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Buying an extra large and hiking a mountain

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My husband and I went shopping at REI last night because we wanted some pants for the hike we did today. I spotted some pants that were exactly what I was after, the ones that are lightweight, lots of pockets, and have a part that zips off to make them into shorts. They looked like they would fit me--then I saw that they were boys sizes. Darn! I went off to the ladies section to see what they had there and found some that were similar but not quite as many pockets and more expensive. I picked out a couple of pairs that I thought would fit, then wandered back to compare them to the boys pants I'd seen. Some of those boys pants looked to be about the same size as the ladies ones . . . off to the dressing room I went, and sure enough, the boys extra large fit the same as the ladies size 6 pants. So yup, I had to buy an extra large last night, but it was in BOYS pants--woo hoo! That was pretty cool.


Then today we got up bright and early to go for a hike with a couple of other people. We met them at the designated spot and headed to the trail head for Mt. Si, one of the most popular hiking trails in the Seattle area. We hoped to get an early enough start to beat a lot of the crowds as well as the expected warm temperatures.

Mt. Si is a somewhat challenging trail, four miles from the bottom to the top, going from about 700 feet in elevation at the parking lot to over 4100 feet at the top. I debated whether I needed to get actual hiking boots for this or just use my trail running shoes. In talking to one of the guys at REI last night, he said the trail was well maintained enough that my trail runners (Brooks Pure Grit, love those shoes!) should be fine, so that's what I wore. If I had been backpacking or going on a more technical trail, I'd rather have boots with ankle support. They were perfect for this hike, though. I never felt like I was going to lose traction on the trail today. I even tried running lightly in a few places; these shoes would be great for that! I think a trail run is in my future, perhaps. Here's a little of the beautiful scenery along the way:

This 8 mile hike today was every bit as hard if not harder than the half marathons I've run. I have no doubt my quads, glutes, and hamstrings will be screaming at me tomorrow; you don't gain and lose that much elevation in that short a distance without some serious inclines to traverse! We did it, though, with minimal breaks along the way--no stops to sit down going up, just stopping on the side of the trail to catch our breath. It was cool seeing the people going up and down with full backpacks on; this is one of the trails people preparing to climb Mt. Rainier use to practice and get in condition on. I can see why! Here's one of the easier switchbacks we went on:

We kept climbing and climbing for what seemed like forever. The higher we went, the steeper the trail and the switchbacks. Then finally, we came to the rocky part that signaled we were near the end of the trail. We came out of the trees and there it was; we made it to the top. The view at the top was worth the effort:

After an extended break enjoying some snacks we brought with us, we headed down the mountain. For some reason, we weren't breathing quite as hard as we were on the way up, but it was still quite a trek. We passed (and were passed by) quite a few more people on the way down than on the way up; I'm so glad we got there as early as we did, otherwise it would have been much warmer and much more crowded. We were all very happy to the the bottom when we finally reached it!

When we first moved to the area and heard about the Mt. Si trail, I didn't think I'd ever be able to tackle it. Thank you, SparkPeople and my Spark friends, for helping me discover that I can do so much more than I ever dreamed! Who knows, I may someday tackle an ultra marathon--I could imagine it when I was trotting on the trail.

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