Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tiger Mountain Hike

My friend Melinda and I went to a popular local hike today, called Tiger Mountain. All the reviews of Tiger Mountain I've read say it's a 5 mile out-and-back, but... I don't believe it. Melinda also thinks they redid the trail a few years ago, and we estimated we walked between 6-8 miles total. The signs up the trail, if accurate, mean that now the trail is about 4 miles to the western summit, roughly >2000 ft elevation gain.

ANYWAY, despite the possible / probably sign inaccuracies, it was a beautiful hike. And a challenge for me, which is something I enjoyed (when it was over, at least!).

I showed up at Melinda's house in Redmond at 8 AM sharp, and we drove about 20 minutes southeast on I-90 to arrive at Tiger Mountain (exit 20, if you're curious). We got to the trailhead early enough to score a parking spot in the lot directly adjacent to the trailhead. Upon exiting, we noticed that a ton more cars had parked, and people were adding about an extra 1/4 to 1/2 mile to their hike just to reach their cars!

Melinda seemed to have no problem ascending the mountain, but since I don't have a great cardio system (despite Crossfit), I was huffing my way up the mountain. I also chose to wear my knee braces, which was a smart move because the trails were fairly steep in a lot of portions, and the braces serve to stabilize my knees from lateral movements and causing further inflammation later.

Here I am at the top, after shedding my blue fleece and zipping off the lower part of my hiking pants. The cord around my neck that looks like it's choking me is actually a wide-brimmed hat, but the vast majority of this hike is underneath a deciduous tree canopy. Melinda remembered that if it's warm out, the forested area can get quite humid.

The view from the top is spectacular, especially on a beautiful day like today. In the next picture, if you look just to the left of the exact center of the picture, you'll see a white blob. That's the peak of Mt. Rainier.

Here is my "proof-positive" picture, confirming that we did make it to the top!

And here is a shot of Melinda and me, blue sky and green trees surrounding us at the peak. We played a brief game of fetch with an Australian Shepherd, and enjoyed a brief snack while taking in the scenery before descending.

I ran out of water from my Camelbak pack about when we were 1/4 of the way back down, which made for a slightly frustrating descent. Melinda had survived the hike with barely any water left in her bottle. We got down and I remembered I had some tea in the car, so we sucked that down, then drove back to her place, picked up her husband Chris, and went to lunch at Panera.

What a great day! My knees are still sore, but I hope that will go away tomorrow. I am going to take some ibuprofen tonight before I fall asleep, just to help inflammation stay away.

I really want to do more of these hikes, because getting out and hiking is the only way I can think of to really improve my hiking skills!


A side note: My new 3 rep max for military press is 25 kg. Yeah! That was after a 2000 meter row, too.

I got home and ended up getting a lot of knitting, and a few small things around the house, done.

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