Hike Mt. Si, August 24, 2008

Sunday August 24, 2008 


My Uncle, David came to town this weekend, Galen's
last weekend in Seattle.  Despite having a bit
of a night out on Friday night, I forced myself out
of bed early to do the Saturday run with my friend,
Calle. He hosts this run every Saturday and I try to
make it every Saturday I'm in town. Galen's come and
run with us, even running from my place in Bellevue
to pass us on the run, twice! πŸ™‚ 
Unfortunately, he'd been putting in long nights at
work trying to get as much done before his step-dad
came in, which meant he chose to sleep rather than
join me on this run. It turned out to be a smart
move because David arrived earlier than I was
anticipating. I'd already done the run when I was
informed David had already landed. Breakfast was
well underway so I opted to stay for breakfast and
then jet home as quickly as possible to meet up with
them.

The weather was awesome, gorgeous and not that hot.
When we met up, we decided with rain coming in the
next day it would be best to take advantage of the
spectacular weather and clear skies and do a hike
that Galen had been wanting to do since having
arrived in Seattle back in June. I wanted to spend
time with them so I thought I'd head out and maybe
do the first hour of the two hour hike up…figured I
didn't want to destroy myself with 4miles of just
over 4,000 ft of elevation gain. The twist was that
I'd never been up the haystack before and I might
never take another opportunity like this so instead
of hiking just that 1 hour stretch with them, I went
the whole way. We left early in the afternoon, and
even though the parking lot was packed, the trail
was not that crowded, or at least it didn't appear
busy.

The hike was just as I remembered it when I did
several years ago. The first 1.5 to 2 miles is
pretty casual with nearly 1400 ft of elevation gain.
Then, it hits you. The last 2 miles seem never
ending and steep. We made it up and Galen and I
hiked up the haystack. The hike up the haystack is
quite adventurous, but the views are amazing! 
David was a bit too tired and rested at the base of
the haystack. After our little adventure, Galen and
I met up with David and went back to the rocky lower
area where you could scramble around and get similar
views.


Mt. Rainier was really impressive at this height,
but it was hazy and a bit cloudy so Seattle,
Bellevue and the Olympic Mountain range were not
that clear. To the north, you could see Mt. Baker,
though none of my pictures show it clearly.  I took a few pictures of the
haystack, the surrounding rock that tops the
Mountain and down to Little Si where I frequently
climb.

After the long descent and the reaffirmation that I
would not make a good mountaineer, or alpinist
–based on the bits of sighs that .5mi took waaay too
long to achieve and that the overall descent was
laborious and just too mundane and there's
nothing to do on the way down, but keep going
down….and the miles seemingly stretching on and on
and on and on…

But, we made it back to the car, in good spirits and
eager for a meal.  A
quick stop at Dairy Freeze, Snoqualmie Falls and we
were home showering and preparing for our pampered
dinner at the Yarrow Bay Grill. This place has two
different setting, the informal lower setting with
outdoor seating on the water seemed nice, but we
opted for the upper, classier setting with a window
view out over the lake. It was awesome!

I'd never eaten up there before, but what an
experience! It's been a long time since I'd been
pampered in this way.  The waiter was friendly
and knowledgeable, but moreover he was warm. He
talked with us about the menu, our options, the
chef, etc. It was really nice. We ordered some
appetizers, wine, and some entrees. De-licious! The
presentation was nice, but the food was even better.
We agreed on a chateauneuf de pape that could go
with anything we decided for dinner. There was no
hint of a nose, but the taste! Very fruity with only
a touch of acidity on the after taste.  It also
was one of the few wines that I could settle for
that was not aver $100.


Galen
had the prime card so we knew we were getting one
entree for free, but in the end, that little savings
did not compare to what the overall cost turned out
to be. I tried to help keep the cost down by looking
at the less expensive options, even insisting on a
half bottle as opposed to a full bottle of wine, but
David was insisting….and in the end, he was
treating. I felt bad to pick such an option when
some one else is picking up the tab, but it was very
generous and thoughtful for him to want to have this
experience with us. After all of the hard hiking we
did that day, this pampering was just the thing to
top the day off.

As an FYI for the meals, which change daily, we
started with steamed mussels (in a tomato
broth that had a bit of a kick to it) and crab
cakes, which were onionless but topped with a
pickeled pepper salsa.  MMmmmm, tasty. For the
entrees, we ordered two of the Thai seafood stews
consisting of salmon, halibut, mussels, scallops,
and crab on top of risotto rice in a stewy broth. 
So good! and so much food!  David ordered the
halibut that was a flank on top of something on top
of potato puree. On the side were two beet dippings. 
David finished half of his halibut and half of Galen's stew,
and Galen finished half of his stew, half of David's
halibut and half of my stew. πŸ™‚  For dessert,
and I can't believe we had room for dessert,
especially after the Dairy Freeze stop, we had the
chocolate indulgence.  This heavenly delight
was brought with 3 spoons. It was a round molded
chocolate kind of gooey center fudgish cake topped
with a whipped cream (of sorts) and a small scoop of
very rich chocolate, velvet ice cream. 

This was a feast for a king and was a real treat to
experience. I can recommend this place to anyone
wanting this kind of experience.  I'd recommend
arriving just before sunset, though. We tried to
time it right, but after returning to Bellevue for a
shower before dinner, the sun had set and we viewed
the last of the twilight instead.  Still,
dinner on the water with city light views is pretty
nice.

More photos can be seen at:

http://community.webshots.com/album/565594348kiAdke

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About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climber, climbing coach, computer software/technology enthusiast and occasional baker/cook and wine connoisseur.
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