John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Painted Hills Unit
Wednesday, October 17We took two days to get from the mountainscapes of the Cascades in Washington to the moonscapes of the Painted Hills in Oregon. It was an abrupt transition in temperatures as well, and we soon found ourselves in shorts and shirtsleeves. Out of the mountains, the terrains turns arid and rolling hills replace rock.

The route Mary fixed took us through an array of lesser traveled roads where we seldom saw another car for 100 miles. Much of the time, we paralleled the Columbia River. We overnighted in Boardman at a lovely County Park on the river. Early afternoon on Tuesday, we arrived in the tiny town of Mitchell. There is little-used city park with 4 electric sites at one end of town. Well, it used to be little-used. It is not fancy. We pulled into the lot and I maneuvered the rig into place in one of the narrow slots. Just as I was backing in, a 40’ diesel pusher and a truck pulling a 5th wheel, pulled in We all just fit in the four spaces. The power – although newly installed – is dicy. Twice we lost power for a time, once later in the evening. The nights are in the high 30’s here and we were all using our electric heaters I guess.

It wasn’t long before the resident turkeys showed up. I was hearing an odd chirping sound coming from the scraggly trees along the dumpy stream next to the campground. I was looking on the ground, but the sound was coming from the trees above. Roosting turkeys. They showed up pretty regularly, over the 2 days we camped there. Moving up and down the road and through the little park nearby, they seemed to tolerate us well enough.Since the formations at Painted Hills face mostly west, getting there at sunrise was not really necessary. The hills are largely backlit – especially this time of year with the lower sun angles. We waited until late morning before driving the 8 miles into the park. The road into the monument winds through a canyon the eventually opens up into wide cultivated fields. Occasional mud hill formations rising behind gave us a few early looks at what was to come.The road turns to gravel about a mile from the end, but it is easy to drive in a car. At our first main stop, I could see the hills were quite dark and shadowed from the sun still not high enough to fully illuminate them. We could see the dramatic strips of coloration, but not as vividly as with better light. Instead, we busied ourselves on the opposite side of the road where the sun shown full-on.  Instead of stopping at the main overlook of the monument, we chose to first drive the road further in. There are 3 short hikes off the road that lead through and to different formations.Along the road to the Red Hill hike, we stopped occasionally to photograph the oddly colored hills. Today we have brilliant sunlight. I thought the light would be to harsh, but the cracked surface of the hills seem to absorb, not reflect, the intense light. Taking care with what angle I chose to photograph from made a difference between too harsh and too saturated.
The Red Hill walk is pretty appropriately named. But if you came at it from a different direction, you might call it the yellow hill hike. The trail rises gently and winds around a couple of multi-colored hills. Animal tracks, some fading in a blur of blending mud, some fresh, crisscross the hills, creating a kind of focal point. Finishing that walk, we moved on to the Leaf Hill Trail. It boasts leaf fossils that are found on one particular hill, but a fence keeps anyone wanting a closer look from getting close. We didn’t make any photos here, but it was a pleasant walk with some views of the surrounding hills from the higher points on the trail. The Painted Cove Trail is another easy walk through interesting hills. A spur trail rises up to a higher lookout and really affords a nice view of a lake that cannot really be seen any other way. It is hidden from the ground, and on private property. By now, it was early afternoon. We drove back to the main overlook to have our lunch at one of the benches placed along the rim trail. We hung-out there for another hour as the light got  lower and softer. This rim trail is a gradual rise up along the top edge of the formation. The main trail is easy to walk, but a branch trail is a little rougher.From the parking area, there are a few different sections to walk to and by. The first views are of the further reaches back toward the monument entrance. The sun was just beginning to created shadows on the hills. The light is a little softer and the tans, golds, and reds really stand out. A little higher along the trail, we walked behind some of the hills. Here, the hillsides are eroding in a way that blends and blurs the color stripes running through them. I loved the illusion of softness in the hills. Later, I came upon an area with dueling yellow and red hills dotted with black spots. Compositions went on and on. This was the most interesting area to me. Toward the end of the trail, the widest views open up. I found more nice abstract forms in the hillsides here, We lingered at the end of the trail for a while before returning to the parking area. Down at the junction of the main park road and this parking road, there is the short 3/4 mile Canyon Rim Trailhead. It rises 400 feet in 2 long switchbacks to the top of the long ridge that sits opposite the main hills area. We wanted to see the views from the top.We waited until late afternoon hoping the light would be softer and the air clearer. The controlled burns in the area have created somewhat smoky air – especially in the mornings – until the light breeze comes up to push it away later in the day. This trail provides plenty of new viewpoints as it rises up the hillside. The air was still a bit hazy, but not so bad as to keep us from making images. Once the trail switchbacks around, views from the other side of the ridge can be seen. Much of the surrounding area is ranch land, so pockets of green pasture stand out from the browns of the surrounding  terrain. From the top at the end of the trail, views all around the area opened up. I liked the new perspective as well. We again lingered here for a time before heading back down the trail. Once back in the car, we revisited a few of the turnouts on the way out of the monument. The light was lower now and we finished off our day in the same spot we started before we headed back to camp.
We have less than a week left in this trip. Our plan is to head south to spend our last few days out at Prairie Creek State Park in Northern California – if we can get a campground.

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Leaving the Cascades – But Not Quite

Liberty Pass
Saturday October, 13
We left Winthrop on Friday, headed for the geographic center of Washington – the town of Cashmere. The Chelan County Fairgrounds in Cashmere was the only accommodations we could get on this busy Octoberfest weekend. It is a 300 site field with full hook-ups. Fortunately there is only a handful of rigs here so we don’t feel crowded. We can stay until Monday morning, when the kennel club is taking over the entire campground. They didn’t have to ask twice. Monday we move definitively south.We weren’t quite ready to leave the area and decided to look around this southern area a little more. A visit to the local forrest service office for recommendations sent us up to Forest Service Road 1912, off of Highway 97.         Here we found a confusing array of FS roads that, between the Garmin and our road atlas, eventually brought us to our goal of finding Hainy Meadow. We were also looking for potential camping sites. Yes, more frozen stuff. Gotta work with what is there. The road started up through heavy forest. This being Saturday, there were times we had to wait-out streams of traffic on this dirt road. It was narrow, but had plenty of turnouts for getting by others. Hainy Meadow was 15 miles in, and navigating these crisscrossing FS roads was difficult. Our atlas had some of the roads, Garmin had some, neither showed exactly where the meadow was, but Mary’s diligent navigation work did eventually get us there. For a long while the road was pretty boring. Only occasional larch were spotted and there was little other autumn color to be seen. We found one FS campground, but the elevation and heavy tree cover excluded it from consideration. The road eventually crossed a large talus slop whee panoramic views could be seen. Much of the forest is burned here, leaving large swaths of dead trees, but the fires have also opened up the landscape, giving the  larch room to grow here. After much consternation about just where we were and how far it would be to get back, we finally made it to the meadow. Not a real exciting day-trip and too long a drive left us a bit tired for anything more than to drive back to camp to end our day. Over the next few days we will be making our way to John Day Fossil Beds – Painted Hills Division, in Oregon. It’s a favorite stop with a very different landscape than what we’ve been experiencing here in Washington. We have a week-and-a-half left on this road trip.

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Highway 20 Larch Tour

Tuesday, October, 9
We avoided doing any hiking the day after the Dock Butte hike. The beautiful weather of Saturday, turned into the wet, not quite rain, cold dreary Sunday. We spent the day catching up on image processing, writing and reading. There were still more hikes on the east side of the Cascades we wanted to do, so we headed back for a few more days. Weather was supposed to be clearing and we wanted to use those days for hiking.

We spent a couple of days in Winthrop. On Monday, weather was still kind of iffy. We visited the nearby Forest Service office to see if we could get some advice on a nice larch drive. The ranger there recommended a drive up Highway 20 to the area of the Loup Loup Campground. In winter this area is a snow park and the paved access road is for snowmobiles.

It turned out to be a great way to get off the busy main road and have a pleasant drive where we could stop mostly at will, walk around and investigate without having to dodge traffic. We first tried a few forest service roads off highway 20 as we drove up to Loup Loup. Several were showing nice larch from the highway, but getting the right angle was difficult and the roads we chose were more suited to off-road vehicles rather than the RAV.  Much of the forest around here has either burned or been managed, meaning undergrowth has been removed. While it really helps in making clean compositions, I find I don’t like the unnaturally open looking result.  The larches at this lower elevation seemed different than what we’ve seen at the 5-7 thousand foot level. They looked more like sugar-pine tree trunks with larch branches. They were thicker, more symmetrical and exhibited some nice levels of layered branches. Hybridization with western larch is apparently the answer. While there are no subspecies of larch, they are genetically different trees from their high elevation versions. This access road eventually moved out of the thickest larch area, so we turned around and went looking for the Loup Loup turnoff. Unfortunately, we found the road we wanted to drive was gated just a mile into it. We looked around another short road nearby, but the trees were not as accessible nor plentiful along there. The clouds were thickening again, dulling the light, so we called it a day.Next up – our hike to Cutthroat Lake.

Cutthroat Lake Hike
Thursday, October, 11
We left Winthrop Wednesday morning to return to Klipchuck campground for 2 more days. Our final hike in the northern Cascades will be a new one for us. It is rated as an easy 4 mile roundtrip hike to Cutthroat Lake, with a 650’ elevation gain.

In the few days we were away from this campground, half of it had closed. Our favorite campsite was now behind a gate. In the remaining loop, we did find a nice large fairly open site where I should be able to get enough sun for the panels.This time of year, cloudless skies mean cold temperatures. It was a very still morning, and even at 9 am, in the shade of the valley, frost still clung to everything. On the railing of the bridge over Cutthroat Creek, the frost stood on end as if it too was trying not to touch anything metal. The trail was one of the easiest to walk on this trip. It was wider than most, not very rocky, nor full of wet slippery roots. It rose steadily most of the way, but was gradual, so hardly noticed. Frost on everything again stole my attention for a time, but it wasn’t long before the sun reached us and everything melted.  But by now we were getting into views of the surrounding area and the larch were lit with morning sun. They simply glowed. The trail would plunge into forest for a time, then cross an open area revealing more views. Once at the top of the ridge, it leveled out for a quarter mile before reaching the lake. It’s another Lake-in-a-Bowl kind of place, with steep mountains dropping to larch infused pine forest at lake edge.Wonderful grasses in the still waters of the lake created nice patterns and reflections. Large boulder seemed to float on the opposite shore. We lunched here and enjoyed the quiet spot. Only a few hikers were seen on the trail on the way up but most seemed to be going on to Cutthroat Pass and beyond instead of stopping at the lake. We were alone. After lunch, we tried to walk around the lake a bit more but the trail seemed to peter out after a time. It became more of a bushwhack. I don’t like tromping through such fragile areas  if thee is no path, so we turned around. We backtracked back down the trail a ways, before trying another branch trail pointing to the lake. About a quarter mile later we came upon new angles of the lake and shoreline.


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More North Cascades

Friday, October 5A day after our Sauk Mountain hike, we had a late morning inside the rig before venturing out. It was quite overcast, cool and drizzly. We did a drive into North Cascades National Park, but neither of us was particularly motivated to photograph much. We drove as far as the power station town of Newhalem and stopped for a time at the hydroelectric plant there. Many years ago, the owners created a kind of illuminated fairy garden amongst the forest and extensive waterfalls behind the plant. The illuminated part has gone away, leaving a sort of abbreviated botanical garden on one section of the property. Here we found a wonderful row of maple trees planted along a walkway. The five trees each turning a different shade of autumn. We walked the grounds a bit more. There is a short trail that leads into the steep forest behind the plant, but a fire some years ago has left it kind of trashed looking. The powerful cascade of water coming down the mountain falls, is clogged with wicked looking logs, so is not terribly attractive as waterfalls go. We headed back to camp, looking forward to out hike tomorrow.

Dock Butte Trail
Saturday, October 6As was predicted, the day dawned bright. There was heavy fog again in the valley where we were, but not as thick as earlier in the week. We had a longer drive this morning to reach the Dock Butte Trailhead. 20 miles of highway and 10 on twisty forest service roads. These FS roads were in much better shape than the road up to Sauk Mountain. All of this to hike up another 1,200 feet on a 4-mile out-and-back hike.As usual, the first 3/4 mile switchbacks up through the heavily forested mountain. The trail here is full of slick tree roots and can be rocky with a few drop-offs. I’ve been on much worse however. As the forest begins to thin, a few tarns emerge among the diminutive meadows. The surface was still partially frozen from overnight cold, and ice crystals decorated the top. A good place to catch breath. We came across a couple more ponds, each with different ice patterns to play with. The trail continued through more colorful meadows as the trail rose steadily. Not as steeply as the first part, but unending uphill. I kept being distracted by tiny frost-tinged plant life, or neon back-lit color on either side of the trail. The first real views of Mt. Baker came along, but the mountaintop would not put in an appearance. The best I got was a brief look at an upper edge, then it was gone. It was obscured the rest of the day. As we climbed higher, the views opened up and we could better see the mountain peaks all around us. As was the case during the last hike, on one side of the trail we could photograph frozen stuff, on the other, brilliant color. Looking closely at some huckleberry plants, I noticed little frozen water droplets on the frost covered leaves. They were beginning to thaw as I watched. I eventually caught up with Mary having a little break on a large boulder. Way up behind her, I could see our eventual destination. It looks pretty daunting, but the way the trail is laid out, it is not a really difficult hike – except for one section just below the summit where the rock juts upward. Some dicy rock scrambling over slick stone is required to get to the top. It’s a very short distance to scramble, but a little scary looking. Once up that last bit of trail, we arrived at the top and the panoramic views all around. There was still a fair amount of haze/smoke over the Baker Lake valley, but everywhere else was quite clear. There were just a couple of guys at the top who were quite talkative. They were amateur ham radio operators, who had set-up antennas and transmitters, trying to contact other radio operators on surrounding peaks near us. It’s a sort of game they play to gather points in order to attain “Mountain Goat” status for having transmitted from high-points. Dock Butte equals 6 points, while Mt. Baker gets you 10. Mountain Goat status equals 1000 points. While we were there, more people began showing up. I thought today being Saturday, we would see a lot more people on the trail than there were. When we first got to the parking area this morning, there was already several cars in the lot. 3 more showed up while we were getting ready. It seems most took the branch trail off to Blue Lake instead of the longer, steeper Dock Butte hike. We met several who intended to hike to the lake, but missed the branch trail. There are no signs to indicate which branch trail leading off into the forest is the correct one. Also, this trailhead is called Blue Lake, with no sign for Dock Butte. We also met a few who hiked up from Blue Lake – but there is no marked trail to do that. The sky wasn’t getting any clearer, so we started our hike back. This direction went much quicker of course, but there were more stops made for details and views. We will be heading back to Winthrop on the eastern side again. The weather is supposed to calm down for the next few days, so we hope to get in another larch hike before we begin to make our way home. Stay tuned!

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Back to Northern Cascades – West Side

Back to Northern Cascades – West Side
Wednesday October 3We left our creekside campground late morning on Wednesday, headed back to the northern Cascade mountains. This time to the west side. The weather forecast was sounding better for the north after last nights light rain. It was cold again last night where we were, but as we began traveling up to Stevens Pass, we could see how cold. Looked to be a few inches of new snow blanketing the mountains. At the pass, we managed to pull the LD and Rav into a turnout to take in the scene. Fortunately the road was clear and we had no problem getting through.There are few easy ways to get from one side of the Cascades to another, and it took all day to get to Howard Miller Steelhead Park. This county park is right on the Skagit River near the town of Rockport. It is very tidy with water/electric and a dump station. Great to have the hook-ups during these extended grey days. The park was pretty empty when we arrived, but the reservation board showed it to be nearly booked for the weekend. There were 3 lesser sites (parking on wet grass) available for Friday and Saturday so we took one, but will have to move.

Sauk Mountain Trail
Thursday October 4Yesterday’s grey, rainy day was replace by a sparkling morning – above the fog that is. It was heavy in the campground when we awoke. Usually that would mean we’d go out looking for images, but because of today’s 1,200’ 2.5 mile hike, we decided to skip the early morning walk for the larger hike ahead.Sauk Mountain trail is reached after following an 8 mile heavily potholed and switchbacked forest service road. Oh and it’s quite narrow. But once up the 4000’ elevation gain to the trailhead, it becomes clear how wonderful this hike can be. Most of this hike is made up of long switchbacks that traverse a very steep and wide meadow. The trail is narrow all the way up and it feels like one little slip could lead to a long slide. The autumn color didn’t seem to be at peak here. Not as intense as 2 years ago. But this year we found pockets of frost in every shadow on the steep hillsides along the trail. A cold morning at camp meant a freezing morning up on the trail. It wasn’t cold in the sun though. We could photograph the shadowed hillsides while standing in the sun. A treat to be able to keep warm and take lots of rests in-between switchbacks. Frost clung to edges of ferns, vine maple and huckleberry. We found icicles forming of tree limbs and rock outcroppings. It was a bit odd concentrating on the details of the flora frosted for autumn, while walking up this panoramic mountainside. We continued up the trail, constantly alternating between views of the valley from up high and looking at the minutia of the undergrowth. Once up past the switchbacks, the trail levels a bit and moves through more meadow/forest mix terrain. We found a lunch spot overlooking Sauk Lake and watched clouds forming and moving around the valley. Moving further upward, we were now hiking above the tree and snow-lines. The rocky trail was still easy to follow as it wound up to he pinnacles at the end. From the top, commanding views of the river valley below. We arrived at this ending viewpoint early afternoon and enjoyed the views for a time before turning around for the walk down. Along the way we stopped to locate the source of the distinctive whistle we were hearing. This little pika was quite content to sit on his rock in the warm sun. The trip down went pretty fast, but we stopped again for views that had changes a bit since coming up the trail. Checking out the still frozen areas, i found the exquisite little ice sculpture, reminding me of a seahorse. It was  maybe the size of a half-dollar and nestled into some star-like plants. Nearby, water, frozen over twigs, created a sort of icefall. Arriving back at the now quite busy trailhead, we broke out the coffee and enjoyed the views of the dried fern hillsides and panoramic views of the valley before heading back down the 8 miles of forest service switchbacks.Our next hike is another favorite from 2 years ago – Dock Butte. It is another 1200’ accent, but this time, a 4 mile round trip.

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Central Cascades

Lake Wenatchee and Stevens Pass
Monday, October 1
Because of almost certain sustained rain in the north, we decided to move a bit south and spend some time in the Central Cascades where rain was much less likely. We found a very nice Forest Service campground very near the shores of Lake Wenatchee. It is still quite cold here, but other than light showers last night, looks to be a dry couple of days. The campground is nearly empty. Amazing what a little rain and cold will do.Monday morning we set out for a short hike around the lake. The trailhead was just a few miles down the road from us. It runs through Wenatchee State Park – which is also just across the road from our camp. A short drive to the trailhead and we were walking through the groomed forest within the state park.The groomed thinning allowed for lots of new undergrowth to flourish, and this time of year it means lovely bursts of color.Mult-colored vine maple is most abundant, but birch is turning now as well as multiple other shrubbery.  The 2.5 mile trail is wide and very easy to walk. It meanders through colorful forest for a time before breaking out to the lake itself. Todays gloomy cloud cover, while not producing any rain, has made the lake look rather dull. So back into the forest we went.

Deception Falls
It was still early afternoon and we wanted to see more. Clouds were increasing though, so we decided on a drive-look over to Stevens Pass on WA-2. The pass itself was kind of disappointing. The heavier cloud cover obscured much of the mountainside and no roadside pull-outs meant pulling off was to risky. The color just wasn’t happening here. We drove on to Deception Falls just a few miles further. The falls actually pass under the highway as they cascade down the mountain.There was really one vantage to make pictures, and that involves walking under the overpass on a steel walkway to a platform. There is also a short half-mile path that ran along the river an through the very mossy forest.  As the trail switchbacked down to the river, I came across a small set of made objects sitting on a log. Seeing them brought to mind language and communication. What would a civilization look like who used these objects to communicate? Down along the river I found a nice frothy cleft of water and rock.  As we finished the short loop, light rain began falling. It wasn’t going to get better this late in the day, so we returned to camp for the night. It’s really amazing how much time we can spend of stuff like this. Even today when the photography was not going particularly well, we managed a few nice images.

Icicle Gorge and Tumwater Campground
Wednesday, October 3
|A very cold and sunny morning was waiting for us when we awoke. Outside, ice formed on any surface holding last evening’s raindrops. We didn’t rush to rise until the shine started to. Once the ice melted, we got moving and managed to get out on the road. We headed to Icicle Gorge and a trailhead 17 miles up in there somewhere. Along the way we stopped a couple of times for views of the Wenatchee River. It’s about the first sun we’ve seen in last few days. Icicle Creek Road starts out in the town of Leavenworth, but quickly heads out towards the mountains. Once in the canyon, the road turns to gravel and narrows. There are plenty of turnouts and wide spots for passing. Quite a few campers out here as well. Many looked long-term. At the start of the canyon, there was little foliage turning color, but as we gained altitude, more and more were seen. We found our trail with no problem. The entire loop is 4.5 miles and looked to be pretty easy, but we decided to do only a portion of the trail that follows Icicle Creek. We could hike to a bridge the crosses the creek and decide whether to go on from there.
I had in mind more flowing water pictures, and at the bridge we found some nice vantage points to work from. The creek (not sure a torrent like this should be considered a creek exactly), thunders through a chute of solid rock. It has created potholes and worn smooth rock revealing interesting veins of quartz. A good piece of time was spent here. We continued on the trail a little further to an overlook of the creek. From here, the trail turned back toward the starting point, but on the other side of the creek. Mary decided to turn around here, but I wanted to walk the rest of the trail back to another bridge. Mary would meet me there, cutting about a mile off my extended hike. There was some nice color here and there, but little access to the water from this side. In fact, the trail leaves the river completely for a time before coming back at the next bridge. Just as I was walking across the bridge, Mary pulled up from where we had parked at our original starting point. Here at the  bridge I found pine needles getting caught on a submerged log and being guided along the edge as a stream before being released at the end. I made a few versions of it. We were done for the day. Not real energetic for us, but a nice day.On the way back to camp, we decided to stop for a time at the Tumwater campground. We’d heard this was a great location for autumn color, but when we arrived, we found it closed. We parked outside the gates and walked around inside. The place looked to have been  closed for a very long time. We found out later it was closed after a large fire elsewhere. It seems it would often be in the path of flooding caused by the now denuded mountainsides. It has been closed for several years now. The color here was not spectacular, but good for a few more images. Tomorrow, we hike another favorite: Sauk Mountain trail.

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Northern Cascades National Park – Blue Lake Hike

Thursday, September 27Another beautiful day greeted us this morning. Scarcely a cloud in the sky. It will be a great day for another of our favorite hikes. The Blue Lake trail is a 5.3 mile out-and-back hike with an elevation gain of 958’. It is a pretty gradual gain over the 2.6 miles up and is sort of typical of hikes around here as far as terrain goes. We started in heavy forest and slowly curved our way up the mountain. Occasional breaks in the forest provided nice views from time to time. It is another contrasty day, so finding angles to photograph from is harder.We were on the trail by 9 am and really glad we were. This is a very popular trail and there were several cars already in the lot when we arrived. Several hikers passed us by the first mile, and we could hear more further down the trail. The first larches started appearing about halfway up, but there were only a few areas to stand without trampling the delicate heather growing all around.We kept climbing up the trail, stopping occasionally to catch breath and look around. Before we knew it, we were at the lake. There was only 2 other people there when we arrived, and they soon left. We started making images around the lake while we had it to ourselves. We had maybe 20 minutes before people started streaming in.
As more folks arrived, we backtracked to where the Tarn Loop trail branches off from the end of the Blue Lake trail. We couldn’t  hike this loop 2 years ago because of snow we didn’t want to slog through. But today it was open and clear. It is maybe a quarter mile loop around several alpine tarns and starts off with a steep little incline that opens to new views of the lake and Liberty Bell Mountain Group. No one seemed to be coming up the trail behind us and it quickly got nice and quiet as the voices from the viewpoints faded off. We had our lunch in this higher vantage to the sound of pika chirps coming from the boulder field behind us. Walking along the trail, we found branch trails dropping down to the lake. We lingered here for a time making pictures of  reflections and getting some nice views of the mountain group. The lake surface went from smooth to rippled constantly, and reflections did the same.
The trail moves uphill a little more, wrapping around several small ponds that make up the tarns. As it rounded one, wide views of the surrounding mountains were revealed. The trail then bends back toward the start and it is a nice easy walk back through forest. People were really streaming in now, so we beat a hasty retreat back down the mountain trail. We had to stop on several occasions to let long trains of bunched up groups go by.As we walked into the parking area, I look up again at Liberty Bell Mountain and saw a couple of paragliders  (or whatever you call those propelled sail riders). We watched them circle lazily up there while we sipped our coffee down here.
This was another wonderful hike. I still prefer more dramatic weather conditions, but I was also happy to be able to walk some new areas while up there. Another hike I would love to do again.

More unsettled weather is supposed to come in over the next week and we are planning a couple more days in Winthrop before moving to a different area of the park. I’m not sure what the connectivity will be there, so this may be the last blog post for a week or so.

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