Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Hike-a-thon, Hiking, Top Trips

Defying the clouds

Seattle saw nary a drop of rain in July, so we were all flummoxed by the forecast on the first Saturday in August. Clouds? Precipitation? Whaa?

Old trail Getting closer to the light

I was itching to go for a hike anyway, especially since it would be my first trail of Washington Trails Association’s Hike-a-Thon 2013! Read more about it (and maybe consider a donation if you’re a lover of trails too!) over here.

Sea of clouds

We settled on Mount Defiance – Wellie and I had hiked there a couple of weeks earlier, but JK had never been, and I knew he would love it.


Everything worked in our favor. We started late, so we were able to bypass the cars that were parked 1/2 mile down the road and park right by the trailhead (the Ira Spring trailhead is always crowded, even on soggy days, but the early birds had left by now, leaving the prime spots up for grabs). We took the old trail to Mason Lake, bypassing the descending crowds. The clouds and mist kept us cool(ish) on the steep ascent, but cleared right as we made it to the Mount Defiance meadow – man oh man, how I love hiking above the clouds!

Happy me

Finally, while there were still black flies out, there were barely any mosquitoes. Basil could finally hike with us again, no antihistamines necessary.

Good to have Basil out on a hike again

We had borrowed Brutus for this one, too.

Want a cookie?

I’m finding it kind of hard to blog about my hikes this summer, because they’ve all been so good. I feel like I’m gushing too much. But seriously, this evening was just wonderful. Great quality time with my guy, happy dogs, beautiful light.

Autumn is coming



We took the Ira Spring Trail down and ran most of the way back to the car. Even a triple yellow jacket attack a mile from the trailhead couldn’t kill my buzz.

Golden hour

It was the perfect start to Hike-a-Thon. I don’t have a mileage goal this year (but JK is sponsoring me per mile for extra motivation), I just want to enjoy myself and talk to people about trails, spreading the good word like a mountain minister. ;^)

Hopefully I’ll have lots of hikes to gush about this month.

Perfect summer evening

Mount Defiance | 10 miles | 3500 feet elevation gain –

Huge thanks to my first Hike-a-Thon sponsors, Rich…

Thanks, Rich!

…and Angie!

Thanks, Angie!

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  • Reply Mark Griffith August 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I LOVE that old Mason Lake trail, its so lush and you leave the crowds behind.

  • Reply Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) August 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Incredible photos! I don’t think you can gush too much about a hike like that.

  • Reply Cindy P. August 18, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I want to say Thank You. I’ve followed your blog for a couple years now. I love hiking with you. Please continue to share your adventures with us. Love that you take your Furry Friends with you. They love a good hike too. Beautiful scenery on this hike, glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply jill i August 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Gosh your photos are always so crisp and clear. What camera do you use? And those dogs look like dog models, like they really know how to pose for the camera. Never done Mt. Defiance. Have been doing more sea kayaking this summer, but overdue for a good hike, maybe Labor Day weekend.

  • Reply Ingunn September 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Jill, we usually bring our Canon 60D, but when we plan to do a lot of running (like on this trip) we bring our old Canon Rebel since it’s much smaller.

    Defiance is definitely a new favorite of mine, I’m even contemplating a third trip this year just to see the fall colors!

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