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.
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.
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.
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.