POO POO POINT: Whoo Whoo for Poo Poo!!! (11/01/09)
What I find especially engaging, charming and inspirational about Poo Poo Point is that if you are a beginning hiker, or you are just interested in getting back in shape again for any reason, or you are overweight and have 100 pounds to lose (like me) ...then Poo Poo Point is great and that is because you can meet the amazing Paragliders who walk to the top, one, two, (and some of them...I know because I asked) ...three times a day just so they can jump off and be like eagles off of the beautiful view and summit.
By the way, though most hikers do not seem to flinch at the name (I guess after 200 mountains hiked, the names of mountains do not phase a person), I for one wanted to know the origin of the name of Poo Poo Point. The best I found was from the link at the end of the article that says that hikers thought it sounded like "Poo Poo". However, I must contest this in a friendly way. I mean, wouldn't it sound like "Choo Choo?" Maybe the train was congested? Or perhaps someone's dog was going to the bathroom at that time when the train sound went off? Anyway, it is certainly a topic for continued discussion.
EastKing (my husband) has written many trip reports, and although I might have issues with his punctuation or grammar (I was the English major) , he is better at talking about hikes in depth from a technical standpoint. I like to write about my impressions of the hike more than anything.
It is pretty major for me to even post these pics because of the fact that I usually cannot be pictured without make up. That all changed with the below pics.
For me, an impression on the hike takes in the whole feel of the experience. That includes the hikers I meet along the way. It also includes the weather. It also includes the surrounding nature and foliage...like: What color were the leaves that day? Well, I can tell you that the leaves were quite bright and fall was definitely in full view through the beautiful yellow leaves. I am holding one of my favorite ones in the picture. :agree:
Also, I think of things like: What do I remember most about this day in terms of the people? What I remember most were: One guy telling me "Good job, keep it up, You can do it." His voice (aside from EastKing's) has stayed with me since then, up the three other summits and hike that I have done. I have an amazingly supportive husband, but the kindness of strangers (especially after getting those questionable, disapproving looks from strangers after my sweat drips down) is not to be underrated.
I also remember how very painful and hard this hike was...my first real hike in over a year. It was extremely difficult, but I kept pressing on. I know it is hard for some people to realize that it could be that difficult for someone to do Poo Poo, but it really was difficult and excrutiating for me.
For me, what I can tell you about Poo Poo Point is that it was an amazing time for me. For me, it was very uncharacteristic to pick my husband up from his hotel and tell him I am ready for a walk, much less a hike. Well, this day, I knew I was ready. I knew I was ready to do something to reverse the depressing tide of chronic pain (from Interstitial Cystitis...read below comments) and growing obesity (Now, they are finding a massive hormonal and thyroid imbalance that may have caused some of it but not all of it.) So I told Greg we ought to do a hike and he was happy, but not sure if I was serious.
I think he knew I was serious once I hit the trail.
I was serious because this was the first time I did not turn around and badger him or tell him I could not do it. I was determined to keep doing it and I kept going, and going, and going. Although, I stopped a lot and I was sweating so hard that my entire head got wet from sweat and I was wearing the wrong clothes.
What is great is having EastKing to stand behind me every step of the way. And to know that though he has summited Rainier, he is able to relate to his wife and understand the pain and challenges I have.
I just kept thinking, "This is the only way I am going to ever conquer my chronic pain...by proving to myself that I can do something like this."
I also grew accustomed on this trail to the "What, you never saw a fat, sweaty, out of breath woman on a trail before" look. So, I just smiled to myself knowing that I was indeed an oddity. I mean, the irony is as much as people are so quick to judge me for being overweight (I get the same thing at the gym) they do not realize that I am actually moving and off my butt to begin with.
I found Poo Poo Point (I still find the name funny and so do others who I tell about it) to be challenging and difficult. That is coming from someone who has 100 pounds to lose. What I like about it are the many variating viewpoints, the amazing views all along the way, the switchbacks and the challenge it present as an "easy" trail.
What is best about Poo Poo is the view. I have to say that it was pretty good. I felt at least that I had done all that backbreaking, sweaty hard work for something.
NUMBER ONE DOWN!
Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and support. I am fighting for my life here, to find a way to cope and manage with my pain and you have helped me be able to do that. You are all inspirational.
[u][b]OTHER PERSONAL REMARKS: [/b][/u] I had this amazing energy that day. I am not sure what it was...Maybe pent up energy for months and months and months and months of being holed up in my apartment from being unemployed. Perhaps wondering if I still made a difference to anyone or anything. All I know is, that day, I wanted to make a difference for myself. I may never have the passion for hiking that EastKing does, but I do know that through hiking, I can have some life changing things happen.
From the bottom of the trail, I met some paragliders who were trying to recruit me which I found endearing and laughable at the same time, considering the fact that I am afraid that my sheer weight alone would plummet me down to the ground. But these, fit, lithe types were ready to offer me to fly up with them. It was pretty neat, but I do have a fear of flying, so I told them that maybe once I get over that fear, I will do it with them.
IF YOU ARE NOT OVERWEIGHT AND SEE AN OVERWEIGHT HIKE: Please be supportive. They are going through excrutiating pain, either emotionally or physically or both, just from trying to make it up the trail. So support them by saying "Hi" or just an encouraging word. Get out of your comfort zone.
IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT AND WANT TO DO A TRAIL LIKE ME: Just take one step at a time. Go as slow as you want. Remember, it is a long trek and journey anyway, emotionally and spiritually, so just wear the proper gear to increase your comfort and just keep going. Ask for help when you need it. Drink water.
GETTING TO POO POO POINT:
Location: Take I-90 to Issaquah, take Front Street exit. Follow Front Street through the town of Issaquah.
Then, Front Street turns into Hobart-Issaquah Road. Trailhead is at the paraglider area (refer to a map) .
Elevation Start/End: 2000 foot overall elevation gain.
Length: 4 miles round trip
Source below taken from:
(Google Search, "Poo Poo Point: Result: http://www.niffgurd.com/mark/hikes/2004/june/12th/content.html
Author unknown, below excerpt taken from link above)
Trail Info: West end of Tiger Mountain. The point got its name from logging signals using a whistle that made a "poo poo" sound. The trailhead from the hang-glider area is the steeper of two routes to Poo Poo point. The trail climbs steeply and steadily all the way to the top. At the point your presented with panoramic views of Squak Mountain, Lake Samammish and Issaquah. There is also a clearing on the back side of the point with an amazing view of Mount Rainier.
Little Si (SOLO!!)11/08/09
Ah, yes, talk about memorable trips...I must say that so far, Little Si remains my most memorable for several reasons:
1. The most "I have never seen an overweight and sweaty woman panting to stay alive" looks from people I encountered on the trail.
2. An interesting time for me as this was my first hike by myself on any trail, anywhere. So, for me, it was a pretty big deal.
3. A chance to prove to EastKing that I had built up enough motivation, for my second hike in over a year, to really be serious about saving my own life, both literally (weight loss and fitness) and figuratively (learning how to not let the pain take over my life.)
4. A chance for me to see how I would respond to a hike alone.
I must say, I have done a lot of reading on Little Si and I think this mountain is underrated in terms of what it has to offer. In my conversation with a very nice person who had summited Rainier, we both agreed that Little Si has an ample amount of geographical range in terms of the changing of landscape and especially the wind. In fact, that is what really makes Little Si feel like a bigger mountain...because when you get to the top, the wind really starts blowing. Also, some people find it easy. I completely disagree. I found it very difficult, but then again, I do have a 100 pound backpack to lose. To further my point about the wind, I found this from this website, "//www.mountsi.com/littlesi.htm, '"So now hikers tackle Little Si in the winter when the wind and/or rain seem a bit much for its popular counterpart above, or simply for a change of pace. And it makes a great hike around the holidays, being close to the city and offering a chance to get out in the weather and work off some calories.
Little Si is part of the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area, managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and created to preserve the area's natural ecosystems.
Little Si is a real mountain and on a windy day it can feel like you're miles from nowhere, especially near the summit, which is mostly bald and exposed to the elements."'
Little Si is just a great all around hike for kids, families, friends, couples, and people like me, struggling to get hiking experience or those who are already experienced.
1. If you don't like crowds, you may want to choose another, more solitary hike.
2. Prepare for slippery conditions in the rain as the trail is often rockier.
3. Prepare for windy conditions and chill at the top, especially anytime after October/November, as it does get cold (and I, very stupidly, did not have gloves) and prepare for adding an extra layer.
4. If you get there after 12 noon, you will have a very hard time finding parking, so get there earlier, IF you can.
Also, it has an amazing view for a smaller summit, or "dumpster dive" as some love to say...but to me, it remains, at least for now, a difficult mountain. The most difficult one I ever did thus far SINCE I have hiked in Washington. But this is the second time I have done it. Yep, that is right, but it seemed so long since I last did it that I seemed to almost forget.
I also found it very hard, as I found Poo Poo Point, but I think my body was in some sort of protest, because every step hurt and ached with the fibromyalgia and Interstitial Cystitis, but I knew I had to keep going.
However, this time, it was raining the whole time with very questionable weather and I was worried as I am a new hiker and was wondering what I would do if I got stuck in the rain. Therefore, the rain made for slippery, and often scary conditions on the trail. I would recommend going when it is sunny, for sure. However, if you do go when it is raining, make sure you have good hiking boots with non slippage mechanisms.
I was just simply determined to keep going. The most amusing part of the trail were the urban hikers who seemed to be extending their boardroom meeting on the trail, would section off into a cluster to discuss and banter about their workplace shenanigans, and then every time they saw me gaining on them, they would realize that they had to hurry up. I kept saying hello to them at each one of those meetups and each time I got the deer in the headlights look from, what I guess is, not seeing many overweight, sweaty women on the trail and realizing that I could not possibly gain on them! It is sort of interesting to me to gage such reactions now, since I learned on that trail not to let things bother me anymore if people were going to act that way. However, it bothered me enough on the trail to keep me going and I used my frustration to keep stepping. Now, I use those reactions to keep going, and more fodder and material for future stories. (They don't even realize they are giving me these gifts!)
So, when I got to the top, I saw the group of guys and one of them managed a "hi" but I cannot say I encountered the friendliest crew up there.
I can say that it was very satisfying to have made it to the top and to be able to tell my husband, EastKing, who had been attempting Mt. St. Helens that I was not fully committed to hiking again. It has definitely helped our relationship.
And I am so grateful for the Little Si experience, with its mixture of negatives and positives ...It prepared me for future things I will experience on future trails.
ABOUT LITTLE SI:
From Karen Sykes, "Hike of the Week: Little Si", dated, December 12th, 1996 :
"Drive Interstate 90 and take the main North Bend exit, heading left into town. Turn right on North Bend Way and drive a couple miles to the Mount Si Road. Turn left, cross the bridge over the Snoqualmie River and park near the bridge in the marked lot.
Travel about one-quarter mile along 434th Street, passing houses and dogs of varying disposition. Respect private property; residents often complain about heavy foot traffic and dogs that hikers let run in their yards.
The Department of Natural Resources' management plan calls for a new parking area and trailhead for the Little Si trail, and with luck it should be secured and open by next year. Until then, agency officials ask that you not park along the road and respect local residents' rights."'
I LET OUT BARELY A BALK ON SQUAK (11/15/09)
I know, the title is corny, but come on, that is what makes it fun.
In all seriousness, Squak Mountain was a lot easier than I had anticipated as East King had told me that it has a higher elevation gain.
I found Squak to be pretty long for a gradually gaining in elevation trail. As with Cougar and Little Si, I found many beautiful fall leaves. (The only thing is, unless you have a phone book in the car or something heavy to compress the leaves, they dry up once you go home.) I also found it to be fun, in a sense, to just go up one long road to the top. I love how it was like one long extension of a road that reminded me of my grandfather's gravel road to his farmhouse (Almost as long!)
Anyway, Squak is great for those who want to train up and get back in shape or for those who are with families or couples. I think it is great because it does not offer much in the way of obstacles on the trail, because there is no "trail" to speak of, but there is challenge in the sense that it is a strong workout and it is long. (For a "small" trail.)
I like Squak Mountain because it is certainly not a traditional hike. I must say that I wished that it did have a better view. I really wished that when I got to the top, it had a better view.
As usual, I sweated a lot and had a lot of pain going up. Many times I had to stop and sort of face my demons, really face the fact that what I want is to make this mountain but that I have extreme pain and really face the fact that my pain is severe and that it will be a real fight to do any mountain at this point.
Conditions can get cold, as we noticed (me and EastKing), especially close to the top, especially if it is after October/November and especially if all you have is a rain jacket (like me.) So, just like with Little Si, these are "smaller" mountains, but you still need to bring your layers and make sure you have the proper footing.
I recommend going earlier in the day on a nicer, sunnier day as it can get quite wet and cold if you leave later in the day. Of course, it depends on you, as some do not mind hiking in the rain.
This was my third greatest accomplishment this month, and it was with Squak that I knew I had changed the tide of something in my life and that I was at least committing to myself, if nobody else, the importance of caring about myself and about fitness and about conquering this monster called Interstitial Cystitis (chronic bladder inflammation.)
I am lucky, as usual, to have supportive hiking partner in my husband.
Long Live Squak!
LOOKING FOR SHY BEAR ON WILDERNESS PEAK (COUGAR MOUNTAIN (11/21/09)
Cougar Mountain was to mark my fourth entryway into a new life for myself and not allowing chronic pain to control my life. By this time, I was starting to feel like an Issaquah Alps expert. Aside from the fact that I have been wanting to move to Issaquah since I moved here (Just have not been able to afforde it) I feel repeatedly drawn to the area. I think what is incredible about Cougar Mountain and surrounding areas are the sheer number of possibilities there are for outdoor recreation.
And also, the leaves are quite beautiful and varied on this trail. It also reminded me of various hikes I did with EastKing in New Hampshire when I had been in much better shape.
I had thought Cougar Mountain would have a much better view with the fact that a whole area is named after it. I was disappointed to find that I worked hard, huffing and puffing and that the view was not there. However, it was nice to encounter other friendly hikers on this day and to go across the neat, little bridges that I saw along the way.
This is from,' "http://www.weekendhike.com/2008/05/cougar-mountain-wilderness-cliffs-trail.html."As you reach the top of Wilderness Peak, you enter a very nice area with lots of birds and critters running around. There is also a very short trail leading to the top of Wilderness Peak (elevation 1,595 feet). However, there is no real view from here. The Cliffs trail technically ends here and the Wilderness Peak Trail starts."'
I must say, we did not see a lot of birds or animals, but this must have been written in the summertime. I must say that the trail was beautiful to me and quite varying in its beauty...many interesting logs...beautiful small waterfalls.
The most notable things for me on this trip were: Encountering many trail runners on the trail and MOST MEMORABLE: Seeing a guy who was my size hiking his butt off just like I was. We nodded at each other knowingly and I admired him for working his butt off and in turn, was able to admire myself as well for the attempts I was making. SO GET OUT THERE, OVERWEIGHT COUCH POTATOES, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It was disappointing in the sense that it had no view for (again, for me) was an exhausting and fatiguing workout. But it did have a nice logbook and some interesting log entries. Also, it was great to read the touching and loving inscription on the bench from someone who had the bench dedicated to them (Darn it, I did not write the name down of who it was dedicated to) due to their love of mountains. I read most of the entries in the logbook, and I must know who "Shy Bear" is or what people are referring to. As a writer, legends are quite appealing for the sheer amount of fodder for inspiration or future storytelling, so I would be quite interested in knowing from anyone if they know who "Shy Bear" is.
As I was contemplating this, I was also discussing various possibilities of the origin of this legend and grilling EastKing about it, since he, after all, is the more experienced hiker. It was quite interesting to read entries like, "Sorry we missed you Shy Bear. See you next year." Or "Shy Bear, I came all the way here to see you and I cannot find you." So, it was indeed quite intriguing for me.
Also, I am very interested and passionate about Native American culture and I could not help but wonder if it was not a Native American legend that had managed to survive and somehow became popularized. Well, the theories do abound, so if anyone could shed some light on this for me, that would be great!
As for my log entry, I said I was disappointed with the view, but I was happy that I was finally becoming an official hiker.
THE SIMPLE BEAUTY OF COAL CREEK FALLS(11/29/09)
I have done Coal Creek Falls once before with EastKing, but doing it in the fall seemed different. The fall leaves by this time were all on the ground, but still, for late November, a fair amount of evidence left that Fall is still with us.
I love the fact that as you get closer to the falls you can hear them, and for waterfall enthusiasts and poets like myself, it is like a sweet song of music that I love and it draws me to it. Nothing is more of a healing salve to me than being near water like this.
This day was overcast, as were a few other days we have gone out hiking, but we took it in stride.
The great part is that although we did not do this in the summer, we did this in the fall and the waterfall was at its height.
Coal Creek Falls is a relaxing hike and although it was disappointing that I did not get to do a bigger summit (I had early Chorus rehearsal) it was nice to gain a new respect for the beauty of the falls and to have the chance and opportunity to ruminate on that for a while before I had to rush back. I HIGHLY recommend this trail even for highly advanced hikers, if for nothing else, than to experience the relaxation and beauty of the falls.