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About markharf

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  • Birthday 11/26/2017
  1. Poison Ivy/Oak? in Wash Pass and/or Leavenworth?

    Having lived in the east, I was around a lot of poison ivy. I was always the guy who volunteered to fetch the frisbees from where they'd landed deep in the poison ivy patch: shorts, shirtless, barefoot. I'd just plow right through the stuff, with never a blister to show for it......until around age 30 when for no reason at all I suddenly got sensitized. Of necessity, I learned caution. The moral of the story is: don't get uppity about being one of those who never gets poison ivy/oak/sumac. Learn to recognize it and learn to stay clear. I'm ok brushing against the occasional leaf on approach hikes, but I've learned to wash promptly (Dr. Bronner's is your friend) following any real contact. I knew a lot of people who tried homeopathic remedies, but I never noticed them making any difference, so I'm dubious about "acquired immunity" theories. YMMV. Mark
  2. Family hike near Mt. Baker (any ideas?)

    This is totally ok, and highly recommended. If it's looking likely to rain, head uphill along the snowcovered state highway for a half-mile or less and you'll see the summer visitor center on the right. The downhill side of this building has a porch you can use to get out of the rain. Try not to pay attention to anyone who suggests you take your 6-8 year old kids up the riverbed to Nooksack Cirque. enjoy, Mark
  3. Family hike near Mt. Baker (any ideas?)

    You've already got plenty of advice, but here are a few specifics: Beaver ponds are a mile or less up the Anderson Creek road down a short, steep hill to the right. You'll see them through the trees, but there's a lot of lake/pond/swamp down there and I don't know if or where the beavers might be. Good for kids ready to find adventure everywhere, not for kids accustomed to video games and fast-cut TV shows. Tree down blocking the road a few more miles in after it starts to climb. Twin Lakes road is open, despite all the signs saying it's not. Gets a bit rough just before the switchback at the Yellow Astor/Tomyhoi Lake trailhead, but passable in skillfully-driven 2 wheel drive. Nice valley, but watch for wet slides in warm or rainy weather if you go further up the road toward Twin Lakes. Don't know about Hannegan Pass trail this year, but I presume it's still a gentle grade with some easy creek and avalanche debris crossings for the first four miles. Pretty walk. Every so often you get lucky and see bears foraging. The trail along the river just outside of Glacier is a good evening stroll if you're staying in town. Once saw a freshly-dead bobcat along the side of that trail. With kids it might take a couple of hours. The first several Church Mountain road washouts are repaired, but the final one near the end of the road is not. Steep trail (at least for kids) but nice views. But steep. Canyon Creek I heard is washed out, but is probably snow-covered anyway towards the end of the road. I'd be pretty sure Damfino Lakes is still inaccessible or snow-covered. If I was up there with a 6-year-old, I'd equip him/her for walking on snow, drive to the upper ski area parking lot and start wandering around—down to Bagley Lakes or up to Artist Point. Assume you won't achieve any particular destination and maybe be pleasantly surprised if you do. At that age, most of the fun is in mini-adventuring along the way (or riding a sled next to the parking lot), not in getting to a particular viewpoint. Forget this at your peril. Keep an eye on the kids even in good visibility, since people have and will continue to fall off little cliffs in that area and die. In bad vis, the Artist Point ridge is famously confusing, so unless you know the area well, don't even bother. Table Mountain is great, but probably out of reach for a six year old unless he/she is made of seriously stern stuff. Here's the advice you really need: You're staying in Glacier. I assume the Visitor Center in town is open at least on weekends. Go there first; they're pretty attuned to the family scene, and will have better ideas than any of us. They'll also have maps, parking passes and other essentials. Nothing will be open up above—no ski area, no daypass booth, no visitor center, no place to buy food or warm up. Might be a ranger/cop giving tickets for parking without a Forest Pass, though. Hope that helps. Mark
  4. Washington Pass?

    Couple of spaces plowed, couple feet of dirty snow covering the rest of the parking lot. Continuous snow from the trailhead except along ridges above about 6500 feet. I was on skis, paying no attention to climbing conditions. Spire Gully still eminently skiable, if that interests you, Wall Street somewhat less so; no pollen at all. Sunday featured deep blue skies with puffy white clouds. Just to the west: snow, rain, wind, squalls, general unpleasantness. Hope that helps. mark
  5. thailand (railay) = malaria?

    If you hang in the usual touristed areas, chances are you won't get malaria, with or without taking the antimalarial of your choice. On the other hand, if you do get the disease, you'll definitely be miserable and possibly in real danger. I ran a fever of 106 and almost died my first time, but did better when I got it again a couple of years later. Both times, I'd been taking Lariam, so I've since switched to Malarone. Anecdotes notwithstanding, most people do just fine on Lariam (aka mefloquine), just as most people survive doxycycline without third degree sunburns. Best bet: read the CDC and WHO sites, and try not to take anyone posting on the Lonely Planet too seriously (except someone named NutraxforNerves or something similar—she's pretty good). Basically, once you've decided to take the drugs, you've got only four or five realistic choices, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages. Don't trust locally-bought drugs in Asia—there are too many counterfeits. If you've got Malarone and decide not to take it, I'll buy it from you on your return, discounted appropriately. PM me if interested. How long are you going for? enjoy, Mark Edit to add: I got malaria once in the states (returning from Papua-New Guinea) and once in Mali. Neither time was I given one of the standard prophylactics as a cure.
  6. Validate My Trip Plan?

    Your post definitely invites abuse and ridicule. Probably, no one's going to check your bearings: if you're that concerned, you'll check them yourself. No one's going to check your mileage, either. You might think about whether you really move as fast fully geared up as you're planning. I sure don't, but lots do, and you might. In practical terms, if the visibility's good, you don't need to worry about anything besides following the cattle track and your own sensibilities upward, then back down again. If visibility is bad, your bearings won't help much because you'll be attending more closely to the boot track in order to weave through crevasses. To predict elapsed time on a simple slog like the Coleman-Deming, assign yourself a rate per hour based on experience (1000, 1200, 1500 vertical feet/hour), and add any allowance you please for snack breaks, photo ops, gear failures or fumbling. From 6000 to 10,700 feet might take 4 hours as you predict....or 8 hours, if associated with Bellingham Parks and Rec. In other words, YMMV. Have fun.
  7. Gas Prices

    Bingo. The real price is—and has long been—far greater than the $3.09 I paid this afternoon. It's not just military and political costs: don't forget the subsidies and other distortions of reality that make our particular brand of petroleum-based lifestyle possible (interstate highways, say, or global warming, or the sorts of life-cycle costs related to other forms of environmental degradation). That stuff doesn't come cheap. On the other hand, we get off easy compared to the Iraquis (for example), or those poor slobs unfortunate enough to be living at a subsistence level in Southern Nigeria or Chad. Let's not forget to count our blessings.
  8. Another avalanche fatality at Baker

    I skied backcountry in that area today, staying mainly on steep, north and northeast slopes. The storm snow (6 inches of powder) was stable and a blast to ski until sun-warmed, at which point it began to sluff in entirely predictable ways. The slides on the east side of Hermann above the parking lot were all exactly this: fresh snow sluffs due to warming. No one skied those aspects. On the other hand, there were fresh, wet sluffs in-bounds in the skied-out snow on Pan Dome. Last week's storm snow is now topped by a supportable rain crust, thus largely insulated from skiers bounding around in the powder; at least, this was true in the places I skied (all 205 lbs. of me). I never broke through the crust. Events which might affect all that damp, slabby snow from last week are best avoided. This is obvious in light of the large crowns easily visible on Shuksan Arm and at the top of Stoneman, among other places. This does not mean there's not good skiing to be had....for those either knowlegeable, cautious or lucky.
  9. Mount Baker - Coleman route

    Snow level dropped to 500 feet for a time this afternoon. Accumulations above 1000 feet.
  10. Baker Access

    Interesting, but that's not what I saw listed for FR 13. If you go, and can drive to Schreiber's Meadow, I'd like to hear about it. The dubious might prefer the Glacier Creek approach. Both roads are snowmobile only this time of year, but Glacier Creek is more direct, therefore the route itself is shorter from snowline. Besides, you'll find snow machines all up and down the Squak and Easton glaciers, which might tend to impact your wilderness experience significantly. On the north side you'll leave them behind at the trailhead. Cold up there this weekend, though. Good luck.
  11. Car-Top-Tent

    Just reporting what I've seen and been told. P'raps things work differently within your world-construct.
  12. Car-Top-Tent

    These are common in Africa, usually atop Land Rovers and Land Cruisers. As pointed out, they're reported nice when worried about insects and snakes—also, thieving baboons, lions (don't bother arguing about this; I'm just repeating what I was told), and other vermin, including fellow humans. On the downside, they're expensive and of questionable value in high winds. Having had my own ground-level tent invaded at various times by many of the above—no lions—I can understand the appeal for those with money to burn.
  13. North Cascades Recreation Map?

    National Geographic/Trails Illustrated has a 1:100,000 map called "North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA." Contours at 50 meters, metric, copyright 1990/revised 1999. Coverage is from 48 15' to the border, and it's printed on handily tearproof, waterproof plastic. Don't remember where I bought this one, but Trails Illustrated has a website: www.trailsillustrated.com Hope that helps. Mark
  14. Ruth Peak question

    http://turns-all-year.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=tr0507;action=display;num=1124244011 and http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=9838
  15. FS: Moving Sale (Sunday, August 14)

    Size, length and price for rando rope? Thanks.