Archive for the ‘Issaquah Alps’ Category

Notes from the cocoon

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Nora’s birth was even more emotional than I had thought it would be. My grandmother had passed away two days before, so there were huge, sad, bittersweet, circle-of-life type feelings swirling around in me on top of the all-encompassing love I felt the second I laid eyes on Nora.

Our bodies are pretty amazing things. I keep looking at this wonderful little creature and thinking we made her? From scratch? This perfect little being? Man, I love her. The birth itself was wonderful – I know it’s easy to say that now, since all memories of pain just evaporated the second I saw my baby, but I truly feel lucky that I was able to have the exact experience I was hoping for.

<3

On Labor Day we went for a hike on Tiger Mountain to pick mushrooms, and I started feeling some contractions. I assumed it was just a continuation of the false labor symptoms I had been having all weekend (False Labor Day, I called it) and was somewhat in denial about the fact that they hurt much more than Braxton-Hicks when we were in the car on the way home. They were strong enough to wake me up in the early morning the next day, and a couple hours later, it finally dawned on me that wait, I think this is the real thing! I was only 38 weeks and 2 days along, so even though I suspected she would come early, I thought I had more time.

I got in the tub, which felt amazing all through labor (along with having warm water sprayed on my lower back and an ice cold washcloth covering my eyes, which allowed me to retreat into an introverted pain cave of sorts, where all that existed during contractions was myself and the music I had on – I realized early on that what I really needed to focus on to get through labor was to stay calm and avoid getting caught in the panic spiral of doom), and then we went to the hospital when the contractions got closer together. JK kept our families updated, and at 11:25 PM, just about the time when our people were starting their work days back home in Norway, little Nora made her appearance.

Happiest moment ever

If you’re local, I highly recommend the midwifery clinic at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. The midwives provide excellent prenatal care and support during delivery, and you have the added peace of mind of delivering in a hospital, with operating rooms and a NICU right there in case something should happen. Evergreen is also a certified baby-friendly hospital (the very first hospital to get certified in this country!), so you can get all the help and support you’ll need for breastfeeding.

Little Babysaurus

I have never taken care of a newborn before, but Nora made the transition pretty easy for us. She’s been a very happy baby so far, and her Dunstan Baby Language skills are great, especially “neh!” (feed me, peasant!), “eh!” (burp me, peasant!), “heh-heh-heh” (I’m uncomfortable and probably working on a diaper present for you, peasant!). She’s also added her own word to the vocabulary: “flarn! flarn!” (how dare you undress me, peasant?!) – my only issue is lack of sleep, which obviously comes with the territory. It’s not really Nora’s fault, it’s just that I have always been a horrible sleeper, and feeding and changing her at night wakes me up so much that it can easily take 1-2 hours for me to fall back asleep, which is extremely annoying when sleep is pretty much the only thing I need right now. Oh well, it’ll get better.

First hike!

So far, we’ve taken Nora out on two hikes on Tiger Mountain to pick chanterelles, but other than that, my interest in hiking seems to have disappeared completely these days. Five weeks in, all I want to do (except sleep, natch) is just to snuggle with this perfect little creature in our cozy little nest at home. I’m sure my love of mountains will prevail, and when it does, I’ll post more updates. Apart from this initial post, I don’t think I’ll want to post much about Nora except for hiking-with-a-baby type updates, since a) this is a hiking blog and b) Nora didn’t sign up to be blog material. This will admittedly be hard, because she is obviously the most amazing baby ever and I want to share all the cute things she does, but I’ll do my best.

(How can I not share things like this themed mushrooming outfit??)

Themed outfit

In the meantime, my little lady and I will stay swaddled here in our little cocoon, simply enjoying life.

My little loaf in a basket

Little adventures

Monday, May 12th, 2014

I know a lot of people love to hate the Issaquah Alps, but I have really grown fond of them over the last couple of years. I wonder if some of the negativity stems from the fact that a lot of people only visit these wooded gems on crappy days in the middle of winter and never get to experience how lovely they can be in the summer and fall.

I think I could be perfectly happy and content if for some reason I was only allowed to hike and run on Cougar and Tiger the rest of my life (this attitude will probably serve me well over the next couple of years when bigger adventures will be harder to execute). I’ve experienced some amazing moments of peace and flow and wild endorphin rushes on those little mountains, and I’ve barely even scratched the surface of the trails that are available.

Trillium Endorphwin Cougar Mountain convert Turning purple

I finally managed to convert JK into a Cougar Mountain fanboy a couple of weeks ago on an evening hike/run in the AA Peak area. It was his first time seeing the trails all greened-up for late spring, and that huge grin stayed glued to his face the entire night.

Unfortunately, I think this trip was my last attempt at running this pregnancy. It just didn’t feel good as I was doing it (especially downhill, the whole pelvic area felt unstable). I switched to walking pretty early on, but I was still rewarded with a several days of extra grumpy round ligaments, to the point where it was keeping me up at night. I’ll stick with walking from now on.

Powerline Trail Run among the fuzzies Wellie plays hide and seek with the rabbits Treeglow

Speaking of walking, the pups and I have really upped our daily strolls lately – partly due to the sheer magnetic force of the gorgeous, green spring trails, but mostly due to the fact that I have completely weaned myself off Diclegis, and fresh air and exercise is doing a fairly good job of taking care of the remaining morning sickness.

Wellie and Basil are thrilled with this new development, as it often leads to several walks a day, and I am hoping the extra exercise will make up for the fact that I am eating like a person who is constantly hung over. At the very least, all that walking works wonders for my mental health.

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!

Seven years

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Poo Poo Point Meadow

JK and I got married on a sweltering (yes, Norway can be sweltering) July 1, 2006, surrounded by our friends and family. Seven years later, on an equally sweltering day, we hiked up to Poo Poo Point, surrounded by two handsome nutrias and several thousand mosquitoes.

Happy anniversary!

We watched the sunset, feasted on watermelon (while the bugs feasted on us) and just enjoyed each being together. I’m so happy I found this guy. And I’m so happy that we found each other when we were so young. I know it’s a cliché, but he really is my best friend – and that is so important.

The only seven year itch we have to scratch is from those damn mosquitoes!

We didn't bring a real camera...

Back to life

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I spent most of last week on the couch, reading PCT blogs and setting world records in serial sneezing, but by Saturday I felt good enough to try an easy hike. We settled on Annette Lake, which we had visited in 2009 and I remembered as a pleasant early-season lake, even though poor Bobby had slipped off a log by the outlet and fallen into a stew of trapped pollen and gunk, then emerged looking like a tiny Yoda.

Swamp Thing

This time, both nutrias managed to stay on their log, but the lake wasn’t quite as charming as I remembered. It’s nice enough, but there are just so many nicer lakes to visit in this state.

Handsome nutrias

Still, it was a good outing, and I’m glad I didn’t attempt anything more challenging since apparently I wasn’t quite back to normal yet. Sunday saw me curled up on the couch again while JK biked to Marymoor Park to climb and attend the Brewer’s Festival.

He didn't want me to fall in Annette Lake

Annette Lake | 7.5 miles | 1400 feet gain (felt like more?) –

Chasing mama

On Monday we had a final window of good weather before the Juneuary gloom set in, so I decided I had to hike no matter what. We settled on the infamous Cable Line, the route that goes straight up Tiger Mountain and gains 2000 feet in 1.5 miles or so. It kills me every time, whether I am sick or not, so I fully expected an evening of torture.

Hot dog on a log

I put on headphones and told JK and his coworker Anil to just go ahead at their own pace. I listened to an old episode of Snap Judgment called Hungry, which was an excellent choice – tales of war, starvation, and survival tend to put your self-imposed cardio suffering in perspective.

Pretty Cable Line

When I finally reached the top, I realized that – without really trying – I had beat my old record by four minutes. Huzzah! And I felt really, really good. Invigorated, actually. Usually the Cable Line makes me want to curl up into a ball and never walk again, but now I felt like I could keep going forever.

Pups everywhere!

The conversation was dominated by work talk on the way down West Tiger 3, so I put my headphones back in and ran ahead of the guys, listening to the new Daft Punk album and enjoying the ease of breathing that comes with newly cleared sinuses. I saw the sunset filtered through the trees and hit some sort of manic endorphin rush just as Touch came on, so I played it three times in a row, getting lost in its silly disco fabulousness and feeling totally, truly happy.

Life! It’s beautiful!

A beautiful, bluetiful evening

Cable Line Loop | 4.75 miles | 2000 feet elevation gain –

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