Tag Archives: Mt. Shuksan

A Passion for Home

Twenty-five years ago, I moved to Bellingham, Washington to ski and pursue a degree at Western Washington University. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Mt. Baker was about to set a world record for snowfall. That first winter totally changed the course of my life. I instantly became hooked on the deep powder skiing and the rugged and seemingly endless …

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Dancing on Sauk Mountain

As the snow begins to retreat in the North Cascades, and the color scheme ever so slowly shifts from white to green, I get the itch. Of course, having plied these North Cascades for numerous happy decades, I am used to waiting: there’s a lot of snow up there, and it melts out slowly, unveiling the verdant greenery in its …

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A Benediction of Owls: Winter on the Baker River

We drove up the Baker Lake Road, each in our own car, past the gated campgrounds and shuttered ranger station. Above us the Mountain Gods —Kulshan and Shuksan—gleamed in the luminous winter sun, fresh snow dazzling against a cobalt-blue sky. I was sorely in need of a few days off the grid, and the weather window—a few consecutive days of …

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Winter’s Path: A Walk through the Cascade Mountains

I push forward through days spread out over decades. Days that have taken me into nearly every corner of the Cascade Mountains where snow weighs heavy on my shoulders, just as it does on the boughs of the evergreens that groan with each additional snowflake. Days where clouds open up and my place in the world is defined. Days spent …

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The Paycheck of a Lookout Janitor

To be at work and at play at the same time is to know inspiration. To labor with passionate commitment on something you believe in is to know fulfillment. But to simply awaken at 6521 feet to a dazzling sunrise is to experience the exalted treasure of one of Washington’s remaining fire lookouts. I became lookout chairman 14 years ago, …

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Searching for Phantoms: Wolverines in the North Cascades

 Inhospitable.  That’s it, in a word. Inhospitable. The word for today—and for this landscape. The three of us were working our way across the terrain of the North Cascades, ostensibly out here recreating but more accurately, persevering. Here in the shadows of the White Salmon Basin, the sun will not crest the north face of Mt. Shuksan for some hours …

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Old Friends and Falling Snow: Winter at White Salmon Creek

The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of only one thing and one thing only. – Joseph Wood Krutch   I am old enough to have experienced the profound benefit of long friendships. The arc of a lifetime, when shared with folks who are special to …

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Winter Splendor in the North Cascades

The jet stream of moisture-laden clouds has pummeled the Pacific Northwest for days. The winds begin to shift from the southwest to the northeast, bringing cold, dry air from Canada driven by an encroaching high pressure system. The stage is set and the curtain of grey slowly rises, revealing the stars of the show: the jagged peaks of the North …

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Finding the Flow: A Trail Runner’s Journey

  What calls? What beckons? What primeval invitation is answered when the comforts of modernity are exchanged for dirt, rain, and rocks?  A better body? A more enviable digital platform? A belt buckle? Bar room bragging rights? For sure each of those things have their appeal:  the ego is a force to be reckoned with. Yet, stripped of pretense, weathered, …

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Winter Bliss at Artist Point

The mood of a Pacific Northwest winter is defined by monochromatic clouds and a never-ending somber grayness. The dampness that muffles sound also softens the edges of the scenery. There seems little depth to the view as layers of fog and mist create a two dimensional portrait of the world. Shadows hardly exist.   But luckily, the Mt. Baker Highway …

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