Archive for the ‘Issaquah Alps’ Category

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 –

Enchanted dreams

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Taking advantage of our continued bout of excellent weather, I took Wellie and Basil for a run on Cougar Mountain last Thursday. Cougar is a confusing maze of wooded trails, but I’ve spent enough time there this spring (running after WTA work parties) that I can finally make my way around the mountain without having to pull out my map at every trail junction.

A glorious day

I was aiming for 10 miles or so, but, even in the heat, I was enjoying myself so much that I ended up with 15 miles, covering all my favorite trails on the mountain. I know being self-deprecating is kind of my thing, but this time I have to be honest and say that I was downright proud of myself.

Boardwalk Fungus among us

– Cougar Mountain Loop | 15 miles | 2600 feet elevation gain –

All over Cougar

This is promising, since my goal for this summer is to run through the Enchantments. I’ve given up on the backpacking permit lottery for the time being, so going from the Colchuck trailhead to the Snow Lake trailhead in one day is the way to go. As always, I use the term “run” loosely – I hike the uphills and do my shuffle-jog on the flats and downhills. We will be snailing through the core Enchantments, taking photos and enjoying ourselves.

I’m sure I’ll get so sweaty and salty that the mountain goats will lick me clean before I have time to jump in a lake!

Oh sorry, are we in your camp?

My main challenges will be getting my legs and lungs ready to hike up Aasgard Pass, which gains 2200 feet in something like 0.8 miles, without bonking (but yay, I’ll have a small pack this time!)…

LARCH OMGZ!!1!

…getting my feet ready for the mileage – 17-20, depending on side trips – and for running the last hot, dusty, boring six miles down to the Snow Lake trailhead when I’m already tired…

Little Annapurna

…but mostly getting my head ready, ’cause that’s usually where I fail when it comes to challenging myself – I’ll actually have to believe in myself for once. This run on Cougar was a mighty fine start.

Good morrow!

My previous Enchantments trips, four days each: 2008 and 2010.

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