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Hiking

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Hiking, Running

Cable Line Revisited

I should probably write more about this, but I’ve lost quite a bit of weight in a relatively short amount of time (30 lbs since New Year’s), and the best side effect of losing that weight is how much easier it is to run without it. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that it’s easier to run when you weigh less, but I didn’t realize just how much easier it actually is. And how much more fun! It’s like a whole new world.

Misty Cable Line

So on Sunday I decided to test just how much faster I am now by timing myself hiking up (you can’t run up this thing unless you’re insane) the Cable Line on Tiger Mountain. This trail is just a muddy track that goes straight up the mountain, climbing 2100 feet in 1.5ish miles. The first time I hiked it, it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes. In 2013, when I was in what I thought was the shape of my life, it took me an hour and four minutes. On Sunday? 46 minutes. This is what my face looked like.

Incredulous Cable Line PR face

The best part was that I had tons of energy to spare when I reached the top, whereas earlier I would have to sit down, curl into a ball, and recover for a while. This time, I ate a date, admired the non-existent views, then ran down the mountain (taking the West Tiger 3 trail instead of the Cable Line, because I’m generally a fan of having functional knees) to brag to JK about my time and then hike a somewhat less strenuous trail with this adorable little hobbit.

Wee hobbit

Man, I cringe when I think of all the years I spent obsessing about how to shave ounces off my pack weight when I could have just dropped a few pounds of belly blubber instead.

Tiger Mountain posse

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Hikes of the Year, Hiking

Favorite Hikes | 2015

Eeek, January is almost over! Not only does this mean that Orcas Island 25k, for which I am hopelessly undertrained, is coming up veryveryvery soon, but it means I need to write my annual favorite hikes of the year post.

She officially loves Poo Poo! So this is...January??

2015 started out fabulously, with a certain someone coming out of her fussy newborn months. That meant we felt brave enough to tackle more “real” hikes, starting with good old Poo Poo Point. It felt like a return to the world for me – the newborn period is intense, a rollercoaster of unbelievable highs and overwhelming lows, but now things were settling down, and we started going on our normal family outings – hikes! Veggie Grill! – but with a happy little lass in tow.

2015 was also a bizarre year for snow. Well, lack of snow. One really shouldn’t be able to hike to Mason Lake on a dry trail in January, but that’s what we did. A little taste of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the middle of winter.

Nora don't care 'bout no crowds Nora & mamma

In February, the weather was freakishly warm and we went to Rattlesnake Ledge to soak up some sun. We were not alone. This was a common theme for most of our hikes in 2015 – hiking really seems to have exploded over the last couple of years – but it’s hard to complain about the fact that tons of people are out exercising in nature and spending time with friends and family. I want more people to realize what an amazing hobby/pastime/lifestyle/therapy/workout this is, so I can’t be annoyed when people come out and do just that. (And anyway, Rattlesnake on a sunny Saturday? We were asking for it.)

On another warm day, we drove down (well, up I guess?) to Mount Rainier for our annual Paradise snowshoe. It was amaaaazing. Perfect conditions. No jackets required. Sun sun sun. Cutest snow baby ever. She even wore sunglasses!

Nora approves Cougar Mountain loop

We went for several hikes on Cougar Mountain in the spring. It’s such a great place to go for mellow hikes in the winter, but even better in the spring when everything turns chartreuse and full of life.

Happy hiker Melakwa Lake

Due to the aforementioned lack of snow, we were able to go on our annual Teanaway camping trip in May instead of June. So I spent Mother’s Day on Iron Peak, which was all sorts of perfect.

We also went on an early season hike of Melakwa Lake, which started summer for us. At this point, Nora was able to stay awake for longer on our hikes, so we could hang out at the lake and actually relax.

Mama n' Norbert Holy crap we'll be back

In June, we visited Fremont Lookout so Nora could see her first marmots. Another early season wonder.

We also traveled all the way to Norway and Italy, where we finally had a chance to visit the Dolomites and go on a little hike. I just realized I never blogged about that hike, but just trust me, it was fantastic. Even the drive was full of jaw-dropping views.

Lake Valhalla Tolmie Peak Lookout

We returned to Washington in time for Hike-a-Thon, and celebrated by swimming in Lake Valhalla. Then we went on what was my number one favorite hike of the year, Tolmie Peak. Everything worked out perfectly that day, and I have nothing but good memories. Swimming? Huckleberries? Happy baby? Napping baby? What’s not to love??

Noble Knob Snow Lake

I debated whether or not I should include Noble Knob on this list. At the time, there were a lot of frustrations and annoyances, but my highly revisionist memory tends to focus on the positives…so now I’m looking back at it fondly, thinking of the juice huckleberries we picked and ate on the way home, how much fun Nora had playing with the rocks on the summit, nursing while sitting in my happy place, staring at Mount Rainier. Aaw.

Our hike to Snow Lake let Nora further explore her love of rocks and sand and generally getting good and dirty.

Birthday hike Lake Margaret

In September, our little lady turned one! We celebrated on trail, of course, eating cake on Tiger Mountain.

We also started mushroom hunting again, including this failed hunt turned excellent hike to Margaret Lake. It was one of those miserable, soggy, grey days that just made the fall colors pop like crazy.

Shroooom! Christmas card pic

Most of our autumn trail time was spent looking for mushrooms on Tiger Mountain, either with Nora or on our own while the grandparents were visiting and could babysit. Hiking without Nora felt all sorts of weird and wrong at first, but it was admittedly really nice and freeing to be able to run again – even with a bag full of chanterelles weighing me down.

Lodge Lake Gold Creek Pond

Luckily we’re getting more snow this season than last year’s, so to get in the Christmas spirit, we visited Lodge Lake at the end of November. It was Nora’s first time actually interacting with snow, and she loved it! She really is Norwegian!

The grandparents visited again in December, and this time they joined us on trail for their very first snowshoe outing. We visited Gold Creek Pond which was an absolute winter wonderland…and Nora still adores the snow.

2015 went by so fast. Nora went from sleeping through most of our hikes to hardly ever falling asleep in the pack anymore (c’mon mamma, there’s snow and moss and chipmunks to look at! I can’t sleep through that!). We’re excited to see what 2016 will bring – I suspect we’ll be doing a lot of short hikes on Tiger and Cougar, inspecting pinecones and jumping in puddles…and probably having to bribe Nora to keep moving.

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Hiking, Hiking with baby, Top Trips

A White Christmas

We haven’t experienced a white Christmas since 2008, when we had to ski through Redmond to get to the grocery store (okay so maybe we didn’t have to, but we did), but thanks to a recent huge dump of snow in the mountains, we could at least drive up to Snoqualmie Pass and create our own snowy magic.

Gold Creek Pond

My parents are visiting from Norway again – there’s been a mysterious uptick in the frequency of their visits ever since Nora was born – and they agreed to go snowshoeing with us. They couldn’t get over the size of our trees. Everything is bigger in America!

Gold Creek Pond

We made our way to the pond where everything was a wonderland. This hike is all flat and won’t make you break a sweat (unless you’re breaking the trail), but that’s okay – I was all smiles even without endorphins. It’s so, so pretty for something right off the freeway.

Rampart Ridge

From the pond, Rampart Ridge rises in the east, all massive and imposing and deserving of its name. It’s beautiful from below as well as from the top.

Gold Creek Pond

We wandered around the pond for a bit before going back to the picnic area where we let Nora out of the carrier so she could play in the snow.

Gold Creek Pond

She calls snow “sssss”, which is adorable, and she really does seem to love it. I think we need to get the ski attachment kit for our Chariot stroller so we can bring Nora cross-country skiing and bring oranges and a thermos of soup and sit there in the sun and just generally bask in our desperate Norwegianness.

Gold Creek Pond Gold Creek Pond

As the sun dipped behind the mountains, we let Nora the Red-Nosed Baby guide our way back down to our warm house in town, brimming with Christmas spirit.

I think she likes snow

For me, Christmas is about finding and creating light during the dark times…and if a white Christmas won’t come down here to us, we go in search of it ourselves.

Gold Creek Pond

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Gold Creek Pond

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Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Hiking, Hiking with baby

Trips I missed

I’ve been so caught up in the scrapbooking world that I’ve neglected to talk about hiking – whaa? Almost all of our hikes this fall were chanterelle hunts, and there’s not much more to say about those beyond “we went to an undisclosed location and found mushrooms and it was steep and it was fun and finding chanterelles is a modern gold hunt and once you get going it’s really hard to stop because dopamine and everyone should do it but just don’t come to our undisclosed location“. But as for normal hikes, here we go:

SNOW LAKE

Aah, the most overrun place in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. But you know what, it’s overrun for a reason – it’s a damn nice place that happens to be damn close to Seattle. So everyone goes there, and we go there.

The problem with not blogging about trips right away is that I tend to forget things very fast. This is why I love blogging. And scrapbooking! I remember three things from this hike:

Snow Lake

1) Because of the wildfires, it was so hazy we could hardly see across the valley, and we ended up feeling guilty for bringing Nora and her pure, unspoiled, tiny little lungs out there.

Snow Lake

2) We had a really good lunch break and Nora got nice and dirty rolling around in the dust.

Snow Lake

3) She finally took a much-needed nap as we were hiking out, but after 20 minutes or so, a woman who was passing us yelled, actually yelled “Oh my god look, that baby is sleeping in a backpack!!”, thereby waking her up. I don’t know why people do this, but it has happened so many times.

MARGARET LAKE

This was supposed to be a mushroom hunt, but we couldn’t find anything good (much to the delight of the anti-fungal friend we were hiking with that day).

Lake Margaret

Lake Margaret

Instead we dropped down to Margaret Lake and had lunch in the pouring rain. It was one of those days where everything was so wet and grey that the fall colors stood out like magic.

Lake Margaret Lake Margaret
Lake Margaret Lake Margaret

LODGE LAKE

As I mentioned in the previous post, we kicked off JK’s Thanksgiving break with a hike to Lodge Lake.

Lodge Lake

Last time we went to Lodge Lake, I was all pregnant and waddly. And it was summer, and really hot. And Basil was there! Aaaw.

Lodge Lake

This time our main objective was to get a Christmas card photo of the three of us together, but Nora was way too into the snow to cooperate (see the pic below of Nora’s limbs flailing every which way). We didn’t mind, because seeing her enjoying herself that much outdoors makes us so happy.

Christmas card fail

Lodge Lake Lodge Lake

We gave up on the photo and hiked through the winter wonderland forest, singing Christmas carols and not getting over how gorgeous it was.

Lodge Lake Lodge Lake
Lodge Lake Lodge Lake

I hope we can get out on another trail or two before the year is over, but if this ends up being our last hike of 2015, it was a mighty good one.

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Hiking, Hiking with baby, Issaquah Alps, Running, Top Trips

It never fails

I haven’t really been taking care of myself lately, and I could feel it in my head, my heart, my soul, my back, my everything. On Saturday I even got a migraine – I really hoped they were a thing of the past, but since I’ve gotten one at the same time of the month these past three months, it seems they’re just a new post-pregnancy hormonal thing. Oh joy! But at least they only last one day instead of three.

Tiger Mountain

By Sunday, I knew I needed to get out into the woods. It had been pissing down rain for days, but I didn’t care – getting out there was a must. We bundled Nora up in 537 layers and hit the trails on Tiger Mountain, expecting a bone-chilling deluge.

Tiger Mountain

Instead, we found sunshine. We found the scent of freshly washed (pressure-washed!) greenery. We found giant chanterelles popping up right next to the trail (see it?).

Lazy mushroaming Tiger Mountain

I ran ahead while Nora and JK dawdled and looked for more mushrooms, and in less than a mile, I felt like myself again. Smiling, laughing, positive, able to see beauty in a world that seems to have gone off the rails.

The trail, man. It’s magic.

Tiger Mountain