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Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always

Rachel Lake

A wet, muddy, cold, and colorful hike in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Fall colors on the shores of Rachel Lake

The vast majority of my hiking takes place in, and around, Olympic National Park because it doesn’t require a ferry ride. Wanting to see some fall colors, I reviewed some of the popular hikes in the I90 corridor on the WTA site and Rachel Lake was a frequent addition and the photos suggested wonderful fall scenery would be on display.

Marin County All-Road

Two routes, two separate riding partners, and one great day of all-road riding in beautiful Marin County

Which way is up?

I had long wanted to ride in Marin, birthplace of mountain biking and constant location of adventures in my Strava feed.

Royal Basin

Fall colors, blue tarns, yellow meadow, fiery reds, grey mountains; an ideal fall hike

Creek in the basin showcasing fall colors

With the changing fall colors, I wanted to return to Royal Basin to take in the scene. Last time we ran as much as we hiked but this time I went alone and spent a significant amount of time photographing the colors and the abundant small waterfalls and rushing creeks.

Tubal Cain

A walk back into history among an old mine and the remains of a January 1952 plane crash

Iron Mountain in the distance on the way to Marmot Pass

The road to the trailhead, FS 2870, received a much needed road grading (in fact, the grader was still operating and let us pass) so the road is in wonderful condition – any vehicle can make it easily.

Tunnel Creek

A tumbling creek, huckleberries, & views - a delightful hike in the woods

Trail through the woods

The hike to Tunnel Creek showed up in my Strava feed, and with no firm plans for the weekend, off I went. The views looked nice and the hike wasn’t an elevation or distance killer so it wouldn’t consume the entire day. I also really love hiking along creeks & rivers to photograph baby waterfalls.

Grand & Badger Valley

A spectacular loop hike of two valleys of meadows, lakes, and streams

Switchbacks leading up from Badger Valley

The smoke cleared so R. and I decided to return to Hurricane Ridge for a full-day loop of the Grand and Badger Valleys. I had last been to the area in 2013 so I was looking forward to a return trip and seeing some trails I had never covered or didn’t see because eight years ago we covered the trail in a complete fog whiteout.

Marmot Pass

A beautiful alpine meadow filled with wildflowers & views

Trail leading from Camp Mystery

The upper meadow at Marmot Pass is one of my favorite locations in the Olympics having hiked there a few times. The WTA reports suggested the wildflowers were in bloom – perfect!

Icicle Creek Road

A straightforward out-and-back on a steady, but shallow, climb along a roaring river

Morning light on the mountains

I rarely ride out-and-backs and when I do it’s usually a hill climb. The ride up Icicle Creek Road isn’t as impressive as Hurricane Ridge or Mt Baker but it offered an exceptional experience on an early morning ride.

Eightmile Lake

A hike through the remains of a forest fire to a picturesque alpine lake

Reflections on Eightmile Lake

We go to the trail early (7:30 am) mid-week to plenty of parking. The trail to Eightmile Lake starts through a burn from 2017 resulting in little cover from the sun and a lot of shrubby new growth. Fortunately the views along the trail are plentiful from the start and the grade wasn’t too bad for our mixed-skills hiking party.

Tyler Peak & Maynard Burn Loop

A short and steep loop to expansive views into the heart of the Olympics

Spectacular lunch spot on the false summit of Tyler Peak

With record breaking heat descending on the PNW, I sought relief in the mountains and took advantage of the snow melt to photograph wildflowers. I really enjoyed this loop and until recently it was not on my radar; nor others apparently because very few trip reports were available at the WTA.

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