Archive for the ‘Central Cascades’ Category
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
In my last post, I was all excited about feeling great after a longer hike. I must have jinxed myself. The following weekend, JK and I hiked Teanaway Ridge in search of shrooms and blooms – we were too early for both, but what I did find was that walking hurt. A lot.
In the following days, so did little movements like getting up from the couch and turning over in bed. I tried to rest and not do any exercise for most of a week, but, as always, that led to lower back pain and severe down-in-the-dumpsiness.
My yoga teacher told me to make sure I keep my hips level and legs together whenever I change positions (like getting off the couch), which helps a lot, and I also bought this maternity support belt to wear when I walk. It’s a minor miracle worker – when I wear it, I’m able to walk without feeling like my pelvis is being ripped apart by a thousand monkeys. The only complaint I have about it is that it takes what is normally a rather cute baby bump and squeezes all the extraneous blubber up, transforming it into a most impressive muffin top. Oh well, there’s no place for vanity in hiking (or in pregnancy, as I am learning).
After testing the belt on Cougar Mountain and in the Redmond Watershed with great success, I felt ready to try a “real” hike again, especially since summer seems to have arrived very early in Washington this year!
I picked Twin Lakes near Lake Wenatchee, a new trail for us but one that was reported as being snow-free. I refuse to hike on snow these days, since I worry about slipping, falling, and smushing my belly. Even if I just slip and don’t fall, it’s going to hurt like the dickens, thanks to that delightfully unstable pelvis of mine.
Anyway, back to the trail. Instant favorite. There was so much variety! Wildflowers, open viewpoints, riverside walking, a surprisingly pretty marsh, giant cedars, a stretch of forest that reminded us of hiking in the tropics, two different (but somewhat similar, being Twin Lakes and all) lakes, and, at last, shrooms!
The only parts I didn’t like were the ravenous mosquitoes (the price you pay for the pretty marsh) and the log crossing. It’s an easy crossing and I wouldn’t normally give it a second thought, but given the baby-smushing risk, I’ve decided to not cross another slick log like that this season. It’s just not worth it.
By the time we made it to the lakes, I was both happy and tired – a little too tired. JK had brought a full-length sleeping pad that I could stretch out on, and I did my best to rehydrate and eat everything in sight.
Luckily it wasn’t such a bad place to spend an hour or two!
This was the hike that made me realize that my body is calling the shots from now on, and it’s not something I can just mentally push through – an unfamiliar thought for someone who struggles with always feeling like she’s too lazy. Staying active during these last months is good (for body, mind, and baby), overdoing it is not.
What really brought it home was how I felt the next day. Ever since my pelvic issues started, I’ve felt awful the rest of the day after a walk or a yoga class, but then felt a million times better the next day. This time, however, it just got worse and worse, and by late Sunday afternoon I couldn’t stand up without wincing or walk without a significant waddle.
Then, aaahhh, Monday morning brought relief. JK has helped me out with this exercise whenever the pain has been bad, and when we tried it on Monday morning, I heard a loud popping/clicking sound, and suddenly the pain was gone – I could walk like a normal person! I could even get up from the couch with all my weight on one leg!! From what I can tell, my pubic symphysis must have been way out of alignment, and the sound I heard was of it popping back into place.
As miraculous as it felt, I fully expect this pain to come back throughout the rest of my pregnancy, possibly getting worse and worse (based on the horror stories I’ve read on the internets). It doesn’t seem like anyone knows how to prevent it, so I’ll just keep my movements controlled, do my kegels like a champ, use my belt, and find a list of nice, short, well-shaded hikes to go on this summer…and, when hiking FOMO inevitably sets in, remember that this is but one summer out of my life, those mountains aren’t going anywhere, and what I am doing is way, way more important to me than trail time.
– Twin Lakes | 8 miles | 1000 feet elevation gain –
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
…of course, “farther” is relative and I wouldn’t normally call ten miles a very long hike, but in the context of pregnancy (and not having done anything near that length since my frozen chanterelle traverse on Tiger Mountain last fall) my pre-hike anxiety brain turned those ten miles to Goat Lake and back into an epic undertaking, even with the modest elevation gain.
Turns out it wasn’t epic at all. In fact, it felt wonderful – the best I’ve felt on a hike this whole pregnancy – and I honestly didn’t want it to end. The grade was perfect and the trail so pretty, especially along the river on the lower trail, that I felt I could keep hiking forever. I guess this is the magic of the second trimester; at 22 weeks I am past the all-consuming fatigue of the first months, but not yet so huge that moving around is a pain in the ass.
This was my first sort-of (and non-canine) Mother’s Day, and I was more than happy to let Lil’ Fetus take me hiking to celebrate. Our family has never celebrated Mother’s and Father’s Day (and they’re on different dates in Norway than in the U.S.), but if I can use it as an excuse to go hiking with my daughter, I’m all in. I think I’ll enjoy this tradition. Especially if there’s cake.
– Goat Lake | 10 miles | 1400 feet elevation gain –
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Yikes, I don’t know what happened to my blogging mojo. (Un)fortunately, it shouldn’t take too long to catch up since my hiking mojo skipped town as well. It happens, sometimes I just burn out a little bit after summer.
So, let’s go back to the last day of August and my last hike of Hike-a-Thon 2013. Last year on almost this exact date, we hiked to Labyrinth Mountain above Minotaur Lake. This time we decided to take a left at Minotaur and scramble up Point 6262 instead.
The berries were plentiful on this hike, and we spent quite a bit of time stuffing our faces in the meadow below the lake. The dogs even started eating berries straight from the bushes, something we thought was hilarious until we realized that: a) they would come home and strip the blueberry bushes in our yard clean and b) they probably aren’t smart enough to tell the difference between edible berries and non-edible berries. Ruh roh.
I loved Labyrinth last year, but I think this peak was even better. Minotaur and Theseus Lakes looked beautimous below.
With views like this, Point 6262 deserves a mythological name of its own, no?
Wellie and Basil brought their adventure buddy, Brutus, along for this hike too, so I had all my favorite guys with me.
Pups, lakes, peaks, sun, huckleberries? Summer Saturdays don’t get much better than this.
Oh, and once again, Basil confused the minds of small children with his furlessness. After stroking Wellie’s (relatively) luscious coat, one of the little girls we met on the way down started petting Basil’s smooth skin. “This one feels like he’s naked! Is he naked?”
At least it was better than last year when, whilst snuggling with the nutrias at Yellow Aster Butte, our friends’ daughter informed us that “Basil doesn’t have any skin“.
Minotaur Lake & Point 6262 | 4.5 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –
Humongous thanks to my Hike-a-Thon sponsors, little Nathan and family…
…fellow Mukmukian, Lindsay…
…fellow European, Barb…
…hiker extraordinaire, Elle…
…and Erik the Ooob! Thanks for supporting me – and WTA!
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Two days after I pushed myself on the Rattlesnake Traverse, my legs felt like lead. “No biggie,” I thought. “A little run will loosen them right up.” Hahaha, no.
Fortunately for me, the trail up and along West Cady Ridge is graded for horses, which also means it’s graded for sore Ingunns – never too steep, and lots of beautimous views to keep those legs moving.
Basil is banned from hiking as long as the Cascade mosquito population is still thriving, so Wellie brought along his friend Brutus, ultrarunner extraordinaire, to function as our running coach.
All thoughts of heavy legs disappeared as we got closer to Benchmark Mountain. I don’t know if it’s just that endorphin high again or what, but I just fell in love with this trail.
Hiking in the Cascades often involves climbing through the woods for thousands of feet before finally getting a view right at the top of a mountain, but the majority of this trail was along a beautiful ridge with views in every direction and flowers at our feet. I was in heaven.
The only thing missing was Basil. And some marmots. And maybe an ice-cold beverage waiting for me on the summit (but that’s ok, we had a cooler full of watermelon in the car for the drive home).
My legs started feeling achy and clumsy again on the way down, but you know what? Those legs were heavy because they’re growing stronger. I’m growing stronger, slowly but surely, inside and out.
It was totally worth spending the next two days waddling around like an inebriated duck.
Best dayhike of the year…so far. It ain’t over yet.
– Benchmark Mountain | 15 miles | 4500 feet elevation gain –
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Let’s start with a bit of blog maintenance: first of all, I have no idea why my RSS thing keeps pulling up really old (like ’07 old) posts – sorry if you’re seeing outdated posts in your feed reader! Also, I miss posting more regularly…so I’m going to try to do that. Oh, and I’m a member spotlight over on tmber.com, a very cool Pacific Northwest hiking site, so if you wandered over here from there, welcome, and if you haven’t heard of TMBER before, go check it out.
After spending Saturday running errands and working in the garden, JK and I drove up the Mountain Loop Highway on Sunday to run (what I could of) the Elliot Creek Trail to Goat Lake.
The lower trail is beautiful, and, from what I gather, less crowded than the upper trail. We ran alongside the creek through a lush forest, admiring the greeness of it all. We hardly met anyone on the hike in, so Wellie and Basil got to run off leash, usually staying ahead with JK, the honorary greyhound.
Eventually we hooked up with the upper trail, an old logging road turned alder allée, before entering the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness and finally gaining some real elevation up to the lake. I wasn’t able to run those switchbacks, so I had lots of time to gawk at the huge cedars that lined the trail. The last time we hiked this trail, I felt just about ready to defect and leave Washington for good, but now I am massively in love with this state and our life here. I guess that’s what happens when you try to blame your depression on your location, foolishly thinking you would magically be happier somewhere, anywhere, else.
While the clouds have thankfully cleared in my head, they had yet to lift over Goat Lake, hiding the mountaintops and nixing the idea of swimming. We didn’t care; we were so high on endorphins that any view would do.
We split a sandwich and ran back down the trail, this time dodging big groups of hikers. This is a very popular hike, so come early. Luckily the two trails help disperse the masses, and once we hit the lower trail, we were pretty much alone again – not that anything could have ruined my runner’s high anyway.
– Goat Lake | 10 miles | 1400 feet gain –
We had packed a cooler full of watermelon to enjoy back at the car, but since the sun never really came out to dehydrate us, we drove over to the Big Four picnic area to eat it there instead – with a side of excellent views.
To round out a perfect Mountain Loop day, we stopped at our favorite farm stand outside of Granite Falls to pick up produce to barbecue in the afternoon. I think summer has arrived and I know I love it.