Archive for February, 2012

Catherine and Ingrid

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Our snowshoe to the Grand Junction Warming Hut piqued our interest in the Snoqualmie Nordic System, so JK and I decided it was time to explore the area as Ullr intended – on treacherously skinny cross-country skis.

Look at me, being all Norwegian and such

We had our sights set on the classic Mount Catherine Loop, and chose to do it the cheater’s way by hitching a ride on the Silver Fir chairlift. Our official excuses are as follows:

– We wanted to sleep in.

– We had to be back in town early in time for the Ingrid Michaelson show.

– We have season passes, so it would be silly not to take the lift, right?

– I was so. sore. from my run the day before.

…fine, we’re really just lazy.

So that's what it's supposed to look like!

Avoiding most of the elevation gain by taking the lift up is actually a bad choice for me since I greatly prefer going uphill and, as I have documented before, I should not be allowed to go downhill on cross-country skis. Also, I’ll never know how I managed to get off the chairlift on those twigs without falling in the first place.

I90 with Das Toof and friends

We both LOVED this route. Lots of pretty vistas all around, no steep hills (there was only one fall/pole-impalement incident), and two excellent warming huts – not that we needed them. It was a bit breezy, but the sun kept us nice and toasty during our lunch break.

Sunshine squishy!

(I refuse to carry the camera when I ski – given my perpetual fight against gravity – so most of these photos are of me posing awkwardly in front of things, none of JK in action. He would have been a much better representation of the Norwegian spirit. Even though he’s technically Polish. Whatever.)

Jim Brooks Warming Hut

Did I say it was breezy? Ok, so it was windy as all hell, but this actually worked in my favor as my normally disastrous downhill run was slowed significantly by the headwind, giving me a semblance of control. Success!!

'Twas a bit breezy

- Mt. Catherine Loop | 9 miles | 1000 feet gain (2,200 feet loss!) -

Ingrid Michaelson @ Tractor Tavern

Oh, and the Ingrid Michaelson pop-up show that night was fantastic. Very intimate, low-key, and fans-only. It was refreshing to go to a concert where people actually shut up and listen to the music. I’m looking at you, annoying people behind me at Florence and the Machine!! A concert is not the place for you insipid first-date banter.

Redmond Sun Run

Friday, February 10th, 2012

I don’t post every run I do on the Powerline Trail in Redmond since it would get incredibly boring and repetitive (the posts, not the runs), but once in a while they’re just too great to ignore. I’ve realized (in spite of my perfidious thoughts last year) that I am incredibly lucky to live within a mile of several trails where I can run whenever I want and go for miles and miles without hitting pavement.

Shadows = SUNSHINE Feels like spring

Anyhoo, back to my run last Friday. There was sunshine. In early February. I wore a t-shirt! I discovered a new (to me) trail system off the Powerline. I experienced an endorphin rush so intense that it made me run much farther than I probably should have given my current physical shape…and I realized that if running is capable of giving me this kind of a buzz, I really need to do it more often. Maybe I really should sign up for a race, something to motivate me to get out on that Powerline Trail even now that the weather is back to its normal, dreary self. The Sun Mountain 25K in May, perhaps?

- Redmond Trails | 9 miles | 666* feet elevation gain -

I don't understand, mama

*well that can’t be a good sign.

Orcas Island 25K

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

JK and I have been talking about doing a trail race forever, but, since we’re extremely efficient procrastinators, this has yet to come to fruition. Back in December we heard about the Orcas Island 25K, part of the excellent Rainshadow Running race series. Unfortunately it was already full, but we figured we might as well sign up to volunteer. Besides, it was an excellent excuse for us to visit Orcas Island for the first time.

Orcas Island 25K

JK (and Wellie, who by default won both the canine division and the age 1-5 group) signed up to sweep the course (run behind the last racer and make sure that everyone gets off the course safely) while I was part of the aid station crew on top of Mount Constitution. Sweet!! The view was surprisingly good given the weather (but check out the view from the aid station during the 50K race the following weekend – them bastards stole our sunshine!), and we were kept busy supplying the runners with food, drinks, and electrolytes.

Chris hard at work

Helping out at the aid station was lots of fun, trying to anticipate what the runners might need (hot soup? blister pads? an excuse to stop and rest for a few minutes?), attempting to make PB&J sandwiches with frozen peanut butter and watching the front of the pack zoom past us even at the top of that monster of a hill.

Orcas Island 25K Hullo down theeere Second half of the sweep team

As I stood there in my humongous puffy jacket trying to keep warm in the hail/snow/murderous ice pellets, I was secretly pleased with myself for not being one of those poor runners out on the course…but when they started pouring into the aid station, looking absolutely elated (well, most of them), I realized they were the lucky ones. I also realized that I really really do want to run a race like this one day.

Orcas Island 25K

Between the beautiful course (even in this weather), mellow vibe, excellent post-race meal party with live music and, if I do say so myself, a fabulous aid station, I would love to come back and race this in the future. JK has his sights set on the 50K next year, so it looks like we’ll both have to start training.

Mount Constitution

The Adventurous Adventures of Adventure Baby

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Adventure Parents!
(Yes, there’s an infant swaddled safely somewhere inside that grey blob.)

Given all the trail miles he had logged in utero, at ten weeks old it was high time Nathan went on his first snowshoe. Until he can walk on his own (and use these amazing Snowpaw Snowshoes), he’ll get free rides with his parents, marsupial-style.

Grand Junction Warming Hut

Carlos and Deborah had the perfect destination in mind – the Grand Junction Warming Hut, part of the Snoqualmie Nordic trail system. We hiked from Silver Fir, past Hyak Lake, over the river and through the woods to the hut.

The warming hut came in handy

Perfect destination indeed. The hut was heated by a wood-burning stove which allowed Nathan to escape from his snuggly cocoon for all his feeding and changing needs.

Cuddly indeed

This was at the tail end of the Snowpocalypse, but the little nugget slept through the whole trek though the snowstorm. At the hut, he wasn’t fussy at all – but then again he is the most laid-back baby of all time. He just sat there wide-eyed and cooing while JK and I perfected our baby-sniffing technique.

I iz sniffin ur bebe smell Great Melting my stone cold heart

Once Nathan was bundled back up in his adorable snowsuit, we ventured out into the deep powder (I know, deep powder in the Cascades…whaaaa?) and retraced our steps back to the Silver Fir parking lot. An excellent outing for children big and small!

He couldn't resist the powder

- Grand Junction Warming Hut | 3 miles | 800 feet elevation gain -

Happy family in a snowstorm

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