Archive for the ‘Hike-a-thon’ Category

Hike-a-Thanks

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

September had come and Hike-a-Thon was over, but Mukmuk still had thanks to give, so I escorted him up to Poo Poo Point (he’s a tad lighter than the moose) for a sunset shoot.

– Poo Poo Point | 3.5 miles | 1650 feet elevation gain –

A Raisin in the Sun(set) Ada, stop trying to make fetch happen

Danke schön to new Washingtonian Nadine, who I will hopefully get to hike with soon!

Thanks, Nadine!

Tusen takk to Camilla, who sent love to our trails all the way from Norway!

Thanks, Camilla!

Special Italian Greyhound-lovin’ thanks to Jenn…

Thanks, Jenn!

…and to JK, who hiked almost every single mile with me this Hike-a-Thon.

Thanks, J-K!

Hike-a-Thon is over until next August, but you can support Washington Trails Association all year – donate or come out and work on a trail crew!

6262

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.

A young'un

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.

Point 6262

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.

Om nom nom!

I loved Labyrinth last year, but I think this peak was even better. Minotaur and Theseus Lakes looked beautimous below.

Almost to the ridge

With views like this, Point 6262 deserves a mythological name of its own, no?

Ridge with a view

Wellie and Basil brought their adventure buddy, Brutus, along for this hike too, so I had all my favorite guys with me.

Brutus!

Pups, lakes, peaks, sun, huckleberries? Summer Saturdays don’t get much better than this.

Wellie with Glacier Peak

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“.

Basil!

Minotaur Lake & Point 6262 | 4.5 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –

Bullheaded JK in Minotaur Lake

Humongous thanks to my Hike-a-Thon sponsors, little Nathan and family…

Thanks, Nathan!

…fellow Mukmukian, Lindsay…

Thanks, Lindsay!

…fellow European, Barb…

Thanks, Barb!

…hiker extraordinaire, Elle…

Thanks, Elle!

…and Erik the Ooob! Thanks for supporting me – and WTA!

Thanks, Eric!

Yeah I shake my little tush on the Katwalk

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Ehrm, I seem to have stopped blogging. Let’s just pick up where we left off and pretend this hike didn’t take place two months ago.

To the PCT!

PCT!

Kendall Katwalk is one of the most popular hikes by Snoqualmie Pass, but, even though we’ve hiked here for six years now, this was our first visit. True to form, we left late, something that usually pays off in golden afternoon light and glorious sunsets. This time we missed the morning sun and had to make do with limited views and cold fog instead.

Misty Red Mountain

We’ve turned into wimpy fair-weather hikers (aided by two excellent Seattle summers in a row), so this weather was unusual for us…but it was honestly really nice to hike without feeling like I was drowning in my own sweat.

Wellie looks for pikas

If definitely felt like fall, and the critters were prepping for the long winter to come. The pikas were frantically collecting impressive mouthfuls of noms to keep them going until summer, while the marmots were plumping up nicely for their upcoming snooze.

Prepping for winter

Man, you guys are awesome

A freezing fog rolled in just as we reached the impressively engineered Katwalk, so we just had a quick snack before running most of the way back down to the car (luckily I had brought headphones so I could get Right Said Fred out of my head). I’ll have to come back on a purtier day.

The infinite abyss

The great thing about having hiked 20 miles the weekend before? It made these 12 miles feel like nothing. W00t!

Yeah I shake my little tush on the Kendall Katwalk

Kendall Katwalk | 12 miles | 2700 feet elevation gain –

Big thanks to my Hike-a-Thon sponsors, Jessie…

Thanks, Jessie!

…and Gabi!

Thanks, Gabi!

TNAB

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Oh, right, TNAB. I vowed to go to more of these Thursday evening hikes/sufferfests…then we went to one this winter, and promptly stopped. Why? Laziness, that’s why. Mostly, though, it’s because of the drive – rush hour traffic makes it difficult to be at the trailhead by 5:45.

Rampart Ridge? Worth fighting traffic.

Mordor?

To the family we met at the trailhead who warned us about the yellow jacket nest on trail, thank you so much! JK and Basil (who has the worst luck with bugs) still managed to get stung, as did some later arrivals, but Dani, Wellie and I managed to skulk into the woods and bypass the Nest of Evil. Luckily Basil seemed to be doing fine, but we gave him Benadryl just in case and kept a close eye on him the rest of the night.

If you’re hiking the Ramparts through “the backdoor” this fall, be careful, the nest is located right at the junction with Lake Laura, and the yellow jackets will repeatedly sting any man or beast who walks by. Last I heard, some thoughtful hikers had marked the area with flagging.

Stairway to heaven

Moving on, the meadowy bits below the summit were full of scampering marmots, but I didn’t get a single good shot of them. Clouds and forest fire haze foiled my photography plans and cast the mountains in gloomy light…

NABing and gabbing

…until sunset, when the sky ‘sploded in breathtaking pinks and purples. Whoa. When TNAB is good, it’s really good.

When TNAB is good...

There was the usual drinking and chatting, oohing and aahing, joking and reminiscing (even some snoozing, courtesy of Basil, who was still high on Benadryl), and JK and I realized that we had missed this more than we thought.

TNAB!

We vowed yet again to attend more TNABs…and then Mother Nature decided that she would serve up epic storms every Thursday from then on.

If we’re going to fight traffic, it’s going to be for something a bit more pleasant than “rain Armageddon“. So…maybe next week. Or next year?

Pink!

– Rampart Ridge | 4.5 miles | 2,200 feet gain –

Stahp!

Humongous thanks to my Hike-a-Thon sponsors, Kelsie…

Thanks, Kelsie!

…Lauren…

Thanks, Lauren!

…and Lyn! Y’all rock!

Thanks, Lyn!

Enchantments in a day

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

You know that goal I set for myself this summer? I generally don’t set goals anymore because they tend to just stress me out and leech whatever joy I would normally get out of a project, but this one, this one I loved and looked forward to (if somewhat nervously) all summer.

Aasgard ahead

JK and I met up with three other friends and caravaned to Leavenworth (the sort-of-creepy but mostly festive faux-Bavarian village east of Stevens Pass), left one car at the Snow Creek trailhead, and hoped we were starting early enough to hit Aasgard Pass in the shade.

Certain members of the group set off at a grueling pace right from the trailhead, leaving certain other (more portly) members (ok, membeR) of the group wondering what the hell she had gotten herself into. Thankfully my thought process changed when we reached Colchuck Lake – I knew that the remaining miles (minus the last six down to the car) would be beautimous enough to encourage a more ambling pace.

“Ambling” is a much faster pace than what I hiked up Aasgard though – that pass you see in the photo above which gains 2200 feet in 0.8 miles. Ugh. I will say that it felt amazing to hike up it with a light running pack instead of a multi-day backpack. We hit sunlight in the last quarter of it, but I still felt energetic when I reached the top, which is something I would never have imagined.

Huffing and puffing up Aasgard Pass

Cresting Aasgard and walking into the Enchantments gave me a huge rush of emotions. It was so beautiful. I felt so good. And it opened up a whole new world to me to realize that places like this are accessible to me in a day now instead of as a long backpacking trip (with an impossible permit system).

Also, goats! So many! So cute! So fluffy!

I don't have to pee right now, but thanks for your concern

Spot the goats in this one?

Welcome committee

We mostly saw mamas with their kids. All the menfolk must have been off somewhere watching football.

Kidding around

After a long lunch break in the Upper Enchantments, we made our way through this granite kingdom, which geologist Tom informed us is “not actually granite, but close enough”. He also taught us about inclusions, but I wasn’t really listening. Tom’s a gneiss guy and all, but I don’t give a schist about rocks.

Heaven is what it is is what it is

Ok, so I do care about rocks, because look how pretty they be. The Upper Enchantments are very stark, dramatic, and Sierra Nevada-like.

Witches Tower

Every time I come here, I can’t help but play the Lord of the Rings soundtrack in my head.

Through the upper basin

I didn’t think a side trip up Little Annapurna would be in the cards for me, but I really wanted JK to go – he hadn’t been there before, and it’s a really cool summit. As it turned out, my legs still had some elevation gain left in them, so I went up as well.

I made it!

We had another long break at the summit for second lunch, ’cause a hobbit’s gotta eat.

Gaaah

Unfortunately, we had brought our old, unreliable Rebel with us since the 60D won’t fit in the outside mesh thing of my pack, and now it informed me that it was almost out of juice. Nooo! I had to conserve the battery, so I don’t have many photos from the Lower Enchantments – you’ll just have to believe me (or look at Tom’s photos) when I say it’s a veritable wonderland of lakes, peaks, and goats.

Looking back up at Little Annapurna from Rune Lake:

Little Annapurna

“Draw me like one of your French chipmunks…”

Draw me like one of your French chipmunks

The goats bade us farewell as we dropped down towards the last lake of the Enchantments (there would be more lakes, but they’re just not as enchanting). Thank you for letting us visit your home, furry ones!

Thanks for letting us visit your home

Lake Viviane holds a special place in our hearts; it was our first campsite on our first trip to the Enchantments back in 2008. We spent a lovely afternoon there all alone, just reading and swimming. You obviously miss out on experiences like that when you’re only passing through in a day, but I think the dayhike experience is just as rewarding – in a different way.

Lake Viviane

The lower basin is more vegetated than the upper basin (less not-quite-granite-but-close-enough), but there are still some steep, rocky bits where you don’t want to slip. Egads!

Above Lake Viviane

This is the last photo we took, of the rebar steps leading down to Lake Viviane. From here on, we followed the steep route down to and interminable trail around Snow Lake, the rocky switchbacks down to Nada Lake, and the never-ending grind down to the Snow Creek trailhead, where our second car was waiting with a cooler full of delicious liquids.

Rebar

My legs were starting to feel it on the way down, but, spurred on by dreams of Latin food (more importantly, non-”Bavarian” food) at South, I jogged the last miles – changing my gait really does make my legs feel fresher, even after a long day like this. I finally reached the trailhead, downed half a Vitamin Water in one gulp, and reveled in the fact that I actually felt pretty good. Sweaty and dirty, but good.

Two days later, my calves told a different story…but never mind that.

- Enchantments & Little Annapurna | 20 miles | 6000 feet gain (8000 feet loss) -

Big thanks to my Hike-a-Thon sponsors, Michelle…

Thanks, Michelle!

…Tom…

Thanks, Tom!

…and Jo!

Thanks, Jo!

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