Monthly Archives

January 2010


Slowpoke on Si

I have a rather ambivalent relationship with Mount Si; on the one hand it is a nice hike close to Seattle (and I have fond memories of this view from my favorite tv show), but on the other hand I equate it with heart-stopping, soul-sucking training hikes with heavy packs. Graahk.

Looking back at my first hike of Mount Si, it’s clear that I was once very enthusiastic about it in an adorably naive way…so it was nice to go back there last weekend with two Si virgins and see the mountain through their eyes.

Andre & Ellie's inaugural Si hike The Bend

It didn’t hurt that the weather turned from grey with snow flurries to clear and sunny. It also didn’t hurt that the hike was followed by curry at Square Lotus. What did hurt was realizing that I hiked faster last year carrying a 40-pound pack than I did this weekend with a normal daypack. It’s officially time to hit the trails again – then heading back to Si for a rematch.


Red Lentil Dhal

Between not going on any challenging hikes since October, cancelling our gym membership, abusing the fact that they finally opened a Trader Joe’s in Redmond, and generally having a non-stop eating fest over the last two months (the period of time called “the holidays” seems to get longer and longer every year), it is no surprise that I have gained a fair amount of blubber lately. I didn’t realize quite how much until I was foolish enough to step on the scale this morning. Oh dear lord.

So since this is January and I am presumably not the only one who is trying to shed some lard, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes. It’s very easy, very tasty, very healthy.


Red Lentil Dhal:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 400 grams (yes, I’m European) red lentils
  • 8 dl water
  • 2 cubes vegetable stock (I use powdered stock, so I just throw in whatever amount seems reasonable)
  • 1 tbs grated fresh ginger (I quadruple this amount, but then again I have a disturbingly passionate love of ginger)
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro (coriander) (I add more of this, too)
  • 1 tbs red curry paste
  • a wee bit of oil for sauteeing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the onion in a smidge of oil in a pot. Add the tomatoes and let them simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

    We usually eat this with brown rice (or quinoa) and lots of broccoli or greens. Nom nom nom. The best part is having leftovers the next day; I usually mix the dhal and the rice/quinoa, add a little bit of chickpea flour so that everything will stick together, and voilĂ : lentil burgers!

    Leftover dhal and rice = burgers!


    Microwave Hill

    A particularly bad case of the winter doldrums has kept me from going hiking so far in 2010 (egads!), so here’s a look back at our last hike of 2009 instead. By the way, I compiled a geeky list of my hikes from 2009 with links to the relevant trip reports/photos in case a) you’re looking for ideas on where to go or b) you’re just a plain ol’ blog stalker.

    A couple of days after Christmas, JK and I decided to move our porky behinds (I’m speaking for myself) off the couch, away from the Christmas cookies, and up a hill – Microwave Hill to be exact. A snowmobile-infested radio tower seems an unlikely destination for a wilderness experience, but we had heard tales of surprisingly splendid views along Keechelus Ridge.

    Despite a late start and realizing that we had left our map at home, we soldiered on, figuring that we couldn’t get lost if we just followed the forest road. Well, it turns out that there are approximately 572 different forest roads leading up to Keechelus Ridge, all with fresh snowmobile tracks.

    Chilly sun

    Yes, I’m wearing a chullo. It looks heinous but it keeps me warm.

    Anyway, we made it to the top and found a nice spot away from the snowmobile congregation (frequently asked snowmobiler question: “You walked up here??”) where we could have lunch. Please ignore the red noses in the photo, it was coooold up there on the windy ridge! The views more than made up for the chattering teeth; we got quite the panorama of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

    Lemah and friends

    Once we dropped down from the ridge and away from the wind, the temperature was perfect for hiking. Unfortunately we somehow* ended up on the wrong forest road on the way down. Yup. Thus we had the privilege of seeing the sunset over Mount Rainier, hiking in the moonlight (we had headlamps but the moon was so bright that we didn’t need them), and turning a six-mile hike into a ten-miler. From now on I will always double-check that I packed my topo map, even if I’m in a hurry.

    The scenic route Tahoma with UFOs

    Miles: 10 (normally around 6)
    Elevation gain: 2,500 feet
    Getting “lost” in the moonlight with the man you love: more romantic (and slightly embarrassing) than scary

    *By being mapless doofuses**, that’s how.

    Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Hiking

    Swim, my pretties!

    Oh, hello there. I seem to have flipped my marmot switch and entered full hibernation mode this past week. In an effort to rouse me from my slothful slumber, I’ve been going through photos from warmer, sunnier times.

    Last summer we got one of those tiny little camcorder things with the idea that we were going to put together little videos of our backpacking trips, but of course that didn’t happen. Today we decided to rectify the situation by putting together a video of our alpine lake dips from 2009. If you’re really bored or just have 8 minutes to kill, here it is:

    It’s also available in HD if for some reason you need to see my ample bottom more clearly.

    Backpacking, Hikes of the Year, Hiking

    Favorite Hikes | 2009

    Now that I have started 2010 off with the worst hangover I have had since my college days (I must be getting old), it’s time for some retrospection (beyond the fact that I should have stayed away from those evil pomegranate drinks last night).

    2009 was the best year I have had in a very, very long time (well, minus the whole Bobby thing). I feel like I’m finally putting my life back together after the Great Depression, and I’ve had enough energy to really experience things. We’ve met a whole bunch of great new people, rekindled some old friendships, and made a conscious decision to surround ourselves with positive people.

    What made 2009 so great for me was all the hiking we got to do, so, without further ado, here are my favorite trips from the year, sorted by month. (I think it’s about time I took a refresher course in comma usage.) (The same goes for parentheses.)

    January The year started off strong when a weather inversion let us drive up through the freezing clouds and enjoy an amazingly warm and beautiful snowshoeing trip to Artist Point and Huntoon Point by Mount Baker.

    February JK and Carlos carried skis up to McClure Rock on Mount Rainier while I led on foot. It was nice for me to not carry 243 gajillion pounds of ski gear on the way up, but they certainly had more fun on the way down.

    Shuksan snuggles Let's go there

    March The weather was iffy in March, so we took advantage of a sunny Thursday and skied up to High Hut. This was my first real cross-country skiing trip in five years or so, and it left me doubting the validity of my Norwegian passport. It sure was purdy up there though!

    April We finally hiked (well, snowshoed) up to Camp Muir like we had been talking about for ages. 10,188 feet is the highest I have ever been, and I loved it, thin air and all.

    High Hut Windy highway

    May My first time snow camping and our first volcano summit, Mount St. Helens. The weather and the views were spectacular.

    June I got to hike in and stay in camp while JK and the rest of the mountaineering class summited Mount Baker. I wish I could have joined them all the way, but I’ll have time for that later.

    It's a beautiful day I shall say good night 'til it be morrow

    July The swimming and views more than made up for the horrendous mosquitoes on our backpacking trip to Spectacle Lake (but from now on I think we’ll save lakeside overnighters for September/October to avoid the little buggers).

    August I joined two great ladies from on a three-day ramble around Tank Lakes. This was my first backpacking trip without JK, but the scenery was so freaking gorgeous that I forgot all about him. ;)

    Spectacle Lake Happiness defined

    September My favorite hiking month in Washington; the mosquitoes are gone but the lakes are still warm enough for swimming. The sunrise over Robin Lake was the prettiest one of the whole year, it was so hot that we simply had to swim, and JK and I had a wonderful time together on this trip.

    October Aah, larch month. Our trip to Black Peak (well, just Wing Lake for me) was my 2009 favorite – golden larches, gorgeous lakes and great company, followed by car camping and the best campfire the world has ever known. (I could do without the snowy boulder field of doom though.)

    Photo #347 of this view Wing Lake

    November We spent most of November at home with Bobby since he was sick, but we managed to sneak in an excellent snowshoe outing to Mount Rainier where we climbed above the clouds to finally see some sun.

    December Our trip to Skyline Ridge last week wins December since it was where I finally found the Christmas spirit I had been looking for all month. We also stumbled upon a rather plump white and black dog, which is always a plus.

    Snowboarder Crossing Skyline Lake

    Other highlights In April/May we went to Utah and Nevada to escape the snow and stock up on vitamin D. It was a week of absolute bliss; nothing but love and red rocks. Aaah. I never got around to writing a trip report here on my blog, but there’s one on

    I also went on my first solo hiking trip and my first solo backpacking trip this year – there will definitely be more of those.

    A hoodlum among hoodoos Blue skies, petrified dunes

    I have high hopes for 2010 – I want to get over my ridiculous fear of heights for long enough to try an (easy) alpine climb, and hopefully we’ll be heading back to Norway at some point to explore the mountains of home. Wherever we end up going, if it’s half as pretty as what I saw in 2009, I’ll be happy.