My First Love; The Desert, and Our Reunion

Every year I do a trip to the southwest to visit the part of my soul that resides there. I was trying to describe this to someone the other day and the best I can do is this. There are places that feed the fire of your heart/soul, stoking it up so it expands and fills your chest, there are different places that do this for everyone. Other things can do this too, like creative works and what not, but for me it’s a few places located in various places such as: Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Montana. Of course there are other places out there also, things that I haven’t seen yet or maybe that I cannot draw from at this moment. This year I took along a friend of mine that I have had from high school, she’s amazing and it was totally worth showing her the places I had only talked about with people. In actuality she was the only one of my friends from Washington state (and childhood) that I have been able to share the places we saw together.

Exploring resets me, like a circadian rhythm, I come back to my reality a little sad to have to leave but more set on my goals and more clear of what I want from my life. Below is the image reel and mini description of what we saw and experiences.

Day 1: Leaving Seattle, WA (after fighting the TERRIBLE drivers that live in this city and visiting whole foods where we harassed the cashiers)IMG_2922

 

 

 

Image 1- After long driving through the night, with a small break at a rest stop the sun began to rise in Idaho.  This whole day was a rush which ended at Page, AZ.

Day 3-6 was spent visiting my family in AZ and also Flagstaff, Prescott and also Sycamore Canyon.

Day 6-8 were spent on the Colorado River below the Glen canyon dam, camping out under the stars, attempting to fish and drinking lots of good beers. This was the highlight of the trip for me, a great shooting star across the year. A happy hello and a sad goodbye.

IMG_3072IMG_3084DSCF1654fIMG_3076

Day 8-9 was spend getting back from the trip, heading to williams and also hanging out with my sister for one last day.

Day 10- Getting to Moab, UT. There was rain, sun and snow along the way.

 

Day 11- Driving, lots of driving. Slept at rest stop next to “lucky lils” Casino, We did not test how lucky she really was…. Also went to Thompson Falls to visit my boss for my summer internship and check out the town. Very pretty town.

Day 12- Camping out near Alberton, Montana. This is a favorite place of mine, good fishing (specific location denied….) This was also the last day of the trip. Sitting by the crackling fire, we drank ginger beers and I played songs for Rachel on my Harmonica (not well I may add). After this we woke up and headed home back to reality.

When this trip ended it left me feeling hopeful followed by an overwhelming sense of lose, and I had no idea what to do next. It’s a new beginning, a chance at rebirth and by grace I have been given it, its difficult to let go of the things that bind us to the past but we must to make room for future.

 

Baby, its cold outside.

During these last weeks the weather up here in the greater puget sound area has been sunny and tits cold (if you don’t know that already) and I have felt that I have been a very poor outdoorswoman for not braving the elements and getting outside, but today I won…

As I was driving home from this hectic but fantastic weekend, I was driving over a small creek on the freeway and for just a second I could see a patch of heaven. By patch of heaven I mean it was a perfect fly fishing location, a beautiful bend of the stream with large woody debris on the bank and a pristine little gravel bar calling my name. When I got off the freeway at the next exit, I went in the general direction to find this little creek (pronounced “Crick” by the way, a creek is what you have in your back a crick is where you fish) . After bumbling around many neighborhoods, dead ends and stern/worried looking homeowners I found an access point to the creek, not exactly the spot of lore but a general good start. Later I found out that this creek is called Pilchuck creek and turns out its pretty famous for trout fishing. I didn’t get too much time to get into a good spot or get any fish on however it was a great day to get my feet wet and explore a new spot that is actually relatively close to home! The take-away from all that is that yes its cold outside, but it’s never too cold to explore. Also many adventures lie just outside of our grasp if one could just reach a little further you never know what you’ll get your hands on. So get up, put on a jacket and some thermals and get outside.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Boardman and Evan Lake, WA

50% Cloud cover

70 ish degrees F

Pretty windy

This was a super easy hike and find. So going East past the Verlot center on mountain loop highway you will find forest road 4020, not easy to spot so keep your eye out. There is “Wileys” camp ground I think it was on the left right before the right turn onto 4020. Its a rough road at times but most sedans could make it just fine. There is a y and at the y stay left onto 4020 rather than 4021 which is the right. Big parking lot pretty trashy though. A very short distance from the parking lot you will find Lake evan, its a small lake and relatively shallow with a deeper south end. At the time of my visit it was may 27th (last wed) and a large mayfly hatch was taking place, the adults moving up and down through the air, like a somber dance. I didnt linger here long, seems like the place is very popular and trash was often seen. I moved on a short less than a mile hike from Evan to Boardman. The hike was very serene and beautiful with old growth cedars along the way. At Boardman there was no one else but me. On the north side of the lake there is a small area where the rocks jut out into the lake, perfect fly fishing spot.  The fish were even rising too, although I could not decipher on what , some small white flying insect and there were not many of them (the insects). I had to wade out a bit and found a large salamander I think was a coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) that was on a log in the water that quickly moved to the bottom as I approached. Throughout my day at the lake a saw a few of these aquatic dwelling adults (gills observed). Anyway I was totally skunked on the fishing part but I did procure some small white dry flies in various patterns to prevent this in the future. There was no trash at this lake either which was nice. The large conifers all around the lake were marvelous and there were many birds all around singing loudly all day including some stuntman like flycatchers diving and bombing all over the lake. There was also a very nice trail system and small camping ground area if one was so inclined. I would recommend this hike for all, just bypass the first lake or look for a minute and keep on the trail. The ease of use definitely makes the lower part of this hike well, trashy in general. Go on a weekday too, I bet its gnarly on a weekend. Good luck and get out there, but be good to nature; pick up your trash (like the monofiliment that I had the pleasure of unwinding from a poor ole cedar by the lake) and leave not a trace you were there.

-Leah

“I understand and sympathize with the reasonable needs of a reasonable number of people on a finite continent. All life depends upon other life. But what is happening today, in North America, is not rational use but irrational massacre. Man the Pest, multiplied to the swarming stage, is attacking the remaining forests like a plague of locusts on a field of grain.”-Edward Abbey

For more information go to this site∇

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/boardman-lake

Coal Lake, WA

20% Cloud cover

65 ish Degrees F

Getting pretty windy toward the end of the day

So maybe I should have included this with Independence Lake because I visited them the same day and Coal lake is right on the road on the way the Independence/North Lake trail head. It just seemed special enough for its own mention. So same directions out NF road #4060 almost to the top opposite from restroom facility. The lake is just feet next to the road. Sadly I met a more then a few people here, although mostly rich Seattle yuppies who were mostly mad that that the road wasn’t kept enough to make it easy on their Mercedes. The lake is beautiful and mostly clear and wonderful. I brought the rod this time and the Brook trout did not discriminate on any dry fly you threw out there. The trick was getting them to keep the hook. My suggestion, a very small adult mayfly or caddi. Great views on the way out too a very beautiful place and really easy to get to, perfect for little kiddies or if you don’t have enough daylight to go on a longer hike.  Good luck and get out there! – Leah

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” -Edward Abbey

Independence Lake, WA

 

20% Cloud cover

65 ish Degrees F

Little wind but mostly protected by forest

If you travel out past Granite Falls (Sketchy-ville) on mountain loop hwy, past the Verlot center to NF road #4060 travel all the way till it ends at the tippy top. There is a parking lot here and when I was here there was no one else which was nice, another positive about taking weekends in the week. Anyway travel up the well marked trail head only about one mile and you will come upon a breath taking sight, crystal clear waters so blue you would think its a dream. There is a camp site too if you so desired. Peering into the lake you can see little caddies busy making their shells and moving around like rush hour. There were fish rising here and there but I had not brought the rod so next time. There were these logs that jutted out into the lake and I found myself laying on them for hours looking into the clear blue waters until the sun it seemed had lost interest in this side of the world. I would deeply suggest it, the hike was lovely and serene crossing a few small brooks and pretty darn easy too!

Heres more info! Get out there! Get off your couch and do something outside.

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/independence-and-north-lakes

Marblemount, WA- river access HWY 20 “River walk”

 

25% cloud cover

light easterly wind

67 degrees f

This is one of my most favorite easy places to visit, here you visit the Skagit River and the Cascade river at once and it is amazing and very easy. Also this place has a port o potty so there is that too I suggest bringing your own tp as there was none. A short less then a mile hike leads you to wonderful quiet shores that you mainly share with the bald eagles, ravens and turkey vultures. I came out today to mainly work on some technique I was out there for about 3 hours and didn’t see another soul, course it was Wednesday. There were a few terrestrial insects around including mainly black ants, butterflies, caterpillars and tons of spiddle bugs. Also there was a hummingbird nest nearby obviously as the female was relentless about bombing my head.  The water levels were good and high still with banks to fish and walk on. There were also fish fry in the rivers. Was a lovely walk and a picnic and sitting on the banks and enjoying all that the cascade river has to offer. This is an easy trip and often abused with litter around the parking lot especially so be kind and maybe if you are feeling generous do as I do, bring a spare garbage bag in your backpack and pick up some of wonderful litter to take home and throw away properly. So good luck and get out there! -Leah Lambert

“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyong reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.” -Edward Abbey