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A link to the flickr set of photos of our trip to the Enchantments.

New and Improved! 25 Best of the Enchantments 2014. The best, or whatever photos from the trip. A bit less overwhelming!

And this link should get you a trip report

I'm linking in this photo, and I have to find a way to add some more tags to it. Because when I went looking for photos of the Enchantments, every single person I saw was thin. There were young people and older people, but they were all thin. I guess I want people who look like me to see the photo and realise that they aren't alone. Because I was freaking out and felt absolutely ridiculous, I mean, the though that a fat person could haul their fat ass up to the Enchantments? Ridiculous.


Also, Perry and I were standing on a sloped slab of granite! He is NOT NOT NOT that much taller than me!

This trip was my birthday present to myself, and I'm so very thrilled about how things worked out. It was spectacular.
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A bit of a recap and some reflections on the ride....

Man, 10000 cyclists. That's a lot, and they ranged the gamut from safe and good riders to OMG, who the hell let you on a bike. It's always interesting to see the asshole cyclists because when you do, you start to feel sympathy with motorists who complain about cyclists. :P

As for the motorists. There was a apparently one incident with the one day riders (nobody was hurt), and as I wrote we passed two accidents that may have had vehicle involvement, but aside from that and two or three assholes? Most of the motorists that passed the ride were polite, careful, and drove to maximize rider safety. That was quite nice.

For anyone who wants to see photos: if you know our last names, MarathonFoto had them up. :P

Since we didn't have sag support (my MIL or dh's aunt) following us this year, we took the bus back from Portland. OMG. The guy behind me ate at least 4 bananas. I about died. I LOATHE bananas and I'm very sensitive to their smell, it was so gross. I mentioned this one a forum I'm on and someone -bless her heart!- suggested using muscle balm or some such on my upper lip. I knew this from crime novels, where everyone carries Vicks VapoRub for icky crime scenes, but it had not occurred to me. I borrowed some of AC's chapstick and aaaaaah, the minty smell pretty much drowned out the disgusting banana!

AC, for the second year in a row, won STP Bingo overall. She had the lowest number (1), second lowest number (2), the lowest support rider number (S1). I won on pallindromes (I saw 2002 and 7007), we all independently saw highest number, I saw rider 5205, so the closest to any of our numbers, and dh saw rider 2014! Nobody got their birthday years. Heh.

So there are various groups who sponsor small teams who've fundraised (oh man, their catering is so much better than official stuff!), and just small teams. I passed a support group for "Team Nietzsche", with the giant slogan "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Thank you for the earworm, Team Nietzsche and my strength class teacher!

I still cannot beleive how well the weather turned out on day 2. From expected record highs to a high of maybe 72F!

I so enjoy my teens! They're nice kids.

I love Dave's Killer Bread. We eat it loads at home. But, um, pbjs on it? NSM. Too dry. A few places had those Costco roll ups, thank goodness. The ride is pretty much Catered by Costco!

It's Wednesday, and I'm feeling pretty recovered by now, mostly. I was able to go to spin class yesterday without too much trouble, I wasn't sore much at all. Where I still feel off: I'm more thirsty, and my sleep cycle still feels off.

OK, guys, this might be TMI for you. I'll white font! I have one of those proverbial 28 day cycles. I usually start bleeding Saturday early afternoon, every freaking four weeks. Which I was expecting to do Saturday. Which did not make me happy. BUT. This was a rare occurrance of a 29 day cycle, and I didn't start until Sunday evening AFTER the ride. I was SO freaking happy about that!

Port-a-potties in July. OMG, right? No, not really. They were mostly clean... the only real problem is that it was so hot, and they had hand sanitizer in them, I'm still shocked nobody got drunk from inhaling the alcoholic fumes! :)

Perry wanted to go to racing Monday evening. It was hot out and dh and I nixed that idea. Not because we didn't think he could do it physically, but because he was still mentally tired, and no, I'm not sending a mentally tired kid to race at a velodrome on a bike with no brakes!

Monday afternoon, we cleaned our bikes. They were covered in grit! Removed wheels, cleaned pretty much everywhere except we were too lazy to remove the chain. The gear train is pretty clean aside from that, everything was at least wiped down.

Next year Perry will be in a full size bike. We will never catch up with him. Oh wait. I'm not doing this next year. Never mind!

And of course, as per tradition, both kids "turtled" once, ie fell with their feet still in their pedals. They both managed to get up by themselves. Ah, how fondly I remember the time when I'd pick up Perry, bike and all, still clipped in and right him. Yeah, NOT!

Ah well. It was fun. It was a good time with family, we'll probably do it again.

Next up: hiking trip to the Enchantments!
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Funny blog post from the Washington Trails Association, How To Get Your Disney Princess-Obsessed Kid Out Hiking. Some good suggestions, actually.

Go ahead and hike in a tiara and a tutu, and here are some suggestions on where to hike is the gist of it: Sleeping Beauty Peak to channel Aurora, some beach hikes for Ariel.

And a desert hike. For Princess Leia. STAR WARS, thinks I. The author's next sentence made me stomach chill to ice, and I need brain bleach to remove it. Because she said:

Don't forget that Princess Leia is now a Disney princess, too.

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There is going to have to be a longer update later, but we're home.

What a fabulous vacation! Yosemite is incredible. We mostly stayed in the uplands, and the Sierra high country is as gorgeous as I was told it would be.

On the iffy side, our router died last Sunday. Grrr... Remember, we run our own email server, so a dead router means dropped emails (sorry, C, I assume at least one of my subbed addresses is bouncing...) We didn't find out I checked my email while we were in Reno yesterday and noticed this. Of course we had a lot of important email outstanding.

The Rim Fire, aside from spawning an obsession with AC and major fear in Linnea didn't affect us much beyond visually stunning sunsets and cloud formations while we were in the park. It started hours after we drove through the area, I guess, last Saturday. We decided to drive back via the East route because the other way was close... and ended up driving for miles in a sepia toned cloud. It was... quite eerie. I had hoped to be able to take a short side trip to see Lake Tahoe, but considering the colour of the sky, we didn't bother. All that personal whining aside, the Rim Fire is going to be bad.

We listened to two non-fic books while driving. Will review later, one at least is awesome for the 12 + set.

AC is a very competent and helpful assistant camp master (I was demoted to lead minion a while back), and she was so very good about tend set up and tear down, getting water started for breakfast that I almost forgive her the griping about being stuck with us on a family vacation.

On our second morning camping, our first morning at our second campsite (a dry campground), we heard CRACK! CRUNCH! SMASH! THUD! and started in utter amazement at the hillside just above us as a gigantic tree broke off, tipped over, smashed against a boulder, and landed on the ground. It was... impressive. As soon as the tipping part started it was pretty clear that we were not in the fall line, though the tent was, so it wasn't even too panic inspiring. The majority of the tree landed about 70 ft or so from us. Linnea, btw, ran to hide behind Perry, who complained later of being the "human meat shield". I'm 99 % sure the reason she hid behind sitting Perry rather than standing me or AC, or sitting dh? She could hide behind him and still stare at what was happening!

Linnea, the second we were in the park, reverted to her anorexic like camping behaviour, refusing to eat more than a few bites each day, leaving me the choice of letting her eat less than 400 calories a day or pester/browbeat her into eating more. Considering the hiking we were doing, I pestered. It is really quite stressful.

In good news? I'm pretty sure my eyes are fine, despite some bad air conditions (from campfires mainly). I look like a dork with my floppy sunhat, but between that, sunglasses, and moisturizing eye drops, my eyes barely got irritated, and I"m pretty sure I don't have an infection. So yay!

Some glorious hikes. OMG. That high country is beautiful.

And here is the ABSOLUTE PISSER WORSE THING GRRRR! ARGH! THINGS ever: dh's Windoze phone? Takes better photos than my digital SLR. It's an absolutely phenomenal camera. Can I say GRRR! again? All my fiddling with exposure and aperture and I even brought my polarising lens, and his damn cell phone camera takes a better photo.

OK, I need to get to bed. My own bed, ah!
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More to remind me that I need to get AC's photos from her.... Dh never takes enough photos, but thinks he has. AC took over 150, hopefully we have a few good ones.

A gorgeous bummer of a hike. 11 miles or so, once side trips and walking to the trailhead from the parking we found were added in. Goal: a view of Mt Rainier over alpine meadows. Result: alpine meadows, the mountain made itself scarce. Things cleared up a bit as we were leaving, but not enough, no where near enough.

Other hikes, we might have hung out a bit longer and waited for the skies to clear a bit, which they were slowly doing but alas, as beautiful as this hike is, the number of mosquitoes and biting flies made standing or sitting still akin to torture. So no. We did not linger.

BTW, AC said, as we walked through a meadow of flowers: "It reminds me of Howl's Moving Castle!" (*) and Perry said "Dare I say it? The Shire!" (*) The movie. Which is different from the book, but excellent.

I'll do more of a write up hopefully when I have time and when AC's photos get uploaded...

Anyhow, a few photos to give an idea...

Indian paint brush and lupine

Alpine meadow, avalanche lilies, and a little hiker called Linnea!


Spray Falls. I realise there is no scale on that initial drop there, and sources online say anything from 80 to 350 ft. Since it's at the level of Spray Park, and the photo was taken before the last climb, 600+ feet in elevation, I'll estimate that it is closer to the higher end. It was truly spectacular.

Spray Falls, Mt Rainier National Park

I will forever be grateful to be able-bodied enough to hike to alpine meadows.
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I'm gonna put this whole thing under a cut because there will be photos!

A hike to Bridal Veil Falls )
nwhiker: (Default)
Will probably be cross-posted to the AC's ACL.

1. She's doing pretty damn good. No pain in the actual knee, but some in the rest of her body from having to compensate.

2. She persuaded the PT to allow her to go on a backpacking trip. Oh, she won't be carrying her gear, and it isn't a long hike in, but still. She'll be leading the trip, a middle school climbing trip, and I do SO hope they're well aware of her limitations. But the PT ok'ed it, and I'll bow to that, since the PT who did? Is pretty hard-assed about stuff like that. The PT's conditions were 1/2 mile walk in boots at the local wildland park, and while it wasn't at that park, AC pretty much blew that out of the water yesterday at Nisqually with a 3 mile walk.

3. Insomnia. The child is having a hard time sleeping. I don't think she's ever been this not-tired, to be honest. She's so used to regular, sustained activity, and now she's dealing with waking up in the middle of the night, and being unable to get back to sleep. I may have to take away the iTouch, even though it is her alarm: once she wakes up, she starts to play games, and that doesn't help her get back to sleep.

4. Normal people and crutches: normal people use crutches to help them get around while one limb is out of commission. My daughter? Was caught using the crutches to support her weight, while she was starting to get into a pike... Hard to describe, but she was planning on her body being at a 90deg angle, her legs up in the air, while supporting all her weight on the crutches/her arms. When asked WTF she was doing, she responded that she was "maintaining" her press-to-handstand fitness. Yeah, no.

5. Normal people also don't attempt to jog in place with no brace on, months before the physical therapy schedule allows that. At this point, she is, iirc, cleared to jog in the water, not a dry land. She said it didn't hurt. I was not impressed.

So there. She's recovering, and it's going to get harder and harder to hold her back. We've had some ups and downs, with some small bouts of depression, but she feels... confident right now, and I hope things continue to progress.

I love that kid so much, and I'm SO proud of her!
nwhiker: (Default)
I'd been meaning to write something like that, with the exact same title.


The Fat Ass Guide to Hiking: Yellowstone National Park (Fat Ass Guides)
nwhiker: (Default)
We didn't get started until late because we had to wait for the library to open.

Because Linnea needed a non-fic book to write a report one. It took a bit, but we found a good one on cats.

We headed south. The goal was the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge but we decided to drive portions of the STP route to give Perry an idea of what lies ahead.

He's nervous. I'm freaking terrified... and I've done it before.

Anyhow, we made our way slowly down to the refuge. AC walked the first 1.5 mile or so, and stopped and the rest of us continued out on the boardwalk to the end.

It was a pretty miserable sighting day. We didn't see a single bird that we don't see on a regular basis in our own backyard! I did hear something I didn't recognise, but sightings weren't very good. I'd hoped that going late in the afternoon would be better than mid-day, but nah!

That's ok, it was fun anyhow.

There were signs warning people about the grey Eastern squirrels that are apparently pretty aggressive. Well, Linnea took this to mean "killer squirrels" and she had a time squealing about them, and running away in terror. Even Perry appeared a bit on the iffy side when we met up with the small rodent. Linnea, of course hammed it up when we got back to the car, safe and sound: our mission was accomplished, and we'd done it without being killed by the squirrels etc. She was cute.

Home to butter chicken in the crockpot. AC did the spices mix and didn't know that I usually don't add quite 2 teaspsoons of cayenne so OMG, kick! And how they're all in bed, and I'm deciding that yes, I am too lazy to upload the photos tonight, I'll just have to do that... one of these days soon!
nwhiker: (Default)
This was yesterday's rant about AC and her hiking trip.

Well, she got the PT to agree that she should be able to do it.

I'm to take her to the wildland park I hike in every day and make her hike a mile, in boots, with a hiking staff (got one), and if she can handle that mile, she's good to go.

I'm certain she'd do it on her hands and knees if she... oh wait. She can't. I'm certain she'd scoot it on her butt if she had to go get to go on that trip, so it looks like she is going.
nwhiker: (Default)
[Loads of bad language]

Teenagers who refuse to listen, think they can do more than they should, and are planning on going backpacking in a week.


And who get pissy -majorly pissy- and defensive when you question their plans.


Deep breath.

She's supposed to lead a Middle School trip, as part of her Outdoors Ed class. I get that. I understand that this one supposedly is only a 0.5 mile walk on gravel. But I don't know that. And hiking is specifically excluded from the current status plan. So I'm not too happy about this. I'm not too happy that the trip is half way across the state. And involves climbing. Yeah, she's only supposed to be spotting the Middle Schoolers who'll be climbing, but still. I worry that the promises that "someone" will carry her gear won't materialise, and that she'll end up hauling her gear down the trail.

And she's being quite uncooperative about everything.

My feeling is that we should pack our gear and go there too. We can stay away -mostly- but be there for the walking portions: not because she needs help, but because our presence will help her walk responsibly. I realise that isn't going to happen, to be honest, but the thought is tempting: hiking down on the Columbia Gorge sounds like a plan to me.

Dh wants to call the surgeon's office. AC is needless to say against that because she knows they'll nix it sight unseen.

One idea is to email the instructor and make sure he's aware of AC's limitations. When I told her that, for example, he needed to be very clear on the fact that she'd not be able to help evacuate someone who got hurt, she screamed at me that that is the whole point of being a trip leader. Yeah, I get it. However, I said, she can't carry a stretcher. To which she screamed again that yes, of course she could. Um. No.

Other idea is to meet with the instructor, dh, AC, and I. She insists on being there because she's positive we'll tell him "stupid things". This is the child who told her teachers that she was allowed out of the boot to play soccer when she broke her foot. I want the instructor to understand that the brace? Needs to stay freaking on no matter how much she wails.

Anyhow, stress and loud voices at my house tonight. Tears were shed too, but mostly by me.
nwhiker: (Default)
We were supposed to go snowshoeing over by Leavenworth. We got out a bit late, but it was still doable.

The weather was beautiful: cold and clear.

As we were driving Highway 2 eastbound, I remembered a lookout hike we'd been wanting to do but never got around to. And it was a perfect day for a lookout hike.

So we decided against the snowshoes and for the hiking boots. Less driving, always nice.

There was no real snow on the trail, but lots and lots of graupel. It wasn't too bad, and though I loathe walking on snow, this wasn't too too bad, actually.

The hike was short, about 2.5 miles (we thought it was 5, but it was 2.5 RT) with 850ft in elevation gain, so rather steep. It starts out right off the highway and pretty much heads straight up the mountain in forest. There are lots of "steps" rather than slope, either rocks or roots or planned logs, which made it easier to deal with the snow.

It was only the last 20ft which were icy and very difficult, but SO worth it because... oh wait. Must cut for photos! )
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Talapus Lake

Distance: 4 miles.

Elevation gain: about 1200 ft.

Wow. That could have easily turned into a catastrophe of a hike...

Cut for photos... )
nwhiker: (Default)
Rattlesnake Ledge
4 miles
1160 ft elevation gain

Rattlesnake Ledge was one of those emotionally important hikes for me.

For some reason, I had it pegged as a "Everyone can do that one, but I'll never be able to" hike. I'm not sure why, but there you have it.

The plan had been Little Si, but then the Discovery Pass issue reared its head, and dh suggested we do Rattlesnake Ledge. I wasn't sure I could, I said. It was long and too steep, and dh said he thought he could easily handle it, so I went and looked it up and...

Yeah. Short, with some elevation gain, and certainly in line with, if not easier than, many of the hikes we've done this summer.

We left AC at the Railway Museum to help bake cookies. While we were there, Linnea realised that AC was going to escape hiking... and the whining began.

It did not let up until we reached the damn ledge.

Seriously, that child hikes on whines. She wastes so much energy whining, it's ridiculous, and it drives the rest of us nuts, which is probably why she does it.

Anyhow, it wasn't ever a really steep hike, it was just constantly up, non stop, for pretty much the whole way up. The trail had been re-done entirely over the past few years, so it's in very good condition.

There were lots of people on this trail. Solitude? Not so much! And lots of dogs, most of them on leash, thank goodness.

Anyhow, up we went, to a beautiful view of Mt Si (and Little Si, which we will climb at some point), the valley, and the Cedar River watershed. It was a beautiful view, and a gentle one, with towns, and Nintendo, and I90, but the mountains and the forest were there.

It was also cool to see the watershed from that point. It isn't a place one can go hiking -duh, it's Seattle's -and our- drinking water!- and it always looks so undisturbed, with no evidence of logging, which is different from much of the rest of the I90 corridor.


Dh, Linnea, and Perry.

October 2011 310

Cedar River Watershed, with Chester Morse Lake in the background. That's our drinking water, local folk!
October 2011 312

The ledge. The drop, btw? I refused to get close enough to really evaluate it... but about 1000ft straight down. The lake at the bottom is called Rattlesnake Lake.

October 2011 307

A shallow part of Rattlesnake Lake, and Rattlesnake Ledge from below. Linnea had stopped whining as soon as we go to the ledge: she whines on the way up, then is a cheerful happy hiker on the way down. Anyhow, we decided to walk to the car via the side of the lake, rather than the trail that goes around and she was whining and complaining about how awful we were etc, and I turned her around, pointed up and said, she'd be up there, and that I didn't want to hear anything about "how hard" it was to walk 50 FLAT feet. She did not believe that that was where she'd been.

October 2011 314

Anyhow, it was a fun, short hike (about 2 hours), and we went to pick up AC who'd gotten 3 hours of volunteer work in, and then headed home. I'm very glad we did it, and it was, as I said above, important to me.
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There are many lakes called Blue Lake. I've been to two of them already in WA state, iirc, and this was the third, and... OMG. It is actually really blue!

Seriously, this was perhaps the hike with the best ease-to-reward ratio we've ever been on.

And camping was wonderful. Chilly, but so nice to be out.

Blue Lake
Distance: 4.4 miles
Elevation gain: 1050 ft

Cut because there will be photos.... )
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Heliotrope Ridge

5.5 miles, 1400ft elevation gain.

September 4th, 2011

Fantabulous hike, and there will be photos, so I'm putting this behind a cut! )
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Hike: Nisqually Vista
About 3 miles by the time we were done. Almost 1000ft in elevation gain.
August 28th 2011.

OMG, it was beautiful. I'll start with this, before the cut.

August 2011 090

There will be text and photos.... )
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It's a Mountain Loop Highway trail, and we'd taken it before, so we knew what to expect: roots, mud, and rocks. It didn't disappoint!

Trail: Healther Lake
Distance: about 5 miles
Elevation gain: 1100ft

Cut because there will be photos... )
nwhiker: (Default)
Hike: Eightmile Lake.
Distance: about 7 miles round trip.
Elevation gain: 1300 ft.

We headed out to Eightmile Lake last Sunday, July 31st. It was a rather warm day, which was nice since the previous time we'd done this hike we'd encountered the nasty white stuff. Gotten up to the top, looked around and headed straight back down. We hoped to have a more enjoyable time at the lake this iteration.

It was spectacular! )
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Lake TwentyTwo.

No, I don't know anything about lakes 1 through 21. Yes, the kids asked. Of course they asked. Or Lake TwentyThree either, for that matter.

Stats: about 5.5 miles RT, 1350ft elevation gain.

Cut because there will be photos... )

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