This last weekend we went hiking at Dorothy Lake near Skykomish in the central Cascades (West Stevens Pass).
I’m already a bit anxious for the marathon to be done, just because this fall weather really makes me want to go on long hikes a bit further into the Cascades (especially in Leavenworth). Honestly, at this point, it’s difficult to balance the high mileage and intensity of the peak weeks of marathon training with hiking. The marathon is definitely a goal of mine which I am driven to complete; the best way to describe how I’m feeling is that as much as I’ve enjoyed marathon training, I’m also looking forward to shifting into a better balance of running only about 40-45 miles per week and going on long weekend hikes. That’s definitely a pro of the half marathon: it allows more time and energy for non-running activities.
My next goal race is a half marathon in early March, which means that I’ll have all of October through November to hike and then most of my half training will be during hiking off-season (when we’ll still hike, but not up in the mountains as frequently because of snow). Saturday long runs will also be replaced by Friday long runs and Saturday recovery runs during my next training cycle, so we can make the most of hiking before it gets too cold.
I altered my training schedule a bit this weekend so we could do the full hike at Dorothy Lake and Bear Lake and because I wanted to run long on my birthday. So, I did 14 moderately paced miles on Friday. I planned on doing 6 on Saturday, but when I woke up, I just felt fatigued and sore, so I just did 3 recovery miles on the treadmill.
We packed up our backpacks and headed out to Dorothy Lake mid-morning. The Stevens Pass area, which is just east of Gold Bar, is about 90 minutes from Bothell (so roughly 2 hours from downtown Seattle), so we started hiking shortly before noon. The temperature in Skykomish was ideal, right around 50 degrees at the trailhead. We made sure to bring layers, since it can get quite chilly as the elevation increases.
The trail actually went to multiple lakes, including Dorothy Lake and Bear Lake. Our initial plan was to complete the 11.5 mile hike around Dorothy Lake and up to Bear Lake. The overall elevation gain was relatively minor—only about 1600 feet.
After climbing for about 1.8 miles up a clear trail of mostly wooden stairs, we arrived at Dorothy Lake. Dorothy Lake, like other alpine lakes such as Goat Lake and Lake Twenty-Two, sparkled with exceptional clarity and was seated at the bottom of picturesque cliffs.
We stopped for a quick lunch along one of the streams coming out of Dorothy Lake before continuing along the trail. The trail wound along the lake for a few miles, so we got to enjoy the scenery of the lake the whole time. Even though the total elevation gain was only 1600 feet, the trail was not completely flat; it would climb, then descend, and then climb again. It was enjoyable to hike some gentle rollers rather than a continual uphill, since it provided terrain variety on both the ascent and descent.
I have marathon training goggles now, because I did not think that 11.5 miles would present any sort of challenge for completing. Never mind the fact that the Gothic Basin was our only hike before above ten miles (Goat Lake was 10 mile and I’m so excited to do that one again once the autumn colors develop). We got about 2.5 hours into the hike and just past the end of Lake Dorothy (just about 4 miles out from the trailhead) and decided it was best to turn around. Just as with running, not every hike should push your limits; sometimes, an easy hike is just what your mind and body need.
Ryan and I both thoroughly enjoyed Dorothy Lake and it’s on our list of hikes to do again. It would be perfect for overnight camping, since there were numerous campsites along the lake.
Our 8 mile hike took five hours and we had plenty of time to relax, picnic, and enjoy the scenery. This time last year, when we went to Turkey Run in Indiana for our honeymoon, I thought the hikes there offered some of the most beautiful natural scenery I had seen, especially this side of the Atlantic. Washington is so incredibly scenic that I sometimes can’t believe we live here.
We attempted to get some family photos by one of the rivers, but Charlie was having none of it. Since the hike to Dorothy Lake was relatively short, we saw many families going up to camp with their children and dogs, and Charlie becomes smitten with every dog he encounters.
For Labor Day, we finally went to try Redhook Brewery in the Columbia Wine Valley in Woodinville. I run by it frequently on one of the trails and we had tried their ESB before, so we were both eager to visit. We had “our” brewery back in Valpo and had been missing having a place to go, relax, and enjoy a beer since we moved. Redhook did not disappoint, as it offered fantastic beers in a laidback and comfy bar and restaurant setting. We are definitely going back there!
We ordered a flight to sample their beers. Over the past several months, I’ve been cutting back on my sugar intake and I’m starting to notice how it’s affected my palate. I used to consider IPAs to be too bitter, but I loved the Redhook IPA and actually ordered a whole pint—it is so good! Additionally, they had several delicious German style beers.
Is there a better birthday weekend than a long run, craft beer, and hiking? Only when you add in birthday donuts (instead of cake) and several wonderful gifts from my family, including Oiselle, Brooks, and PrAna clothes, new Brooks shoes (Pure Connect 4—the color I got is available here at REI), and a SPIBelt with a waterproof liner so Seattle’s liquid sunshine doesn’t murder my phone.
I want to also say thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday on the blog and on Instagram, and to everyone who has shared such supportive words about the upcoming e-cookbook! I’m immensely grateful for all of you who read this blog and share my posts on social media.
Questions of the Day:
Have you tried the Pure Connects? What is your honest opinion?
Have you noticed your palate change as you alter your diet or get older?
Have you ever gone camping? Share your experience!