Archive for July, 2011

Goat Lake (and a wee rant)

Friday, July 15th, 2011

I’ve always maintained that the sunny days in Washington more than make up for the long days of drizzle, but this year has been rough. Really rough. I’ve tried to stay positive and run outside for a dose of vitamin D every time the sun deigns to reveal itself, but months and months and months and months of cold, wet, shitty weather have finally worn me down.

For someone who struggles with depression and whose only* source of sustained joy is to be active in the outdoors, this has been a miserable year. Last week it seemed like summer (make that “spring”) had finally arrived, so when the freezing wetness returned (and is forecast to hang around until the end of July), I just broke down and haven’t moved from the couch in almost two days. My blind love affair with the Evergreen State is officially over.

Unfortunately, my attempts at convincing JK that we need to move to California have been fruitless. He loves his job. That’s not something you can let go of in the current economic climate, so I guess we’ll be staying here in the Pacific Northwest climate.

Keepin' kool Elliot Creek Trail We don't wanna leave

Adding insult to injury, the chilly weather has put our snow melt at least a month behind schedule. Sick of postholing, soggy shoes and rotten snow bridges, last weekend (before the sun defected) I was desperate for a trail, any trail, that was snow-free. JK and I decided on Goat Lake, a typical early season (as in May, not July) hike.

Be careful or your hands will freeze like that

I had really low expectations of this hike, so I was surprised to find a beautiful river trail ending at a big, green, inviting alpine lake. I couldn’t resist the clear water and jumped in for a swim, followed by JK and Wellie.

Aah, we were so naïve, thinking our alpine swimming meant that summer had arrived. Wellie even ate watermelon to celebrate the changing of the seasons.

Summery snack

Hopefully the sun will come back, more lakes will melt, and this won’t be the only summery trip report I write this year. In the meantime I’ll try to roll off the couch and motivate myself to make the best of what I’ve got. The honeymoon period may be over, but apparently Washington and I are in it for the long term.

Goat Lake | 10 miles | 1400 feet elevation gain -

Goat Lake

*ok, so JK counts too, but he doesn’t get to be on the list since he’s standing in the way of my relocation plans.

Teanawow, part deux

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

We’re in full-on summer mode here in Washington. Ok, so we spent 4th of July at a ski resort, but still. It’s summer. My skin has even acquired a vaguely pinkish hue which, given my viking complexion, will have to pass for a tan.

Campsite patrol Teanaway tent

Last weekend (not the holiday weekend – I’m behind on photos as usual), JK, Wellie and I camped in the Teanaway and got our first real taste of Summer 2011…and an even better taste of a Norwegian campfire classic, stick bread. I’ll blog about it later so y’all can partake.

Pinnebrød!

On Sunday we rolled out of camp at the crack of noon to hike up Bean Peak. Mmm, beans…I’m thinking of making a Favorite Foods Peak List, but so far I only know of Bean Peak and the Chocolate Glacier. Hopefully there’s an Avocado Ridge out there somewhere.

Happy hiking hound Wellie on the rocks

Anyhoo, we hiked up to the basin and scrambled up the southeast ridge. There were two moves that really got my heart pumping, but then again I am a certified weenie. I’m always anxiously picturing the worst possible outcome of any given situation.

The fun bit We loved this rock Almost there

Thankfully the rock was nice and grippy, and I know that every time I push myself like this, I’ll be just that little bit stronger and braver next time.

Bean squishy

After a snack and some oohing and aahing over the views, Wellie and I had ourselves a good, old-fashioned summit snooze. Pure bliss.

Summit snooze

We spent over an hour on the summit, then decided to descend the easier southwest gully. Unfortunately it ended up being much harder than the way up due to melting moats and very steep snow.

It didn’t help that we, being dumbasses, had left our hiking poles at the base of the southeast ridge and our ice axes stashed safely in the car. I got to do my first ever face-in downclimb with nothin’ but my bitten-down talons for purchase on the snow. I wish I had a photo of it, but I snapped angrily at JK when he tried to pull the camera out mid-climb.

Back across Bean Creek Balsamroot

As terrifying (I told you, I’m a weenie) as that downclimb was, it didn’t take long before I longed to go back and do it again. When we were snailing along in I90 vacation traffic on the way back to civilization, there was nothing I wanted more than to (grab my ice axe and) run for the hills.

- Bean Peak | 6.5 miles | 3100 feet elevation gain -

Bean Peak

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