Hiking, Running, Top Trips

Heavy legs, soaring heart

Woodland Brutus

Two days after I pushed myself on the Rattlesnake Traverse, my legs felt like lead. “No biggie,” I thought. “A little run will loosen them right up.” Hahaha, no.


Fortunately for me, the trail up and along West Cady Ridge is graded for horses, which also means it’s graded for sore Ingunns – never too steep, and lots of beautimous views to keep those legs moving.

Proud beast

Basil is banned from hiking as long as the Cascade mosquito population is still thriving, so Wellie brought along his friend Brutus, ultrarunner extraordinaire, to function as our running coach.


All thoughts of heavy legs disappeared as we got closer to Benchmark Mountain. I don’t know if it’s just that endorphin high again or what, but I just fell in love with this trail.


Hiking in the Cascades often involves climbing through the woods for thousands of feet before finally getting a view right at the top of a mountain, but the majority of this trail was along a beautiful ridge with views in every direction and flowers at our feet. I was in heaven.

Summit ridge

The only thing missing was Basil. And some marmots. And maybe an ice-cold beverage waiting for me on the summit (but that’s ok, we had a cooler full of watermelon in the car for the drive home).

Ingunn & Brutus

My legs started feeling achy and clumsy again on the way down, but you know what? Those legs were heavy because they’re growing stronger. I’m growing stronger, slowly but surely, inside and out.

It was totally worth spending the next two days waddling around like an inebriated duck.

A strong contender

Best dayhike of the year…so far. It ain’t over yet.

Mukmuk approves

– Benchmark Mountain | 15 miles | 4500 feet elevation gain –

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  • Reply ARC August 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Brutus = ridgeback? So cute!!

  • Reply Jan August 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Wow…love the flowers with the mountain….beautiful.

  • Reply Allison August 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Those glacier lilies, oh those glacier lilies!

  • Reply Ingunn August 13, 2013 at 9:05 am

    ARC, his mama thinks he’s mostly a ridgeback (she found him abandoned in a ditch as a puppy). Whatever he is, he’s 100% awesome!

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