Ryan and I had grand plans for hiking this summer. However, injuries can easily derail the best plans. First I sprained my foot, then Ryan found out dealt with lingering inflammation from a ripped tendon in his foot, then we both dealt with hamstring issues. (Apparently, we take marriage so seriously that we twin on injuries.)
This weekend, we had full plans to backpack on an 11 mile hike to a beautiful alpine lake. But then we found out Ryan had a minor lung infection, so we opted for a shorter hike instead. (If you know either of us, we’re not the best at completely resting.)
Besides, isn’t fresh mountain air supposed to be a good cure for anything?
Ryan and I are both morning people (Charlie, on the other hand, would sleep all day if we let him), so we prefer to start hiking at about 9 AM at the latest. It’s still chilly and silent in the mountains and the Disneyland crowds haven’t descended yet upon the trails. Yes, hiking does get that crowded out here – Seattle has a large population and many people are active out here.
Heather Lake was approximately an hour drive from our apartment, so we were able to start the hike early, relax at the summit, and still get home with plenty of leisurely Sunday time left.
We did Heather Lake back in the spring when all the mountains were still buried under a snow and some melting slush. I enjoy winter hiking quite a bit, but I feel like I don’t get a full view of everything when there’s so much snow. Since we decided to do an easy hike, repeating this short hike was a good idea. We knew the elevation wasn’t going to induce any huffing and puffing.
The hike itself was relaxing. The incline was so gentle (only about 1000 feet gain over 2.5 miles) that we didn’t even use our trekking poles.
As I mentioned on Monday, Charlie suddenly decided he was a water dog and played in the water for about 20 minutes. We tried to throw him sticks to fetch, but instead he stood about leg-deep in the water, stared in the wrong direction, and cried until we threw another stick.
We hiked around the lake this time, which we weren’t able to due in winter because I’m paranoid about avalanches. The far side of Heather Lake was stunning: steep boulder fields, wildflowers, and picturesque views of the water.
I mean, how breathtaking is this view? I felt like we were hiking in somewhere out of John Muir’s diary.
We found a little cove, set up our camp chairs (totally worth the weight on this short of a hike), and enjoyed our lunch of sunflower butter sandwiches by the water. Charlie, meanwhile, played in the water so more…and only after the fact did we realize how muddy this side of the lake was.
Honestly, that’s one thing I have developed an appreciation about hiking. You get a little muddy, but you survive. In fact, it’s actually fun. Five or six years ago, I would have not gone hiking (or at least, not in the appropriate shoes), but now it’s like running: I can’t quite imagine life without it.
Oh, and the deliciousness of a post-hike, post-shower meal is pretty great as well. After our hike, we picked up some Mediterranean tapas from our local market’s hot bar, cleaned up (especially the muddy puggle), and enjoyed our meal while watching the Olympic Men’s Marathon.
I’m getting excited for all the adventures that the final quarter of the year will bring us. Now that we’re (knock on wood) free of injury and illness, Ryan and I have plans to backpack, conquer some challenging hikes (including Gothic Basin again), and travel – Vermont, California, and possibly even Vancouver.
Most of all, it’s almost fall, which means perfect outdoor weather, colorful leaves, and all those delicious fall foods!
Linking up with Thinking Out Loud!
How do you handle it when injury or illness affects your plans?
Are you a morning person?
Other than running, what hobby or activity can you not imagine life without now?