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Why Not Me!! Hikes and Summits of Winter/Spring 2014!!
Trip Report

Why Not Me!! Hikes and Summits of Winter/Spring 2014!!

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Why Not Me!! Hikes and Summits of  Winter/Spring 2014!!

Page Type: Trip Report

Object Title: Why Not Me!! Hikes and Summits of Winter/Spring 2014!!

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jan 1, 2014


Page By: BearQueen

Created/Edited: Mar 8, 2014 / Jun 19, 2014

Object ID: 889556

Hits: 1835 

Page Score: 82.48%  - 15 Votes 

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Why Not Me!!!

This now going to be my new motivational trip report. As I hike throughout the winter and spring I will be constantly adding to this trip report. This trip report will be similar to my "Peakbagging for Weight Loss" Albums. They will mostly include summits, but I also love waterfall hikes and lake hikes as well. I hope that there will be great progress here and I am hoping to do larger summits in the summer. I have been grateful for everyone's support throughout the years and I hope to make this trip report interesting as I fight off my 100 pound backpack to enjoy what my husband has enjoyed for so long. 

I realized that back in 2013 I did not have one of these threads. Hopefully by starting this thread I will be able to stay motivated throughout the year and turn this year into a good hiking and climbing year. I hope everyone truly enjoys this trip report. I hope to make much more interesting than in years past.

Cedar (Echo) Mountain (3/1/14)

There is as great getaway that is tucked into a really beautiful and residential neighborhood in Renton, Washington. Cedar (Echo) mountain has great views of the ridgelines of mountains far and wide. The view is pretty and the Evergreens are still big for this littler trail. The view could be even better with a bit of a clearing of two or three trees, but they probably don't want to cut them down, and of course, that is another issue. That being said, it is a cute trail which is closeby and easy to get to.
It is called Cedar (Echo) Mountain. The trail is not well marked, so it is easy to veer off course, as I did with my husband, EastKing. We ended up off trail running into some dirt bike trails and EastKing realized we were lost.

We got back on track after backtracking and heading all the way back almost to the beginning of the trail, only to realize there was a guy who was shortcutting and had found a much easier way to the top. At that point, I had already gotten quite a workout and had traveled two miles.
By the time we got back onto the trail, I had built my strength back up and we ended up back on track and I had picked up steam. The marker only gets better when you are well on your way to the summit with a sign with a horse and it says. "PEAK TRAIL". At this point, it becomes apparent that the summit is just a ways up. I like the tiny switchbacks and this mountain has a great feel of being on a larger hike though it is a small mountain.

I personally really love this trail as someone who is 100 pounds.
overweight and I am trying to practice and get back in shape after being hit hard with many challenges. I am still looking for hiking partners to do things like this.

When you get to the top, an odd happenstance is noticing that someone has built a private house right down below off the trail. Our speculation is that they have paid handsomely for this and they must have had to get a lot of permissions from King County since it is right down from the top. I feel that personally they had a personal connection to the land. The Native Americans would say that all of Seattle is all sacred land.

On the day I went, last weekend, on March 1st, it was a small amount of snow and light rain. The sun did break out at times, so that was rewarding of course. Again this is a great trail to do with friends and with anyone and a great practice trail for me.

Through all of the challenges, and with a car that won't take me very far, and constantly reaching out to find hiking buddies who understand my limitations, the questions I constantly ask is: WHY NOT ME?

BearQueen on top of the world
On the summit of Cedar Mountain
EastKing having fun!!

The foothills from Cedar (Echo) Mountain
Views from the summit
Peace out on Echo Mountain
Peace out from Cedar (Echo) Mountain

Cedar (Echo) Mountain (3/8/14)

Today, I call the theme of this day: "Wet Rat" day. It felt pretty blah outside, and I did not dress warm enough, so it was also pretty cold and the rain was constant and consistent. Since EastKing and I were smart this time and already knew how to cut right to the top, it was easier finding the right trail to get there.

However, due to the nasty Sinus Infection and sharp, stabbing head pains I have been dealing with due to something called Occipital Neuralgia and the symptoms I have been getting from the Sinus Infection, I have been extremely lethargic and the medicine I have taken has made me extremely lethargic as well.

I realized that there is something that happens when I am on the trail: All of my emotions kind of well up into a heap as I have so many emotions from all of the struggling, from past hopes, past hikes of the past eleven years when I was 100 pounds less, and all that has happened since then...It is often hard for me to deal with this rushing, torrent of emotions when I see flashes of what I am capable of. But I keep going. Today was one of those days, when all of the emotions of never giving up just catch up to you and you realize how weakened you are, and the fact that I was so sick and struggling made it even harder for me to stomach how far behind I have gotten and how many times I have been knocked down.

These are moments when I am glad I am alive, but also realize how much life I have not lived, and it is humbling, sad, and happy all at the same time. These feelings overpower me.

When I got to the top this time, it was still consistently, relentlessly raining, and EastKing eagerly and immediately wanted to take a picture of me. I let him, but also had some of my choices pouty expressions that have been carefully cultivated over 40 years time.

Therefore, I have to say I was proud of myself, and yet, it is bittersweet, b/c I know once I gather my strength back after this illness, it is time to challenge myself slowly and to build myself back up again.

BearQueen with the umbrella
BearQueen on the summit during a rainstorm
View of the rain
View of the rain from the summit

Cold and wet
Cold, sick, wet, and at this point miserable
Nearing the top
Literally feet from the summit

Coal Creek Falls (3/16/14)

Sorry, no summits on this day. This was another "Wet Rat" day. I cannot wait to find some hiking partners. I have someone to call and I am still looking for partners who understand what it is like to be 100 pounds overweight. I am always looking for better.

Recently, the “wet rat” phenomena seems to be very common and seems to be very common. Between getting over a massive Sinus Infection and strange head pains from a pain condition in my head called Occipital Neuralgia, not having a car that is able to go very far, having limited energy, having a husband who had a cold and was sick, and not having enough gas money to go anywhere, I settled on Coal Creek Falls.

When I first started hiking Coal Creek Falls, it seemed like there was more rocks and gravel. The road has become more natural partly, and part of it has been washed away. I guess I have gotten truly out of shape because I used to be able to do this hike with more ease, but it was also b/c I am still sick, I believe. I also started working with a personal trainer, who uses boot camp, military style tactics with me and he believes that I can handle it. I couldn’t walk the next day after I worked with him. Wait…it took TWO days for the really bad delayed onset to show up…I had told Rob that I have severe fibromyalgia, but I don’t think he got it. So, I literally couldn’t walk Friday but I got through. Since this was on Sunday, my legs had a chance to recover.

Other than the fact that this trail is a basic, light trail to the falls, the FALLS THEMSELVES WERE THE TRUE REWARD, and since I perk right up when I am around water, The falls looked awesome, and EastKing and I took a “selfie” and we took some wet rat pictures. I am always amazed at the beauty of the waterfall at Coal Creek Falls.

The trail was basically raining and miserable and both my husband I were wet rats. We had brought two umbrellas: One with pink and purple and blue hearts and peace signs, and the other that was neon pink, and Greg decided to go without both of them.

Happy to be at Coal Creek Falls
Roaring Coal Creek Falls
Closeup of the roaring Coal Creek Falls

Coal Creek Falls
Coal Creek Falls
Last shot..
Final shot of Coal Creek Falls

Miniature Mountain (3/22/14)

We had heard about the fact that there wasn’t much of a view. Well the view was hidden behind the bushwhack to the hidden summit and behind the trees. One can see a ranging Panorama of the Cascades on the left and Mt. Rainier and then the Olympics on the right, with a view of lakes and the out skirting villages of the towns below. The trail is a road walk most of the way up and then it graduates into a more difficult gradient until you hit the top, when you have to bushwhack through dead forest to find the true summit.

I also feel that this trail is gratifying enough with the views and close enough to the areas that it could appeal to many people, especially those like me who need to lose 100 pounds. EastKing and I were able to go despite our beater car and the fact that our car cannot go very far.

I really think that this mountain, aside from the wonderment of it being a lesser known mountain in Washington State, is highly underrated. This mountain has majestic, mossy green trees (with pictures to back it up) which start soon into the trail, and remind me of being in The Hobbit. Morever, there was so much privacy here, even though it is right past Granite Falls (a town that, on the way to the hike, was absolutely charming, and had a feel to me of a true blooded American town mixed with rural and rustic old world New England charm).

I truly loved the way the trail started out. The water in the river went in both directions and it is separated by a bridge. Ironically, there is some kind of Masonic camping grounds there, which lends to a camp-like ambience.
Beware of a couple of things: Hunters, and people doing Target practice! The sign clearly states (which we did not see until we finished the trail) that target practice is not allowed, and yet the guy we encountered was doing it repeatedly. It scared the hell out of me on the way up, so Greg waved to the person to let them know we were there. That kind of stuff brings up my anxiety level a lot, and since I am just working on gaining more experience and getting better on the trail, it is sort of the last thing I needed. We got passed that guy, and continued on up the road with tranquil peace, and passed another bridge on the way. Again, this was beautiful, just like the first bridge.

I loved the many birds I saw on the water, and on the second bridge, there is a marsh with two geese who look like lovebirds and appear to be a geese “couple” that make their home there. That added more mysterious enchantment to this little known trail.

Mount Pilchuck from south side of Miniature Mountain
EastKing wants me to do this peak over the summer.
Road of moss covered trees
Road of moss covered trees

This trail is long and it is a bit of a workout. I am amazed at how all the way up, the trail was beautifully lined with Evergreen trees and beautiful green moss trees. That was something I could not get over! At times, these trees looked like they had faces and were staring at you!
I loved this trail for that reason and the fact that the waterfall you could hear throughout the trail. I loved that aspect of this trail and I love hearing water throughout the trail. It makes me feel at home. It is a wonderful thing and something that really adds to the ambience of this trail.

The Olympic Mountain view from near the summit of Miniature Mountain
The Olympics from Miniature Mountain
Looking down the river
Looking up the river

After the two bridges, the trail graduates from just a road walk and gets a little more difficult in grade. For me, I am able to appreciate this type of hike. Others might call it is a dive, but I love this type of trail and it is great training grounds as a beautiful road walk for someone who is 100 pounds overweight.

BearQueen heading up the road
Heading up to Miniature Mountain
Ducks at a pond while heading up Miniature Mountain
Looking up at all of the cute ducks

I WAS pouting from bushwhacking, but truly, once we got up there, after stepping on basically rotted out trees and branches from the logging they did, it was not that bad. My favorite parts of hikes; Hitting the summit, and then getting in the car! So anyway, EastKing always scouts out really hard to find out what the “true” summit is, and we found the true summit AND THE VIEWS JUST TO THE SOUTH. The true summit turned out to be a high spot on the land hard to distinguish from the rest of the area. EastKing and I noticed a road below, and then EastKing discovered the first amazing view, which was gorgeous, but when we walked down to the second view, it was stunning and amazing.

At the end of the hike, we sat and relaxed, and looked at the amazing view. I feel we had a really good time together, and bonded in a way we had not in a long time. I share this with you b/c it is really important to have this time with the person you love, and I couldn’t think of a better way to have a good time and have fun. This trail is majestic and beautiful and I would truly recommend it to anyone, and as I said above, it is great for anyone who is out of shape like me. Majestic Miniature Mountain!

Chitwood Peak (3/30/14)

I had, and still have, a massive sinus infection going up this trail, so it was hard for me to find the strength to do it with sharp, stabbing pains and neck pains going up the trail. However, I wanted to tough it out and I felt like I was worth the fight, and it is worth the fight to bond with EastKing too, and these times are what I look forward to all week. I was also proud of both of us that we have learned to be “wet rats” and that even with a dumpy car that can only go so far that is about to die, and crappy weather, we do not find excuses and we still keep fighting to get out there in nature, and that is worth the good fight, every time.

BearQueen on the start of the trail
Starting up the trail

The trail is very interesting…It is past a farm type of area (Like a good old American town) with one house on one side and one on the other. It sort of made us wonder if it was not complete private property. When you pull up, you are not supposed to park in the areas on the side, even though it looks like your vehicle should be able to park there. There IS a space on the side of the road that you can park. Greg, (EastKing), fortunately was able to call his friend Gimpilator and ask him if we were even supposed to be there due to it being private property. Gimpilator said that it was okay. Little did we know that later on down the trail, EastKing would be calling him later to ask him where we missed the beginning of the trail.

This trail starts out as a roadwalk, and then starts looking like a trail that is covered with bright green moss which makes you feel like you are in a 1960’s psychedelic video. We had reached a certain point on this trail, and then we had realized that there were two hills: Which one was the summit? We were confused, but according to Greg, since the trail we were one led to nowhere, which was to the left, he said the summit must lead to the right. This was very frustrating for both of us. Fortunately, we did not take it out on each other. We just headed back towards where we were going, Greg yet again called Gimpilator. Gimpilator said that the actual opening to the trial was a ways back from where we were, so we knew we had to head back. He said it was hard to see.

Chitwood Peak
If you see this view of Chitwood Peak you have gone too far.
Cool little creek you go over
Nice little creek we passed by.

We still were not sure how to get back to that, and we still did not know where we were, so there are some times when an I PHONE can come in handy. I looked up on Google maps where we were, and Greg was able to tell from the “You are here” dot where we supposed to go. Since EastKing is a cartographer and map maker and reader by trade, there are times when it does come in really handy.

I started out the RIGHT trail in good spirits, and there are some interesting creek crossings where we had to pay close attention to our footing to the muddiness of everything. As we made it across that, things started getting really interesting.

BearQueen on the entrance to the old road
On the road entrance

As we graduated up the trail, and I was feeling more and more weak at this point, and really struggling, we noticed that an angry logger had cut down all of the trees on the trail, and to us, it seemed like he was blocking the entire way up the trail. This created a “booby trap” of thorns and logs (Fortunately, they were thinner or medium sized branches or trees that were dying) and we had to dodge through it so it was like bushwhacking except we were not bushwhacking because were won the actual trail. It was hard for me, because aside from the energy I normally exert on the trail, I had to exert and use a lot of stamina and energy to get through these booby traps. EastKing knows that with my fibromyalgia and with the fact that I had this horrible Sinus infection my energy was dropping, so EastKing gave me some powergel and tried to help motivate me. He also seems to get the most opportune pictures of me when I am in a foul mood on the trail and I am pouting or angry or upset. At that moment, I was, but I also try to be fun for the camera, so EastKing got one of these of me and LOVES to post the pouty ones on the website.

EastKing did say at that point when we were not sure how long the booby trapped logs would go on that I could turn around, but I did not want to. I said we had to keep going, and I felt a deeper second wind coming on, and I felt resolved to keep going. We did keep going, and we made it to the top in what felt triumphant to me, but I also was not used to such a workout, and therefore, I was not on the greatest mood on the top. I wished I had been in a better mood on the top of the mountain, but I was not. EastKing, as a great predictor of weather, said he felt a storm coming on and pointed to it on the top of the mountain. He said we need to get off soon, so we headed down. We both remarked that on the way down, the booby traps did not seem as bad, and I told him it is probably because we knew we had already triumphed on it and had been exposed to it so it was not as bad.

Overlooking towards the sound
Overlooking the Sound!!
BearQueen celebrating her success
Yeah, I did it!!!

The views were pretty amazing and the summit was huge, like a big circle with cut down trees, so one could see in a 360 direction, which was and is pretty awesome. We could see Seattle in the distance, which appeared to be like a little ant town, and we saw many of the villages below.

BearQueen on the summit area
Resting on the summit area
The nice part of the road walk
Heading back down!

Fortunately, to our surprise, the storm seemed to completely bypass Granite Falls and the sun came out, drying us and our wet rat outfits and my hair. We ended up having a great burger in town at this place called the Spar Tree Tavern where they have Angus meat and burgers. I felt content with that kind of meal after all the effort we made. We also went to an ice cream place next door and I made a new friend who loved my bright red hair, and I had an amazing triple chocolate ice cream sundae with hot fudge and it was pretty darn awesome. We ate that ice cream at Mark’s Country Store and this was a combination convenient store and country store that had a great country feel to it. I grew up in the Washington D.C. area, but my grandfather had a farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland, and I used to go there every summer and we would eat at this homemade ice cream place that was totally awesome and had an awesome feel to it. This place made me feel at home.

I noticed a huge difference on this trail in terms of how fit I am becoming, even in spite of the sinus infection, fibromyalgia and other physical challenges. It is my deepest hope that next March I am 100 pounds less, and that I am much more dedicated EVERY SINGLE DAY to dedicate towards weight loss, and to make me stronger on the trail. I have not lost much weight yet which s really bothersome, but that is a topic for another day. However, I developed that second wind on the trail, which really helped me get through the ongoing maze of log booby traps and make it to the top. As I had said above, the views were amazing from the top, but I am not sure if I would recommend Chitwood Peak to others due to the unexpected booby traps on top.

Highwire (4/6/14)

EastKing and I found this mountain up on Summitpost so we both decided to give it a try. It is located on private timber but hiking and horseback riding is legal. Parking is very limited here. For many of you this would be a light evening stroll but for me is was a nice challenge. With the roundtrip distance being 4 miles (??) and the elevation gain being 400 feet this would a great light hike to fill the weekend.

BearQueen heading up Highwire
On the move for the next summit!

From a gravel road walk to the summit this was a quick hike. Since it was a logging road, there were not as many trees as one would normally see, but it was still quiet green, and this beautiful region is quintessentially Northwest.

Getting close to the final summit area!

The great thing about this trail is the fact that it had a few stretches that personally challenged me and that I was afraid of, but I just kept pushing myself through. This trail was basically easy most of the way up except for when I hit the bushwhack finale. Due to the initial steepness I “psyched” myself out. I told EastKing that I could not do it but EastKing told me to pull on through. Once I started planning each place to put my foot, and trusting EastKing, my confidence grew on the scramble/bushwhack. These things are like small victories for me and I was glad that EastKing believed in me. That means a lot and when I can stop panicking, which I know the best climbers and hikers do, and overcome my fears, then I become stronger. I did that on this bushwhack, and used my leg strength. It was tough for me but I pulled through.

BearQueen posing on the summit
A happy BearQueen!!
Yeah!! I am on top!!

The view east
Looking east from the summit. It is a shame that those clouds are in the way!!
The town of Gold Bar
Looking down at Gold Bar

The trail was actually a beautiful logging road. It was a cute road walk to me. The views were peeking through the openings on the way up, but when we got to the top, the views were incredible all the way around, but the clouds were hiding them all the way around too. THIS SUMMIT WOULD BE GREAT TO DO WHEN THE SUN IS OUT! However, a few of the views were STILL incredible. This trail had some great views of Sultan and some villages below and of the Olympics and Cascades. Like the last summit I did, there are plenty of views from the top and the top of this mountain is one you can roam on and that has amazing views. Overall it was another great day in the mountains and for me it was my fourth different summit in as many weeks.

The Arboretum (4/13/14)

Greg and I celebrated my birthday early by going to the Spring Fair Saturday, and I was dog tired from it the next day due to recovering from a Sinus Infection that was quite serious.

I went to the Arboretum last weekend on APRIL 13TH, and I am counting it for a hike, because the hiking just did not work out with Greg due to his work schedule and our challenging situation with not having a car, and not being able to get around in the car due to it not being reliable.

I was a bit depressed this day after going to a pow wow that wasn’t as good as others that I have been to. So, I went over to the Arboretum, and took a mile and a half walk, but did not get a lot of pictures in b/c my storage was full, I was so tired, still dealing with these sharp pains in my head, and did not feel like removing all of them. However, EVERYONE was out on this day. This place is quite fascinating, with many Master Gardener’s and great garden intellects who apparently have worked on this place with a huge labor of love.

Sitting in the Spring Sun
Laying in sun