Archive for January, 2012

My Outdoor Education

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Carlos & Ingunn Happy and slightly annoying

My friend Andrea asked me to write a tiny little piece for The Wilderness Society‘s My North Cascades Story, so I decided to share one of my happiest and most meaningful hiking moments yet. You can check it out here.

Wing Lake

(If you want more North Cascades larch pr0n, here’s my original blog post from Wing Lake plus Tom’s far superior trip report on nwhikers.net.)

Snowpocalypse 2012

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

This walk sucks, mama!!Every couple of years or so, our usually temperate home of Western Washington is hit with a doozy* of a snowstorm, and the world stops turning. This time it was a charming snow/ice/wind event that started last Saturday and has now morphed into Slushmageddon. We’re extremely lucky that a) JK can work from home, b) we can walk to the grocery store, c) we didn’t lose power and d) our house wasn’t obliterated by ice-laden trees. So for us, this week was pure heaven. Even Wellie, our furless, fatless friend, had fun exploring his favorite parks and trails in a totally new way.

Schnow schnow!! Schnow schnow!!

I love not having to drive to the mountains for a wildernessish experience. What’s the point of fighting traffic on slick roads when good old Nike Park has transformed into a winter wonderland?

Nike Park in white

Ironically our Wednesday evening ski class was cancelled due to the snow, so we satisfied our adrenaline cravings by sledding in Meadow Park with Carlos and Deborah and our respective offspring.

Sledding with Nathan

Wellie training for the Iditarod

The highlight of the week was our Cross-Country Ski Tour de Redmonde. We’ve skied in our little town before, but that was before we knew about the wonderful Powerline Trail about a mile from our house. I’ve been wanting to ski that sucker for YEARS, and it did not disappoint. I only fell once!

I've been waiting for this for YEARS

All in all we’ve covered about 30 miles of walking and skiing so far this week, which I’m hoping will make up for the elevated levels of baking brought on by the snow. Damn you, snickerdoodles!!

Maybe Wellie will be able to find his ball before the next Snowpocalypse hits.

Mama, I can't find mah ball!

*a doozy for a region that owns something like five snowplows total.

High in the lowlands

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Watershed runner's highI woke up still feeling pretty sick after our run on Cougar the day before, but I was determined to sweat it out – nothing else appeared to be helping anyway. To the Redmond Watershed Preserve! JK was going for an additional short loop, so we both put on music and ran at our own pace. I don’t know if it was the fresh-smelling woods (didn’t see any bear scat that day), the happy faces of fellow runners and hikers I met along the trail, the utter joy of running to Faithless again or, most likely, my total lack of expectations that day, but I had the best run of my life. Seriously. I entered that elusive state of flow, and when I finally came to myself and realized that hey, I’m still running, it turned into a massive endorphin high (see maniacal smile in cell phone pic).

I didn’t bring any water since I’m trying to train myself to drink less during short distances, so near the end when I started feeling parched, I resorted to swallowing little slurps of post-nasal drip. I kid, I kid! (Sort of.) By Monday my cold was gone and I felt human again.

Redmond Watershed Preserve | 4.7 miles | 340 feet elevation gain

Adventures big and small

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Another January, another chance to be resolute. Looking back on my hopeful scribbles from last year, in 2011 I intended to:

1) Write more trip reports | A gloriously unquantifiable resolution. I’ll just say I failed, mostly.

2) Not freak out if I miss out on trips | I actually worked hard on this one and have become much more comfortable spending weekends in the city or on lowland trails. Or maybe I just lost my sense of adventure.

3) Lose weight | I happily ignored this one until I came home from Utah in late October and saw video footage of myself. Gadzooks! I’m starting 2012 20 lbs lighter than 2011, so I would call this a success…but it obviously still needs work.

So to keep working on all of these resolutions, I plan to dust off my blog and post all our adventures, big and small. It’s ok if I only have crappy cell phone photos (see below) and it’s just a quick run in the Watershed or the Issaquah Alps. Anything goes.

Nutria and marmot on Cougar

Last Saturday was actually my first time out of the house in days; I had spent most of the week hibernating with a stubborn cold. Everything from the neck up was still stuffy and runny and generally charming, but my body and mind were getting restless. JK and I decided a short run on Cougar Mountain was in order to clear our sinuses.

It was my first real workout since our pre-Christmas xc ski to Tipsoo Lake, so it was shocking that my body even remembered how to move. JK’s body seemed to remember it a little bit better than mine (and he’s training for a trail race), so he ran the hills and doubled back to me for extra elevation gain while I slowly shuffled along, feeling like I was going to die. In a good way, though. Sort of.

Cougar Mountain Trails | 3.5 miles | 830 feet elevation gain

Where oh where did December go

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Whaddya know, a whole month without blogging! The good news is that my unplanned hiatus was due to having too much fun with no need to resort to the internet for entertainment. The bad news is that I am now so old that if I don’t document my adventures, I forget all about them…so here, in chronological order, are my December highlights:

Hiker in training | I have no words for how cute Carlos and Deborah’s brand new tiny human is, and he’s already been on his first hike. Maybe I’ll finally have a trail partner I can keep up with!

Hello little guy

Mike’s birthday weekend in Whistler | I’ve never skied with views this beautiful or runs this long. My legs felt like they were going to fall off, but a huge smile was stuck to my face all weekend.

Happy up here

Winter Warmth Concert | The Head and the Heart and Florence and the Machine in one night? Oh yes, yes indeed.

Squished Florence!

Annual Skyline Ridge snowshoe | We were hoping for a repeat of last year’s gloriousness, but got skunked on the weather. Meh, who needs views when you have a picnic of gingerbread cookies and hot toddy with your beloved!

Freezing picnic

Winter Solstice TNAB | Snowshoeing to Hyak Lake in the dark to celebrate the Turning by consuming copious amounts of gløgg (and some sort of sinister blue liquid) with a group of lunatics. A holiday favorite!

Gløgg!

Christmas Cabin | We have spent many a happy weekend at Tom and Dani’s cabin this past year, culminating in a Yuletime feast of shcnow schnow, white elephant gifts (we scored a Go Girl and a dancing gopher) and general happyfuntime with some of my favorite people.

Cabin Christmas

Cross-country skiing to Tipsoo Lake | 11 miles round trip on Highway 410 (on day two of a migraine, no less). I confirmed once again that I love skiing uphill while going back down is absolutely terrifying. Will put in an official request for a) skis with metal edges and b) a sizable pair of cojones.

Tipsoo Lake all to ourselves!

Christmas with the family | After spending our last three Christmaseseses alone, JK and I (and Wellie!) loved celebrating with my parents again! Unfortunately we all contracted some sort of plague and spent most of our time sniffling on the couch, but at least it’s better to sniffle together than alone.

Bah humbug Yay!

The Hunger Games | The only good thing about the plague was that it gave me an excellent excuse to obsessively plow through the entire Hunger Games trilogy in three days. I know I must be the last person in the world to discover these, but holy mackerel, what a story!

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