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We backpacked to Yellow Aster Butte, where the blueberries were wonderful and the view of the night sky was breathtaking.

An exhilarating Labor Day weekend hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through Washington’s Goat Rocks Wilderness in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

I and my four companions trudged up a short section of the Pacific Crest Trail toward the Goat Rocks, an extinct volcano in Washington State. Then we encountered a breath of fresh air in the form of “Pickles,” the trail name for a glowing young woman who this year had already hiked over 2,000 miles …

This light has a clarity more sharp-edged than any location I’ve ever been, and for a few days in summer, it is stunning. We had two such days of clarity this past weekend during a backpack trip into Olympic National Forest, located on the Olympic Peninsula.