Archive for the ‘Alpine Lakes Wilderness’ Category
Friday, September 21st, 2012
For the last year and a half, I’ve been experiencing pretty significant pelvic pain. At first it was only for a couple of days of my cycle, but at this point I have the joy of dealing with it 2-3 weeks out of every month, complete with nausea when the pain is at its worst. On Monday I had laparoscopic surgery where my doctor removed some adhesions, which will hopefully help. If not, at least I am now in possession of gross photos of my innards.
I’ve spent the week recovering on the couch, having my wonderful man slave cook and do all the housework, but I’m hoping to feel good enough to walk and maybe even go on an easy hike soon. In the meantime, here’s a report from when I was dumb and went hiking during “peak pain week” in August. Exercise usually helps when there’s just pain (yay, endorphins!), but when there’s nausea involved, it’s better to just stay scrunched up inside and drink buckets of ginger tea. But, you know, I had Hike-a-Thon miles to cover.
The hike started on a promising note with coolish temperatures and, to Wellie’s excitement, our first full-sized Greyhound sighting on trail. I’ve seen a surprising number of Italian Greyhounds out there, but never a big one.
Snow Lake was its usual pretty but crowded self, even on a weekday, so I stopped briefly for a photo and then went straight on towards Gem Lake, where I planned to spend the afternoon reading, drinking lake-chilled Pepsi, eating Ginger People chews, and moaning quietly to myself.
As I was soaking my feet in the cold water, I noticed that my socks just happened to have the words WRIGHT SOCK printed on them (even the wleft one), so I pretty much had no choice but to drag my nauseous self up to the summit of Wright Mountain, just so I could take photos of my dirty sock.
Then I went back home, curled up into a ball, and drank a bucket of ginger tea. The end.
– Wright Mountain | 11 miles | 3400 feet elevation gain –
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
In honor of National Fight Procrastination Day, I hereby resolve to resume my Hike-a-Thon recaps. <- HAHAHA! Naive sentence I wrote last Thursday.
As I mentioned in my Hike-a-Thon summary, 45 of my August miles were hiked solo. This might sound boring (or scary?) to some, but I really, really love my alone time. I have known that I am an introvert ever since I took the Myers-Briggs personality test in college, but it wasn’t until this spring, after reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, that I realized just what being an introvert means.
It turns out that many of the quirks I’ve viewed as my personality flaws (and which I’ve honestly thought of as symptoms of depression), are just typical traits of an introvert. I prefer staying home with a book instead of suffering through awkward small talk at a party, and the mere act of being social makes me so exhausted that I have to be by myself and recharge for a couple of hours afterwards. I need quiet alone time to really think and be creative, and I can happily wander around in the mountains for days without talking to another human being. (I do like to share some deep thoughts with Wellie, though.)
While I hate being the center of attention in real life, this section from Quiet resonated with me:
Studies have shown, that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the “real me” online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend those relationships into the real world.
Yay for blogging and over-sharing on Facebook!
So, welcoming another day of quiet enjoyment, Wellie and I hiked to Melakwa Lake, an old favorite, and onward to Lower Tuscohatchie Lake and Pratt Lake. The last time I hiked this loop, the trail between Melakwa and Tuscohatchie sucked donkey balls (a technical term), but it must have been shown some tender love and care – this time, it was a soft, runnable path lined with pretty moss (except for the one section where I slipped and fell, which was lined with Devil’s Club).
I only saw two other people between Melakwa Lake and the Granite Mountain junction, and not a single mosquito – now that’s what I call quality alone time.
This is the kind of hike that leaves me blissed-out for days. I love spending time with friends in the mountains (and it’s so easy to bond when you’re out there), but when I’m alone, I get into this awesome state of flow where I focus on nothing and everything all at once. I get physically tired, of course, but mentally refreshed.
– Melakwa to Pratt Loop | 14 miles | 3500 feet elevation gain –
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
In Part Two of Ingunn Learns That She Should Never Ever Hike Up Mountains During Periods of Excessive Heat, our heroine climbs Alta Mountain with JK, Dani, Jasper and Wellie.
Basil stayed home because it was hot as Hades and we’re slowly building up his mileage so his paw pads won’t get hurt. Wellie, on the other hand, stayed cool as a cucumber by repeatedly rescuing us from the freezing depths of Rachel Lake. I would never have made it up the mountain or back to the car if there wasn’t a lake to swim in on the way.
Did I mention it was hot? ‘Cause it was damn hot, but also damn pretty. I had lots of flowers and peaks to admire when I stopped every two minutes to eat Honey Stinger chews or suck down gallons of water.
I just love this trail, 534 false summits and all. In every direction, there are peaks we’ve either climbed or that are on our to-do list.
Best of all, it’s a ridge walk that even an acrophobic weenie like me can do…
…and when you finally reach the true summit, one of the most beautiful sections of the entire Pacific Crest Trail lays before you.
But, as I think I’ve mentioned, it was damn hot. Sauna hot. Brain-boiling hot. So we packed up, drank some more water (the heat made me too nauseous to eat), and scurried back down the ridge to jump into the lake again. Heaven.
– Alta Mountain | 11 miles | 3500 feet elevation gain –
Monday, August 13th, 2012
Bandera and I have a history…and that history always seems to involve me bonking. But since our history also includes jaw-dropping sunsets, purdy wildflowers, and excellent views, I agreed to go back, again, to one of JK’s favorite trails.
A trifecta of dumbassedry (we failed to check the forecasted temperature), logistics (the road to the trailhead was closed until noon due to logging), and borderline obesity (peanut butter cups) led to yet another bonk as I attempted to propel my body up that beast of a hill under the scorching afternoon sun.
The temps were pushing 90, which to a Seattle-dwelling Norwegian might as well be Death Valley in the middle of summer. I sat down (repeatedly), told JK and the pups to go ahead, ate an entire bag of Honey Stinger chews, drank most of my water, put on some tunes, and eventually made it to the top – one Everest-paced step at a time.
(A disclaimer for the Annoyed Reader: I am not at all complaining about the presence of the sun, whose absence I lament in 97% of my blog posts, I am merely complaining about, uhm, the heat produced by said fireball. Totally different.)
On the summit, all was forgotten. Ok, not really, but my blood sugar was back to normal and I was lucid enough to see things in perspective: Having to sit down and rest with views like these is not the worst thing in the world.
Still, Bandera and I will always have a history…but I’ll make sure our future together only contains cold days or sunsets.
– Bandera Mountain | 7 miles | 2850 feet elevation gain –
Friday, May 18th, 2012
I think I’m succeeding in my goal of developing a more relaxed and balanced attitude towards hiking, and it’s mostly thanks to our new house. I no longer stress out about having to hike every single sunny weekend day, because I love just hanging out on our new deck, barbecuing and playing with Wellie in the yard. Now that we have (urban) trail access right by our house, I’m also much more inclined to exercise midweek – this makes for a less antsy Ingunn when the weekend rolls around.
Importantly, I’m much less picky about where we go hiking – no to-do list this year! My main priority is just to enjoy myself, preferably somewhere Wellie-appropriate. It doesn’t matter whether the trail is short and sweet or long and hard (TWSS), I just do exactly what I feel like doing that day.
No monthly mileage goals, no keeping track of my hiking stats in a geeky spreadsheet. I’m loving it.
Sunday was one of those really delightful days. Tom, JK, Wellie and I hiked to Talapus and Olallie Lakes under a scorching sun. It was just plain awesome, even though the conversation between the guys quickly devolved into nerdy tech talk (as it always does) and I was left to discuss politics with Wellie.
The snow was continuous after the first mile, but hopefully this warm spell will speed up the melting process and save us from a repeat of the dismal summer of 2011. If not, I won’t be quite as fazed as I was last year – I’ll just become a master barbecuer instead.
– Talapus & Olallie Lakes | 6 miles* | 1100 feet elevation gain –
(*the mileage was probably lower since we hiked straight up the snow instead of trying to follow the switchbacking summer trail.)