Hiking coal lake past independence lake

last Friday after work I came home, packed my bags, and refreshed the traffic report on Google Maps until the red lines went away (around 7pm). then I hit the road towards the cascades. after about 25 miles off Mountain Loop Highway there was a little dirt road descriptively named NF-4060. I drove on that for a few miles that took me along the side of a mountain, crossing streams and dodging rocks, up and up, occasionally revealing some views of the sunset over the valley below

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at the top of the mountain next to a lake were two married couples and one soon to be married couple. but I was not to be the seventh wheel, for there was a baby and a puppy there too. I guess that makes me the ninth wheel. here’s what the puppy looked like in the morning

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we made breakfast

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derrick and ainslie are chicken parents, so naturally they brought chicken eggs

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warming the tortilla on the patented Tortilla Warming Rack

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coal lake

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ben starts his morning with lime and corona

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he had a special backpack for the baby

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ben decided we should try to summit a nearby peak, so that’s what we set out to do. there was a short trail to independence lake, but we would journey on past that, if we could.

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on the trail ainslie found some ‘witches jelly’, which is apparently edible. I found their texture to be similar to gummy bears, but less tasty, so not entirely appropriate to use as a chaser after a vodka yolo shot

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I can’t tell if it’s either dacrymyces palmatus or tremella mesenterica, but apparently there are lots of jelly fungi that you can try to identify / die eating / misidentify.

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ah! here is the first sighting of independence lake

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ben looked at the peak we were to climb

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laura’s tasty snack food

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here’s the baby backpack

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the lake had a pretty color

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here’s what would be the first of many snow fields we had to climb

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up and up

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ah ha! the trail shows itself under the snow

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only to get covered up later by more snow fields. I would have felt a lot better about crossing the snow fields with an ice axe which, in retrospect, we should have had

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laura also didn’t like crossing the snow fields. many of them extended pretty far down and if we lost our footing without an ice axe we would have slid into rocks, trees, or off a cliff

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but instead of ice axes all we had was a hammer for the baby to play with

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upwards we climbed

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however we eventually reached a snow field with running water under it. the running water had carved out a small cavern underneath the snow. we couldn’t determine how deep the cavern was, and even if it collapsed only a few feet we probably would have lost our footing and started sliding down the snow field…

so we hemmed and hawed and made lunch. avocado, cheese and tuna sandwiches for us!

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rocks for the baby

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the trick to enjoying any hike is to pack lots of peanut butter cups

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ben finished laura’s beer

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and we journeyed back down

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a photo of yours truly before we left the snow line

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and I couldn’t resist making a little snowman

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back at camp we spotted derrick on the other side of the lake enjoying the sun

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enhance!

enhance

enhance!

zoomed-in

enhance! oh! he is enjoying some vodka juice

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ainslie joined us

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ben too, and he and derrick pointed at things across the lake

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I put some beers in the freezing water to cool

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derick’s crazy vodka juice kicked in

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then he tried to tie elaborate fishing knots

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and do some drunk fishing

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meanwhile dinner was made

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which was fantastic

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and then the following morning I drove home, which offered some pretty views

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If you’re curious about our hike, here’s what that looked like

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and the elevation profile

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maybe we’ll summit one of the peaks another day when there isn’t a baby following us

7/8 update: here’s a map I put together from three different Forest Service topo maps (since this trail happens to cross a few maps). Click for the high-res version.
coal lake independence lake north lake

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2014 Girls of Summer Alley Cat

Yesterday marked the 4th annual Girls of Summer alley cat race in Seattle. Here are some ladies hanging out at the start.
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Ben held the baby so Laura could race
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meanwhile I left to go get our checkpoint ready. This involved appropriate signage
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our checkpoint was pretty simple: write a love poem
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Mike did some practice runs to simulate the girls arriving
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Gary pondered words that rhymed
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Marcy was the first to arrive
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she loves biking so much that she wrote “I love biking so much that”
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shortly after Marcy left a few ladies showed up
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the rules state that once a lady writes a love poem she gets paint on her nail
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and onward Theresa goes
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Suddenly Mike hears approaching cyclists
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with streamers in their helmets
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they write a poem and get their nails done
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but now which way to go?
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counting out the syllables
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Jenna’s all like, “I got this.”
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Clarissa with Kara hot on her tail
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they write poems together
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checking the manifest
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string cheese
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oh this is not water
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here’s Laura shortly before getting upset that I couldn’t give good directions towards the I-5 Colonnade. Sorry Laura. I still don’t know how to get there.
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Sasha proud of her poem
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Sasha winky face
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what terrible paint jobs we performed!
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all the poor little fingernails!
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meanwhile people kept arriving and writing poems
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and then left, or tried to leave, but realized they had no idea where they were going
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maybe if we put it on the ground?
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climbing shoes? On an alley cat race? What did people have to do at the other stops?
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fabulous space suit top
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Katie with her dead baby bike gang shirt. Street cred!
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and someone ducked so I could capture Gary painting the nails of the woman in the space suit top
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here a contestant gives Gary shit for the massacre on her fingernail
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the famous “ass hatchet” poem is born
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this is not so bad!
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Gary is getting better
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drying their nails
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“Ha ha. Look at this paint job I received”
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well these don’t look awful
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so long Sosho
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then came the important job of painting our nails
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and judging the poems!
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which after a long day of drinking proved to be difficult
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but hey! A phone number!
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Afterwards we went to Twilight Exit for the after party. I did not bring my camera.

I’ll post the full set of photos (112 photos) on Flickr or something, after I get around to creating a Flickr account, which may never happen.

Hooray to all the ladies who participated. That looked exhausting. Props to Margaret, Monica, and Heather for organizing the race again.

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2013 .83 Christmas Tree Ride

yay, here are photos from the 2013 .83 christmas tree ride

we gathered as westlake center
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mark looking nonchalant despite an enormous tree stuck to his back
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alec looked forlorn
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trees were secured all sorts of ways
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andre cautiously optimistic
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mohawk mike doing drugs2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-7

special goggles guy
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boat jake has a sudden thought; ben looks hesitant to speak
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and then it was time to roll away2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-10

onward and onward2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-11

past the famous seattle space structure2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-12

down the the street and probably confusing anyone driving home from work2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-13

stopping to gather anyone who was dilly dallying2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-14

over the ballard bridge
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pointing fingers
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and we gathered up more trees2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-17

some small trees tied to backpacks2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-18

some larger trees inside backpacks
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portraits of people who looked like they wanted their portrait taken
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wang didn’t want to hold still so he gets a blurry photo2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-21

heather sticking out her tongue in the way that she does it2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-22

andre looking around
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eventually we made it to the beach!2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-24

joby had a space suit he got from the internet2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-25

so he danced around in it2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-26

drinks were served2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-27

while the spaceman tended to the fire2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-28

just piling more and more trees on
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mohawk mike wanted to spin fire2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-31

more portraits of people who looked like they wanted their portrait taken
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while each and every one of those cheerished holiday icons were burned2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-35

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and then it was decided that tim and wang were going to moon everyone in honor of gary2013-seattle-christmas-tree-ride-37

keep it real .83
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I have quite a bit of footage that I am editing together, à la the dock jumping experience so just hold tight and it’ll be here soon

Update (1/27): Here’s the video. See it in HD by going to Vimeo.

also if you’re curious, there’s a much smaller handful of photos I took from the 2012 ride here

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Backpacking the Olympic Coast and Lake Ozette (Days 3 and 4)

Over the long weekend Nick, Katie, Derek (Nick’s uncle), and I went backpacking along the Olympic Coast. This is part 2 of a 2-part series. See days 1 and 2 here.

Day 3 ( Sunday)

we woke up and contemplated our existence

then started the journey

I saw the tiniest star fish in existence

then we climbed over some rocks

and saw more starfish! starfish everywhere!

purple and orange starfish

and these green sea things

green sea things

we weren’t the only ones walking along the low tide beach

deer in low tide olympic coast

ah back to the sandy beach

we left Derek (as planned). We were to meet up with him farther south on Monday afternoon

and onward we marched

over trees

skirting around the incoming tide

avoiding the tide

lots of seagulls

seagulls flying around

occasionally we had to climb over a high pass because the ocean was in the way. good thing for this rope

climbing up rope lake ozette

climbing over the high pass

then back down

we saw lots of floating balls and chromatic aberration

lake ozette flotation balls

and nick found a crab

sea crab

and I found another orange star fish

orange starfish

day 4 (monday)

then next morning we woke up to lots of fog and a low tide

we hiked the few short miles to the Rialto Beach hole-in-wall

rialto beach hole in wall

and found a large, dead crab

dead crab

and a larger, dead sea lion (gross)

dead sea lion

and came across a bunch of fishermen and fisherladies

rialto beach fishermen and fisherladies

meanwhile nick and katie contemplated their existence

short video

I made a short video from some of the footage I shot! View it in HD on Vimeo here.

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Backpacking the Olympic Coast and Lake Ozette (Days 1 and 2)

Over the long weekend Nick, Katie, Derek (Nick’s uncle), and I went backpacking along the Olympic Coast. This is part 1 of a 2-part series. See part 2 here.

Day 1 (Friday evening)

We took the ferry

taking the seattle ferry

the sun was setting all nice and pretty

sun set

there’s west seattle and mount rainier in the distance

west seattle and mt rainier

Day 2 (Saturday’s hike)

Katie had to pick out a certain number of marshmallows to bring

the first couple miles were in the woods

proof of my existence

nick decided to climb a big rock

and then jump down

and then onward he hiked

we found some bull whip kelp, otherwise known as nereocystis which is greek for “mermaid’s bladder” so Derek naturally cut it open to play it as a trumpet

bull whip kelp

then katie had a turn

Nereocystis

and we marched like this for a little while. Eventually katie got bored and discarded it

poor little guy

washed up bull whip kelp

along the coast were land overpasses that involved climbing up some steep terrain. there were ropes to help a little

eventually we found a nice campsite to rest for the evening

and rest we did! this is wine, not a fruit smoothie

nick carved a whale from some driftwood

driftwood carved whale

while katie drank wine too

and then nick joined in the festivities

wine in hand, we decided to explore the tidal pools that formed during low tide

we found all sorts of cool stuff

orange starfish

katie said, “look over there!”

so over there we went

then we had to gather some water back at the camp to make dinner

nick has a convenient gravity filter

here’s nick lighting his stove

and katie getting excited over spam

nick eating a MRE

while the sun set

so we walked back down to the beach to watch it

we were trying to look for the green flash but didn’t see it

it was still nice though

here’s a little summary of the trail we hiked

part 2 (Sunday and Monday) has been posted here along with a brief video of highlights from the trip

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