Anniversary Issue

written by Deborah Stout

In the hope of giving our newsletter’s author a break from writing today, his birthday, I would like to present a guest article honoring him!

In an effort to capture and share a bit of Kyle while staying true to the newsletter, I present to you: Kyle Stout, Mountain Man. I’m sure at this point Kyle’s love of mountains has come through, both in his choice of title for the newsletter and in his writings of these geological features. However, one cannot be a “Mountain Person” without also loving the outdoors, and, as I’m sure you’ve gathered, Kyle’s admiration for the world’s wonders is not exclusive to the rocky monoliths.  Being a fellow nature lover, this aspect is certainly something that not only drew me to him but has helped us grow together over the years.

Kyle has encouraged me and pushed my limits through the adventures we have shared. These undertakings have brought me physical, mental, and emotional growth.  The excitement of embarking on a trip to a new location; the challenge of hiking for miles and thousands of feet of elevation gain; the expanding of mind and wonder; all of these have helped me and, I hope, him to become a better human.  One of my favorite things in the world is reaching the summit of a mountain and seeing the joy, awe, appreciation, and exhilaration on Kyle’s face.

A rocky outcrop along our hike to the peak of Mount Rogers (2020)

But enough of the sappy stuff from me! I want to highlight a few of my favorite adventures.  Some of these have already been featured in newsletter articles, while others may be a feature in an article to come!

Though it was not our first adventure, it was certainly one of the biggest: our honeymoon.  In about two weeks we drove over 7,500 miles, with stops at 10 National Parks and a slew of geocaches.  One of our early, momentous destinations was Pike’s Peak.  While this summit was gained via automobile, the journey to the top was certainly not short and did not disappoint.  It was a beautifully clear day on our visit and we had wonderful views.  It was truly amazing how far we could see through those clear skies from such a great height.

A classic: a picture with the sign indicating the peak! (2012)

With 10 national parks along the trek, we were not lacking for resplendent views, but this next photograph features an iconic location and I know it was a special moment for this article’s honoree, given how many of his favorite boxes it checked: a National Park, mountains, a favorite location of John Muir, perhaps one of the more famous settings of Ansel Adams’ work, and I’m sure many more. If you’ve never been to Yosemite National Park, a short drive through a tunnel opens suddenly into the tremendous valley. I don’t think the sight could ever disappoint, but we were blessed with a beautiful and sunny day.

Look at the joy on his face! (2012)

Another great escapade, on which we embarked with Kyle’s mother and sister, was to the great Emerald Isle, Ireland.  Our time there was action-packed and, not surprisingly, filled with gorgeous, lush scenery at every turn.  As my mountain-man theme suggests, we, of course, focused on the crags, including a jaunt around the Ring of Kerry, and found something to climb: Croagh Patrick.  This ascent was very rocky to a summit with a small chapel.  Part of the mountain’s intrigue is a purported journey by the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick!  Endeavoring to follow in his ancient footsteps, we made our way up.  Once again, this hike touched on many of our honoree’s favorites: we were in Ireland, it had a historical significance, and SO MUCH WIND!  Yes, our intrepid writer LOVES wind. On the saddle point on the journey up, the turbulence was enough almost to blow us off the trail!

The intrepid writer braces against the seemingly never-ending gales of mother nature! (2015)

Though I’m sure he could have spent all day at this spot, basking in the gusty glory, we continued to the top.  For a while, we had the peak to ourselves, which is a rare but pleasant surprise, being introverts, for some of these journeys.  The feeling of accomplishment and appreciation for the history was a high we could have ridden for a long time and it still stands out even among the other top-tier stops that fill our visit to the Isle.

Enjoying having the peak to ourselves (2015)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibThe next journey I’d like to highlight was an epic visit to the Seattle region.  We filled this exploit with as much hiking as we could in the three National Parks we visited.  One thing Kyle is particularly good at (and I am not!) is finding the lesser-known adventures for a region we’re going to visit.  In well-known locations, such as National Parks, there are certainly a plethora of things to do and sights to see, but they are often known and packed by many fellow nature lovers.  Every so often, there’s a hidden gem for those who research to find them.  Mount Storm King in Olympic National Park was one such gem that Kyle pegged as a hike to do on our visit.  It was a short but arduous climb, and, despite the cloudy view at the summit, was certainly worth it.  On our journey, we passed a fellow hiker, who we (very strangely for us!) chatted with on the journey downward (she didn’t have a flashlight for the darkness in which we descended, so we shared!).  Turns out our comrade was a local and even a park volunteer!  Upon hearing that we were from (far) out of state, she was quite impressed that we had not only found Storm King (one of her favorite hikes!) but had also added it to our list of escapades.  It was a small victory of its own, having a local, clearly experienced adventurer recognize and appreciate Kyle’s astute discovery!us leo.

Riding the endorphin high of our spectacular hike! (2018)

Each hike we did on this trip to the Northwest could probably merit its own article, but I shall try to end briefly on the pinnacle of our journey: a hike to a glacier through Cascade Pass in the North Cascades.  It was the longest hike of our trip and scheduled for the later days (read: we were already dead tired).  But, by the time of our jaunt, led by Kyle’s adventurous spirit and desire to conquer these terrestrial giants, we had indeed bettered our physical conditioning. We had just enough energy left to conquer this giant!  It was still an arduous task, but we managed to make the 11+ mile climb and 4,500 feet of elevation gain to the glacier that day; in years past, I doubt we could triumphed!  As you might have guessed, the goal of our expedition did not disappoint!  Amazing views (and adorable critters!) were had along the way, but the glacier and view of the valley formed by steep peaks was certainly the highlight.

Sahale Glacier (2018)

Let me attempt to end this ode to my spectacular mountain man with a reminder: I love you and I look forward to many more peaks together, be they literal or figurative!

Happy Birthday!

[author’s note: a lot of my complimenting language was edited out of this article!]

[editor’s note, 2022: and for good reason!]

Further Reading and Exploration

The Mountains Are Calling Issue #1

North Cascades National Park – TMAC #50

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