Well folks, we’ve all heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Given that, it truly was with the best of intentions that I planned the outing today for Michelle and I. She has told me for the last couple of years that she wanted to go hiking, So, with a 4 day weekend coming here (we took today off from work!) I picked a trail for us to go….
Long time readers will remember that Michelle has an auto immune disease (related to arthritis). It hit her in her 40s with a vengeance. Prior to doing so, she was in amazing shape and, in fact, conquered Mt St Helens.
This, over the years, has affected her ability to work out and stay in shape. Being the person she is, though, she has powered through it, and now completes half marathons.
Even with this, the up and down of hiking is something completely different. Hiking can be hard on the body for anyone who hasn’t done it for a while, let alone someone with a chronic condition that makes her joints hurt every day.
My job was to pick the first hike. I thought about it and decided on Heather Lake! Seemed like a perfect choice… (For the record it was over 5 years ago the last time I took this trail…. but I am getting ahead of myself!)
So we were up at 6 AM today, and after a run to Starbucks and breakfast we were out the door! Yesterday, I went old school and printed out the directions to the trailhead. It was kinda fun NOT using a GPS and reading the directions.
Sadly, the trip to the trail head was NOT that stellar. As we were heading for Granite Falls on SR 92, a dump truck, going the opposite direction, showered the cars traveling our direction with a hail of rocks! Sure as hell, we ended up with a chipped windshield! I have an appointment next week to get it fixed.
When we hit Granite Falls, I knew where I was going so we didn’t bother with the directions… Yeah we ended up on a dead-end road….
OK! We made it to the trailhead! We are good to go. The bug spray we have won’t spray, but I opened it up and poored it on my hands to get it in the correct place, once done, we took off down the trail. Then, 100 yards later, it just disappeared….
OK, somehow, when we parked, I missed this sign
So we headed down the wrong path. Luckily, we knew it was better to go back to the starting spot. Once we did we found the correct trailhead… Wanna know one reason that I know Michelle loves me? With all this, she still followed me to the hike.
OK, I really like this hike. As you go along, you see stumps dating back to the old growth forests, some even have the notches that lumberjacks used to hold the boards they needed to stand on. These stumps were huge!
Now part of the trail was relatively easy..
Part was pretty
But most of it was HARD! Rocks, roots, mud and even a stream running right through it.
Honestly, a trail that I thought, would be a great, and relatively easy stroll in the Cascades turned into a death-march. The worst thing for someone with joint issues is STEEP steps with unstable footing. I suggested more than once that we turn around, but there is no way she was going to give up. Up she went. DAMN I was proud of her!
Then, when got close, we ran into this
Yep the trail was covered by snow. Sometimes this is NOT a bad thing. So I did a quick recon mission across it. Sure as hell, more than once I postholed! That means the snow gave way and I sunk all the way in. It was clear on the other side for a bit, then more snow. Michelle was willing to go on, but I made the call, time to go down…. So after all the poor girl went through, she never even saw the lake…
The trip down was faster but still hard. Both of us were using muscles that hadn’t seen work in quite a long time! Both she and I slipped at times, as we were getting tired, but we made steady progress back to the car.
One thing a I can’t explain is this: Here is my leg
Here is her’s
How did she stay so clean???
We got to the car and made a beeline to the local general store. Michelle had a diet coke and her first chips (Doritos) of 2017! She earned it!
I went for Gatorade and my weakness, Hostess orange cupcakes!
YUM!!! Our very hungry tummies were satisfied for a bit….
The original plan was to get done with the hike and go to a local town, LaConner for lunch. Michelle started thinking, though, about traffic. Today was the Friday before Memorial Day, one of the WORST traffic days in the Seattle area. Had we gone up there, we might still be stuck in southbound traffic!
We hit plan B and headed for Woodinville! It has good food and good wine!
Siri was giving us directions, but suddenly I knew where I was! We were at an intersection I use all the time when I do one of my regular rides! I shut off the GPS, and hung a left! 15 minutes later we were in town. 30 minutes after getting there we each had a great lunch in front of us!
The best part, though, is how Michelle felt when she got out of the car. Yep, she was tired, but all the walking she has done getting ready for her half marathon has paid off! She was walking faster than I was, and for the most part, nothing at all was hurting! 4.58 miles, and 1500 feet of climbing over slippery, rocky and tough terrain did not bother her at all! I have one bad ass wife who is tougher than I am! Good job lady!!
The next hike we will research a bit more, and I will be sure to get her approval!