Thursday, May 12, 2016

The knee is working again

Me in the Church Mountain meadows, Mt. Baker behind
Yes! Today eighteen (!) Senior Trailblazers set out for Church Mountain up the Mt. Baker Highway. Five of the group decided to try for the summit, while the rest of us would be content to make it to the meadows, which (as you can see) are still under lots of snow. Later in the year the meadows open up to fabulous wildflowers, and I will hopefully at that time be able to climb to the summit.
Sun coming through the maple leaves
This hike starts at a fairly high elevation, 2,400 feet, and meanders up 17 switchbacks to the meadows, covering somewhere near 2,500 feet of elevation gain in around three miles. It was a sunny day, with a few clouds but plenty of sunshine to make us happy to have the tree cover for those three miles before we broke out into full sun at the meadows.
Stopping to add gaters and Yak-Traks before the snow
I was not at all sure how my knee would behave on this rather strenuous hike, but it was without any problem at all going upwards. It was the downhill that I worried about, but I wasn't going to let that get in the way of the wonderful views and fun in the sun! We stopped just before we hit the snow to don paraphernalia to help us navigate the snow, such as gaters (to keep the slushy snow from going into our boots) and Yak-Traks to give us some traction.
Lots of snow ahead
This picture looks 180 degrees from the previous one, showing what we had ahead of us. The summiteers were already ahead, and if you look carefully you can see their tracks in the snow. We were headed to a viewpoint on a ridge a little to the left of this picture. First, we had to cross the stream, which is still mostly surrounded with snowpack, as you can see here.
Still lots of snow as we headed to that ridge
We did have to cross a snowbridge to cross this stream, but it is still safe, but in a week or so it won't be. We made our way across to that ridge with the trees, where we stopped to have our lunch. Once we got there, we had the option to sit in shade or sun, or even make our way down a short slope to ground.
Carol and Melanie, with a great view behind them
This was the first hike where I got to meet Melanie, a new Trailblazer who joined the group right after I got injured. We rode in the same car at my request, so I could chat with her a bit. She's just moved to the area and will be a great asset to our group, I am sure.
Bill and Bob opted to have lunch on snow-free ground
Dr. Bill sometimes hikes with the other group, and Bob travels often, so I was really happy to be on a hike that included them both. I asked for a picture and they accommodated me. At this point, it was just about time for us to gather our gear and head back down to the cars.
Heading back across the snow to the switchbacks and cars
We never saw the summit group, except once while we were having lunch we thought maybe we spied them as they made their way upwards. The rest of us headed back to the cars, and after we had gone a short distance on the downhill, I realized that my knee needed some help. I took a couple of Vitamin I pills (that would be ibuprofen) and asked Mike if he would carry my pack, saving my knee from further trauma. He agreed readily, and I have to say that right now, after returning home and quaffing most of my wine, I am feeling as good as I ever do after a hike of this magnitude. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mike, for being my porter for those three miles!

And now I think I can say that my knee really is working again, if not completely healed, at least mostly recovered from the meniscus tear. And what a day! I would not have wanted to miss this wonderful hike with some of my BFFs.


  1. So glad to hear you are doing better! What a great hike!!

  2. Thanks Mike for helping out! Are there any exercises that you can do to strengthen going downhill? I am so glad you got to go and came home safely...look at that snow!! :)

  3. Triumph! Well done, Jan. I am happy for you. You have such wonderful friends and the outdoors is your playground!

  4. Hello, beautiful scenery and images. Looks like a fantastic hike. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  5. I'm so glad to see that you're hiking again! Wonderful weather and views - and I like hiking in the snow. :)

  6. that is awesome! i know you were beaming to be back out there with your group! mike - thanks for helping sweet djan!

  7. Looks like a beautiful hike and so glad your knee cooperated!

  8. I have trouble going down, too. It's easier walking up the stairs than down for me. Spectacular photos.

  9. Wonderful news DJan, it's always the going downhill that's the worse !
    Beautiful pictures, what a fantastic day of hiking.

  10. I am so happy you are finally back in your element. I know you have really missed the exercise but also the friendships. How nice that there are two groups with different degrees of difficulty. Something for everybody. That stream that had carved a path through the snow was amazing.

  11. You look and sound as good as new again. I can understand why you wouldn't want to miss such a picturesque hike.

  12. YAY! You are hiking again! And sharing beautiful photos!

    Considering it was 80 here today seeing the snow was a shocker.

  13. Higher altitude hikes with the snow are a treat as it's warm and bright and just unbelievable. Good for the knee!

  14. I am quite surprised that you were already out on a strenuous hike! Looks like a great day for it and you are lucky to have somebody willing to take your pack for you. I sure hope your knee feels as well today. :)

  15. You continually amaze. So glad your knee is in working order again. Beautiful pictures. I am jealous - of the landscape and view, not of the hike!

  16. Wow! These are such awesome photos of a really awesome hike. The snow looks so beautiful. Thank goodness your knee is healing so well. It must be because you're in such excellent physical condition.

  17. So glad to hear your knee handled that one so well. And such a fabulous hike! Mind you right from your first post about the injury, I thought that an athlete like yourself would probably recover quickly.

  18. What a strenuous hike! So glad your knee is cooperating again. I liked seeing your photos. I walked so much in CA (and did so many steps down cliffs) that my right knee was feeling odd. No pain, but it had a "slushy" feeling. Now that I'm back home, I tried walking the trails this AM, but there is still too much snow. I was postholing with every step. I opted for the streets which isn't as satisfying but gives me some exercise. I think my knee is OK - maybe just overused.


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