Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lost On Tiger Mountain

Today we had planned to go to a matinee with some free movie tickets we've had for a long, long time. However, The Big Guy sent Zuli in to wake me up using the pounce-and-slurp method, and he followed close behind saying, "Get up! Get up! It's a beautiful sunny day and the dogs want to go for a hike on south Tiger!" He sweetened the deal by adding, "I'm going to go make oatmeal for us now! We'll go to the movie tonight." Thus, the plans were set, the oatmeal was eaten, and we set off on this clear, cold day.

The photos that will accompany this post today were not taken by me or anyone I know. If they were taken by you or anyone you know, please let me know and I will give proper credit. The reason will become clear as the tale unfolds.

There aren't really any tigers on Tiger Mountain, but tigers are cool-looking, and since I was stealing photos anyhow, I thought I'd include a cool tiger picture.

This actually is a photo from Tiger Mountain. There is also really snow on the ground right now, but not quite this much. Do you all see Bigfoot in this picture? I think I do. We did not see Bigfoot today, though.

Otter was very excited to go on a hike. All that running has really gotten him in shape!

This is a picture of Mt. Rainier from atop Tiger Mountain. It was a view very similar to this -- although much, much sunnier -- that prompted The Big Guy to say, "Hey, gimme the camera and I'll shield it from the sun so you can get a pic of the mountain." I reached for the camera in my belt pouch and came up empty. "You still have it," I said. But I was wrong. I had put in back in the pouch on the trail up after The Big Guy took a picture of the dogs and me. I even remembered not tucking the strap back in all the way, thinking that I should do that, and feeling a branch catch on the strap but not realizing it had pulled the camera out of the pouch. Undaunted, we turned around and retraced our steps, certain we would spot it on the way back.It looks like this. Or looked like this. Well, it still does, I'm sure.

The ground looked like this. You'd think it wouldn't be hard to spot. You'd be wrong. We didn't find it. My pretty pink camera was gone for good.

Zuzu was inconsolable. She really loved that camera.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Echo Lake, trail revisited

The last time we were here click to see it was very hot out. Today, it was very cold. And drizzly. You can tell by the fact that there are no other cars in the parking lot. That makes us bad-ass, doesn't it?

New Boonie hat, new windbreaker pullover, and spanky-new boots. More on them in a minute.

Our goal was not to get to the lake today -- not really enough daylight this time of year, as evidenced by the blurriness of this photo. The point of this journey was not to arrive.

What I loved about this hike the first time, I still found delightful -- many wonderful bridges spanning the river.

An homage to my new Lowa boots. Coincidentally, the first time I wore my last pair of new boots was on this hike and I took a pic of them on this bridge. Go click the link in the first sentence if you don't believe me. I really loved my other boots, but turns out my feet were soaked earlier this week on a hike, and when you pay as much for good waterproof boots as you would for a pair of Jimmy Choo's, wet feet are not acceptable. Thus my buttery Vasques were returned for a trade on these. The first hike in new boots is usually a little rough, but I completely forgot I had new boots on my very dry, snuggly feet. Piggie paradise.

The water was much clearer this time.

If you zoom in on this, you can see Zuli poking her head through the bridge. Nothing spectacular about that, I just thought it was cute.


The winner. Not much is pretty on day like today, but this sure was.

Somewhere in the picture is a group of five Canada geese who are going to be sorry if they don't fly a little further south soon.

The Amazing Flying Zuli! The humans used the rocks.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sourdough Gap (6 miles)

For the last week, we have been having what I would call quintessential autumn weather. Today we took advantage of that to revisit Sourdough Gap. We were last here almost exactly two years ago.

The trail begins parallel to Highway 410. If you go the other way across the road, you get to Dewey Lake

The first natural stopping point along the way is a pretty lake.

A very pretty lake.

Then the trail continues up, with a postcard view any way you look. It can feel strange to actually be in settings like this because even when you are, they still look like paintings and not something that can actually exist. Surreality.

Sourdough Gap.

The view and trail beyond. We have continued on in the past, but today our destination was only the Gap.

We climbed up over some rocks at the side to get to a little alcove that offered a bit of protection from the wind and a little sun to keep us warm while we noshed.

The Big Guy had a cheese sandwich. (and that water down there is the pretty lake I showed you.)

I had this.

Zuzu forgot to pack her lunch. Poor little Zuzu.

This little pipsqueak also forgot to pack lunch, and tried to steal my apple!

To top off this great day, stopped off at Wapiti Woolies where I found two new hiking shirts. This is all sounding a little too perfect, but I can't help it. It just was.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gold Creek 10-7-10 (7 miles)

The Big Guy had an extra day off and decided he'd like to ask his folks to join us on our hike at Gold Creek. His folks are both in their mid-70's and lifelong hikers. I hope we are going as strongly when we are their age. We have had several memorable hikes as a group, and this one did not disappoint.

Prepping for the hike: Mutti checks her pack, Vati laces his boots, and I show off the apres-hike chocolate bar Mutti brought us from Canada.

Some pretty red-headed lichen. These were only a sampling of the profuse plant life that has flourished this year due to the cooler, more humid conditions. Vegetable gardens didn't do as well, but under the forest's canopy the native vegetation exploded.

Zuzu and me squishing some lichen.

Still happily hiking after all these years, the day after their 51st anniversary.

There they go. They're all tall and faster than me.

Looking down on Gold Creek.

This man is looking for mushrooms. This man will not have to look very hard and will be richly rewarded. We hadn't planned on mushrooming on this hike, but we stumbled on so many gigantic King Boletes, Puffballs, and Delicious Milky Caps that we had to harvest.

See? Look at the size of the one in my hand! And these were only half of all the ones we picked. I don't even like mushrooms, but it was exciting to find what I know to be rare.

Something else that is rare happened...

As we were coming back on the trail, we came upon this large tree. The Big Guy stopped, and turned to us with a puzzled look on his face. "We didn't climb over any trees on the way out..." he said. No, we all agreed, we had not. Were we on the wrong path? No, there was only one, can't be mistaken. The answer -- the eerie answer -- was that this tree had fallen across the path after we had gone by. We all sort of stood there a moment absorbing that before going over and around it.

We were very thankful that this occurrence is a rare one indeed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Snoquera Falls 10-2-10 (6 miles)

When the sun won't come to you, then you must go to the sun.

On the west side of the Cascades, the low cloud cover made for a dark, gray day. A drive just over the southern pass, and the sky was cloudless. This hike was my pick, and although The Big Guy had been in the general area for mountain biking, neither of us had been to the falls.

Near the trailhead was an outdoor theatre. Zuzu was excited to see the show, but there was no matinee scheduled.

The forest floor was covered with the thickest, softest moss. The top of this rock was blanketed so thickly, it felt like a mattress.

Look Snoquera Falls!

Seriously, you don' t see them? There was some water spilling over the rocks but it was not the spectacle it is reputed to be. Still pretty cool rock face though, eh?

We had planned to only go to the falls, but the trail continued.
And so did we.

Glad we did, too.

Zuzu pauses to admire the sun-dappled forest.

And so did we.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mirror Lake: Then, Then, Then & Now

We don't often repeat hikes, but this one to Mirror Lake (6 miles) we've now done four times, three of those prior to me blogging and all in late September. I have combined pictures from then, then, then, and now. As you'll see, this trail offers a variety of terrain, which must explain our return visits. Happily and sadly, everything and nothing has changed.

As we rounded a bend in the forest service road, these brilliant
trees took our breath away. (2003)

The huckleberry bushes and frog ponds near the trail head. (2010)

Huckleberry Hunt (2008)

We were fascinated by our first digital camera, and the fall colors
gave us gorgeous subject matter. (2003)

Different camera, still gorgeous up there. (2010)

Crossing the scree field with Otter. (2003)

In the sun-dappled forest. (2010)

It was just pretty. (2003)

Me and my huckleberry hound. (2008)

I don't know what they're called, but I liked 'em. (2010)

When we were a two-dog family with Sheila and Otter. (2003)

The lavender stems of these flowers are as pretty without the blooms
as with, maybe prettier. (2010)

At the overflow where we stop for lunch every time. (2003)

Lunch with Zuli. (2010)

Mirror Lake (2007)

Our beautiful Sheila and Otter on their first hike to Mirror Lake. (2003) Pulling this photo up today made me so melancholy because neither of them could come today. They were happy at home, but we were woebegone without them.