Lakes and Palisades

"Used Beer Department"

That's what the sign hanging over the urinal says at at the bar & grill we stopped at after yesterday's mountain bike ride. I thought it was pretty funny and made me like the place even more than I already did. The Mint in Enumclaw, not far from Mt. Rainier and the 22 mile Palisades loop we rode yesterday (4,000 feet of climbing), definitely earned top post-ride honors from me yesterday as their fantastic beer selection, delicious open face spicy bbq beef sandwich, and delicious roaster red pepper crab bisque was the perfect compliment to spending over 4 hours in the saddle.

What are your plans for 4th of July weekend? Chances are you were asked this dozens of times last week and it's up to you to not disappoint the person posing the query. You can't just shrug your shoulders and mumble something about yardwork. You have to get outside, throw a backyard party, maybe go to the beach, or hit the mountains. It doesn't matter so long as you do something.

We didn't do a whole lot. Saturday saw us lounging around in the morning, playing on the Xbox, then I spent a couple of hours putting a photo-album together from our trip on the Danube. This is the thank-you gift to Kristin's grandmother. I uploaded an additional 25 photos of the three of us during the trip and used Shutterfly's incredibly user-friendly custom album utility. For each page, I got to select any of two dozen different page layouts, enter captions, and insert and add pages as needed. The final albums are a maroon suede and have 35 pages of photos in them. They look awesome.

But Saturday couldn't be an all-day, indoor tribute to lethargy. At least, not if we wanted to think of ourselves as real Americans. So we went hiking. There are thousands of miles of trails in Washington and several hundred miles worth close to our house. The problem with many of the more scenic ones is that they get very, very crowded. Our solution to this: wait until 6pm to start hiking. By waiting till dinner time to hit the trail, we were able to hike the overly-used Annette Lake trail in relative solitude. It took about 90 minutes to climb the 3.5 miles and 1700 feet to the lake, where our dogs were all too willing to take a dip in the frigid alpine water. The lake sits nuzzled in the confines of a cirque so while sunset was still hours away, it had alreay dipped below the jagged peaks that formed this little amphitheatre in the Cascades. After about 20 minutes or so, we headed back down the trail, reaching the car after 9pm, but before needing to flick on the headlamps.

Annette Lake in the central Cascade Mountains, about 20 miles from our house.

Sunday's ride in the Greenwater area of Washington, on the White River, Corral Pass, Noble Knob, Ranger Creek and Palisades Trails was a long, dusty type of day and, truth be told, my body is still not fully recovered from losing over 9 pounds last Sunday at Mountains to Sound. But the ride was incredibly scenic, with postcard views of Mt. Rainier from across the valley at 6,000 feet, and some very fun, technical singletrack. Best of all, we gained some respect from other riders for actually pedaling up the Corral Pass road instead of simply shuttling to the top in a truck. When we caught up to a particularly large group that passed us on the way up, they handed us a couple of beers as a reward for the hard work. The beer was nice, but what was even better was the satisfaction of beating every one of them down the trail, after they drove past us on the way up.

Kristin has Tuesday off from work and we're going to head back to where I was yesterday and drive up some of the forest roads to do a little hiking on the ridge with the dogs so she can see these views. There's also quite a few waterfalls that I want to hike to and then, of course, I'll return to The Mint and once again indulge in their fine food and drink.

1 comment:

Maarten said...

The Mint has an absolutely awesome beer selection, but I've had really bad luck with the food. The pizza I've had wasn't anything to write home about, and the other meat-free options are scarce. I think my gf had a pulled-pork sandwich or somesuch that was awful. I so want to like that place, but the last visit was bad enough that I'm not in a hurry to give it another chance. Although the beer...