Friday, March 27, 2009

Umtanum Creek Falls, 3-26-09

For a detailed description of this recent hike refer to hike blog at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kennedy Hot Springs (1995)

Kennedy Hot Springs on Snowshoes (first published in Pack & Paddle, January 1995)

A Troop 70 Adventure

John referred to this overnight to Kennedy Hot Springs** at the end of November as a Troop 70 “Big Boys Outing” (those were the boys who had survived several years of going on outings with John).

Despite the snow John was determined to get to the trailhead. Many snowy miles later, the Happy Car* made it to the Kennedy Hot Springs trailhead. There was probably 8 or 9 inches of snow on the road at that point.

John, three veterans of Troop 70*** (Trevor, Andy and Jeff) and my friend Kathe Stanness and I unfolded ourselves from the jeep and proceeded to hit the trail. We needed snowshoes right from the beginning. We had 5-1/2 miles to go with 1,000 feet elevation gain.

Kathe and I had several months of talk to catch up on so we brought up the rear of the group. The weather was a mixture of sun, clouds, and very light snow showers. We felt like we were walking through a Christmas card.

The ups and downs are gentle – unless it is your first snowshoe overnight of the year. It didn’t take long for our heavy packs to take their toll on our middle-aged bodies. We were surprised to meet a young, long-legged man coming out as we were going in and dismayed to hear that we still had a “goodly” ways to go.

We continued on our “goodly” way. The ups and downs of the trail finally led to a flat and we could see in the distance the bridge that connects Kennedy Hot Springs was close.

There was about a foot of snow on the bridge and one of the planks was missing. The handrail was sturdy, though, so we hung on to that and walked sideways with our snowshoes on. The guard station was locked (I admit to having fantasies of it being open with a roaring fire inside and hot drinks waiting for us).

Kathe and I found John and the Big Boys camped across the bridge. It had taken us an hour longer to reach camp but I was secretly pleased to see that they were also tired from their journey,

Despite the unsanitary conditions I had read and heard about, I was cold and tired and ready to bask in the warmth of the springs, even if it did look like hot chocolate.

Andy was the first to jump in, followed by Trevor. Jeff hesitated, afraid of hypothermia as it was beginning to snow again but he couldn’t resist. Then John jumped in. Then I jumped in.

Bacteria be darned, I thought. When I saw the steam rising off the water I rationalized that probably winter is the safest time to indulge in the springs.

Kathe who does medical and scientific research knew better and stayed out of the unsavory soup but she did dip her hands in a couple of times to warm her fingers.

We stayed in quite a while, putting off the dreaded moment when we would have to emerge from the warm water and stand shivering in our piles of wet clothing.

What finally got us out of the water was the threat of darkness coming on. We had to get our meals and prepare for the long, cold night. I could devote pages to the agony of getting out of the warm water and walking back to the tents in damp clothing and wet boots but I will spare you.

Dinner was good, as always. We had potatoes, beef and gravy, and Trevor brought peach cobber for dessert.

John was still cold so right after dinner we went to our tents. We slept about 12 hours from 7pm to 7am. Kathe said it had been long enough since her last winter camping trip that she forgot some things she knew about winter camping – and so did I. I left my gaiters outside the tent: a frozen disaster the next morning.

There were a couple of light snow showers during the night of the 25th but in the morning things were quiet. We emerged from the tent and faced our morning chores. John prepared his usual omelet (in the winter it is scrambled eggs). It was delicious.

Packing up was the usual cold-fingered misery but somehow it all got done and we were ready to leave by 10am.

We’d gone out about a mile when we came upon the Mountaineers Youth Group, a party of five (three boys and two adults). They had had a long day the day before – they were not able to drive to the trailhead and had to hike an extra 3 miles to reach it.

Since they didn’t start until 1pm they were still on the trail at dark and had to set up camp before reaching Kennedy Hot Springs.

We also met a couple of young men about half-way who wondered if they had enough time to hike to the springs and out again. We advised them to turn back and they did.

Their dog had turned back before they met us and we hoped the dog made it back to the trailhead. They passed us but about a half-mile from the trailhead we met them again – their dog had taken the trail back to the car so they were going back to look for her.

Just when we reached the cars the young men came back out – with their dog. They were lucky!

We enjoyed dinner in Darrington at the Back Woods Café and relived the best parts of our adventure.

Notes: *Happy Car was the name given to the aging Jeep that delivered us to many happy places, at least most of the time. Happy Car had a habit of breaking down or not starting up again at a trailhead.

**Kennedy Hot Springs is completely gone as is the Guard Station, buried under piles of debris from floods and landslides in recent years.

***Troop 70 – The Big Boys have grown up to be fine young men. It is safe to confess 14 years later that John and the Big Boys enjoyed a cigar while they soaked in the hot springs (Kathe and I declined the cigar).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Photo trip to Clear Creek (Darrington), 3-21-09

As much as I'd like to write this up as a "hike", it really wasn't a hike so for now this seems the best place to put this.

We drove up to Darrington for a presentation put on by the Darrington Historical Society about the bridges there (past and present railway and foot bridges). That was both fascinating and enjoyable. You might want to consider joining the Darrington Historical Society - it's good for them and good for us too as they keep you up to date on events such as yesterdays. Annual dues are $10. Their address: Darrington Historical Society, POB 1130, Darrington, WA 98241.

We allowed plenty of time for photography before and after the presentation. We spent most of our time on the Mountain Loop from Darrington between the Clear Creek Campground and a bit further up the Mountain Loop where Clear Creek meets the Sauk River.

There was still a little snow but the sun was shining, a mixed blessing for photographers. We were so engrossed in our photography that we almost missed the presentation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Middle Fork Road Closure, March 23 to ?

Just a heads up - the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road in North Bend will be closed to hikers, mountain bike riders, vehicles - everyone as King County works on the road. The road is and will be closed just beyond the Mailbox Peak trailhead. This closure includes weekends. You can still get to the Mailbox Peak trailhead.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Goodbye, PI

When words fail - as they have today - I'll let the photograph speak for me.

Hiking Blog

I've started a new blog that will focus entirely on hikes, past and present, including updates on hikes previously published by the Seattle Post Intelligencer over the past 13 years. As I return to trails previously described I will update them in this new blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Soul of the Heights"

This book review was published in the PI a few months ago but due to space constraints they had to cut it down to size (this is normal!).

So here is my piece without the cuts - just thought you might enjoy the read. I know I enjoyed writing it.

Soul of the Heights - 50 years of Going to the Mountains by Ed Cooper (Falcon Guides, 207 pages, $39.95)

Warning: reading this is like falling into a crevasse – it’s going to take time to climb out again. This is not your usual coffee table book– this is a coffee table book with muscle. Even the Foreword by Peter Potterfield and Jim Nelson will stir your soul. Cooper’s mountain images are so sharp that you can almost feel the granite and the crunch of snow under your crampons. I’ve always believed that mountains find us; not the other way around. Thus, anyone who is called to mountains - hiker, climber, photographer, naturalist or reader will find this book hard to put down.

Cooper is considered by many to have been the best North American alpine climber in the 1960s. He is known not only for first ascents but also expertise in photography. Some have climbed with him, including Fred Beckey (though Beckey might contend that Ed Cooper climbed with him).

Climbers are often competitive -- Cooper no exception; “the competition to put up new routes heated up. It was open season on anything by anybody”. In the 1950s-60s climbers vied for first ascents. On a solo climb Cooper wasn’t being paranoid when he thought that Fred might have followed him. Fred and other climbers often mysteriously appeared on the scene as if tuned into a new route by radar.

Coopers descriptions of climbers are evocative. He describes Charlie Bell as a “puzzle to all the climbers who encountered him” and “during a rest stop on one climb, he pulled out a book of Chinese poetry in Chinese and began to read it.” He also climbed with Eric Bjornstad who ran Pizza Haven in the 1960s, a hangout in the University District. Near penniless climbers who dropped in were often the recipients of a pizza made by “mistake”.

Cooper describes how trapped he felt by the necessity of a white-collar job. Jobs were temporary means of making enough money to support the climbing habit - “jobs” were a last resort. Climbing is what mattered and periods of not being in the mountains were merely endured. I recall a climber I knew, who would materialize out of nowhere, showing up with a backpack stuffed with climbing gear, paring his life down to bare essence of what was needed to survive between climbs, including a battery-operated phonograph. After reading Coopers accounts of the free-spirited climbing life you may even redefine your definition of “home”. Is it where you are or what you do?

Despite setbacks this book is about success, not only in climbing but photography. Cooper easily made the transition from large format cameras to the digital age. Hundreds of his black and white negatives from the 1950s-60s were lost but with his digital darkroom he could work with the images he did have from that era, (including prints made earlier from the lost negatives) and restored faded color images as well.

Cooper selected images for this book based on his criteria: “(1) They were historical in nature (2) They represented what I felt were some of my best mountain portraits” (3) They illustrated a point I was trying to make, such as a photographic technique or a physical change in the mountains over time.” Images that didn’t fit into a particular chapter are featured in “Mountain Portrait Portfolios”. The photos hint of the extreme physical effort it took to get to such places as the east face of Bugaboo Spire (the cover photo).

His first ascents include Mount Terror (North Buttress route), the Coleman Glacier Headwall, the Torment-Forbidden Traverse and more. Cooper and Jim Baldwin put in a new route on El Capitan (Dihedral Wall) – still one of the most challenging climbs in Yosemite. The climbs are described so vividly you can almost taste the moss that Cooper and Jim Baldwin sucked for moisture when they ran out of water on a climb of The Chief in British Columbia.

It occurred to Cooper that he might not get killed while climbing so he came up with a Master Plan. The plan was to make a living doing what he loved most namely climbing and photography. The long-term plan was to find a job he could bear, “work for 8 years, make a pile of money, retire, and spend the rest of my life searching out images of nature.” He got a job in a brokerage firm in New York but hated it, especially having to don shirt and tie, his “personal straitjacket”.

His outlook improved when he was transferred to San Francisco - not only were there mountains nearby he also met his future wife. The “straitjacket” came off as soon as he began to earn money from his photography. In 1969 he was commissioned by the Seattle Mountaineers to photograph the Alpine Lakes, a dream job and the beginning of many successes. The Coopers created a stock photographic library and a line of post cards featuring California’s wine country. In 1994 they were able to sell their business and spend time doing things important to them – photography, climbing and for Debby Cooper, establishing herself as a poet.

On photography Cooper cautions, “think about the possible obsolescence factors in what you acquire”. As to climbing Cooper offers simple wisdom: “never, ever take a shortcut unless you are absolutely sure it is safe, and never, ever underestimate a climb and the effect of changing weather on your situation.”

For those of us in vintage years this book may bring back memories not only of dreams that came true or those that didn’t but what it was like to be young in the 1960s, when you’d walk into a coffeehouse and see a scrawled message on a bulletin board reading something like “Boy wants ride to anywhere” and something inside you said “Yes!” Times change, the mountains change, photography techniques change but the siren call to the wilderness is never silent.

The book concludes with a section on Technical Data detailing the camera(s) and techniques Cooper used to create images. The book is temporarily out of stock. The publishing company is in process of a re-print but the high quality images require a specific printer and it may a while until new copies arrive. For more information – or

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I got a surprise today after I got home from stomping up the Section Line Trail on Tiger Mountain. With no end date for the PI yet in sight, they have requested another Hike of the Week from me so this week's HOTW (Cougar Mountain) is not the last hike.

The HOTW for NEXT week MAY be the last HOTW. Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted. I have three hikes to choose from for the column next week .... I'm dithering. A couple of road walks with great photos or a more traditional hike - such as the Section Line Trail on Tiger.

The road walks: the Trout Creek road (off Index Galena Road), or the Middle Fork Road from the closure with an exploration of the Mine Creek Recreation Area OR the slippery slide of the Section Line trail.

What do you think? Your opinion might help me decide. I hate making decisions.

By the way if you hike on Tiger the next day or two (or anywhere) you'll probably want some sort of traction devices. I got by fine with Yak Trax.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Geezers and Geeks

First I was going to rhapsodize about how pretty Camp Long was today with ice on the pond and Indian plum bursting into bloom. Then, I noticed a minor error in the layout of my blog and spent an hour of frustration attempting to fix it. All to no avail and it wasn’t long before the gladness I carried home from the park turned to wrathful ire.

Once again I am hunkered down in that digital battlefield, a geezer unprepared to win the endless battle against cyberspace. I sometimes wonder if my computer is haunted. I hit the “save” button to save something and it vanishes, never to be seen again. Or it might pop up like a pimple on another page.

Anyone who is not a geezer can set up a blog while walking the dog and texting. That ain’t me, Babe.

I just wish I had a geek in the family. This old broad has gotta learn her way around this foreign country of blogs, web pages, texting and whatever they come up with next. At least I don’t have to worry about “sexting’ at my age.

Wish I could have gushed on about how pretty the crocuses were or the ice abstractions on the pond that looked like something an abstract expressionist might have dreamed up.

Right now, I’ve got a sore throat from yelling at the computer.

George K, Wherever You Are

George, I have been trying to find you for a long time. You were and still are my friend who I lost one rainy day on a street corner in Seattle. There were no cell phones then. In fact, you had no phone at all. You would have taken a bus, perhaps the ferry. You were not there. It was raining. I waited. Did you ever make it to that street corner?

Like me back in the 1970s we were taking a creative writing class at Seattle Central Community College. That’s where we met. You were so shy you sat in the back of the room but I wouldn’t let you escape me. Like me, you carried the words. The words that had to be written because writers are not made, they are chosen. You were one of the chosen ones.

That was long before I became a hiker. Back in the 70s I’d take the Greyhound bus to visit you – neither one of us drove. You’d be standing along side US 101 waiting for me. I’d get off the bus in high heels and a folder bursting with poems. You also had poems but I had to pry them out of you because you didn’t think they were good. You were wrong.

You had a cabin in the woods and a white cat named “Smudge”. You had no running water or electricity. You had a few books – “Turtle Island” by Gary Snyder and “Backpacking, One Step At A Time” by Harvey Manning. You had a portable typewriter, a few dishes, pots and pans, a woodstove and not much else but the starry sky that wrapped around your cabin at night and friends who also lived in the woods off the grid.

The bus doesn’t stop there anymore. The last time I visited you they were logging near your cabin. We sat in a clear-cut surrounded by the green smell of dead trees on that hot August day, you in a red bandana mourning the trees.

I’ve driven by the spot where you’d wait for me to get off the bus. It looks like there’s not much left of those woods anymore. I haven’t had the courage to stop, to see if the cabin is still there because it would hurt too much to find it gone.

Time passed and we missed each other. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough on that street corner in the rain. Maybe you missed the bus. You didn’t have a phone and I couldn’t call you. I wrote, you never answered.

I’m doing OK, George. There have been a lot of changes since I last saw you. I don’t wear high heels anymore. I’m still writing. I’m hiking, backpacking and climbing mountains and I have you to thank for that. If I had not run across Harvey Manning’s “Backpacking One Step At A Time” in your brave little cabin I might not ever have found my way to the mountains.

I’m still here in Seattle. I hope you find me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Words to Live Up To

John Engstrom, editor of “Getaways” in the Seattle Post Intelligencer has endorsed my hiking column and photographs that I provided for the past 13 years.

”When we created our “Getaways” outdoor regional recreation and travel section 13 years ago, we needed a freelancer who could write and photograph a “Hike of the Week” column for us. It was a difficult assignment that required someone who was willing – and wanted – to be out in the field, week-in and week-out, gathering the information for this feature. It also required someone with a passion for hiking and the outdoors, and the writing and photography skills to transform this to the printed page. Luckily for us, Karen Sykes joined us at the start and proved she could do what we wanted. She wasn’t the most professional writer or creative photographer at the start, but she was dogged in pursuit of honing these skills – and hone them she did, until she became a much more polished and confident wordsmith and a photographer with an eye that I admired, often in amazement, week after week. She made this transformation while also meeting the punishing requirement of a new hike (or a revisit of an old one) every week, month in and month out, year after year. Along the way she had to meet the challenges of bad weather, confusing and ill-signed trails, disappointments triggered by bad reports from other hikers or guidebook writers, even the necessity to be creative about close-in hiking when the cost of gasoline skyrocketed. Many a time I would chat with our chief outdoors writer on the newspaper staff, wondering how we would replace Karen, if for some reason, she had to leave us. Neither of us had an answer, and we figured it would probably take a committee to do the same work.” March 2, 2009

I must have read this endorsement 15 times over the last few days. Though my career at the Post Intelligencer is coming to an end I am not anywhere near the end of my writing/photography career. John Engstrom's words have given me a lot to think about and something to continue to aspire to when I write again.

First there are those memories. Of a day 13 years ago when the phone rang and it was Greg Johnston at the PI. He said he'd read my work in "Signpost" and "Washington Trails Magazine" and liked my work. Then he asked if I would like to try my hand at writing "Hike of the Week". Well, dear reader, I almost fainted. Perhaps he did not know that I had no degree other than the school of hard knocks (I graduated at the top of my class in that school) and a high school diploma, plus a year of secretarial school. True, I had a couple years of college behind me and made the Dean's List until I got to the required mathematics and sciences. That was the end of the Deans List and my college years but it was not the end of my writing.

That first hike column was a hike to the base of Stillaguamish Peak in the North Cascades with my late exhusband and his son. I look back at that hike now and while I can see a hint of the writer I would become, that first column could have been much better. Of course, I feel that way about every column I write. I felt that way about my poetry as well.

Poetry was the first chapter of my writing career under the name of Karen Waring. OPen Skull Press (Sacramento) published my first book of poetry in the 1970s entitled "A Child's Poem". I also published in "Litmus" and other small magazines throughout the 1970s. Litmus Press published another book of my poetry, "Exposed to the Elements" in 1978. My writing then was much different but I am much different as well. I had not found the mountains yet. Or perhaps the mountains had not found me yet. I still believe that the mountains chose me to write about them.

13 years of hikes, including driving directions, additional information, photographs ... and unfortuately, a few errors somehow managed to find their way into my work. Even recently -- after oral surgery and being a bit foggy in a recent hike I had a whole mountain range mixed up. I thought I was looking at the Olympics but I was really seeing the Cascades. Only 2-3 people caught that error. I cringe when I find those errors. Or worse, when someone else does. The worst thing, though, was having a "correction" run in the PI.

Some hikes were easier to write than others. Some descriptions came to me in big chunks, sweet as candy. Others were hard, like pulling teeth - yes, truly. The winter hikes were especially difficult to write up because trails and parks close to home often are a maze of loops and junctions, some unsigned. It was easier for me to describe a trail out in the middle of nowhere than it was to describe a loop on Tiger Mountain.

Age has been kind to me. Other than deteriorating vision and loss of some hearing I am almost as strong as I was 20 years ago. I am grateful that I have never sustained an injury, broken a bone or suffered anything more serious than a sprained ankle. My knees, back, and ankles are in good condition and I hike/scramble without the need for poles.

Today I ventured out to get some photos of the cherry blossoms in a snow shower. Then I drove to Alki and watched the clouds boil over the city.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

At the edge of the map

That's how it feels, like I'm about to fall off the map, or the page. My column at the Seattle Post Intelligencer is coming to an end after 13 years. That adds up to abut 50 hiking columns per year (you can do the math, math isn't my strong point) - the other two weeks the space for my hiking column was needed for "special" editions of "Getaways" - Hawaii, Vancouver BC, some of those spots that many of us can't afford to go these days.

I didn't realize how much of my identity was wrapped up as a hiking columnist. Yes, it took a lot of hikes, a lot of writing, a lot of photography to make it all work and there were times I felt pressed for time, a few times it felt like "work" rather than the joy that hiking really was. Now that the last days are here, I feel a chill in the air and in my heart. I feel my age - I am riding the back of the wave that crested for me a few years ago and will soon spit me out on land. Now the spare time I wished for at times .... is here and well, it feels empty. It feels too big. It's going to take a while to get used to this. It takes time to adapt.

My Dad used to crack bitter jokes about the so-called "Golden Years". I bought him a mug that was engraved "Screw the golden years". Now I get it. There are a lot of things about these so-called "golden years" that are anything but. When I started this blog a few years ago I felt young, I was strong, I was riding the crest of that wave and my hiking column was popular. Today the hiking column is still popular but it is being replaced - perhaps - with an on-line edition of the PI. It is the death of the printed page. I don't know for sure whether or not it's true but I've heard that the powers-that-be who are considering an on-line edition of that hoary newspaper have mostly asked those 40 years or younger to stay aboard.

At 65 I still feel young when I'm outside scrambling in my playpen of mountains, rocks, water, snow, desert, moss, lichen, trees, wildlife and I'm still strong. But the topographical lines in my mind are harder to read and my eyes are not as sharp as they used to be. My hearing isn't as good as it used to be either. No matter what one does in life, they will wear out but for the most part I have been fortunate. I have all my bodily parts, I don't have aches or pains, a bad back, ankles or knees. I don't need trekking poles to get up or down a steep hill. My balance is good. I'm agile.

But that means nothing to the march of time, the printed word being replaced by the digital age. Younger friends tell me to adapt, to be flexible, to go with the flow and of course they are right. But it's hard to do. I learned to type on an antique typewriter when I was 10. I wrote my first poems and stories on that old antique. When I was in my working years at various office jobs I had the reputation of being a fast typist, often testing at 105 words per minute with 2-3 errors at most. That made it easy to adapt to the computer. I still am a fast typist. Sometimes a little too fast. My fingers fly faster than my brain and I find myself skipping words from time to time, in my my haste to get to the next place.

Digital photography was another hurdle for me to jump, having learned how to take a decent photograph with a Pentax K-1000 (I still have that camera and use it at times). But I managed to make that jump too without getting too bashed up. I enjoy my digital camera and I am grateful for it's size and weight. Or lack of weight. It enables me to take more photos - that has a downside too. I've found that I don't spend quite as much time composing a scene as I did with the SLR. It's a little too easy to get sloppy yet it's fun to dabble in the digital darkroom.

But back to Now. With a capital N. Now what? The economy is sour, it's difficult to get a book published, to get anything published but it's not just the economy. It's partly the Digital Age. Now everyone/anyone can set up a blog or air their views and because everyone is blogging, talking on-line, gabbing, twittering, texting .... something is being lost. People are more connected but is that always to the good? As far as the newspapers go, they've got plenty of content with all these freelance bloggers who just want to vent, to air their views, to boast, to worry, to agree or disagree. And they'll do it for nothing just to see their name or their photo out there in cyberspace along with everyone else. So what happens to quality?

I've watched the Post Intelligencer shrink, almost like a cancer patient, getting thinner and thinner and thinner. Now it's in its final days and when I think of that I feel that chill in the air again, a little bit of fear and apprehension. Not just about me or how I will survive but what is going to happen to writing in general. It's not just the Post Intelligencer - its many newspapers that are folding up their tents and stealing away into the cyber fog. As for information -- there's already too much of that and too much information that isn't important. We've got a glut of information now with all the media and choices available - it's too much for anyone to digest, it's harder and getting harder to find substance in this floating mat of debris in the ocean we call "words".

Back to me: I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the PI. My grandfather, Edwin J. Dalby, was the marine editor at the PI for many years. My father, Fritz Dalby, met my mother at the PI. She was Edith White and was pretty enough to be a secretary to one of the higher-ups. It was love at first sight for my dad who was working as a copy boy then. Eventually they married and in 1943 I came along, a war baby.

When I was growing up reading the PI in the morning was a ritual. Especially on Sundays. The Sunday paper lasted all day. It was thick and delicious. And when my grandmother lost her vision my daughter created a PI with BIG PRINT so Granny could read the headlines. That's how important the PI was to my family.

I find myself running out of words, gazing out the window at my lean yard, still brown from winter. I wasn't allowed to write what I wanted to write for my last hiking column. If you think I was going to rage against the powers-that-be at Hearst you are mostly mistaken. I say "mostly" because apparently no one else was allowed to write a "wrapup" either of their time at the PI. It was "business as usual". What I believe to be my last column will appear Thursday and it will be a hike on Cougar Mountain.

It's not the hike I wanted to write. I wanted to take my first published hiking column, re-run part of it and compare that with what it is like to hike now. How hiking has changed, how our attitudes toward hiking has changed, how the gear has changed, how the digital age affects our hiking. I never understood the need or the desire to hike on an established trail with a GPS. I'd rather discover the outdoors, than know exactly where I am standing at any given moment.
But I'll talk about that more in another post.

For now I'm just trying to say farewell to 13 happy years of making money doing what I love most -- hiking. I am grateful for the Post Intelligencer to hire me as a free-lancer for those 13 years of mostly bliss. I am grateful to Greg Johnston who first gave me a jingle on the phone to ask if I wanted to try my hand at writing "Hike of the Week". I am grateful to John Engstrom who has helped me hone my skills along the way. And I have to laugh when I think back to all those times when Greg was editing my work and he'd get on my case about the trouble I had coming up with a lead sentence strong enough to grab a readers attention. And how he and I would sometimes squabble whether or not it was too soon for a "re-run", especially those winter months when I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for new hikes to write up. Greg insisted that there really wasn't a bottom to that barrel and in the end, I have come to agree with that. There is no bottom.
I lost track of my blog for a while - I was too busy hiking and writing about hikes for the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Now it's time to get back to work, though I don't consider any kind of writing "work".

Getting my blog back on the trail is going to take a little while so consider this still a work in progress.