I'm so bummed that my last two hikes have been without G.
But there's a good reason:
F R I D A Y
I'm teaching four classes. Four is an overload. Three of the four are classes I haven't taught before and they're literature classes. Two are online. So I'm busy.
But I'm only IN class 4 days a week.
Don't get me wrong; I work about 55 hours a week right now. But I can squeeze in a hike on Fridays if I really bust my butt.
Two weeks ago I hiked Ingalls Pass to Ingalls Lake.
This may not seem like much; it's not called "Scary, Really Steep Pass". It sounds like a Little House on the Prairie episode. Maybe Half Pint twists her ankle and Manly has to come save her on a horse or something.
It's actually a pretty challenging hike.
For which I was mostly unprepared.
My friend Lisa teaches in the English department at our university. She's awesome and is older than I am. She's an experienced hiker. I put myself in her capable hands when she suggested a day hike on Friday. She's in the same teaching boat as I am, except for the fact that she's also the coordinator for one of the programs.
So I took a backpack with a knife, a kerchief, three protein bars because it might be more than two hours of a hike, and a big bottle of water. Also, I had no idea where we were going.
Lisa brought a lunch. And hiking sticks. And two bottles of water. All of which I wished I had brought!
We drove almost an hour up the Teanaway, past Camp Wahoo, and parked the car. Then we went up. Thank goodness Lisa lent me one of her walking sticks. We went up, up, up, up, up and up some more. We hiked above the tree line. We could almost reach out and touch Mt. Stuart. I had to stop to take my inhaler. To breathe, to just catch up to this not-quite-a-fireball lady who was kicking my butt up and down a mountain.
We did a lot of what's called "scrambling". That's where there are so many rocks and not really a clear trail so you scramble towards a pile of rocks, a cairn, and hope that it's leading you the right way.
We saw some hikers, some campers, and were passed by two men from Seattle who had ducked out of work to hike the pass.
We came upon a mountain goat who was not particularly impressed with us. He reminded me of an old video game I used to play by Blizzard, where random animals lived in parts of the grid and never really left that territory. They didn't interact with the players but if you bothered them, they would damage you even if you were wearing armor. He or she was a pretty tough looking goat. This is not to say that she/he didn't pose for some pictures for us. I'll share them below.
Our final scramble was sort of surreal. It was over the lip of a small pass and on the other side was Ingalls lake. The lake was fed entirely by melted snow and rain water. There were no streams and it looks like something out of the Sound of Music. We rested, ate our treats and left for the hike back. It was about 12 miles round trip. I was way over my time, and had to cancel plans with G to go out that night.
That's one understanding man. I was like "I owe you". He said "No you don't. We're married. It'll even out."
MM Hmm. I never forget these things.
Here are a few photos:
|This way, said the spider to the fly.|
|Are we going up this, or around?|
|Well this isn't so bad.|
|Pretty little mountain meadow|
|That's Mt. Adams in the distance. To the right, not pictured, is Mt. Rainier|
|The trail. By trail I mean "trail"|
|That's Mt. Stuart in the distance. See all the sweat?|
|Pristine and glassy.|
|Should I be singing "The Sound of Music"?|
|Love the larch trees|
|There's no delicate way to say this: mountain goat butt.|
|My amazing, super fit, fun, great conversationalist hiking buddy|
|Yes, that's the equivalent of 327 flights of stairs.|
|This is my favorite picture of the day|
|See? He posed for a photo op.|
|Looking down on the tree line|
|That's Mt. Stuart in the distance|
In the next blog, I'll illustrate the second one.