Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sourdough Mountain

Mike and I made a go at Sourdough Mountain this morning, getting up to about 4400 feet before turning around due to snow.  Rainy morning, rain like a rain forest, where the rain is everywhere, but not pounding, with birds still chirping.  But lots of rain.  It was one of those days—rains all day, until you get back to the car.   

The first three miles up were as steep as ever, forcing me to catch my breath a number of times, but ultimately a very good climb.  It seems I don’t really have downhill muscles either these days.  It was a good workout—just what I needed.

We got an early start, leaving Mount Vernon at 6 AM, and were first to the trailhead, but we never saw anyone all day anyway.  I’m sure it’s possible to get up to the top now with the right equipment, but the trail looks to be about three weeks away still.

Stopped for honey in Marblemount, purchased on the honor system!, and then Annie’s flying chicken pizza in Concrete.  

For past reports about Sourdough Mountain, a favorite of mine, click here, here, or here. On a good day, the views from the top are some of the best around. It's also a mountain with some history.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

King Tut

In the 1970s, King Tut toured the U.S. courtesy of Egypt. Steve Martin made a lot of moolah with his song King Tut, and the exhibit was a bit of a sensation. As a kid, I always wanted to go, sort of, but it never happened.

Fast forward to 2012. An even bigger King Tut display is in Seattle, perhaps for the last time. Really recommend checking it out. The sheer age of all the exhibits is staggering. Everything is 3500 years old, and yet the workmanship is so impressive. I thought it was very worthwhile. I landed tickets through my alumni association--there are ways to get discounts. Recommend paying the $5 extra for the handheld self-tour recording--lots of extra info.

Scribes below in the stone. Pic above is Tut, and is a stopper for a container which contained one of his organs. Statue below is another ancient king. Below that is a cat sarcophagus, made of stone. Plus some more pics.

Monday, June 25, 2012


I went to Nashville for a professional conference a week or so ago. Six days, five nights in the south, in June. Wasn't as humid as it could be, but the thunder rolled a few days. Gully washers. I ran a bit, but mostly I worked sun up to sun down, afterwards making it downtown a few times.

Nashville is a blast. Calling itself Music City, the bands there play all sorts of stuff, though mostly country and whatever will earn a tip. I suspect they'll never get too far from the Appalachian roots. I think I heard seven different versions of Old Crow Medicine Show's Wagon Wheel. Alabama's Mountain Music, Devil Went Down to Georgia, and anything by Jason Aldean seemed en vogue. I realize some would call this the fourth circle of Hell. They'll sing about that too. For a tip.

I'm told the Red, White and Blue trails at Percy-Warner Park are the place to run. Didn't get out there, regrettably, but I'll blog about them anyway. The terrain and flora seem similar to Virginia and the mid-Atlantic, though warmer. I thought the country was beautiful. Really regret not having a car, as I wanted to run the RC/Moon Pie Festival 10 miler, but it was some 50 miles away on a day where I had to be in conference. There is a local running club, for group runs.

Everyone recommends Jack's Bar B Q downtown for eats, and a trip through Robert's Western World and Tootsies Lounge are said mandatory. Learned a lot about barbq on this trip--hit Jack's twice, favor the Carolina Sauce. Toured the Ryman, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and wandered the streets. Popped into Gruhn's Guitars, a favorite of musicians. Caught a night at the Grand Ol Opry, with Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan and Craig Morgan, contemporary stars.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Max's Shortcut

Usually June brings warmer days, but the rain makes everything in the wood glow in green.  My Achilles doesn’t really allow me to run, and with gas prices as they are, I didn’t feel like going too far.  So this weekend I wandered around my favorite mountain again.

Max’s Shortcut is a 2.6 mile trail connecting Lilly Lake and a connector trail to the Blanchard overlook.  I don’t get on this trail enough, as it is perfect for running.  Switchbacks, gradual ups and downs, soft trail.  The trail is part of the Pacific Northwest Trail, a West to East trail stretching from Washington to some part of Montana, I believe.  White blazes on trees mark the way.

As I said, I couldn’t really run, but I could kind of meander, and smell, listen, feel the outdoors.  Saturday was a wet day, with periodic rains, water dripping off ferns.  I took my time, looking at moss, watching a squirrel, snapping photos, most of which were fails.  I will not run forever.  But I will walk in the woods as long as this body permits.

Good to see so many volunteers on Blanchard Mountain, improving trail and road, for National Trails Day. Thank you.