Hiking at Heather Lake

Hiking at Heather Lake

Ryan and I had grand plans for hiking this summer. However, injuries can easily derail the best plans. First I sprained my foot, then Ryan found out dealt with lingering inflammation from a ripped tendon in his foot, then we both dealt with hamstring issues. (Apparently, we take marriage so seriously that we twin on injuries.)

This weekend, we had full plans to backpack on an 11 mile hike to a beautiful alpine lake. But then we found out Ryan had a minor lung infection, so we opted for a shorter hike instead. (If you know either of us, we’re not the best at completely resting.) 

Besides, isn’t fresh mountain air supposed to be a good cure for anything?

Hiking at Heather Lake

Ryan and I are both morning people (Charlie, on the other hand, would sleep all day if we let him), so we prefer to start hiking at about 9 AM at the latest.  It’s still chilly and silent in the mountains and the Disneyland crowds haven’t descended yet upon the trails. Yes, hiking does get that crowded out here – Seattle has a large population and many people are active out here. 

Hiking at Heather Lake

Heather Lake was approximately an hour drive from our apartment, so we were able to start the hike early, relax at the summit, and still get home with plenty of leisurely Sunday time left.

We did Heather Lake back in the spring when all the mountains were still buried under a snow and some melting slush. I enjoy winter hiking quite a bit, but I feel like I don’t get a full view of everything when there’s so much snow. Since we decided to do an easy hike, repeating this short hike was a good idea. We knew the elevation wasn’t going to induce any huffing and puffing. 

Hiking at Heather Lake

The hike itself was relaxing. The incline was so gentle (only about 1000 feet gain over 2.5 miles) that we didn’t even use our trekking poles. 

As I mentioned on Monday, Charlie suddenly decided he was a water dog and played in the water for about 20 minutes. We tried to throw him sticks to fetch, but instead he stood about leg-deep in the water, stared in the wrong direction, and cried until we threw another stick. 

Hiking at Heather Lake

We hiked around the lake this time, which we weren’t able to due in winter because I’m paranoid about avalanches. The far side of Heather Lake was stunning: steep boulder fields, wildflowers, and picturesque views of the water. 

Hiking at Heather Lake

I mean, how breathtaking is this view? I felt like we were hiking in somewhere out of John Muir’s diary. 

Hiking at Heather Lake

We found a little cove, set up our camp chairs (totally worth the weight on this short of a hike), and enjoyed our lunch of sunflower butter sandwiches by the water. Charlie, meanwhile, played in the water so more…and only after the fact did we realize how muddy this side of the lake was. 

Hiking at Heather Lake

Honestly, that’s one thing I have developed an appreciation about hiking. You get a little muddy, but you survive. In fact, it’s actually fun. Five or six years ago, I would have not gone hiking (or at least, not in the appropriate shoes), but now it’s like running: I can’t quite imagine life without it. 

Oh, and the deliciousness of a post-hike, post-shower meal is pretty great as well. After our hike, we picked up some Mediterranean tapas from our local market’s hot bar, cleaned up (especially the muddy puggle), and enjoyed our meal while watching the Olympic Men’s Marathon. 

I’m getting excited for all the adventures that the final quarter of the year will bring us. Now that we’re (knock on wood) free of injury and illness, Ryan and I have plans to backpack, conquer some challenging hikes (including Gothic Basin again), and travel – Vermont, California, and possibly even Vancouver. 

Most of all, it’s almost fall, which means perfect outdoor weather, colorful leaves, and all those delicious fall foods! 

[Tweet “Absolutely breathtaking! Hiking at Heather Lake via @thisrunrecipes #optoutside #pnw #hiking”]

Linking up with Thinking Out Loud!

How do you handle it when injury or illness affects your plans?
Are you a morning person? 
Other than running, what hobby or activity can you not imagine life without now?

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18 Responses

  1. Yep I am definitely a morning person too! And I guess I have had to learn to go with the flow with injuries. Its frustrating but I guess Im learning that there are some things you just can’t control. Glad you are both healthy now and able to enjoy those beautiful hikes!

  2. Alex and I don’t twin on injuries, but there is something wrong with each of us just about all the time. At least you both coordinate and can race each other to see who will get better faster (speaking of, I hope his pneumonia gets better asap! You all need some adventures this weekend!)

  3. I can’t even get over how gorgeous those photos are. They need to be published somewhere in a hiking journal or something! I am not a morning person but this summer has helped a bit; I have been doing most of my running in the morning and I am really starting to enjoy it! It will be more difficult once the mornings are dark, though.

  4. I’m a morning person, but my husband is….very not. So if we’re hiking together we often don’t start until after lunch, unless I can convince him it will be too hot. The more popular trails around here are super busy by 7am anyway (though I’m sure not Seattle levels of busy), so we just deal with the extra people.

    1. I can imagine the trails in Montana get busy also! The crowds can be frustrating but at the same time it’s great to see so many people out there enjoying nature.

  5. These pictures are beautiful. The BF & I are hikers too, and I really couldn’t imagine my life without it. I’ve had a few injuries that have prevented running, but luckily did not prevent hiking. I’m not very good at taking it easy either.

    While I’ve been to Seattle I didn’t get a chance to hike around there, so I would definitely love to venture back to the PNW to hike!

    1. It’s hard to rest! Thankfully hiking is easier on the body than running, although my injuries this year were from hiking (slipping on wet rocks), not running. You should return to the PNW to hike! There are so many beautiful hikes within an hour’s drive from Seattle.

  6. I seriously adore going on hikes as well, and I wish the mountains weren’t 3.5 hours away so that I could do it more often. And yes, mountain air has magical healing properties. And being outside in general makes even the simplest AB&J (or sunflower butter) sandwiches taste like a gourmet meal. The mountains are the best. And I love them for snowboarding most of all <3

  7. So glad you posted this today!!! My child leaves tomorrow for the week…my BF and I will be doing something Saturday. Not sure if it will be a long bike ride or a hike (I really want to go hiking). This might be a perfect hike for us to get out and move but nothing too crazy since he has a baseball game Sunday and I am dealing with “injuries”.

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