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When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees.


Deep in the Alpine Lake Wilderness lies a body of water that’s different from any other lake I’ve witnessed. Spectacle Lake is an absolute gem and more than worthy of a strenuous hike. I knew the window of good weather was closing here in the Northwest so I found a patch of consecutive sunny days in mid September to make the journey.

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“Ooooh, the EnCHAAAAANTments…” Yes i’ve heard about the Enchantments for years, and the obligatory oohs and aahs that always accompany the experience people describe hiking here. To me it’s felt a like a pipe dream; after entering the permit lottery for years to camp I’ve never won. (not too surprising given it’s about a 6% chance of winning).

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Island camping had been on my bucket list for a long time, and living in the Pacific Northwest certainly increases the odds with a large number of island parks with campgrounds. I had heard of Saddlebag Island located just off of the port town of Anacortes (about 90 minutes north of Seattle) as a good ‘starter’ island with well maintained campsites for both boaters and paddlers. I gave my hockey mate Adam a shout and we picked a toasty July day for the adventure.

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Summers in the Pacific Northwest are full of indelible moments and experiences: warm gusts of air rushing through the Douglas fir and cedar treelined trails, sun dappled lakes with tepid water, mouthwatering smells of mesquite wood burning and outdoor grills, and of course what all us Northwesterners desperately crave after the cold months: glorious sunshine!

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The Ptarmigan Trail has been on my bucket list for a long time and with good reason: it’s an absolute gem of a hike with big incredible views of towering Mount Shuksan at the start and the majestic Mount Baker towards the end. Summer was slowly slipping away so I kept a keen eye on the weather and thankfully found a break in late September.

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