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I took photos of Karen with her cheeks bursting trying not to laugh; she took photos of me brushing tears of delirious laughter from my eyes. I bought a red wool hat, and she photographed me in a gaudily-painted bathroom because the stalls and walls exactly matched the color of my beautiful haberdashery purchase.

We started off heading up to the alpine in the North Cascades; by that night, we were off to the ocean, having changed our minds six times in four hours as to what we were doing. Getting lost and distracted didn't help. We didn't get strip-searched at the border, but the customs agent cagily tried to ask if we were lovers. Later, she pathetically asked me to come get the "big bugs" out of her tent. Poor grasshopper.

We argued amiably about foundations of relationships, compromise, love and growth, and ended up agreeing on everything. Her boyfriend called at least three times (on my cellphone--her cell had a dead battery); her mom called once. She was amazed that the snake painted on the back of my jacket (a work in progress) was both a product of my own hands, and a metaphor for a specific Taoist meditation. I was amazed at the depth of her perceptions on just about any topic, and how easily she knew if I didn't understand her.

We talked about botany, travel, statistics, nutrition, books, speed-reading methodology, Taoism, being Jewish, and hiking with complete satisfaction. We talked about thinking backwards, and compulsively turning license plates into words.

(You have to use the three letters in order. No! You should make that the first word, then scramble the letters to make another word. No! Just make a harder word! CLV is "cleave" and "Checkoslovakia." Or move on the the type of car. What word can you make out of "Pontiac"? Immediate answer: "caption." You've done that before! No...I only do license plates. This is your weirdness, you backward-thinker. Nuts we're. [And make sure you're pronouncing the syllables backwards, too].)

I left her in downtown Victoria to meet with her old friend, and wandered around alone listening to the buskers (violinist, bagpipers and some new-agey Peruvian guys on flutes). Bought some maple tea. Bought some vanilla tea. Bought a Chinese teapot-cup and a couple of feng shui mirrors.

[livejournal.com profile] sharkins called me there, inquiring about growing lime basil from seed. She was amused that I was being worn out by someone with more energy than me. I don't really see myself as frenetically energetic, but I guess other people do.

Every single car ahead of us got searched. But we, sweetness and innocence that we were, me with my "smart girl" wire-rimmed glasses on, Karen with her chipmunk-cheeked smile and brand-new blonde hair, were waved on with a tolerant smile after we confided that we were "grad school buddies."

Hanging around with a hyperactive crazy girl with ADD is quite the satisfactory weekend. God knows how many miles geographically we covered.

We started a journal for her: [livejournal.com profile] viva_karenina. She may never write in it, but at least she can read what I write about her.

Cow holy! I need to get to bed.

Night all.
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Hiking Log: Hoh River Trail to beyond Glacier Meadows (but not as far as Blue Glacier)
Mileage: about 39 miles
Buttkicking factor: need you ask?

Nudity: Gratuitious! (I wish)
Slugs: Everywhere! Green ones and spotted ones and black ones, oh my! How come the slugs are living en masse in one of the prettiest places on earth? Do they know something we don't?

So, in the Backpacking Event of the 2003 summer Olympics (as in National Park), Ms. Canyonwren started off with promising energy at 0900 hours on Saturday, perky and sharp with her brand-new Kelty pack, weighing in at approximately 45 lbs. The rainforest was mossy and mysterious, as was to be expected, and it was not raining, giving her an edge in this event. Would she or would she not make it to Elk Lake in one day? 15 miles is a long way when you're lugging that kind of weight.

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Jul. 21st, 2003 03:19 pm
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Reporting in alive from the Olympic Mountains. Blistered, stressed tendon, and an intact shoulder despite my best efforts to break it. I'll write up a trip report later, as soon as I rescue my parents from my cat, who has apparently been looking out the window, crying, for four days.
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Hiking Log: Mt Pilchuck
Miles: about 6
Buttkicking factor: tough--felt it in my glutes for a few days afterward

This is another long and steep hike, but one that is so worth it and so gorgeous that you simply don't notice the climb. If you're me, that is. My only complaint is the vast numbers of people who show up on this trail. Other than that, it's one vista after another--fields of rocks and wildflowers, little alpine streams, stunted trees, and some good gluteal action bringing you up to the peak, where a little tower awaits. You have an unobstructed 360 degree view once you hit that tower, and there are other, smaller mini-peaks to go hide away on, away from the other hikers.

I curled up in a small rock crevasse overlooking the mountain range to the east and dozed for a while. It reminded me of when I used to find little rock clefts below tghe Grand Canyon rim, and curl up to read in them. Tourists could often spot me there, and didn't realize their voices carried as they said things to the effect of, "How the hell did she get down there?" or "What is she reading? Hand me the binoculars, honey." I gave it away that time by starting to snicker and covering my facd with the book. It was Gone With the Wind, by the way.

Bought a new backpack today (an external frame Kelty this time). I was going to take off on a backpacking trip tomorrow morning, but the recruiter left a message on my phone saying another team wants to interview me ASAP. I'm annoyed. I wanted to get away for a while. Guess I'll just leave late and drive all night to get to the trailhead, the thought of which leaves me feeling very tired.
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Hiking Log: Heliotrope Ridge
Miles: about six
Buttkicking factor: tough at first, then evened out quite a bit.

There are no heliotropes here, but there is a ridge. This is one of the nicest climbs I've done all season. The trail is a kissing cousin to Skyline Divide, and reaches a similar area ecologically, but the hike up demonstrates more plant diversity, has more vistas, has more waterfalls, and is just amazingly glorious.

The Indian Paintbrush are now in bloom at the trailhead alitude, anyway.

We didn't make it all the way to the ridge this time--I was hiking with someone else who wasn't comfortable with forging the river. The bridge was washed out, and there were no rocks to climb over. It wasn't especially deep, but it was fast and mere feet away from a pretty intense waterfall. I understood her hesitation, and didn't press the issue. I wasn't too keen on hiking with soaking wet feet myself, and I even more didn't care to hike in bare feet and lose my footing.

I may do this one again when the snow runoff decreases in another month or so.

In the meantime, if anyone tries this trail--be warned.
canyonwren: (Default)
Miles: about 7 or so.
Buttkicking factor: pretty tough hike up. Steep trail, rotten snow--wrenched some muscles trying not to slide off a cliff.

My car was set free from the car doctor today, and as it wanted to go for a drive and I wanted to go for a hike, we set off for the Skyline Divide trailhead.

The trail is quite grueling for the relatively brief hike up to the ridge. Although only about three miles or so, it easily takes a few hours, especially when half-buried in snow as it was today. But this is one of the first areas where the alpine comes alive, and today it was bursting out in bloom. The native yellow lilies were blooming by the millions. The lupines aren't out yet at this altitude, but they will be soon. Mount Baker rose above me beautifully, and there was not another soul to be seen. This was something I noted especially after having to handhold-climb up the last ten minutes to the ridge--the trail was completely lost at that point, and the snow was so rotten it was unsafe. I ended up on a cliff face that was a lot more precarious than it looked, and slipped at one point. I stopped my slide with my ice-axe maneuver (sans ice axe) and abandoned what I thought had been the trail for heading straight up, instead. Very, very steep, but the snow died away at that point, so much more safe. I realized then that I'd dropped my lens cap down there, and dumped my pack to go get it. Ugh. Anyway, the view was spectacular.

The last time I climbed up here was a few years back. R., my Taoist mentor, and I took her Rotties up, and practiced tai chi for an hour or so. The energy is fantastic. I went back to roughly the same spot and practiced tai chi and qi gong for a while, then bushwhacked my way down to the trail. Eventually found it.

And yes, my car decided to stop running right about the time I came home. I'm wondering if Sears put in a faulty battery a few months back, or a battery too small to support the air conditioner. It's on the charger tonight, and I'm going to check it out tomorrow.
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To: Goat Lake, off the Mountain Loop HWY near the Darrington side.
Length: Uhhh...8 miles? Not really sure.
Butt-kicking factor: Well, it didn't make me very aware of my butt, so I'll have to give it low marks. I was breathing hard a little at first, and then it evened out quite nicely.

It was a fine hike, although a little tame. There were lots of waterfalls that spilled streams across the trail. These waited like wet, sneaky predators anxious to dampen my boots. Dangerous little rocks promised me they were stable when, similar to people I've met, they were only SEEMINGLY stable. (Uh...that's not a reference to anyone reading this journal. Just being a wise-elbow.)

The avalanches on the far side of the river were thrilling, though. They started off sounding like gunshots, and then god knows how many tons of rock were falling. I was wishing for a clear view. It wasn't close enough to be dangerous, however.

Recommended? Sure. The neatest part of this walk in the woods was when the trail narrowed to a tiny little footpath through very lush grass, and hundreds of silver paper birches leaned over the trail to create a type of bower-walkway effect. Very fairytailish.
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I thought of going down to Mt. St. Helens for the 22nd anniversery of the eruption, then didn't have the energy. I *do* want to go down there sometime, however, because I haven't seen it in years. Who remembers where they were when the explosion happened? I was in bed, at my folks' house in Bellingham. My dad was tremendously excited and pulled us all out of the sack, into the car, and up to the university to look at the seismograph. The human factor didn't really occur to him right away, but it started sinking in as soon as the images hit the newspaper (we didn't have a tv). To this day, I remember the photo of the young child, looking like a broken doll, dead and covered with ash in the back of a truck. And the man who was trapped in the ashy blackness, terrified while keeping his wits about him, who talked into his video camera while walking out. Even more grapic than those, however, were the photos of the thousands of acres of trees, lying flattened from a single blow. Scary stuff.

Anyway.

10 miles on the Mount Jupiter trail, on the east side of the Olympic mountains. It starts off steep, but then follows a ridge up to the summit, so the walking became fairly level and moderate until near the end. I stopped at the Lunch Rock, and did not attempt the summit, because I was ankle-deep in snow at that point and wasn't motivated to get ankle-deeper. It was snowing lightly, but still warmish and beautiful where I stopped to eat. The vista overlooked the Duckabush river where it flows into the Kitsap waters. There's also a lowland trail that follows the Duckabush that I would like to explore soon, but I'm getting tired of forking over the $12 ferry fare (each way) to to the Peninsula.

The trail is recommended. If you're not in shape, be prepared to be a little winded at first, but then it's pretty easy. And even though you're on a ridge, the vistas aren't great until you get to the rock because of the trees.

But there are amanitas growing everywhere. And cougar scat. And inside the scat, what looked like a human molar, but was probably a weird rodent skull. I hope. There were also other little bones that did not look weird and scary like the alleged molar. (Yes, I was poking around cougar shit. I don't see it every day. I also saw something I think is bear shit, but I wouldn't swear to it.)

Because I hike alone a lot, and often there is no one else around, I think I'm going to start posting where I'm going before I go. That way, if I vanish, at least there's a record as to where I might possibly be, unless I changed my mind and went elsewhere.
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My brother and I consider our parents legendary, and often mourn the fact that we will never, no matter how long we live, devour life quite the way they do. Nor will we live up to their legend.

So, it's Mother's Day. Let's go hike around on Mt. Erie. 360 degree views of the islands and Skagit farmland. Wildflowers in bloom, beautiful weather, a honeycomb of trails all over the mountain. So off we went, with my folks following me in their own truck. Almost there, I get a phone call from my dad: "Hey! Let me lead. I know this great place we can go instead."

"But we're almost there..."

"Let's go look at this spit first. I've been wanting to explore it for a while."

After all, he continued once we'd parked by the side of the very-heavily traveled road and blithely walked away from our cars, why go to a public park when you can trespass?

That's my dad.

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I put in approximately 12 miles along the Olympic coastline. The hike wasn't particularly difficult, but the stretches along the beach were very tiring and led to many sore muscles. The forest along the Ozette area always strikes me as being more primeval than even North Cascades, with the huge trees and mature understory. (A mature understory is not necessarily a dense growth--true old growth forests have a more sparse growth due to a heavy canopy and root competition for water and nutrients).

It was warm and beautiful, and I'm slightly sunburned as well as sore. I photographed some more petroglyphs, and attemped to find one that I had spotted last year, to no avail. I'm a little scared that it may have been removed, because it was chisled onto a freestanding rock, but I probably just didn't see it. Some of the other petroglyphs have been lightly vandalized--a good reason to not publicize them. It's a real shame.

The wild rhodies are beginning to bloom, and the bog laurel is popping open into perfect geometric blooms. There were snakes out sunning themselves in the forest clearings--I startled at least three. I'm going to hopefully head back out with a few friends in a month or so to go camping, but I wish we'd all gone together this weekend. Almost no one else was there, and the quiet was overwhelming.

I want to continue hiking further down the coast, to see if I can find more petroglyphs.
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I've been hiking for a while this season, just short, lowland hikes, but I thought I'd start this season's hiking log with my trek up Mt. Zeus (Zas) on Naxos.

Mt. Zeus, Friday March 28
Buttkicking rating (out of 5): 2.5
Coolness factor (out of 5): 5 Hey, it was in Greece, after all!

Using the vague, flowery descriptions found in Nicoleta's copy of Walking on Naxos, Katherine and I decided that the best hike would be up the highest peak on the island--perhaps the highest peak in the Cyclades. Unfortunately, although sunny, the skies were still pretty hazy and we weren't sure about the prospect of a view. Also unfortunately, we weren't sure how to get to the trailhead. Using the book, we pinpointed on the map the most likely area of the trailhead, and showed the map to the bus station attendent.

"We want to go here." Pointed at a branch in the road just above Filoti. "Can we be let off right here? What bus do we take to get there?"

Through language barriers and misunderstanding *why* we wanted to get off in the middle of nowhere, the man eventually directed us to a bus. We went through the same song and dance with the bus driver, and he eventually waved us away with a "Ne, ne." Good.
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Jen Kleis

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