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Friday, July 18, 2014

Mt. Si - I actually made it to the top, well kind of.

With the winter being so crappy and the spring almost nonexistent in the Midwest I knew I wanted to do something outdoorsy when I got to Seattle, and that Vince would be the perfect buddy with him loving it and also having Friday off.  Little did he know I was not the perfect buddy especially since I had not done anything physical in such a long time, unless Zumba and short walks count.  He got a glimpse of this the night before when we bouldered at the local climbing gym and also my nervous questions about where we going to hike.  We decided on a Mt. Si trail, a popular 4 mile hike that climbs 3,500 feet, just 45 minutes out Seattle.

The first mile was definitely the worse.  Only a pathetic half mile in I was huffing and puffing, silently scolding myself about the situation I had put myself in.  Vince seeing my distress was quite the coach, telling me to take three steps, breathe in, take three steps, breath out, as it would help my body regulate what I needed. He also had me make small goals, like to to the tree only a few feet a head, or just get past this bend, instead of thinking about the top.  Little did he know, well he probably did, but at that point I had given up at reaching the top, my new goal was just half way.  Finally my breath finally stated to feel okay, and my lungs didn't seem to be doing so much work.  Also my pride started to kick in as people of shapes and sizes, to put it nicely, came down the mountain. If they could do it I better as hell be able to do it.  All of sudden we were at mile marker 1.3, and my confidence in the original goal increased.  Vince also assured me at mile 2 we would take a break and refuel.  I didn't think I needed to refuel, as I couldn't imagine myself feeling better after one power bar, but boy was I wrong and Vince right, which I actually admitted to him.
As we set off again I knew I had to make it to the top.  Vince told me stories to kept my head occupied as possible, and also let me take as many breaks as possible.  He also told me how he basically ran a up the trail the last time he did it which included a few of snow where the trees hadn't blocked the snow from reaching the ground.  I don't if it was to make me feel better or worse but it worked, we were at mile marker 3.  We walked some more and then you could see a bit of blue sky and then a bit more.  Vince told me the top was not to far only 4 switch backs, if he remembered correctly.  I pushed on through and finally 3 hours later, if I am recalling it correctly, we made it to the top.

We scrambled up some rocks for a beautiful view of Mount Rainer to the south west, Seattle to the east and tiger mountain around there too.  We sat down to enjoy our sandwiches and beers, as it part of Vince's tradition to drink one at the top, because as he told me it is a celebration and also a great way to give your body what it needed, alcohol to numb a little of the pain if you had it, which of course I did, and some nutrients to recharge your batteries. When we had picked up beers earlier that morning we had decided on one of my favorite beers, Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeR, but after being in my bag all day they were not as good as I remembered.

After relaxing for 45 minutes, Vince tried to convince me to go to the highest point of the mountain with him, by climbing the summit block known as Haystack.  It is a class 3 exposed scramble, which means basically crab walking up a lot of rocks.  The going up didn't look to bad but the coming down did, so I said no thank you, I'll just chill with the view I have already.  Vince was up in down in just 45 minutes.  He said the view way a lot better because you had a 360 degree view but I was just fine with my 270 degree view.

Then we made our way down, where we passed tons of people coming up, some were seasoned hikers like Vince, but quite a few were like me.  I could feel their pain, but of course they could not see it since on the way down I was all smiles as it is so much easier.  I tried to give them words of encouragement, some seemed happy, but most gave you that sarcastic smile, that I think probably meant screw you as it had I when I was in their position. 

We kept going down singing silly songs, talking in funny accents, and Vince repeatedly asking me if I needed a break as he was so use to it from the way up, so I had to keep reminding him down was way way easier for me.  We did take one more break at the half way mark to eat some more snacks and drink our final beer but that was it. And before you knew it were at the bottom.

It was a great hike, but I was glad to be done, and I´m sure Vince was even more glad that is regular hiking buddying, Thea, is a lot better then I am.  

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