Archive for the ‘Issaquah Alps’ Category
Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
– Annette Lake | 7.5 miles | 1400 feet gain (felt like more?) –
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.
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.
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.
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!
– Cable Line Loop | 4.75 miles | 2000 feet elevation gain –
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.
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.
– Cougar Mountain Loop | 15 miles | 2600 feet elevation gain –
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!
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!)…
…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…
…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.
My previous Enchantments trips, four days each: 2008 and 2010.
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
The passing hiker’s eyes grew wide as she noticed the obese, unwieldy, antlered stuffed animal draped across JK’s back.
“Uhm,” she started, trying to find a polite way to learn what the hell was going on. “Dare I ask?”
“Oh, you know,” said JK. “I’m just training for the Amooseing Race.”
Thus began a night of strange looks and really bad moose puns.
The gigantic moose isn’t ours, he just showed up at our house while we were in Europe. This is what happens when you give friends the key to your house.
I joked that JK should start carrying Karl-Heinz* on hikes like I carry my mascot, Mukmuk, and then suddenly it turned into something he had to do.
So that’s how we found ourselves on Poo Poo Point, propping that portly thing up to pose for the classic Norwegian motif, Moose in Sunset. It was a silly, excellent way to spend a beautiful early summer’s eve. Also – according to JK – it would be a great way to pick up chicks – single males, take note!
My favorite part of the night was when our friend’s fetch-obsessed dog, Ada, dropped her stick at Karl-Heinz’s feet and patiently waited for him to throw it.
I was quite amoosed.
– Poo Poo Point | 3.5 miles | 1750 feet elevation gain –
*That’s right, he has a name. And a facebook page.
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
With the onset of rain comes the arrival of Tiger Mountain season. Tiger is the perfect place for me to “train” for Orcas Island and get the exercise I need to stay somewhat sane during the soggy months.
I think Orcas will be a good first race for me as there is no way I’ll be able to run for 25 kilometers without walking. 3500+ feet (not quite sure of the exact figure) of elevation gain means long hills, long long hills, long hills that force pretty much everyone except the front-runners to slow to a walk.
Since I’ll be walking several miles of the course, I figure I should at least be comfortable running the downhills so I won’t end up hiking the entire distance. I tried it out on my favorite Tiger Mountain loop (High School Trail -> Section Line Trail -> down WT3 -> Bus Trail -> Powerline back to High School) on Saturday. Somehow I forget how steep the upper Section Line trail is every time I go – this must be the same kind of amnesia that makes women choose to endure childbirth more than once – so I crawled my way to the top, totally living up to my blog name.
I thought I would be lightning-fast on the downhills, but it’s not as easy as I had thought. I immediately got a nagging side stitch and had to stop and walk. After this had happened several times, I realized that I was concentrating so hard on landing correctly (and not slipping on the snot-slick leaves) that I was holding my breath. Once I relaxed and kept chest open and shoulders back, the side stitch went away.
When we got back to the car, I was totally pooped, more so than after my hikes this summer which were twice as long and had more elevation gain. It was a really good kind of tired though, and the following two days of DOMS in all my little stabilizer muscles told me that I really was teaching my body some brand new tricks.
Here’s my Strava feed for the run. As you can see, I use the term “run” loosely, as I’m 100% sure that most of my TNAB friends could hike that downhill and finish faster than I did…but everybody’s got to start somewhere, and as long as I am out there and I’m having fun, I refuse to be embarrassed about my pace. (Mostly.) My main goal now isn’t to get a faster running pace, but to be able to sustain that pace on the flats and downhills without having to stop and walk so often. I’m pretty sure that 60% of that battle is mental, as I tend to underestimate my body’s capabilities.
– Section Line Loop | 7.5 miles | 2400 feet elevation gain –