Trip Report on today’s hike to Summit Lake, near Mount Rainier

Mount Rainer compressed


Trip report from today’s hike at Rampart Ridge, Mount Rainier

Having worked to get ready for the hikes in Italy, we want to keep the hiking skills going here in the Pacific Northwest. Our first day where neither of us had anything we had to do was July 4, which was a beautiful day. I knew the parking lots at many trailheads would be full quite early, so I thought of Mount Rainier, which has large parking lots at its main visitor centers. As we discovered when we spent July 4 at the Paradise Lodge some years ago, many of the trails are also still under snow. So we headed for the historic village of Longmire, which in the past we have tended to drive through quickly on the way to the higher and more spectacular Paradise. The Rampart Ridge hike is rated as Moderate difficulty, about 5 miles or so round trip, with 1300 foot elevation gain, and some lovely views from the top of the ridge. It was indeed a breeze compared with the 20 km hike when I had blisters and faithful old boots that were choosing that time to lose their treads. My feet loved the new Merrell boots and socks with liners. I wrote a trip report for the Washington Trails Association web site, which includes a few pictures. IMG_6041

Why I went to the [Maine] Woods, Where I Lived, and What I Did

My recent trip to the Northeast Corridor included some great theater, visits with family and friends, and a welcome dose of crisp fall weather with beautiful foliage. I’ve written about the theater but not about the adventure in which I stretched myself the most: my quest to visit the mountain where Henry David Thoreau first experienced nature as a superhuman, impersonal force. During the many years we lived in New England, I only caught sight of Mount Katahdin once, from a distance as we drove by on I-95 at the end of a trip to the maritime region of Canada.

My interest in Thoreau was revived on last year’s northeastern trip when I revisited Walden Pond one glorious autumn day.  I’ve read Robert Richardson’s excellent “intellectual biography” of Thoreau and given some thought to leading a discussion class on Walden, which may come about in January.  Jim was anticipating a busy workweek in Boston, and it seemed like a good opportunity to slip off and spend a few days in Maine. (more…)

Pictures from Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps

It’s my goal to write a little about my adventure in Baxter State Park this month, but in the meantime, I have uploaded several albums of pictures to my Facebook site.

A good one to start with is of my second full day there, when I stayed near the camp itself:

My first full day I went on a hike with guide Holly Hamilton.  We climbed South Taylor Mountain, a short but steep climb up the mountain next to Mount Katahdin, visible from the camp:

I took a few pictures on the three-mile hike from the camp back to my car:

To learn more about the camp, see their website at 

Late summer at Mount Rainier

On clear days, we can see the very top of Mount Rainier from our house (the rest of it is hidden by the nearer Squak Mountain), constantly inticing me to go visit it.  Being two and a half hours from a major national park is one of the privileges of living in this area, and I try to take advantage of that at least once a year.  (more…)

Our hike Saturday afternoon at Cedar Butte

In an effort to keep some little hiking momentum going after our walking tour in Scotland, we went for a short hike not too far from here during a dry spell in the off-and-on rainy weather we’ve been having.  I wrote a trip report of the hike for the Washington Trails Association web site, which collects reports from individual hikers for the benefit of other hikers.  You can read it at