Monday, July 9, 2012

Hiking Mountains and Glacial Lakes

   Sunday Joe's friend Steve invited us out on a hike.  Joe and I were thrilled at the idea (we have been meaning to get outside more) and so that morning Steve, his friend Russ, Joe and I all jumped into Steve's car to start our hiking adventure.

   We drove out into the Cascade mountains for what we were told was a "beginner" trail, or maybe we were just told that there were beginner trails, but not necessarily that we were going to be on one.   We were originally going to hike to Snow Lake, but that trail was still covered in (you guessed it) snow.  So instead we hiked the Ida Spring trail up to Mason Lake.  We packed up our water and put on our sunblock and hiking shoes (Keens for me, Vibrams for Joe and Steve) and started up the mountain.

   Here are a few things that I learned on my way up:

     1. It does actually get hot in Washington.

   I was actually beginning to doubt this, what with June's weather being most aptly described as June-uary, but I does get quite warm here in WA.  Everyone had promised that July 5th was the magical day when summer arrives and so far, they have been absolutely right.  Also, once you get over the mountain pass you actually end up in a very arid/dessert like section of WA, which is something I keep forgetting about since I live near the sound.

     2. Bring more water then you think you will need.

   I should have remembered this from living in an area that gets into the 90s all summer, but I guess I sort of spaced out, because Joe and I only brought one Nalgene a piece.  Luckily, Steve was well prepared with extra water for all - go Steve!

     3.  The view is worth it!

This was actually taken on my Iphone using a free app called DMD that takes panoramic photos.  You can just make out Mt. Rainer in the photo, but in real life it was stunningly present.

   Once we had reached the summit, we then hiked down into the forest and to Lake Mason, which was actually my favorite part.  I've never been to a glacial lake before and the water was exactly what I expected and needed after our long hike up the mountain.

Lake Mason aka the prize at the end of the trail.

   The water was refreshingly freezing on my calves as I soaked up to the knees.  More adventurous hikers actually jumped in (and quickly jumped back out), but I was content with simply soaking my legs to the point of numbness.  The water was crystal clear and the Snickers that Steve handed  out really hit the spot after the long hike in the sun.  If you look closely at the picture you can just make out some snow still clinging to the slopes.  

   The hike back down was actually really relaxing after the hike up and the respite at the lake.  All in all the trip took several hours, 9ish miles, 200-something flights of stairs and burned 3,367 calories!  (stats courtesy of Russ's pedometer).  Afterwards we were starving and went out to BBQ at Stan's in Issaquah, which was really good.

   I feel like I've now been hit with the hiking bug!  I can't wait to do it again and I hope that next time we pick a trail where Bear can go too.  We actually saw a couple of small dogs on this trail, including a dachshund; however, since it was out first time hiking we left Bear at home.  

   One last pretty picture from the hike:

Have a great day everybody!

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