Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mailbox and Si in 1 Day / Walking like Frankenstein today

Mailbox peak last summer
So in preparation for various mountain climbing plans this summer (Mike and Katy are doing Rainier and the usual gang of four are doing Baker) the stupid idea was hatched to do Mailbox peak followed by Mt Si this past saturday.  It sure sounded like a great idea at the bar and truth be told it really was a great day of hiking.

Mailbox peak this past weekend
(the mailbox is under our hands)
So just to recap this brilliant plan.  Mailbox peak climbs 4000 feet in 2.5 miles, easily the steepest trail I have ever hiked.  It is an out and back so the downhill might be worse as you beat your knees into the ground.  Then it is a quick drive to Mt Si which climbs 4000+ feet over 4 miles.  

We got up Saturday at 6:15 and were on the road by 6:45 with coffee in hand.  We all met up and headed to the Mailbox peak trailhead.  The weather was cool and threatening to rain but held off the whole day.  The clouds rolled in and out letting us look back down to the lush green valley off and on.  At one point I just kind of got in the zone and hiked up ahead by myself enjoying the snow, mist, and clouds.  Mike and Katy were testing out boots to hike Mt Rainier in (which weight about 19lbs each) so they were really weighted down.  The gang of four (Natalie, Dan, Laura, and myself)  made it up to the top in a time that surprised us all, checked out the top and headed down before our body temps could drop too much.  We passed Mike and Katy on the way down not too far from the top and were happy to see they were in good spirits despite the torture devices strapped to their feet.

Back at the parking lot we all agreed that the first leg of the trip had gone well.  We ate, and rested until the whole group was back together and then headed off for mountain #2.  

The hike up Si went really well, we just chatted away and before we knew it we were near the top.  The last 100 yards I was pretty much ready to be finished but overall we all felt great the whole hike.  We all ended up running down the first half of the downhill just to save our knees a little.  I ended up running nearly the entire 4 miles back down.  It felt great to tear past the mile markers.  4, 3.5, 3, 2, wow I am almost at the parking lot, 1, well I will keep running now, and bam I was done.  Peeling off boots has never felt so good.  We had a celebratory beer in the parking lot and then headed out for food.  

What a great hike.  I can certainly say we are all ready for our respective climbs.  Next weekend is a long weekend of backpacking.  Heres hoping the weather will cooperate.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Back in Georgia for a few great days!

 More Pictures Here (click me)

Our Cabin
Since a little before I was born my parents have been visiting Vogel State Park in north Georgia.  When I was born the tradition somehow shifted over to going up there at Easter.  When I think back over the years if I had to identify one place where my love of the outdoors started I would say it is this park.  Before my memory begins my dad was carrying me around in a backpack (sometimes getting lost) through the trails surrounding this park.  I learned to fish, hike, and enjoy being out of the city, in this place.  So you can imagine how excited that I was heading back to a place that holds so many memories for me.

I missed the last few years since Natalie and I moved out to Seattle but this year I headed back.  This year Natalie was not able to because she was covered up with work and it did not line up with any of her holiday time but I hope next year that will be different.  I caught a red eye flight into Atlanta, leaving Seattle at 11pm Wednesday night.  This put me on the ground in Atlanta at around 7am.  I took the train down to near my parents house where they met up with me and we headed back to the house.  I pounded a coffee when I landed so I was feeling pretty good.  I think at that point I was powered 1/2 by coffee and 1/2 by excitement to be back in Atlanta.  My parents put me right to work re-hanging a bird feeder that had been knocked off the house.  Always a good idea to be climbing 30 feet up in the air after 4 hours of sleep.  :)

We grabbed some lunch and headed up to the mountains.  After a few hours we arrived and it was exactly as it was 4 years ago when I had been there last.  Barely any cell service, no tv, no phone....  perfect!!
Family Picture
My brother got in later that night and we had a great time catching up.  The four of us spent the next 4 days just like we always did each Easter.  We hiked, lounged around, visited with each other and were not bothered by the real world at all.  Palmer and I even got in a full day of fishing on the Toccoa river with a guide (best Christmas present ever).  The fish did not want to cooperate but we managed to get 7 in the day and it was a beautiful day.  It was great being back out with my brother who I do not get to see enough.  The day came to a close way too soon and we headed back to the cabin.  

The whole trip actually went way to fast but that just means it was a lot of fun I suppose.  It is pretty cool being in a spot where some of your earliest childhood memories are from.  The place is still exactly the same and it is just as hard to leave each year.

Hopefully Palmer and I will work out a fishing trip on this coast soon and I think my parents will be out in the next few months as well so it will be good to see everyone again.

Looking forward to being back at Vogel again next year.

Lady Slipper