Friday, January 15, 2010

January hikes

Hiker’s Block (January 15, 2009)

You’ve heard of writer’s block … well, I’ve been suffering hiker’s block as well as writer’s block.

Sorry for the long silence, for the long sleep so to speak. I have been hiking and hiking a bunch - two to three times a week – and as I have written perhaps once too often, most of these hikes have been “brown” hikes in and around North Bend and Issaquah (trails sans snow, flowers or fall color). Sometimes these hikes are conditioner hikes like Mount Si -these are always enjoyable and Mount Si is not devoid of beauty. The boulder gardens on the Old Si trail are gorgeous; I never get tired of walking through that mossy accumulation of “big” rocks adorned with fluttering licorice ferns.

We’ve done several hikes on Cougar Mountain as well as Mount Si. When we hike Tiger Mountain we usually make a loop and/or hike lesser-traveled trails (the Hiker’s Hut via the High Point and Preston trail). While the Hiker’s Hut is not a thing of beauty on a raw, windy day it made an ideal retreat for four chilled hikers and a good place for lunch. We got a kick out of the gray jays that have also discovered the hiker’s hut as a potential food source. Some of them even ventured inside!

We showed our friend Kelly a trail on Cougar Mountain she’d never done before and stopped for photos at the Erratic Boulder, also checked out the “new” trail to the Talus Development and its fancy houses (sigh). We’ve hiked up the Teneriffe Road a couple of times just for the exercise and also the road to Green Mountain via the CCC Road. There’s no lack of places to go.

One of the most interesting walks that Silverback and I have done recently is walking all the way around Lake Union, stopping at various parks and points of interest along the way. We especially enjoyed our stop at the Center for Wooden Boats – in addition to wooden boats in various stages of being rebuilt (or built) there are photographs of local shipyards taken years ago, including one of Blanchard’s where my Dad once worked (though the old photograph was slightly blurry, I am almost certain my Dad was in one of the photos on display). My Dad was a shipwright who also worked on tugboats (in Alaska) and at the Bremerton shipyard during World War II. The Arthur D. Foss (a tugboat), the Swiftsure (lightship) and the Duwamish (fireboat) are on display as well.

There’s a lot of history mixed in with the fancy houseboats and new businesses springing up – old railroad tracks, abandoned buildings, pocket parks and the occasional Starbucks where one can get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat (also fancy restaurants we couldn’t afford to set foot into). There’s so much more to see when you walk as opposed to driving or even riding a bike.

It’s just a little over 6 miles to walk around the lake – no appreciable elevation gain!!

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