Welcome to the North Cascades National Park

Welcome to the North Cascades National Park

If you enjoy “getting away from it all”, the North Cascade Travel Guide is what you’ll be wanting in order  to locate those enjoyable places that most folks know nothing about.

The Pacific Northwest is known for it’s beautiful wilderness and wild areas.  However, there are many, many places that have wonderful recreation sites also.

Green Lake Falls No. Cascades Park

Green Lake Falls North Cascades Park

The North Cascades National Park draws thousands of visitors to it each year.  Why?

Let’s see what there is to do.

North Cascades National Park

Perhaps one of the first things you’ll want to do is to contact one of the Rangers of the park.  She or he, will answer all your questions and even give you more to think about.

You never know what you'll see

You never know what you’ll see…..Elk

Guided tours or guided ‘talks’ with the Ranger will make for an enjoyable trip.  An outdoor ‘education’ of the park, it’s ecosystem, cultural history, geology, and it’s many carnivores living in the wild will be fascinating for all.

While you are there, don’t overlook the “Lady of the Lake” cruises up Lake Chelan (she-lan) on your way to Stehekin.

Within the park you’ll see and hear animals with fur, feathers, and scales that are scattered throughout.   If you keep a sharp eye out, you may be one of the lucky ones to see the gray wolf, fisher or even the wolverine that wanders through the forests.

For the fisherman

For the fisherman

All along the way you’ll be entertained by the antics of the Douglas squirrels and pikas that are in abundance throughout.

Have you ever see a Dragonfly up close?  Here you will and be able to examine them closely.

Hiker’s Guide

It’s been described as a hiker’s smorgasbord for the huge variety of trails, strolls, scenic, steep, or even grueling hikes that are at your fingertips.  All that is needed is for you to choose which one.

We are here.

We are here.  Top of map.  

With some 400 miles of trails, you’ll be pleased no matter which one you choose.  Deep valleys, dense forested areas, switchbacks, steep pases that lead to the higher ridges dot the entire park.

Be on the lookout for the more than 300 glaciers that protrude from the mountains and some 130 alpine lakes in the valleys below you.

Two Million Acres

Some 94 percent of the entire park has been deemed the Stephen Mather Wilderness and is the central core of more than two million acres of Federally Protected Wilderness.

During the hiking season, usually from April – October, you’ll be met with many others on the trails.  But if you are and intrepid hiker, backpacker or semi-mountain climber, keep in mind that the hiking trails are open year round.

For the serious backpacker

For the serious backpacker

A trip planner schedule should be put into use before you begin your adventure though.

Camping – Bicycling – Fishing – Horse Riding

Bicycling is one of the next best ways to travel through the park. It’s a little bit easier and you can see more than just walking.  Either way, you’ll get a scenic tour.

Come join us.

Come join us.

Perhaps you have little ones or older folks with you, then the North Cascades Highway will be just right for you.

Why not get your horse out for a little change of scenery too?  Many of the trails are horse friendly.

Regardless of which areas you choose, the Park has something for everyone.

Have comments about your favorite park?  Be sure and leave them below.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Images by:  shannontech,pinterest,seeyosemite,nationalparkcenterreservations,gonorthwest,truenorthathletics,spokesman




hi-top hiking boots with

How to lace up boots…hi-top hiking boots pictured with rand.

 

When hiking, knowing how to lace up boots can save you a lot of grief…and your feet!  There is a right way and a wrong way to lace up boots.  We will explain how to do it the right way while using a variety of boots and boot styles.

I know, you are probably thinking, “so what’s the big deal about lacing up a boot?”

And that’s the way that most folks view boot lacing.  Since there are so many different types and styles of boots, along with a huge variety of purposes for boots, it is only natural to know that there is also a  variety of ways to lace up a boot.   Different methods or techniques of boot lacing has a definite purpose.

Lets explore a few here and also a quick note on the traction treads (aka boot lugs) on boots.  But before getting into the “nuts and bolts” let’s take a quick recap of my previous comments on boots and their proper use.

Comfort…..Comfort…..Comfort

Having the most comfortable type of hiking boot available is at the heart of enjoying the fantastic outdoor locations where you’ve used your own two feet to get to.  Getting there in comfort is also an essential part of enjoying the hike.

Getting the right type of foot protection, along with a proper fit and the break-in period can make all the difference in the world to keep your feet happy along with you being a “happy camper.”     🙂

Four Major Categories Of FootWear

Mountaineering boots are usually use only by professional high altitude mountain climbers.  These boots give the absolute maximum protection.  With extremely stiff soles, sturdy exteriors, superior ankle support, and offer 100 % waterproofing and insulation, will always take some length of time to break-in properly.

Then the midweight type of hiking boots or backpacking boots are perfect for hikes that will be more than 8 miles.  Comfortable over rough terrain while giving much needed ankle and foot support for carrying heavy backpacking loads.  Usually worn at lower elevations.

On the other hand, the lighter style hiking boot is ideal for a semi-rough terrain.  Water proof or water resistance is offered.  With a midsole support and tough outer skin.  Heavier than trail shoes, this type of boot is well suited for well marked and maintained trails.

Finally, the trail shoes  aka. trail running shoes/boots are the most lightweight of them all.   Perfect for walking to nearby places having mild terrain and great traction.  Can even wear this type of shoe/boots,  on a daily basis.

 Determining Fit and Construction

As mentioned above, there are many styles of hiking boots just as there are many types of material used in the construction of each pair.

Lower altitudes and trail hiking boots/shoes are quite often made of a combination of man made material, such as nylon, coupled with either split grain leather or perhaps suede.  Breathable mesh panels can be used in conjunction with this type of boot.

On the other hand, full grain leather boots are much stiffer and will require longer periods of time to break in properly.  You can give them a good workout by short walks through the neighborhood, your place of work, or even a short hike through a nearby forest.  Doing so more often, will give this type of boot a good break in.

A boot that will be worn in either wet, muddy, or shallow stream areas, should be at the very least, water resistant.  A breathable mesh can add in allowing your feet to air dry from foot perspiration.   With a sturdy sole and shank, this type of boot would be better for your feet.  Having your foot being “rounded” by stepping on a root or stone, would not make for a happy hiking experience.

A boot rand is always a good choice.  What is a rand?  It’s that tough outer rubber guard that can be on the toe and sides of your boot.  It helps keep out moisture and is a great way to protect the sides of your boots and extend the life of them. (see opening picture)

Make sure that your choice of boot has the gusset on either side of the tongue.  A loose tongue will allow all sorts of debris into your boot, necessitating the removal of your boot while on the trail.  Not only would this be time consuming, but rather irritating for those with you.  So choose wisely.

Proper Lacing and Tying Methods

Most boots have the simple eyelets in them to quickly and easily run your laces through.  Most folks just start at the bottom and lace up boots like they would a pair of tie up street shoes.

Is there a right and wrong way to lace up and tie boots?   Yes…and No.   How so?  Many boot configurations offer the simple eyelet style of lacing, however many other boot/shoe  styles offer much more.

Such as :  Boot Hooks, where you can quickly tie up a boot without ever having to run a lace through a hole.

D-Rings are similar to eyelets.  However, they are found on the outside of the lace area and are in the shape of the letter “D”, thereby giving them that name.  Lace’s are run through the D-Rings and then tied.

Lacing Techniques

Lacing techniques depend much on the type of boot you have.

Webbing is quite different altogether.  Looking like small loops where the eyelets would be found, these offer superior holding power and anti-slip of the lace itself.  Though taking more time to lace initially, they do stay put longer.

Then there is the Combination eyelet or better know as the Combo.  Often times you will find this type with a D-Ring connection along with the Hook style.  Usually the Hooks are located towards the top of the boot (above the ankle)  and the D-Rings are more towards the toe of the boot.

All About Lugs…Not Created Equal

Once more, depending on the type of terrain you intend on traversing, will depend on the type of lug you will want to have on the sole of your boots.   The more aggressive type lug, (more protruding from the sole) the better for muddy, slippery and loose rocky soil.  Along with a good shank, you can easily walk over pointed rocks, roots, and branches without too much difficulty or discomfort.

Keep in mind also, that the shank area on the underside of your boot should be made of rubber, not plastic.  Why?  Plastic can be super supportive…but also super slippery!  You don’t want your foot to slip and slide when stepping on roots, branches or even wet rocks by allowing your ankle to roll.

An aggressive lug will “dig in” better and will allow you to have a better “grip” on the soil.  But keep in mind also, that all lugs are not created equal.  How so?

Lugs can be soft, pliable rubber.  Or can be tough, hard plastic type.  Neither would be ideal.  What you want is a combination of the two.  That is, a hard, sturdy type of rubber that will hold up to tough terrain and be comfortable on smoother trails.  It’s been known that some lugs are so soft that they at times, just break off during hikes.  Ask about the store return policy if that should be a concern to you.

Tying Techniques and Their Purpose

A perfect fit for every foot is just not going to happen.  So in order to make a boot stay put, we need to work with it and not against it.  Every foot is different.  Wide, narrow, large heel, narrow heel, high arch, flat footed feet are only a few things we need to be aware of.

Lets start with the ‘flat foot’.  Folks with this type foot usually have a problem with a snug fit over the top metatarsal part of the foot.  So to “fix” that problem when lacing up boots properly, we need to make sure that the laces over the top of our foot are pulled up snug.  Then, before going any further, say, up to the D-Rings or Hooks, we need to tie a double overhand knot.

Metatarsal area

Metatarsal area for “flat foot”

A double overhand knot is the same as when you tie your street shoes.  But instead of just crossing the laces one time, simply run the single lace around once more.  That will lock in the “knot” so it will remain and keep the metatarsal laces tight.  You can also use this tie technique at the toe end also.  In that way, you start off with your laces being locked in.

You can also lock off the top knot or final tying by using the same double overhand knot.  Then use your bow tie knot to finish or you can  double the bow tie by once more, tying another knot using the looped ends. If you have a high arch or a higher metatarsal, then this type of lacing method would be best to stay away from.

Double overhand knot

Double overhand knot

Narrow ankle or boots a wee bit too short?  Let’s tie our boot so our heel stays in the very back of our boot.  Since the lower portion of our boot is already laced and if needed, we have used the double overhand knot to keep laces in place without loosening up.

We are at or above the ankle area.  We can simply run our laces up either side and not criss-crossing the laces, (if we have hooks)  skipping over the center hook, D-Ring or center eyelet.  At the top, we again cross our laces (without tying) over to the opposite side, and go UNDER the lace at the place where we skipped the eyelet or hook or D-Ring.  Remember now, that skipped area was in the middle of the upper part of our boots.

Now we can begin to tighten.  Pull up on either lace and you’ll note that it is now pulling and tightening not just at the top, but all the way up the above-the-ankle part of our boot.  When you’ve gotten it snugged up, repeat the double overhand knot and pull snug again.  Finish it off with your standard bow.  Perhaps even using the loops again to tie another knot.

Ladder Lacing

Ladder Lacing…Just a different way to lace up a boot.

This technique will keep your heel anchored in the back of the boot and also help to keep your foot from sliding forward when you walk downhill.  At the same time, slippage at the heel will be mostly eliminated.  Blisters are not wanted while hiking.

Swollen Feet or a naturally thicker foot can also benefit from proper lacing of your boots.  (Remember to try on boots at the end of the day as our feet tend to swell during the day)

Start off with the double overhand knot at the toe of your boot.  Then cross over to the first set of D-Rings, eyelets, or webbing and go through them.  Once more, do the double overhand knot to lock the toe laces in.

Now you can quickly run laces up on either side of your boot, without crossing over to the other side.  This will allow your foot a bit of expansion in the metatarsal area.  Since a high arched foot will naturally be a bit higher from the inside sole, this will allow it the needed room to move and not feel restricted.

The skipped over crisscrossed area will need to have the double overhand knot to lock it all off.   Then you can just lace up and tie up your boots as you normally do.

Conclusion On Tying Techniques

How to lace boots/shoes

How to lace boots/shoes…Have you tried the above techniques?

Keep in mind that there is not a right or wrong way to lace up boots.  But there is a variety of ways to make your boots comfortable for you and keep your feet “anchored” properly.  Remember, comfort is the foremost thing to keep in mind, safety is next.   We do not want a boot that is going to “flop” on our foot or overly flex.  That would be defeating the purpose of a proper fit.

Wild Life You Meet On The Trail…MUST READ THIS !

Attacking Grizzly Bear

Udap Pepper Spray will stop this attacking Grizzly in it’s tracks!

Being out in the wild, from time to time you will quite by accident, meet up with wild animals.  Mostly these animals will run from you.  However, there have been many incidents where animals in the wild, (bear, moose, elk, coyotes, wolves, badgers, wolverines) will choose to charge or even attack a human.

So how do you protect yourself?

A gun?  Usually way too small caliber to do much damage against a charging bear, elk or moose.

A rifle?  Takes too long to get ready, and at most, you will only have a few seconds to react.

So what do we take with us?  I highly suggest you take with you, an easy to operate, pepper spray.

It should be handy and quick to operate and use,  a real “no brainer” for each person.  The canister type that is operated by a single finger or thumb, would NOT be the best.  What you are looking for is something that will fit in your hand similar to a gun.   You instantly activate the canister by pulling a “trigger” with your finger.

It also needs to be at your side for quick response.  It would be worn in a similar fashion as an old western shootout down main street.  Since a charging wild animal needs to stopped at a distance from you and not in-your-face-up-close-and-personal.  You will need a pepper spray that will spray a great distance, allowing the animal to breathe in the pepper spray BEFORE they get to you.

udap spray and holster

udap spray and holster…the world’s best protection!

I highly recommend the UDAP BEARSPRAY.    It will STOP a charging grizzly bear in it’s tracks!    In fact, this spray was developed by a grizzly bear attack survivor!  You can see his actual attacked picture on every canister.  It has a range of about 30 feet as compared to other pepper sprays that shoot out 8 – 12 feet.  Know also, the expiration date of the spray.

udap photo

Survivor of  Grizzly bear attack. udap photo on canister

Some pepper sprays can be a wee bit pricey, but how much is your life worth?  Keep yourself and your hiking party safe.

Have an experience while hiking?  How about an encounter with a wild animal?

Leave me your comments and experiences below and be sure to click the share button.

Written by :   Tom McDaniel         Be sure to share this site!

photos by :  abc news photo,amcoutdoorsbymattheid,




What is the best pair of hiking boots to protect these?

What is the best  hiking boot  to protect these?

“An army marches on its stomach.”  But even a full stomach can not replace your feet!

The above quote has been attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte.   Whether he actually said it or not, is not important.  On the other hand, even if your stomach is full, without the proper foot protection, even an “army” can not march.

How Important Are Our Feet

Regardless of how careful we are when hiking or backpacking, accidents do happen.  It can cripple a person in seconds.  Not being able to walk can put a person at a huge disadvantage.   Depending on the type of terrain you will be in, will depend on the type of hiking or backpacking boot that’s needed.  Similarly, the weather needs to be taken into consideration.

For instance, will you be in warmer weather  where little to no rain falls or in higher mountain terrains where you will be crossing streams, snow fields or creeks?    Will it be a nice path, or rocky and uneven  ground?  All potential hiking conditions need to be considered when buying hiking/backpacking boots.

Once you’ve got it in mind about your hiking conditions, then you can shop for the proper boot.  Keep in mind though, that hiking/backpacking boots can be a bit on the pricey side.  But then again, how important are your feet and ankles?  So in this situation, use balance. Compare prices, but try not to compromise what you will actually be needing in a good boot.

What To Look For In A Boot

Old Style hiking boot. Where is the comfort here?

Old Style hiking boot. Where is the comfort here?

First and foremost in choosing the right boot for you is…comfort.  A good fit will give you ankle support if you lose your footing on loose rocks.  A twisted ankle can really make for a very bad day!  You should also have some “wiggle room” at the toe.  A snug fit around your ankle (if you choose the high topped boot) will stop your foot from sliding into the toe area when walking down steeper slopes.

A good sturdy midsole  support footbed will  give you needed protection while walking over sharp rocks.  A non-midsole support boot will allow twisting, plus you will “feel” the point of every rock you walk on.

On the other hand, if you are on a smooth path with little obstacles to traverse, then a nice comfortable low topped boot may be just the ticket for you.  Textile types of boots can be broke in within just a few hours.  Unlike leather or Gortex  boots which may take several days to break in.

Be sure and consider the trail-running shoes/boots for those longer distant day hikes.  They give the needed support but at the same time, are lightweight with a quick break-in time period.

Trail -running shoes for men.

Trail-running shoes for women.

A final note when choosing hiking/backpacking boots or shoes.

Wear hiking socks when testing the fit.  Cotton gym socks are not designed for hiking/backpacking boots.  Heavy wool socks are a good start.  They not only  allow your foot to “breathe” from perspiration, but will let you know if you have enough “wiggle room” for your toes.  Comfort is first on the list.

Types Of Boots

Trail running shoes are light weight with good foot protection

Trail running shoes are light weight with ankle and foot support.

Still confused?  Let’s see if we can simplify this decision even more.

Trail walking shoes can be of lightweight material, and be either low or high topped.  Depending on what you feel you need for your feet and ankle support.  This type of footwear can be used during day walks while carrying a lightly filled backpack, and don’t forget considering the trail-running shoes.

Going out for a weekend backpacking trip?

Then the hiking boot would be more suitable for you.  This sturdier footwear boot will give you the much needed ankle support along with the sole of your feet while carrying a light to medium weight backpack.

Many of these boots have built into them, a type of water resistance to keep your feet dry  from wet grasses, muddy trails, or shallow creeks that you will undoubtedly be walking through.

For the more serious backpacker, a much sturdier boot will be needed.

These boots are usually waterproof as compared to water resistance.  However, keep in mind that on some backpacker boots, the tongue may or may not be included in the water proofing.  Be sure to check.   Being designed for more rugged terrain, this boot will take much longer to break in.  But remember, comfort is always first.

Each of the above mentioned type of footwear, should have a cushioned top around ankles.

Backpacker/Hiking boots for men.

Backpacker/Hiking boots for women.

Finally, for the professional, the mountaineering boot is a must!

Being much heavier in weight, waterproof, stiff midsole, tough and super durable, they’re designed  to support feet and ankles while carrying very heavy loads.  Once more, depending on where you intend to go, be sure and check with your boot manufacturer to see if they will accept any type of cramp-on’s.

Mountaineering boots for men.

Mountaineering boots for women.

All mountaineering boots will usually accept the the strap-on type of cramp-on’s.   These consist of nylon web straps  that can be adjusted to fit each boot style.  Just be sure that the cramp-on’s center bar will fit at the flexing part of your boot/shoe if you are wearing the more flexible type.

Alps boot by Josef Hochkofler style

Alps boot by Josef Hochkofler style

Mountaineering boots with a minimum of 3/8″ welt (the groove around the boot) at the heel and toes, would be ideal for the step-in style of cramp-on.  This style has a “wire bail” type of fit.  You literally step into it, while the at the heel, a lever is  clamped to the heel of the boot.   Simply put, this is the quickest and easiest cramp-on to attach.  Remember though, it’s not designed for medium or light weight boots.

 

A blend of the above two styles of crampons are what many call, the hybrid.

This style  has both the heel lever and the strap for the toe of the boot.  Since the toes are strapped in, there is no need for a welt.  Being a blend of both, this hybrid crampon is compatible with almost all lightweight mountaineering boots and a number of backpacking boots.  But be aware that they may not work for hiking boots/shoes.

An all-around crampon for men and women.

Hiking boot with crampons

Hiking boot with crampons

Boot Fitting…What To Know

Stressing the importance of comfort, can not be understated.  After all, if you purchase a boot, then realize that it is not right for you, most stores will not accept a returned boot that has been worn outside.  A boot can be worn inside your home over a long period of time and still be able to be returned in good condition.

Wear the same type of socks that you will be using while hiking.  Try on boots at the end of the day, not morning or midday.  Why? Keep in mind that your feet swell some throughout the day, and later afternoon or early evenings are best for trying on boots.

Do you wear some type of shoe insert?  Be sure and take it with you to use in each boot you try on.

Take your time with each boot you are considering.  Sales staff, in many places, just want to make a quick sale, so don’t  be pressured to make a quick decision.  Walk around in the store for some time.  Sit down, squat, rock back and forth on the balls of your feet a few times, along with lifting your feet up high.  After all, you never know how high of a step you may have to make while backpacking.

If you should choose to not go into any store to try on boots, but would rather purchase from an online retailer, do some serious research on brand name boots.  Read reviews about what others have said about certain brands.  Or, on the other hand,  perhaps,  you’ve purchased a certain brand before, and want to stay with it.  Then your shopping will become easy.  All you need look for is style and perhaps price.

Know Your Size…Along with Comfort…Comfort…Comfort

Crampons

Crampons

However, if you’ve never shopped online before, keep in mind that to have a proper fit, the best way is to measure your foot properly.  Most shoe/boot stores have the needed equipment to do so.  Knowing your foot size can make boot shopping a pleasant experience.

Lugs, Lacing Systems, And Materials…What Do I Need To Know?   Click This Link

Have you had a hiking experience?  Which boot would you recommend?  Where did you hike?

Leave me your comments below and be sure to share this site…

Written by :   Tom McDaniel

Photos by:JeanYvesCoput,Joadl,Freedigitalphotos.net




 

What Is The Weather Like In Seattle

What Is The Weather Like In Seattle…Storm Clouds High Up In The Mountains

 

Walking in the rain

Walking During A Spring Shower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t like the weather now, wait 10 minutes and it’ll change!  That is an old expression for those of us who have lived in the greater Seattle area for any length of time.  Not only is it a common expression, but in many, many cases it turns out to be true!

Seattle Washington weather forecast jobs are always interesting, especially for the meteorologist on the daily news.  Changing weather patterns in Puget Sound (pew-jet) is a never ending drama.  Many of us have experienced snow, sun, rain, sleet, and strong winds…..all in the same day.

Summer has been known to be only in the 40’s or 50’s degree marks on many occasions, then the next day it can be in the 80’s.  However, I will have to say this, that when the spring, summer and fall seasons are here, and the sun is out, there is absolutely no where else that is so beautiful!

Spring flowers bloom everywhere, summer sees apples, pears, blackberries, salmon berries, strawberries, blueberries, and even  huckleberries growing wild and in many cases, easy to pick.  Ever had a blackberry or blueberry pie?   How about a huckleberry pie?     FYI…..It tastes like a particular type of wine.  Ummm !  They’re great.

Well, back to the weather.

Indian Summer                         

Maple Leaves in the Fall

Maple Leaves in the Fall

In the Autumn time of the year, most everyone is waiting for the Indian Summer to show up in September through November.  What is it?  Let me explain.   Early mornings are cool, crisp, and sometimes, have a bit of fog.  But don’t worry, the fog disappears after a short while because the sun comes up, warming everything.

It’s invigorating.  Then you notice how the Maple trees, and especially the Vine Maple leaves have changed from green to a fire red.  Many of the larger Maple tree leaves are now bright yellow or orange.  Here and there, you’ll see some green one’s hanging on and not wanting to die and drop off….. But the always do.

Early morning fog

Early morning fog

During the fall, when you go to the rivers and small streams, you can watch the Salmon (fish) swimming upstream to do their spawning for the next batch of little fish for the following year.

But remember, when the fish are red in color, the are not good for eating, so just watch, you’ll be fascinated by them.  On the other hand, the bears love them!  Yum Yum   Oh, and yes, there are bears that roam through the woods wanting to get to the feeding frenzy of the Salmon.

But what about the weather forecast?

Mount Rainier’s “Halo Effect”     

Mount Rainier on "no halo" day!

Mount Rainier on “no halo” day!

Most that live in the western part of the state (Seattle area) can usually get an rough idea of the Seattle 10 day weather forecast by looking at Mount Rainier.  Yes, that is correct.  By looking over at Mount Rainier.  How so?

Not that it is always accurate, but it can be helpful.  What you are looking for is either totally clear skies, which can give you the current weather Seattle WA forecast.  On the other hand, if you notice that there is a “halo” of clouds around the top of Mount Rainier, then more than likely, the 5 day weather forecast, Seattle weather, will be rain.   It’s not always accurate, but the rain usually occurs within the next 48 hours after the cloud cover appears.

The Seattle Washington weather forecast throughout the rest of the United States, and even up into Vancouver, Canada, has been known to be raining most of the year.  That is a very true statement.  However, the “rain” we are talking about here is mainly, sprinkles, or rain showers.  Very seldom do we ever get a heavy downpour, just a constant drizzle-like rain.   The seemingly constant rainfall is what makes many folks get behind on their out-of-doors activities.

And here is a bit of enticement for all you women.  It’s been said that the people living in Seattle do not show their age like others parts of the county.  Why?  Because it’s like walking in a cool, refreshing, mist, year round.  Keeping one’s skin always hydrated.

Let’s face it, we all enjoy the warmth of the sun.  Especially when we can do things outside that we enjoy.  I can recall how challenging it can be to do some of the most simple things…like mowing my lawn.   Why?  Well, think about it.  When it seems to always be a slight drizzle of moisture coming down, the grass is always wet.  Mowers do not do well when trying to cut wet grass.

However, the real die-hards who want their yards to always look pristine, get out there and cut anyway.  You can tell they just finished cutting because of all the clumps of wet grass that mowers keep spitting out all over the yard.  🙁

Winter time can be bitterly cold, especially when we get the “Artic Blast” coming down from Alaska and Northern Canada.   Brrrrrrrrrrr  In fact, a few friends of mine that live  up in Alaska say it’s colder in Seattle than Alaska!

Is Seattle Colder Than Alaska?

How can that be?  In Alaska, the temps can be 30, 40, or even 70 below zero F.  But with no wind and no rain.  On the other hand, Seattle cold, even though it seldom gets to zero, is always a “wet cold” that just seems to penetrate your bones.  Then, to make it worse, when the wind blows, whoosh!  there goes all your body heat.

In Alaska, the cold is more or less, a “dry cold”, no moisture in the air.  Because of the “dryness”, it just feels ‘warmer.’

Surprisingly, most Seattleites enjoy the great climate.  But along with the weather and it’s  infamous “5 day weather forecast, Seattle is a very friendly place.  How so?  Because of the entrepreneur spirit that dominates the thinking patterns of residents throughout the entire state.  In other words, they like to run their own businesses.  What makes it even better, is the state makes it so easy to do business here.  In fact, many major companies have had their start here in Washington.

Just to name a few…..Starbucks, Costco, Boeing, UPS, Amazon and hugely successful, Microsoft.   Ever hear of any those companies?  They all had their beginnings here in Seattle.  Oh, yes, and for all you gals that enjoy shopping,  Nordstrom’s Department Store  got it’s start here also.

The Goat Report

Goat Report "weather station"

Goat Report “weather station”

Some years back there was a radio weather man who always gave the “goat report” along with the weather report.  So what is the “goat report?”   I’ll explain.

Where the weatherman would sit during his radio program (he was also the M.C. of the program)  he would notice that through the one window he could see out of, was an open field with a hill.  Most of the year, the person who owned this acreage, would allow his goats to roam the fields and eat down the grass.

Over a period of several years, the weatherman noticed something rather odd.  He began to take note of how far up, or down, the goats were on the hill side.  He noticed that when the weather was to be nice, the goats were further up on the hill side.  At the same time, he would notice that when the weather was either bad, or about to get bad later on in the day, the goats were further down the hill, closer to their shelters located at the base of the hill.

Hmmmmm…..  are these goats telling us something?

He started to share this with his radio listeners and make funny comments.  Everyone liked his “goat report” so much, that for the longest time, it became a “regular” part of his weather forecast.

East Vs. West             

Cascade Mountain Range where Red meets White

Cascade Mountain Range where Red meets White

So you see, no matter what side of the state you are on, weather can become an important part of your daily routine.  How so?  The state is pretty much divided down the middle, North to South, by the Cascade Mountain Range.  The western side (Seattle) is all green.  The western side (Spokane) is mostly open fields and even some desert areas.  FYI the name Spokane is and Indian tribe and it is pronounced as SPO-CAN, not SPO-KANE.   Say it correctly, and no one will ever know that you are from somewhere else.  🙂

Funny things happen in Seattle.  For instance when you’ve been here for any length of time, folks begin to tease the new comers.  How so?  All in jest, they will tell the new ones that “you can tell you’ve been in Seattle for a long time when you grow ‘webs’ between your fingers and toes!”   Ha Ha  just kidding.  🙂    (swimming webs because of all the rain)

Here is another bit of trivia for you and your question of :  What is the weather like in Seattle?

What The Heck Is A Convergence Zone?

Ever hear of the Convergence Zone?  Most will say ‘NO’ because it is unique to Washington weather, especially the Puget Sound (pew-jet) area.  OK, so what is it?

I’ll attempt to explain it in a simple way.   Think of a whirlpool in water.  As it spins, debris from the outer swirling rings of water will naturally draw it towards the center until it is sucked down into the water, out of sight.

Well, the Puget Sound (pew-jet) area is like the whirlpool. It being the center of the whirling water, but instead of water, it’s the air, or better known as… a weather pattern.

Because of the location of Seattle, between the Olympic Mountain Range on the west and the Cascade Mountain Range on the east, it makes a perfect spot for this “whirlpool” of weather to drop down, right into the Seattle area.

That is why there is so much differences in the weather from one day to the next and even from hour to hour!

Remember that Washington is called the Evergreen State and the city of Seattle is named “The Emerald City” for good reason.  The RAIN!

That may be why there is that entrepreneur spirit…because no one wants to go out into the rain!

Ha Ha  Just kidding  🙂

So?  What do you think about our “strange” weather in Seattle?   Leave me your comments below or any of your weather related experiences.  I’d love to hear them.

Written by :   Tom McDaniel             Share with others!

 

 Seattle’s Entrepreneur Spirit Is Contagious !   Catch It Here !  🙂

photos by: Serge Bertasius, Graur Codrin, Evgeni Dinev, Franky242, Christian Meyn, Anne Hornyak




Enjoy Mount Rainier From It’s 14,410 Foot Peak!

Mount Rainier Climbers

Mount Rainier Climbers

 

Mount Rainier climbers enjoy  some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world.  Why can we say that?  Several reason.  First, because of the rain that the western side of the state of Washington gets, the air is usually very clear.  The lakes, ponds, rivers, mountains and valleys, are all within eyesight as you ascend the mountain.

Another “plus” for climber/hikers is the almost constant rainfall, and because of it, the air is always being “cleansed” of pollution, allowing you to see clearly for many miles.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I am not a professional hiker or climber of mountains by any stretch of the imagination.  On the other hand though, along with my family in tow, we have enjoyed several day hikes up Mount Rainier.  It’s great fun !   See how much fun and enjoyable it can be as you follow along on just one of our little day hikes.

On the other hand, being at the Paradise Lodge on many occasions, we’ve encountered several serious climbing parties that are heading to the summit of Rainier.  These Mount Rainier climbers really know what they are doing.

I can recall watching these groups get prepared for the hike.  Usually their guide is world renowned climber, Jim Whittaker or another highly experienced climber.  In times gone by, it could have been Jim OR Lou Whittaker.  Mirror twins of one another, (one left handed, the other right handed) would climb Mount Rainier as the group guide.

 

Oooooo,  I Think I’m Going To Be Sick!

At the age of 16, most boys seem to think they can do most anything at all, even climb the 14,410 foot height of Mount Rainier!

Jim and Lou in the early days.  At 6 ft. 5 in. they are ready.

Jim and Lou in the early days. At 6 ft. 5 in. they are ready for the climb.

 

Jim and Lou today Photo: Seattle PI Scott Ecklund

Jim and Lou today
Photo: Seattle PI Scott Ecklund

Jim and Lou  Photo by  Seattle Met

Jim and Lou
Photo by Seattle Met

 

Once these two twins set their Boy Scouts mind’s to the task of climbing Mount Rainier, they just do it!  As has been reported by the boys (now both in their 80’s), that first time up the mountain made both of them sick.  Being determined to accomplish the task, but far from being prepared, the two set off to conques Rainier with “a bunch of grapes that mom packed for us”.   That was about all they had!   Can you imagine that?

If you are not familiar with heights on mountains, it’s a well know fact that  as you climb, the air becomes very “thin” and breathing becomes labored.  With the lack of  oxygen in the mountain air, you naturally breath deeper and more often.  With every breath you exhale, you are also expelling body moisture.   As your body begins to become dehydrated, you crave liquids.

Snow was handy, so were the grapes.  The boys would melt the snow in their mouths and have a few grapes.  However, when they got to the top (yes, they did indeed reach the 14,410 foot level)……………….up came the grapes !

That was their very first experience as a pair of  Mount Rainier climbers.   That was in 1945.

Since then, the two have made themselves the most prominent mountain climbers in all of the Pacific Northwest.

Jim feels right at home in Port Townsend and Lou at his Mount Rainier area, motel.

14,410 foot Mount Rainier

14,410 foot Mount Rainier

Scary Stuff…That Snow

Over many years of experience, the two knew what areas were safe to climb and which areas were open to the dangers of avalanches.  Take a look at the avalanche information below.  I know you’ll enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this article or want to share a story about your hiking/climbing up Rainier, leave me a comment below.

 White Dragons On Mount Rainier

White Dragons, or better known as avalanches, are wonderful to watch………..from a distance.  But many want to know why, where, and what can be done in the never ending battle regarding the prevention of an avalanche and being able to safely enjoy a mountain climb.  Let’s find out together as we explore this great “sea” of white wonderment.

This is part 1

A Mountain Riddle

Several centuries back, there was a riddle that went something like this:  “What is it that hits without hands, sees but has no eyes, and flies but has no wings?”

The answer?  White Dragons…………or as we now know them, avalanches!

Tremendously powerful, these white dragons are.  They can engulf a person within seconds and at times they have been known to swallow entire villages.  Many lost their lives in these icey tombs, giving them the name, ‘white death.’

So where do they occur?  Well, if you live in the tropics or perhaps in lowland areas, more than likely, you’ll never need to worry about them.  On the other hand, if you live in a mountainous terrain with snow capped peaks, then beware, you are in the white dragons lair!

High up in the snow capped mountains where free-fall  snow occurs on a regular basis, is where these “creatures” live.  They come to “life” when enough build-up of snowfall gets too heavy, breaking itself free from  the mountain sides.  As these avalanches descend, the air pressure that precedes them can devastate bushes, trees, small towns, and people, and much more if they are in the path of these “creatures”.

Why and when does it happen?
Light fluffy snowflakes can be beautiful when we watch it from the comfort of our warm homes.  However, high in the mountains, when snow falls, it begins to change.  These snow crystals change because of the differences of the air temperatures on the ground as compared to the temperatures high in the sky.

As these flakes accumulate, they begin to pack onto each other.  As snow continues to fall, say, over a period of about 24 hours, a foot of nice fluffy snow can compact into as little as 4 inches.  Making it very dense and heavy.

Since we know that snow comes in different shapes such as, crystals, pellets and granules, they pack together differently at greater heights.  Depending on which type of snowflake is falling and packing together will explain why certain areas have more avalanches than others.  For instance, the crystal flake which has 6 points on it, will interlock with others of like kind.  Making it more “sturdy” than other flake types.

The granules and the pellet type flakes do not have that capability.  They will usually just roll over the top of each other.  At the same time,  if there happens to be a type of “solid” layer underneath,  it makes it that much easier to have an avalanche to “slip” from the firmly packed snow to do it’s damage on anything in it’s downhill cascade.

Not only the type of flake but the temperature, the steepness of the mountain terrain, the movement of wind, animal or human movement on the snow, and the depth of the snow all determine whether or not the white dragon will begin to move.

Crystal snowflakes

Crystal snowflakes

Granule snowflakes

Granule snowflakes

Pellet snowflakes

Pellet snowflakes

 Moving the Dragon

The white powder that so many skiers desire, is the perfect type for an avalanche.  How so?  The so-called powder snow is usually made up of either the granules or pellets. (see images)   Their ability to slide over each other can make for treacherous conditions.

Never expect to out-ski or out-run an avalanche………..that is, unless you can move at MORE THAN 200 miles per hour!  That is how fast or even faster, this white death can travel.  The tremendous air movement in front can blow off rooftops long before it arrives.

The Hard-Slab Slide

But which is the deadliest type of slide?  It has it’s own name.  It is known as the “hard-slab” avalanche.  They come about by old snow being built up over a longer period of time.  These hard slab slides can be very deceiving to many.  Looking like they are solid, then suddenly breaking away, causing a cascade effect.  Chunks of hardened snow come crashing down at some 50 miles per hour.

If you do decide to ski, do so in the middle of winter.  Why so?  Because that is when the snow is at it’s lease likely point of breaking away and causing a slide.  Spring time is just the opposite.  Spring has been deemed to be the time of year when most ski accidents from avalanches occur, along with loss of life.

Be careful whenever you ski.

But what parts of the earth do they occur?  Can they be prevented?  And what about rescue missions for those that are caught?  Do these same type of avalanches occur as Mount Rainier climbers tackle this mountain?

Continue

Leave me a comment below along with any stories that you have.   I love comments!

Written by :   Tom McDaniel Share this site…




Thomas Burke

Thomas Burke

Burke Gilman Trail     – “Road Trip”

Daniel Gilman

Daniel Gilman

Riding The Burke Gilman Trail  is more than just a bicycle ride.

As you bike your way through beautiful scenery (it’s about 27 miles long) you’ll begin to understand why people who visit Seattle want to stay in Seattle.

It’s absolutely beautiful! Bicycling on the Burke Gilman Trail is one of those events in life that you will enjoy so much that you will be unaware of the actual distance you have traveled!

Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane and the early beginnings of the Burke Gilman Trail.

Way back in 1885, Daniel Gilman and Thomas Burke and others decided that it was time to bring railroad traffic into the city of Seattle.  Their reason?  They wanted to, of course, make money for themselves but also to make Seattle a major transportation center that others would want to flock to.

They started small, but were thinking big.  Originally, they wanted their line to connect with the Canadian Transcontinental Line.  However, it was just not to be. Their Rail Line got about as far as Arlington.  But even so, it had tremendous local traffic.  Who were the  “passengers?” ……….  Logs!

Here Come The Brides!

An early Seattle Bride

An early  Seattle Bride…  (click pics for larger image)

Remember, Seattle back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, was mainly a huge “logging camp” type city.

In fact, there were so many men in the Seattle area that there was a shortage of women and future wives.

Back in the 1960’s TV show era, there was a weekly series called “Here Come The Brides” that showed how the men in the  Seattle lumber camps, actually “imported” women from around the country to come and live in this newly developed city of “rough and tumble” men, as their wives.

Many dozens of women met the challenge and moved to Seattle!

Have you ever heard the term “skid road?”  That was the term used when the cut logs were dragged through the Seattle “streets” and “skidded” up to the waterfront, then loaded onto the waiting ships in Puget (pew-jet) Sound.

It did not take long for word to get around about the new influx of women into Seattle.  Needless to say, Seattle really began to take off and grow as a city.

The trading and supplying of goods to Alaska, was another “growth spurt” for this great city in the Pacific Northwest.

Rattlesnake Prairie

Now, getting back to the railroad line.  This short-line built by Burke and Gilman, went to another area called Rattlesnake Prairie located above the Snoqualmie Falls area.  (FYI  there are no rattlesnakes in western Washington, it’s just too cold for them)

Rest assured, there are no rattlesnakes, but I have to admit, it is an interesting name.  In 1913, that short line now came under the control of the Northern Pacific Railway, and eventually a part of the Burlington Northern Railroad in about 1970.

Now The Good Stuff!

About a year later, in 1971, the track was totally abandoned by Northern Pacific Railway, paving the way for the Burke Gilman Trail. Officially, the Trail begins at 11th Ave. NW in Ballard.  Ballard is a suburb of Seattle.

The Burke Gilman Trail presently follows along the Lk. Washington Ship Canal (which is a great place to enjoy the water and boats) and then north along Lk. Washington.

A bit of the Trail

A bit of the Trail

Everyone enjoys the Trail

Everyone enjoys the Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A slight change in the direction also changes the name of the Trail.  When you get to Blyth Park in the Bothell area, (a section of Seattle) the Trail now becomes the Sammamish River Trail and will give you at least another 10 miles of scenic views.

One thing I always enjoyed about this Trail is that it can be enjoyed by all members in your family.

Little ones and big ones. And for those little toddlers, there are bicycle rental shops where you can have a “kiddie car” attached to your bike so those little ones can come along with you.

Through The College And Beyond

University of Washington in Seattle

University of Washington in Seattle…  (click pics for larger image)

As you meander through the sights and sounds that come your way on this beautiful Trail, you’ll be taken right through the campuses of the University of Washington where you will come in contact with students, teachers, profs., and general bike traffic of all kinds.

Since Seattle is a very bike friendly city, you’ll need to be aware that there are certain “rules of the road” on this Trail.

Just to name a few:

Go slow.   Remember, no racing is allowed.  There are walkers, joggers, children, dogs on leashes (bring your own pet “poopie bags” for clean ups, it’s mandatory),  elderly, sightseers and all manner of folks enjoying this scenic trail.

If you want to ride fast, then you need the Seattle Bicycling Guide Map.  It will show alternate routes for those who have a “need for speed.”

Keep to the right.  So, just like driving your car and having to keep right, the same applies when you are walking, riding or skate boarding on the Trail. Pass on the left only.   Again, remember the traffic laws.  Pass only on the left.  When you sound your bell, horn or simply say, “passing on your left”, those ahead of you will automatically move to the right.

Respect others.   Remember that you are not the only one on the trail.  Show manners and allow others to do the same.

Horses and motor vehicles are not allowed.  That would include motorized skateboards, battery powered vehicles of all sorts (wheelchairs are the exception).

Helmets are a must!  Enforced throughout the state. Pedestrians of all sorts, whether walking, jogging, stopping, or skating, all have the right-of-way over bicycle riders.  So be on the look out.

The Divided Trail

Be on the look out for 96th Ave NE.  Here the Trail forks.   Left turn, and you will continue on to the Sammamish Trail as mentioned above.  It will continue on for another 11 miles or so, right on into Redmond (where Microsoft headquarters are). Right turn will take you across the Sammamish River where this section of the Burke Gilman Trail ends at Riverside Drive.

Gateway Park

Since you’ve decided to go Left onto the Sammamish River Trail, keep an eye open for the  railroad trestle in Woodinville which is about 3 miles down the Sammamish River Trail.   Look for Wilmot Gateway Park.  Need a rest?  That’s the place to do it.

Public restrooms and a playground area for the kids are right there. If you decide that it’s time for a little rest break and stretching, then Wilmot Gateway Park is the place.

If you are like me, be sure that before you ever start your bike ride, you have your back pack with you, along with drinks and a snack for all.  Everyone will LOVE you for it!

Something else that we like to do is take our little dogs (2 boston terriers) with us.  My wife and I get a real kick out of them when they get a chance to run through the grass.  My simple “doggie style” back pack carrier works great.  Running them along side you on a leash, as you ride, can be a real hazard.

Enjoying a pub style lunch at Redhook Brewery

Enjoying a pub style lunch at Redhook Brewery…   (click pics for larger image)

Redhook Ale Brewery…At Trails End…YaY!

On the other hand, if you choose to not stop at Wilmot Gateway Park, then keep on the look out for the first bridge you see.

When you get to the first bridge past Wilmot Gateway Park, go left and then exit on the left again.  Turning right, across the overpass and…lo and behold, you will be at the Redhook Brewery on your right.

So why stop at the Redhook?  First of all, it’s a great place to get a bite to eat.  The light pub-style meals are always something to enjoy.

While you are there, how about a tour of the Brewery?   It will run you about a dollar per person (no minors though) along with 3 or perhaps 4 samples of some of the best tasting Redhook microbrews.

This refreshing liquid will come to you in a souvenir ‘tasting glass’ that will remind you of your enjoyable ride along the Burke Gilman Trail.

Inside the brewery

Inside the brewery…  (click pics for larger image)

A few of what Redhook offers.

A few refreshments of what Redhook offers…  (click pics for larger image)

 

 

 

 

Enjoyed this information?     Be sure and leave a comment below because I’d love to hear from you and I can answer questions and give comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Be sure to share this information…