Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hike of the Week : Talapus and Olallie Lakes

I honestly don't know where I read about this hike. Seattle Magazine, the Weekly, and Seattle Met magazine all did articles about local hikes lately... but the distance looked good, the trail looked good, so we headed out on Saturday morning. 

As we got close to the trailhead there were already cars parked on the road .... a bit surprising, because the trail was meant to have a lot of parking. And it did... but that just meant that there was a lot of cars already there. 

I liked that the ranger was there ... and was ticketing people without a pass. 

We set off around 8:30 -- a bit late for us -- and were instantly in the woods. The trail was pretty uneven -- rocky and rooty -- but not too steep or challenging. It was just a nice walk in the woods. 

The forest started to get really misty, and it felt lovely and quiet and magical. As if we were going to encounter a centaur or a unicorn.

We walked alongside the creek for a while, seeing no one ... which surprised us given how full the trailhead was.

Lovely, lovely solitude!

We came to a stretch where the trail was being renovated -- some "turnpikes" (raised paths to keep hikers out of muddy stretches) and some log bridges ...

I also liked seeing the signs along the path -- always reassuring!

Doesn't this look magical? Wil may as well be Gandalf with a hood and a staff.

We arrived first at Talapus Lake, which had a couple of nice-looking campsites... some of which were just being abandoned, given the weather. Still, what a view to wake up to!

Then we continued along the trail to Olallie Lake.

Many campers seemed not to have seen this sign...

This sign made us laugh, too ... as there was no obvious path or destination...

We arrived at Olallie Lake, surrounded by campsites full of people. One site seemed to have 20 people crammed in it, all talking loudly.

The lake was pretty, but given the weather and the fact that we couldn't easily spot a way down to the shore that wasn't in someone's campsite, we basically just turned back.

The weather got a bit worse, and a lot mistier ...

... and the trail FILLED UP with people heading out to the lake. Which seemed so odd ... but perhaps everyone else read the same article I did?

By the time we got back to the car, the trailhead was still full and cars were parked nearly a mile down the road. It's a nice hike with a decent payoff at the end. It would be even nicer if the weather held, and if you could get to the lakeshore without walking across a campsite. But I'm really puzzled by how crowded it was. 

Talapus and Olallie Lakes via Olallie Lake Trail
6.3 miles
1368 ft elevation gain

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hike of the Week : Granite Lakes Trail

This week our training schedule had us at a 3.5-hour hike. We haven't exactly been burning up the trails this year -- at least not in comparison with last year's Kili-training festival. But I wanted to get out and get a proper hike in ... even if we didn't want to drive a long way.

To be honest, I can't really remember where I first read about this trail -- it but the distance and elevation profiles seemed good, and I do like a trail with a payoff at the end. So we set off early Saturday morning to drive to the trailhead.

As we made our way to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road, we passed a school with a big sign saying "TRAILHEAD SHUTTLE". I saw a small clump of people waiting for the shuttle, and we thought, wow, how great that people are using the shuttles!

Then as we approached the trailhead for Mailbox Peak, there was a little line of cars, a closed lower parking lot, and a parks department employee telling people to turn around and go to the shuttle parking. Well okay then! As we got to the "front" of the line, we told the man we were headed to Glacier Lake, and he laughed and said we would be fine, and that this chaos was all people wanting to hike up Mailbox.

So we drove another two-ish miles down the road -- really, how great is the repaved road? It's awesome! -- and right by the entrance to the trailhead parking. But we made a u-turn, headed back, and were really surprised to find the parking lot reasonably empty.

Thirty-seven spots, only about 10 of which were taken when we pulled in at 8:10. Amazing!

Apparently this trail was rerouted in 2017; a new trailhead being created to take pressure off other local trails (cough-Mailbox-cough). We made pitstops at the very clean restrooms and then headed up the trail.

As you can see on the map, the "new" trail is shorter and steeper than the old trail (now called the Granite Creek Connector), but it's new, very well maintained, and very well graded. So while you're climbing steadily, you spend the time admiring how nice the trail is. At least I did.

Seriously, it's like a poster girl of trails!

There are several handsome chainsaw benches on the way up, perfectly placed for little breathers.

But, really, the real attraction is this lovely trail. It feels open yet shady -- not the corridor of forest one often finds. This felt light and airy.

Soon we reached the junction with the old trail, and headed on toward Granite Lake.

This was older trail, but still very nicely maintained. 

We caught glimpses of what Granite Creek rushing alongside the trail, though we could hear it more often that we could see it. 

We did cross the creek on a handsome bridge that was apparently helicoptered into place. Fancy!

We reached the split in the trail and decided to go to Granite Lake, rather than Thompson this time. It's clearly marked, though I neglected to get a photo. The trail got a little rougher and yet flatter, and soon we were heading down to the lake.

The trail got very faint -- in fact, it sort-of petered out into a "choose your own adventure" thing ... but we picked and leapt our way to the lake itself.

The lake was, obviously, lovely, though there wasn't much of a trail around it and the handful of people -- 8 including us -- seemed to have found all available lakefront seating.

We didn't linger too long, however, because it was very, very buggy. I mean, I know that I am delicious, but...

So we took another look and turned back for home.

The lower part of this trail, especially, was so smooth, so well graded, that we fairly flew down it, moving absurdly quickly.

And then, suddenly, we were back at the parking lot which, even at nearly noon, wasn't full. It goes without saying that we eyed the crowds of people at the shuttle stops for Mailbox Peak with some amusement...

We liked this trail very much -- great for training because you can get a great workout, it has a nice payoff at the top, and the trail is nice, too. We plan on going back in the not-too-distant future to hike to Thompson Lake.

Granite Lakes Trail
8.7 miles
2428 ft elevation gain


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fox Stitch-a-Long, part 7

Hi everyone! Last time I was SOOOOOOOO CLOSE!!!!

Well, a week later and the stitching was DONE! Happy dance time!!!

But I wanted to challenge myself this time... I mean, Fox is one of three William Morris needlepoints, and the other two have been hidden away, stitched but incomplete, in the basement for years. Here they are, all laid out for the first time ever:

It would have been waaaay too easy to just roll them all up... but thanks to this stitch-a-long, I had a "deadline"!

I went out to find backing fabric, trim, zippers, and thread ... boy, fancy fringe trim is expensive. As expensive as the backing fabric I found, and of course I needed much more. 

And in a frenzy of zipper setting, trimming, and sewing ... I finished making up the cushions! More happy dancing!!!

Before you ask, no, these won't be outdoor cushions.... but I couldn't resist photographing them outside in the sunshine on the patio.  Here are the pillows in the order I stitched them. Here's Raven:


And our good friend Mr. Fox:

I am SO HAPPY with how they turned out, and thrilled to see them on my aubergine-colored couch. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. What's next?

While poking around my local thrift shop I found a nice cross-stitch kit that I think my Mom will like. It's much less involved than the needlepoint I've been doing, so feels like a good summer project. The previous owner had done a little work, but it appears that all the thread is there and it has even been sorted. So I look forward to doing this project for the next little while. 

Thanks everyone for all the support and encouragement on this project! 

Now, there are others on this stitch-a-long who will be doing their own happy dances -- click on over to their blogs an you will be amazed at how talented my fellow stitchers are!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, LindaMary Margaret, Heidi, Jackie, Hayley, Tony, Megan and Timothy.

Our next check-in is in three more weeks!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

reJOYCE! It's Bloomsday!

Last fall when we came up with the idea of reading Ulysses in 100 days, timed to end on or just before Bloomsday, it seemed like a great idea -- a fun challenge. Well, in the end it feels like more of a chore than a challenge, but I sure am happy to have it done!

My reading went in fits and spurts -- sometimes the language and the writing pulled me along at a fast clip, and I gobbled up the pages with glee. And sometimes it was torture and I read and re-read every word in an attempt to process it. And to be honest I doubt I really "get it" -- at least, get all of it.

There are editions of Ulysses that have references and footnotes -- lots of them. It seems as though nearly every word or phrase or at least sentence has a reference. Joyce seems to glory in showing off his erudition -- mixing references to Shakespeare, the King James Bible, Greek mythology, and Irish history in with puns in multiple languages, popular culture, then-current events, and of course  plenty of onomatopoeia (heighho heighho, heighho heighho...).

I'm sure most of the references went over my head, but I did find the music hall songs amusing (kay, eee, double-ell-why) and understood the references to Parnell, Kitty O'Shea, the Home Rule movement, and the foreshadowing to the Easter Rising. So I've got that going for me.

I thought I would spend more time reading in the pub during this project -- something I really love doing, but I only did twice ... both time while Wil was away on business.

When we started planning for this project, we researched which version of Ulysses we should read. The consensus was that the Gabler Edition -- named after its editor, Hans Walter Gabler -- was the most complete and most thorough. Amusingly, a couple of days ago Rebecca (a fellow reader) forwarded me an article Simon (our other member) had sent her about a scholar named Kidd who launched a spirited critique of the Gabler Edition that, apparently, was quite a scandal in the late 1980s.

Kidd put together detailed tables showing "errors" in the Gabler text -- literary criticism was HOT -- letters and articles flying back and forth in the pages of the New York Review of Books. On the strength of this, Boston University set up a Joyce Institute, with Kidd as the chair. The goal? To make a "perfect text" -- "as Joyce wrote it".

But there's one problem -- Kidd never produced the text. Years passed, he was eventually dismissed, and "disappeared". Several former colleagues assumed he was dead, and had died penniless. (He hadn't. But he had moved to Brazil.) Still, reading the article made me feel... conflicted about the edition I had read. Full of errors? GREAT. Not that I would have ever known, but still...

While sitting beneath a portrait of Joyce in my local Irish pub (see picture below -- honest!), I was amused while reading the Afterword. Apparently Gabler was attempting something different from the "traditional Anglo-American approach" ... by focusing more on what Joyce DID -- as in, wrote, edited, commented on -- rather than what he supposedly MEANT in the text. It's an "author-based, rather than text-based edition". I find this fascinating, if the minute of varying typescripts, notes, and editions make my eyes roll back in my head a little.

This lengthy quote by a reviewer of the Gabler Edition essentially nerves as a MIC DROP.

many of the most widely publicized attacks are baed on premises about textual editing that the general reading public takes for granted so that when a critic proves that Gabler has violated these guidelines, his editorial competence is implicitly or explicitly called into question. It takes a reasonably specialized reader to realize that the weakness of such arguments, which seem logically convincing on their own terms, is at the level of the premise, since Gabler does not share many of the premises on which the critique is based. 


The Afterword goes on to explicitly call out Kidd ("Gabler's loudest and most persistent critic"), noting that "all his pages of supposed analysis, and the sixty pages of tables and charts of Gabler's alleged errors and inconsistencies in his 'Inquiry' into the edition managed finally to demonstrate only two errors."

Now, look, criticism is easier than creation -- and perhaps if Kidd had produced his "definitive edition" we would have read that. But it's interesting that Gabler's edition is still seen as the one to read.

I don't think I'll ever read it again. Though I can see why people do.

Regardless, this completes another of my 101 in 1001 days projects -- and feels like a big hurdle to have gotten over.

Next books -- finish volume 1 of Macaulay's "History of England" -- another slow slog for me -- and then Darwin's "Variation Under Domestication"... both big, meaty books. We'll see how it goes!