Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Meaning of Cajoling

Okay, I'll admit that I walked straight up the side of a mountain today, but only for about 1.6 miles and then I went down again. I walked most of it backward. Yes, that's what I said. Backward. See, my job today, was to walk as far as I could with Nick trailing along behind me. I told him I was his trainer. He moaned and groaned, but as long as I was ten feet ahead of him, he kept walking. That's how Mike ended up walking almost five miles when Nick and I only walked a little over three. At least we walked it.

To get there, we took exit 38 off of I-90 and went to the right directly to a trailhead at Olalie State Park. We used our Discovery Pass again. I'm glad we got the thing. I've used it more than I thought I would. Then, after Mike ditched us to walk fast, Nick and I took a left off of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail onto a main trail that seemed, after a little dip, to go up and up and up. It was relentless, but as I was traveling very slowly, my heart rate didn't go bonkers the way it usually does when I take on elevation gain. This was Mt. Washington, described in Mike's guide as one of the two gateway mountains from North Bend into the Cascades. Elevation gain was our goal.

We're all trying to get healthier. My problem was that since I was mostly standing for couple of hours,it didn't feel like elevation gain for my heart, but my feet really hurt. In mechanics, there's some corrollary that says it doesn't matter how long it takes you to move an object to a certain height that you do the same amount of work regardless if you do it quickly or slowly. Well, does that mean that your heart gets the same benefit regardless of how fast it's pumping? I doubt it.

Nick and I drew leaves today when we took breaks. When he sat on a log, rather than lecture him, I had him draw a branch of a Western Hemlock. He did a pretty good job. I opened my notebook and tried to draw something, but it was lame. I figured that if Nick was outside looking at stuff closely enough to draw it, at least he wasn't conjuring excuses for being outside, for getting exercise.

He wasn't limping when he wasn't complaining about his ankle. He wasn't breathing heavily when he wasn't complaining about his asthma. When he leaned back and forth as if he was going to pass out, it seemed like total drama. He even tried to cry but couldn't. Okay, I believed that he really, really didn't want to be doing this, but my job wasn't to judge. It was just to get him up the trail, to get him to sweat.

The cool thing was that we came across a climbing overhang studded with pitons and bolts. There were carabiners still hanging from them. It would have taken a climbing artist to get up there to get them down.

It was a lovely place to hang out, with bright yellow lichen clinging to the rock and maidenhair ferns in the damp places. There was another kind of fern there, a little more delicate even than the maidenhair.

I have an app for my phone that's supposed to identify leaves for you, but to do it, you have to put the leaf on a white background. I didn't get it to work. I didn't want to destroy any of these leaves. So I still don't know what any of them were.

Just about when I didn't figure I could get Nick up any further, Mike came along down the mountainside. Then, when we got to the place where a large tree had fallen and made a bridge. Nick was bound and determined to walk across. I noticed he wasn't favoring that ankle then either.

It was a lovely walk downhill until I realized I'd left a bag of Teddy's poop somewhere up the trail. Gross. I hate when I see that. So, I left Mike to cheerlead down the hill, a much easier job, if you ask me. I hot-footed it up the hill again, this time sweating, my heart thumping, and generally breathing like a teenaged girl in the back seat of a Chevy van with the captain of the football team.

I had put down the bag to try to identify a leaf with the stupid app that didn't work. I actually made it back to the car within a few minutes of the guys arrival! We didn't smell very good, I knew, when we finally ambled into the local restaurant to order our usual for dinner, but we really enjoyed our dinner, especially the icy glasses of water they brought us.

Thank you for listening, jb

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