Sunday, August 21, 2011

Peek-a-Boo Hike and Swim

great view of Mt Baker!
Last weekend I was successful in swimming in a 3,000' mountain lake; it felt pretty cold but also invigorating and wonderful. This weekend, I raised the stakes about a thousand feet. Peek-a-Boo Lake near Darrington is at 3,900' feet and a little snow lingered around the shoreline.
Peek-a-Boo, I see you!
The last time I had hiked there was with a Mountaineers group, in a carpool with someone whom I had never met, but who was very familiar to me. Without naming (dropping) names, there is a guy in Seattle who is well-known for his contributions to the cycling community, both on the road and at the track (that's a pretty big hint). He has a brother that I had ridden with, or should I say "sat on his wheel as though my life (or, more realistically, my reputation) depended on it". As I was to find out on the drive to the hike, those guys were a threesome, with one brother who had "defected" into the world of hiking.

Our drive conversation turned to our lists of activities and found we had cycling in common, though he hadn't been doing much riding in recent years. By the time we reached the trailhead, both of us reminiscing about our respective rides and tours, it was as though we were long lost friends.

As we started the hike, we talked and talked, comparing notes on countless roads and events we had both done. Talking is a great distraction to any work you may be doing. Like climbing a switch-backing trail with plenty of elevation gain. Which is why, as I read the "Day Hiking North Cascades" trail description before Saturday's hike, which described "occasional direct attacks straight uphill", I had no memory of any such terrain. In my mind, the trail was a gentle ascent, with long, loping switchbacks.

my "Certificate of Authenticity" for WTA's Hike-a-Thon

This time around, my friend and I toiled uphill on the sometimes-rough, not very well maintained trail. At least it was shaded. When we got to the lake, I was definitely ready for a swim and we found a spot that was secluded and had a good entry point. After a little self-talk, I was in and swimming and still able to breathe. After spending some time at the lake eating, relaxing and watching the fish jump, we had more toiling to do, as there was a steep climb to get out of the basin.

lucky shot – fish caught in mid-air

Both hiking situations were positive overall, but it was as if, like the name of the lake implies, there were some games being played.

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