Aaahhh, 2013. So much beauty. So many marmots. So many rewarding experiences. And fantastic weather (unless I have a very selective memory).
We started the year off right with a cross-country ski trip to Amabilis Mountain. For a while (a looong while) there it seemed like we weren’t going to pop out of the clouds, but when we finally did, it was glorious. A week or so later, I met up with Janelle for our first hike together, in postcard-perfect snow conditions on Mazama Ridge.
In late January, JK and I jetted off to the Virgin Islands for the best vacation of our lives (so far) on the small island of St. John. I don’t know why I never get around to blogging about our big trips (but have countless blog posts from Tiger Mountain), but I promise to write about this one soon, because wow. For now, I’ll say that our favorite hikes were Ram Head, which starts from one of our favorite snorkeling spots, Salt Pond Bay, and the Lind Point Trail – not for the trail itself, but because it takes you to beautiful Salomon Beach.
Our car was totaled in a hit-and-run right before we left for St. John, so we spent most of the winter hiking in the lowlands until we could get another car. A weekend in the sun on Mount Hood was a welcome return to snow, even though we just hiked straight up to the top of the Palmer Chairlift and then back down again. As winter turned to spring, the newly ambulatory Nathan took us to Oyster Dome, which never seems to disappoint, especially when you can wear shorts in March.
In April, I participated in a bunch of trail work parties for WTA on Cougar Mountain. Since they end early in the day, I liked to go running or hiking afterwards, which would leave me hopped up on all sorts of endorphins and in love with the Shy Bear Trail. I also did one work party on the new Mailbox Peak trail, where I earned my shiny new hard hat and found solitude(!) on the summit afterwards.
May saw us eating our way through London, Rome, and Oslo with our families, and when we came back, I ate even more after picking marvelous morels on Teanaway Ridge with Dani and Jo. Mmm, morels. Then I decided it was time to get in shape, and kicked off the summer with an excellent long run on Cougar Mountain, setting grander goals for the summer.
It’s interesting how many Issaquah Alps hikes made it onto the list this year. I think it’s because I tend to run more on those trails, and the bigger the endorphin rush, the giddier I become. We had so many good hikes to Poo Poo Point this year, but I’ll highlight our June trip as it was the most amooseing. My annual birthday hike to Iron Peak was wonderful as always, and was followed by a most excellent night of camping along the Teanaway River. I really love that area.
July was big this year, and the weather fantastic. I accompanied JK on his final Washington volcano climb, Mount Adams, wrestled with the panic monster, and was rewarded with a truly epic glissade. A couple of days later, I hiked and ran the Mount Defiance Loop I’ve had my eye on for years. Score!
One of my absolute favorite hikes this year was Benchmark Mountain near Glacier Peak. It was a new trail for us, but it will definitely go on the repeat list. Wildflowers and views in every direction, and hardly anyone else on the trail. To round out the month, I finally hiked to Sahale, home of the most picturesque crapper of all time.
August means WTA Hike-a-Thon, where I get to hike as much as I can while raising money for trails. Yay! Mount Defiance made it onto the list again when JK and I escaped the clouds in Redmond and found wonderful sunshine and total solitude up there, even on a summer Saturday. Later that month, we hiked the Enchantments and Little Annapurna in a day, my big goal hike for the summer. It felt so good and I want more!
Our participation in TNAB sucked this year too, but we chose the one we did go to well. Rampart Ridge provided marmots galore and a ridonculous sunset. Oh, and a yellowjacket nest, but let’s not focus on that. My last Hike-a-Thon hike was Point 6262 above Minotaur Lake, where we (and the dogs) found lots of huckleberries and ate ourselves silly. The views were okay too, I guess.
More huckleberries were found along Ptarmigan Ridge on a very very hot day in September. After that I suddenly lost all interest in hiking, but I did manage to get out to finally see the golden larches in Headlight Basin in October.
My hiking blahs continued until JK and I were hit with mushroom fever (which sounds like a really gross disease) and took every opportunity we could to hunt, pick, and eat chanterelles, yellowfeet, and hedgehogs. This year we’ll start earlier…and we might have to buy an extra freezer. Right before Thanksgiving, we enjoyed an unseasonably warm and unseasonably sunny trip to Mazama Ridge, where we ran into Janelle (not surprising since I think she might actually live there) and Jessie welcoming the holiday season with a Christmas tree.
Then I got an ear infection followed by a bad cold, and the only hike I have done since Mazama was a short loop on Cougar. I’m sure my first hike of 2014 will lead my lungs to quiver and explode and my leg muscles to actually detach themselves from my body in protest.
Happy New Year!!