Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Northwest Hike #2: Tiger Mountain Trail

Last weekend I went hiking at Tiger Mountain Trail.  Tiger Mountain is about 30 minutes from Seattle, and the whole Tiger Mountain Trail is around 16 miles and has a few offshoots, trail heads, and other un- or poorly-marked paths.  I followed the directions on the Washington Trails Association website but be warned - if you look at two different sets of directions, or you look at Tiger Mountain, Tiger Mountain North and/or Tiger Mountain South, you can get conflicting directions.  The ones I finally settled on included the notion that there was a well marked trail head and parking lot, which was not the case.  I ended up parking on a wide shoulder of Tiger Mountain Road and finding the index-card-sized trail marker stapled to a tree.  Apparently there are better directions, but if you end on Tiger Mountain Road, beware that it's not super clear where the trail begins.  Also, Tiger Mountain Road is just a loop off of another main road, and that the distance from the trailhead to the main road will depend which turn you take onto Tiger Mountain Road.  That said, the trailhead was also supposed to be around a mile from the turn, but it was actually far more than a mile from one turn on to Tiger Mountain Road and far less than a mile from the other turn.

The Trails Association website also promised a waterfall about two miles in, which seemed a good turn around point, but we never did see a waterfall and I went decently past the two mile mark.  Turns out, you have to be really, really careful which site you read and which trail head you are at, because you could just see nothing.  Which is not to say that it is an unpleasant hike - it's a lovely fall hike.  From where I started it was uphill at the start and flattens out, and it's nicely forested.  The trail is for hikers and horseback riders, so you might happen upon some people on horseback like I did.  Just don't expect to see anything spectacular unless you're planning to go for closer to at least five miles.  Or possibly two miles just from another trail head.  I guess either be flexible, be in for a medium to long hike, or be careful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yoga Lesson: Awareness

I just finished a month of yoga (almost) every day.  I was going to write thoughts at the end of each week and I did at the end of week one, but then I felt like I didn't have any revelations each week.  Now that it's done, there's been enough time that more thoughts have bubbled up to the surface of my consciousness.

~ When class starts, often I feel like my muscles and bones and skin are tight, and even within the hour they open up.  It seems like often, if I don't head to yoga, a lot of time could pass before I even realized this restriction existed.  Yoga is mindfulness of the body, after all, which most jobs and pastimes don't integrate.

~I found two teachers I really like, who have quite different styles.  If I had not done the 30 days, I doubt I would have explored so many teachers - either because I would just pick a convenient time and stick with that and so simply not find them, or because I'd find one I like and stick with that.  I also found out that I quite like restorative yoga mixed in with vinyasa, which, admittedly I previously would have expected to be a little too, well, wimpy, where in reality it fits a different bill (see the point above).

~ There is a stunning amount of fine-tuning.  The more you're aware, the more you're aware of being aware of.  Something like that. 

~ If you relax your throat and mouth and focus on that, you can have ease even in the midst of stress and intense experience. 

~ The more you learn about one thing, the more those lessons apply to everything.


I made my first ever batch of preserves today!  I made Ginger Pear Preserves from the Ball Canning recipe collection.  It was much simpler than I expected!

I've been wanting to do some canning for a while now, but I hesitated because it seems a little intimidating.  You need to sterilize things, have equipment you get from a hardware store, and deal with some light chemistry (pectin?  fruit fresh?  pH levels?).   So, I took a one-hour canning class from Seattle Can Can to learn the basic techniques.  Vic, the teacher, has over 35 years of experience preserving foods using the water bath process, and she could not have simplified it more.  A few supplies, basically explained, one recipe demoed, and voila.  I went home and made this.  Well, to be fair I did stop at City Hardware, a local hardware store that has a big canning section, to get some supplies.  And I went to the farmers' market to get pears - because why not use the local ones if I'm going to all the trouble to make jam myself?  This led me into a great conversation with the woman at the booth, who is the only one of her five siblings to carry on the canning tradition of their family, about preserves, some tips she had, some pear type recommendations - all kinds of stuff which was both useful and a good reminder to talk to the people at the farmers market. 

I won't presume to write anything about canning, lest I send someone on the path to mistakes, but I would say to give it a go and talk to someone who does know what they're doing if you have questions.  It makes me happy to think about how this one thing got me to meeting a local teacher, local farmer, and local hardware store.