Sauk Mountain


We thought we were ready. It’s the height of summer, we have all this time off, we are getting our feet back under us. It’s almost a moral failing or a guilty conscious to not go hiking being me from here. Enough with stylish coddling in the city, it’s time to get out into nature, where the essence of our lives are distilled to the most essential, like drops of colostrum. I tell my longtime friend Katie, I’m ready for a backpack, just a one-nighter. Lake is portable. I’m never happier than walking. We are mobile. It seems like the biggest challenge is simply 

How can I fit enough cloth diapers into my backpack?

Katie wisely deflects my enthusiasm to join her on her backcountry rare plant survey, and instead suggests we all go together with her three year and eight year old girls on a dayhike in the North Cascades. Part of me knew this was the prudent first step anyways. So we set up a date, which was yesterday. We rendezvoused in Sedro Woolley at a park with a playground and carpooled up to the trailhead from there. 

The intensity started right out of the gate. Lake had suffered a blow out, so poo is dripping between him and his car seat when I extract him from the car. There is not a drop of shade in the parking lot, and what it lacks in amenities it makes up for with biting deer flies. We manage to get cleaned up, and sun screened and bug repellent-ed using the picnic table as our comfort station… I don’t have a square centimeter left on my body by the time I’m done that’s not been bathed in about three different layers of sunscreen and insect repellent. The midday sun at this elevation presses into me with a sense of emergency. I’m anxious for shade, a quiet baby and no flies.


At 3:15 we were finally headed up the track.


Well, Sauk Mountain really socked it to us. Goodness! I could not in good conscience recommend this hike to anyone I care about. It’s frankly a harrowing hike. 

They are not kidding. The tread is significantly deteriorated by erosion to the point it is only marginally safe at best. And here I am with Lake in the front pack and as much water as I could carry in my backpack, doing my inaugural dayhike since Michael proposed at Gem Lake last year. My symphysis pubis is not yet fully rejoined. I still have ligament pain and instability in my sacroiliac joints and my core, in spite of my best efforts to the contrary. I’m all top heavy. It’s super hot and the deer flies are ubiquitous and biting! Unfortunately the view is absolutely stunning from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Baker. Heaps of wildflowers in prodigal bloom. Obscene amounts and variety of butterflies. 

The air was fresh and sweet. Especially on the way down, after some time had passed and the sunscreen/bug repellent fragrance was wearing off. I could breathe in the mountain air. Big lungfulls to store up for the return to the city. 

We made it back down to the trailhead in just one hour. Safe and sound. We were the last car in the lot. It was cooler, there were fewer flies, and I was significantly less addled when performing the perfunctory picnic table nappy change and Lake refueling. What a day! Katie had driven and so it was a luxury to have to girls to provide “in-flight” entertainment for Lake in the form of peek-a-boo, singing songs, admiration and general goings ons. He was engaged and quiet for the car ride home. Refreshed after his “nature bath,” oblivious to the fretting of his mummy, he was completely content. A strong hiker. A perfect day. More to come. We are glad we spent this one with you.

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