Downpours, Heights, and Costco: Week 10

Okay, so first of all, I can’t believe it’s already been 10 weeks. February feels like is was 2 weeks ago, and now it’s almost May! How? Impossible. I don’t get it.

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Loki agreeing that I shouldn’t do homework.
I was just lamenting to a friend the tedium of adult life. You know; bills, having to go to work, worrying about things like benefits, if you should be saving for retirement, what the heck is a Roth IRA, and do I really have to make decisions that could alter where I live, what I do 45+ hours a week, and what I can afford to do in what scarce time I have off? Couldn’t there be an opt-out button somewhere so I can worry about things like, “how are we going to save the planet and provide healthcare access to millions of humans?”, and not like, “what should I make for dinner because I’m kinda tired of chicken?”….

But then I remembered something… I can eat cake for dinner. Like any time I want, I can drive my car to the store, buy some cake an eat it. It can be any hour of the night, I could go during my lunch a work, I could go at 6:00am, and it would probably be deliciously fresh. Everything feels just a little bit easier when you know that worst comes to worst, if the world feels completely overwhelming, and I just can’t take it, I can say “F*CK IT!” and go to the store and stuff my face with the most delicious coping mechanism known to man. Mmmm cake.

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Mattress in a box.
This week I did not give up on life nor give in to cake. In fact, I was very good whilst walking through Costco for a decent hour on Saturday. We did get new pillows (another very adult-feeling buy) to go with the new mattress I also caved and bought online (like seriously, is this my life now??). But after spending way too long in bed, way too long watching Bill Nye Saves the World while eating breakfast, way to long in Costco, and yet more time in the bulk-food section of Fred Meyer (you can never spend too long in a bulk food section), there was no time for a hike. So Bryce and I headed into the mountains Sunday afternoon, again, after spending probably too long lounging in bed.

– Week 10 –

So the reason Bryce and I bought a new mattress is because we’ve both been waking up with back pain every morning. It’s a vicious cycle: wake up, feel awful, try to stretch it out all day, finally feel okay at night, go to sleep, repeat. Horrid. So Sunday was no different for me, and my entire left side was burning as we took off down Highway 2. I picked a pretty short hike which had come highly recommended by multiple patients, and was just inside the boundary of the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, Heybrook Lookout.

To get to Heybrook from Everett you have to drive through a few small towns, and one big one (Monroe). Between these towns is one of the presumably coolest places I want to visit. The Reptile Zoo. Now, I am not an all-inclusive reptile person. I don’t like snakes. At. All. In fact, my sister will tell you that I have a snake-specific scream that she can imitate perfectly. But the reptile zoo is special, because outside the zoo, there is a Texan BBQ restaurant run out of not one, but two, retired yellow school buses. It’s school bus BBQ! How can you go wrong? Well, right as we drove past this magical combination of salmonella-filled creatures** inside, and delicious BBQ outside, the sky opened, and enough water to fill the pacific poured over my car. At this point the words “if it’s doing this at the trail head, we’re going home” poured out of Bryce’s mouth and I couldn’t help but agree with one caveat. “If it’s doing this at the trail head, we’re going to The Reptile Zoo!”

** Reptiles have cloaca, the same excretory system as birds (like chicken) which tends to be an excellent place for the salmonella bacteria to grow.

Fortunately or not, it wasn’t raining by the time we reached the tiny pull-in off the highway which marked the start of the trail. As we began our ascent, it was noticeably noisy climbing up away from the highway, but it quieted down to near silence after a quarter mile or so. I will say, this quarter mile felt like much longer on the way up, than it did on the way down. This trail is steep! Only about 1.3 miles each direction, I was huffing and puffing the whole way. Bryce kept trying to talk to me and I kept trying to explain between gasps that I can’t talk and breathe at the same time. At least not when my lungs are asking for that much oxygen.

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The trail was pretty, lots of ferns, and mossy trees, but more interesting than either of those was the Trillium we saw in bloom! I’ve been told repeatedly that Trillium only bloom once every 7 years, though google doesn’t seem to agree. Either way, they are considered an endangered plant in areas of Canada and the US, so they were special to get to see.

At the top of the trail stood the main attraction, the actual Heybrook Lookout tower. We couldn’t spend much time looking up at it’s impressive facade as it started to rain as we entered the clearing, so after taking a quick break at the bottom, we headed up the narrow stairs. About half way up the tower I remembered something; I am a little bit afraid of heights… There is something about looking through the slats of those stairs that made me a little shaky, but I continued to climb, just reminding myself to look up. I’m very glad I did, because the view from the top, though partially impeded by clouds, was beautiful, and it was a great place for lunch! (Tuna wraps and fruit salad if you’re curious.)

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Also interesting note here: remember that back pain, I had been feeling all day, all day the day before, and left one side of my body just burning? By the top this hike? Gone. Exercise and the human body are pretty freaking awesome things, and I’m so happy I’ve had the chance, and will keep getting chances to study them!

We headed back down as the winds started to pick up, and made great time clambering down the trail, as opposed to slowly struggling up it! we drove back through more rain, and agreed that the school bus BBQ/Reptile Zoo (with lots of hand washing) is on our list for date night. 🙂

The trail itself was only 2.6 miles round trip, but I tell you, that elevation felt extreme at some parts! All in all, a nice weekend adventure.

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