Hiking, Issaquah Alps, Solo, TNAB

Back on trail

There are so many extra little things to worry about when snowshoeing – avalanches! man-eating tree wells! yetis! – that I had yet to take the leap into solo winter hiking. Since this was technically the first day of spring (and I was going absolutely mental from lack of outdoor time post-Maui), it was about time.

JK spent the day at climbing instructor training in the Washington Alpine Club’s cabin on Alpental Road, so he dropped me off at the Kendall Peak Lakes trailhead and left me to my own devices. I had forgotten how much I love hiking by myself. I get all calm and happy and zen and junk, and the miles fly by effortlessly. I actually hike faster when I’m alone, because I go at my own pace and don’t have to keep stopping to gasp for air. JK says it probably helps that I’m not “wasting energy on worrying about what other people think”, which sounds about right.

Got it!

The only downside to hiking by myself was having to use the self-timer on my camera – next time I’ll try to remember my mini tripod and, uhm, some skillz.


I hiked to the two lower lakes, hit some extra bumps on the ridge, then headed over to Kendall Knob and back to the trailhead. I still had lots of time to kill, so I walked up to Hyak and took the ski shuttle to Summit West. I wandered around Commonwealth Basin for a bit before walking to the WAC cabin where my chauffeur husband was finishing up his training.

Kendall Peak Lakes & Commonwealth Basin | 10.6 miles | 2900 feet gain –

Spring has sprung

Now that spring has sprung and the days are getting longer, it’s easier to motivate JK to go for post-work hikes. We’ve also made a deal that instead of rejoining the gym, we’re going to make an effort to get up in them thar hills more often. On Tuesday we revisited an old (and close to home) favorite, Poo Poo Point, to take advantage of the sun(!) and the natural stairmaster that is the Chirico Trail.

Master of Issaquah Welcome to Poo Poo

The sunset didn’t let us down, and I got a better cardio session than I ever would in a gym. Apparently I need it, because after I had huffed and puffed and wheezed and moaned my way to the top, JK let me know that he didn’t even break a sweat. Great.

Poo Poo Point | 3.5 miles |1750 feet elevation gain –

Crayola sky

Every year I promise myself that I am going to get in shape for TNAB, and every year I fail to do anything of the sort. The season started last night with a mercifully gentle jaunt to Dirty Harry’s Balcony. Unfortunately this was the only (in my eyes) easy hike on the TNAB schedule this year, so you can start placing bets on how long it’ll take before I hurl on a hike again.

TNAB summit shot

(Group photo stolen from Scott)

Dirty Harry’s Balcony | 4 miles | 1400 feet elevation gain –

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  • Reply Libby March 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    WOW – love that you on hikes by yourself. Not sure I’d do that, but I do love taking the dogs on adventure walks. Looks absolutely beautiful. Love all the dogs in the group photo. So hard to find places here that allow you to take dogs. Most of the good walks are in the national parks where dogs are not allowed :-(.

  • Reply Schmidt Alti-Babe March 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Ingunn, I really enjoyed hearing your reflections on solo hiking. It is something I am afraid of (mostly for animal and human predator reasons), but your words gave me inspiration. There is a true peace and happiness that is achieved when accomplishing something you love entirely on your own and being left with your mind as your companion and source of conversation. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Andra March 26, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Good for you for getting out on your own! I love soloing too but will wait for better weather up here.

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