Thursday, May 1, 2014

Longest and hottest hike of the year

Fred, Rita, Diane, Mel, Steve, Carol, Al
There are two people who were on today's hike (to what is whimsically called the Olsen Creek/Ogallala Loop) who are not in this picture. I was behind the camera, and Mike was coming up the trail after I asked him to please see if he could find my squirrel bar, which I inadvertently left by the side of the trail after I divested myself of my vest.
Rita and Diane entering the forest
This hike starts on some logging roads and finally turns off into the forest at a sign that says, "Ogallala 1,420 miles" which was apparently somebody's idea to mark the distance from there to his home in Nebraska. We use that sign as the place where we leave the logging road and turn into the dense forest on an infrequently used trail. We continue on this trail until we get to yet another seldom used trail on the south side of Stewart Mountain.
Stopping to rest before starting the final push to the top
It was downright hot today. We are simply not used to heat at this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. We steadily climbed upwards on this sketchy trail, and I must say that I did my share of complaining about the heat. Stinging sweat poured into my eyes and my ability to stay cheerful began to wane. There were beautiful trillium flowers all perky in the sunshine, and I did take a picture now and then, even as I grumbled about the heat.
Trillium turning pink with a wild bleeding heart behind
We continued to climb, knowing that eventually we would get to the top of the mountain and, hopefully on a beautiful day like this, have a great view. And sure enough, we did. My stomach was growling and I was really ready for a rest, but I couldn't help but admire our beautiful mountains from the top of Stewart Mountain.
Mt. Baker on the left, Twin Sisters on the right
Because there were high clouds making the view of the mountains not quite as spectacular as they could have been, these two pictures cannot quite tell you how much we enjoyed the view. But then we stopped for lunch, and I was more than ready to stop. We found a nice place in the shade to rest and replenish, and Carol asked if she could take a picture of me (I was sitting with Rita), so here you go.
Me and Rita, sitting on our blow-up seats and enjoying the view
By the time we started our return trip, I was just a tiniest bit worried that I might not be able to make it, I was that tired. But what do you do when you're already out there? You just suck it up and go on. By the time we returned to our cars, we had traveled ELEVEN MILES in the heat, and climbed and descended somewhere around 2,500 feet, or a half a mile of elevation.

Now that I have had a shower to wash off all that salt and sweat, am halfway through my glass of wine, and almost finished with my post, I'm feeling pretty good. Relatively speaking, that is. I'm not willing to get out of my chair, but Rita? She's already donned her dancing shoes after a quick shower. I'm not kidding: she's going dancing! Do I belong to a cool group of seniors, or what?


  1. indeed you do! glad to see al back from being under the weather last week. you do travel some rather obscure trails, there!

  2. Hiking in the heat seems to take twice as much energy. Suck it up is all you can do.

  3. I do not do well in the heat, so I was commiserating with you as I read your post. Maybe there should be a limit of say, nine miles? what if you really couldn't make it back?
    But I'm so glad you are now in "recovery".

  4. I sat in our garden in the heat, enjoying the burgeoning life from my adirondack chair. Then took a two-mile walk in my neighborhood as the sun went down. Good enough for me!

  5. Wow, wow and wow. I am pretty certain that eleven kilometres in heat would do for me. And I would whinge, bitch and moan about it.
    Squirrel bar? Am I showing my ignorance when I confess I have no idea what that is? But I do hope yours was returned to you.

  6. You probably need more snack breaks..high energy bars..that may help you through or an apple or an orange..give that a whirl. AND were you WELL hydrated?? Love ya! :)

  7. I have no idea what a squirrel bar is either:)

  8. Gracious, DJan! That sounded like dangerous heat. I really suffer in heat. My son was surprised at how overheated I got in Bangladesh. I'm glad you made it back OK and are taking it easy. You can go dancing tomorrow night.

  9. You people are a hardy group! Elven miles in the heat is no simple feat.

  10. You should try dancing, too.

  11. Dancing! After all that. She is a wonder--lol!
    I do not do well in the heat at all. Never have. You all amaze me! :)

  12. Ouch, days like that can take it out of you. Makes you long for the cool rainy ones. We are facing mid nineties this weekend. Yuck.

  13. I truly admire your stamina DJan, my knees and back would be screaming for help, after hiking a few short paths.
    We went from low fifties to mid eighties last week, too much all at once.
    Enjoy your weekend !

  14. Cool seniors indeed! And you're one of them. Great hike. Ironically, it's unseasonably cool and rainy here- swapped climates?!

  15. Well I never. She must be keen! Walking in the heat is very tiring, I know and up hill, down hill more so. Take care.

  16. Yes, all of your group (including you DJan) are very cool.

    It did get a little warm last week, unusually so over our way too. But hiking eleven miles in it never crossed my mind. LOL! I'm glad you all had a great time. I love your shots of the mountains.

  17. You are all very ambitious and eager seniors. It is such a treat to read your many adventures and this one ended on a high note. A glass of wine while posting about another whose gone dancing. Both are very passionate lively seniors my dear DJan.
    PS-a belated condolence on the loss of a fellow jumper.


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