Thursday, January 28, 2010

Balmy January invites cookies, flasks, & a whole lot of running

(I'm skipping the obligatory apology for not updating in awhile...)

Sunrise in Seattle, as seen from my living room window.

The January warmth continues here in the Northwest - another 55-degrees-and-sunny day today. And yesterday. Despite work keeping me busy, I've taken a fair amount of advantage of the nice days. It's been well over a month since I've set foot inside 24 Hour Fitness here, despite a gym membership being on my list of "non-negotiables" when I first moved out here, broke as I was. But I don't particularly miss the stifling, sweaty gym environment - at least not when there's fertile soil and crisp air and mountains and sunshine on the other side of the glass. Kansas City's brutally humid summers and Ohio's brutally cold winters made me forget that in some places, playing outdoors is not a seasonal privilege.

This weekend (after a 7:45 a.m. SAT proctoring session for 75 high schoolers out east in Issaquah), I will be trekking up solo to the San Juan Islands to do some volunteer trail work and restoration, and scout out the scenery for my 25K there the following weekend. Hopefully should have some good photos from the adventure...

Last week, a good bunch of us from REI trekked up to Rattlesnake Ledge at night. I'd never really done a night hike before, but given solid advice on night hike protocol by my seasoned coworkers, I packed for the occasion:

The cookies were a plus. Other folks brought: more cookies, McDonald's cheeseburgers, snap pea crisps, beef jerky...

The beer (Great Lakes' Christmas Ale, all the way from Cleveland - courtesy of Alan's thoughtful kindness this past Christmas, knowing of my undying love for the stuff) was less of a good idea. Everybody else, wisely, had bottles of wine, flasks of scotch and bourbon, and Nalgenes of unidentified mystery liquids - basically, beverages that don't leave you learning for a port-a-potty when you're on top of a mountain. Oh and learn. I still enjoyed my Xmas Ale.

This is what we climbed up to the top of:

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)

And by night, here's what the view looks like:

...with a 60-second exposure.

Despite a bit of a rainy start to that day, the night wound up being perfect. A little chilly at the top, but clear enough to see thousands of stars that you inevitably miss out on living in a city, and an all-around beautiful evening to share with new friends.

The crew.

Other adventures of the week include an 11.5-mile trail run with Tom and his friend Laszlo on Cougar Mountain out east, a solo 25K run along Lake Washington and along some urban trails, a MovNat session up in Shoreline yesterday, and an urban night run around Capitol Hill last night with a container of cookies in search of my friend Jenica's apartment for a night of microbrews & Talking Heads & playing games & eating cookies (obviously a big part of my life this week.) I was also all set to go for a long road bike ride with friends on Monday, and go snowshoeing at the foot of Mount Rainier today - but life got in the way of both of those, unfortunately, as it's been a bit of a crazy week in Yitka's Freelance Life...but there will be opportunities again, undoubtedly.

Finally, Oberlin Run-ins of the Week: Walking down a misty street on Capitol Hill one early morning and only running into one other person on the sidewalk, who happened to be none other than Emma, who graduated in the same class at Oberlin as I. of the students I'm tutoring looked me up on Facebook and saw that we had a mutual friend - someone whom I knew from meeting at the Oberlin alumni picnic this summer, and my student knew because it was his biology teacher from last year. Awesome.

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