September 11, 2013

Ice Lake and Matterhorn in the Eagle Cap Wilderness

Spoiled with beauty; that's the theme of this venture!  

As I stared across Ice Lake, I was reminded of how clean this Earth can be. This absolutely clear oligotrophic oxygen filled lake refreshes your inner being that humanity can so easily strip away.  Only adventures with a like mind and heart find themselves embracing every second of this absolutely breathtaking area.  In my efforts to show my readers the beauty of this Earth, I've realized there is no way a picture or video can suffice. The human body is miraculous in what it can sense, and therefore the euphoria it can experience with in a moment's time. Check out more pictures I found of the Ice Lake area!

July 31, 2013

Exciting Donation News!

$1 donation towards MS for every like I get on my FB page between now and Sunday! Thanks to a wonderful lady (Michelle) who has MS herself!

Michelle ran 180 miles over 7 days for this relay! A relay across the US for MS is happening right now!

July 28, 2013

Wild Woman Marathon and Climbing Mt. Adams

Me and my WILD WOMEN!


 I was blessed with a weekend of serious insanity! It consisted of running in a the Wild Woman's Marathon relay on Saturday and Climbing Mt. Adams Sunday morning at 1:30AM. The weather was gorgeous and I felt blessed, once again, to share this experience with Rob. 

I wasn't expecting him to, but he drove 4 hours to support me in my race, hand out water to the runners, and climb a major mountain with me! Couldn't have been any better. 

Mt. Adams is the 9th most 
prominent mountain in the lower 48 states. This was quite the climb! In one day we climbed 6532 ft. Many people climb to lunch counter, the day before, so they are able to get acclimated. 

Starting the climb at 1:30am, was amazing! Clear starry skies  and a full moon that lit up the trail greeted us with its welcoming presence. Pure beauty surrounded every step. Night time hiking takes hiking to a whole new level! The crunch of every footstep radiated through the darkness. Crickets sang, and leaves swayed to the light breeze as if a beautiful melody was being played to our journey. Often times, Rob (a very talented musician I might say), will join in with the song and form a bit of beat boxing; becoming one with the symphony of the night. 
As we reached our first steep snowy slope of the night, we got out our ice axes and strapped on our crampons. Spider man has now hit the slopes!...haha... I wish! Being that it was my first time using crampons, I stayed cautious, but they were sure a lot better than none! 

"Lunch Counter" (~9,000 ft), where this You tube video was taken, was a great little resting spot. This video portrays my one of my thoughts about climbing Mt. Adams (the ant hill). As people tried to conquer this beast,  they looked like a stream of ants climbing up an ant hill. 

The warm sun welcomed us to a breath-taking morning, as we enjoyed the beautiful sunrise light up the surrounding landscape, including Mt Hood and Mt. St. Helens. Thinking back to conquering Mt. St. Helens 2 months ago, brought back many amazing memories that are going to last a lifetime. 


The next 3,000 ft. climb was definitely challenging. As soon as we passed 9,000 feet, I started feeling the affects of altitude for the first time in my life. The lack of oxygen causes most people to get a little dizzy, which is what Rob was feeling. I never got dizzy, but all I wanted to do was sleep! I was hard o keep them open because my eyelids felt like they were holding up massive weights. 

Rob and I took our own path as we wondered up the East side of the mountain and came across some insane ice cliffs. We maneuvered around these massive cliffs, and got on some 60 degree slopes, which kind of freaked me out because of the snow starting to turn to slush. There is no way that I felt comfortable with slush holding my weight. 

At about 10,700 ft, we switched back over to the common route, which turned out to be a walk in the park aside from breathing strenuously after a few steps. With a thousand feet left to conquer, it seemed like it was taking a very long time. No matter how hard we breathed, we just weren't getting the oxygen our bodies were used to getting at 3,000 feet. Of course this is a given, but it felt unbelievable when I actually experienced it for the first time. 

Mt. Hood

Yes, there were a few times when I wasn't sure if we were ever going to make it. I wasn't going to stop, but it almost seemed as if the mountain was growing. After hours of climbing, branching off on our own path, and a much needed sun-basking nap, we finally made it to the top! 

Mt. St. Helens from lunch counter

Mt. Rainier from the tip top of Adams

At the top of Mt. Adams there is a memorial for a guy with the last name "Forester". I had my Smokey the bear handkerchief and left it tied to the memorial with all of the other handkerchiefs. It was nice to leave something behind, because I become a whole new person with every mountain I climb. Not one mountain is the same. They all give you experiences and challenges that are unique to themselves. Not only that, but the view at the top is totally worth the climb. Most of all, glissading down an enormous mountain makes it ABSOLUTELY worth the climb! Here's a Youtube video of one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime! It's not my video, but it give you the idea! 

Complete freedom! I screamed at the top of my lungs the entire way down and it felt absolutely amazing! 

After our long climb, Rob and I stopped for some delicious veggie pizza to wake us up for our 5 hour drive back to reality. As Bill and Ted might say, "That was a most excellent adventure!" 

July 14, 2013

Shoshone Falls

The 2nd crazy day of Rob and I's 4th of July weekend consisted of a full day paddle board trip to Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. We started in Centennial Park and traveled upstream under the Perrine Bridge where we saw many base jumpers enjoying their rush of adrenaline for the morning. 

We then paddled to Pillar Falls where we got off and swam around. We then had to pack our gear and paddle boards 50 yards across the rock slabs to put in for the rest of the journey to Shoshone Falls. 

Once at Shoshone falls, we found a little cove to set our paddle boards in so we could go swim around.  As we swam around, we had tourists waving at us and taking pictures from the lookout point. We also climbed up some rock ledges and did some cliff jumping. 

The freedom experienced was completely priceless and worth every breathtaking moment. 

 So many times I have looked at Shoshone Falls from above. Being in side of it and experiencing it will all of my senses made it that much more astonishing.  

Rob and I sitting on the middle of the Perrine Bridge dangling our feet over the edge. Experiencing part of our journey from a different view. 

City of Rocks National Reserve

Rob and I started our 4th of July weekend adventure by driving to the City of Rocks National Reserve near Albion, Idaho. Looking out across the landscape of miles of towering rock formations, it is quite evident that this is truly a climber's paradise.  

When we saw these sloping cracks, we quickly bounded over all of the other rocks to get a better look at a possible free climb with no gear what so ever. 

Here I am staring at this massive rock slope, contemplating my route. There was no doubt in whether or not I was going to take the challenge offered before me. 

Let the challenge begin!

Rob Nearing the top with an amazing view behind him! 

And of course we found some goofy rocks. This one in particular reminded me of a big diaper. 

 A comfy little shelter

 This is what happens when the timer gets set wrong on the camera. Haha! Absolutely beautiful view though!
The City of Rocks is truly a big kids playground! I recommend visiting for a week. There is so much to explore and it is one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen! Rob and I only had a day to spend there, but if that is all the time you can spare, it is still totally worth the trip!  

July 11, 2013

June 23, 2013

PCT Training

One can't truly train for the rigorous challenges the Pacific Crest Trail brings, but staying in shape and pushing yourself beforehand is key. Rob and I went on a 45 mile bike ride with a riding time of 3 hours and 59 minutes. This is nothing compared to the daily life on the PCT, where some days I will hike 45 miles with my home strapped to my back. Most days will be more like 25-30 miles, but that is still a marathon per day. The human body is capable of amazing feats!

June 18, 2013

Rock Creek Butte Mountain Goat Hike

On June 8th, Rob and I decided to conquer the 5th most prominent mountain in Oregon: Rock Creek Butte. This staggering beauty lies Northwest of Baker City and Southeast of Anthony Lakes ski resort. These mountains are truly one of the best kept secrets in Oregon. Many people people admire their beauty from the freeway, but only the determined get a closer look. The steep and excruciatingly overgrown rocky road leading up to this  mountain, forms a barrier for wildlife to flourish and human tracks to be few. There just simply aren't a lot of visitors because of the limited access. 


Driving up the road was an adventure in itself. There were pot holes, streams, rocks and fallen down trees to dodge, and a blanket of loose rocks that made the incline very difficult in a vehicle lacking four wheel drive. We decided our hike would begin as soon as we couldn't drive an further. This point came sooner than hoped, but an extra 3 miles was not about to stop us. After all, this was just the beginning of our adventure. 

After hiking up the road a few miles, we stopped to drink some deliciously refreshing water from the Spring run-off as we admired the beauty of the snowy mountains and rocky cliffs. The earth and its prominent features surrounded us like ants in an enormous mountainous bowl. We had already made it to the point where few had gone, but we wanted to touch the top. This 9,106 ft. peak with a 4,466 ft. prominence called us to the challenge and we were barely getting to the good part. 

Climbing up to the ridge line by Talus slope was increasingly beautiful every step of the way. This beauty gave us an inner desire to climb higher, in order to experience more breathtaking moments. Once at the ridge line, Rock Creek Lake greeted us with its dazzling crystal clear run-off leaving a light blue shimmer on top of the frozen snow. There we sat, on a gigantic slab of granite, eating and admiring our surroundings. I was not about to let this kind of beauty be taken for granted. 

Ridge Line


Mountain goats galore! Every corner we turned, one would quickly run away from us. Then we'd find a couple staring at us from atop a rocky ledge. These curious creatures would let us get within 20 feet, and then scamper into the distance. We found ourselves in the middle of nowhere yelling, "Hey billy billy!" or making noises to spook them. We didn't want to come across any close encounters that could potentially be a threat to these creatures. Mountain goats can amazingly conquer rocky or snowy cliffs. I would never even think about walking where I saw some of their tracks! They are definitely more agile than they appear. 

After maneuvering past several mountain goats, free climbing some rocky faces, and carefully tip toeing the scree filled slopes, we made it to the top! Only, this wasn't the top. It was the second tallest pointed peak before Rock Creek Butte that towered along the ridge line. Admiring the view, we decided that this was an accomplishment in itself. Time was dwindling and we needed to find a way down. Our choices were back where we came from, or forward to create our own path. 

2nd Tallest Peak Before Rock Creek Butte

Forward seemed like the most logical choice for a couple of adventurers, but I felt uneasy. This meant creating our own ladder in a nearly vertical snowy slope. This was my first exposure to anything of this magnitude. One wrong step would have sent us sliding down a snowy cliff only to gain a speed that would crush us as we hit the rocks at the bottom. Skydiving, and having to use my reserve chute, was nothing compared to carefully stepping across this massive snowy ridge that had the choice to buckle underneath me at any moment. I didn't have a second chance, and suddenly had a newly developed fear of heights covering my mind.  My hands grew increasingly numb with every grasp into the freezing snow that was meant to hold me from a fall. How was I supposed to try to catch myself if I couldn't feel my hands? Too many "what if's" were running through my head; I needed to find a way to clear my thoughts because fear was not an option. Before long, a peace came over me, and I knew we were going to be just fine. I looked at Rob and said, "This is great! We are probably the only ones to ever experience Rock Creek Butte in this form!" His response, "I'm glad you are thinking that way!"

After a long stretch of snow, we found ourselves climbing up rock faces to avoid the cold blanket of ice. Before I knew it, I was hanging from a rocky cliff, unable to find a firm hand hold. Every rock was loose, and my only option was to swing my body around a sketchy rock to boost me to the top. Death crossed my mind multiple times. Would this rock hold all of my weight? I wasn't sure, but it was my only option. Luckily, Rob was at the top and helped pull me to safer ground. With hearts pounding out of our chests, we plopped down on the ground, laying in disbelief. I literally couldn't believe I was still alive. 

As we looked to our next route, we noticed we had nearly climbed to the top of Rock Creek Butte while trying to maneuver our way around the snow. We did it after all! The problem was that after our multiple stunts of bravery, we were ready to get off of the mountain. Now, the decent was even further. As we discussed our options, we decided to brave the snow and literally create a ladder with our hands and feet. Kicking and packing the snow one step at a time. 

It was freezing, and my hands were numb, but I knew this was our best option. After a couple hours, the steepness of the slope subsided. To make up for time, we slid down the mountain, using our feet and hands as breaks to keep us from gaining too much speed. As soon as we thought we were at the bottom, another cliff challenged us. Our newly acquired skills helped us defeat it with out a problem. 

The hike back to the car seemed to take a while, but we definitely enjoyed the brown earth under our feet. After a 13.5 hour hike that challenged us in every mental and physical way, we treated ourselves to burgers from Haine's Steak House. They were delicious!

On this adventure, Rob and I were able to see the beauty of this earth from another seemingly untouched perspective.  Yes, we did some crazy things on this mountaineering escapade, but we survived and expanded our skills by pushing ourselves and staying focused. Learning begins where comfort ends. :)

May 31, 2013

Mount St. Helens Summit

Over Memorial Day weekend, Rob and I hiked up Mt. St. Helens. We were number 5 & 6 out of the 20% who made it to the top. Before our journey began, we had no idea we were going to be post holing through waist deep snow just to get to the top. Everyone said, "Ya, there won't be hardly any snow this time of year!" Wrong! A pair of snow shoes would have been a great addition to the hike, but that wasn't about to stop us.

Being that the road to Climber's Bivouac was closed, we started hiking from June Lake Trail head (Elevation 2,700 feet). The trail started easy with a slight incline and a few inches of snow that made jogging feel like I was running on the beach. Every time my foot hit the ground, it slid back a few inches. Would I dare put my crampons on? No way! As soon as Rob said, "Let's see how far we can get with out our crampons.", I knew they would not be touching my feet!

About an hour into the hike, we started rock scrambling up a snowy/ rocky ridge with the risk of falling off the side of the mountain if we were to lose our balance. 1 step into that snowy shelf and "Adios" would have been our new names for the last seconds of our lives. But, that is not how the story goes my friends; we played it smart! A few people followed our rock scrambling path for a ways, then decided that stair stepping through the snow was more of their style. After the rocky ridge ended, we had no choice but to join the stair steppers for next 500 foot climb. At least we were almost to the top! Well, that's what we thought anyway.

The top was not the top, and the wind was chilling my skin, so I knew we had to keep moving.  At that point, there was a group of about 20 people who were turning around. I asked them how much further it was to the top and in a chuckle they said, "This is halfway." My eyes were huge in disbelief as I realized my perception of elevation dramatically changed when snow was involved.  As the group of 20 were leaving, I asked them why they were headed back down. They said the weather was supposed to get worse and an inversion was coming in. This older gentleman looked at us and said, "That's just us old people talk; we can't risk much at our age." Rob and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and decided to keep climbing. After all, there was a group of 15-20 people ahead of us.

The next 3 hours (2,700 feet) of climbing  Mt. St. Helens was quite the challenge. Fellow climbers were strapping on their skis and skinning up the mountain side, or strapping on their snowshoes for a much easier hike. Well, we didn't have any of that, but we were determined to make it to the top. The quickest hiker made it in snow shoes and we were close behind. When we started to climb above the cloud level, I was just struck with wonder. It is one thing to be in an airplane looking down on the clouds, but it is another to conquer those clouds and look back at their beauty with the sun shining on you. The freedom experienced in those moments are completely priceless. It radiates through your entire being and holds you in an enormous bubble of extravagant beauty. This was what the rest of our hike was about: freedom.

As we hit the summit, at 8,365 feet, Mt. Adams was staring, from the right, with a beautiful lenticular cloud hovering over its snowy peak. As we turned around to see where we had came from, we saw Mt. Hood basking in the sunlight. Close behind was a guy that I had the urge to talk to. While I was talking to him, I soon found out that he hiked the PCT last summer and misses being on the trail. I can see why. When you conquer a mountain or a really long trail with people who started out as strangers, you suddenly feel like you have this understanding of each other that doesn't even need to be expressed. It is just known. Your past, future, or where you come from doesn't matter because your spirits are the same in their hunger for the beauty of nature and the adventure it holds.

Eating on top of Mt. St. Helens, made homemade wraps and no bake cookies better than ever! Once we ate our food, we had to get going again because the wind was starting to cool off our bodies and we needed to keep moving.

On the way down, we spent the majority of our times sliding down the mountain on our bottoms. If that is not a freeing experience, I don't know what is. 33 years ago, Lava slid right down that hillside; why can't I? :)

My dad always taught me to appreciate the beauty in everything, to experience nature with all of my senses, to let it talk to me and teach me a thing or two. That is exactly what happened on Mt. St. Helens. I am now able to pull that experience out of my brain and hold it like a little bubble to release that invigorating feeling of the freedom I experienced. Nature is my drug, and I can't think of any better source! When I am surrounded by an area of nature that is rarely touched by humans, I realize that God new exactly what he was doing. We, as humans, believe that we do, but they really haven't a clue.

PCT 2014 Trek for M.S. Here I come!

April 20, 2013

The Hike Begins April 24, 2014

Pacific Crest Trail Hike for Multiple Sclerosis

Starting at the border of Mexico and California, Megan is hiking 2650 miles in hopes to raise money and find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.