The Pacific Northwest and in particular the State of Washington is a magnificent natures playground with beautiful mountains, boundless rivers, rambling streams, vast forests, tranquil meadows, and sparkling lakes with enough wilderness to get yourself lost in and in so doing find yourself.
The objective of this blog as part of the ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ series of sites is to inspire, through stories, photographs, and helpful trip reports. Get off the couch, stretch the legs, fill the lungs with fresh air, flood the heart with joy, and release the soul so it may soar. Our lives are so busy rushing here, rushing there, punching a time clock, paying bills, chores, meeting obligations, don’t you think that we all need a little balance in our lives? Don’t we all yearn for a little break? A moment to listen to ourselves, and discover who we are? What better way to accomplish this than in the middle of no where drinking in an grand adventure and boundless natural beauty.
I invite you to join me in this pursuit to find one’s inner self through adventures that shows you marvelous things, perhaps takes you a little out of your comfort zone, and so importantly balance the hectic existence that is life. The idea is to inspire you so that you can do the same or if need be I am happy to share and you can live vicariously through my ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.’
‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ has multiple websites encompassing adventure opportunities throughout the West. This particular site will show my adventures in Washington. A place I have lived in for a short time in the past. It was fabulous to be in the Northwest again and I kept saying to myself now these are proper mountains.
This is a departure from this Blog’s theme of hiking and other outdoor physical activities in the natural wonder of wilderness, but the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands during our cruise over to San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor was so gorgeous it was an excursion I just had to write about.
My son Alec and I started our day early hopping a Ferry from Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island, to the quaint, charming and enchanting little Seaport of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. It was the first ferry ride for Alec and the boat was a great way to travel. We still can’t get over how that many cars can possibly fit on it. The ride over was comfortable and the views of the San Juan Islands were superb.
I think at some point I saw a magazine article about the tourist spot, Friday Harbor, and had always wanted to check it out. Plus it was a bit of a break in the action from all of the hikes we had been doing. We immersed ourselves in full Tourist Mood. We walked around a little checking out the landing and then had lunch outdoors over looking the harbor. Fine Pacific Northwest seafood was on our menu as I enjoyed a Salmon Reuben and Alec munched down on a Grilled Crab Sandwich. Quote from Alec, “That was scrumptious!”
We walked about the small township checking out shops, had some homemade ice cream. We really liked checking out some of the historic old homes during our walk. We topped off our visit with a stop at the Whaling Museum which was interesting before hopping back on the ferry and another scenic voyage back.
Thanks for joining Alec and I on our excursion. It might not have been an invigorating hike, but it certainly was enjoyable. The natural beauty of the San Juan Islands certainly does provide some of that balance we talk about because it was really something. We will be back to rejuvenating hiking in our next episode of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Washington Hiking so as not to miss anything please COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. When you go up to the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures all of the West seeking balance through exhilarating experiences in nature, each location and activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you want to look good on the trail then checkout SHOP APPAREL for you Adventure Wear needs.
11.5 miles 2,200’ elevation gain, 6 hour duration, rated Moderate +
Activity: Day Hike
The hike my adventure loving son Alec and I set out on was moderate at just over 6 miles, but we supplemented in 2 peaks which added a lot of elevation and distance. That and we missed a turn which added a 1/2 mile or so. I guess we were enjoying the scenery so much we were not paying close enough attention to our route at that moment. So I think our trek might have been kicked up to the next category from Moderate as we about doubled the mileage and altitude.
However we averaged over 2 miles an hour so that might still be moderate. It certainly had some steep hard portions. And what a great hike! What this hike didn’t have you don’t need.
Superb high views of the surrounding areas which just happen to be so darn gorgeous, the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, majestic purple mountains, deep green hills, and big luscious firs. Our hike circumnavigated a beautiful tree lined, remote lake, and a couple tiny waterfalls.
Thanks for joining Alec and I on Fidalgo Island during a hike that we just kept adding to mostly on purpose, but even the portion that was by accident just added to ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. When you enjoy an outing such as this and you pretty much have the whole place to yourselves well… that is extraordinary and a great way to mend woes. Woes and sorrow was something which Alec and I felt so deeply and laid heavy on our minds, as the main reason for us to be in the PNW was a last visit with one so dear… my beautiful, wonderful Mother as her time on this planet winded down. You see we greatly needed each other, Alec and I, in this time of great loss and we greatly needed what profound outings in Nature can do and that is put the pieces back together again. Please stay with us for this Summer of Loss, but also of Celebration of a life so special and a person so beloved and how ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ was so needed. COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go up to the menu above you will discover that PBTA travels to many fine place throughout the West seeking adventures in Nature. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my cap you can get one of your own and at the same time help support PBTA. You can find first rate Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL.
The 2.2 miles loop in Washington Park provides stellar views of Puget Sound and the surrounding San Juan Islands. Besides the water views it has a lush thick forest with big firs, and lots of ferns. It is absolutely beautiful. Still, being someone that wants to get away and really immerse myself into nature I was a little disappointed that I was walking along a single lane roadway with cars going by once in a while. However, about half way through my walk I found the trails and then I was in hog heaven, as this was exactly what I was looking for. Maybe even a bit more as one trail I took me on a tiny trail, slippery with mud, with a steep short grassy hill sloping dramatically to a cliff with a drop either onto rocks far below or into the sound and with no way back. So once it went from sketchy to hair ball, (That is when it also added some scrambling), I said to myself, “this is a view to die for” literally! That is the point were I retraced my steps to a more moderate version on a PNW trail.
I loved the hike on the trails, the loop on the roadway was beautiful as well, in-fact I loved the area so much that after my adventure companion, my son Alec, and I finished we drove the loop as well which was very special too.
Thanks for coming along with Alec and I on this adventure in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. There are more fun hikes ahead in this beautiful area and beyond. To stayed tuned all you have to do is this: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you explore the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures extensively throughout the West in search of that ever elusive Balance that we seek as an escape from this busy life of ours. I believe profound outings in Nature are the key to this journey. If you like hiking clothing I invite you to checkout my line of Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL.
3 miles, 72’ elevation gain, 90 minute duration, rated Easy
My son, Alec, and I joined our host and friend, Margaret, along with her Woman’s Hiking Group, which were nice enough to let us tag along on a nature walk along the waterfront. This spot is known as Guemes Channel Trail. It is quite scenic showing off the gorgeous waterway and some of the captivating San Juan Islands.
The outing stretches from the ‘La Merced’, which is an old sailing ship that nature is in the process of claiming to the West, and to the East is the Ferry Boat Terminal. We parked and started in about the middle. It is a lovely walk along the shore with charming flowering plants and trees.
Part of the outing is through the Ship Harbor Interpretative Preserve. This is an informative nature walk along a path and boardwalk with placards talking about fauna, wildlife, Native Americans as well as early settlers to the area.
Anacortes is so beautiful. What an enchanting place. This was a pleasant and picturesque introduction for Alec and I to Fidalgo Island and Anacortes.
Thanks for joining Alec and I along with our host Margaret, with special thanks to the Women’s Hiking Group for letting a couple of guys come along on this pretty Nature Hike. There are plenty more adventures around Anacortes and beyond, so stay with us for more: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu will unlock other special places throughout the West where you might find some respite from the busy, sometimes hectic lives we all live. Each location or activity categorized in the menu is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. For top quality hiking hats and shirts adorned with the Pursuing Balance Through Adventure logo please checkout SHOP APPAREL.
This nature walk, a short hike situated on 37 acres, starts near the Anacortes Yacht Club. The trail meanders through a wooded area leading to Cap Sante, a rocky headland that has wonderful views of Anacortes, the Marina, Fidalgo Bay, the San Juan Islands as well as the Cascade Mountains.
Our friend, a local resident, hiker and lover of nature, Margaret, introduced my son Alec and I to the hike. This outing really gave us a feel for what an enchanting place Anacortes is. From this view point we could take in the town, the lovely boats docked at the Marina, and the bright sparkling blue waters looking out at the captivating San Juan Islands – simply breath taking.
This scenic little jaunt up to Cap Sante kicked off a week of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, exploring not only Fidalgo Island, but the neighboring islands as well. It is easy to see how our friends Margaret and her husband Earl fell in love with Anacortes. We appreciate them so much for hosting and sharing this beautiful place with us. This is just the start of our adventure in the NW Corner of the state so stick with Margaret, Alec, and I by doing a few easy things: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. You will find the menu above a great place for inspiration and ideas for your next adventure. The menu is categorized by location and sometimes by activity, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Checkout SHOP APPAREL for all of your adventure wear desires.
6 miles, 500’ elevation gain, >3 hour duration, rated Easy
I explored 4 miles of this hike with family friend Margaret. We trekked through a valley of sage brush dotted rolling hills, some with rugged rock outcroppings and the occasional conifer. Even though it was July it has been a cooler and wetter season, so the hills were much more green than usual for this time of year. Meadows of desert flowers put forth their tender shoots, glorious blossoms of wild flowers such as Mariposa Lilies, a couple varieties of Daisies, and Lupin colorfully adorned our journey. The birds sang, butterflies danced from pedal to pedal, the bees were busy buzzing, as a gentle breeze teased the tussles of wild grasses.
Carter Mountain Wildlife Unit is just south of Tonasket, Washington. It is made up of more than 2,240 acres. The preserve supports wildlife such as golden eagle, black bear, mule deer, cougar, and bobcat. We discovered what we believe to be bear scat on the path so stay aware.
Summer has finally arrived. The sun beating down, the rather hot temperatures along with the lack of any shade was a bit of a challenge for Margaret visiting from Anacortes, where it remains cool pretty much all of the time. So we cut the hike back a bit. When hiking in Summer be sure to wear light colors, a hat, and bring plenty of water. We were prepared In this way, so other than being a little red in the face Margaret soldiered on, and enjoyed her East of the Cascades nature hike through the scrub brush and lilies.
Thanks for accompanying Margaret and I into the Carter Mountain Wildlife Preserve. We hope that you will continue on with us ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ which you can easily do by performing some easy tasks: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. Like the Wildflowers that surrounded us on our hike, Nature reminds us no matter how crazy our lives might get, life still finds a way. Wildflowers get trampled, scorched by heat and drought in the Summer, and frost and cold in the Winter, but find a way to Spring back. If you go out and smell the wildflowers, and experience the Adventure of Nature then life will Balance. The menu above is a treasure chest of ideas for your next adventure. The menu is categorized by area and activity, each is a separate website and thus need to be FOLLOWED independently. SHOP APPAREL is the PBTA spot for great adventure wear. Check it out!
2 miles, 200’ elevation gain, 1 hour duration, rated Easy
Into the Olympic Rainforest we go. What an exciting and alive place. There was so much expectation on the part of my 18 year old son, Alec, and myself of beauty and adventure in this, the rainiest place on earth. We planned on being here a week and to see as much as we could.
We were actually pretty lucky, I feel, as for the rainiest place on earth, there was only one day, which came near the end of our rainforest adventure, that it really rained, and I mean really rained on us. The rest of our time we experienced some sun, some dry cloudy skies and we also experienced mizzle, which NW Washington folks described to us as a mixture of mist and drizzle, okay… Back to the luck part. Many times right after we finished an outdoors adventure and loaded up the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro and started heading for our next destination in the Olympic National Park it would rain pretty good. Also, during the night the rain would come down after we were tucked away warm and dry in the rig for the night. So other than that one day, where we got soaked, we were indeed pretty lucky.
We made a couple stops on our way to gain more knowledge of what we were getting ourselves into by heading for the Olympic National Forest Wilderness Information Center near Port Angeles, Washington. We stopped and checked out a large old growth cedar tree transformed by Northwest Coast Tribes into a big Totem Pole.
When we arrived at the Olympic National Forest Wilderness Information Center they had a display of an old wooden cabin that might be typical of this area. Inside the center we found some interesting displays before we spoke to a Ranger whom helped us consider how best to spend this Father/Son – HS Grad time before before Alec leaves for college.
After getting some great ideas regarding our Olympic National Forest Journey, we decided to get in a quick hike, which conveniently began right at the center. The Peabody Creek Trail really shows right off the bat how spectacular and unusual the rain forest can be.
As we started our trek it was so unreal to see there was so much life that it was practically spilling out all over us. The green so vibrant, the damp ground and vegetation so fresh, so earthy. So much life that it was actually growing on top of each other. During our time in this National Park we saw many examples of new trees growing right out of, or on top of a dead one. Also, some trees were just so bizarre in the shapes and the strange ways that they grow. Then there is the mud… the Peabody Creek Trail was not too bad, you could maneuver around it pretty handily, but later we decided to try out the Peabody Creek Loop as well and that was more remote, more wild, and a lot more muddy. Finally we thought better of it when there was a portion that was not only all mud with a few roots, but steep. Adding the portion that we did of Peabody Creek Loop pretty much doubled our little outing. We would have been scrambling up this mud hill, perhaps on hands and knees, so we head back from which we had come.
A great start to this adventure of crazy trees, vines, plants, and green so much green, oh… and a big slug.
Alec and I are so excited to bring to you the start of our journey into Olympic National Park. It is stunningly beautiful and a world so different from the desert on the ocean, which is our home of Southern California. “Seems It never rains in Southern California, seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before, it never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya’ it pours, man it pours”, are famous lyrics from Albert Hammond. The song is about the struggle of someone coming to Hollywood to try and hit the big time, but at the same time if you take it more literally it does describe the weather in SoCal. It hardly every rains, which is evident by the horrible drought we have been experiencing for a couple decades, so when it does rain it comes all at once and neither the dry, hard ground or the infrastructure is ready for it and we get flooding. Conversely, in the rainforest “the rainiest place on earth” it mostly rains lightly, but pretty darn often, and if it isn’t raining it is drizzle, or mist, what a local referred to as ”mizzle”. What all that rain brings is an enchanting, bewitching place full of spectacle and wonder, but be forewarned bring your rain gear. Stick with Alec and I on this Vivid Green Escape from reality into the rainforest and you can do that easy enough by doing these simple steps: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu above you will see that PBTA travels extensively throughout these great Western States while ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in hopes to bring to you ideas and inspiration of how to take the ho hum, busy, work-a-day life that we all exist in, and balance that out with the beauty, and the magnificence of nature, Nature Heals. Each location or activity on the menu represents a different website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my hat in the picture than get one for yourself at SHOP APPAREL.
This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is a large 5,500 acre site. After making our way up a 4×4 trail we parked at Chopaka Lake one of the most famous fly fishing lakes in the lower 48. Actor Tom Skerritt, to name one celebrity, has flown in and fished here.
This hike certainly shows off the beauty of the area. Everything was so fresh and green. Along our route we enjoyed big fir trees, spring wildflowers, as well as nice lake views. The later part of the trek we made our way up some animal trails and even did a bit of bushwhacking to a favorite cliffside perch with stunning views of the valley, river and Palmer Lake.
A Big Foot Documentary was filmed in this area using infrared cameras in search of the elusive creature. They didn’t not find any proof of Sasquatch, and for that matter either did we.
If you make it up to the Similkameen River Valley Overlook mind you step as the grassy hill is deceptive as to just how steep it is and what lies just beyond that grass, which is nothing because it is a sheer cliff. The view is stunning, taking in the surrounding mountains and hills, the valley, the river and Palmer Lake. When you lookout towards the left, from that vantage point, you are looking at Canada. It is a splendid spot to sit, have a snack and enjoy one another’s company.
On the way back we stopped at the famous fly fishing Chopaka Lake and Dale cast his fly out into the lake in hopes of a trout. We saw a nice one in the shallows, but I guess he was not hungry.
Peggy sets the pace, and Marina strikes a pose.
Thanks to our local guides Dale and sister Peggy. Nick, Marina, Alec and I took a moment to take the pack off, both literally and figuratively, as we were ’Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Stay with us for more adventures, it is easy to do so by fulfilling a couple easy steps: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. PBTA travels extensively throughout the West. If you go to the menu above it may give you some ideas for an adventure of your own. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you are in need of adventure wear, such as that displayed in the pictures by some of our wonderful action models, then I invite you to go to SHOP APPAREL.
Near Lake Bonaparte in Tonasket of Okanogan County
Marina, Alec and I had ventured to Lake Bonaparte to climb Mount Bonaparte, the third highest peak in NE Washington. We were disappointed that the trail was closed at the time. So our guide, an intrepid hiker, who just happens to be my Brother-in-Law, Dale, enlightened us that just going out into Nature in these woods would bring us to the very thing that we were seeking, and that would be Balance through a renewed connection with the outdoors. My daughter, Marina, had been hard at work on her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, and my son, Alec, had been hitting the books all year long at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad California and they both sorely need a break and the forests of Washington had that and oh so much more.
We climbed into Dale’s 4×4 and headed up an old logging road. As the road turned into a trail we got out for a spontaneous hike. It was a journey to become close to nature, the sights of the big firs, wild flowers starting to bloom, a very tiny baby frog, a break in the clouds, the cool fresh air in our lungs, the breeze through the trees made us all feel more relaxed and recharged.
As Marina and her Uncle Dale took a snack break. Alec and I scampered up an embankment, bushwhacking a bit up to a clearing where we could take in our surroundings more clearly. We peered out over the tree tops of the forest at neighboring hills and dales. A suddenly clap of thunder and a few drops of rain reminded us how Washington got so green. Lucky for us it did not start pouring until after our hike.
Even a simple outing such as taking an old logging road into the forest and a short hike among the trees can put the mind at ease, while the muscles engage, and the soul soars high.
Thanks for joining Dale, Marina, Alec and I on our journey into the forests of Washington ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.’ We hope that you will join us again and the best way to do that is LIKE. COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go up to the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures to many wonderful places throughout the West that you can use as inspiration as you contemplate your next adventure. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you need Adventure Wear, one example would be the ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Cap that I have on in the picture next to the truck, then please checkout the many items available on SHOP APPAREL.
I have been in quite a few old abandon mines throughout the West, but this is my first old abandon mining operation. This once sturdy, proud building with it heavy wooden beams is anything but sturdy today. Some 125 years ago it would have been bustling with mill workers separating the precious metal from the heavy ore. Now it is a creaky, dusty, old building, window panes are all gone, part of the roof is bare, the flooring is suspect, it is decrepit, dilapidated, decaying, musty and is a ghost from a bygone era.
It is a story as old as the West it’s self. Native American’s lived on this land for thousands of years. Gold and Silver are discovered and there is a Rush creating Boom Towns almost over night pushing the Native Americans out and Towns sprung up throughout the West. Okanogan County Washington was dotted with mines as hordes of gold seeking prospectors flooded in. The Rush lasted for a dozen years or so and little is left of that Boom and Bust time, but some holes in the mountain and this Spooky Old Abandon Mining Operation from days gone by.
Thanks for joining me on this journey back in time ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in an Old Abandon Mining Operation. It was interesting and eerie at the same time. I wasn’t supposed to be there. The building is condemned, unsafe and I was the only one in the entire area. Plus it is sorta spooky looking and the folks that worked there are long gone. Who knows they probably still haunt this place seeking their unfulfilled fortunes. They don’t call these old places Ghost Towns for nothing. To continue seeking balanced through wonder and excitement stayed tuned by doing these simple tasks: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu above you will find that PBTA ventures to many fascinating locales throughout the WEST and seeks out beautiful and interesting places to hike, backpack, explore, bike, kayak, 4 Wheel and so forth and so on. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. You can’t really make it out in the picture, but I am wearing a PBTA hat which you can find along with other top quality Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL.