Hike To Marmot pass and Buckhorn mountain

I am glad I stayed home this Thanksgiving, I could go to this amazing winter hike which was a snow heaven. Olympic peninsula had got a fresh shower of snow the previous evening and the early morning clear skies had got me excited for the day. I had usual expectations for the last hike of the year but what I experienced was so magical that it was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. I was mainly worried about the cold since forecast projected -10C on the summit.

I got up at 4.30 AM, met the group at Park and Ride at 6 and started the hike by 9. First stretch of the hike was along a creek in the woods and we hit first patches of snow in around 2 miles at an elevation of 3600 feet. Morning rays were lighting the mossy trees which not only soothed my eyes but warmed the body too. The snow started getting deep but fortunately other hikers ahead of us had broken the trail. I could see surrounding jagged snow covered mountains and the pass which we would be reaching was visible.

The fresh snow on the trees and ground was a treat to watch and feel. Many shiny snow particles looked like crystals and the spread was enchanting.

We reached the pass by 12 PM and headed for the Buckhorn summit. We wore snowshoes since there was no broken trail and snow was pretty deep. I was happy I could lighten my pack and I actually felt good and hiked the next steep part of ascent pretty effortlessly. Snow shoes was one reason but the views, just heavenly. I kept scanning the surroundings frequently and every gained feet allowed me to see more of the snow covered mountains. Soon I could see mountains beyond the immediate range and they looked so majestic that I felt I was hiking in the Himalayan biggies.

My jaw dropped, my breath was taken away, my happy mind somehow warmed my cold toes and I was energized to go higher to see more of the beauty. Mark, the organizer joked that it was my bachelor party and I gladly accepted this as my bachelor party. We could also see Glacier Peak, Mt Rainier and St Helens above the sea of clouds.

We reached the ridge and the view on the other side was good too. The snow layer started to thin, so we removed our snowshoes and aimed for a false summit(elevation 6800ft) with just the boots. With wild excitement I walked to the false summit and gave a loud shout. There was hardly any wind and I could be there for a while even without gloves. I would also credit the near perfect weather due to which we had an enjoyable ascent. Mark decided not to go for the summit in the interest of time which was around 30 mins away. It was a strong and fun group, everyone made it to the false summit. I layered up in my bright blue jacket, took many photos and had my lunch enjoying the near 360 degrees view.

We started the descent on our micro-spikes in a while and it was getting quite cold too. It was a quick descent to the pass where we were greeted by the birds. Now the every lost feet warmed my toes and it felt much better. The snowy forested stretch was a delight and the last mile of walk in the green woods was peaceful and humbling.

What a fantastic hike it was. I have been hiking in the state for 3.5 years now and I still feel like love at first sight many a times. I was recalling my hikes on the way back and realized how much happiness the companionship of mother nature has given me. Today she did everything she could to make the last hike of my single life into a beautiful fairytale.

Activity Overview

Photos and Videos

smiley-write-nikhil-navali

Advertisements
Categories: Others | 2 Comments

Hike to Guye Peak

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This is the 3rd consecutive Thanksgiving long weekend where I have been staying in home state. I usually go out for long weekends but for various reasons, I end up spending Thanksgiving in Washington. Taking advantage of meetups and snow, I signed up for a hike even though the forecast was hardly good. It was raining in Seattle in the morning but things started to look promising during the drive to trailhead. The clouds were shining bright with the rays and we could see blue sky. I was excited to start with the hike asap since I wanted the views from the top. It was a short but steep trail and since I was ahead, Michael asked me to take care of navigation. I screwed it up in the beginning but was careful from thereon. Snow was with us right from the parking lot. Trail was slippery due to numerous boulders. We hiked in clouds for a while and the views when we were above the cloud level were spectacular. The views kept getting better and the summit offered nothing less.

We were between 2 bands of clouds and the near panoramic views were awesome. I hadn’t carried any lunch, so spent time capturing the beauty and started the descent. The hike down was much safer than I expected and we were back on the trailhead by 2 PM. I am thankful for being in this amazingly beautiful state.

Activity Overview

Photos and Videos

smiley-write-nikhil-navali

Categories: Outdoors, Seattle | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Hike to Gothic basin and Foggy lake

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather on a November weekend, I signed up for Gothic Basin hike. I was excited since my snow cravings hadn’t been fulfilled yet. It was an early start, we started to hike by 8 AM. Ascent till the snow section was quite boring and tiring (maybe because of yesterday’s Squash games). The trail was rocky almost all the way and there were multiple stream crossings. We wore spikes for snow and by then tree cover was mostly gone which provided us with scenic views. At places there were tiny waterfalls and some were frozen too. The actual fun started as soon as we entered the basin. In bright daylight, we could see snow, huge rocks, frozen pools and just beauty all around. I was no more tired from there on and we reached semi frozen Foggy lake for lunch. From there on we climbed to reach a saddle and explored a bit on the side. It was a fantastic vantage point which provided views of the basin, Foggy lake, Mt Pugh and surrounding mountains. Apart from occasional slight winds, weather was just perfect. I fell once on a rock as soon as I got rid of spikes. That made it back to back falls on hikes.┬áThe whole trail was like an obstacle course – slippery wooden planks, stream crossings, light scramble, finding snow to step on snow while on spikes, testing the frozen pools and steep traverse near saddle. A fantastic day out.

Activity Overview

Photos and Videos

smiley-write-nikhil-navali

Categories: Outdoors, Seattle | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Hike to Mailbox Peak

There is a peak near Seattle on which there is a mailbox(yes, a physical mailbox we all know). The proximity and the difficulty attracts many hikers and this serves as an apt training hike for the bigger mountains. Since this was right in the backyard, I had postponed this hike for a long time and today was a perfect day for the attempt. I hadn’t hiked for 2 weekends and had a craving for snow. Since this was at quite an elevation, I expected snow. I decided to go solo and chose Sunday since the forecast was warmer compared to Saturday and I could avoid wearing snow boots.

There are 2 trails, a longer newer trail and the shorter steep old trail. I took the steeper one at 9:45 AM and I was curious about my ascent time. I kept a faster pace and continued even without taking a water break. It was not as bad as Mt Baring section, but yet good enough to trouble the knees. Actually, I started enjoying the ascent after some time and kept moving without losing much of the pace. Snow started at around 3500 feet and icy conditions on the boulder section was tricky to cross. I eyed and tried to land on iceless boulders. I reached the summit with the famous Mailbox and I had taken 1hr 50 minutes for the 4000 ft, 2.5 mile ascent. I had my lunch and took enough time hoping that some of the ice would melt off. The weather was just perfect, not too windy or cold with clear views all around. I have been hiking these mountains since 3 years and the surrounding peaks looked familiar and friendly. I had initially thought that I would take the shorter trail up and longer one down, but I decided to take the shorter one back too. I wore micro-spikes for a short distance, crossed the boulder field with the same trick and picked my pace for the next section. The descent felt so fast – I used to track the elevation on my watch and observed that I lost batches of 200 ft elevation in just few steps. I thoroughly enjoyed the tiny switchbacks and it was like I was going down on water slide in a tube. I took 1hour 20 mins (much faster than I expected) to descend and reached the parking lot by 1:45 PM. I checked the Strava stats later on the timings and people had taken way less time than mine for the ascent and descent. I was happy with my timings though. A nice day out.

Activity Overview

Photos and Videos

smiley-write-nikhil-navali

Categories: Outdoors, Seattle | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Wedding

I have wished for a life companion since long, more so in the last few years. Given my ardent passion for outdoors, it took time to find someone who would be ok with it. Then I met Divya in my hometown Hubli and she instantly piqued my interest when she let me know that she had completed a multi-day Himalayan trek. I got to know her more and it was her creativity and affinity for simplicity, which drew me towards her. Also, her interest – if not love – for outdoors was enough for me to decide that she is the one. Fortunately, she felt the same and we decided to be companions for life. We are getting married this Dec 30th in Hubli and we would be really glad to have the presence of our friends and families to witness this special event.

We are putting in some details on the event location and how to get to Hubli.

The wedding will happen over 2 days:
Saturday – Reception, Dec 29th, 7 PM onwards
Sunday – Marriage, Dec 30th, 9.12 AM
Both at Denissons Hotel, Airport Road, Hubli

You can get to Hubli via:
Road: Overnight and frequent trains/buses from Bangalore and Mumbai.
Air: Direct flights from Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad

Please let us know about your travels, so that we can plan for your accommodation and other arrangements.

We are excited. Hopefully will see you all.

smiley-write-nikhil-navali

Categories: Marriage | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.