Hi, my name is Rob Bolton, and I live with my wife and 8 year old son in Mason, WA along the shores of Lake Chelan. We are relatively new transplants to the Chelan Valley, having lived in Seattle for roughly twenty years prior. We purchased land in Manson with the desire to occasionally swap the city life for lake life, and after building a house, decided we wanted it the other way around - we would do short term rentals in our Seattle house and move to Chelan, occasionally coming back to Seattle to enjoy the city life.
Outside of family and work, I enjoy spending time outdoors, being an avid ski tourer in the winter, a family hiker in the warmer months and trying to relearn how to mountain bike in the shoulder seasons. I like to sprinkle in other activities like car camping, occasional backpacking, city biking and paddle boarding. My family and I enjoy traveling internationally, but COVID and having a youngish child has somewhat slowed that down, although we have still managed to visit Greece, Mexico, Malta and Italy in the last couple of years.
I have worked in the technology industry in a variety of roles over the last 20 years, including web development, sales engineering and lately as a product manager. I was the "webmaster" for the Summit at Snoqualmie, back when that was actually a job title! I still enjoy tinkering with web technologies, hence this site.
I grew up in Vermont, with the first 10 years of my life being on a sheep farm. After majoring in Economics at University of Vermont, I spent the summer of 2001 with a paid internship in New York City at the World Trade Center. Unable to secure a full time job, I left New York less than a month before 9/11. Realizing I wasn't cut out for finance, and grateful not to have been working in the towers, I decided to head out West to be a ski bum for a year. I wanted to be near a major metropolitan area and was looking into Utah, Colorado and California when a friend mentioned Alpental and Seattle. While I had skied a number of areas in the West over the years, I knew nothing about the Cascades and didn't realize there was skiing so close to Seattle. I was able to get a job at The Summit, and packed up my car and drove from Vermont to Snoqualmie Pass in November 2001. After spending a couple of years living at Snoqualmie Pass, my now wife and I moved down to Seattle.
I have had a number of iterations of this type of website come and go over the years. A place to capture details about my ski ski trips, photos from vacations and random other interesting things, or at least interesting to me. With the proliferation of social media "tools" like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube that made it trivial to share these things, I eventually gave up managing my own website a number of years ago.
The pandemic changed everything, in more ways than one. It went beyond the initial couple of months when we were not supposed to leave the house. My wife and I were tired from having to work and oversee a 5 year old at home doing Kindergarten online (I don’t know how single parents or people with multiple kids survived). I could occasionally muster up the energy on the weekends to get out for an adventure - a day of skiing at Summit West with the family, weekend camping on our property at Lake Chelan with the family, or a quick ski down the Slot Couloir . But it was difficult to get motivated. I wasn’t getting out nearly as much as I used to even as the restrictions around Covid were lifted. All my adventures seemed to default to comfortable trips I had done before rather than exploring new areas.
At the end of the summer in 2021, my family and I made a decision to start regularly getting out for family hikes, something we hadn’t done much of in a couple of years, and we all really enjoyed it. I decided to post trip reports about the hikes in the fall of 2021. With my background in web development, I thought it would be fun to combine GPS data, photos and notes from my hikes into a single place, and the website was born. I found posting my trip reports made me more eager to explore, and I started adding random content from explorations around the area, like parks in Seattle, or nearby waterfalls.
Moving to the Lake Chelan area, there were many new places to explore and activities to figure out : where are the best family hikes in the area, what local wineries have good restaurants, is it possible to ski tour around Lake Chelan in the winter? I kept adding content to the site as I explored Central Washington, and hopefully the information on this website will help you get out and explore more often!