Sunday, February 18, 2007

Just toodling along...Mt Si and other bits of news

After waking up at a somewhat early 8.15 am courtesy of the doggie call of nature, I managed to add about 9 pictures and more text to the A Day at Grand Palace post. This took quite a bit of babying as the picture uploading process was (yet again) quite slow. I hope all of you find some time to appreciate and ooh and aahh over Stu's pictures. I only have another 20 or so more to patiently upload. (! and to think just those 9 took about 1 hr with many breaks to allow for uploading time!)

Andrew, Sophie and I hiked up Big Mt. Si yesterday. The weather was *beautiful* and the view at the top was lovely. We could see most of Mt. Rainier except for a little wispy cloud just teasingly draped over the peak. There were plently of friendly dogs with their mostly friendly counterparts. In case you're wondering, this is a photo from Cascadiagirl's blogging site devoted to things to do around Seattle for little moolah. I actually just googled for a picture of Mt Si and whaddya know, the best one just happens to be from a Seattle blogger.

Mt Si is about an 8 mile round trip hike, with a fair amount of elevation gain (nearly 4000 feet, but you start off at around 500 feet or so) The elevation gain is gracefully and very civilly --perhaps too much so--splayed out amongst switchbacks and more than a few wooden-dirt or rocky staircases. For those of you hikers who are yet to invest in a forest pass, this is a good pass required and a good practice run for getting in shape for your larger-pack overnighter trips. The outlook at the crest is quite rewarding, and for those with more energy (such as my crazy husband) there is a potential for some scrambling just a bit beyond that outlook. That was something I had no energy for yesterday. =)

Unfortunately the downsides to this hike were many. I'd known that this was a very popular hike which I'd wanted to do for a long time. Overall it was quite crowded. I guess I was naively hoping the chilly time of year would deter a few hikers, even though the day was just lovely. And for some inexplicable reason, I observed more than a few folks who seem to feel the urge not to run UP the trail, but run DOWN the trail. We overheard quite a few loud conversations that seemed to have everything to do with technology-based work. It's definitely the epitome of the yuppie "look at me, here I am hiking in the great outdoors" sort of locale.

I can understand trail running, but the odd thing was we saw people walking up, and then running down....hmmmf... all in designer trail-runner gear. Somehow methinks that these might be the type of folks who are inclined to casually mention to whomever might listen, "Oh yeah...I did some trail running on Mt Si this weekend" and just as casually neglect to mention that the running only included about the downhill segment.

I had a difficult time understanding this half-hearted trail runner appeal, especially after the 5th time I squeezed myself onto the very edge of the trail on our return to allow passage for a red-faced runner pounding over the rocks. I was quite glad to get out of the city and have a little outdoor time with my sweetie and the ever-amusing Sophie. Even if I was a bit low on energy that day and had trouble finding my 'pace' (which eventually becamse probably one of the slowest paces I have ever kept=) I truly enjoyed being in the forest.

I still believe the entire point of hiking has everything to do with leaving your everyday life behind and just enjoying what you are a part of that day...just toodling along and taking it all in with your 5 senses. It has nothing to do with racking up accomplishments, hashing over the details of your working life, or showcasing your newest designer workout gear while dispersing a billion other hikers in the process.

I think next time we hike, we'll stick to our usual hiking priorities: isolation, beauty, and off-leash potential for the dog.


Jen said...

Hhmmm...sounds like southeastern Idaho might fit some of your hiking priorities! :)

Cascadia Girl said...

Hey RaeCatherine,

Thanks so much for the photo bi-line and the link!

I had to chuckle when I read this. My dog Sophie was on the hike I took when I snaped that pic.

I have a piece on dog-life in Cascadia on my Cascadia Song blog (complete with a shot of Sophie's cute mug), in case you might be interested.

Hail Springtime!