It’s spring!! The equinox took place at 3:28am PST today! Hooray! At this latitude, that means the sun will start getting higher in the sky, and rising and setting closer to true East and West. For me, it also means (while still far and few between) a fraction more sunny hiking days. Or at least warmer rainy ones.
This weekend provided a beautiful, sunny Sunday, and with increased visibility comes an increase in the altitude gain of our hikes. Now, in case you didn’t know this, I am small. As in, the “short”length pants inseam is still 4 inches too long for my legs. “Pixie” or ankle-cut pants are the perfect full length for me. I’m short. Bryce on the other hand, is tall. Like, people-ask-how-the-weather-is-up-there tall. Well, they would if all of his friends weren’t also giants.
This is where the beauty of a challenge comes in to play. I will admit that, especially right now, I am not in the most fantastic shape. I’ve never been one for sports, or running, but I do enjoy pushing myself on hikes, backpacking trips, and bike rides (most of the time). Bryce on the other hand is one of those natural athletes. He doesn’t get deconditioned. This is a man who doesn’t workout, or actively try to exercise, but ask him to run 10 miles, climb a wall, or play 4 hours of basketball, he’ll do it without blinking an eye. This inherent ability combined with the fact that his legs are ridiculously longer than mine, means that I often have a hard time keeping up with him on the trail. Not just on the way up either as he often enjoys running back down the mountain, so I lose him there too.
This week I came to the conclusion that this is a good, perhaps even great thing. If anything it’s pushing my body’s limits, giving me a greater workout than the hike would provide if I were on my own. And this got me thinking; isn’t that the case in every aspect of life? I see so much value in being challenged by those around me. Whether it be Bryce, friends, or family; anyone who can make me think, help me do things I wouldn’t on my own, or force me to look at something from a different perspective. On top of walking super fast compared to my normal speed, Bryce and I also spent a good portion of the hike discussing marketing techniques (not that either of us do any marketing), potential modifications that could make backpacks more comfortable, how customizable they would need to be to fit different heights of adults, and much, much more. It was a wonderful way to spend a day in the sun working my body and brain.
I usually like to get my hiking done in the mornings, in fact for a long time this was a point of stress in my life because I felt like we always needed to be leaving earlier than we were (again, something people around me helped me let go of). This week, partially out of laziness, partially because of other plans and the prospect of sun, we hiked up Little Si with dinner late Sunday afternoon.
This was actually the third choice hike for the day, but google’s live tracker helped me eliminate Poo Poo Point and Rattlesnake Ledge because the parking lots were well above the previous peak capacity. When we pulled up to the Little Si trail head in North Bend, the parking lot was packed, and overflow filled. Thankfully, a minivan pulled out right as we showed up, and we got primo parking. I (of course) forgot my discover pass, which makes sense because I also forgot my camera which I bought specifically for these trips… I’m really good at that. BUT thankfully they have the whole pay on your phone thing, so after a little good-natured yelling at their website, we were on our way!
The nice thing about showing up to a trail around 3:45pm is that most people are on their way down, and once we got about half way, the path was pretty empty. For a long time I definitely thought we were going the wrong way. There are signs that do appear to be pointing in the right direction(ish), but we spent a lot of time on relatively flat, or declining grade on the way to the peak. We also passed quite a few groups of climbers working their way up pretty established, anchored routes starting in the forest and working up towards the summit.
Despite the quiet trail, the top was packed! Lots of people taking pictures and hanging out. Nonetheless, we had our picnic (ravioli in a garlic sauce with mushrooms and onions with a fruit salad, yum!) and soaked in the mountains and sun surrounding us. We were still way to early for sunset, but that’s alright because it meant we had light on the way back down. Round trip was listed at 4.7 miles, with an elevation gain of about 1300 feet. That being said, I didn’t wear my pedometer (like I said, I forget stuff) so this is based off WTA’s site. It was a beautiful day to get outside, and I would definitely do this hike again! Though maybe not in the next 47 weeks 😉