Small exercise victory this AM

So sometimes I just don’t have time to get to a trailhead, like this AM. In the past I would have just blown off exercising in the face of a tiny hurdle like this.

But this morning I parked the store at the grocery in factoria (my true destination) and hoofed it up the office and apartment-encrusted hills above factoria. Not very picturesque but it got my blood flowing. And the crisp windy air felt great. Glad I did it.

Today's Hike — 5/20

Back to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park (for the second time this week) for Today’s hike. BTW, online maps for the park can be found at the King County GIS Center. Earlier this week we parked at the Anti-Aircraft Peak Trailhead, the Shangri-La trail from that point is a quite pretty tree-lined over-grown roadway, culminating in some huge lightly-treed bowls full of ferns and other ground cover — gorgeous. The trail leads steadily down so you’ll have a bit of a walk back to the trailhead.

This morning started at the Wilderness Creek Trailhead on the SE side of the park. A relative low point, the trail from here is a great cardio workout, steadily up with a lot of switchbacks. I ran out of time and didn’t quite make it to the top of Wildnerness Peak, you should be able to get from trailhead to top in an hour or hour and 15 minutes.

Next up: I think I’ll try the neighboring Squak Mountain trails.

Today's Hike — Mercer Slough

Another hiking area close to home is the Mercer Slough. Not that much altitude variation but a really beautiful wetlands area — ferns, dense trees and brush, waterways, birds of all sorts. It was pouring by the time I was done this morning — but that just added to the beauty of the place, it is all about water and life.

Getting serious about exercise

I had my annual physical this week (man I am glad we signed up for MD Squared) and while I am generally healthy, I weigh 3 pounds more than last year. Maybe not a big deal, but I already weigh too much, and if I extrapolate 3 pounds a year — well this is what’s going to kill me.

A big reason for this is that I basically don’t exercise as I find it boring (I guess an early death will be even more boring!). So I need to remedy this. And I need a goal that I care about.

So I’m dusting off a goal that I set four years ago and have made no progress towards — backpacking significant portions of the pacific crest trail. I need to get in good enough shape to carry a 60-70 pound pack for 5-6 hours a day, for 10-15 days, through up and down terrain, and still have the energy to cook, set up camp, etc.

Step one — get comfortable hiking extended periods of time through tough terrain. I got new boots at rei — some zamberlans — and went on a 2 hour hike this morning to start to break in the boots and get my feet toughened up — Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is close to home, has 36 miles of trails with a mix of inclines, and has a Nike missile site! Found my first blister-prone spot.

I’m going to keep this up. I’ll spend the rest of this summer getting into a regimen that I can sustain — the most important short term goal is accomodate excercise in a sustainable way into my schedule, if I am not still on a program in 3 months I am in trouble.

Sierra Designs Lightyear Tent

I picked up a Sierra Designs Lightyear one man tent last week and used it last weekend. Very happy with the design and weight, tho the assembly instructions are wrong headed. They suggest laying out the tent fabric and staking first, then assembling the poles. It works MUCH better to assemble the poles and attach to the fabric first, and then stake it out.

My New Car…

My new car is a Chevy Avalanche. Love it, love the fact that it has a fullsize backseat, but can also carry a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood or foamboard or whatever for my Halloween projects. I waffled between the Avalanche and its upscale Cadillac twin, but the guys at the Cadillac dealership made me feel like a sucker: “Why exactly is this better than an Avalanche?” “Oh, it is just better.” That was all I could get out of the guy.

And it is super functional, a much better match for me than…

Outward Bound Auction

Outward Bound Auction. Went to the Outward Bound “Black Tie and Tennies” event last nite. What a hoot! Standard men’s attire — jacket and tie up top, shorts and hiking boots below. As soon as we got there, we all got harnesses and helmets. And for the first two hours, we were flying through the Convention Center on the zipline, rapelling down the walls, navigating rope bridges above the dining room, etc. Just great fun — it is hard to be stuffy when you are wearing a harness and helment, and people are flying over your head on the zipline screaming. Following the fun we had the standard silent auction, dinner, and live auction, proceeds to beneift the Outward Bound scholarship program. Just a great time, highly recommended. L. and I scored some great gear in the grab bag portion of the auction and we met great people of course.

Waterproof Backpack

Waterproof Backpack. We need a good waterproof backpack that can sit out in the rain during soccer practice and keep schoolwork dry. The Lowepro Dryzone bag is the best match I’ve seen tho we don’t care about the photog features, this would just be for regular school use.

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend. We picked up some kayaks and a canoe this week and are having a blast tooling around the lake. Weather is marginal but as long as it is not pouring we are having some fun. We got our boats at REI’s big annual sale — man I am a sucker for REI.

OK so it’s not really boating unless someone ends up in the water. I drew the short straw this outing. As C exited the canoe at the end of the ride, the canoe destabilized and whoop! in I went. Lake Washington is cold in May but not unbearable. I think I’ll get out of the canoe first next time…

We need a way to store the boats on the dock during the summer. This seems to be the cadillac of storage systems — Talic — doesn’t look too weather safe tho.

The racks at SEITECH look a little more weather safe. We’re going to cruise the shore today and see what others do for storage.

Boating

Boating. The great weather makes me want to get out on a boat. And we live in a great area for it. Thankfully there is no reason to actually own a boat. There is a great market of charter options. We’ve used Ledger Marine here in Seattle and had great luck. Other options I’ve noticed are Penmar, CNI Charters, Bellingham Yacht Sales, ABC, Starellit, and Anacortes Yacht Charters. A huge range of pricing, amenities, crew options, etc. Waaaay cheaper than actually owning a boat.

Someday I’d like to do a charter in other parts of the world. From some of these sites you can see the market for charters in other areas, and clearly the mediterranean and caribean are active markets. I have a dream of doing Australia by boat someday…