Last Saturday, I got the idea in my silly little head that I had better go for a hike.
I had a few requirements for said hike: 1) Semi-short. 2) Beautiful view. 3) Dog friendly.
I got out my Best Hikes with Dogs in Western Washington book, and used the handy reference guide to pick one that fit the bill: Mount Ellinor.
I skimmed the description in the book: Somethin’ somethin’, five miles, blah blah, go in mid-July because of snow, yadda yadda, park in the lower lot if the upper road is blocked with snow…
I jumped in the car with Ada the Dog, and we were off to Olympic National Forest for a great adventure!
Of course, I got lost on the way, turning the 2-hour drive into a 3-hour drive.
When I got to the upper lot trailhead, I noticed that I was dressed much differently than the hikers around me. I was in a tank top, running shorts, sunglasses, and athletic shoes. My hiking comrades all wore pants, hiking boots, and carried hiking sticks.
I felt a little out of place, but I didn’t think much of it. I mean, hikers are just so weird! I see hikers all decked out on 1.5 miles trails in the middle of urban parks. Hikers are so obsessed with their silly unattractive equipment.
With that snooty thought in mind, Ada the Dog and I proceeded to the trail.
Then we reached a snowy area.
I forgot to mention that those “athletic shoes” I was wearing had NO tread. None. I started sliding around like Bambi on ice.
I felt particularly ridiculous about this, because, as I said, I was underdressed. There I was in my summery outfit, sliding around like a fool on snow.
While I was slightly embarrassed, I also was having a blast! I mean, Bambi-on-ice is hilarious, right?
I proceeded through the snow, sliding about, nearly falling every few yards, when I noticed a strange sound up ahead: Screaming.
Not scary someone-is-in-danger screaming, but more like fun someone-is-on-a-rollercoaster screaming.
I looked towards the sound, and I saw why people were screaming. Girls were attempting to climb up a steep, slippery snowy hill, and as they climbed, they lost their footing and screamed.
Did I mention the girls all had pants and legit footwear on?
I considered the option of turning around at this point, just to avoid embarrassment, but I hadn’t seen the view yet, and the whole point of this trip was to see the view. I decided not to give up, and I slowly stepped into boot-packed areas of snow and climbed my way up the mountain. Sometimes I was lucky enough to pass a bush, and I was able to cling for dear-life to the branches as I climbed, but for the most part, it was just me, my treadless-shoes, and the slippery snowy hill.
As I climbed, people slid down the steep hill next to me. I would described the activity as a “luge,” because there was a clear path in the snow carved out by sliding butts. I later learned that the term for this activity is “glissading.”
“Oh great!” I thought, “Everyone is getting down the mountain on their butts…and you are wearing shorts. You cannot slide down on your butt. You look like an idiot.”
Nevertheless, I still hadn’t seen the view, so on I marched (er….shuffled) over the slippery snow.
Eventually, I reached a point where I couldn’t go any further. It was just too steep and slippery. I was so close to the top, but unless I chose to belly-crawl across the snow (which would have been rather cold in my tank and shorts), there was just no way to safely make it up. So, I told Ada the Dog that I could go no further. She didn’t seem to mind, because she had made friends with the appropriately dressed people who had made it to the top of the mountain.
I was disappointed. I was so, so close to the top, and so close to the beautiful view! I had driven three hours for the view! But there was just no way that I could make it to the top.
And I do mean carefully. I have never had to use stabilizing muscles like this before. Each step was a new adventure in quickly shifting my weight to keep myself balanced and avoid falling.
I fell on several occasions, sliding on my butt each time, and using my gloveless-hands to stop myself each time. SO COLD!
Eventually I made it to the bottom of the snow, and Ada the Dog and I happily hiked back to the car.
I looked at my watch. The hike was less than 2 hours, even with all the slow movement on the slippery steeps. Whoops, I guess I should have read the book a little better, the hike was 5 miles from the LOWER parking lot. It was only 3 miles from the upper lot. I got in the car and drove the 2 hours home.
That’s right, friends 5 hours in the car, and less than 3 on the trail. But worth every second for the Bambi-sliding, beautiful-view, feeling-super-embarrassed great adventure!
Have you ever been under-dressed for a sporting activity?