle and Mount Daniel were the most eye-catching features to the not-so-distant south.

Big Lou, Frigid Mountain, Cape Horn
Big Lou, Frigid Mountain, Cape Horn

See more trip photos here.

Back to Ladies Pass

We finally moseyed our way down the peak after an extended stay. Before long, we were back at the pass. The day just didn’t seem to want to end. So one has got to love the long summer days.

It had started to become windy. But luckily, the pass had shielded us from the south wind. Later we got some water from the snowmelt below the campsite. Then the pups and I bombed around and enjoyed dinner in the stillness.

Outro
Outro

Morning of Day Two

It was a windy night but warm. So I got up before midnight for some night photography. The sun rose at 6:15 this morning. But the pups had been up for a while. They couldn’t wait for me to let them out of the tent!

As we took our time to pack up, Alastair showed up on the pass. It turned out that he decided to go up to Snowgrass Mountain this morning instead. We chatted briefly before bidding each other farewell.

A brand new day
A brand new day

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Out Through Cape Horn

This trip was so relaxing and it made me feel somewhat lazy. But we still needed to go through a couple of passes before it was all downhill. One time around Cape Horn, and the other over the pass above Chatter Creek.

The area was surprisingly quiet. Perhaps it was the smoke in the recent weeks. But we only saw a total of four people before diving back into the tree line. It felt great to be out with the pups again after two months!

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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The post Cape Horn + Ladies Peak / 合恩角+蕾蒂絲峯 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Alaska Mountain in Alpine Lakes Wilderness / 高山湖泊荒野的阿拉斯加山

Alaska Mountain was another faraway place in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We spent the entire trip on the famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). But we found solitude because of the bad weather and the time of the year.

Alaska Mountain and Lake

See more trip photos here.

Alaska Mountain at a Glance

Access: Pacific Crest Trailhead
Round Trip: 14 miles
Elevation Range: 3000′-5745′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available
Route Info: Luke Helgeson, Dustin Wittmier
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Pacific Crest Trail

It was going to be a long day. So the pups and I began before sunrise. Like the trips before, we hiked the Commonwealth Creek Trail first. So it would allow us to bypass the lower part of the PCT switchbacks.

We crossed Commonwealth Creek back to the east side. But not before we tested out several spots. Then we came to the PCT junction at 3800′ and continued. There was snow by the first clearing above the small, raging waterfall.

Talus on Pacific Crest Trail Section J

See more ..

Alaska Mountain was another faraway place in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We spent the entire trip on the famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). But we found solitude because of the bad weather and the time of the year.

Alaska Mountain and Lake

See more trip photos here.

Alaska Mountain at a Glance

Access: Pacific Crest Trailhead
Round Trip: 14 miles
Elevation Range: 3000′-5745′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available
Route Info: Luke Helgeson, Dustin Wittmier
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Pacific Crest Trail

It was going to be a long day. So the pups and I began before sunrise. Like the trips before, we hiked the Commonwealth Creek Trail first. So it would allow us to bypass the lower part of the PCT switchbacks.

We crossed Commonwealth Creek back to the east side. But not before we tested out several spots. Then we came to the PCT junction at 3800′ and continued. There was snow by the first clearing above the small, raging waterfall.

Talus on Pacific Crest Trail Section J
Talus on Pacific Crest Trail Section J

See more trip photos here.

Kendall Katwalk

There had been lots of recent foot traffic on the trail. So the path was nearly snow-free back in the forest past the clearing. Then we went through the boulder field west of Kendall Peak out in the open.

I put on microspikes by the switchbacks. Then we walked over some ice before the next section of the forest. Soon, we reached Kendall Katwalk in the mist. Despite the cold weather, I was glad not to see any ice here.

Kendall Katwalk
Kendall Katwalk

See more trip photos here.

Onward to Ridge Lake

Beyond the narrow passage of Kendall Katwalk was more snow. But with the recent boot tracks, microspikes worked well. I had brought snowshoes as well. But there still was not enough fresh powder to use them.

Views in the valley were spotty. But I kept my fingers crossed for the “part sunny” forecast. Later we reached Ridge Lake by Collar Mountain. The pond was especially pretty under a sheet of thin ice. All foot traffic turned around by the lake.

Ridge Lake
Ridge Lake

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Alaska Mountain

Alaska Mountain first came into view when we went around the southwest of Bumblebee Peak. Then there was the sight of Alaska Lake at the bottom of the steep hillside. Memories of our old threesome down by the lake soon surfaced.

The top of Alta Mountain showed through the dissipating clouds briefly. The sunlight glistened the lake but disappeared into the mist minutes later. Soon, the view of Alaska Mountain diminished as we walked past Bumblebee Peak.

Alta Mountain across the valley
Alta Mountain across the valley

See more trip photos here.

Alaska Mountain East Ridge

Before long, we came to the bottom of the southern slopes of Alaska Mountain. But we continued on the trail and reached the east ridge shortly. Dense shrubs hugged the lower ridgeline. So we moved up from just below the north of the crest.

At first glance, the fresh snow over the rocky ridgeline looked sketchy. Then it took just a few seconds to realize that it wasn’t safe to traverse. Not when I had the pups with me. So we stayed below the crest.

Huckleberry Mountain and Joe Lake from Alaska Mountain east ridge
Huckleberry Mountain and Joe Lake from Alaska Mountain east ridge

See more trip photos here.

Viewless Summit

At one point, cliffs kept us from reaching a notch on the ridge. So we moved down to the talus. From there, we made our way up to the cleft. The gap, in turn, allowed us to move to the less steep south slopes. Then we reached the top shortly.

It started to snow earlier. Soon, the little view we had of Huckleberry Mountain and Joe Lake faded into the mist. The northwest wind blew the entire time. So we hunkered down behind the rocks on the south side. On a good day, we could see Mount Thomson and Chikamin Peak.

Alaska Mountain southern slopes
Alaska Mountain southern slopes

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The snow stopped half an hour later. Then we waited for the clouds to move away. But that never happened. So we left the summit 45 minutes later. The southern slopes got us back on the trail in no time. Then we went to check out Gravel Lake by Ridge Lake.

It was still misty by the time we went back to Kendall Katwalk. There we met two people going in the opposite direction. Then down in the forest, we saw two hikers by the trail junction just as it became dark.

Thanks for the freezing day
Thanks for the freezing day

See more trip photos here.

The post Alaska Mountain in Alpine Lakes Wilderness / 高山湖泊荒野的阿拉斯加山 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Norse Peak VII / 諾爾斯峯之七

Norse Peak VII, it’s our seventh time to one of my South Cascades favorites. So far, all but the first trip in 2010 have taken place over Thanksgiving. I consider it the best time to avoid crowds. Plus, it’s prettier then.

See you next year, Norse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Norse Peak VII at a Glance

Access: Norse Peak Trailhead
Round Trip: 7.6 miles
Elevation Range: 3960′-6856′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Norse Peak VII

Until late last night, I debated whether to go up to the peak today. For us, the “partly sunny” forecast usually meant no views. Though, it was no showstopper to our Thanksgiving tradition.

In 2018, we went up days earlier. So we could avoid the snowstorms. Glad we did because we ended up with gorgeous weather on top. Then it dumped lots of powder in the area over the holiday.

A cold start on Norse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Crystal Mountain Boulevard

Last year I parked by the gate. But after the climb, I couldn’t..

Norse Peak VII, it’s our seventh time to one of my South Cascades favorites. So far, all but the first trip in 2010 have taken place over Thanksgiving. I consider it the best time to avoid crowds. Plus, it’s prettier then.

See you next year, Norse Peak
See you next year, Norse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Norse Peak VII at a Glance

Access: Norse Peak Trailhead
Round Trip: 7.6 miles
Elevation Range: 3960′-6856′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Norse Peak VII

Until late last night, I debated whether to go up to the peak today. For us, the “partly sunny” forecast usually meant no views. Though, it was no showstopper to our Thanksgiving tradition.

In 2018, we went up days earlier. So we could avoid the snowstorms. Glad we did because we ended up with gorgeous weather on top. Then it dumped lots of powder in the area over the holiday.

A cold start on Norse Peak
A cold start on Norse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Crystal Mountain Boulevard

Last year I parked by the gate. But after the climb, I couldn’t get my car off the icy ground. Glad I had met some Mountaineers folks on the summit. So a couple of guys from the group helped to get me out of the ordeal.

But this time, to play it safe, I parked on the south side of the road. So history wouldn’t repeat itself. The snowplows also had cleared the snow for the massive cars going to the ski area. So the roadway was mostly free of ice.

Crystal Mountain Boulevard in the mist
Crystal Mountain Boulevard in the mist

See more trip photos here.

Norse Peak Trail

Judging by the amount of snow here, there was more of it this year! So I put on microspikes by the gate, and then we walked a short way to the trailhead. Glad to see lots of boot tracks from the get-go!

There appeared to be a ton of foot traffic on the trail. So I kept my fingers crossed that they would take us straight up to the top. But I also hoped that there hadn’t been snowfalls since those people were here.

Norse Peak Trailhead
Norse Peak Trailhead

See more trip photos here.

The Broad Gully

It was below freezing on a cloudy morning. In fact, it was colder than last year. But without the 10-mph wind from the forecast, it felt somewhat pleasant. It was still very calm when we went out above the burned forest.

The top of Mount Rainier soon appeared as we prepared to walk across the broad gully. By now, clouds looked like they were clearing. We strolled through to the other side of the basin. But then the trail ended abruptly. Bummer!

Mount Rainier making her entrance
Mount Rainier making her entrance

See more trip photos here.

The Upper Basin

So, we had to break trail after all. I put on snowshoes, and then we continued through to the upper basin. Shortly after, the distant murmur below the gully caught the pups’ attention. So that meant we’d have company at the top.

There was one to two feet of snow. But I wanted to avoid the deeper powder in the upper basin like we did last year. So we moved south and went up on the steep ridgeline. The dry rocks there made the climb more efficient.

Plowing through the basin
Plowing through the basin

See more trip photos here.

Norse Peak VII Summit

The wind started blowing on the ridge. Not sure if it’s ever not been windy on this peak. Then the sun slowly came out from behind the mist. Just as we reached the breezy summit, the clouds above us had nearly cleared. Hooray!

We spent half an hour in solitude. Then the two guys (Lance and Thaddeus) we heard earlier came and joined us on top. They, too, took cover behind the row of dense trees by the bivy site. We chatted a while, and then they left after a quick bite and some beer.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort south of Norse Peak
Crystal Mountain Ski Resort south of Norse Peak

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Views were gorgeous as always in good weather. The usual views included Mount Rainier, Crystal Mountain, Bullion Peak, and company. Later the low clouds moved into the area. Then the ski area and the valley below soon disappeared.

It didn’t feel as cold as long as we were out of the wind. So the pups and I stayed another half hour before making our way down. But we’ll be back next year!

Mount Rainier panoramic view
Mount Rainier panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

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