The Joy and Passion of Hiking

Mt Adams Labor Day Hike


My History of Hiking

Post # 5

This month’s post is much shorter than #4. I’m remembering one of my most enjoyable hikes I took with my family and friends several years ago. I had a hard time picking just one hike out of the numerous hikes I’ve done over the last 30 years, but this one was one I really enjoyed.
In September 1999, Anne my wife, Ben our son and his wife at the time, plus a long-time friend of ours Rich all did a Labor Day backpack in to the Mt Adams Wilderness Area.

Anne and Rich




After about a 90-mile road trip from Beaverton, Oregon to Trout Lake, Washington we took the forest service road north about 20 miles to the trail head of Killen Creek. Don’t let the name fool you, it does not follow Killen Creek. The trail head starts at about 4600 feet and the first mile and half are steep and there are even large wooden steps cut into trail.

Shortly we come to the open meadows and wonderful views of Mt Adams. At about 2 miles we stop our climb and search for a camp spot in an area off and out view of the trail. Being September misquotes are few and far between and delicious blue berries are still abounding. Soon it begins to cool down and everyone is ready to retire to their tents. Yes that is melted snow in that photo below.

Morning Warm up!

Morning brings Sunshine and a small camp fire takes the chill out the bones. Soon breakfast is over and we are ready to explore. We start up the mountain to meet with the Pacific Crest Trail, there we go north a beautiful meadow, small lake and camp area. We explore around these three areas and then return to our camp. Later that afternoon my son and I go back up to the PCT and continue east up near a climber’s area, but due to fog we pull up and call it a day. Backdown to the camp area we all have some dinner and turn in. The next day we headed back down the mountain to our car. I have lost many photos of that hike due to a hard drive failure. [Remember back up, back up and backup your photos]!

Anne taking a break.
Photo by Rich


It’s hard to think that was 18 years ago. That was my first time to that part of Mt Adams and I have been back to that area many times since.

Anne & Don Mt Adams.
1999 By Rich















That is not My Adams in the photo above, it is covered by Fog behind that hill.

I’m going to put a photo of Mt Adams from a later trip below.

Mt Adams from the PCT










I’m a little late getting the post out, my wife Anne and I are selling home we have lived in for 35 years. And are going to do something other than cutting grass, mending fences, painting and remodeling. We’re going RVing for a while before we settle down again, for how long, who knows, at least 6 months to a year. I think it going to take some time to see these United States. So now I can photograph every day!

Regrets on moving,  missing friends, and my wife will miss her gardening. But we are taking our pets, Deke the Terrier and two our yellow cats, who brothers, Sandy and Sydney.


Sandy & Sydney







#36 Foot Dolphin










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Don Siebel

Many of this blogs photos can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:
Don Photography@FineArtAmerica
Don Siebel @ Redbubble






















Posted in animals, Backpacking, hiking, Landscapes, mountains, Oregon, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Joy and Passion of Hiking

Associated Press May 1980

Mount Saint Helen’s

    May 1980

Post # 4

Welcome back to my Blog
“My history of hiking”

{It is a long one and I apologize for the gaps and out-of-place photos near the end, but I could not seem to straighten it out.}

Well here we are at the fourth blog on my mountain climbs. As I have mentioned before these were not technical climbs, mostly tough for guys my age and some of my other friends. When you have been mostly a trail hiker, climbing Mt Adams, South Sister, Eagle Cap and now Mt. St Helen’s was a challenge.

I am so glad I took the challenges and did every one of the climbs, with the friends that went with me and the friends we made along the way on each climb, I’ll never forget. Thank the heavens for the strength and support from my friends and especially my wife for the time away from home for all these different hikes.

All my climbs of Mt St Helen’s were after the Big Explosion of May 18th, 1980.

The Picture above is of the explosion of May 18th, 1980.
Below is what Mt St. Helen’s looked like prior to May 1980.

Mt St Helen’s Prior to 1980                      Photo from USQS.Gov

We lived in Eugene, Oregon at the time of the big explosion. My mother did live in Northeast Portland and we traveled up to see her a few days after the event. I could not believe what I saw on the way and at her home. Ash was everywhere, in her lawn and her house gutters were full of ash. Ash flew up around your car as you drove around. If someone would have told me I would be climbing that Volcano in about 22 years, I would have said they were nuts. But they would have been right.

No one ever knows where they are heading.

So, for my fourth highest mountain it will be Mt. St Helen’s in Washington, State. At 8,363 feet, which is less than the first three, it was one of the hardest hike/climbs for me. To prove that I ended up climbing it 5 times over a period of a few years. The link below is a good link for some additional information on Mt St Helen’s.

The first time I climbed Mt St Helen’s was with a group of people associated with me mostly from work. At the time, I was a Real Estate Agent in Beaverton and Portland, Oregon.
I became acquainted with a title officer by the name of “Fred” at one of the Title company’s we were associated with. Fred was a big fan of the outdoors.  He did things like run around Mt Hood, (45 miles) climb Mt St Helen’s in the winter when it was totally covered with snow, and ran marathons almost every weekend. Fred also loved to ski and my wife Anne and I went with him a couple of times to The Meadows Ski Area on Mt. Hood.


Anne and Don at Meadow Ski Area










When I found out that had Fred had climbed Mt. St. Helen’s a few times, I asked would he interested in guiding some us on a climb of Mt. St. Helen’s.  To my surprise he said yes, get a group together. We set a date of July 22nd, 2003.
A little history on climbing Mt St. Helen’s in those days. Your group had to pick a date and pay in advance I believe it was $10.00 per person, well worth it. Only 100 people for each date could get a climber’s ticket. The ticket below is from the August 9th, 2007 climb.

Climbing Ticket

If it rained on that date or was cloudy too bad, no refunds, either go or try another date which has openings for 7 or 8 people. I understand now that the tickets sold out in a couple of days and I believe Fred now lives in China teaching English.

USDA Link to Climbing  

There is a nice bivouac area at the trail head where you can set up a tent or sleep in your car. Nice restrooms (vault style), there is no water or power, Bring enough water for washing up after the climb and flashlights it can get real dark at 4500 feet in the mountains.

July 22nd, 2003

July 22nd Climbing Group

Our first Mt St Helen’s Climb. July 22nd, 2003. Bivouac Area.

Some of the group had not done very much hiking, besides any tough hikes. I explained to them that this was no Sunday walk in the park. They were still all excited to go and reach to the top. So, I set up a couple of hikes for us to use as warm ups. We did a hike called Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park. This helped get them use to hiking at near 6000 feet.

Overlooking canyons Mt Hood. Photo by Rich

On our way to Paradise Park
The hike was a 12-mile round trip hike up and down the canyons of Mt Hood.

Than we did the Cooper Spur trail from the Tilly Jane Trailhead to tie in rock at 8000 feet about 5-mile round trip. It may only be 5 miles, but it is tough, steep, sandy and can be hot, and windy, our day was just about perfect. This gave everyone a chance to see what it was like to hike in a steep terrain and above 6000 feet. Everyone did great on these to hikes before Mt St. Helen’s and when it came time to hike Mt. St. Helen’s all but one person made it to the top. The one person made it all but the last 1/2 mile. They just didn’t have another ounce of strength left for the very steep and soft sand condition’s and still had to make it back. We all felt bad, but we also felt they were with us to the top.

A couple of points to remember, bring lots of water to drink, you will need between 1 and 1 ½ gallons, that is about 8 to 12 pounds of water. Once beyond the tree line there is very little shade and in July, August and September the months that we went, it can get very hot in the sun. You are climbing from 4000 to 8000 feet so be prepared for sweating and cooling with clothes you can easily add or remove. Sun glasses and sunburn lotions are a must. Another item I like to take in cases where one needs lots of water, (salt tablets), your pharmacy can help you there, drinks like Gaiter Aid are  good  too and can help prevent leg cramps, but stay away from sweet drinks. Eat light you won’t starve in one day, power bars are OK, but drink lots of water with them to help them digest and work well. Light gloves are handy too, those boulders are rough and if you are maybe like an office worker your hands can get sore from the edges of rocks and boulders. One more thing bring a cap or hat that can stay on in the wind. And of course, your pack should always have the 10 essentials: Map, Compass, Sunglasses & Sunscreen, Extra clothing, Headlamp, First Aid kit, Fire starter, Matches, Knife, Extra food.

Link to : The 10 essentials REI

As I mentioned in a previous blog,
There are no restrooms at the top! If you can’t hold it bring a Poo Bag.
Plus, there is very little to no privacy!

Here are a link to:Biffy Bags

There was an outhouse just as you reach the tree line, about 2 miles from the trail head.

Below are a few pictures of the first climb.

A thumbs up for now!

Soon we find a very small climber











Follow the poles to stay on-line. The first 2 miles is through the woods, then the fun begins climbing over and around the rocks.

Rocks and more Rock


We did have a few on lookers

Made it. What? More rocks!

Now a 1000 feet of sand to climb!



The crater is lined with snow even in July. Hikers have stepped too close to the edge and have taken a nasty fall and had to be rescued.

Crater and cone 2003

Here is a little sharper Photo with Spirit Lake and Mt Rainier in the background.

Do notice the size of this first cone. The dark between the edge and the cone is ice. That is Spirit Lake in the distance and Mt Rainier in the far distance. The light material on the lake are dead logs floating on the lake, they move around as the wind changes direction.

The group on top of Mt St Helen’s including Zach the dog! 7/22/2003

After a short rest, some light lunch and a look around we all head for the trail head, about 6 miles downhill through the rocks. Tough on the legs.

Glissading the easy way












Glissading the easy way down

September 2nd, 2003

The next time I climbed Mt. St. Helen’s was September 2nd, 2003 with my son Chris and Bob a good hiking friend.









Me, Chris and Bob at the top!


Chris on Top

Next climb was a few years later due to the closure to climbing Mt. St. Helen’s between September 2004 and July 2006 because of earthquakes and minor eruptions

August 9th, 2007.
This climb is with both of my sons Ben and Chris and me along with “Starr” Chris’s wife gave it a try, she almost made it to the top, but had to stop about ½ mile short. Starr gave it her all and even did some practice hikes prior to the climb, but it is very difficult for a person who has not been used to the elevation and tough hiking to attempt something like Mt St Helen’s.

Ben, Me, Chris and Starr.



 August 11th, 2008
On August 11th, 2008, I went by myself.

Mt Adams from Mt St Helen’s

On top









Another beautiful day, it did become quite windy at the top and clouds were below the crater the east.  Below is what the crater looked like on that August 11th., 2008 compared to the 2003 climb. That is a whole new cone building higher and closer to the rim than the old one. And there are far more steam vents showing around it


New Crater Cone, bigger and closer

Steam Vents

Steam Vent

















One more time Chris my son wanted to get a group of his friends together and have them experience this challenge. I had them all do a couple warm up hikes. Once out to Paradise Park on Mt Hood and again up to the tie off rock on Cooper Spur Mt Hood.


August 16th, 2010
So, on August 16th, 2010 Chris, Ben, Bob, me and 4 of Chris’s friends did it again. We all made it in good time and had a really great experience. The weather was good to us again with no fog or clouds covering the crater or valley below. That was to be my last time.

A good way to sleep

We’re all Ready to go, about 2 miles through the woods and 4 miles of rock climbing.


Kenny taking a break

Jeremy having a good time










At top again, I did it 5 times, Bob I think 4 times, Chris 3 times and Ben 2 times.

Seeing the volcano crater from the rim is nothing short of amazing and the word amazing can’t be used too many times, standing on that rim and seeing a live volcano below you is exciting and one knows there is a bit of danger in standing there as well as making the climb up and down through those rocks. Thanks goes out to all the people of the Forest Service that made it possible for us to make such a climb.
“The Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Forest Service for Mt St Helens”.
We lucked out each time on the weather. I’m glad I did it, for those that like a challenge, the outdoors it’s worth every drop of sweat, just prepare for it and you can have a great time. Seeing the changes that has taken place over the last 7 years was something to remember. I recommend that if you liked the climb do it 2 or 3 times over a period of years. Pictures are nice, but experiencing the climb is real and the first time you see the crater is (no other word to use but, “Awesome”).

Check the on top Photo’s, smiles tell it all. They did it!
So, if you decided to give it a try, check the internet for the many questions you might have.

Remember not everything on the web is correct.

I understand the climbers passes go fast now, so check when they first go on sale.
Thanks for your attention, this was a long blog  and happy trials to you (showing my age again).

I hope you enjoyed it.
Next month’s Blog will be a surprise and shorter, one of my favorite places to hike.
Don’t forget to sign up so you will get each blog as I Post it.



Don Siebel
Many of this blogs photos can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:
Don Photography@FineArtAmerica
Don Siebel @ Redbubble

Posted in Backpacking, hiking, Landscapes, mountains, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Travel, Washington | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Joy and Passion of Hiking

My History of Hiking

Post # 3

Eagle Cap from Horton Pass

Welcome back to my blog on “My history of hiking”.

My third highest mountain climbed was Eagle Cap in the Wallowa Mountains at 9,572 feet. This was my first of 5 adventures in the Eagle Cap area with my friends Rich Hannon and Bob Sneed.

We started a 7-day hike into the Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest of Oregon following the East Eagle Creek trail. We were all amazed by the early fall beauty of the area.

East Eagle Creek trail

The photo above is of the East Eagle Creek trail. We didn’t get too far that first day of hiking since we got a later start than normal. From Beaverton, it is about 275 miles to La Grande, then another 50 miles to the forest service road and 25 miles on one of the most wash boarded roads I had ever driven at that time to the trail head. I’m just glad I still had only my own teeth to keep in!
We found a nice place for a camp that first night and crashed. By the way if you haven’t figured it out yet, we are no spring chickens, this backpacking trip was September 2007, so I would have only been 68, Rich 69 and the kid (Bob) was 66.

This was one of the few hikes that Bob and I didn’t bring our dogs.


Bob’s Angel

Dexter / My dog

That was most likely my fault in thinking there might be too many snakes and neither dog was use to dealing with them. For safeties sake, we left them at home. And I don’t think we saw a snake during the 7-day hike. Sadly both dogs are now angels.

We  have hiked at elevations such as this + 4500 feet and were prepared for a cool night and it did get down to about 30 degrees.

The next day we came to a  cut off to “Looking Glass Lake” and Bob and I wondered up off our the trail to see it. It was well worth the effort. As you can see it is a beautiful lake setting  on a flat ledge area up off the east Eagle creek. Back down to the trail and soon we came to the spot where we were going to camp for the night.

Looking Glass Lake

On the 3rd day of our hike we reached the Basin Lakes  area of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. We set our camp above Mirror Lake. As we were all a bit tired from three days of hiking, we decided to take the next day off from backpacking. Both Bob and Rich said they wanted to wonder around the Basin Lakes area, I decided that I wanted to climb to the top of Eagle Cap.

Eagle Cap from Copper Creek

The above photo of Eagle Cap from a later hike in the Copper Creek area.

We were already over 7000 feet elevation at Mirror lake, so my total gain to 9,572 feet meant another 2,500 feet up in less than 2.5 miles. I always figure any elevation gain of about a 1000 feet per mile is going to be anywhere from difficult to very difficult. Fortunately, all I had to carry was my camera and fanny pack with some water and snacks. And of course, I still had to come back down which sometimes is even harder on old knees. I do use tracking poles when ever I can, they help with my balance and take pressure of your knees. The hike up and down was not that bad and the view was fantastic as the photo below shows the beautiful and deep Lostine Valley. There is an 18 mile road from hwy # 82 that comes to a trail head called Two Pan to hike into the Basin Lakes area and many other lakes. We will use this trail head a couple of times in the coming years, it can be very crowded on weekends.

Lostine Valley from Eagle Cap

The other photo shows “Mirror” and “Moccasin Lakes” and I could now see where we would be backpacking tomorrow on our way to “Frazier Lake”, the trail takes us by another lake called “Glacier Lake”. When I got back down a short nap was very welcome, then I hiked a flat mile or so over to Douglas Lake and back.
Mirror Lake was the most crowded area that we encountered on the entire hike, there are several day hiker’s trails leading to the area as well as overnight backpackers use the same trails. The next day the plan was we would all continue our backpacking to the next stop “Frazier Lake”, but with a little convincing  Bob agreed he should hike to the top of Eagle cap before we leave for Frazier Lake. Rich said no,  but he would head out and find us a camp at Frazier lake.

Bob and I got up early and took off for my second trip up the mountain and it was again just as beautiful as the day before. I know Bob was glad he climbed to the top of Eagle Cap. We hiked back down broke our camp down and took off for Frazier Lake. By time we got to Frazier Lake, Rich had found us nice camp spot.

Bob and me on top of Eagle Cap!

The above photo is Bob and me on top of Eagle Cap. The next photo below is of Mirror and Moccasin Lakes from Top of Eagle Cap. We are currently camped at Mirror Lake.

Mirror and Moccasin Lakes

The photo below is Rich on the left, me in the middle and Bob on the right. this photo was taken at Horton Pass, the lakes area goes to left and the climb to Eagle Cap to the right.

Rich, me and Bob at Horton Pass.

The photo below is of Glacier Lake from Eagle Cap and we will be hiking on the trail that shows on the left side of the photo just above the lake and to the left and then goes down the mountain to Frazier Lake.

Glacier Lake

The view from the top of Eagle Cap is just fantastic and is one of my most favorite memories of hiking and was fun to share with a friend. I am sorry that my friend Rich did not go with us, but he made that decision I believe on how his knees were feeling and that was  the right thing to do. Don’t go past your limit.
So, ends my third mountain climb, none of the mountains I have climbed has taken technical skills such as roping, rappelling or special gear and dealing with ice (other than Mt Adams).

Many men and women have done so much more as to mountain climbing and my hat goes off to them, but I am so pleased to have been able to do what I have done with good friends and a very understanding wife. It’s what great memories are made of.
So, on your adventures whether to the Mountains, Rivers, Lakes, or Ocean have fun, be safe and take lot of notes and photos.

Backbacker Magazine did an article on this same hike, take a peek.

The Eagle Cap Extreme “Dog Race” is held each winter and it runs through the rugged Wallowa Mountains, check it out for some winter time fun.

For lots of summer fun check out Joseph, Oregon

Next month’s Blog will the last on my mountain climbs. The climb is Mount Saint Helen’s in Washington State.

Thanks to all for the comments and likes, much appreciated.

Don Siebel
Many of this blogs photos  can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:
Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America
Don Siebel @ Redbubble

Posted in animals, Backpacking, Dog, hiking, Lakes, Landscapes, mountains, Oregon, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watson Sign Post Forest

Crime Watch


I thought this one was humorous, a crime watch sign from Plum, Pa.
In a trip to Alaska I stopped at Watson Lake, Yukon, Canada at the “Watson Sign Post Forest”. In 1942, a simple sign post pointing out the distances to various points along the tote road being built was damaged by a bulldozer. Private Carl K. Lindley, serving with the 341st Engineers, was ordered to repair the sign, and decided to personalize the job by adding a sign pointing towards his home town, Danville, Illinois, and giving the distance to it. Several other people added directions to their home towns, and the idea has been snowballing ever since. There are now more than 100,000 signs, including mine. (per Wikipedia: }

Watch for my #3 blog on ” The Joy and Passion of Hiking ” coming soon!

Don Siebel

Most of my Photographs can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:
Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America
Don Siebel @ Redbubble


Posted in Canada, Landscapes, Photography, Photos, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Joy and Passion of Hiking

 My History of Hiking
Post # 2

South Sister common climbing side

The Backside of South Sister. Photo taken from a different Hike

At the base of the climb

Welcome back to my blog on “My history of hiking”.

Last month we covered a lot of territory, with the when, where, why and with whom I got started hiking. This month’s blog is about my second highest mountain climbed. As a person, that  loves to take photos I luckily still have a few photos of the climb up “South Sister”.

I  was with my son Ben again  and on August 31st, 2008, we started about 6 am on a beautiful cool morning. It soon warmed up as the sun moved over head. South sister is one of  Three Sisters Mountains in the Oregon’s Cascades and has the name of  “Charity”. All three mountains are inactive volcanos. South Sister is 10,358 feet high, it is highest of the Three Sisters. The Middle Sister is named “Hope” and the North Sister is known as “Faith”. There are thoughts that in the far past the Three Sisters may have been one mountain? Look up Mount Multnomah for additional information.

The Three Sisters of Central Oregon

In the Three Sisters winter  photo above “Charity” is on the left, “Faith “on the far right and “Hope” next to Faith on its left flank. A little hard to see as it sets back a little farther.
The trail starts up behind the clump of trees on the right side of  the photo above with me in the foreground, stays to the right side of the ridge and photo until about 1/2 the way up the mountain and then it moves slowly to the left side of the of the blown up photo below and continues up the red scree to the top. You can see the trail as line going diagonal up the mountain.

No technical skills required and being August, we did not need any ice axes or crampons. Tracking poles are handy. The sun does bear down and there is no water other what you must carry. The climb is moderate to hard until the last mile which becomes loose red sandy rock and scree. Two steps up and one back makes for a long hard mile. Almost every description calls this part very difficult, add thinning air at 9000 to 10,000 feet, makes it even tougher for low landers like myself  that live at 225 feet elevation, Ben lives in Bend which is 3600 feet already. The total elevation gain from our starting point was about 5446 feet and is a 12 miles round trip.

Climbers reach the top

As we were just about to reach the top, some clouds came over and we even had some light, dry snow flakes come drifting down as the temperature dropped fast! We walked around the crater. Soon we found a place out of the wind, had some lunch and then headed back down. As we were preparing to leave the top, three more climbers were just reaching the top. A few hundred feet down from the top and out came the sun. Going downhill is sometimes even harder, I know it is on my knees.

Small volcano and cone



About halfway down I noticed this smaller cone that I’d bet wanted to be as big or bigger than South, Middle or North Sister, but for some unknown reason stopped early on. The country side around the Three Sisters is beautiful and so different from the Northern Cascades with its green meadows and big firs due to its wetter climate. Central Oregon is a wonderful place to hike, backpack and explore. In a later blog, I will cover the hike around the Three Sisters with my good friends Rich and Bob.

Once again Ben put together another great hike in our climbing of South Sister.

A word of caution, do not drink too much beer or eat too many enchiladas the night before, there are no restrooms at the top! If you can’t hold it bring a Poo Bag.
Plus, there is very little to no privacy!

Here are a couple of links: REI  – Biffy Bags

A great hike/climb to put on your bucket list. 

A few extra photos

Ready for adventure

The Photo above is Ben and I starting an adventure into the Cascade mountains from our home when we lived in Eugene, Oregon. I would guess this was about 1975 or 1976, based on his age and my mustache and army boots.

Sunset at Long Beach Washington

The sunset photo, I photographed it at Long Beach, Washington several years ago.

Whether you go to the mountains, the beach or a park,  just get out and find a place to walk, bike or hike. It’s fun and good for you!

Many web sites go into a lot of detail on Climbing South Sister. Check some of them out.

Remember you should always hike with a friend for safety, but if you go alone a let someone know your plans. Cell phones only work everywhere on TV, I do not know if they work on the south sister, but I doubt it.

Here is the:  US Forest Service Web Site


I found this video to be clear and interesting ( about 6 minutes )

U-Tube Video

Next blog: 3rd highest mountain “Eagle Cap” in the Wallow Mountains of Oregon


Don Siebel

Most of my Photographs can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:

Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America

Don Siebel @ Redbubble











Posted in Backpacking, hiking, Landscapes, mountains, Oregon, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Joy and Passion of Hiking

My History of Hiking 

Post # 1

Mt Adams



 I’ve decided to compile some of my hikes in hope of inspiring others to get out and see what is around them. So, for my wife Anne, my sons Chris and Ben, and all my friends and relatives. Those that have hiked with me, my Facebook friends, for those that might come across my web site and those that follow my blogging, here goes. It will not go in a straight line from day one.

First a little about me. For those that don’t know me. I’m Don Siebel a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. To achieve all those things I had to make it to 77 years of age and no I’m not going to say 77 years young. No, I’m 77 years old and I do not wish to be 21 again, well maybe, but we all know that is not going to happen and I would not want to miss anything I’ve already experienced.  My wife and I have been married for 52 wonderful years and we have raised two great boys, Chris the oldest and Ben our youngest son. You will meet them all throughout the coming blogs.

I’ve always thought hiking was an inexpensive way to exercise while having fun and exploring the great outdoors. I know that not everyone is going to enjoy hiking or backpacking. There are a lot of reasons not to like it, there are   bugs, big and small, dirt, dust, rain and snow and hot sun. And of course, you could get lost or hurt one’s self. I know I have done both!  One must buy gear like, boots or some sort of trail shoes, a tent is a good thing to have, a sleeping bag is nice and stoves a come in handy. Now days you must have special permits for parking areas or state and national park permits. And let’s not forget the food, pots and pans. Oh, yes Membership at stores to buy all this stuff. That could mean a large credit card bill, but it does not have to be. There are many ways to get started such as auctions, garage sales and online classifieds, including something like Craig’s List. I’ll have more on this subject in the following blogs.

I started hiking seriously in the early 1980’s with my boys and friends, And, yes my lovely wife went on many hikes with us as you’ll see. This a good point to remember, I was around 43 years of age when I started hiking and about 30 pounds over weight. So I had needed to get in shape fast to keep up with young teenagers. I’ll cover more of that issue in another blog too.

As for gear, there are many ways to acquire what you might need as I mentioned above. When I started, we used several things from around the house, we started with just our old daypacks, I didn’t even have a tent or sleeping bag, I used a blanket for the first few times that we went out overnight. My stove was a small “Esbit”  pocket stove with solid fuel tablets, and it worked ok.  

They still make them, I paid $4.95 and they are $19.95 now, but you can get a good propane stove for that price if you watch for the sales. With that little Esbit  I made oatmeal for the three of us and boiled hot water for instant  coffee.

My son Ben in the “Plaid shirt” and one of his friends “Mike” and myself did a day hike about 3 to 4 miles up the Herman Creek trail in the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side and had a wonderful time and they wanted to go back and stay the overnight. We did a couple of weeks later and that was the beginning of our overnight hiking.

 I can still remember  as if it was yesterday, right where we camped on Whiskey Creek, the sounds of the creek and how quite the woods became as night fell. Snacks and sandwiches for lunch and Oatmeal for breakfast. The boys had a great time and are still good friends today. I think they both will be surprised to see these photos, I was happy to find them. That overnight was July 1984,  thirty-three years ago!

Most of my hiking has been near my home in Beaverton, Oregon, The Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. The Blue Mountains of North Central Oregon and the Wallowa Mountains of North Eastern Oregon. The Northern Coastal Range and the Pacific Coast of Oregon. No matter where you live you don’t have to go far, to enjoy an outing with friends and family. I have always searched for places that were a less crowded and that is now getting a bit harder. Timing is another important aspect as to crowd’s, weekends bring more hikers as do short tourist trails which can be crowded.

When we started, they were no websites to use for searching trails and sites, now there are hundreds of them, some good, some very good and some not so good. The US forest service is still my go to first for conditions and information. Always check with your local Forest Service for trails, conditions and regulations. Just about every area in the USA has some sort of nature trails and history to wonder through, you just need search it out and get started.

Many young men and women today are extremely physical and like to climb mountains and peaks, rock climb, ride bikes, kayak, surf board and that’s a good thing. There are so many outdoor things to do.  I say if it floats your boat do it! Remember your limits and most of all know the limits of your kids, wife, and hiking friends. The idea is to explore, have fun and be safe. Remember  if you packed it in, pack it out, so next time it will look just good as the first time you saw it. 

I’m going to get my history of hiking started with my highest mountain first, than the 2nd highest mountain, after that it  will be a mix of some early adventures, information on my camera stuff, a little history on our dogs, and photos of some of the locations we hiked with friends and family. I’ll be covering my longest hikes, snow shoeing and snow camping, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing, lost hikers, bugs, bears, cougars, deer, elk, goats and snakes. I’ll try and keep to the subject, but I do ramble a bit and I might even cover or mention my trip Canada and Alaska by Jeep.

An important thought about this blog it is not about the best gear to buy or how fast one can make it from Mexico to Canada, it is about the getting outdoors with friends and family and making memories.   Whether you spend 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 week in the outdoors at a time, the memories will be there, they do fade, so make a note of it, so take a camera, take a few photos and in 30 years from now you too can write about your experiences  and share.

I’m not a professional writer by any means, I pretty much write like I talk as the thoughts come to me and I like to tell stories. Please feel free to ask questions or make comments. Oh Yes, I fibbed a little on not selling anything, I do have a couple of photo sites that you can visit and view my some of my photography and purchase photos. The links are near the end of each blog.  Please contact me if you have questions about this blog or any of the Photos.

So, let’s get started.

Mt Adams from the west, near Killen Creek Trail

The highest mountain I’ve climbed was with my son Ben on August 15th, 2008, we hiked to the summit of Mt. Adams in Washington State. This was a hard hike and climb for me, I use the word climb, but it did not take any actual technical climbing skills other than how to use an Ice axe and crampons for our boots. We started at Cold Springs camp ground at about 4600 feet and hiked up to the 9000-foot area which is called the Lunch Counter, there we pitched our camp at one of the wind breaks, made dinner and Ben took me over to the ice field and had me practice using my ice axe for self-arresting from a fall or slide. It is a good idea to stop overnight so one can get acclimated to the elevation. Expressively if you are not a spring chicken.

Me prior to climbing Mt Adams

Our Camp at 9000 feet

At 5am the next morning we started up the mountain using our crampons and Ice axes. It was easier climbing the ice field then trying to climb through the rocks and boulders. We had a little over 3000 feet to climb, but not all on ice. Soon we came to a boulder field and had to remove our crampons. After that we came to ice again just below what is called Pikers Peak or the false top, then one more push to the very top at 12,280 feet. At 10,000 to 12,000 feet the air thins out and that adds to the difficulty. I was one happy 69-year-old climber to reach the top!

False top called Pikers Peak

Yes that’s ice in the above photo even August!

Me at the Old Forest Service Cabin

Ben and Me on top of Mt Adams, Rainier in the background

Mt. Adams is 1030 feet higher than Mt Hood!

On top, we wandered around a bit took some photos of the old Forest service cabin, had a bite to eat. The views were amazing, clear and cool, not many climbers there and I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment and most of all doing it with my son.

Below is a link to a Blog about the building of the cabin.

Link ((October 1922: The house on the top of Mt. Adams has been completed by Lookout Arthur Jones and Fireman Adolph Schmid.  The boys didn’t enjoy the August storm as much as the rest of us.  Ice formed all over the lookout house and the wind blew so hard for four days that they could not go outside.  They spent all this time basking in the heat of an oil cook stove.”  (Six Twenty-Six)).

It looks like it was officially open from October 1922 until sometime in 1925 just three years.

Once down to the main ice field we glissaded (slid on our rears) until it became too steep and fast. Ben stopped a short distance downhill from me and I had to stop myself by using the self-arresting technique.

Illustration of self-arresting

I was very glad  Ben had me practice that the night before. We both were on a steep area and the only thing keeping me from sliding down into my son was my ice axe, I needed to put my crampons on again, but couldn’t stop myself from sliding without keeping a tight hold on the ice axe. Ben got his crampons on and came back up to me and put mine on while I lay on my stomach holding on to the axe. We than both moved over to towards the edge where it was not quite so steep and icy, then hiked down the ice field to our camp. At the camp we packed up everything and hiked back to the car. One tough day and one 2-day great experience with my son. Thanks Ben.

I must brag a bit on our son Ben, he is our 2nd son and like our first son he is always there for my wife and me. He currently lives in Bend, Oregon where he owns a Painting business. “Ben Siebel”. He put his military time in as a Marine, loves the outdoors is an excellent skier, both alpine and cross-country. Loves mountain bike riding, hiking and backpacking. Has been a rock climber likes photography plus videotaping and has been working on writing screen plays. Ben and his partner Melanie are in the process of opening a 2nd business in Klamath falls, Oregon. She has great experience at operating and managing restaurants and pubs, and their project will be a neighborhood convenience grocery with hot food and beverages in Klamath Falls under the name of “The Grocery Pub”. They hope to open by August or September this year. You’ll read and see much more on Ben and Chris in this my history of hiking.

Next blog: 2nd highest mountain “South Sisters” Bend Oregon.


Don Siebel

Don Siebel Photography

Most of my Photographs can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:

Don Siebel Photography @ Crated

Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America

Don Siebel @ Redbubble


Posted in Backpacking, hiking, Landscapes, mountains, Oregon, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Travel, Washington | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


Abandoned and Unloved

I went on a little road trip with my dog “Deke”

Deke Deacon

  to the coast the other day and came upon this abandoned old house. I have driven by it several times over the past few years, always later in the day, But the light was different this time and I was coming from a different direction.  It is in a rural setting so was easy to take several photos. This one I liked best.  The time was just about 10:00 am. My white balance was set to cloudy, ISO 100, f-4.5, aperture priority and at 40 mm. The morning light was shining through the trees creating this light green tone and mystery to the house. I only mention the camera setting because with the white balance set to auto or daylight the photo does not in my opinion have the same mysterious look.

The Astoria – Megler Bridge between Oregon and Washington State.

While in Astoria I took, this Photo is of the Astoria-Megler Bridge. It crosses the Columbia River about 14 miles from the mouth. This is Hwy #101 from Astoria, Oregon to near Megler, Washington state. This bridge is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America and is 4.1 miles long. As I was taking this photo from the hillside above Astoria a very light fog began to roll in just above the water. It seems every time I visit Astoria I have to take a photo of the bridge. Only once a year in October can a person walk or run across. I need to add that to my to-do list this fall. I find Astoria a very interesting town, Astoria belonged to the British, from about 1814 to 1824. In its heyday it was a fishing, canning and logging community, there is still some of each going on, but not like the 1920, 30’s and 40’s. It was named after John Jacob Astor.  Lewis and Clark stayed the winter of 1805-06 not far from Astoria at a place called Fort Clatsop. And I guess Clark Gable the actor, began his career at the Astoria Theatre in 1922.

My next Blog later this month I’m going to revisit some of my hikes, starting with the highest. Yes, some photo’s too. Here is one photo, do you know which mountain it is? Don’t tell, just check in later this month or better yet sign up to follow my blogs and you will be notified when I publish it. Thanks



Don Siebel

 Don Siebel Photography

  Most of my Photographs can be seen and purchased at the following sites:

Don Siebel Photography @ Crated

Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America

Don Siebel @ Redbubble


Posted in Coast, Dog, Landscapes, mountains, Oregon, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Rivers, Travel, Washington | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments




Several years ago I came upon this frog sitting in a few inches of clear water on a ponds edge. It’s one of those photos that one keeps just for memories. I came upon it again a few days ago and thought maybe there is someone else out there that likes photos of frogs. Yes, I named it smiley!


Don Siebel

Don Siebel Photography 

 Most of my Photographs can be seen and purchased at the following sites:

Don Siebel Photography @ Crated

Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America

Don Siebel @ Redbubble

Also can be seen at:


Posted in animals, hiking, Lakes, Oregon, Photography, Photos | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Steins Pillar Prineville Oregon

This 350-foot pillar stands tall from the Mill Creek road in the Ochoco Mountains of Central Oregon. It is just outside the Mill Creek Wilderness area which has what is known as the Twin Pillars. Much like Steins Pillar they are volcano plugs from about 200 to 300 million years ago, being of a harder substance than the softer basalt that has covered them the last 15 to 20 million years.  The basalt has worn down and left only the plugs.

Steins Pillar:

Down the road a bit farther from Steins Pillar, is a camp ground and the trail head to the Twin Pillars which are not as dramatic as the Stein Pillar, backpackers can camp in the Mill Creek Wilderness. Which I have done 4 or 5 times with my Boys and friends or you can use the camp grounds.

The last time friends and I camped and visited the Mill Creek Wilderness was 2002, after a large fire had destroyed a section of the area. It was sad to see what the fire had done. This Wikipedia link  shows the damage, the campground and first 3 miles seemed to ok, but as one hiked toward the Pillars the scene was bad.

I can only locate this one photo of mine due to a backup hard drive failure a year ago, I lost all my photos of those trips, I keep hoping to find them on an old CD disc which I have many. Hoping that somehow, they were copied on a disc with some other photos. I now keep my photos in three locations, computer hard drive, backup hard drive and DVD’s. The first thing I do now after taking photos is to down load them to my hard drive, make DVD’s and download them to my backup hard drive. Than I can look at them. And, of course, some than get posted to web sites.

Another link that has good info is:

Enjoy and if I locate my other photos I’ll repost.

Don Siebel Photography 

 Most of my Photographs can be viewed and purchased at the following sites:

Don Siebel Photography @ Crated

Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America

Don Siebel @ Redbubble

Posted in Backpacking, hiking, Landscapes, mountains, Oregon, Photography, Photos, Points of interest, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall on the Deschutes River

Deschutes River, Oregon

The Deschutes River, Oregon

I took this photo several years ago, of the lower Deschutes River, in Oregon during the fall. I always liked it for the colors that popped as I as I cropped and made a few adjustments. It reminded me of an older Postcard picture done in rich technicolor.  The Deschutes River runs from Central Oregon to the Columbia River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Deschutes is known for great spring and fall trout and steelhead fishing. Summer rafters also enjoy it for its rapids. The two photos below were taken about the middle of June the same year as the fall photo. The tints of green are disappearing. The rough dirt road dead ends in 20 miles and there are camping areas by the BLM about every 4 miles. The railroad has one track on the opposite side of the river and makes several runs to Bend, Oregon  


Summer time on the Deschutes Springtime on the Deschutes






Don Siebel Photography 


Thanks for stopping by:

Most of my Photographs can be seen and purchased at the following sites:

Don Siebel Photography @ Crated

Don Siebel Photography @ Fine Art America

Don Siebel @ Redbubble




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