Monthly Archives

March 2012

Hiking, Issaquah Alps, TNAB


TNAB started last week, but between house stuff and JK being swamped at work, we’ve decided to do our own alternative weeknight hikes for the time being. We save a lot of time by driving to Tiger Mountain instead of North Bend, so for now it’s back to good old Poo Poo Point and, for masochistic evenings, the Cable Line.

Poo Poo silhouettes Ready for takeoff

Since I hadn’t hiked in over a month, I was fully prepared to feel awful the whole way up, but I guess my walks on the Powerline Trail have kept me in reasonable shape. The trail was in its usual spring state of delightful muddiness, Rainier was hiding behind a wall of clouds and the sunset consisted of darkening shades of grey, but I was elated to be out on trail with my favorite guys again. An excellent alternative to TNAB, even though we missed out on the Blue Moon recovery beers at the Pour House. *frowny face*

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

House, Life, The pups

House update and rug rat footage

Things are slowly but surely coming together in the new house. Now that we have our main living area (mostly) done, it’s tempting to leave the rest of the house in boxes…but I guess I’ll just have to woman up and go through it all.

Hopefully we can sell or donate a lot of the stuff we haven’t used in a long time (I’m looking at you, scrapbook stuff and JK’s old textbooks which we both know he will never open again but for some reason he refuses to get rid of).

Living room

The living room is almost done, we’re just waiting for our coffee table to arrive and to find a nice chair for the corner. Oh, and we picked up our bed last night – now we can finally stop sleeping on the floor like savages.

This kitchen makes cooking fun

I adore our new kitchen. The island gives us so much more room to work with, and this is the first time we’ve tried gas burners. Cooking is fun again!

Gas at last!

Bonus: the colors of the floor and the counter tops are both really forgiving. In our old house, every single little errant crumb would show, so ten minutes after I cleaned it, it would look dirty again. Here I can slob with abandon!

New "problem"

As much as I love the kitchen, I have to say that the best part of our new place is the deck. Spending sunny weekends “stuck at home” doesn’t sound so bad anymore now that we have a private space outdoors.

So much better than our old porch

You would think the Wellie’s favorite part would be his new yard where he can happily defend us from rogue squirrels, but no. Nothing can top his unbridled passion for our new rug:

Yup, that’s one strange little nutria.

Challenge, Life

Return of GOYA

In the midst of all this house-buyin’ and movin’ biznizz, I’ve neglected my hiking legs – I haven’t set foot on a real trail in five weeks! Preposterous. My solution is to reinstate GOYA for the time being, so I’ll at least have some motivation to get out in the neighborhood.

Go go GOYA

To shock lazy legs back into action, dust off your multi-day backpack and fill it with Heavy Things. Grab your dog and an mp3 player full of classics. Find the longest, steepest hill close to your house and walk up and down, up and down. (Try not to think about the fact that you look like a bit of a tool.) Tada! Happy, shaky legs.

Sightings: 2 rabbits, 1 bald eagle, 3 furry coyote poops. Be careful, bunnies!!

Backpacking, Hikes of the Year, Hiking

Favorite Hikes | 2011

When I first started hiking in the Cascades, I couldn’t fathom why some people hike the same trails over and over again. Our state is full of beautiful lakes and exciting peaks, why limit yourself?

Fast-forward a couple of years into my hiking career and here I am, hiking Noble Knob, Panorama Point and Skyline Ridge for the 134th time…and loving it. I’ve come to value the tradition of returning to my old favorites. It might be due to realizing that I will never be an adventurous peakbagger, or maybe the comfortable familiarity of my happy places just makes me feel, well, happy. (Most likely, I’m just so lazy that I prefer not having to do any research before hitting the trail.)

Anyhoo, without further ado, here are my favorite hikes of 2011 – lots of repeats, but all of them wonderful.

Washington favorites:

Beautiful afternoon light Ooh, aah!

I remember the first half of the year as a blur of rain and repetitive Tiger Mountain jaunts, but once in a while the sun decided to grace us with her presence. Tom’s annual celebration of aging at Kendall Peak Lakes was a success as always, and towards the end of January he was kind enough to humor us common folk with a non-epic snowshoe to Lake Valhalla.

Sure beats lift skiing Substitute dawg

More rain, more Tiger Mountain, even more rain, and then April brought a fantabulous ski/snowshoe to McClure Rock that made me forgive Washington (for the time being). In June we once again spent my birthday weekend on Iron Peak. Booze and cupcakes for all (except for Wellie, who was stuck in the cone of shame [and who probably shouldn’t have booze or cupcakes anyway])!

Holy carp! Bean Peak

Look, a Tiger Mountain hike made it onto the favorites list! Poo Poo Point was the perfect place to celebrate the summer solstice. The following weekend we returned to the Teanaway to summit Bean Peak and thought summer had arrived for sure.

Logjam Sunset spectacularrr

In July we were pleasantly surprised by the charming Goat Lake trail and took our first alpine lake swim of the season – Wellie too! The most unique sunset of the year happened below us on a night hike of good old Bandera Mountain.

The gang Wellie looks concerned

Late July and early August brought so much sadness, and the hikes we went on helped keep me going during that period. The day after the attacks in Oslo, we carried the Norwegian flag to the Thorp Mountain Lookout. After returning from Norway in August, we said our final goodbyes to JK’s dad on Noble Knob.

Best schwimming lake evahs Our little family

We kept the hiking therapy going on a relaxing swimming trip to Lake Valhalla and a much-needed night under the stars on Skyline Divide – a new trail for us but one we’re definitely adding to our repeat list.

Mystic Lake in the morning Hidden Lake

My favorite hike of the year was my solo backpacking trip on part of the Wonderland Trail in September – it was a great confidence-builder, and I had time for lots of soul-searching about what I hope to achieve and experience in my life. Later that month, Dani and Tom took us on one of their repeat favorites, Hidden Lake Lookout.

Oh Flytepacker, how I've missed you Glowing basin

In spite of (because of?) all my soul-searching, Josie and Karen had to come dig me out of my little depression hole with the promise of beer and rafting at Snow Lake. Still not feeling quite human, I decided not to join them on the Grand Enchantments Larch Expedition, but I got my own golden tree fix (along with the rest of the Washington hiking population) at Ingalls Lake in October.

I like it here Ski with a view

In November JK and I took our Norwegian guests to Panorama Point to show off our magic volcano before finishing our hiking year off quite nicely in December with a Christmas cross-country ski trip to Chinook Pass.

Out of state favorites:

"Back up a little bit, honey!" Panda!

Aah, our trip with friends to Hawai’i in February could not have come at a better time. We left Seattle in a snowstorm and spent 12 glorious days on Maui, snorkeling with turtles and drinking mai tais. We had time for some hiking as well, most notably the Sliding Sands Trail on Haleakala and the mystical bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail. How did I never blog about this??

Snow moving in... Anacapa Island

In May we flew back to Norway to attend my best friend’s wedding. We added some adventure to the trip by traveling up north to Lofoten to hike and camp. The weather was absolute shite and I was pretty miserable with a sinus infection, but I still have fond memories of sleeping in a tent on Bunes Beach in the howling rain.

Our September trip to Santa Barbara brought more sunshine, and even though it can barely be called a hike, I loved visiting Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park. I notice I haven’t blogged about these trips either, because I suck.

Zion zquishie Sunset somewhere in outer space

After a couple of years away from red rock canyon country, in October Josie and I returned to the southwest for Karen’s epic surprise birthday trip. It’s hard to pick my favorites from this vacation, but I’ll go for the freezing hike through the Zion Narrows and the otherworldly sightseeing in White Pocket. Have I blogged about either of these? No, of course not. I’ll post 17 trip reports of rainy runs in the Issaquah Alps, but nary a word about the most beautiful places I have ever seen. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

JK’s non-Ingunn favorites:

I know, that’s preposterous, right? While I would like to think that any trip without me would contain only hardship and misery for JK, he claims to have enjoyed his disgustingly sunny ski tour in the Baker backcountry and his solo ascent of Reinebringen in Lofoten. Sure, whatever you say, JK.

Seriously with the views Norwegian TueNAB

There you have it, another year of adventures big and small, old and new. Time to delve into 2012!

Hiking, Hiking with baby


A while ago, I came across a video clip about baby language and immediately forwarded it to Carlos and Deb. The theory is that “across cultures and linguistic groups there are five sounds, each with a meaning, that are used by infants before the language acquisition period.”* As it turns out, Nathan is fluent!

Staring at Wellie

Carlos invited me to join him and the little talker for a hike where I could see (well, hear) it for myself. It really is incredible, hearing that seemingly helpless little human tell us exactly what he needs. “Neh” (feed me) and “eh” (burp me) in particular are unmistakable.

Look at those little hiking pants! Middle Falls Nathan is getting huge!

As for the hike, I had never been to Wallace Falls before and I was surprised by how lush and pretty the forest was, but this is one of those hikes I’ll remember for the company and the conversation (including all the nehs and ehs), not for the views. Thanks for a most excellent afternoon, Brazilian menfolk!

Wallace Falls | 5.5 miles | 1200 feet elevation gain –

Index & Persis & Powerlines

*Wikipedia article on Dunstan Baby Language