Monday, September 6, 2010

Hiawatha Trail - Overrated

I don't know, maybe I was in a spiteful mood, or maybe it was the $36 we paid for two people to ride down a wide path, too rocky for a road bike and too smooth for a mountain bike, and then be shuttled back to the top.

I mean, it's not bad - there are several vistas along the 15-mile route, and the tunnels and trestles are somewhat unique. But, this is definitely an easy family jaunt (i.e. bring your kids and non-riding spouse to experience the outdoors for the first time) rather than much more.

Don't plan on riding a decent clip because the majority of the crowds don't understand the concept of a) riding to the right to allow others to pass, or b) if you want to ride four across and block the entire trail at four mph, at least spin around your head occasionally and move over when others approach to allow them to ride at more than a walking pace. Or even c) if you can't do "a" or "b", at least be responsive to remarks about "passing on the left".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Love, Portland

This Willamette Week article is a hilarious review of Portland. Much is inaccurate, but enough is true to be funny. And some good one-liners.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Banff


We just returned from a vacation in Alberta to visit Banff and Yoho National Parks.

It was quite a wide range of weather. First a couple days of rain, then brilliant sunshine and temps in the 70s, and then continued dry weather but very smoky as a result of wildfires far to the west. But we at least had several days of clear weather to see all the amazing peaks and glaciers. The smoke only lasted two days and then the sunshine returned.

We took Mika along because dogs are allowed on National Park trails up in Canada, unlike the States. The hiking worked out well, but dogs are not allowed in eating areas in Canada, even outside on patios, so Mika got more hotel room time and car time than we expected.

We stayed in the town of Banff three days and Lake Louise four days. Both are inside the park and very scenic, but the town of Banff definitely is more exciting and has many more restaurants to choose from. Lake Louise is more relaxed and closer to more intense higher elevation hikes. We did some short hikes and canoeing while in Banff, and then some longer hikes near Lake Louise.

On one of the sunny days we started at Moraine Lake and climbed up to Sentinel Pass, 7.2 miles round trip and 2300 feet. The pass was at 8500 feet and looked out over several valleys, with many peaks and glaciers visible. Another day we started out at Lake Louise, hiked up to a tea house on the shore of Lake Agnes, and then continued up a rock formation called the Beehive to another even higher lookout, and finally back to the shore of Lake Louise.

This vacation was definitely the most I have hiked in a long time, and my feet held up okay.

Canoeing near the town of Banff:


Shore of Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park:


Sunrise at Lake Louise:


Mika, very sad about watching us eat dinner on the patio from afar:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sherman Peak


Took a quick trip two hours north of Spokane to hike Sherman Peak, between Kettle Falls and Republic. The loop trail began at the pass, 5500 feet elevation. Very pleasant five miles with a mix of thick, dark forest and open vistas. About half of the hike is in an area that burned about 20 years ago, so it is much more open than it otherwise would be.



Posting

Okay, I have not been much into posting updates for many months now. I generally slack off during busy season, but just never picked it back up again this year. Maybe I will post more often if I try to save time by lowering my picture editing standards...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Nightmare Scenario"

Found an excellent social commentary by John Hagney via the Pacific NW Inlander, the local free weekly. One of the best articles I have read in months.