A year ago, my idea of a hike was a brisk walk around Green Lake. In fact, I was convinced I hated hiking. Even though I knew that Mt. Si was one of the most popular hiking destinations in the area, my eyes would slide past it as I drove I-90 to go skiing or to Eastern Washington. I wasn’t even sure which mountain it was, and didn’t much care. I knew I had no interest in trying to tromp up it.
What a difference a year makes.
Back in November, when I saw Mt. Si on the training schedule for April, I was doubtful. I mean, these coaches apparently had confidence we could do it, but I wasn’t so sure. It was a big jump from anything I’d attempted so far.
Of course, as we’ve done harder hikes each week, it began to seem more possible. But it’s hard to describe the feeling I had actually standing at the top of the darn thing yesterday. (And even though, once again, we couldn’t see the view.) In a way, it feels like sort of a graduation, that I can legitimately call myself a hiker.
I was talking to a friend this morning, trying to explain why I’d taken up hiking in the first place. I realized that it was mostly about getting out of a rut – the rut of being unwilling to try something because I thought I didn’t like it….or having a certain image of myself not really doing athletic outdoor things (other than skiing). Funny how a person creates stereotypes about themself. It makes me think more deeply about what other ruts in life I’m in that need changing.
But as for Mt. Si – I did it. (Big smile) And in just over 2.5 hours. The fastest people in our group did it in about 2 hours, which I think is a pretty typical speed for a strong hiker. But hey, I’m happy with getting to the top at a good pace for me and not being in pain the next day. (And since I’m probably the oldest person in our group who’s not an ex-forest ranger, I’m not so concerned that I didn’t make it to the top with the fastest group.)
Of course, I wasn’t thrilled with slipping and sliding on the last steep quarter mile that was covered in snow. And as I hiked uphill, drenched in sweat, nose dripping, hair dripping with rain, I thought that I could perhaps have picked a more glamorous new skill to acquire…but realized this was part of getting out of the rut. I never would have thought before that being such a drippy mess could be fun.
Saturday’s hike: 3,200 ft. of (often steep) elevation gain, 8 miles, carrying my 9 pounds of water
(This was originally posted on April 18 on my hiking blog where you can read more about my 2011 winter hiking adventures.)