The regular season of TNAB is over. It ended on Rattlesnake Ledge with a party at the lake. But when TNAB ends it's just about to begin. Instead of hiking weekly we hike monthly, in the dark, searching for the full moon.
We might call these hikes the Lunatiques, but we're not crazy. It only makes sense to try out a new destination when it's actually light out.
This was a scouting trip to a couple of tarns an easy couple of miles from the trailhead. They sit beneath a huge cliff and there was a camp sites and small trails, but it's still pretty unknown. The tarns are that magical blue green only found in the high mountains. Except these are at a relatively low elevation making them that much more special. Matt and I climbed on a few of the bigger rocks to see the sights before we turned for home.
In case you can't tell, I'm being a little vague about exactly where it is. There's been a lot of concern in the community about publishing exact locations. The thinking is that these jewels will be overrun and ruined, but I'm torn.
On one hand there's validity in the concern, especially when the location is easy to access. Hiking is exploding in popularity and especially in the Northwest many hikes are just a short drive on the highway from major population centers like Seattle and Portland. Do all these new hikers understand the principles of Leave No Trace? It's impossible to generalize, but there's certainly more trash on the trails lately.
The flip side is that great experiences breed love and love leads to protection. If more people see the beauty of our unspoiled wilderness they'll be more likely to support efforts to preserve it for themselves and the future. We saw this approach work when Frederick Billings worked for the railroads and made access to the West easier than it had ever been. (Why do I know about Frederick Billings? Hello, we were just at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont. Did you miss it?)
So how does this get balanced? Everyone does it differently. I take pictures and write about my adventures, but hold some of the details back. Someone that really, really wants to find these locations wouldn't have that much trouble. And, of course, I share with those I trust to treat the land with the same respect I do.
So expect to see a report from a TNAB trip in the near future. And if you want to join us, just let me know.