Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

Bench and Snow Lakes

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

34 was the week I went from feeling amazingly energetic to feeling really, really…pregnant I guess, at the drop of a hat. Actually it was at the drop of a baby – she’s shimmied down low, ready for her big arrival, and in the meantime I’m waddling around like I’m carrying a bowling ball betwixt me legs. Our 35-week Hike-a-Thon hike needed to be short. Short, but awesome.

View towards the mountain

We got a late start after going to a birthday brunch at Plum Bistro (where my gestabetic self made the ultimate sacrifice by not partaking of the mac n’ yeaze – see, fetus? See how much I love you already??) before driving down to Mount Rainier to a new-to-us trail – Snow and Bench Lakes.

Berry delay Pretty trail

The hike was a success right from the start when we found huckleberries lining the trail. Apparently we were gorging ourselves with such concentration and gusto that we missed seeing two bears that were hanging out a little ways off the trail, but oh well.

We finally hiked moseyed waddled on when I decided I was way too hot and needed to cool off in Snow Lake post-haste.

Double cooling

…and what an efficient cool-off it was. I don’t know why, since it’s a shallow lake and not at a terribly high elevation, but this was one of the coldest lakes I’ve ever been in – much, much colder that the turquoise, glacier-fed lakes we’ve been in before. Brr.

Cooling off More bump, always

We hung out in the water until our feet started going numb, then had our late lunch on the way out instead of at the lake, which was the one place on the trail that was buzzing with mosquitoes. When we got to the overlook where we sat down to eat, fellow hikers informed us that we had missed a bear wading in the pond below us by a total of two minutes. Aargh, seriously??

Our luck turned a little while later when a shrill marmot whistle alerted us to the presence of another bear – it was way off in the distance and scurried off into the trees before we could get a good photo, but still. It was a bear. And we actually saw this one!

Distant, blurry bear...

I have to say, I’ve loved this summer of hiking. We haven’t covered the miles we usually would have or been out as often, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and tried out a bunch of new, family-friendly trails that I think we’ll return to again and again in the future.

We’ve seen wildflowers and marmots and bears, jumped (and awkwardly slid, respectively) into lakes, and seen some excellent views. SPD made hiking a bit more difficult than I had hoped, but between my support belt and the natural high I get from endorphins, it was totally doable…and totally worth it. Have I mentioned that I really love hiking?

Bench and Snow Lakes | 2.6 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

35 weeks

Waddle-a-Thon 2014

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I had three hiking-related goals for this summer: to cool my bulging belly off in a lake, to hike to Noble Knob, and to see at least one marmot. Check, check, and check!

Hello

I didn’t realize I would still feel this good in my third trimester, but since I have energy to spare, I decided to add another goal to my list and sign up for Washington Trails Association’s Hike-a-Thon again. I won’t exactly be pounding out the miles this year, but that’s what I love about hiking, especially in Washington – there are countless options for amazing wilderness adventures out there, no matter what your shape (round, mine is very round) or life situation happens to be like.

34 weeks down, sixish to go!

At 34 weeks, JK and I drove to Mount Rainier to look for my marmot friends. We always see them in the area around Sunrise (and the walking is easy), so we moseyed along towards Skyscraper Pass, listening for whistles and looking for lazy, flat marmot rugs hiding in the shade.

Towards Skyscraper

My wish was granted when one of the biggest marmots I’ve ever seen suddenly appeared on the trail right in front of us. There was much snapping of photos and squealing (from me, not the marmot). Just look!

Totes adorbs

Very fur! Much obese!

Poser

Such handsome! Wow!

I WANT TO SQUEEZE YOU

We found a lunch spot where I could keep an eye on our corpulent friend and several of his cousins, and then we turned around and hiked back towards Sunrise. It felt weird to just turn around without having reached a real destination, but since my marmot goal had been fulfilled and the heat was getting to both of us, we decided it was for the best.

Happy hiker

Happily, there were more wildlife sightings to be had – more marmots and some cliff-scaling mountain goats! There were lots of human wildlife sightings too, now that it was later in the day. Sunrise really does lend itself best to early mornings (unsurprisingly, given the name) – the light on the mountain gets washed out later in the day, and the hordes come out to play. It’s wonderful to see so many people out enjoying our national parks, but we were very thankful not to be sitting in the line that reached from the park entry almost all the way to SR410!

Go home, goat. You're drunk.

The wildflowers, on other hand, were rather lacking. The last time we hiked this trail, it was a veritable wonderland of blooms, but I think it’s just been too hot, dry, and generally un-Washingtonesque this year.

Fuzzbuckets!

– Sunrise waddling | 5 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

I did manage to squeeze into my Hike-a-Thon shirt for a quick photo op. For obvious reasons, my hiking effort will be rather subdued this year, and after 36 weeks, I should start staying closer to home (and to the hospital) in case…things start happening. Luckily there’s an “urban hiking” category this year, so hopefully I’ll be waddling down my local trails until the end! Here’s a link to my previous years of Hike-a-Thon trip reports, back when I could cover more miles than a toddler but, ironically, could never quite fit into my Hike-a-Thon shirts.

If you’re a fellow lover of trails, please consider a donation – WTA does amazing work, both physically on our trails and for outdoor advocacy. If hands-on volunteering is more your thing, I recommend signing up for a WTA trail work party, which a) is like a free Crossfit session b) is surprisingly fun (you’ll hear some great stories from really interesting people) and c) you’ll leave with chocolate in your belly and a shiny new halo hovering around your head from all the good work you’ve just done.

Hike-a-Thon Hike #1

Return to Noble Knob

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Oh, Noble Knob. Back in 2007 when I picked this trail (for the name alone, since I am apparently 12 years old) as our first family hike, I had no idea how many great memories would come from this modest little mountain. It was where I truly fell in love with hiking, where we said goodbye to little Scabbers, and where we found healing when we desperately needed it. I was hoping to make it up there while schlepping this belly around, and I did it!

Hiking to Noble Knob

Our timing left a little to be desired since we started hiking just as the front-runners in the White River 50 Mile Endurance Run came into the Corral Pass aid station, which meant that about 300 runners had to pass us…out and back. Then again, trail runners are pretty much the happiest, most endorphin-high creatures on the planet (at least when they’re “only” 16 miles into a race), so it truly was a joy to watch and talk to them, even though I had to step off the trail more times than I could count.

White River 50 Mile Endurance Run

Unfortunately, repeatedly stepping off the trail aggravated my SPD, and my pubic symphysis popped out of alignment again, or whatever that feeling is. All I know is that it makes walking feel very painful, and I thought we were going to have to turn around before our hike had really begun. We found a clearing and JK helped me pop it back into place (we do this exercise every day, which allows me to function as a mobile human being). I felt instant relief, but was a little more waddly and uncomfortable than usual for the remainder of the hike…luckily those lovely endorphins overrode the discomfort soon enough. I wish there was a way for me to get an injection of pure endorphins during labor.

Tiger lilies Love this bit of trail

Apart from all that, I felt much more energized than I thought I would at 33 weeks. It’s the magic of the mountains, I tells ya. It’s impossible to not be excited by life when you’re in a place like this. Even when your dog rolls in elk feces then tries to sit on your lap (I know, I know, I might as well get used to being covered in poop).

JK was there too!

Something tells me we’re not done making memories on this noblest of knobs.

33 weeks

Noble Knob | 7 miles | 500 feet elevation gain –

Heading home

Mirror Lake Mimosas

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Since the blood that runs through my veins is 100% viking and is enrobed in a very efficient thermal layer of blubber, it should come as no surprise that heat is not my friend, even at the best of times. During pregnancy, in a house without air-conditioning? Graaaaahk.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho

In order to beat the heat during our recent heatwave, we decided to get up early and hike the shortest trail possible to a swimmable lake. We even have friends who are dumb enough to accept my ridiculously early departure time!

Cottonwood Lake

Mirror Lake is definitely going on my repeat list – two easy miles round-trip to a beautiful, wilderness-class lake, with a bonus (albeit mosquito-ridden) lake on the way. Awesome. Next time, we will not be driving the last half mile to the trailhead though – our Forester handled it just fine, but we would have been screwed if we met another car along that stretch of “road”. Luckily, everyone else was smarter than us and parked before the rough section.

Moar bear

I had thought that I would feel like I was missing out on hiking this summer, but I’m just so over the moon about finally being pregnant that I can enjoy other people’s photos and trip reports without a the slightest bit of envy…except when it came to this year’s insane bear grass bloom. I have never seen anything like it! Hiking up Bandera or Granite to see it would be too much elevation gain given my pelvic issues (not to mention way too hot), so I was happy to get in on a small piece of the action on this hike instead.

Three Summers? Three stalks of bear grass??

Soon enough, we made it to the aptly named Mirror Lake and found the perfect spot to soak and cool off. It was perfect. One of the best ideas I have ever had.

Mirror Lake

Valiant Wellie braved the water to “rescue” me as always…

Another failed rescue

…and we set up a pool bar of sorts, complete with mimosas (on the rock!). Hours later, we moseyed on home to watch the World Cup bronze final and attempt to not melt in the suburban heat. I need a lake like this next to my house.

Mirror Lake pool bar

Mirror Lake | 2 miles | 800 feet elevation gain –

So much bear grass!

Lodge Lake

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Picking hikes from the Best Hikes With Kids book is working out marvelously so far! I had heard of Lodge Lake before, but it always seemed like too short of a hike for us to drive all the way to Snoqualmie Pass.

30 weeks

Wrong! It really is the perfect trail for anyone who is with child, is a child, is feeling gimpy or creaky-kneed, or is just short on time like we were that day, wanting to get back to town in time for the 4th of July festivities.

First lake swim of 2014

Hiking up the ski hill on the Pacific Crest Trail gave us excellent wilderness-type views for next to no effort, and soon enough we found ourselves at a quaint little mountain lake. The shoreline access is a bit limited, but we made ourselves comfortable on the logs that were floating in the water…and then some of us decided that floating in the water was a desirable activity for humans, too.

I'll save yu papaaaa!

We brought our lifeguard, Wellie, with us in order to stay safe. He never fails to “rescue” us when we’re in need.

Wellie has rescuer's remorse

Short and sweet, it was the perfect hike to go on when I needed my pelvis and generally very pregnant body to function normally the rest of the day. Bonus: we’ve found yet another trail where we can drag this future child of ours along.

Lodge Lake | 3 miles | 500 feet elevation gain –

Alpine views for cheap

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