Harpo & I are continuing our exploration of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, which is about as close to Seattle as wilderness gets. This time we decided to push further and grab a couple of peaks while we were at it. Arriving Sunday afternoon we got started late – about 3 pm – and headed up into the wilderness area, taking the trail towards Island and Rainbow Lakes with the goal of camping at Thompson Lake. Taking the Mt Defiance Trail and descending, we got about 2.5 miles from Thompson Lake before the trail on the north side of Mount Defiance was too snowy to proceed safely. We turned back, summiting Mt Defiance before camping just south of Mason Lake. In the morning we decided to climb Granite Mountain on our way back to the car – getting about .25 miles beneath the lookout at the summit before we were stopped again by wet, slushy snow. The wildflowers – like beargrass & spreading phlox – were out in force, and water was plentiful. Overall a lovely couple days of walking…
There were small patches of snow, and a fleet of mosquitoes at Island Lake
A serene surface and crystal clear water at Rainbow Lake
Sunbeams on a distant horizon – Mt Defiance trail #1009
Panorama from the summit of Mount Definance.
Saw these Spreading Phlox all over the mountain.
Wild beargrass was blooming all up the trail to the Granite Mountain summit.
Urban house sitting has it’s privileges including – when we’re lucky – a well appointed kitchen. A recent stint on Beacon Hill in Seattle gave us an exciting opportunity to launch the New Mystique Cooking Club. NMCC emerged from a concept Harpo developed with her friend and former colleague from On the Boards, Tania.
Tania cuts bread into croutons after a knife-skills lesson from NKO.
Both Sara and Tania consider themselves improvisationally challenged in the kitchen. While we’re able to follow recipes, we’re often unsure 1) what that bay leaf is actually doing; 2) how to cut up a head of fennel; 3) what do you buy instead if the store is out of dandelion greens; 4) what do we do with that peach that is starting to turn?
Our solution: trial and error. We decided to attempt to cooking through the entirety of Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone” – using appropriate vegan substitutions. We invited NKO for the occasional benefit of having a high functioning vegan chef to help drink the cooking wine. We invited Erin and Richard not only as taste-testers, but also for their intelligent conversation, wit, and good looks. Part of the fun of cooking is sharing the booty – it’s far more entertaining and rewarding than say, abstract painting.
Erin’s turn to stir
All of those fingers in the pot taste like love.
Our first menu (all vegan):
Peach & Balsamic Shrub Cocktail (peach, basil, sugar, vinegar with whiskey & soda), garnished with a Basil Leaf
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1160 Feet
Date: July 6, 2014
Hikers: Groucho, Diamond D
Duration: 7:30AM – 12pm
Diamond D and I were in for a close to town adventure, and Rattlesnake Ledge is a favorite quick trip. It was the end of the holiday weekend, so it was good to show up early – by the time we left people were parked a half mile down the approach road.
Light cloud cover on the AM hike out by Pratt Lake.
Distance: 19 miles – 6 miles in to Pratt Lake, with a bushwack down the unmaintained Pratt River Trail (2.5 miles / 1500 ft elevation each way) and finally camping at Lower Tuscoha Lake (.6 each way)
Elevation Gain: 5300 Feet
Date: July 1 – 2, 2014
Hikers: Groucho, the Golden Archer, Olivia (the dog)
Duration: overnight 1pm – 11am
The Golden Archer and I wanted a quick adventure, so we headed back to exit 47 to explore some topography Harpo and I didn’t have a chance to get to earlier in the week. The Pratt Lake trail was in great shape, but we decided to see if we could get down to Pratt River after we made it to the Alpine Lakes Basin area. The Pratt River Trail is unmaintained from the basin (though there is a great, cutty camp spot right before the trail starts to descend) and looks it – it was a rough 2.5 miles to the river, following pink tape blazes. We lost the trail at the river crossing – the water was a little too high to comfortably cross with the dog buddy – and decided to camp back up at the lake basin. Overall a great adventure, and its always rewarding to explore a new trail, even if the end is not totally what one expects.
One year ago – July 4th 2013 – we climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine. Despite our training, it was a rigorous 5 mile, 5 hour ascent to the Northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Once at the top, we surveyed an endless ocean of trees and cascading horizons surrounding us, and began a 5-month southbound thru-hike of the AT, ending Thanksgiving Day, November 28 2013.
Today represents one year of embracing freedom: of loosing ourselves from our expectations; of looking for authentic, unmediated experience; of believing in ourselves and the infinite possibilities emergent in every life and at every moment; of one year of saying YES.
Distance: 17 Miles 6 miles in to Pratt Lake, with a side hike to Lower Tuscoha Lake (.6 each way) and Melakwa (1.7 each way, 1500 feet)
Elevation Gain: 2300 Feet
Date: June 29 – 30, 2014
Hikers: Groucho, Harpo
Duration: overnight 1pm – 9:30am
We’re experimenting with micro trips – leaving late in the day (or around midday) and driving within an hour radius of the city for a short overnight. This works out great when you only have a limited amount of time, but still want to get a night in the woods. It’s also logistically easier to plan as a group trip, which lowers the threshold of investment and makes it easier to invite the homies…
For this trip we hiked the 6 miles into Pratt Lake, arriving at 5pm, set up camp, and made the 4.5 mile roundtrip to Melakwa Lake with only umbrellas and water, arriving back at camp just in time to catch sunset over Pratt.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a large wilderness area spanning the Cascade Range of Washington state in the United States. The wilderness is located in parts of Wenatchee National Forest and Snoqualmie National Forest, and is approximately bounded by Interstate 90 and Snoqualmie Pass to the south and U.S. Route 2 and Stevens Pass to the north. The Alpine Lakes is the largest wilderness area near the population centers of Puget Sound, at approximately 390,000 acres,
Distance: 4.5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1560 Feet
Date: June 20, 2014
Hikers: Groucho, Harpo, Gerry, Riley
Duration: 2.5 hours
This summer, my parents celebrate 45 years of marriage. (Holy cow!) In commemoration, Groucho and I were invited to party with the family in Maui in mid-June. The trip was amazing on a number of scores. But one particular highlight was an impromptu hike up Waihee Ridge. My nephew Riley, and my dad Gerry opted to go with us, and I was delighted to be able to share our walking-practice with them. I hope this was the first of many Edwards-family intergenerational hikes.
A view of the Pacific from the ridge before the summit.
The trail was well graded, and had views that started out great and only grew in grandeur up the ridge. It only took 85 minutes to hike up, but we took several breaks to ensure everyone’s morale and hydration levels remained high. The descent was 45 minutes. Gerry jogged most of the way down – we tried to keep up.
Riley, the amature film maker, took over 100 pictures with his iPhone and GoPro, thorougly documenting the experience.
Three generations of Edwards at the Summit.
House sitting for the awesome and talented Kate Fernandez who has a full letterpress shop in her backyard. Badass…
Myrtle-Edwards park, with a distant view of the Olympics across the sound.
Lynnwood seen from the Interurban Trail at sunset..
Bicycle based kinetic sculpture installation by new mystics in Nord Alley… up through September.
Bothell Landing – the end of the Burke-Gilman trail and the intersection with the Sammamish Trail.