Sunday, March 30, 2014

Out of the rain

I added my food bag to my pack today. I am carrying 33.5 pounds now. It includes everything I will be carrying on my PCT attempt in 2016. We'll see if this spurs me to start looking how to lighten the load!

This morning it was just Deb, me and Bridget. 
That means, "crazy walk"!

Deb at the toy stump. Getting a bit trashy now.
Our first stop was at the "toy stump". The mountain bikers have left little trinkets and toys. But unfortunately, it has become somewhat trashy. 

The trail meanders through sword ferns & mossy trees.

Deb was leading today. She headed out in an area we usually don't walk much because the trails meander and circle too much. However, we did walk through some beautiful forest, with sword ferns and trees with their mossy coats.

Cranberry Bog
We ended up at Cranberry Bog. The water level is really high. We wondered how some of the trees could stay alive with their roots covered?

We crossed the main trail and ended up at the cross-roads area. It is a place where two trails cross. We always stop here and make piles of rocks. Sometimes we spin around inside the perimeter of the rock piles... for good luck, to gain positive energy from the cosmos? I'm sure that's what happens!

We followed Ravensdale creek back to the forest road and got back to the car. Our walk was just over two hours. The picture below shows the beauty of some of the trails we walk. Can you spot Bridget?
Moss, ferns, roots and spongy trail. Bridget is saying, "come on guys, look what's up here!"

My legs and feet are feeling the extra pack weight today. But, I feel good. I am sure glad I am training with this pack weight. I can't imagine starting on a long backpacking trip having not carried the weight. It would be brutal.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Back in the rain

I hate starting off on a hike while upset. My truck is acting up and took several minutes to get started. So I arrived in a bad mood and it just seemed to carry forward on our walk. 

It was light enough to walk without headlamps, so we made good time getting to Lake Sawyer. We met a man walking his dog and listened to the geese squawking out on the lake.

Debbie at Lake Sawyer. Lots of geese this morning.
We followed the trail that goes along the east side of Ravensdale creek. I lagged back, feeling a bit tired. As it turns out, Debbie was walking a bit more quickly this morning, so maybe it wasn't just me.We finally stopped at the top of the ravine, because I mentioned that I was way too hot with my coat on. 

I took the opportunity to try out my SticPic, making the comment that it seemed to take hours to simply take off my coat and put it in my pack. I really feel like a "newbie" in how I handle packing my things. I'm sure it will get better over time.

Of course, as soon as we all changed out of our coats, it started to rain. We stopped about ten minutes later and put our coats back on. The rain continued for the rest of our hike.

Patti is going to a movie tomorrow morning, so it will be just Deb & I. Debbie wants to go on a crazy hike, which means that we will take trails that we normally don't travel. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, so it might be a soggy walk.

Patti (in the red coat), bud, and Debbie head down the trail in the rain

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lake Washington from Coulon Park Trail
During the week, I am very fortunate to work right next to Coulon Park in Renton, Washington. There is a wonderful trail that runs alongside Lake Washington. I walk its entire length at lunch. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

We conquered Palmer Peak!

Bud, Deb and Bob at the top of Palmer Peak
I love mornings that lead to a sunny day. 

We left on our hike at 6:30 and I suggested that we scramble to the top of the slag hill just behind the Palmer Coking Coal offices. 

None of us know the real name for the hill, if there is one, but I just decided that it must be Palmer Peak. It's a fitting name. It is the highest point on the property, and it gives views for miles around.

Patti brought her pack today, and is carrying her three-person tent and her new sleeping bag. She wasn't sure how she'd do carrying weight up the hill, but she did GREAT! We paused at the top, snapped a few pictures, and then headed down to finish our walk.

As we headed onto the paths, we found a spot where someone has started to build a tepee! How fun!

The main trail was beautiful as the sun was just coming up over the horizon.

And the woods were magical with filtered sun.

All in all, a great day for a hike!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday without rain!

I've made the decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. Sure, it's still two years away, but at my age, I need all the training I can get!

Bob with his ULA Catalyst pack
This Saturday started off cold (29 degrees), but at least it wasn't raining. It was just Patti and me this morning, since Deb had to work today. I am always amazed at my pack. I chose the ULA Catalyst pack pack, which is light-weight, strong, and fits me well. I am always amazed at how heavy the pack feels when I lift it up, but how light it feels when I am wearing it. I guess that shows that the pack is distributing the weight correctly.

Today we hiked the bike trails. Met in Black Diamond at 6:15 and headed off on our normal two-hour circuit. We only had to use our headlamps for the first ten minutes because it is getting light earlier and earlier now. We walked to Lake Sawyer and then followed Ravensdale creek to where it meets the Maple Valley highway. We then followed the old train track trail back to our starting point.

I need to find a better way to access my camera. I have been putting it in the back pack belt pocket. I works well as a storage location, but I find that I don't use it when using my trekking poles. So today, I decided to strap the poles to my pack, and carry my camera. Maybe there is a better way to store the camera, so it can be grabbed at a moments notice?
Patti, the dogs, Bridget and Bud, with Mount Rainier in the distance. Almost back to the cars after a good walk.

Nice walk today. We could see Mount Rainier and heard the geese as they were headed to the lake. Ravensdale creek is really running high, with all the rain for the past several weeks. Saw a couple of Mallard ducks swimming in the creek.