Monthly Archives

August 2008


CK Kit of the Month

Lately our weekends have been so amazing (seriously, hiking in Washington = Prozac) that it is really hard to keep the happiness flowing throughout the week. Now that the gloomy shadow of fall and winter (and the Seattle monsoon season) is rearing its ugly head as well, it’s getting even worse. Solution:

1) get one of those magical happy lamps
2) find new winter-type hobby (consuming foodstuffs and beer does not count as hobby)
3) surround yourself with memories of better days

I’m getting started on number three. We’ve already bought a huge canvas of one of our Mt. Rainier photos (the one in my blog header actually) to hang in the living room, and I’m going to frame some nature photos for the bedroom so I’ll be more inspired to, well, get up in the morning. And for the scrapbooking room/office: photo folders!


I’m using Lisa Bearnson’s Kit of the Month to make these, and it’s freaking awesome. I just got my paper trimmer and some adhesive and sat down to make this while watching an episode of Veronica Mars.




Super-easy, super-sweet. Here’s to hoping winter will be a little less grim this year!

Ellie & Andre
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Backpacking, Hiking, Mount Rainier, Scrapbooking

I know, I know…

…this blog is more hiking than scrapbooking these days. The reason is simply that a couple of months ago I lost all interested in anything pertaining to paper, glue or brads. So I just stopped. I did other stuff. And now it’s back! I want to make stuff again! I’ve been doing assignments these last couple of weeks and after a bit of a rough, Reverse Midas-Syndrome start, I’m happy with the results. Huzzah!

I’m also going to take Cathy Zielske’s class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I’m really excited about this, which means I actually did the pre-class assignment early. For anyone who knows me and my procrastinating ways, you’ll understand how amazing this is. Anyway, here it is:


There, I mentioned scrapbooking. Now on to the hiking! I just want to do a quick little thing about the trips we’ve been on this summer.

Marmot Pass & Buckhorn Mountain:

To be honest, this one kind of sucked for me. I was really dragging ass after our vacation in Norway (where I basically lived on chocolate and soy dogs), and by the time we reached the pass I was really tired. Amy and I stayed there while Ellie, Brendan, JK and Tom hopped on up to the summit of Buckhorn Mountain. After a very good night’s sleep in the tent, I woke up feeling much much better, so I wish we could have gone up to Buckhorn then instead. Oh well. Photo stolen from Brendan:

Buckhorn Mountain

Spider Meadow:

The weekend after we went on my favorite trip so far this summer. This time we took our neighbors along, and they are basically the perfect hiking partners. We need to do it again! Anyway, after 4 miles or so of forest, we arrived at the sweetest alpine meadow I have ever seen:

On to Spider Gap

We dropped our packs and set up camp in the meadow, then hiked on to climb up to Spider Gap. Looking at it from the meadow it seemed next to impossible, but it really wasn’t that bad (ask me again after I’ve done it with a full pack). After following a steep miner’s path up the mountain, we reached what is left of the Spider Glacier:

Happy as a clam

Movin' on up

Our original plan was to drop down to Upper Lyman Lakes from the gap to get a better look at the Lyman Glacier, but since we had gotten a late start there just wasn’t enough time. At least we could see them from Spider Gap:

Upper Lyman Lakes
Noble Knob:

The next weekend we attended Andre & Ellie’s absolutely beautiful wedding (huzzah!!):

The cutting of the cake

We took some of the guests on an easy hike to Noble Knob. It is pretty much the perfect hike for out-of-town visitors as you get amazing views for next to no effort:

Perfect peace

Ingalls Lake:

This past weekend we beat the heat at Ingalls Lake. I have never been so happy to see cold water before, seriously. Gorgeous, gorgeous place.

Mount Stuart JK Suspended

We also got a close look at the wildfire burning in the area:

Jack Creek wildfire

For this weekend we’re planning another trip into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and I am ridiculously excited about it. It’s relatively ambitious for my fitness level (= bad), so we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Ok, sleep now.

Backpacking, Hiking, Southwest, Travel

Road Trip part five: Havasu Canyon

I’m having a bit of a rough time right now, so in order to think of something else I’ll write about the next (and the best) leg of our road trip: Havasu Canyon.

Sometime around Christmas, I had a show about the Grand Canyon on the Travel Channel on in the background while working on my computer, and I caught a glimpse of a spectacular, turquoise waterfall. Being a hiking geek, I immediately got online to get the details – thus the idea of the road trip was born.

Havasu Falls is located on a reservation outside of Grand Canyon. To get there, you either have to hike 10 miles (slackers send their packs in on mules) or take a helicopter into Supai, a tiny village a mile away from the falls. Young and sprightly as we are (hah!), we backpacked in.

Jules and her new friends

..or are they horses?

The hike itself is beautiful, but nothing compares to the first sight of the turquoise waterfall after ten miles of red rocks and desert. I have never seen anything like it.

Wii gl'iiva; the Watchers Havasu Falls Huzzah!

We were pooped after the hike in (hiking in that heat with a full backpack = gaaaah), so we found a campsite (there’s room for over 300 campers; this is not the place to go if you’re looking for solitude), slept, slept some more, and then got up in the morning to swim and explore.

Our campground



On the other side of the campground you find Mooney Falls, notorious for the sketchy trail you have to descend to get to the bottom.

The trail down to Mooney Falls

It’s not really a trail at all, just an old miner’s route blasted into the wall. Julia and I made it down the first part and through the tunnels (eep) before freaking out and turning back. JK lacks the vertiginous gene, so he made it all the way down. If you keep hiking even further, you’ll see even more waterfalls and eventually reach the Colorado River. I’ve already promised JK that I’ll do it if we ever go back…

Descend at own risk Ladder Going back up

Luckily, you get a great view of Mooney even if you don’t go all the way down:

Mooney Falls

In the evening, we tried to take some exposure shots of Havasu Falls, had dinner (the dehydrated camping food you get here in the US is surprisingly tasty), played cards with a new friend we met, and I got my first spider bite – huzzah! It wasn’t a black widow or a brown recluse, so I could breathe easy – desert life amongst poisonous spiders, snakes and scorpions is quite intense for a gang of Norwegians!


We headed back the next morning. Because we’re total idiots, we started around ten, hiking out during the hottest hours of the day. I have never ever been so tired in my entire life. By the time we reached the hill up to Hualapai Hilltop, where our car was parked, I was spent. Even though we had three liters of water each plus two bottles of Gatorade that we picked up in Supai, we all ran out of water before we hit the switchbacks. I ended up having to sit down for a couple of minutes any time I could find some shade.

Hiking out of the village

Ingunn & Jules

Eventually we dragged our asses up to the parking lot where gallons of lovely water awaited us in the car.

Now tell me how you really feel

The worst part is that I would totally do this again. :D

Havasu Canyon must be one of the most beautiful places on earth, but it was a completely different experience than what I’m used to as a backpacker. First of all, there are so many people. Many send their stuff in by mules or helicopters and many don’t even hike in, so the place is full of people who have never heard the term “leave no trace”. We saw huge groups of people living it up with full-sized barbecues that they had sent in, people washing themselves and their clothes with soap in the creek, and the most disgusting toilets I have ever experienced (including that toilet in Poland (ugh) and all the ones in India).

Backpackers are usually very nice and helpful, but here people were pushing other people’s tents out of the way so they could take their spots (and a group of “women” (they were acting like they were 13) took the table from our camp and refused to give it back). I hope the area gets a tighter permit system soon, but since the tribe needs tourists to survive I doubt it will happen.

Also, the story of the Havasupai tribe is, as with most Native American tribes, really depressing. I recommend reading the book I Am the Grand Canyon: The Story of the Havasupai People and this article from Backpacker Magazine.

Anyway, enough whining. Next stop: Route 66, Vegas and Goldstrike Hot Springs!

Southwest, Travel

Road Trip part four: Grand Canyon – South Rim

I just realized that I never finished blogging about our road trip. Since it happened in April, this is getting somewhat ridiculous…so, without further ado, our next stop on the trip: the Grand Canyon!

On our way from Page, we hit our first ever sandstorm – it was pretty intense for us non-desert dwellers. (Also intense: all the squished bugs on our windshield.)


Driving towards the national park, we could see the ground opening wider and wider, and finally we could see the famous Desert View Watchtower:

Desert View Watchtower

We also got our only sizeable wildlife sighting of the trip (the rest were all chipmunks, squirrel-type things and lizards):

Fuzzy Mule Deer

After setting up camp and eating a quick dinner in one of the lodges, we just ended up playing cards and going to bed. This sounds horrible, but we were all really underwhelmed by the Grand Canyon. I think it was partly because we had already seen so many beautiful places on our trip (I know, we’re spoiled), but I have to say that the South Rim lacks some of the charm you can find up by the North Rim…in other words, there were just too many tourists and too many fancy buildings. I would probably like it much better if we had time to actually go for a hike and explore it without busloads of loud humans around us.

Anyhoo, enough whining. If the Grand Canyon is the low point of your trip, it means your vacation has been pretty freakin’ awesome.

The Grand Canyon


After a freezing (literally – we were somewhere around 7,000 feet, so it dropped below freezing) night in our tents, we got up early (ugh, really early) to see the sunrise. We all looked amazing:

Sleepy, Dopey and Grumpy

Afterwards we quickly stuffed all our crap into the car and drove on to our main adventure of the trip: Havasu Canyon. Huzzah!