Malan’s Peak: Haven’t been to Salt Lake, but we can see it from here!

View from Malan's Peak, elev. 6980 feet That's the Great Salt Lake in the distance.

Panoramic view from Malan’s Peak, elev. 6980 feet, with the Great Salt Lake in the distance.

Three generations of men in this family are preparing to hike the 215-mile John Muir Trail together next month.

Two of them are here; the other (Tim’s dad) drives from WA to meet us in CA in about ten days.

I went with Tim and our son yesterday on their first training hike, which took us on a 5.3 mile in-and-out (or 4.8 mile, or 5.8 mile, or 7.8 mile, depending on which web site or whose Health App tracking you believe) from Taylor Canyon to Malan’s Peak, in Ogden, UT.

Normally, a hike of that length — even one as strenuously uphill as this one — would take us 3-4 hours, including long stops for meals and views. But because both boys were testing new backpacks and various pieces of gear, this one took us six. Yeah, ouch.

Preparing to depart. No, they're not related. Why do you ask?

Preparing to depart.
Apple, meet tree.

Beginning: Everyone's so happy and unsweaty and excited!

Beginning:
Everyone’s so happy and unsweaty and excited!

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Our views along the way…

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Charming alternative to the usual rock cairn

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Next six shots: views along the way

The wildflowers were in bloom, treating us to spectacular colors.

Summit! Clearly, we'd had it with packs and poles, dropped them where we arrived, and kept walking to the edge...

Summit!
Clearly, we’d had it with packs and poles, dropped them where we arrived, and kept walking to the edge…

... for this reward

… for this reward

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Don't let the smile fool you. Everything hurt, and my knees were not at all looking forward to the descent.

Don’t let the smile fool you. Everything hurt, and my knees were not at all looking forward to our descent.

On the way back down the mountain, we took breaks to test water filtration equipment...

On the way back down the mountain, we took breaks to test water filtration equipment…

... and cool tired tootsies (downstream from the filtration experiments, of course!)

… and cool tired tootsies (downstream from the filtration experiments, of course!)

Upon our return home, all three of us took advantage of the hot tub here at Century Park, to soothe our aching muscles before going to bed.


Gear switch (because I don’t know where else to put this): We were featured recently on Heartland RV’s Facebook page. Check out the interview here!

Thanks for the publicity, Heartland!

Thanks for the publicity, Heartland!

Two steps forward, one oh-shit-is-that-a-snake??? jump back

The answer is one.

It takes one old man, telling me one time ’round the campfire, that he’s seen one rattlesnake in this godforsaken desert…
to make me think that any slightly twisted stick on the ground is a fucking snake.
Not a snake

Not a snake.

Also, despite appearance to the contrary, not a snake

Also, despite appearance to the contrary, not a snake.

Not a writing pit of snakes

Not a writhing herd (gaggle? flock? slither?) of snakes.

Hiss hiss, motherfucker. (Still not a snake. Just wanted to add a little homage to The Bloggess.)

Hiss hiss, motherfucker.
(Still not a snake. Just a little homage to The Bloggess.)

On the plus side, I burned several extra calories on my 4.5 mile walk this morning, due to embarrassingly frequent leaps backward, spirited arm flailing, and random high-pitched squeaking.
Sheesus. The “I Thought I Saw A Snake” workout, coming soon to a fitness center near you.

Walked our butts to the Butteville Store

From our site here at the Champoeg State Heritage Area just south of Portland, OR, we took a little trip back in time along the Willamette River.

Two miles out to the red 5, two miles back.  Yep, in the rain.  Because it's the Pacific Northwest, and if you don't get out and move, you'll mold.

Two miles out to the red 5, two miles back.
Yep, in the rain.
Because it’s the Pacific Northwest, and if you don’t get out and move, you’ll mold.

The bigger picture

The bigger picture

It was a gray and drizzly day...

It was a gray and drizzly day…

Oregon's longest operating store is closed for the season, which we knew before we headed out, but wanted to see it anyway.

Oregon’s oldest continuously operating store, established in 1863, is closed for the season. We knew that before we headed out, but wanted to see it anyway. Worth the walk to peer inside the wavy glass and see the old tables, chairs and countertops inside.

"But Emily," you inquire. "We know you hate mud. Why did you go hiking four miles on a rainy day, idiot?"

“But Emily,” you inquire. “We know you hate mud. Why did you go hiking four miles on a rainy day, idiot?”

Paved trails, bitches! I win.

Paved trails, bitches!
I win.

Nobody puts us in a corner. We’ll walk there our own damn selves.

Today’s adventure: the very outermost tip of the Olympic Peninsula, accessed by the Cape Flattery trail. It’s only 1.5 miles, round trip — easy for us. But we made the long drive because that little trail leads to a unique, wild, and beautiful spot: the northwesternmost point of the continental U.S.

Cape Flattery: the northwesternmost point in the continental United States

That’s it. That’s where we went.

From the Washington Trails Association, “Here, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific, Cape Flattery protrudes into a sea of tumultuous waters. A land of dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and deep narrow coves, Cape Flattery exhibits sheer rugged beauty. Scores of seabirds ride the surf and scavenge the sea stacks. Watch for whales and sea lions too… [from] the final viewing platform, teetering on the edge of terra firma.”

Other than a few of those seabirds, and 7 (seven!) bald eagles, the closest thing to wild animals we encountered on the trail was a pack of White North American Unwashed Hippies with one of their young. Wow. Reeking of weed would have been an improvement. All part of the adventure…

The forecast was not completely true. We got sunshine! Lots of it! But, that wind chill part was for real. Brrrrrr.

The forecast was not completely true. We got sunshine! Lots of it! But, that wind chill part was for real. Brrrrrr.

On the way to Neah Bay, we saw a bald eagle fly under this rainbow. It was indeed a harbinger of breathtaking scenes to come.

On the way to Neah Bay, we saw a bald eagle fly under this rainbow. It was indeed a harbinger of breathtaking scenery to come.

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Oh. Canada! (Those mountains across the water are on Vancouver Island.)

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Welcome figures at the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. We spent over an hour there, learning about the Makah tribal history. For nearly 4,000 years their people have occupied the Olympic Peninsula.

These figures welcomed us at our starting point, the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. We spent over an hour there, learning about Makah tribal history. For nearly 4,000 years their people have occupied the Olympic Peninsula.

$10 permit required to explore tribal lands, including the trails we hiked today. Seems a pittance, considering...

This $10 permit is required for exploring tribal lands, including the trails we hiked today.
Seems a pittance, considering…

At the Cape Flattery Trail Head, walking sticks provided by the Makah. Free for use-and-return, $5 to take-and-keep.

At the Cape Flattery Trailhead, we found a pleasant surprise: walking sticks provided by the Makah. Free for use-and-return, $5 to take-and-keep.

I chose one!

I chose one!

Next several shots: scenes from our hike along the Cape Flattery Trail. It's only 3/4 mile, but oh, where it took us!

Next several shots: scenes from our hike along the Cape Flattery Trail. It’s only 3/4 mile, but oh, where it took us!

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No tufted puffins today. Sorry, Maria. Wrong season.

No tufted puffins today. Sorry, Maria. Wrong season.

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At the end of the trail, which feels like it's at the end of the earth, we had a crystal clear view of the Cape Flattery Light, on Tatoosh Island, about half a mile from the coast.

At the end of the trail, which feels like it’s at the end of the earth, we had a crystal clear view of the Cape Flattery Light, on Tatoosh Island, about half a mile from the coast.

Here we are. Top left corner of CONUS. Check!

Top left corner of CONUS: check!

With Tatoosh Island behind us

With Tatoosh Island behind us

Since we finished at Cape Flattery by 1:30, we decided to make the most of the sunny skies (and our 3-hour drive to get there) by driving down to the Shi-Shi Beach Trail, which took us on a ridge above the Pacific Ocean.

Since we finished at Cape Flattery by 1:30, we decided to make the most of the sunny skies (and our 3-hour drive to get there) by driving down to the Shi Shi Beach Trail, which took us on a messy but really rather glorious walk along a ridge above the Pacific Ocean.

"Beach access in Olympic National Park is by steep trail." By which they mean there are actual ropes tied to trees to help you descend. At that point, we were short on both daylight and patience, so we skipped the potential cliff tumble and turned back.

“Beach access in Olympic National Park is by steep trail.” By which they mean there are actual ropes tied to trees to help you descend.
At that point, we were short on both daylight and patience, so we skipped the potential cliff tumble and turned back.

Two miles out, one mile of which was mud. Two miles back, same mud.

Two miles out, one mile of which was mud.
Two miles back, same mud, but tired feet.

I tried really, really hard to avoid it...

I tried really, really hard to avoid it…

But lost the battle on the way back to the trailhead.

It didn’t go well.

Yeah. That was a deep one.

Yeah. That was a deep one.

But definitely...

But definitely…

worth...

worth…

the reward.

the reward.

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We even saw a little frosty snowy stuff on the walkway.

Thank you, Makah tribe.
Your land is a treasure.
We showed it utmost respect by leaving only bootprints, and taking only memories.