With 3900 ft of elevation gain within 3.5 miles, this is one of the hardest hikes I have done. Well, looking at the numbers before the hike, I was confident though the description said 1500 ft gain in the first 3/4th mile. I didn’t expect the hike to be an ass kicker, knee puncher and a sweat dripper.
A meetup hike and I signed up looking at the event note which said it would be steep, difficult and would involve scrambling. I read some trip reports and one said that they took 6 hours to go up with good number of breaks. I was like why would it take 6 hours for such a short hike but eventually, I did understand. We started quite late, met at 8 AM and through the last 4 mile gravel road, reached the Barclay lake trailhead around 9.30 AM. The trail started right behind the restroom. I initially thought it was a short trail for restroom overflow but little did I know that this pee trail would take 8 hours long. I packed light and wore my favorite Quechua hiking shoes. The first 0.2 miles was almost flat and then the real workout started. The next 0.6 miles was super steep and gained 1500 feet. I think this is the steepest 0.5 mile hike I have done (barring the long scrambles). We went off trail at times but eventually made it to the main trial. The next section of hike was around 1 mile and was almost flat except a last super steep ascend again which took us to the boulder field. We could see both the North and South Baring summit blocks from there. The next section was hiking on the boulders on a narrow gully which was of course, super steep. We made it to the point between the two summits and headed for the north one. The final stretch to the summit was the combination of whatever we had done. Finally after around 4 hours, we made it to the summit and I was excited especially because a fellow hiker had told that this was a base jumping location. I roamed around to see and I was surprised at what I saw. I only had seen base jumping locations in media where there would be huge drop with a meadow valley. I saw almost exactly the same and a lake and with wide green patch below which looked like landing spot. It was hazy due to the wildfires which hampered the surrounding views. But I was still happy with whatever I could see. I had my lunch – actually I had stuffed aloo, carrot sabji in chapati – and it tasted quite nice. I took a nap where I dreamt too. After a decent 50 min break we started the descent. A fellow hiker had a nice sense of humor and it was fun listening to his jokes. The descent felt quite quicker. While waiting for a hiker, we encountered Pika up close which was quite cute. The descent was ok till the last section. I had the hardest time coming down this steep section switching my pole from hand to hand and using the other hand to get hold of whatever I could. Sweat was literally dripping, in Kannada neer ildoytu. I dropped pole sometimes, slid and did many unusual things to get myself safely down. It was steep almost the entire way and took my concentration. I grunted when I reached the flat part and was glad to have descended safely. It was a fantastic workout with solid 7 people group. I checked my weight after coming to Seattle and I had reduced by 1.5 pounds.
Photos and Videos
I have been wanting to go on this hike since 2 years. The pictures looked amazing and I kind of like the name itself. Jim from Snohomish County Hiking Group posted the hike on Meetup for this Sunday and I signed up for it. The forecast said light rain in the AM and clouds later on. I was fine with it since I didn’t want to see the views in the haze from recent wildfires around. We started very early – we all met at 6 AM and started the hike before 8 AM. A hiker has been missing since 10 days, so there were packets of food stored at places. So this hike was in news a lot lately. It was drizzling and the morning was green and wet with low visibility. I started with my rain jacket and took it off once the terrain got steep. We were hiking amidst clouds and then it started unraveling the beauty. I could see jagged peaks above me with fresh greenery around. Actually the clouds was a respite on the steep rocky trail and I just hoped it would clear by the time we reached the peak. I was happy whenever Sun blasted its rays through clouds. We passed Headlee pass after numerous short switchbacks to reach frozen Vesper lake. The blue tint on patches of water made the lake look vibrant. We started for the final summit push after a small break which took us through huge steep boulders. It was fun navigating them and it felt longer than what I expected. We had to cross one tiny section of snow which I crossed without spikes and I wasn’t carrying poles too. The clouds were still hovering and it wasn’t much clear once we were on the peak too. It was on and off and I badly wanted to get a view of colorful Copper lake. I was so happy when I got to see the lake in all its glory. Nestled in a valley with huge mountains around with its distinctive color, it looked fantastic. The white granite on the right with snow patches and the cloud laden tall peaks on the left were adding to the beauty and I was happy being there. Others were quite happy too and I kept hearing hysterical laughs. It was so high from up there that I could see around 2 – 3000 ft drop on the other side and looking down would just fire up my spine. I had lunch on a spot overlooking the lake. The clouds still had majority on most of the surroundings but I think it enhanced the views by making it mystical (as quoted by a fellow hiker). We started descending and it wasn’t that warm. The bugs hardly troubled too. So I had a pleasant descent comparatively. I even ate some blueberries on the trail. The final stretch in the woods with multiple creek crossings was nice too. Usually I would be very happy seeing the parking lot, but today I was like ok, the hike’s ended. It was a surreal experience amidst the mystical clouds where it felt like PNW had stitched together best of multiple worlds. In the morning, I was a bit worried from the Low Tire Air Pressure indicator on my car and the last 3 miles on the gravel road hadn’t helped my thoughts. Fortunately, it wasn’t anything obvious and I drove back to Seattle just fine.
Photos and Videos
A friend from Cornell, Prashanth asked me for a hike and I chose Beckler peak, since it was a moderate one and I had a failed summit attempt in the last winter. I had read the trip reports and everything looked good. Three of us, including Karthik whom I had known from Zion trip last year left Seattle by 8. The clouds disappeared instantly after the town, Gold-Bar and it stayed sunny throughout. The forest road to the trailhead had few potholes. We started the hike around 10:15 AM and took 1 hr 40 mins to reach the top. There were bugs (not many to worry about) and at some places, butterflies. The trail all the way to the summit is shaded and it opens to a 360 deg view on the top which makes this a perfect summer hike. The views were spectacular which included snow covered mountains, nearby jagged peaks, green patch of meadows and Glacier Peak in the far. We spent ample of time at the summit and descended quickly. It was nice to catchup on some Cornell memories on the way down. We made a lunch stop at Eagle falls before returning to Seattle where people were cliff jumping and rope swinging.
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I have been visiting National Parks in Washington back to back since mom got here. I have always loved visiting Olympic National Park especially because of the ferry ride to get to the peninsula. I usually take Edmonds-Kingston ferry in the morning (for the view of Olympic mountains) and Bainbridge-Seattle on the return(for Seattle skyline view). We did the same in the weekend and drove up-to Hurricane Ridge. With the green meadows, snow capped mountains in the vista and clear views I found the surroundings much more crisp and beautiful compared to my last visit 6 months back. I had looked for a hike nearby and we drove to the trailhead. The views start right from the parking lot and stays on almost till the top of Hurricane hill. I could see many colorful wildflowers, vast patches of grass, valleys and mountains in the far. It was an easy hike and mom was able to manage quite well. It was cloudy at places but added a nice touch to the surroundings. Once on the hill, we could see the waters, San Juan islands and maybe a bit of Canada too. There was a couple with a baby who was so cheerful which was nice to see. I totally loved this hike and I would liken this to Rattlesnake since it’s easy with beautiful views. We had lunch on the nearby picnic tables and returned to Seattle.
Photos and Videos here
ಆಕಾಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಹಾರುವದನ್ನು ಗಮನಿಸಿದಾಗ ನಮಗೂ ಬಾನಂಗಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಕ್ಕಿಯಂತೆ ಹಾರಲು ಮನಸಾಗದೆ ಇರಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಸ್ವಚ್ಛಂದವಾಗಿ ಹಾರುವ ಕನಸು ಸದಾ ಇದ್ದೆ ಇತ್ತು. ಇಂದಿನ ಯುಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾನವ ಹಕ್ಕಿಯಂತೆ ಹಾರಲು, ಮೀನಿನಂತೆ ಈಜಿ ಮುಳುಗಲು, ಮುಂತಾದವುಗಳನ್ನು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಿಸಿದ್ದಾನೆ.
ಅಂತೆಯೇ ನನ್ನ ಕನಸು ನನಸಾಗಲು ನನ್ನ ಮಗನ ಮೊದಲ ಹಾರಾಟದ ವಿಡಿಯೋ ನನ್ನಲಿದ್ದ ಆಸೆಗೆ ಪ್ರೇರಣೆ ನೀಡಿತು. ಇದು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾದದ್ದು ನಾನು USAಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಮಗನ ಜೊತೆ ಬಂದು ಮೊದಲನೇ ಮಗನ ಜೊತೆ ಇರುವ ಅವಕಾಶ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿದಾಗ. ನಿಖಿಲ್ ಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಈ ಆಸೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿತು. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಸ್ಕೈ ಡೈವಿಂಗ್ ಗೆ ಜೂನ್ ೨ ೨೦೧೮ ರಂದು ಯೋಜನೆ ಮಡಿದ. ಅಂದು ಹವಾಮಾನವು ಅನುಕೂಲವಾಗಿತ್ತು.
ಬೇಕಾದ ತಯಾರಿಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮಧ್ಯಾಹ್ನ ೧ ಗಂಟೆಗೆ ಮನೆಯಿಂದ ಹೊರಟು ನಾವು ೨ ಗಂಟೆ ಸುಮಾರು Snohomish Skydiving ಜಾಗಕ್ಕೆ ತಲುಪಿದೆವು. ಅರ್ಜಿಯನ್ನು ತುಂಬಿದ ನಂತರ ನಮ್ಮ ಸಮಯಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಕಾದು ಕುಳಿತೆವು. ಅಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇರೆಯವರು ಜಿಗಿಯುವ ವಿಡಿಯೋ ನೋಡಿದೆವು. ಈಗಾಗಲೇ ಹೋದವರ ಅನುಭವ ಕಂಡೆವು. ತರಬೇತಿದಾರರು ಹಾರಾಟದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕೆಲವು ಮಾಹಿತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಹೇಳಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟದನಂತರ ಹಾರಾಟದ ಉಡುಪನ್ನು ತೊಡಲು ಕರೆದರು. ನನ್ನ ಜೊತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ತರಬೇತಿ ಹಾರಾಟಗಾರನ ಹೆಸರು ಟೋನಿ. ಅವನು ನನಗೆ ಹಾರಾಟದ ಉಡುಪು ಹಾಕಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವಲ್ಲಿ ಸಹಕರಿಸಿದ ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಬೆಲ್ಟ್ ನನಗೆ ದೊಡ್ಡದಾಗಿತ್ತು. ನಾನೆಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾರಿ ಬೀಳುವೆನೋ ಅಂತ ಅನಿಸಿತ್ತು. ಮತ್ತೊಮ್ಮೆ ಹಾರಾಟದ ನಿಯಮವನ್ನು ಸರಿಯಾಗಿ ವೀವರಿಸಿದನು. ನನಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿತ್ತು, ಇಷ್ಟೆಲ್ಲಾ ಕೇಳಿದಮೇಲು ವೀಮಾನದಿಂದ ಜಿಗಿಯುವ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯುವ ಅನುಮಾನ ನನಗಿತ್ತು. ಆ ಉಡುಪಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನೊಬ್ಬಳು ವೃತ್ತಿಪರ ಜಿಗಿತಗಾರಳು ತರಹ ಕಾಣಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ತುಂಬಾ ಹೆಮ್ಮೆ ಅನಿಸಿತ್ತು.
ನಾವು ವೀಮಾನದಟ್ಟ ನಡೆದೆವು, ಆ ವೀಮಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ೫ ಜಿಗಿತಗಾರರು ಮತ್ತೆ ಅವರ ಜೊತೆ ೫ ತರಬೇತಿದಾರರು ಇದ್ದರು. ನಮ್ಮೊಂದಿಗೆ ಇನ್ನು ಮುವರು ಸ್ವತಃ ತಾವೇ ಜಿಗಿಯುವ ಪರಿಣೀತಿ ಪಡೆದವರೂ ಇದ್ದರು. ನಾವು ಜಿಗಿಯ ಬೇಕಾದ ಎತ್ತರ ಹತ್ತು ಸಾವಿರ ಅಡಿಯನ್ನು ೧೦ ನಿಮಿಷದಲ್ಲಿ ತಲುಪಿದೆವು. ಈಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಟೋನಿ ನನಗೆ ಕೆಲ ವಿಷಯಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕೇಳುತಿದ್ದ ಆದರೆ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಅಂತರದಿಂದ ನನಗೆ ಉತ್ತರಿಸಲು ಕಷ್ಟವಾಗುತಿತ್ತು. ವೀಮಾನದ ಕಿಟಕಿಇಂದ ಸುತ್ತದ ಹಿಮಚ್ಚಾದಿತ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಸಾಲನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದೆ. ಅಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಹಸಿರು ದೀಪ ಬೆಳಗಿತು, ಜಿಗಿಯಲು ತಾಯಾರಿ ನಡಿಸಿದೆವು. ಬಾಗಿಲು ತೆರೆದ ಕೂಡಲೇ ತಣ್ಣನೆ ಗಾಳಿ ರಭಸವಾಗಿ ಒಳನುಗ್ಗಿತು. ಹಾರುವವರ ಸಾಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಮೂರನೆಯವಳಾಗಿದ್ದೆ.
ಮೊದಲೆರಡು ಚೀನಾದ ಹಾರಾಟಗಾರತಿಯರ ನಂತರ ನಾವು ಬಾಗಿಲದತ್ತ ಹೋದೆವು. ಕ್ಷಣಾರ್ಧದಲ್ಲೇ ಏನಂಥ ಯೋಚಿಸುವಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ಜಿಗಿತವು ನಡೆದೇ ಹೊಯೀತು. ಏನ್ ಅದ್ಭುತ, ತಣ್ಣನೆ ಗಾಳಿ ಮುಖಕ್ಕೆ ರಾಚುತಿತ್ತು. ಹಾರಿದ ರಭಸಕ್ಕೆ ಏನೂ ನೆನಪಿಲ್ಲ. ಹಾರಾಟಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುಕೂಲವಾಗಲು ಕಯ್ಯಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕಾಲುಗಳನ್ನು ಶಲಭಾಸನದ ಸ್ಥಿಥಿಯಲ್ಲಿಟ್ಟುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಸೂಚಿಸಿದ. ಏನೊ ಸಾಧಿಸಿದ ಖುಷಿ ಮುಖದಲ್ಲಿ ನಗುವಿನೊಂದಿಗೆ ವ್ಯಕ್ತವಾಗಿತ್ತು, ಹೆದರಿಕೆ ಮಾಯವಾಗಿತ್ತು.
ಟೋನಿ ಕಯ್ಗೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದ ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರಾ ಕಡೆ ನೋಡಲು ಸೂಚಿಸಿದ, ನಾನು ವಿಜಯದ ಸಂಕೇತವಾಗಿ ಹೆಬ್ಬೆರಳನ್ನು ಮೇಲೆತ್ತಿದೆ. ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಹಾಗು ಸುತ್ತಲಿನ ಸುಂದರ ನಿಸರ್ಗವನ್ನು ಸವಿಯುತ್ತ ಮೂವತ್ತು ಸೆಕೆಂಡ್ ಫ್ರೀ ಫಾಲ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕಳೆದದ್ದೇ ಗೊತ್ತಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅಷ್ಟರಲ್ಲಿ ನೇರವಾಗಿ ಸ್ಥಿಥಿಯನ್ನು ಪಡೆದು, ಪ್ಯಾರಾಚೂಟ್ ತೆರೆದುಕೊಂಡಾಗ ಟೋನಿ ನನ್ನ ಕಯ್ಗೆ ಅದನ್ನು ನಿಯಂತ್ರಿಸಲು ಕೊಟ್ಟ. ಈ ಕ್ಷಣದಿಂದ ನಾವು ಭೂಮಿಯ ಕಡೆಗೆ ನಿಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಕೆಳಗೆ ಇಳಿಯ ತೊಡಗಿದೆವು.
ಲೆಂಡಿಂಗ್ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೊದಲೇ ಸೂಚಿಸಿದಂತೆ ನನ್ನ ಎರಡು ಕಾಲುಗಳನ್ನು ನೇರವಾಗಿ ಮುಂದೆ ಚಾಚಿದೆ. ಟೋನಿ ಲೆಂಡಿಂಗ್ ಕ್ರಿಯೆಯನ್ನು ಸುಲಭವಾಗಿ ಹಾಗು ಸುರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿದ. ಲಾಂಡ್ ಆದ ನಂತರ ಅವನಿಗೆ ಧನ್ಯವಾದ ತಿಳಿಸಿದ ನಾನು ನಿಖಿಲನ ಕಡೆಗೆ ಹೋದೆ. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಅವನು ಒಂದೆರಡು ಫೋಟೋ ತೆಗೆದ. ಹಾರಾಟದ ಪ್ರಮಾಣ ಪತ್ರ ಪಡೆದ ನಾನು ಒಂದು ಅದ್ಭುತವನ್ನು ಸಾಧಿಸಿದ ಖುಷಿಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದೆ. ಇದೆಲ್ಲ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಿದ್ದು ನಿಖಿಲನಿಂದಾಗಿ ಅವನಿಗೂ ಧನ್ಯವಾದ ತಿಳಿಸಿದೆ. ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ನಗು ಮುಖದಿಂದ ಮನೆಯ ಕಡೆ ಹೊರಟೆವು.