Cascade Mountain Tech News

Views From the Top: Mason Lake
October 29, 2019

Views From the Top: Mason Lake

“Let’s go for a hike!” is a declaration my kids usually don’t want to hear. They’ve been drug out on hikes and marched down trails since our twins were 10 weeks old (Washington’s Lake Lillian hike was their first ascent, although they hitched a ride up the mountain snuggled firmly in a baby carrier). You’d think that eight years of hiking expeditions would have taught them the lesson that though these trips initially sound like a lot of work for little legs, they will enjoy themselves thoroughly. They may have hundreds of trail miles under their belt, but pre-hike griping seems to come naturally. Our destination was Mason Lake, a pretty little hike just off the I-90 corridor that switches back and forth up and away from the valley and over the ridge to a little mountain lake that gets just enough sun all summer to make it tolerable for a swim on a hot day after the ascent. The round trip is 6.5 miles in total.

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Views from the Top: The 5040 Hut Hike on Vancouver Island
October 08, 2019

Views from the Top: The 5040 Hut Hike on Vancouver Island

Climbing old growth root ladders to the top of a misty mountain is a quintessential Vancouver Island hiking experience. Spending the night in a cozy, heated, and well-lit hut at the top of that mountain adds a definite something. It makes you feel a bit guilty writing about it because, while the newly-opened 5040 Peak Hut is no secret, it’s special and hopefully will be respectfully preserved for a long time. The hut is accessed via the Cobalt Lake Trail, a steep climb through old-growth and alpine, not far from Port Alberni, in the traditional territory of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations. The hike is not for the faint of heart—literally, you climb and climb and climb—and you’ll need a 4x4 to get to it via Marion Creek Forest Service Road. The hard work pays off though as you hike alongside rushing waterfalls, the small and incredibly clear Cobalt Lake, and up to the top of the peak, about another hour’s climb past the hut.

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Views from the Top: Fremont Lookout – Mt. Rainier National Park
April 02, 2019

Views from the Top: Fremont Lookout – Mt. Rainier National Park

Mondays are for the mountains…

As my wife and I make the transition back to life in the Pacific Northwest after a handful of years in Nashville, we made the decision to dedicate our Mondays to the mountains. After all, the Cascade Mountain Range was the leading reason for us to move back to Washington State. It only took a few years away from these great mountains to realize exactly how much they really meant to us, so this time around we are committed to spending even more time in and around these majestic peaks. 

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Views from the Top: Plain of Six Glaciers, Lake Louise
February 11, 2019

Views from the Top: Plain of Six Glaciers, Lake Louise

Still half asleep, we sipped our warm coffees watching the fluorescent rainbow expand over the mountains. It was a chilly, cloudy morning, but Kaitlin and I were determined to get an early start on our day. This easily may have been the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. I enjoyed that it took patience; though we arrived just before sunrise, we had to wait for the sun to move up over the adjacent ridgeline before it began illuminating the mountains around Lake Louise. 

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Views from the Top: Half-Dome, Yosemite National Park
January 03, 2019

Views from the Top: Half-Dome, Yosemite National Park

This summer I've been on a terror to check some things off my bucket list. Despite my fear of heights, Half Dome has always been a destination I've wanted to see. I had been trying for the annual lottery since I first moved to California, and was never lucky enough to pull it off, but last week my friends inspired me to try for the daily lottery when they got selected on a whim.

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Views from the Top: Tank Lakes
November 26, 2018

Views from the Top: Tank Lakes

Smoke from the recent wildfire season had started clearing only days before, but we were finally able to see the deep blue skies that Seattle summers are known for. We were lucky enough to have friends in town and it was obvious we were all antsy to breathe some fresh mountain air and stretch out our stiff legs. Where do you take a Coloradan, two Pennsylvanian globetrotters and a nomadic van-dweller to really “wow” them? We knew just the spot.

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Views from the Top: Glacier Peak Wilderness
October 29, 2018

Views from the Top: Glacier Peak Wilderness

I can remember once staring at the vast beauty of Glacier Peak from high in the North Cascades, thinking how phenomenal it would be to see it from up close. Fast-forward to the present day. I returned home to Seattle after traveling in Southeast Asia for almost two years. I was dying to get back into the forests of the Pacific Northwest and my longing for an adventure to Glacier Peak had only gotten stronger. 

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Views from the Top: Lookout Point – Kings Canyon
October 17, 2018

Views from the Top: Lookout Point – Kings Canyon

In my latest quest to explore more national parks, I recently had a weekend adventure in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. I frequently visit Joshua Tree, and I had visited Zion National Park a few weeks prior, so I was looking forward to heading somewhere that was a little more mountainous and that offered some bouldering and steep hikes with a good amount of elevation gain. These parks delivered.

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Views from the Top: Enchanted Valley, WA
September 26, 2018

Views from the Top: Enchanted Valley, WA

It takes a marquee name like Enchanted Valley to coordinate 8 friends across 2 different states to trek into Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Enchanted as this valley may be, the 34-mile round trip price of admission is neither a small feat nor an easy sell to your backpacking buddies. The final destination and trail leading up to the valley, however, is well-deserving of its namesake.

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Views from the Top: High Divide Loop, WA
September 05, 2018

Views from the Top: High Divide Loop, WA

The alarm sounded at 3:30am on Sunday, August 12th, and the four of us awoke from our slumber alongside Lake Crescent within the Olympic National Park. We reluctantly began packing up camp so that we could hit the road in order to arrive at the Sol Duc Falls trailhead nice and early to tackle the entire High Divide Loop in a single day. 

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