Last year, as Kyle and I were planning our summer, we decided it was past time for us to get a personal locator beacon (PLB) of some sort. Our hikes and backpacking trips were taking us further and further from roads and, in some cases, even from trails. After research, I settled on the Garmin inReach Explorer+. This post covers our decision to buy the inReach and what it’s been like to use it for a year.
Part 2 of our March 2018 return to Patagonia to explore and hike the Aysén region between Coyhaique and Cochrane in Chile. This part covers our brief stop in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, time spent in Villa Cerro Castillo, and an overnight backpacking trip in Cerro Castillo National Park. Follow along as we recount our trek to famous Laguna Cerro Castillo and the beautiful New Zealand camp.
Part 1 of our March 2018 return to Patagonia to explore and hike the Aysén region between Coyhaique and Cochrane in Chile. This part covers the rugged drive along the Carretera Austral (Route 7) from Balmaceda to Cochrane, and multiple days of hiking in the picturesque Valle Chacabuco and newly formed Patagonia National Park.
We love Seattle, but by February or March, we’re craving some sunlight, warmth, and outside time. Conveniently, it’s easy to get to Hawaii from the west coast. In March 2015, we headed to Maui for a week of hikes, food, and beaches. We moved around between Hana, Lahaina, and Kula so that we could explore different parts of the island.
As noted in our post about planning the Tour du Mont Blanc, we strove for a balance in our packing. We wanted to carry little so we would have energy for side trips and explorations. We also wanted to carry enough that we weren’t committed to doing laundry every day or worried about clothes drying.
For the final part of our trip to the Picos de Europa, we spent three days day hiking near Camarmeña and Poncebos. This included hikes to Cares Gorge, Bulnes and Jou de los Cabrones, and Ondón.
On our trip to the Picos de Europa, rain turned our planned day hike around the Lagos de Covadonga into a short walk. We augmented it with stops in historic Covadonga and at a queseria in Arenas de Cabrales.
The Central Massif of the Picos de Europa contains a mix of steep-sided canyons and ravines, green pastures, limestone peaks, and rocky, barren landscapes. To start our hiking in the Picos de Europa, we went for a three-day, two-night tour of the Central Massif. From Fuente Dé, we hiked to Refugio de Urriellu below the spectacular Naranjo de Bulnes, then to Refugio Collado Jermoso, and finally back to Fuente Dé. Despite encountering thunderstorms, rain, and snow, we loved the spectacular scenery.
Bilbao made for a great stopover on the way to the Picos de Europa. We could recover from jet lag while wandering the riverside, exploring the Guggenheim Bilbao, and eating excellent food. Rental car pick up at the train station made it easy to head out toward the Picos the next day.
Friends are visiting Seattle from late June to early July. They recently asked:
I was wondering if there were a few places that you could recommend for some epic hiking. Your flickr account is filled with gorgeous photos of spots that are easy to get to from Seattle, so deciding based on photos seems daunting. We’re thinking of doing three days of hiking (and we’d stay in a cabin overnight) in one or two locations. We’ll have a rental car also. We’re just looking for gorgeous scenery, and up to a moderate level of hiking difficulty. Are there 4 or 5 favorite hikes that fit this that you’d recommend?
This is a challenging time for planning a hiking trip. Some years, the northwest will have warmed up months earlier and the snow will be gone. Other years, many of our favorite trails may still be covered in snow. So, unless you are prepared to deal with snow, you need a base with some different options. There are a few that should fit that bill. Read on for some suggestions of where to stay and corresponding hikes, in both the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.