Thursday, March 21, 2013

Annette Lake Hike

On Saturday, September 29, 2012, I took on the one of the biggest challenges of my life! Just 7 months ago, I was broken. I couldn't walk across my living room without pain and gasping for breath. I had a hard time doing anything and felt sad and depressed most of the time. I had not left my home on several years. For the past couple months, I have started going out again, shopping trips, G-Sales, out to eat. I just stepped it up a notch. I joined a Meet Up group in my area. Hiking Journeys 40 Plus! I signed up for my first hike, Annette Lake 09/29/12 two weeks before it was scheduled. Then I waited and actually started dreading it, as the date got closer. At first, all I was afraid of was wildlife, bears and such, which are abundant here in the PNW! I got over that quickly, but it was replaced by a strong fear of failure. Right up until 30 minutes before I left my house to meet my new friends, I almost backed out. I had convinced myself that I just couldn't do it. I was afraid I might ruin everyone's trip up the mountain if I couldn't make it all the way. Then, I remembered "The Victor", a poem that I have lived my life by for the last several months. How had I forgotten it? I do believe in me and my will. Maybe I can do it. I'll go!

My husband Rick, agreed to go with me. Thank you Rick. He is a machine and I felt more comfortable, knowing he would be there if I had any trouble. Turns out, I didn't need a bit of help. I'm not saying it was easy, it wasn't. It's not an easy hike. Hikes are rated for Difficulty, such as this...

Easy: The hike is mostly level with easy hills mixed in and the walking is relatively smooth.

Easy/Moderate: This rating typically describes hikes that are not flat but whose elevation
gain is less than 500 feet per mile. For an easy/moderate hike, you should definitely be
prepared for a lot of uphill walking.

Moderate: Hikes rated as "moderate" usually gain 500-800 feet per mile. Moderate hikes
usually ascend steadily at an incline that would be difficult for an unconditioned person to
comfortably handle. Hikes are up to 8 miles round trip. Moderate hikes are generally on
established trails that can be rocky and steep in places. Elevation gain is up to 2000'.

Difficult: This level is used for challenging hikes. Perhaps the average elevation gain falls
within the criteria for "moderate" but there are enough steeper sections or rough segments
to warrant a higher rating. This may also describe hikes that are quite steep but short
enough in distance to give it an overall feel of something less than "strenuous".

Strenuous: Hike may be especially long, have a large elevation gain, or is over difficult
and/or exposed terrain. The hike is clearly difficult with steep inclines and often rough
footing and/or rock scrambles. The elevation gain is usually greater than 800 feet per mile
and is oftentimes 1,000 feet or more per mile (which is very steep).

Our hike was Rated Moderate (10). Of course this is a rating for a fit person, who is accustomed to doing this type of activity. I am neither. It was more a Difficult to Strenuous hike for me. I was afraid I wouldn't make it, at times. I had to stop briefly to catch my breath, several times. My group was wonderful, they told me that if I needed to stop, no matter how much, they were happy to stop. No man left behind. It's the trip up, not the destination. They like to hike at a slower pace and enjoy the trip and photograph it. I couldn't have asked for a better group to go with. The trip up took us 4.5 hours. We climbed 173 Floors, according to Mr. F. Bit! That is the equivalent of the Sears Tower. It was 4.91 miles there. The trail was mostly rocky with many roots and it was all uphill except the last quarter mile. The last 1/4 mile hike down leads to Annette Lake, nestled between mountain peaks and fed by Glacier run off. It is extremely cold and just serene. We didn't venture into the water, but did notice a couple "Skinny Dippers" across the lake! haha We took many photos (NOT any of the Skinny Dippers lol), laughed, talked, ate snacks and recovered for almost an hour. Then we started our trip back to the trail head. It took us 3 hours to come down. Other than stopping a minute on the first quarter mile out (which was the uphill part now), I didn't need to stop one time. I felt pretty good and extremely happy and proud that I had done it. After we were back to the cars, we all loaded up and headed to Issaquah. We stopped at the Issaquah Brewhouse for a nice dinner. Everyone had Kobe Beef Cheeseburgers or Kobe Beef Chilli. Well, I had a grilled chicken salad with salsa in place of dressing. They are famous for their Brews! I don't drink but some drank some nasty looking DARK beer! Ewwwww Following are many pictures of our day.

Our 5 man/woman party, about to start the hike at 9:00 am. The weather was cool, about 50ish, with a very light drizzle. about 1.5 hours in, the sky cleared up and the temp rose to the mid 60's. From left, Stef, Ann, Jenny, Jay and Rick.

Annette Lake, thata way!

We begin. It's almost immediately uphill. And rocky. Between my Backpack and my Trekking Poles, I was carrying 14 extra pounds.

Jenny and Jay, soon after we started.

I was pretty impressed with the bridges that were built over all the water. It sure made it easy to get across.

This was an actual HUGE tree that had fallen, the root mass was at one end. They had added rails and carved in steps.

Jay at the other end of the same bridge.

There were wooden bridges built and connected to the huge tree bridge. You can see part of the root mass from the huge tree bridge, on the right.

The trees here are so tall!

Rick and his Hobbit stick! With all the ferns, mushrooms and moss, I was sure Bilbo Baggins would pop out in front of us on the trail, at some point.

Another bridge, farther up.

We were having a great time.

The woods have a strange, eerie feeling. I found it so beautiful!

This is about the largest stump I have ever seen.

Rick climbed up to stand next to it. Yep, big stump!

Our Fearless Leader, Jay. What a great guy! He is funny, kind, smart, helpful and really knows a lot about hiking in the beautiful PNW! This is his 4th year hiking here.

A small bit of the trail, perhaps a half mile, was soft dirt through green foilage. It gave my dawgs a brief respite! haha

About 4 miles up, we ran across two Forest Rangers. We stopped and chatted a while. They told us we had about a mile or less left to the lake. They were very nice. They told us to be careful in the upcoming Rock Slides that we had to hike through, before we started down to the lake.

This is the Forest Service "Working Dog" they had with them. His job is to slide down steep spots and retrieve water bottles, and other trash that shouldn't be left there. Not everyone practices "Pack it in, pack it out", they should.

The first Rock Slide. Jay stopped to take pictures.

I made my way to the slide and got my camera out too. This is a view higher up the mountain.

This is a view of the same slide, down the mountain.

Another slide area. This one's path was much easier to walk across.

I'm in love with the views here!

Eureka! What is that we see through the trees?

Annette Lake. Almost 5 miles of rocky, uphill trail later. A sight for sore...everything!

Our group. The camera appeared to be tilted on the tripod. Ann said 'Everyone lean so we look more even in the picture." We leaned!

Finally, I unloaded my pack, trekking poles and hat. What a load off. All of a sudden, I was freezing on my back. I reached back and my shirt was soaked. I hadn't even noticed it until I stopped and relaxed. I had been too hot or too cold at several times on the hike up, taking my hat and jacket off when I was hot and putting them back on as I cooled back off.

Resting and enjoying the view a minute, before we snack a bit.

Snack time! I brought my favorite Dried Papaya (I could eat it non-stop, all day) and my Tropical Trail mix. Yummy! Rick had his trail mix, so did Ann. Jay had some granola/energy bars and Jenny had PIZZA! LOL

Papaya! Rick looks to be in deep thought.

My dogs are dead tired!

Rick was tired too. He even said it was much tougher than he thought it would be.

I'm pretty tickled that I stuck it out and completed the climb! I think of 7 months ago, I could barely walk. Sure goes to show, if you want to do something, you can!

Every time I saw the landscape reflecting in the water, I thought of Bob Ross!

As we sat there eating and looking at the scenery, clouds started swirling around and coming over the trees.

They continued, spreading farther over the lake.

In less than a minute, the lake had clouds floating right above it.

Another minute later and all the clouds were gone again. It did this several times.

This is Granite Peak. We saw it across the way from the mountain we were climbing. It was the Goal Hike for 2012 for my Meet Up Group. They completed it last Saturday.

There were several types of mushrooms, fungus and ferns growing all over the place. I saw many of these. I think they're really neat!

This fungus looked almost like a fat round head of Cauliflower.

More Cauliflower stuff, filling the inside of a large hollow tree stump.

We saw several spider webs, covered in the mist. But, I never saw one single spider!

I love places like this that have wild ferns growing. They were everywhere.

There were mushrooms all over the place too. Some were little, in bunches like this. Others were huge!

Trees, trees and more trees!

Near the top of the mountain. The clouds did the same thing that they did over the lake. Swirled in quickly, covering up the view and the moving away again.

The view is almost gone. No worries though, it'll be back in 60 more seconds, just to leave again.

The clouds came down through the trees too, we could almost touch them, literally!

There were many small waterfalls.

The water was freezing! The sound was relaxing. Almost made me forget that my lungs and legs were on fire! Ok, not really! But, it was relaxing!

More water!

Headed back down the mountain. We cut 1.5 hours off our climbing time, taking 3 hours to descend.

We had such a great time. I was hurting quite a bit during the climb, but it was so worth it. I really feel like I achieved so much.

One tired but cheerful bunch!

I love the forest. So many colors and moss carpets. Looks kinda comfy!

Almost down. The parking lot at the Trail Head is almost in view. I can't wait to get my boots off! haha We made it to the car and it was nearing dark. We all drove into Issaquah and had a nice little dinner at the Issaquah Brewhouse! What a great day it was. We can't wait to go again. That will be two weeks from today to Sauk Mountain Trail. It's pronounced "Sock", so we are calling it our Sauk Walk.

Now to recover for the next trip. Maybe it won't take that long! I feel really good, I just have a slight bit of muscle soreness in my thighs. I think I'll live! I'll leave you with my inspiration, the words I live by...


”The Victor”

If you think you are beaten, you are.

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win but think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.

For out in the world we find, success begins with a person’s will. It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are out classed, you are.

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself, before you can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man.

But, sooner or later, the one who wins is the one who thinks he can.


Till next time!

-Originally posted on September 30, 2012, by Stef.

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