Beginning the Year Right On Mount CavanaughWell, as they say, “IT was the best of times, it was the worst of times” pretty much sums up what was happening in my life at the time I was hiking Mt. Cavanaugh: It was New Year’s and I was with my husband, but the bad part, the part that has been the “worst of times” is basically chronic unemployment, falling out of hiking completely for about one year since we have been without a car that works and that shut down our ability to go outside of Seattle City Limits.
The triumph of Mt. Cavanaugh was pretty great for me. It represented a New Year, and although 2013 did not go in any way how I felt when I was on the top of Mt. Cavanaugh, I write this today hoping I can recapture it and I hope to snowshoe up this again soon.
Between that and an overall alienation and detachment from myself and retreating into myself, it has been a harrowing year. So, I stopped writing in general, and stopped showing up on this website. However, despite me being a fat misfit, and I still have 100 pounds to lose, there are some incredible people on here. My husband, EastKing, to me, is the most incredible of all.
The FIRST ATTEMPT I went up Mt. Cavanaugh a week or so before January 1st, We were with Jimbopo. The weather was really bad, it was sort of a sprinkling of cold rain and freezing rain and the snow was really slushy and it was not easy to travel through the snow. We had to do a lot of postholing, and it was pretty miserable. At that time, I was also allowing my eye floaters to torment me. I just could not handle it very well. I simply could not handle the continuous seeing of my floaters and sliding all the way. It was pretty miserable. EastKing gave me snowshoes for this trip but 400 feet short of the summit the snow was too much and we decided it was not worth it anymore. It should be noted that this was the first failed attempt that I have ever had while hiking for a summit.
FUNNY HIGHLIGHTS: Mike Lewis wore a dressy top, dressy pants and a tie and looked very nice and said he was taking pictures for jobs. I tried to keep my spirits up, but seeing the eye floaters and the squigglies and shapes were tormenting me as white snow is the thing that brings them out the most.
We all were fatigued from our original attempt and we were going to see the lights that night at Stanwood. So, we headed back.
That is where the memory of Mt. Cavanaugh comes in strongly. The second attempt just proves that one can wait a few day and the conditions can change completely. Our snowshoes were gliding perfectly in the snow, and to be honest, this was a perfect, windy, beautiful, amazing hike with amazing views. This was a time when Greg and I really needed to be together.
That is where it factors in, because it was a great hike. However, when I went on my first round, I expended most of my energy being bothered and crying about my Visual Snow and trying to absorb what was happening to me. I could not handle it. I also had some issues with the equipment. We had also run out of time and there were other issues surrounding me not being able to get to the top.
The second time, I brought polarized sunglasses. The floaters were still there, but Greg kept telling me not to let them control me. He was really there for me, and very encouraging all the way. To be honest, although this was a strenuous hike for me, I believe it is one of the most well kept secrets in the Seattle area. I had a great time with Greg. It was so picturesque and beautiful. I had never felt more in love with my husband, and this hike was healing for the both of us. Going up was a windy path. It was just so beautiful, like a Christmas card. My pictures attest to this.
The snowshoeing was amazing, and my snowshoes were perfect as I really was very consistent in my steps. The way down was easy. Greg and I had a great dinner and a great anniversary celebration. They even wrote, “Happy New Year and Happy Anniversary” on our cake. With the lakes and landscapes below, Mt. Cavanaugh is breathtaking and it is really smack in the middle of a rural landscape but yet close to Seattle still. There were views of many other mountains from there.
I cried when I got to the top, both because I was extremely proud of the effort I put in, but I also felt I had started a healing path with my husband. Thought this past year has been brutally hard for us in our marriage, I pray this year for much better days. After this, sadly, due to not having as car and being in constant abject poverty, we have not been able to do really any hikes together. It was our only hike until all the way to Thanksgiving, 11 months later.
LOST on Mount Goodie!!!Eleven months later after tons of work drama and a brief physical separation with my husband I was trying to yet again take a shot at hiking again. It was Thanksgiving, and with the excellent weather it was the best of times, since I was with my husband and our dear friend Josh Lewis going up Mt. Goodie.
This hike was scary because I got lost on this trail with Josh Lewis, and reacted out of panic and fear when I thought we might be lost and have lost my husband Greg. All of that being said, it was a beautiful day, with beautiful views, and I had a great time being able to challenge myself on this trail (physically challenging for me mostly b/c of all of the extra energy exerted being lost) and I really enjoyed this hike with my husband and with Josh. The fact that we got lost did not take away from the special day of it being Thanksgiving. This hike is a great hike since even though it is a fairly small mountain, one is still be able to have views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.
Mt. Goodie has a number of panoramic style views (Although, like East King pointed out on his write up, is not a complete panorama) and you can see EXCELLENT AND AMAZING views of Mt. Rainier. This, to me, is a big draw to a mountain that is absolutely gorgeous and stunning.
I learned many lessons that day about not reacting out of panic and fear, and learning from Josh and my husband that this occurrence of being lost happens on even harder trails with more experience hikers, but the key is not to panic. The thing that is tricky about Mt. Goodie is to read the trail map b/c it is easy to get lost on it.
Josh and I had missed a turnoff on our way down and we had gotten ahead of EastKing, who often likes to explore in the background. We had lost sight of EastKing, and kept hoping he would catch up later, but we did not see him, so we realized after quite a while that we had made the wrong turnoff.
I am absolutely certain that it was quite humorous for EastKing and Josh Lewis to see me freaking out because I had wanted Old Country Buffet and felt we would not make it there with being lost. I caught myself but did freak out a bit because being lost in the outdoors freaks me out, and I need to have more experience in the outdoors.
One thing to keep in mind is that often times; there are so many trees if you are lost, that party or person you are looking for may not hear you because of the trees blocking the sound. We had been shouting out to EastKing for a long time. We finally found EastKing closer to the bottom after he had hit the car and been off the trail. He had just thought we were taking a while.
I was happy to be back home with Josh and my husband and we ended up having a low maintenance meal and a great time at Old Country Buffet. Good times with Mt. Goodie!
Log Hopping to Spiraltop!!
We had a part in the trail where a bunch of loggers basically left their huge logging tree machine and logs in a huge pile we had to climb. That was interesting in itself. Because I am not as agile as these other in shape hikers, they got a good (lighthearted and all in fun) laugh with me as I struggled to climb over the logs. It is always scary to me when I scramble because of the amount of weight I have and how much weight I have to carry. Tom’s son was a real gentleman and he helped me across. The views of Mount Storm King are gorgeous and have a beautiful valley in front of it. I also like how there are different types of shrubs and greenery on the way up.
I loved going onto this with our friend Tom Lackey and his son, and Greg and Jimbopo, our friend, and Rex, his dog. This was a great time with friends.
The interesting thing about Spiraltop would be to look into the logging history of the area and why that region gets hit by loggers so much. Some of the area seemed like it was too barren or sparse, whereas other areas were full of trees. I really love how when you look below on Spiraltop, there are several little towns below you can see.
I realized what a small world this was on this trail as I realized Tom knew someone that was a good high school/college age friend. That was a great treat for me as I am all the way out here, and he brought someone up who was dear to me.
This trip report wraps up three mountains which I loved doing, but whose likeness I need to do more of. With ongoing poverty and unemployment and not having a reliable vehicle, it has been very hard to get outside. I hope that 2014 will be better for both EastKing and I. I really want to be on more than 3 summits like I was this past year.