Archive for October, 2008

Fantastic 10-mile fall "hike"

Posted in hiking on October 30, 2008 by poojaland

This past Sunday, Chrissy had the great idea of taking advantage of our surprisingly clear and sunny fall weather and going on a hike. This year has been unusual in Seattle in that we’ve had a true fall season, where it’s been cool/cold, but clear and sunny. Leaves have changed color and are still on their trees — usually “fall” is like two days, and then the rains come in and the leaves end up on the ground in a soggy, ucky mess. But the scenery around town lately has been just gorgeous.

Anyway, Chrissy, Tina and I left the city Sunday morning and headed east to Big Creek Falls. En route, we discovered that Chrissy’s state-parks permit, which we needed to park at the trailhead, had actually expired a couple months back. I then whipped out my oh-so-handy iPhone, and found a gas station in North Bend where we could buy a $5 day pass. After going through North Bend, we had to rumble down a 10-mile gravel road, that was peppered with potholes. Apparently Chrissy enjoys that sort of driving… ;o) We finally rolled up to the trailhead at about 11; there were only maybe 10 other cars in the lot.

It was pretty chilly — mid-40s — so I pulled on my oh-so-sexy bandana/headband/ear-protector thing, two fleeces (one light, one mid) and some gloves. Then we set out for the 10-mile “hike.” (I put “hike” in quotes, because it’s basically flat; you gain 700 feet of elevation over the five miles.) At the beginning of the hike, we crossed and then walked along the Taylor River. Here and there, we had to cross tiny, low streams, but for the most part, it was a pretty easy ramble. At the three-mile mark, we came across Marten Creek, which had a little waterfall. A couple miles up, we came to a cairn (basically a pile of rocks that act as a marker) on the side of the trail. We scrambled about 100 yards up a hill, then went down the other side and came to the base of Otter Falls. Otter Falls was really amazing — basically a sheer rock face, with a tiny trickle of water coming down it. The Falls end in a tiny, serene lake. After snapping a lot of pictures, we sat down for lunch. Here are some pics of the Falls; you may have to squint to see the water coming down…

Then I pulled out my handy-dandy Joby camera stand and mounted the camera on a tree branch so we could take a self-photo. That tree behind Tina was so beautiful. (BTW, I turned on the “Autumn” setting on my camera at this point, which made the leaves’ colors really pop, but washed out our faces a bit.)

After eating, we found our way back to the main trail, and continued on for maybe a mile or so to our turnaround spot, Big Creek Falls. Here’s a shot of Tina, Chrissy and me in front of the falls:

And then…back we went. In total, our hike was about 10 miles. I’ve never walked that distance before, so my calves were definitely a bit achy the last mile or so. But what a great outing — the perfect weather, mild exercise, good company, etc. It was almost rainforest-like most of the way, with moss everywhere:

I highly recommend that y’all head out to this place once spring rolls around. Here’s a great, detailed description of how to get to the trailhead and what to do/where to go from there:

Finally, I leave you with a pic I snapped on the drive home; it shows off more beautiful fall foliage. So glad we took our trip when we did — the rains are a’ comin’!

Fun Halloween activity: Haunted Trails

Posted in halloween on October 8, 2008 by poojaland

If any of you, my handful of readers, are looking for a fun Halloween-related activity, I highly recommend the Haunted Trails at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash. The students of the university put it on to raise money for trips abroad. It costs $10 ($8 with a can or dry-food donation), and involves walking in groups of 10 or so through the trails on the university’s grounds. Along the way, people in costume jump at you, ghosts on strings fly around and so on. Last year was my first year going. As we waited to embark, the “guide” told us that “there will be no touching,” which meant that any time a scary person started toward me on the trail, I would reflexively wave my hands around in front of my face and say “NO TOUCHING!” Yeahh… I’m weird. Mostly, I’m just not a fan of being scared!

Anyway, since I was toward the back of our group, I didn’t get truly spooked too often. But despite that, along with the crazy cold, drizzly weather, it was still a lot of fun. Someone in our group brought a big thing of hot cocoa — spiked with butterscotch schnapps — which we sipped on after our adventure. Yum!

This year, the Trails will run from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday Oct. 17 and 18, and Friday and Saturday Oct. 24 and 25. They’re quite popular (last year they had 4,000 folks), so I recommend going early (and of course, dressing warmly). There’s also some side events going on for small kids.

More info on everything can be found on Bastyr’s Web site. I’m guessing my friends and I will go again this year, but we haven’t pinned down a date. If any of you (and by “you” I mean my real-life friends in Seattle ;o)) want to join in, just let me know.

Windy city for a day

Posted in Weather on October 6, 2008 by poojaland

Late Saturday morning, I peered out the window to see trees bending back and forth, and leaves blowing all over. I’d thought it was going to be a relatively mild (well, rain-free) weekend, and though it wasn’t raining, the wind looked pretty intense. I could even hear the whir of it from a couple feet from the window.

Anyhow, my day was pretty open, so I pulled my hair into a ponytail, topped it with a baseball cap, and put on one of my two awesome North Face Windwall jackets and some comfy tennis shoes, and hopped the bus to the U District.

Several times, I felt like I was in a wind tunnel; I even had to slam a hand on my head to keep my hat from taking flight. Loose pages of the Stranger (a local alternative newspaper) were blowing around by the traffic lights at one intersection I waited at. At one point, I walked past a guy who was approaching his parked car with two 10-12″ pizza boxes and some other assorted stuff in his hands. He set the boxes on his trunk so he could pull out his keys. I’d nearly walked past his car when I heard a thud, followed by “F*CK!” I casually looked back, and only saw one pizza box sitting on his trunk. I couldn’t see to the far side of his car to see if one of the pizzas had been ejected from its box, but gauging by the strength of that “F*CK!” I’m guessing it did. Sorry, dude!