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A Royal Hike in Olympic National Park: Photo Diary

Last weekend Alex and I headed out on a quick overnight backpacking trip that we’ve had permits for since March. I’ve been wanting to spend a night in Royal Basin for a couple of years now but had never reserved permits ahead of time, and the walk-up permits proved tough to come by. This year I was able to snag a permit for the Royal Lake backcountry site the day they released, and Alex and I had been looking forward to it ever since.

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Telaquana to Turquoise: Backpacking in Lake Clark National Park

So do we turn back?” I asked the group, disappointment echoing in my voice. Everyone averted their eyes, staring off at the horizon or down at their feet. I knew it was inevitable: we had to return to camp. It was simply too hot to hike, the brush too cumbersome to bushwhack through, our nerves too frayed by the fourth day of our trip, and our exhaustion too high. We turned around.

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Backpacking 101: Winter Hiking Guide

Usually during the winter months I have the urge to retreat into the coziness of my apartment, but there is something about a snow-covered landscape that brings me such joy and so, even though I’d like to stay in, I head out! In past years I’ve gone on a skiing or winter camping trip about once a month, but this year I’ve made a concerted effort to go on as many winter hikes as the weather allows.

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A Winter Wonderland: Mount St. Helens Summit

I’m not a peak bagger, I don’t suffer from summit fever, and I have no burning desire to stand on top of the highest mountains. I actually prefer looking at mountains from below, staring up at their lofty peaks, being overwhelmed by their impossibly massive walls, and admiring their powerful presence. But, sometimes I make an exception and that is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when Alex and I set out with a group of friends with the goal of summiting Mount St. Helens and skiing off the summit.

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