I hiked a mountain on Saturday, unplanned. I brought my hiking backpack with me, which contained some coconut water, water for the dogs, some nuts, and a chia bar (that I ate on the drive out there). My plan was to hike a shorter trail on the other side of the freeway, but when I detoured off on a different exit, I ended up at a trail head of a hike I did years ago and thought, I will just do an hour and then turn around. The weather was perfect, with some sun and coolness in the air. I parked my Jeep, put the dogs on their leash and we began our adventure. As I started the hike, all my frustrations seemed to come out at once. My dogs were barking at other hikers, my shoes were slipping on the rocks, my empty backpack felt awkward on my back and my light jacket I was wearing had me sweating within the first few steps. But, I continued forward, taking in the fresh air, admiring the trees, moss and mountain streams. An hour passed and with the steep incline, I had only gone a mile! Instead of turning around, I decided to continue forward. The hike was difficult for me, with limited areas on the trail that were flat. But, the peace that was coming over me, out won the difficulty. Two and half hours later, I made it to the top. From the viewpoint I could see all of the valley below, the mountain ranges further east and snow lightly fell from the sky. I wanted to cry with joy, that I had pushed myself, through all the struggles and made it to the top. It was hard, but I stuck with it and the reward was well worth it! It was a good reminder as to why I am sticking to path I am on… it may be hard at times, other times it may bring me peace, but at the end, it will all be worth it. And it made me stronger along the way. Coming down was just as hard. The hard work wasn’t over after receiving the reward. I had to stay focus. My knees ached, I was over it- done… but I had to keep going. I got to the Jeep, tired, cold, wet and wanting to eat anything I could find. But, I was also proud of myself. I accomplished what I set out to do and actually exceeded it. It feels good to accomplish things in life, which is why I will continue to stay goal driven!
The first sunny day of the year and the trails were packed. I knew that one of the most popular trails near Seattle, Rattlesnake Ledge would be busy with hikers, families and dogs. Offering one of the most stunning views in the area, you can see Mount Si and Mount Washington from the first ledge at 1.9 miles. The fact that a pass is not required to park, which is not common among many hiking trails in Washington state, makes this wonderland available to everyone. Rattlesnake Ledge offers a beautiful lake at its base, where you will find people swimming, picnicking and kayaking. The trail itself is well maintained with bridges and surrounded by marvelous trees.
My family and I arrived to the trail around 11 in the morning and my assumptions proved to be true, as the parking lot was overflowed with vehicles. We lucked out scoring a spot near the entrance to the trail. The dogs were harnessed and off we went on our adventure. Although hiking with a crowd is not my favorite way to hike, especially with dogs, it was so good to see so many smiling faces, out enjoying the day. We made it to the top and relished in our home made sandwiches for lunch. Something about eating outside after exuberating a bunch of energy; makes the food taste better!
Items you will find in my hiking backpack:
- A couple bottles of water
- A plastic dish for my dogs water
- Plastic bags for garbage and doggy poo
- Hand Sanitizer
- A camera
- Lunch and snacks
- Matches, flashlight, band aides (just in case)
- Flip flops (so nice to take off those hiking boots afterwards!
I hope wherever you are, you can enjoy nature’s playground. The Washington Trails Association, http://www.wta.org is a great resource for finding hikes in Washington state.
Happy Trails Everyone!