June 2017 Experiment: One Hike a Week
When the year started, I had grand plans of meeting a running mileage benchmark, summiting peaks, and hitting new weightlifting PRs. In April and May goal setting and focus on my health and fitness goals took a backseat. So, I prepared for June with a trusty whiteboard calendar to set about getting back to the things I enjoy while recovering from the events and loss from the months previous. The overall goal: hike once a week, every week, no excuses.
Week 1: Little Si
Little Si has got to be my favorite local hike. If you arrive early on a weekday, you can find solitude on this gently ascending and lush trail. It's one of my favorites for taking pictures of mushrooms and lichen and 35 minutes from my apartment (major plus). This morning was misty and chilly and allowed for time alone at the top of the trail. I focused on my speed and posterior chain on the way up and felt a burn the day after. I'd love to be even a slightly faster hiker, so I may make this trail one to work towards running rather than hiking one day.
Week 2: Stan's Overlook, Rattlesnake Mountain
Every time I visit Stan's Overlook I kick myself wishing I could hike through from one trailhead to the other (spoiler: occasionally being a solo hiker is lonely). This morning was rainy but also oddly hot, and since nobody was around, this was the first hike I said "eff it" and hiked in a sports bra (not a fan). The trail itself isn't super remarkable for this section but offers a much less crowded option than Rattlesnake Ledge.
Week 3: Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
I managed to wrangle a partner for this week's hike! My husband joined me on our first ever venture into Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. I decided that this spot is where I need to take my parents/friends when they eventually come visit. The trail is very gentle, scenic, and has length options I appreciate (definitely coming back to run here sometime). Once again encountered gray skies in June, but it was still enjoyable and worth the drive out.
Week 4: Poo Poo Point, Chirico Trail
In a month-long venture to hike more, it's inevitable that you're going to have a "bad hike" at some point. Something about this morning was off. I felt just awful and weak climbing up, grumpy at all the people passing me, and not feeling the hike in any way. I also packed out an irritating amount of garbage for only being a short trek up to the viewpoint. I did enjoy about 20 minutes to myself to look out to Rainier, but I think I need to reserve revisiting this trail to a Fall day when fewer people are around to appreciate it.
Week 5: Wilderness Peak Loop
Doing a hike on the last day of the month, as a last-minute decision with no plan still counts right? In the remaining daylight, I headed out until the sun dipped low, not making it to the "lookout" (there are no real views from this trail). Two years ago I attempted this hike for the first time, and it felt super hard. It was refreshing to see how much my body has changed since then because I breezed upwards with minimal huffing and puffing. Although, I did end up hiking in ankle socks this time. Oops.
Overall, I consider my experiment a success. I know some people have set themselves up to hike once a week for a year, but that seems like much too much pressure to put upon myself intentionally. I may schedule myself similarly in the Fall when things slow back down in my personal and work life, though. I also refined my day hiking preferences, weeded out equipment I don't need, and have a better grasp on where my comfort levels lie.
Things that helped me over the month:
Allowing myself flexibility in my work routine (working later/longer on certain weekdays)
Prepacking my day pack and laying out clothing the night before
Always leaving boots and a fresh pair of socks in the trunk of my car*
Things I need to work on after this month:
Get up when the alarm goes off, do not snooze
Remember sunscreen always
Bring an extra bag for packing out litter (and hand sanitizer)
*Hiking in ankle socks you packed for running is not recommended. Neither is lifting in your wool hiking socks. Both of these things happened in June. Never underestimate the power that appropriate footwear carries with it.