Friday, September 29, 2006

Another Day, Another Hike OR Huckleberry Hound

Only those of us of a certain age would remember the cartoon "Huckleberry Hound". I had a little charm bracelet with all of the characters when I was about 5. Anyway, we have had a spectacular week weatherwise. At the moment, my windows are socked in with fog but as has been the pattern, it will burn off to reveal everything later today. A year ago, Lucas and I hiked Tonga Ridge up to Mount Sawyer but it was foggy then and we could not see what we were supposed to be able to see. Plus, we felt spooked that day and assumed a cougar was slinking around us. We saw what I decided was cougar scat, bear scat, and a freshly shredded stump. Leaving the trailhead in our vehicle, we saw a young black bear scampering into the trees.

Lucas had taken his friends on this hike this summer and said the scenery was unbelievable. And there had been no signs of scary wildlife. Since we have been having such clear days with forest fires under control, on Wednesday, my new neighbor and hiking friend and I chose the Tonga Ridge trail. I wanted to see what Lucas and I missed last year. The huckleberries and mountain blueberries were kind of past their prime. Nevertheless, the low growing bushes had turned into a brilliant red and Apolo loved jumping off the trail into the bushes to roll around---my very own huckleberry hound.

The hike is relatively easy until the last 780 feet. Mountain goats would like it---straight up with some switch backs and rocky. My friend has been living and hiking in Colorado so she is used to mile high elevation and I swear, she could have run to the top. However, I was huffing and puffing that last 500 feet. I mean I live at sea level and Mount Sawyer is about a mile high--over 5000 feet and believe me, I was feeling it. Zero elevation to a mile high and all before lunch on a warm day is a little exerting but so worth it. It gets those endorphins going. And yes, as always happens to me, there were old guys (one of them was 83) who made it to the top making me feel like I need to increase my work outs. At least we beat them. They had a good head start on us; we passed them along the trail and had finished our lunch on the mountain top by the time they arrived.

Here is the 360 degree view we did NOT see last year :

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Glaciers in the Cascade Mountains.

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The top of Mount Rainier! Yes!!

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Glacier Peak--not sure what the scar of a road is all about.

I actually saw a Navy fighter jet fly below me while I ate my ham and cheese.