Our kitchen and living room look out over nearly 180 degrees of the Cascade Mountains. Making coffee in the morning sunlight, I can hear them calling as clear and loud as a gong. My birthday pressie from Jacob was a pair of hiking boots. After years of watching me tromp about in old sneakers, soaking up whole mud puddles, and getting poked by the tiniest pebbles, he’d had enough. While my new kicks won’t see me moonlighting for The Sartorialist anytime soon, they will float me through 12 hours of hiking with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
Last Saturday, we took them for their first spin, driving the quick hour to the Central Cascades. This area is crisscrossed by hundreds of hiking trails, dangling promises of mountain views, sparkling lakes, waterfalls, the Snoqualmie river, and acres of lush green forests.
From this embarrassment of riches, we chose Rattlesnake Ledge, a relatively easy 4 mile hike ideal for breaking in new shoes.
Close enough to the city for day hikers, with what are arguably the best views around, this trail can get rather crowded. We left early, however, and were rewarded with a quiet, morning hike.
The forest was alive with the sounds and smells of spring, the steady drip, drip, drip of melting snow. Vast, moss-furred boulders hulked near the path, resembling nothing more than green woolly mammoths.
Nearer the top, broken patches of snow lay scattered and soggy, melting into tiny streams that trickled back the way we’d come. As the sun grew hotter and the higher altitudes brought more snow, we were caught in a rainstorm of thawing trees before suddenly bursting out at the summit.
The view was everything one would hope, stretching out over a patch-worked valley before rising up again in indigo glory to the adjacent peaks. It was the kind of view that makes you feel huge and tiny all at the same time.
Peaking over the cliff face of the ledge itself, we could just make out the car in the miniature parking lot below. Rattlesnake Lake looked back at us, doubling the sky in dizzying disregard for gravity.
Contentedly munching our trail mix, we breathed in the fresh mountain air, the spring sunlight, and were wonderfully, gloriously happy.