Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Ira Spring Trail/Bandera Mountain - Part 1

There were so many amazing photos from my trip up Bandera Mountain that I can't easily put them all in one post. So what I'll have to do is break them up into 3 different entries and show only the very best pictures. The photos will be presented in basically the order I took them as I traveled up the mountainside. These spectacular images will only get better and better with elevation, and the picture of Mt. Rainier is literally like the tip of the iceberg. All of the pictures in this entry are from the Ira Spring Trail. This path is named after a famous Washington hiker and wilderness photographer who passed away in 2003, and it leads up to the Bandera and Defiance trails, as well as several mountain lakes (sadly, I wasn't able to visit any of these lakes). Enjoy!

The Summer of Summits 2009

I have just returned from an amazing hike up Bandera Mountain, and while I was traversing this beautiful wilderness, and mastering a challenging peak, I had an idea. I decided I would make it my goal this summer is to climb five peaks that are over 5000 ft. tall! In fact, I am actually hoping for seven summits, but five is simply a more reasonable goal. Bandera Mountain was the first of these hikes, and at the top I reached an elevation of approximately 5150 ft. I'll tell more about that adventure when I release the photos from that climb, hopefully later this week.

This is a fairly ambitious goal, but its very doable considering that I live probably within an hour and a half from two dozen of these mountains. In fact, according to one website, there are 113 5000+ ft. peaks in Washington State! So let the Summer of Summits begin! Also, I would like to encourage my fellow ATCOTAT writers to conquer some of their own summits and share their adventures here. Tim & Jessica, consider Clingmans Dome (4,503 ft.) and Thunderhead Mountain (5,527!). Mom & Dad, perhaps you should try Mount Arvon, the highest point in Michigan (which is actually a very sad 1,972 ft., but we can still show some Michigan pride, right) or Giant Mountain (4,626) in New York. Truly, there is a Summer of Summits waiting for everyone.

As for me, next up is Mount Defiance (5,584), an adjacent peak to Bandera Mountain, complete with its own mountain lake, and in late July I hope to tackle the American Ridge (6,946!!). Also, Granite Mountain , McClellan Butte, and Silver Peak are on my short list. This inaugural Summer of Summits is going to be spectacular!