Happy Tramper

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

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 was going to be a…

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 space pulsed on and on…

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 him, to come and go…

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 a reminder – there is…

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 Torre Egger (2900m) and Cerro Standhardt (2800m).  …

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 clear stretch of weather, and…