With summer drawing to a close and the leaves already starting to turn, I thought this would be a great time to recap some of the awesome adventures the past few months have brought. While there’s a long story to almost every one of these trips and experiences, I’ll use this post to share just the highlights. Comment if you want to know more about a particular trip and I’m happy to share!
A huge thank-you to everyone who was involved in making these adventures both happen and turn out awesome. The best memories are those that come from spending time in the mountains with close friends. And as always, thanks to everyone who has been following along, sharing beta, and motivating me to keep getting after it over on Instagram (@wanderingsolephotography)!
Earning turns into the summer
While it felt like the rain and snow in the Cascades never ceased last winter, the payoff came in the spring snowpack. I and a group of friends extended the ski season beyond lifts’ close first with a climb and mellow descent on the south side of Mount St. Helens. The snow was hardpack, having frozen over the night before, but the view from the top couldn’t be beat – edging up to a hanging cornice as close as we dared, the crater from the 1980 eruption spread out below us.
Mount Adams to the west as the sun rose over the Cascades.
Looking down on Mount St. Helens' caldera and Spirit Lake.
The snow lingered on into July, and so I headed south to Lassen Volcanic National Park in California to meet up with an old friend and grab some last turns on the mountain’s north face. It was warm – over 70o at the summit – so the approach was through slush and we were down to t-shirts for most of the climb. But catching the sunrise from the mountain and finding a steep line to ski on the way down made the trip well worth the wet feet.
Sunrise during our ascent of Lassen Peak.
Earning those turns. Almost to the summit of Lassen Peak.
Riding off into the sunset
10,000 feet of elevation gain at Mount Rainier. No, our trio wasn’t climbing the mountain – we were riding around it. The 150-mile ride started an hour before first light, and left us riding hours after the sun had set. In those well-lit hours in the middle: views of Mount Rainier from every angle; steep climbs and a series of passes ultimately leading to the top of the Cascades in central Washington; and 23 Clif bars devoured between the three of us.
The first climb around Mount Rainier, from the park entrance to Paradise.
The summit of our ride at Chinook Pass. From the top, we could see from Rainier all the way down the eastern Cascades to Yakima.
Racing across the PNW
This summer was also filled with triathlons, both racing and shooting. From views of the Olympics at Ironman 70.3 in Victoria, to riding next to South Sister at Pacific Crest Triathlon, to capping off the season with my first Ironman at Whistler, there was no shortage of mountains across these races. And in between all of these, I also shot the promo video for the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove for my friends over at Best in the West Events!
Hanging with the Oregon State Triathlon Club just before the start of the Pacific Crest Long Course 72.3 Triathlon.
At the finish line of Ironman 70.3 Victoria.
Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove Promo Video
Not in Kansas anymore
This summer also brought a big change for me personally – I left the Willamette Valley and the Cascades for the wetlands of Delaware. The first big shock came with the solar eclipse. The zone of totality passed right over Corvallis and central Oregon, where I had been planning for months to photograph the event, while Delaware saw only 80% eclipse. After seeing the images of totality, I’ve made a promise to myself to catch another eclipse in the next few years.
The partial eclipse, given an eerie quality thanks to passing clouds.
While I don’t expect the move to the East Coast to be permanent, I am looking forward to exploring Appalachia and the local landscapes over the next year or two. I’ve already gotten out to the local mountains, but I’ll save those stories for a blog post of their own to follow soon. And even more, I’m looking forward to planning adventures with friends back in the Pacific Northwest for next summer!
Sneak peek of my adventure in Shenandoah National Park - more on that soon!
Looking forward to the start of the fall, and with it a new set of adventures! Wishing
all of you a happy changing of the seasons.