Lake Twenty Two

I miss getting high

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I got REAL high on this hike
I got REAL high on this hike

It’s true. I haven’t experienced the high I get while hiking in the Pacific Northwest since our end of September hiking adventure.¬†Shortly after that hike we traveled to Hawaii for a couple weeks and the two hikes we had planned to complete there were a bust.

On the Big Island of Hawaii the heat and humidity were the hike-spoilers for us. We’re not fair weather hikers – we’ve hiked in the rain and extremely cold temperatures before – but heat is a deal breaker for us. Even in Washington state we hike early in the day or not at all if temps on the trail will be 80 or above.

img_0151Then on the island of Maui – where temps near Haleakala crater were guaranteed to be in the 50s – we gathered our gear, climbed into our rental car, drove up eight miles of a single lane, severe hairpin-turn paved road, only to arrive at the dirt road that would lead us to the trailhead and find it was only traversable by 4-wheel drive vehicle. We’re veteran hikers so as I always do before a hike, I checked the trip reports and the State of Hawaii hike descriptions for any pertinent info we might need for that day’s adventure. There was no mention of the hazards requiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle and we sure as hell didn’t want to place our rental vehicle in jeopardy so we turned around.

That's Mt. Rainier, folks. Our early August hiking destination.
That’s Mt. Rainier, folks, where we hiked early August

Disappointing, but at least I knew the week after we returned from our vacation we’d be scheduling a hike that would once again expose us to the expansive beauty we’ve grown to appreciate during our weekly hiking adventures.

Me & my hiking partner/hubby, on the Lake Twenty Two hike.
Me & my hiking partner/hubby, on the Lake Twenty Two hike.

Fast forward to the morning after our late night return when yours truly missed the last stair as I ambled down to the first floor of our house and twisted my left ankle. Mind you, this is the same ankle that has managed to climb over rocks and boulders with nary an ankle tweak; an ankle that has even managed to jump off said boulders victorious and proud to be alive!

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Kendall Katwalk that was NOT a cake walk

And let’s not forget THIS adventure where I conquered massive challenges and came out smelling like roses – or at least without any mangled body parts.

Alas, I accept my lot in life – knowing it’s only temporary – but not knowing how one might define “temporary” is a bit troubling for this Rocky Mountain High-kind of person.

img_0199Yep, I miss and crave the hiking high I’ve grown to love this past year, but there’s no need to feel sorry for me. My current situation has forced me to finalize the preparations leading up to writing my third novel in the 2016 NaNoWriMo month-long competition that begins November 1st.

I guess this is what was supposed to happen in order for me to write that bestseller over which publishers will surely clamber! If that’s the case I can be grateful that it will be awhile before I can satisfy my addictive cravings.

60 is the new 40 … kind of

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I’m in my early 60s and I’ll be damned if I’ll use my age as an excuse to be inactive. Not on your life … certainly not on mine.

Rattlesnake Ledge: 1100 ft elevation gain; 6/1/2016
Rattlesnake Ledge: 1100 ft elevation gain; 6/1/2016

Since my husband retired late April of this year, we’ve managed to go hiking every week. (It’s such a luxury being able to do so on the less-crowded weekdays.) Prior to coming down with the hiking bug, we would look for a trail with an elevation gain FAR below 1000 feet. To be more honest, we only chose trails with a couple hundred feet elevation gain.

Elevation gain = degree of steepness of the trail

Now we choose trails with at least a 1300 foot elevation gain.

Why?

Wallace Falls: 1300 ft elevation gain; 7/1/2016
Wallace Falls: 1300 ft elevation gain; 7/1/2016

Our goal is to hike Mt. Si, 8 miles RT and 3150 elevation gain, by the end of September. That’s 1850 additional feet elevation gain than the hike we completed on July 1st.

Lake Twenty Two: 1350 elevation gain; 7/3/2016
Lake Twenty Two: 1350 elevation gain; 7/3/2016

The hike we completed with my husband’s daughters on July 3rd was difficult because of all the massive rocks and boulders we had to maneuver through…I got a good bruise on my leg when my maneuvering wasn’t all that successful. (See below for the terrain.)

We have been training for the Mt. Si hike by walking in our very hilly neighborhood. We’ve labeled each training walk in the following manner: The Wall, The Monster, The Broadhurst Monster, The Figure Eight Double Monster. We’re very pleased with our increased physical endurance and lung capacity as a result of said training walks. And of course, each and every hike we take, we increase the elevation gain and the length of the hike, all the while enjoying the beauty Pacific Northwest hiking destinations have to offer.

You may ask, “Why in the hell is Irene boring us with her husband’s and her hiking exploits? Sure sounds as though she’s bragging.”

Oh, I’m not bragging, not in the least. I’m celebrating my husband’s and my decision to push through the pain and discomfort and to stretch the boundaries of what we thought we were capable of doing. Speaking for myself, being 60-ish has brought a few health challenges, not the least of which is pretty severe arthritis in both feet, several ruptured discs and tears in my lumbar spine area, and an internal issue or two that sometimes chain me to my house.

But you wanna know something? I had a good teacher when I was growing up in the form of my mother who had severe rheumatoid arthritis. She was diagnosed with RA as a teenager.

Mom made the decision early on in her life to keep moving.

Mom with Erin, 3 days after my daughter was born. 1976
Mom with my daughter, 3 days after Erin was born. 1976

My mother declared that she would rather be active and hurt more, than stay at home and hurt slightly less.

And that’s what my husband and I are doing. Let’s face it – we’re not getting any younger and every day we waste can never be retrieved and lived over. As the old saying goes, “This ain’t no dress rehearsal, folks.”

I’d rather squeeze what I can from every day I’m given … and then apply the multitude of ice packs we have at home to our various body parts when we return home to celebrate our accomplishments. What can I say, it works for us and it makes us extraordinarily happy being able to do these activities together.