Western Red Cedar's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Thoughts on Nuking Accounts:

I wanted to avoid posting this in the other thread because I didn't want to engage in any back and forth on this topic. I've only been active here for 5 months so I don't think it is fair for me to be too critical.

One of the reasons I've only had an account here for 5 months is I've never shared any information openly online. DW has a Facebook page and occasionally posts photos from our vacations, but other than that I'm incognito. This is pretty rare for people in my generation. I understand the concerns that other users have about sharing too much information, and I'm sensitive to those concerns. I sometimes worry that I've already shared too much personal information here, and I may go back to edit posts or photos at a later date because circumstances change.

There were a handful of journals here that were particularly inspiring as I was lurking for years. Half Moon, J&G, 2birds1stone, Classical Liberal's, and one from a traveler who lived in Peru, Spain, and Malaysia on a very low sum (can't remember the name). I'm sure there are others but I only have so much time as a salaryman. After stumbling across the Animal's journal last summer and reading about his amazing journey, I decided that I should stop being paranoid and afraid, and share my story. The irony is that the act of trying to give something to the community actually resulted in more benefits to myself. This tends to be true in real life as well. I'm thinking about ERE concepts on a deeper level as a result of actively engaging here. After writing for just a few months, I've rode my bike farther than I've ever ridden before, baked my first loaf of bread, rendered tallow, fermented new foods, pushed myself in terms of guitar, and moved my FI date up multiple years. I'm sure there is a bunch of other stuff too.

I don't have any ill will towards those who have either deleted their journals or all of their posts. I think choosing to delete a personal journal is vastly different than nuking an account.

Jacob's terminology of "nuking" an account is quite apt. A nuke effectively destroys the target, but has lasting impacts on the environment and remaining community. I think some members are underestimating the impact this has on the community, both in terms of the precedent this sets and the ability to glean information for new users. Individual freedom needs to be weighed against responsibility to the broader community.

I think the forums function so effectively because there is a high degree of social capital here. An underlying tenet of social capital is a norm of reciprocity. While I understand the notion that one has the right to delete what they've written, I think there is also an obligation to respect the community here and consider the potential impacts of your actions.

As more traditional FIRE folks evolve, old threads are incredibly valuable in helping them move up the Wheaton scale. This was the case for me, and why I feel strongly enough to write about this here. When I first stumbled across FIRE through MMM, I checked out Jacob's site and thought this was kind of nuts. Living in an RV, lentils multiple times a week, $7,000 per year? I wasn't on the right Wheaton level or ready for the message yet.

On a lighter note - it always seemed to me that @Jason wrote the craziest posts. If he's not too worried about leaving those up, maybe none of us should be.


Thoughts on Looking at Landscapes:

I was on a hike this afternoon looking up at houses spaced out along the top of a large canyon/cliff. Of course, they had fences along the edge because it was the type of cliff that would probably kill you if you fell off. I was thinking about the following:

A few years ago I found myself in the city hall of a relatively small city. It was a new building with a great design and cool architecture. There was a small museum with some public art and an exhibit on the local architect who had designed the building. He was from the city, but had designed buildings around the world and was inspired to pursue architecture while doing a peace corps stint in the middle east. He was quite prolific in the PNW.

The thing that stuck with me from the exhibit was a story about a small, empty picture frame he used to carry around with him wherever he went. He noticed in his work that people seemed to appreciate landscapes and views much more when they were framed, typically by a large window. They would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put a house in a remote location because they were inspired and attracted to a particular view. He took the frame with him on walks or hikes to help him remember what he was looking at, and to see it from a different perspective.

This has served as a personal reminder that there are endless amounts of amazing views, and I don't need to spend a bunch of money and throw down some sticks or bricks to appreciate and enjoy those views.

Thoughts on an FI Date:

I added an extra tab to my spreadsheet this week. I looked at my personal accounts and various SWR, separating them from a joint NW. I'm actually quite close to covering my half of our expenses - about 10.5K at a 4% SWR. I really only need the stash to last 27 years, because my pension and SS will kick in at that point. I used to think 42 was a realistic FI date, and that FI by 40 was a stretch. Looks like I could realistically get there by 38. DW would still have a long way to go, so we still need to figure things out before acting on any decisions.

I had a tough week at work, and I could tell because I updated my spreadsheets twice this week after the market jumped up. Typically I try to avoid this, because it can be a bit disappointing when I update my numbers at the end of the month. My work or tasks weren't really that different, it was just my response to some underlying stressors. A good reminder to keep a cool head and appreciate the simple things in life.

not sure
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:34 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by not sure »

Wholeheartedly agree on the topic of "nuking" accounts - I've learned much and was inspired by some of the older ones.
It's a pity a few of the "oldies" decided to delete all of their posts completely.

I respect the decision, although it makes me think twice about how much PII (personally identifiable information) I'm comfortable with posting.

Great job on making the bread! I recently tried my first home-made pizza dough and was hooked. We stopped buying store-bought stuff, especially since it freezes well.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@not sure - I'm eager to branch out into pizza dough and other items as the baking experiment progresses. We've got our second loaf rising right now and will bake it later today.

A year ago I wouldn't have bothered with this type of thing, because I knew I could buy a nice loaf of artisanal bread at a local restaurant/bakery for $5. I was thinking of things through a salaryman perspective. Now I'm just more interested in developing new skills and willing to take the time and initiative to follow through on things.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I was reading The Boys in the Boat this morning and stumbled across this passage that made me smile:

"Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) is a kind of wonder wood. Its low density makes it easy to shape, whether with a chisel, a plane, or a handsaw. Its open cell structure makes it light and buoyant, and in rowing lightness means speed. Its tight, even grain makes it strong but flexible, easy to bend yet disinclined to twist, warp, or cup. It is free of pitch or sap, but its fibers contain chemicals called thujaplicins that act as natural preservatives, making it highly resistant to rot while at the same time lending it its lovely scent. It is beautiful to look at, it takes a finish well, and it can be polished to a high degree of luster, essential for providing the smooth, friction-free racing bottom a good shell requires."

-Daniel James Brown

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 344
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

How did you end up choosing Western Red Cedar as your ERE namesake?

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

It's one of my favorite trees. I love the smell, the grain of the wood, and the types of forests they grow in. I'm also a big fan of the Giant Sequoia.

ETA - @RF, I'd recommend adding the book The Wild Trees as an easy, fun read to your ecology ultralearning experiment. It has some really interesting insights into the role Redwoods play in the N. California ecosystem. I really enjoyed it and read it while I was working in old growth forests in S. Oregon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_ ... bed%20them.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 344
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Cool, I definitely like trees. However, I will have to pass on the book, as I have enough on my plate for the moment.

enigmaT120
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Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by enigmaT120 »

I had already decided what species of trees I wanted to plant in a clear cut I had done a few years ago. I had a bunch of scrubby Douglas firs taken out, as they were shading our yard. But the area below them had annoyed me for years, nothing but blackberry briars, since it had been cleared long before we moved here. I hired a guy with a skid steer to come in to mow the briars so I could plant. It was a fairly damp area. He accidentally mowed some of the really old stumps, and when I got close they were definitely WRC. The smell. Which was what I had already decided to plant anyway. That was only about an acre or so. The baby WRC are growing great, taller than me.

Next month I have about 3 or 4 acres to replant. Those will be coastal redwoods, as they are immune to laminated root rot which is the reason I had that clear cut done. Should be my last clear cut.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Creating a frame with your hands to look through is an interior design trick of the trade. It is also a method for making your functioning more S vs N in MBTI terms, because it focuses your sense of sight in the moment. If you tend towards NP, like me, you can easily blur out unchanging details of your surroundings. Framing makes you more like somebody who can't not notice a spot on the wall.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@eT120 - I spent hundreds of hours cutting blackberry bushes, and hundreds more planting trees and restoring riparian areas, after college. Those root structures are tenacious and we'd spend endless hours grubbing them out by hand so they wouldn't compete with native species. Even though I was often working out in the rain for 10 hours a day at minimum wage, I still consider that one of the best jobs of my life. I remember carving tunnels through blackberry brambles with weed whackers that were 8-10 feet high.

Sounds like you have a good handle on your site. Coastal redwoods are such a cool tree. That book I referenced above talks about how important they are ecologically. 5-10 times the total biomass of any ecosystem on the planet in the Redwood forests.

@7W5 - Nice of you to pop in with all of the exciting rehab projects on your hands. I'm definitely more of an N, so something to keep in mind if I need to get out of my head and observe my surroundings. I tend to use that old story and memory as a periodic reminder to look at things differently and appreciate the changing environment, rather than something as simple as the hands right in front of me.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

On the topic of Giant Sequoias, I stumbled across this gem of a documentary in the recommended watching thread over the weekend:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qcsWajivnI

Charles Bello has so much energy and joy as he talks about his land and projects. I shared it with my dad as we've been talking about more active land management on his property. He's been spending a lot of time clearing brush and cleaning up down trees for firewood since he retired last spring. I've helped him quite a bit, and enjoy the contrast that type of work offers. His work ethic is amazing. He is almost 70 and generally keeps pace with me for some physically demanding projects.

The larch and pine we planted last year have generally done really well. It was a particularly wet spring so that helped in getting a good first year of growth. Some of the larch died out, but the survival rate (80-85%) was higher than I expected.

I reached a conclusion a few years back that the best approach for their land is to selectively thin some trees and either hire a portable sawmill or purchase one on their own. They don't need the money for a timber harvest, and commercial operations tend to rip up the land pretty badly based on what we've seen elsewhere in the area. The main issue is that he doesn't really plan on putting up any new buildings, and we would need to figure out a solution for storing and drying the milled timber.

I figured the video might give him some ideas or inspiration.

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Reading some of your initial entries with interest. Plenty of common ground there: love of backpacking, picking up guitar (but not until after 50 for me, so slow going!) and still on a salary, but not for too much longer!

The piece about going on solo backpacking trips intrigues me. How many days do you go for and what difficulty level?

I’ve dreamt of through hiking the AT, but the more I read about it, the more I would rather section hike PCT or do other backpacking out west. At 55 now and maintaining fitness, but will need to get into it more with moderate difficulty trips. DW had been on board, but at 58 now, she keeps saying that she’ll wait for me in the RV! So we’ve been planning on saving enough $ for that. That’s a whole other topic, and could range in cost from a couple thousand bucks to over $100k.

I backpacked just a two day trip in Glacier last Aug with a buddy. It was awesome. First trip in many years. A little concerned about bears, including seeing fresh prints on the trail the morning we hiked out! Any concerns for you on safety overall when backpacking alone?

One thing I learned on that trip was that there would be value in a solo trip. I’ve know my friend since college, so over 30 years now. He is basically retired, but cannot slow down. Due to Covid plus backpacking stuff, we drove from Chicago area out to ID / MT area. Whenever we were in the car, he was like a NASCAR driver wanting to make 900 miles a day! The only way I could slow him down, was to get on the trail, then he slowed down quite a bit. Crazy!

I’ve been wanting to get in the mountains more ever since going on a Boy Scout Sierra trip back in the 70s that was phenomenal. ;)

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Married2aSwabian wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:11 am
The piece about going on solo backpacking trips intrigues me. How many days do you go for and what difficulty level?

I’ve dreamt of through hiking the AT, but the more I read about it, the more I would rather section hike PCT or do other backpacking out west. At 55 now and maintaining fitness, but will need to get into it more with moderate difficulty trips. DW had been on board, but at 58 now, she keeps saying that she’ll wait for me in the RV! So we’ve been planning on saving enough $ for that. That’s a whole other topic, and could range in cost from a couple thousand bucks to over $100k.

I backpacked just a two day trip in Glacier last Aug with a buddy. It was awesome. First trip in many years. A little concerned about bears, including seeing fresh prints on the trail the morning we hiked out! Any concerns for you on safety overall when backpacking alone?
@M2aS - I'm generally open to any level of difficulty. If I go out with DW, I opt for flat hikes along rivers or lakes. Generally under 4 miles to a backcountry site when we are together. When I'm hiking solo, I typically pick out one or two "bucket list" hikes in the Pacific Northwest every year, and those tend to be more of a moderate or advanced level.

As I've gotten older, I can feel the mileage if I'm carrying a full pack, particularly in my knees. My general strategy the last few years is to try to limit my distance to 8 miles per day. I typically go out for two nights, but may only go for a quick overnighter, or go out for three if the destination is a few hours drive. Lately, I've enjoyed setting up a basecamp the first night, exploring out on a long day hike with a smaller pack, and staying there for a second night. Sometimes I'll do a third night at a camp closer to the trailhead, or just hike out the next day if I need to get back.

My longest solo trip was a 5 day 45 mile loop in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. I did a side trip to summit Eagle Cap Peak, and the loop included a few different mountain passes. This was very memorable as I didn't see anyone for the last two days, and spent my last morning waiting for the solar eclipse near the zone of totality. I watched a huge chunk of ice fall into a alpine like from the top of a pass.

https://www.backpacker.com/trips/eagle- ... ness-loop/

I did a 200 mile stretch of the PCT through Oregon about 15 years ago. I did that with a friend, and one of the major benefits of hiking in pairs long-distance is the ability to share some common items and limit weight (tent, water purifier, dishes, etc.). We had to end the trip a little early due to wildfires (and this was before it was too common).

I'm never too worried about bears, but am a little more cautious in Grizzly country. I was hiking to Gunsight Pass in Glacier NP a couple years back and ended up getting to the trailhead a little late. I was hiking in near dusk by myself so I pretty much sang continuously for the six miles to my site :lol:

Other campers told me there were Grizzlies near the campsite earlier that day. I also saw a sow and two cubs with my brother-in-law while hiking in N. Idaho two years ago.

My main concern when hiking solo is a significant injury in the backcountry while I'm hiking alone (or an accident on the drive to or from). I took a 40 hour wilderness first aid class about 15 years ago, and I try to pick trails that are at least a little popular so there are likely others on the trail. I always tell DW where I'm going and when I should be getting back to the car so I can text her. (ETA - I'm also not a big fan of river crossings on solo trips. Sometimes I'm near the end of a long loop and find a pretty sizable river that needs to be forded. I was in the Cabinet Wilderness this summer and picked a hike with eight river crossings :roll:. They are often called creeks in the PNW, but most would consider them rivers.)

In terms of your future hikes, I think it makes a lot of sense doing some shorter trips before tackling a longer thru-hike or even a section hike. There are tons of amazing loops in WA, OR, ID, and MT that aren't too crowded and a variety of distances. This would allow you to try out any gear, before committing to all of the planning associated with a thru or section hike. One of the benefits of the AT is that there are a lot more towns and spots to pick up supplies, so you don't have to carry as much weight in food. A strategy of DW camping with an RV would make a lot of sense. You could either do some great day hikes or some interesting 1-3 night loops in national parks or national forests.

Another thing to keep in mind if you end up moving back to Germany, is that there is a lot of great hiking in Eastern Europe. I think you may be able to go very lightweight by staying in mountain huts/lodges. I experienced this type of trekking in Nepal and India and it was lots of fun.
Last edited by Western Red Cedar on Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Wow, Eagle Cap Wilderness looks awesome! Scenery looks similar to Sierra trip we did back in the day. That one was around Mono Lake area and we went 50 miles over 6 days...up to nearly 14,000 ft at highest point on a day hike! I was 11. ;)

Holy crap, you’ve hiked all over the globe. Amazing. Backpacking is a major driver for getting retired soon for me. I don’t want to be robbed of the energy and strength to do it. As you mention, picking right routes is key. We were going to do a three night trip in Sawtooths in S. Idaho Last Aug, but had to change plans and did Glacier instead. Sawtooths loop is supposed to be a good one and moderate difficulty. Do you know it?

Agree that an injury is more likely problem on trail than bears. Still, when you’re sitting in the little “training” room at Glacier prior to going out backpacking and they say in the video, “...if the bear tries to eat you...”, it really gets your attention!

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@M2as - Backpacking has been a passion of mine since my first couple of trips in college at 19. I try to prioritize it so I get out at least a few times a year. I've heard great things about the Sawtooth NF but have never been there myself. It looks like there are a variety of loops of different distances and I'm sure it would be a great trip. Glacier NP isn't a bad backup option though. I totally remember the bear demonstration now that you mention that. I understand the allure of getting out west, but aren't there some good options in the upper midwest too?

I was going through some of my photos from the Eagle Cap trip after writing about it and I think I'll do a more detailed recap with photos.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

A Remembrance of Hikes Past:

The recent forum exchange inspired me to look through the photos of my trip through the Wallowa Mountains and Eagle Cap Wilderness. I figured my photos rivaled those of the backpacker article I linked to. This was my longest solo backpacking trip, roughly 45 miles, and was at least partially inspired by all of the activity around the 2017 solar eclipse. I hadn't really made any plans to get to the zone of totality, and didn't really want to deal with the crowds that would be there. After watching many friends, family members, and colleagues planning for some eclipse-based travel, I decided I should come up with a plan of my own. Luckily my boss had an extra pair of viewing glasses, because they were in high demand and I couldn't find them at any local stores.

I landed on a trip to Eagle Cap Wilderness. A coworker had told me about the area and an overnighter he did with his son to reach the Matterhorn. After reading about a loop in one of my hiking guides, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to explore a new area and push myself a little harder. I always prefer loop hikes over out and back options, because the scenery is always new and it just feels like a more natural way to hike. This loop offered a cumulative elevation gain of 7,000 feet, three different mountain passes, and a chance to summit Eagle Cap Mountain at 9,572 feet. The area also offers a lot in terms of local history, as it includes the origin of the Nez Perce Trail, Chief Joseph was buried here, and includes part of the Lewis and Clark Trail.

My first mistake of the trip was deciding to camp at the Wallowa State Park the first night. I had a long drive to get here and worked in the morning, so I opted to camp here rather than heading to the trailhead further south. The campground was a bit of a zoo, and anything but a wilderness experience. I could have accessed the loop from this area which takes you directly to the most popular part of the wilderness area - the Lake Basin - a collection of beautiful alpine lakes sandwiched between awe-inspiring mountains. At least the view of the lake was nice at sunset:

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I got an early start the next day with a delicious breakfast in a hippy cafe in Joseph or Enterprise, and was fortunate to find a phone adapter to plug into the cigarette lighter for my car. I had a good map of the wilderness area, but not the backcountry roads. I ended up driving for at least a couple of hours, mostly on forest service roads, with only the directions from the guidebook. A lot of intersections and turns that shouldn't have been there based on the written directions, but I made it to the trailhead without too much trouble.

I was at a pretty remote part of the wilderness area, and had trouble actually finding the trail. There was a old guy with a trailer mining for gold, but he wasn't interested in conversing at all. I eventually found the right trail and carried on towards the mountains. We had received a lot of snow that winter in the PNW, and the snowpack melted later than usual. Even though it was August 17th, there was still plenty of snow in the mountains and the wildflowers were popping like crazy. I knew it was going to be an amazing five days.

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I had an amazing sunset the first evening and watched the sun paint the mountaintop orange. My view the first evening from camp:

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The next day I was headed for Horton Pass at 8,500 ft. (4000+ from where I started the day before), and if conditions permitted, to the summit of Eagle Cap Mountain. I took a hard spill early in the day, landing with my body weight on my arm. I was shaken up and my adrenaline was high, but there was no serious damage. It was a good reminder to take my time - go slow and smooth. I only needed to average about 8 miles per day. Further down the trail I ran into a creek, crossed it, then lost the trail going back up the mountain. I ended up going back (always wise to go back to the point of the most established trail when in doubt) to the creek, and realized there was actually a switchback up another side of the mountain. Second minor disaster of the day averted, but I was starting to question my own skills in the backcountry.

I made it up to Horton Pass around lunch, and it looked like the south side of Eagle Cap was without much snow. I stashed a bunch of my gear under some rocks, and carried all scented items, water, and food with me to try to find the summit. It was pretty much a hike up along rock and slate, with amazing views that only got better. I found out I had cell phone service near the top, so gave my mom and wife a quick call and sent them some pictures.

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Looking down on my way up to the pass:

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Breathtaking views of the Wallowa Valley and the Lake Basin:

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I saw a few people coming down while I was on my way up, but had the summit to myself for about an hour while I snacked and soaked in the 360 degree views:

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On my way back down to the Lake Basin I found plenty of snow on the north face of the mountain:

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I camped near Moccasin Lake and was lucky to find a spot. There were loads of groups around, and I realized how popular this area was. I talked to someone from England who had met friends from California and come up here for a multi-night backpacking trip. I was glad I approached from the quieter, southern portion of the wilderness area and would be heading back there the next couple nights. There was a bit of commotion among some of the campers as a random horse came walking in from the mountains. About a half hour later a random cowboy/redneck character came strolling in looking for the horse. He said he and his friends brought them in as pack animals so they could carry in cases of beer.

I had a nice swim in the ice cold lake, getting clean while looking at the mountain I had stood upon a few hours earlier:

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The next day i had an early start as I had to traverse two more passes. I made it to the top of Glacier Pass in the mid morning and stopped for a snack. I heard what sounded like a loud gunshot or some dynamite, then realized it was a huge piece of ice that had broken off below and dropped into the lake. Quite the start to the day.

A view of Glacier Lake with Eagle Cap Peak in the background:

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There were a few people camped at the lake and they were pretty stoked I had witnessed the ice breaking off; curious about what it looked like from above. I think it freaked them out.

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I had another pass to climb, and by the time I got to Hawkins Pass and started descending, my feet and knees were aching pretty bad. I only had a couple more miles to go to the next backcountry site, and was happy to finally get there and post up in a low-key spot next to a creek. After a crowded night the day before, it was nice to have some solitude. The wildflowers kept my spirits high.

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I lounged around the campground for hours reading and soaking in the sounds of the creek. I was asleep before the sun went down. The next day I was feeling pretty drained but kept pressing on to the final backcountry site. I ran into a local who told me this was one of the best years she had ever seen for wildflowers. We were both excited about the eclipse the next day and she was jealous of my plans for a night alone in the backcountry.

I finally made it to Crater Lake (not the famous one) and was pleased to find that I had the whole campground to myself. It was a human constructed lake, so it was interesting to find bits of cable and other materials used in the engineering process. I swam, read, and wandered around until I found the ideal spot for the evening. Pretty great views here as well:

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The next day I woke up, climbed to a ridge, and waited with apprehension for the solar eclipse. I was listening to different stories about it on the radio driving to the trailhead. One of the stories that peaked my interest was about animals and their reaction to eclipses. Sure enough, as the countdown moved forward the squirrels and birds started acting erratically. I probably had 45 seconds of darkness, and sat content next to a mountain lake, glad that I had made the journey. I wasn't in the zone of totality, but pretty close to it. I didn't have any regrets about where I decided to watch it from.

I had about five miles and 3,000 feet of descent ahead of me, along with a long car ride. I headed out and stumbled across a large group of grouse (ptarmigan?)

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The descent was brutal on my knees, and at one point I decided to try to take a "shortcut" through some of the switchbacks. That turned into a bit of a fiasco and I felt like I was lost, with hardly any food left in my pack. I stopped, collected myself, got my bearings, and did some bushwacking until I found the trail again. I definitely opted not to take any more of the shortcuts as I winded my way back down to the valley.

It was a long ride home and I ended up getting stuck in "solstice traffic" for multiple hours, but I was a happy man with the comforts of civilization at my fingertips, and the memories of the mountains fresh in my mind.

theanimal
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by theanimal »

Outstanding photos!! I am in love with the second to last one. Thanks for sharing your story, sounds like a fun trip.

Also that is some type of grouse. To my knowledge there aren't any ptarmigan in the contiguous US.

Married2aSwabian
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Wow! Amazing photos, WRC. Looks like an ideal trip. Thanks for sharing!

Thinking of backpacking with others vs solo (which I’ve not yet done), reminds me of “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. Read it a year ago for the first time and laughed out loud at several points. :lol:

I have some digitized photos (slides!) of Sierra trip we did waaaaaay back in ‘76. I’ll start a journal at some point and may post a couple of them there...some good stories came out of that one.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Awesome trip report, thanks WRC. I appreciated your notes about nearly committing to what would have turned out to be bad decisions (getting off route but deciding to double back). Solo and group trips can be just a big ol' collection of near-misses, and I feel a big (the biggest?) determining factor in getting back home fine isn't raw backwoods competency, but is the humility to *not* assume that you can't make mistakes. Which is just another form of backwoods competency, I suppose.

I didn't realize how much I needed to get inspired by a post like this until I read it just now - thanks for taking the time to put it up!

ertyu
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by ertyu »

Amazing. Thank you for sharing these.

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