This is Mount Si, the closest big thing to Seattle (only 31 miles away, which means lots of unprepared, inappropriately dressed hikers). I went by myself since Dave was off doing a bike race all weekend, and it was a good thing, since I was moving too fast to have a conversation! Or maybe I'm just too out of shape to move that fast and be able to breathe enough to talk...
Hike Stats: Mount Si (5/13/06)
Distance: 4 miles up, 4 miles down (go figure)
Elevation gained: ~3600 ft
Time up: 1:30
Time down: 1:20
Time at the top: 45 minutes
That, for the non-Pacific Northwesterners, is Mount Rainier, looking resplendent in her winter coat. I have to say, this hike is going to cause me problems for the rest of the hiking season, because I did it so quickly. I have to admit this is my third journey up Mt. Si, because it's close to town and the max. elevation is fairly low, so there isn't a snow issue, which keeps us from some of the other nice mountains until July. So, I've done this before, and I know how long it takes, and it's usually much longer, and I've never done it under 2 hours up. Yesterday I blazed up this thing, and now I'll be competing with myself all summer to not go slower up whatever else I happen to be hiking on. All of our mountains out here are similar to this one, in the 8 miles roundtrip, 3000-4500 ft of elevation gain, and now I'm going to be disappointed in myself if I go slower. Or I will bring Dave, and blame him if we're slower. Yes, that will be the ticket. This was a pretty tough hike, and my legs are feeling it today, but that is what I get for a winter of moderate inactivity...there wasn't a lot of wildlife spotted, except for two snakes (one garter, one black) that slithered across the trail in front of me on my way down and almost gave me a heart attack. I'm not scared of snakes but I'm never really expecting to see them so they always make me jump.
Since I was by myself, there was plenty of time for contemplation on the nature of hiking up things. I'm into hiking up stuff - give me a mountain that doesn't require crampons and an ice axe and I'm there, hoofing it to the top, where I turn into a summit sitter. I get up there, eat my sandwich (always PB&J) and other assorted snacks (apple, granola bar, chocolate), sit around, talk to whoever else is there, etc., until I get cold (funny how it's always cold and windy on the top of mountains) or decide I really must get moving before the wildlife runs off with my car. This is all to avoid having to hike down the mountain. As much as I like hiking uphill, I despise hiking down. For me, the downhill is the irritating part between the summit and the parking lot.I realize this is the opposite of what most sane people think, but I have my reasons. First off, hiking uphill is where the exercise is. Sure, you're still hiking on the way down, and it's not easy, but when it comes to sheer calorie-burning and muscle toning, uphill is the way to go. Secondly, hiking downhill is really hard on the body. Tough on the muscles and jarring on the joints. I'm young but my knees already don't like that much stress. Lastly, and this is probably kind of unique to me, I'm a klutz. I trip a lot. On rocks, roots, loose gravel, etc. I do this going uphill and downhill, but it's more difficult to recover from without incident when you've got gravity on your side. It's pretty hard to hurt yourself falling up a hill, but you can certainly fall pretty good on the way down. Because I'm a klutz I've developed pretty good reflexes, so I recover well, but still...So, there you go, Emily's dissertation on hiking.
Now the knitting: I dyed some yarn on Saturday. Here is one of the skeins, which is for a swap. I won't say which one, since it's a secret :)