Friday was a bit rushed because the plan was to leave home around noon, get lunch somewhere North of here, and arrive at the tiny house I rented at 3pm. And because I didn't want to pack stinky clothes, I'd need to do laundry in the morning after my walk. Plus take my CPAP apart and wipe everything off and pack it up. I normally bathe my air plants on Friday and decided I'd push that back a day.
There was a nice surprise when I arrived at the river for my walk. Fog!
A portapotty caught my eye up ahead on the trail and I was of course ready to get another selfie for the contest, but it was for a different company. It was next to a few huge piles of gravel and some heavy equipment, and just beyond all that was a new clearing.
That area's been very overgrown and there was lots of evidence of camping. I didn't really realize the extent of it, though.
I figured it might have been cleared out for utility work, but then I came around the corner and saw this:
I can't believe they finally started building houses here! They broke ground for that development ages ago and I never thought the day would come. I found a perfect spot near the entrance to take a photo each time I go over there to track the progress.
The walk back to the car was even neater because of the sunrise in the fog.
It's funny, it never occurred to me to look beyond the boat launch at the very end of the trail. It's muddy though and you can't really explore it.
4.83 miles in 1:47, 11,249 steps
That clearing I explored is the little part where the 1-mile mark was.
I went ahead and left the house at 11:30 and got on the highway. The first stop was going to be Burlington because I decided to eat lunch at the Trainwreck Bar after seeing someone check in there on Facebook the week before. I had an elk burger and it was quite good.
Afterward, I stopped by the Burlington Mall for a moment because Ross Mathews grew up in Mt. Vernon and had lots of stories in his book about working there. Unfortunately the McDonald's Express where he worked, plus the Lane Bryant he got caught shoplifting from were both gone. But at least I was able to send him a photo on Twitter.
I was to meet my host at her property at 3pm and was amazed that I killed just enough time at the mall that I arrived exactly on time. I rang her doorbell and didn't get an answer, but it was fine, because the tiny house across the driveway from her house was waiting unlocked for me.
I didn't specifically want a tiny house, just somewhere private. There are lots of AirBnB listings that are rooms inside people's homes, and that doesn't particularly interest me. I'm fine with something separate on the same property or even a mother-in-law as long as there's a private entrance. There weren't tons of options due to my scheduling less than a week in advance, and the tiny house won because it comes stocked with food for a country breakfast.
I wasn't exactly hungry for dinner yet because lunch was so big, but it was a really hot day and I didn't feel like hanging around until later on when it cooled off a bit, so I got in the car and headed to Bellingham. A wedge salad and halibut at Fork was delicious, but it was also a bit warm in the restaurant, so I didn't linger.
I managed to kill another 90 minutes or so driving out to a casino, losing money on slot machines, then driving back to the tiny house. At some point I was just over the border from the air show and saw some planes fly in formation. Tons of people were parked on the side of the road watching, and I laughed because my phone started giving directions in kilometers.
It was still pretty warm when I got back, so I changed into the shorts I'd be wearing the next morning and read my Kindle while drinking wine in the sleeping compartment in the back of the house. There was a larger bed up in the loft, but I didn't feel like carrying my CPAP up and down a ladder. It wasn't the greatest night of sleep, but I was excited to get up and cook some fresh eggs.
Cooking and cleaning up in a tiny house is quite challenging, mainly due to the size of the sink. You can wash one dish at a time, and you have to dry it and put it away before moving on to the next dirty one.
It was a beautiful morning and this was the first time I was out on the property without being approached by chickens and giant turkey while horses looked on.
I had to pull over just before I got to the main road because the sunrise was amazing.
I wasn't originally planning to make any dashcam video so I could save the battery for navigation and recording my hike, but the sunrise was cool enough that I had to run it for a while. It was nearly an hour to the trailhead, though, so I stopped it pretty soon.
I was surprised by the size of the parking lot and by how many people were there.
The plan was to hike the Chain Lakes Loop, and the advice I'd read was to go counterclockwise on the trail to get the climbing part finished first. And that's great advice if you actually follow it. I came to a fork in the trail and saw the sign for Table Mountain and the trail goes directly up, so I thought that's what they were talking about. I was wrong. This led to a pretty strenuous hike that I wouldn't have done otherwise, but I kept pressing on because I thought if I kept going, it'd get easier. That was completely incorrect. It actually got harder and harder until I reached the end. Thankfully two women were hanging around at the top and confirmed that I wasn't where I thought I was. Unfortunately, I had to turn back, and I knew it would be even harder to go down that it was to go up. But at least I knew I was past the halfway point.
Even though it was a very stressful hike, the scenery was really stunning.
There are some pretty flippant reviews about this trail and I think it's because people think this is the end.
That's incorrect. I would have thought so as well, but I didn't think I'd see the an end to the trail, so I pressed on. To get up, I climbed the rocks (yellow highlight) and later on I came down via a weird muddy waterfall thing (red line) that thankfully had tons of roots.
So without meaning to, I climbed all the way to the top of Table Mountain, and I will never ever do it again.
3.31 miles in 3:29, 7,109 steps, 614ft gain
To get an idea how hard this hike really was for me, note that I was only able to go a mile an hour. That's a third of my typical speed. The scariest parts of the hike are ones I was definitely not going to get any photos of because I was climbing up scary switchbacks, holding onto the wall. Awful.
I'd say I don't need to go back at all, but I want to actually do the trail I meant to do sometime. There's a condo to rent that I have my eye on that's a lot closer, and close to the last bar/restaurant on the road that leads out there, so I could probably have a much nicer time without so much driving around.
At least I got another selfie for the contest in Kendall on my way back.
I was originally going to follow Highway 9 all the way back to Everett once I got on it because I've been up and down I-5 so many times. It was scenic and fun for a while, but it took longer than I thought it would, so when I saw a sign for a road over to I-5, I took it. And groaned when I saw it was still another 29 miles to Everett.
It was a very hot day so I really just wanted to get a pizza at White Buffalo to bring home and have a couple of drinks while they made it, but their parking lot was completely full. Turns out a football game was on, and even our neighborhood joint (the Clubhouse) was packed. I got a spot at the bar, though, and had a burger and fries off their special game day menu. I also ordered teriyaki chicken wings, thinking I'd be able to eat everything, but the wings came home with me.
Exhausted, I spent the rest of the day sitting in front of the air conditioner watching TV and drinking Fresquilas. Garrett wasn't due home until the next day, so I missed him, but otherwise it was so great to be back.
Sunday I had my first epsom salt bath ever, and also took the first bath anyone's had in this house in over two years. We had breakfast with Bev and Dennis, then my old friend Paul came over and we took him for lunch at the Clubhouse, then downtown to see the AIDS memorial next to city hall. He's a longtime activist and his current gig is helping make a new memorial happen, and he wanted to see Everett's. We also went to the Chuck Close exhibit at Schack Art Center, which was absolutely amazing. Like, worth a drive up to Everett if you live in Seattle amazing.
The obligatory picture of Bella from Sunday at breakfast.