Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scaling mountains

Hi, Mama, from a continent away!

I blame my recent lack of blog updates entirely on Alan - who, to my absolute delight, was in town for nearly a week - and I, therefore, have been preoccupied.

There are (generally brief) times in my life when journaling/blogging falls away, because I'm so overwhelmed with the present moment, and not wanting to miss a second of it...and it's a good thing when that happens.

Example: Seyeon and I headed out to meet up with a couple of my friends from REI at the Seattle Art Museum last week, and after we'd left, I realized I'd forgotten my camera. Initially, I was really disappointed I had - and Seyeon and I both arrived at identical jokes in the same moment: Damn, I'd have to just live in the moment instead, for once.

But of course, I can't help wanting to write about things, too. An experience doesn't generally feel complete to me until I get to put it into words.

The last five days have been a lot like that. I got a few days off from work, and Alan and I drove up north to the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest early Tuesday morning. I've gotten a zillion hiking recommendations from customers at REI, and a particular favorite repeat-customer (to his delight, I greeted him by name the last time he came in, and told him he was officially a regular) had raved about Granite Falls and Mount Pilchuck. Bless the internet; I was able to find fantastic directions to the Mount Pilchuck trailhead - a good seven miles up a gravelly access road - and privy to stunning views already, before the hiking even began.


The hike itself was fairly rigorous - a lot of steep, rocky terrain and boulders to clamber over - but proffered incredible views of the Cascade Mountains the whole way up....Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and several dozen others I can't yet name. It was busier on the way down, but on the way up, we had the trail nearly to ourselves. The weather was perfect - cool, almost cold, in the shade, but the sun out and cloudless skies. After a solid three hours going up, we arrived at the Mount Pilchuck Lookout, a small building constructed in 1919!

The view from the top.

The happy hikers.

Trees in the Northwest are so tall.


Also, we saw a snake! (Two of them, actually.)

Other highlights of the week: both of us trying Ethiopian food for the first time with Seyeon and Paul, lying on our backs in the afternoon sun on a hill in Gasworks Park, watching the sunset while cruising around Lake Union on my friend Zanna's boat, walking up and down Seattle's hilly neighborhoods, sharing Guinness in the U-District, and naturally, just all the hours spent catching up and making up for the weeks we'd been apart.

My theme song this week has been Owl City's "Hello Seattle". In his words:

Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer
in the hills and highlands...

Hello Seattle, I am a manta ray
Deep beneath the blue waves
I'll crawl the sandy bottom of Puget Sound
and construct a summer home.

Hello Seattle, I am a cold seahorse
Feeling warm in your sand
I sing about the tide and the ocean surf
Rolling in the evening breeze...

1 comment:

  1. Yitka,
    What stunningly beautiful scenery! Thanks for taking your friends and family along on the hike, through photographs. I love the picture of you, doing yoga,with the backdrop of gorgeous mountain peaks behind- just beautiful! I can't think of a more romantic view. It must have been wonderful to have that time with Alan in such an amazing setting.

    I did some googling and think I might have identified the snake in your photo. It looks like it might be the common garter snake "Thamnophis sirtalis" of the subspecies "pickeringi." You can copy and paste the name into Google and click on images, to see if you agree. Since we have had our land, I've become a big fan of snakes. They are such interesting creatures and also control the rodent population around our campsite and shed. I much prefer having a couple of snakes around, than having our campsite and outbuildings overrun with mice!

    I hope life continues to be full of adventure, friends and good times!

    Aunt Kathy