The summer began with a lot of promise but it did not turn out the way that I was hoping. In some ways it was a really tough summer. I recently hit my highest weight ever, which was a number I swore I would never hit in my lifetime. It was downright traumatic and it clearly made me look at my issues with food and life itself. It should be noted that I have lost 16 pounds since hitting that dreadful milestone.
My husband work schedule became so erratic that it did not only effect our hikes but many hikes that he was planning on doing with his. Not having him as a hiking partner and only have one other hiking partner made me less motivated to hike this summer. The results not only show up in the lack of hiking in this page but it also showed up on my waste line as well.
All that being said it was this summer that I had knocked off the most summits for year since 2014. I was able to go some places and was able to enjoy myself in the mountains from time to time. Here is my trip report from the mountains.
Snowshed Head (6/29/14)
Well, I was tired when I started off this trail with EastKing. I had just marched in the gay pride parade earlier that day in honor of my friend John and the entire gay community. However, I tend to be more tired when I hike later in the afternoon.
I had also been to the Harborview ER the day before and was diagnosed with a hematoma on the inside of my abdominal wall and this pain on my right side has been causing me a lot of pain. The doctor told me that he definitely encourages me to continue to work out, but that I need to take it easy. When the beginning of this trail was steeper than I thought it would be, I was a bit taken aback because I was worried about exacerbating this inner bruise on my right side.
Looking down at the early route stages
Initially, EastKing and I had walked by the trailhead, and started a trail that looked like a heavy bushwhack to the top, so EastKing said we needed to stop and go back. On the way back to the car, feeling defeated, EastKing and I saw the beginning of the trail. I felt a big renewed, but sad that I did not have a lot of enthusiasm for EastKing. EastKing did a great job of putting up with me as I gruntled up the trail like a defective pack mule, (which is how I feel a lot of the time because of the pain I feel) but I keep going.
However, as we got closer to the top, I grew happier and felt renewed and pulled into the beautiful Northwest beauty as only the Northwest can do. (Specifically the Pacific Northwest.) The trail is not necessarily well kept up, but also not as bad as many trails we have been on, but easy once you get past the steep part, which is why it is truly great for families. The main reason is the great view once you get to the top.
Colorful BearQueen on the viewpoint
The view of Lake Keechelus are incredible. As you approach the top, you start to see the snow sheds. At first, before EastKing told me what they were, I thought they were waystations or stops for horses, only to find out later their true purpose was for setting off dynamite to prevent snow avalanches. EastKing is generally smart about the mountains and what goes on in them, so I am glad I do not have to go very far to look for information. EastKing had to massage my feet when I got to the top as my feet hurt, and we had to fend off a lot of mosquitos, but it was great to get to the top and relax together. That is my favorite part.
The ridge to the western subpeak
I truly love every aspect of this trail once you get to the top. There is ample to room to walk around on top, and I love to explore and feel like an explorer when I am on a summit. Be careful on the sides, however, they are a bit steep, but there is amazing picture opportunities with the lakes below. I now wish EastKing and I had taken more pictures, but I think the reason why we did not is because the sun was not out the way we had hoped. However, this mountain sort of transmutes the energy of Snoqualmie Pass, and it is a wonderful place to be. It turns out that this Sunday turned out really great and it was quite enchanting. I want to thank EastKing for taking me out all the time and always being patient with me. We took about 40 minutes on the way down, but I also tend to be slower and EastKing is patient with me and follows me or waits for me. I also am very grateful that EastKing has put up with me so much on the way up. On the way down we saw a couple of trucks from the lakes or hikes above. There is also recreational shooting we had heard so it could have been those hunters as well.
On our drive there and back we saw many beautiful and stunning view of Mt. Rainier. It was neat and interesting to see how much EastKing loves Mt. Rainier and how taken he is by the views when we were in the car. As I do hiking more, I feel good that I can see things more and more from EastKing's eyes. I feel blessed to have these experiences with him, and my goal is to really step up my weight loss plan, and eating plan, so that I can live long enough and live health enough to be able to do many things. I just do not know how to find that balance to do what I need to do, and I hope I can get some peace of mind to be able to do the things I need to do to do more hikes with EastKing.
Great Falls (7/9/14)
Sadly enough I am still waiting for the pictures of Great Falls from my friends. Unfortunately they have not sent them to me yet and presently we are not friends because of the issue. If they do I will put them on this report.
When I went to Washington D.C. about three weeks ago, (almost a month now, but not quite) I had the distinct honor of being able to go back to Great Falls, Maryland with my very dear friends, Robert and Mary. The reason I am writing this up is to share the majesty of this with anyone who wants to visit D.C. and go back to Maryland, and also to say that sometimes, it is great to re discover things that you never had seen before. As a kid, I always went here, but it was to look at the canal. I went with second eyes this time.
Due to jetlag and fatigue, I had not exactly been thinking clearly, but had I been thinking clearly, I would have tried to find a way to bring my I Phone with me, and if not that, then I would have gotten a cheap disposable camera. However, I really did not think clearly about this. On top of that, I had forgotten to ask them to remember to take pictures of me, and of the falls and us together. I now feel pretty sad about that, and am currently waiting for more pictures for Mary to send to me of the falls that she has taken, and in particular of this trail.
According to Wikipedia, “The Great Falls of the Potomac River are located at the fall line of the Potomac River, 14 miles (23 km) upstream from Washington, D.C. Great Falls Park, operated by the National Park Service, is located on the southern banks in Virginia, while Chesapeake and Ohio Canal parkland is located along the northern banks of the river in Maryland. The Potomac and the falls themselves are within Maryland.” We had hiked and scrambled down a “secret” area, definitely “off the beaten path” and that was not a formal area there, but that Robert had managed to find on his explorations there. I was so fatigued and so scared to do the scrambling b/c there are very sharp, jutting rocks which the pictures of Great Falls shows.
We did a very difficult scramble (YDS Class 3), and the reason why is b/c we were climbing over a very narrow path of rocks, where you had to literally put your body alongside the rock to get to the whirlpool in the water. This whirlpool was immune from being carried down into the tide of the river, which is why Robert chose it, and was quite fascinating. It also got enough runoff from the falls that one still gets that great benefit of the falls and can feel it coming down, but is still safe from going anywhere. You do need to hang onto the rock once you got in the whirlpool. After being there, many people from above were wondering how we got in there, and I did not know how, I just followed Robert and Mary. I do know that with some Keens, I was pretty proud of myself to have done this with Keen Sandals, (which I wear up the Lincoln Park trail and have amazing traction) and I had to do a lot of maneuvering on slipper rocks to go where Robert had picked out. There was a lot of maneuvering to jut over rocks and I realized quickly, even though I was not in the Northwest, I was having my own outdoor scrambling adventure right here in my home state of Maryland! Once we got there, it was really beautiful. We sat in there for a long time, and we saw some young kids who wanted to know how to get down there. Robert had described to them how to get down there, and helped them into the whirlpool.
Lincoln Park (8/6/14)
I have been hiking once a week since I returned from my trip to Washington D.C. up the Lincoln Park “steep beach trail”, but do not really know if it has a formal name to it, which I will check with EastKing about. I feel I rediscover Lincoln Park every time I am there. Every time I am there, it looks different. Every time I am there, there is a subtle nuance or change in how it looks.
View from the top
When I had first hiked the trail when I got back from D.C. and ended up in the hospital from fatigue, jetlag and chest pains (that turned out to be really bad fatigue and fibromyalgia, and acid reflux), I was so slow and in so much pain, it took over 12 minutes or more for me to do the trail. It was physically painful. The second time the week before last, it was about nine minutes and then the last time, it was six minutes and 45 seconds. I love Lincoln Park, but cannot say I love this trail. It is very steep and it is a bit overwhelming at times to me. Physically, it is very hard for me to do at times, depending on how much energy or the shape I am or am not in that day.
I made it!!
Every time I go to Lincoln Park, which to me is a treasure of West Seattle, Seattle as a whole, and to be honest, one of the most beautiful parks and overall most beautiful places in Washington State. As someone who grew up on the East Coast, and in Washington D.C. specifically, we do not have a lot of city parks. City parks here are like ecstatically beautiful places that I cannot get enough of. I have yet to see a seal or an orca, but I have heard they can be spotted there. I love the picturesque view of the ferry over to Vashon Island, and I love how beautiful the entire coastline is framing the Puget Sound. I have had people blown away from my pictures of the park, and cannot believe it is right down the street from me. Lincoln Park…with its picturesque ferry flowing across the water, is my habitat, my sanctuary, and I feel not only like a “BearQueen” when I am going up the trail there, but I also feel like the ”queen of my domain” there.
Kelly Butte (8/10/14)
At the lookout
I will be writing this TR has its own special TR. This trip was clearly was clearly the highlight of the summer. It was not only highest, prettiest and toughest mountain I did this summer but the most entertaining. To write that section on this page would not do the trip justice.
Twin Falls (9/6/14)
This was a great hike for me because even though the road was closed, I had gone a few weeks without hiking and EastKing felt it would be a great idea for me to go. When we got to the top of the bluff where the trail stop due to damaging storms, we had grateful people who wanted to get a picture with their child and I was happy to take the pictures.
Twin Falls from the fenced in area
The best part when we came down was meeting a same sex couple with a young woman as one part of that couple who is struggling with her weight. It was inspiring and interesting to me to be an inspiration for her and to encourage her to keep going and make it to the top. The falls were still beautiful, but I was truly hoping to have been able to see them, but the area was blocked off.
I would have definitely made it to the Falls successfully and quickly and although I did struggle more on this one…It also was a wake up call, and shortly after this hike and Colquhoun Peak, I joined a support network and have dedicated myself wholeheartedly to this organization and program. I personally can't stand being the heavy, defenseless, bear anymore
Colquhoun Peak (9/13/14)
Staring down the eastern ledges.
This trail is one that I strongly recommend for those who want to do a fairly easy hike and see a beautiful view of Rainier and many other mountain ranges in the Northwest. EastKing tried to tall me that there were no views from this summit but luckily and clearly he was very wrong about this summit. I love this whole region…It is so rugged and pretty, and though EastKing has seen so much bigger and better, I truly enjoy being able to feel I still had a great workout, but I still get a big payoff in views. None of the hikes in this region seem too hard for me. This hike was truly amazing and beautiful, and I feel really blessed to have done it with Greg. It was truly beautiful on the way up. The forest was truly beautiful and very green.
BearQueen on the summit of Colquhoun Peak
As with other recent mountains, Greg was very supportive to me on the way up.The other great thing about this mountain (I am sure EastKing feels this a lot when he hikes something like Mt. Rainier an then can see it from every other mountain he has done!) is that I got to appreciate my work from Kelly Butte and respect that mountain. You could see that mountain from this summit and I was stunned at how dramatic that Kelly Butte really looked. I did some bellyaching on the way up due to carrying all of my heavy weight, but I made it.
EastKing enjoying the view
When I got to the top of this mountain, Greg and I rested in a very relaxing and peaceful rest, and I really enjoyed being able to do this with him. It is these moments that make it worth it to me. The view of Rainier to my right was so beautiful and there were many other beautiful views of Colquhoun Peak. It took us less than an hour to get off this mountain which is far less than the time that we spent on the summit. This peak was a great summit and thankfully EastKing was wrong about this summit lacking views.
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