Tag Archives: Washington

August 13, 2014 Crater rim, Mount St. Helens, Washington.

One Photo, One Story: Three Generations on Mount St. Helens

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By Michael Lanza

The afternoon sun smiles warmly on us as my two kids and my nephew, age 10 to 15, my 76-year-old mom, and I—three generations spanning almost seven decades—plod up the final, strenuous steps to the crater rim of Mount St. Helens. The view could steal the breath away from God.

Before us, crumbling cliffs send small landslides cracking and rumbling down into the vast hole—2,000 feet deep and nearly two miles across—created by the eruption that decapitated St. Helens almost a generation before any of these kids were born. Seventy-five-mile views on this idyllic, Pacific Northwest summer day reveal behemoth, ice-capped volcanoes dominating three horizons: Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. We hug and high-five and click off pictures, grinning with awe and no small amount of disbelief that we all actually made it up here.

That was the heart-warming mental picture that I had formed just days ago, when I scored hard-to-get permits for this climb—one of America’s most awe-inspiring dayhikes. Unfortunately, right now, sitting on rocks more than five hours into our ascent of St. Helens, events are not transpiring quite as smoothly as I had envisioned. Not at all. Continue reading →

July 31, 2014

Wild Heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness: Backpacking the Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop

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By Michael Lanza

I step one foot from the dry rock onto the snow and find it frozen solid on this chilly early morning in late July. Ahead of me, a line of boot tracks, undoubtedly created yesterday afternoon, after sunshine and warm temperatures had softened the snow, leads up to Spider Gap. Below me, this broad, hooked finger of white ice undulates downhill like a frozen water slide—one that runs for hundreds of feet between high walls of stone and ends not in a big, deep pool, but on rocks.

This isn’t a water slide with any commercial potential. Continue reading →

February 19, 2014 Crater rim of Mount St. Helens, WA.

Three Generations, One Big Volcano: Pushing Limits On Mount St. Helens

In Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The afternoon sun smiles warmly on us as my two kids and my nephew, age 10 to 15, my 76-year-old mom, and I—three generations spanning almost seven decades—plod up the final, strenuous steps to the crater rim of Mount St. Helens. The view could steal the breath away from God.

Before us, crumbling cliffs send small landslides cracking and rumbling down into the vast hole—2,000 feet deep and nearly two miles across—created by the eruption that decapitated St. Helens almost a generation before any of these kids were born. Seventy-five-mile views on this idyllic, Pacific Northwest summer day reveal behemoth, ice-capped volcanoes dominating three horizons: Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. We hug and high-five and click off pictures, grinning with awe and no small amount of disbelief that we all actually made it up here.

That was the heart-warming mental picture that I had formed just days ago, when I scored hard-to-get permits for this climb—one of America’s most awe-inspiring dayhikes. Unfortunately, right now, sitting on rocks more than five hours into our ascent of St. Helens, events are not transpiring quite as smoothly as I had envisioned. Not at all. Continue reading →

September 20, 2013 Skyline Trail, Paradise, at Mount Rainier N.P.

Ask Me: What Are Your Favorite Hikes at Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Parks?

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[Via Facebook message at facebook.com/TheBigOutside]

Michael,

Great book, I bought it from a small bookshop in Lincoln, N.H., called the Mountain Wanderer.

I just discovered your site, really enjoying it.

We are on are way out to the Pacific NW for a week. We are looking for some ideas on dayhikes and one-night backpacks in the North Cascades and some dayhikes in Mount Rainier National Park.

Look forward to your stories in Backpacker.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Fred & Linda
Tewksbury, MA Continue reading →

Featured Video: Backpacking the Olympic Coast

March 22, 2013  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Washington’s Olympic National Park protects the longest wilderness coastline remaining in the continental United States, and the season for hiking it is fast approaching. Watch this short video of a classic, three-day, 17.5-mile backpacking trip along the southern section of the coast, where you’ll see sea stacks rising out of the ocean, seals, sea otters, and tide pools filled with sea life. Read the story and check out a gallery of photos from the adventure.

 

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