I was 21 years old (or thereabouts- I just know I was of legal drinking age). It had long been a goal of mine to be a hiker. I love being outdoors in the woods, I love the mountains, it made sense that I should love hiking too… Except the fitness part, the climbing hills part, the switchbacks, the two-foot-high steps, the log bridges, and the slippery mud parts. Those were not appealing and, frankly, at my weight and level of fitness, they were fairly dangerous.
But still. The spring when I was 21 was full of new friends. We lived in crappy apartments eating cheap vegetarian food while drinking way too much tequila. In fact, one of those tequila fueled nights lead to my first ascension of the Heather Lake trail. One night, after hearing my friend Amy wax on and on about the pool near the waterfall at the glacial end of the lake that looked as though fairies flew there, we drunkenly decided to go… and the next morning I found myself in a Volkswagen van with several people, my boyfriend included, headed through Granite Falls, fresh lunch packed safely in my backpack.
We arrived at the trailhead and most of us gleefully ran into the forest. At that moment I got a little worried I was in over my head. They were literally running up the trail. Running. But nevermind that. I decided I could power through for the day. I would be out of breath, but I would fake my fitness and run up the hill alongside my slender and experienced hiking friends. I mean, we’re talking real salt of the earth types who did this all the time. These were people who hiked up to the top of the mountain with beer- the least potent alcohol- without a second thought to conserving energy. Hiking was fun for them. They did it every weekend. Easy. Me, on the otherhand? I was wheezy. Out of breath by the first switchback. Wheezing by the second, halted by the third.
My boyfriend and one other kind friend stayed behind with me while the rest of my friends literally bounded up the trail. I pondered heading back to the car and spending the day there, but I really wanted to see the fairy pond and I really wanted to just DO IT. I decided to send the friend ahead, as it seemed way too embarrassing to admit to him what I was going to request of my boyfriend: to go as slow as I needed, to take lots of breaks and to make my way to the top. And eventually I did just that.
As I sat up there, by the lake, I thought of my difficulty in getting up those 1100 feet of elevation. Ithought about my weight and my dietary habits. I realized then that I needed to change some things.
I’ll admit that I did change my behavior after that to a degree. That spring prompted a lot of walking, a change of diet and a series of hikes that the boyfriend and I took throughout the Verlot area, but I have never returned to Heather Lake… Until Last week!!!
I’ve had a hankerin’ fer hikin’ all spring, but we were too darn busy to hike out of the city. Yes, St. Edwards is outdoor trails and they are miles and miles long, but they are, like, 10 minutes from home and don’t actually remove one from the city. You often hear cars, rarely cross a stream and it is highly unlikely that I’ll cross through a mountain meadow or walk by a glacial lake. I’m not a religious person, but I am very spiritual. My church is in the mountains and and woods. My spirit is filled there and I feel that large, tearful kind of emotion when I find myself completely ensconced in the forest. I get giddy and so happy and so full of beauty. I know I’m so full of precious cheese right now, but I’m completely sincere about how I process hiking.
Anyhow, Heather Lake has kind of been a litmus test for me. If I could hike it now, it means I made it. Today I sailed up the trail, parts of it I even ran. The trail is really hard. It’s a little over two miles, each way, of roots and rocks and treacherous ground. Some of the ‘stairs’ were waist-high to Jude, about thigh high to me. Leg lifting was important as was lifting ones feet high enough off the ground, but never once did I get exhausted or worn out to the point that I wanted to stop. Not even a little.
And at the top, I made it around to the fairy pond. It was blue like the Mediterranean and cold like hypothermia. My little fairies didn’t fly, but they did splash, dive and swim through the water, my little water sprites! It was one of my most perfect days on record EVER. Like, ever.
I have a friend called JOhn who hikes this trail year round, looking for birds and burning calories. I’ve seen pictures of this place in snow and under ice- it looks beautiful. Perhaps I’ll have to see this place again, but next time in winter.
- 07.16.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off
We headed to Wild Waves Enchanted Village last week. Boy, if you want to revisit what 1987-1992 was like, you should go there. They have none of this new conservative nonsense that you find at Silverwood! Nope! Go to Wild Waves and it is still as wild as it ever was, with scorching asphalt, ancient hot tubs and attractions that, frankly, I’m amazed are still in rotation (hello, ‘black hole’ with huge drop at the end!!!). The girls and boys are dressed to stun, at the age of 14, with more curves and less wisdom than any teen should be blessed with… It’s a pretty awesome place, I gotta say. When you miss that feeling of being a latchkey kid with an expendable summer stretching out before you like you remember from the 80′s go. Go soon. It’s like a time warp.
The rides at Enchanted Village are totally made for children. They are the kinds of rides intended to make you sick, I swear! They spin you, bounce you up and down, jostle you, swing you, all just a leeetle too fast… After a certain point, Bradley and I decided that the kids could ride alone. So they did! And no one got sick then.
That biggest kid in the middle there got the whole boat chanting ‘LETS GET WET!’ the entire way up the ramp. Once at the bottom, the crown erupted into ‘WE GOT WET!’. It was a noise heard all through the park, and of course, my husband was at the center of it all. It was a proud moment for the Lj’s.
- 07.15.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off
Our Independence Day was simple and sweet. The kids both declined to be in the kiddie parade (we’re too big!) or to go to the Kirkland parade (it’s just a bunch of old guys in classic cars, mom!) so we satisfied ourselves with a baking project. Gigi made beautiful pinwheel sugar cookies that were gobbled up as soon as we laid them on the table at the party, and Jude made red, white and blue spritzers. They are now his specialty, if you were wondering.
Once all of our baking was done, we barbecued some deliciousness, then headed down to the delaney’s home for an official throw down! There were a bajillion kids running around, so excited for the opportunity to assist with actual fire! The dads appeared to have a good time too. Everyone who wanted one got a sparkler, and then it started happening. After each firework was lit, a stream of kids would rush down the driveway. It was cute until, with each wave, a new kid started tripping on nothing we could see and slamming their faces into cement! After the third or fourth kid got a fat lip, the party broke up before anyone lost a tooth.
- 07.14.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off
Last night right after we tucked the kids into bed, we glanced out the window and saw that the world looked like it was on fire. We quickly called the kids to the bedroom window, knowing that it was impossible for us to get in the car and get any closer to the magnificent pink sky. Bradley crawled out on the roof and sat there while we all just looked on in utter amazement at the magnificence of the world that we get to live in. It was a beautiful end to a wonderful day.
The end of the year was really fun. I took lots of pictures so I would remember all if the fun craftivities we did! I’m totally doing this again next year.