Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Climb Every Mountain (Summer Recap Series)

Can I just say, it was a glorious summer?  I really wanted to recap my Summer-of-Outdoor-Adventuring-and-General-Merriment earlier this year but said "Outdoor Adventuring and General Merriment" somehow got in the way.  I'm going to do a lil recap series while it's cold and gray outside.  First stop...South Sister climb!

This was one of the THE HIGHLIGHTS of the year!  

It was so beautiful.

Breathtaking scenery as far as the eye could see...

I'd like to also add that it was one of THE hardest things I have ever done.  Ever. Ever. Ever.  I thought I was in pretty good shape.  How quickly the proud can fall (figuratively and yes, literally.  I fell several times down the slippery shale slopes - thankfully not a great distance).

View from the summit.  Aren't those lakes amazing?

This is me.  Really, it is.

Doesn't this look Tolkienesque?  (Is that a word?  I don't know but I'm sticking with it).  This is a glacier...and I walked across it.  <-- wouldn't that make a great opening line?  I think I'll use it as the beginning of my epic poem about climbing the South Sister.  Please cue a soaring instrumental music score now.

I'll be the first to admit that at the beginning of this year I definitely fell into the Novice Hiker category.  Thankfully, my outdoorsy relatives stepped in and coached me in the following arenas:

1.  Gear.  It is totally true that your gear can make or break your outdoor adventure.  Waterproof jackets?  Yep, they are super handy when it rains while you are hiking.  I know it's difficult to imagine this could actually happen in the Pacific Northwest.  Trekking poles - yep, super awesome when you are scrambling up and down the side of a mountain.  REI and Columbia are great resources for gear - just keep your eyes peeled for sales.  I actually bought my trekking poles from Costco.

2. Safety.  It seems like you are always hearing about hikers who get into trouble.  A lot of it is common sense but it definitely pays off to think through safety and scenarios to avoid becoming the hiker that gets dehydrated or lost.  Here's a great article on The 10 Essentials

3.  Nutrition & Hydration.  When I was packing food for the South Sister hike I thought I was packing WAY too much food.  Thankfully my uncle assessed my provisions and said I had maybe half of what I needed.  Incredulous, I complied and doubled my food and threw in an extra 32 oz of water.  I ate EVERYTHING!  Bagels, protein bars, M&Ms, jerky, nuts, apple, orange, peanut butter, tuna. When you are hiking for 12+ hours you burn through calories like nobody's business.  And don't underestimate how much water you need.  If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. 

I love the feeling of accomplishment when you complete something that is truly a challenge and forces you to dig deep.  I credit climbing the South Sister 2 months before my marathon with really helping my physical and mental endurance (you can't exactly quit when have 5 hours left and a mountain to climb down efore you get back to your car).  The elation I felt when I reached the summit and looked out the the view is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Such a high!

And while the weather outside is frightful (aka cold and rainy), I know spring and summer hiking adventures are just around the corner!




  1. I SWEAR by my trekking poles. But I also have weak wobbly ankles so I rely on my poles to keep me upright. And aren't glacial lakes the most beautiful?! Living up in the PNW we are so close to some of the most beautiful lakes/mountains :-) Love seeing all of your bloggy posts!

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