Monday, July 9, 2012

My Unexpected Hike Up Mount Teneriffe

History has proven that summer in the Northwest doesn't begin until after Independence Day - this year was no different. July 3rd, it was pouring rain; July 4th, 80 degrees and beautiful. The weather has been that way ever since.

On Sunday, my friend, Missy, and I decided to go on a hike. Her roommate had suggested we hike Mt. Si because she had done it a few days earlier. We left around lunchtime to drive to Mt. Si and were excited to spend the next couple hours outdoors.

My sister, Jen, and I have this promise that we will always stop at a lemonade stand if we see one to give back and "pay forward" the generosity we received growing up in our entrepreneurial ventures. So, true to form, Missy and I stopped a few miles short of the Mt. Si trail head for two cups of lemonade. Satisfied with our contribution, we continued up Mt. Si road until we saw a parking lot (which was full because of the good weather). We drove into the residential neighborhood, following signs for $5 parking, parked, paid, and started our hike.

About 2 hours or so into our hike we came across this beautiful waterfall. We stopped, took pictures, and were slightly saddened when we didn't see people continue to hike up. "I hope this isn't the end!" said Missy. After talking to a few of the other hikers, we continued on our way up to the summit. A dad and his son had just said it took them about 10 minutes to get there a little while ago. We just about skipped as we continued our way up.

A half hour went by and the hike was getting steeper, rockier- the switchbacks becoming less apparent as it was obviously "a road less traveled". We knew we had to be close though so we kept going- determined to see the incredible view we had heard about. A fallen tree up ahead had become a lunch spot for two other female hikers. We chatted a bit and they asked if we had seen the men carrying the bikes. Not knowing what they were talking about we laughed it off and said no. They continued and said that they had heard it was about 3 more hours until the summit. WHAT?! Confident that they must have been misinformed, and that we were obviously in good enough shape to make it in half of that time if it was true, we wiped our brow and continued to hike.

30 more minutes in, we pass two hikers on their way down. After asking if we had seen the guys with the bikes, this couple told us it was worth the effort to get to the top. We got our second wind, and ventured on. An hour later, after getting lost off the trail for a bit and thankfully finding our way back, we caught a glimpse of the fabled men with bikes. These poor guys were carrying their 40 pound mountain bikes, as well as 40 pound backpacks, up this steep, slippery mountain! We though we were tired- WOW! "We had no idea Mount Si took this long to climb," we said to the guys. "This is Mount Teneriffe." "Mount what?!" "Mount Teneriffe- this is a gnarly hike compared to Mount Si." Well that explained it!

We encouraged each other up the rest of the mountain- convincing ourselves every 15 minutes or so that it had to be only another 100 yards up or so.... lying to yourself works every time..... When we finally reached the top though- words can't describe what we saw and pictures don't do it justice:

Our trip down was just as eventful as the way up (got lost in the first 5 minutes and then had to follow the voices to our new friends to get out.... ). We ended up taking the 7 mile logging trail down- we ran as the boys biked down. We got back to our car about 6.5 hours since we had left- so much for a quick hike! We raced to QFC to replenish our depleted electrolytes and then continued on our way home.

Overall review of the day- nothing short of amazing. I love getting taken on unexpected adventures. For any hikers out there, I highly suggest Mount Teneriffe if you want a good, challenging hike. Labeled as "difficult", you won't be disappointed- just make sure to bring lots of liquids! It is also very unknown, as I have learned, even among Seattle hikers, which provides for a very peaceful journey.

Even though I was disappointed having to drive back into the city and traffic after a day of fresh mountain air, the sunset that welcomed me in made it much better.


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