June 2017 Experiment: One Hike a Week

When the year started I had grand plans of meeting a running mileage benchmark, summiting peaks, and hitting new weightlifting PRs. In April and May goal setting and focus on my health and fitness goals took a backseat, and I could tell that this was taking a toll on where I was mentally. So, I prepared for June with a trusty whiteboard calendar to set about getting back to the things I enjoy while recovering from the events and loss from the months previous. The overall goal: hike once a week, every week, no excuses.

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Week 1: Little Si

Little Si has got to be my favorite local hike. If you arrive early on a weekday, solitude can be found on this gently ascending and lush trail. It's one of my favorites for taking pictures of mushrooms and lichen, and 35 minutes from my apartment (major plus). This morning was misty and chilly and allowed for time alone at the top of the trail. I focused on my speed and posterier chain on the way up and felt a serious burn the day after. I'd really love to be even a slightly faster hiker, so I may make this trail one to work towards trail running rather than hiking one day.

Week 2: Stan's Overlook, Rattlesnake Mountain

Every time I visit Stan's Overlook I kick myself wishing I could hike through from one trailhead to the other (spoiler: occasionally being a solo hiker is lonely). This morning was rainy but also oddly hot, and since nobody was around, this was the first hike I said "eff it" and hiked in a sports bra (not a fan). The trail itself isn't super remarkable for this section, but offers a much less crowded option than Rattlesnake Ledge.

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Week 3: Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

I managed to wrangle a partner for this week's hike! My husband joined me on our first ever venture into Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest land. I decided that this is absolutely where I need to take my parents/friends when they eventually come visit. The trail is very gentle, scenic, and has length options I appreciate (definitely coming back to run here sometime). Once again encountered gray skies in June, but it was still very beautiful and worth the drive out.

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Week 4: Poo Poo Point, Chirico Trail

In a month-long venture to hike more, it's inevitable that you're going to have a "bad hike" at some point. Something about this morning was really, really off. I felt just awful and weak climbing up, grumpy at all the people passing me, and not feeling the hike in any way. I also packed out an irritating amount of garbage for only being a short trek up to the viewpoint. I did enjoy about 20 minutes to myself to look out to Rainier, but I think I need to reserve visiting this trail again to a Fall day when less people are around to appreciate it.

Week 5: Wilderness Peak Loop

Doing a hike on the last day of the month, as a last-minute decision with no plan still counts right? In the remaining daylight I headed out until the sun dipped low, not making it to the "lookout" (there's no real views from this trail). Two years ago I attempted this hike for the first time and it felt super hard. It was cool to see how much my body has changed since then because I breezed upwards with minimal huffing and puffing. Although, I did end up hiking in ankle socks this time. Oops.

Overall, I consider my experiment a success. I know there are people who have set themselves up to hike once a week for year, but that seems like much too much pressure to put upon myself intentionally. I think I may schedule myself similarly to hike this often in the Fall when things slow back down in my personal and work life, though. I also refined my day hiking preferences, weeded out equipment I don't need, and have a better grasp on where my comfort levels lie.

Things that helped me over the course of the month:

  • Allowing myself flexibility in my work routine (working later/longer on certain weekdays)
  • Prepacking my day pack and laying out clothing the night before
  • Always leaving boots and a fresh pair of socks in the trunk of my car*

Things I need to work on after this month:

  • Get up when the alarm goes off, do not snooze
  • Remember sunscreen always
  • Bring extra bag for packing out litter (and hand sanitizer)

*Hiking in ankle socks you packed for running is not recommended. Neither is lifting in your wool hiking socks. Both of these things happened in June. Never underestimate the power appropriate footwear carries with it.

HikingChris Lambertz