Hiking postsMonday September 22, 2014
Photo of the Day: Mount Townsend, Sunday
This weekend we had friends in from New York, visiting (and participating in) the Port Townsend Film Festival, and what's a visit to the Pac Northwest without a grueling hike? That's what we did yesterday. This is near the summit, along the Little Quilcene trail.
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I really should've had them a bit more in the lower left, shouldn't I? Oh well. It's the immensity of it all that matters.
Annette Lake, August 2014
P and I went on a hike with our friends Ben and Diana yesterday. This was our destination and lunch spot.
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This is the third time I've hiked Annette Lake. It's not a bad hike, almost always under a canopy of trees so cooler than most, but hardly something to write a blog about. It's medium length (3 miles one way), without much elevation gain (1,000 feet or so), and fairly accessible: less than a mile from Exit 47 off of I-90. It's also not very crowded. The ending is pretty but hardly Snow Lake.
I think about it, though, because the first time I hiked it, in Sept. 2011, I was done almost before noon. It felt like child's play to me: too easy. I felt super strong. A month later I came down with what was diagnosed, a month later, as subacute thyroiditis. I've been in the wake of that ever since. Life gives and life takes, and this is one of the things it took. It'll take more.
Photo of the Day: Mount Dickerman Summit
It was a beautiful day for a hike in Seattle, and with P down with a broken toe I decided to summit Mount Dickerman, which I haven't done in about 10 years. It's about 8.5 miles roundtrip, 3900 feet elevation gain. Here's a shot of the summit.
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I actually think of Dickerman as “the Derek Jeter hike,” since the first time I went, 10 years ago, my friend Jim, who grew up a Yankees fan, kept going on and on about how great Jeter was and—get this—I was too tired to argue back. Imagine. This time, I also ran out of gas a bit near the summit. But not that bad.
The wildflowers were out, too.
Mt. Rainier, Sunday
We took this on the Noble Knob trail on Sunday. Click on the pic for a bigger version:
Looks unreal, doesn't it? Like a painting? P always thinks this. It's like Rainier is just too stunning to be real.
This was the second time we'd hiked the Noble Knob trail. The first time was more than 10 years ago, and I had some vague sense of dislike about it. Was it too hot? Not shady enough? Too flat and thus not challenging enough? Did I dislike the fact that you could see Rainier all along the trail, rather than at the end, so it felt like getting dessert before dinner and I'm too Puritan for that shit?
It was all of that, but it was mostly the dirt road you have to take to the trail head: bumpy, dusty, rocky for six long miles. We bottomed out three times on the way up, no times on the way down, but ... that stretch isn't fun. On the way down I timed it and it took us 40 minutes. Not exactly speedy. Ultimately the trail isn't quite worth the road in.
But Rainier? It's real and it's spectacular.
Above the Clouds on Granite Mountain
“Writing is of use to the psyche only if the writer discovers something he did not know he knew in the act itself of writing.”
-- Norman Mailer, “The Presidential Papers of Norman Mailer,” pg. 219
I read that quote early this morning while I was contemplating a hike up Granite Mountain. I'd planned on the hike but woke up to see a different weather report. Rain? Thunderstorms? Possibly? I decided to drive out to the trailhead, see what it was like. At worst, I'd just turn around and come back.
Norman was big on the journey without a known destination. He was anti-repetition. I kept thinking about that in the early stages of the hike. I was on a hike whose ending was known to me—I'd done it two or three times over the years—but today I didn't know what I would find. Would the weather turn bad? Would I have to turn back?
About a third of the way up, I came upon a clearing with blue skies peeking through and inwardly rejoiced. A second later, the switchback switched back, and when I came out on the woods on the other side we were socked in again.
Then I noticed the wildflowers. They looked beautiful with the sun filtering through the condensed air.
The wildflowers were even more out when I left the woods completely and scaled up the south side of the mountain.
Off and on, we were still socked in. I worried there would be no view. But near the top, before the final ascent to the lookout tower, I got above the clouds and could see the Cascades, clearer than normal on a late summer day.
And by the time I got the top, well, no complaints.
Here's to not knowing what the end will look like.