Last Updated: May 23, 2017

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Winter 16/17

La Nina returns | Record breaking VN snow | Midweek Christmas Gully laps | WB pow X 11 | WB Heli @ Mt. Curry | 1 of 2 w/ NC Heli (WX approaching)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Buckhorn Mountain - Big Quilcene Trail, July 2016

6988-foot Buckhorn Mountain is the highest in the Buckhorn Wilderness and ranks as the 23rd highest peak in the Olympic Range. It is named after the appearance of its twin summits, almost equal in height and which were apparently thought to look like deer horns. The route to Buckhorn's West Summit starting from Big Quilcene Trailhead isn't much more than 12 miles round trip and is under 4500 feet vertical. A good choice for those exploring the effectiveness of a third cortisone shot within the same calendar year, let alone having just recovered from surgery in the lower extremity.

Essentially a hiking peak, Buckhorn is a casual outing that culminates in a great view across the Dungeness River Valley towards peaks of the Deception Group just beyond. Other Olympic giants such as Mount Constance are also close by for your viewing pleasure. The high tundra-like summit ridge that extends from Marmot Pass over Iron Mountain towards Buckhorn is unique among the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and to me has a distinct aesthetic appeal.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Church Mountain - Church Mountain Trail, June 2016

A mere 3,900 feet of gain and ~10 miles roundtrip, Church Mountain makes for a pleasant day in the hills. Its modest elevation (6,315ft), southern exposure and short class 3 - 4 summit ridge begets a venue ideal for spring or early summer. Scaling the exposed summit block also offers just enough excitement to satisfy a long neglected urge to scramble. For me in particular it was an opportunity to test the waters after far too many months of inactivity thanks to, among other things, a frustratingly slow to heal ankle ligament injury.

The well-traveled Church Mountain Trail leads to a false summit that was once the site of a fire lookout. The views from here are excellent and overlook a verdant valley traversed by the North Fork Nooksack River with Mounts Baker and Shuksan rising prominently to the southeast. Continuing on to the true summit, one is rewarded with outstanding 360-degree views that are difficult to leave behind.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Vashon Island Kayaking, April 2016

Spent an afternoon paddling around Vashon's Quartermaster Harbor because: (a.) as a longtime Seattle area resident I somehow haven't yet been to Vashon Island, and (b.) kayaking was probably the only physical activity I could tolerate thanks to the ankle injury mentioned in my previous post. We put in at the kayak rental and boat launch north of Burton Acres Park and toddled around the bay from Paradise Valley to Portage and back across to Jensen Point before calling it a day. Great view of Puget Sound looking east from the beach at Portage.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Made Possible by Cortisone, Jan-Mar 2016

Paying the price for a misspent youth of sprains, strains, contusions and judo airs gone horribly wrong. Cortisone to the rescue! Shots in both ankles barely a month apart, the first round to subdue inflammation triggered by nagging bone spurs. For the two weeks in the Dolomites the medicine worked wonders. Unfortunately my liberation from impairment was short-lived as I suffered a traumatic encounter with a rock on the last day and which landed me in the ER for X-rays. Miraculously back at it barely two weeks later thanks once again to the magic of modern medicine. But this time, not surprisingly, the relief was at best limited and only time and rest will heal my very sore and very bruised tibia. Fun!

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