Circling Mount Doom on the Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand

Circling Mount Doom on the Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand

Taranaki once lived with the other mountains of the central North Island: Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Unfortunately, Taranaki fell in love with a pretty hill called Pihanga, who happened to be the wife of Tongariro.  After a fiery battle with Tongariro which he lost, the tall and handsome Taranaki, like many a young man, headed […]

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A Rich Feast on the Alpamayo Northern Circuit, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

A Rich Feast on the Alpamayo Northern Circuit, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

….superlatives crash and burn in a brave attempt to capture the beauty of the place.” Lonely Planet Trekking in Peru Snapping awake sometime before dawn, I extracted myself from sleeping bag and tent as quietly as possible so as not to awaken my tentmate.  Snuggling in down parka,  alpaca cap and mittens, I found a […]

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Walking the Forest Primeval: Thunder Creek to McAllister Creek, North Cascades

Our hiking group had turned to this creekside forest trail on a drippy Saturday, discouraged from the high country by late spring snows and poor weather.  As we drove through the foothills, the clouds blowing in from yet another Pacific weather system bunched above us as if snagged by the shaggy treetops, spitting moisture onto the windshield.   It […]

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In the Center of Nature’s Flow in Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand

In the Center of Nature’s Flow in Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand

Everything is flowing — going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty-making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance; water streams carrying rocks… while the stars go streaming through […]

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Endless sky, brilliant water – Highline/Fremont Trail, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Endless sky, brilliant water – Highline/Fremont Trail, Wind River Range, Wyoming

A mountain is the best medicine for a troubled mind. Seldom does man ponder his own insignificance. He thinks he is master of all things. He thinks the world is his without bonds. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only when he tramps the mountains alone, communing with nature, observing other insignificant creatures about […]

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An unexpected encounter in the great Northern Temperate Rainforest

It’s very difficult to forget that we live in one of the world’s great rainforest ecosystems here in western Washington – the Northern Temperate Rainforest.  After all, with very little coaxing (just a few decades), the trees grow tall and dramatic, the mosses and ferns quickly drape the fallen debris, and – lest you need […]

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Ancient and Modern Drama, Writ Large on Cerro Torre, Patagonia

Ancient and Modern Drama, Writ Large on Cerro Torre, Patagonia

We stood utterly alone in a moonscape of tumbled gray rocks left behind by the last Patagonian glaciation, the view of the full Chalten massif stretched before us – the best view in the house.   Filling our field of view were the striking pinnacles of Cerro Torre (3102m) with its ever-present cap of rime ice[1], and its companions […]

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Sunrise on the Smoking Mountain:  Monte FitzRoy, Argentine Patagonia

Sunrise on the Smoking Mountain: Monte FitzRoy, Argentine Patagonia

The firefly sparks of a dozen headlamps sketched out the trail above our camp, with only the faintest pre-dawn glow to indicate the presence of the towering massif above. Climbers and trekkers had been hunkered down through the rain and wind for a month in the little boomtown of El Chalten, Argentina, awaiting this first […]

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