Our favorite hike of the year (I had better get this post up now since the world is going to end on Friday) was just a mellow afternoon stroll to the best swimming lake in Washington, Lake Valhalla.
While the water was too cold to tempt even us vikings to take a dip this time, we were treated to a gorgeous display of fall color to enjoy as we lazed on the sandy beach with Basil and Wellie.
We even remembered to take a family portrait, our first since we grew one nutria stronger this summer.
When we started losing light at the lake (we had slept in again, but this time it turned out to be a good thing), we moved up to Mount McCausland instead. The haze and the low afternoon light made it look like the hill was on fire.
My quads were on fire too, but I got to rest them on the summit while perusing the content of the comically oversized summit register (and gazing adoringly at Glacier Peak).
The way back down to the PCT was absolutely gorgeous. It was getting late, but we just couldn’t tear ourselves away from the views. This was one of those moments I’ll carry with me until the world ends (so, you know, until Friday).
Thank you, Cascades, for being utterly awesome. Thank you, life, for giving us grand experiences when we least expect them.
– Lake Valhalla and Mt. McCausland | 7.5 miles | 2100 feet elevation gain –
…actually, HaTers gonna run this time.
Missing 4.5 miles to reach 100 for the Hike-a-Thon, I was hoping for an evening hike on Tiger Mountain. Unfortunately, Wellie had other plans – we had to take him to the vet to have surgery on a growth on his leg, which left us with only enough time for a quick* run in the Redmond Watershed.
(This was what got me into running again, actually – a month full of hiking had left me with strong legs, conditioned feet, and a somewhat lighter self, so running felt like skipping along on happy, fluffy clouds and endorphins. How is that whole running thing going now, you ask? Not well, I tell ya, not well at all. More on that later, for now let’s finish my Hike-a-Thon recaps since it ended almost four months ago.)
4.7 happy, fluffy miles later, I had reached my 100(.2!) miles – woohoo! More importantly, I had raised a bunch of buckaroos for Washington Trails Association, thanks to my wonderful sponsors. Thank you again to everyone that donated and helped me surpass my goal, all while enjoying one of my best months ever. I hope to come back for more next year!
– Redmond Watershed Long Loop | 4.7 miles | 340 feet elevation gain –
*you all know my pace, so take this description with a grain of salt.
Our participation in TNAB this year was pathetic. We made it to one. (We had a chance to redeem ourselves at the TNAB Turkey Burner after Thanksgiving, but we elected to sleep in and eat leftover pie in bed instead.)
But aah, the one we did join, Mount Margaret, is one we seem to make it to every year – and it happened during Hike-a-Thon, which seemed appropriate.
At this point I had realized that I would be able to make it to 100 miles for the month, so JK, Dani and I ran down to Margaret Lake for extra mileage.
Remember how Josie had made her ACL kneehab trail comeback just a couple of days before? Well, since she’s mental, she chose TNAB as her second hike. That trail is fine until you get to the end, where there, well, is no trail. And it’s steep. And you go down in the dark. Mental, in the very best way.
(group photo stolen from Scott Lykken)
Otherwise it was business as usual for TNAB. Drinking…
…a beautiful sunset…
…and a vow that next year, next year we will make it to more of these.
– Margaret Lake & Mt. Margaret | 7.1 miles | 2800 feet elevation gain –
I have a hard time picking a favorite photo since I seem to get emotionally attached to a lot of our hiking pics – they just bring back such good memories – but this family photo from Skyline Divide last year is definitely high on the list.
It’s interesting to read that blog post now and realize that this year, it’s been the opposite. We love our new house and neighborhood trails so much that we only made it out on two short overnighters this year! Maybe someday we’ll strike a balance between lazy weekends at home and adventurous weekends in the mountains (and I’ll have to find something else to whine about).
Speaking of things that were lacking this year, I didn’t go on any grand adventures with Karen, and it was totally my fault. Boo!
I finally got to spend time with her this weekend, and decided to make a tribute page to my favorite Canadian (she beats both Mukmuk and Leonard Cohen – not bad, eh?) and one of my favorite people, period.
(Sierra Nevada | Rockies | Tank Lakes (scrapbooked here) | Southwest)
Note to self for 2013: say yes to Karen. You will not regret it.