Tag Archives: Camping

Backpacking Foley Ridge, and exploring Linton Meadows

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Friday through Sunday, 08-July-2022 through 10-July-2022


Ohh man… the last time I was at Husband lake was… well, not even a year ago, in fact.

Time these days seems to flow… differently. I don’t know how else to say it, but I can’t quite tell the difference between something that happened a year ago, six months ago, or two years ago. Maybe a relic of the new world we live in? Maybe an effect of the chaos and challenges in the office? Whatever it is… It was sure a surprise when I realized that it’s only been ~9months since I was last camped out underneath the stars at Husband Lake.

This time, however, was a bit different.
– I was flying solo, for one. No one to help carry the gear, though also no one to coordinate with.
– It was snowy at the lakes area, which was a major shift. I was expecting a warm day hiking in, but the most recent trip reports mentioned quite a bit of snow still at the far end of the trail… so I packed in some snowshoes.
– I was staying for three days, not two. I had a long weekend to spend out and about, and was looking forward to spending it away from cell signal and the light from monitors.
– Mosquitoes.


With those changes in mind, I packed a slightly different pack than previously. More food, of course, but I also left my inflatable kayak behind. I just couldn’t afford the extra weight, especially with the snowshoes strapped onto my pack. I’d bought them the weekend before, and… I’ll be candid here, I really should have noted the weight when I bought them. They weren’t light, by any stretch of the imagination, and I’d 100% come to regret those extra pounds by the end of the trip.

But we’re talking about the beginning, not the end! In the beginning, I was feeling good.
Scratch that – I was feeling great.

The drive to the trailhead was gorgeous. Sunny, warm, and absolute perfect convertible weather. I got going fairly early in the morning, and listened to amazing music the whole way out. Not emo, by any stretch, but… wistful? Wistful electronic music, if that makes any sense. (Ed Note: See the link below to the flagship song from Ben’s playlist!)

I drove, I parked, I hiked.

I felt good! I had my knee braces on, of course, but I felt strong. Or… I felt exhausted, and tired by the heavier-than-normal pack, but I felt up for the hike. I was able to push through, and I kept my legs moving and my arms swinging. My poles planted firmly, my boots were stable, and my progress was consistent.

I was… I was good!


I’ve learned something, in the last few years.

I need to meditate. I need the quiet times, when I can let my brain wander.

But I can’t sit and meditate like a monk in a mountaintop retreat. My body craves action and movement. I come alive when I’m kinetic, when I’m burning energy and traveling through the world. Life is movement for me, and movement is life.

So how do I rectify these opposing requirements? I drive. I hike, I climb, and I move. But I move in ways that allow distraction. They provide distance from my phone, and from the never-ending stream of information and distraction that our global society provides. I escape, distract my body, and force my mind to look inward and outward and all around.

It’s glorious, and I absolutely have my best thoughts and epiphanies while driving or hiking. Unsurprisingly, this excursion was no different.



I thought, my mind wandered.

I made it to camp, I set up the tent, and I allowed my mind to continue wandering.

I read some of my book, I ate food, and I hid from the mosquitoes. From the seemingly infinite crush of buzzing bloodsucking bastards. I learned that my citronella wristbands didn’t work, and I hid inside my protected tent and enjoyed the peace that only comes from being disconnected from the internet and the infinite connectivity it provides.



The next day dawned bright and cold.

I got up, cooked my breakfast, and read a bit more of my book. I pondered some of my epiphanies from the previous days hike, and braced myself to brave the stinging, biting, buzzing world outside my insect-proof mesh.

When I did leave my shielded room, I moved quickly. I’d learned that I had approximately 15s before the mosquitoes found me, so I packed my gear in my tent and then zipped off into the valley between The Husband and The Three Sisters.

I wandered, and took breaks whenever I found a nice spot that was sufficiently windy to shield me from the bloodthirsty masses. I gazed at the mountains, let my mind wander, and loved being active and outside. It was amazing!

That evening, I rested some more and kept the theme of reading and pondering. I’d had some unexpected news about my job the previous week, so I had a lot to think about… next steps, options, future paths that I could find myself on. It was good to have the disconnected downtime.




My last morning was cold and beautiful – just like the previous morning, but even clearer than I’d hoped it would be. The mountains were gorgeous in the distance, and I wished that I had infinite time and energy to just walk right up to the peaks that seemed only a few miles distant.

I know, I know. I skipped a lot of time, here… but you know what? It’s hiking and meditating and reading. What do you expect, hmm? Most of my blog posts about hikes are just “Hey, I hiked. It was fun. Then I finished”. This is pretty exceptional detail, here!

Okay. I ate breakfast, and hiked out. I went quickly, keeping to the “only stop for 12s, or when it’s windy” rule to avoid the mosquitoes. I made amazing time, in fact, finishing back at my car in approximately half the time it took me to hike in.

I drove home, listening to the same music as I had on the drive in… but pausing it more often to consider some of the ideas and plans I’d come up with on the hike.

Pretty sure that’s a good sign, if I’ve ever seen one.



Appendix A: Music Video. “I miss the future” by Lost Kings
https://youtu.be/POryLyYbAkw


Appendix B: Mosquitoes.
I didn’t really make it clear just how many of these absolute bastards I ran into. Single slaps would smoosh 3+ mosquitoes most times… I think my max was five.
Coming home, I counted ~160 bites on my body… though interestingly none of them really itched. Not sure if it’s a new type of ‘skeeter, or if my body was just so absolutely inundated by histamines that it couldn’t process.

A Washington Adventure – Backpacking Flapjack Lakes

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Sunday and Monday, 19-June-2022 & 20-June-2022

It’s been a while since I’ve had an adventure like this, hasn’t it? One big adventure with a few different blog posts dedicated to it? Well… Here we go! Adventure to Seattle, solo-style!

A while back, I was granted citizenship to Austria, through an update to the Austrian Constitution allowing repatriation for descendants of those displaced by war. I compiled paperwork over six months, sent it all in, and then waited almost nine months. Then, out of the blue, I get a package in the mail – a very official package with my “Bescheid” included – my new citizenship!

Now that I have it, though, I need a passport… and the closest consulate is in Seattle. I haven’t been for a few years, and I’ve never had an opportunity to either explore the city on my own or to go backpacking in the Olympic National Forest… which happens to be right across Puget Sound from Seattle…



When I told my Manager at work that I’d be taking some time off, I got a very unexpected reply. My manager, since I don’t think I’ve discussed him before, is an older gentleman. He’s small, and fairly frail. With absolutely no offence intended, he’s not someone I’d expect to be out in the woods.

But when I mentioned that I was planning on backpacking the Olympics, his face lit up in a way that I hadn’t really seen before. He started rattling off hikes that he recommended, and our conversation ended up meandering all the way from the Olympic National Forest to his ascent of Mt. Rainier.

It’s always amazing, to me, to learn the subtle details of someone’s life that you never would have learned otherwise. The people we see, day to day, tend to become one-dimensional caricatures… “Ohh, Bob is just a guy who works in the shop, and eats PB&J every day”. It’s… unfortunate… that we tend to loose out on the rich tapestry that everyones lives actually are.

I learned that he, as a younger man, had been an accomplished outdoorsman – and mountaineer, in his own right. He regaled me with stories of glaciers and hikes… nothing too crazy, mind you, but stories that, simply put, mirrored my own surprisingly closely.


From all this, I got a target – Flapjack Lakes, from the Staircase trailhead.


I looked up the details, and planned my ascent. The trail was a normal length for me, and the elevation gain wasn’t outside my comfort range. It was high, don’t get me wrong, but it felt doable – especially with all the Physical Therapy that I’d been doing recently.

I’d planned the adventure well – I’d leave Seattle on Sunday, taking the ferry across Puget Sound, and then drive to the trailhead. It wasn’t the fastest route, by a good margin, but it was the best adventure… and you know what? That was the whole goal here – I enjoy taking the scenic route, and a ferry absolutely meets that criteria.


The ferry ride went beautifully. I had time to not only enjoy the pastries that I’d picked up from the Panama Hotel tea house, but I even had time to call my Dad and StepDad to wish them a happy fathers day! What – you expected that I should forget such an auspicious day? Never! Well… I did forget to call my friends who have kids, but… yeah. I felt bad about that, when I realized.

Anyways! To the hike!

It… Uhh… It was a hike.

You know how I usually skip the details of the hike, because it’s effectively just me stepping one foot in front of the other for seven hours?

Yeah… this was like that. But beautiful!!! I mean, I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for seven years now (yeah, I can barely believe it myself), but I’m always awestruck at the sheer volume of vegetation that surrounds me when I step into the woods. Don’t get me wrong – West Virginia puts up a good fight, but… Well, The Olympic National Forest is a rainforest. And Rainforests have a very high biomass concentration.


It was, simply put, beautiful.

I walked, I adored the views, and I appreciated the many waterfalls that I saw. I enjoyed the snow-capped peaks when they shone through the trees, and I loved every foot of elevation that I earned, with a 40lb pack on my back.

I camped at Flapjack Lakes, exceptionally happy and proud of my ascent. It wasn’t an easy one, to be sure, but I felt good by the time I was setting up the tent in a small clearing next to a snowfield. The lakes were clear and cold, and the nearby Sawtooth Ridge stood out against the cloudy sky. It was exquisite, exactly what I had been hoping for.


That night, I camped under the stars. I ate my dinner, drank both cocoa and apple cider (yep, I brought them both), and read my book. It was… It was. It simply was, and that was exactly what I’d been hoping for.


The next day dawned… well, it didn’t quite dawn bright. It was cloudy, but… you know, it wasn’t bad at all. It might not be bright and sunny, but it was cool, beautiful, and I didn’t need to wear sunscreen. So… you know. Win!

The hike back out was beautifully simple. I took my time, making sure to not overstress my knees or burn myself out, and stopped every hour or so for a nice rest to read more of my book. I enjoyed the scenery, sipped water, and clomped along down the trail toward the car.

Simple. And. Beautiful.