July 11, 2015.
11.2 mi. | 2000′ ele. gain | 5.5 hr.
It was another foggy day in July in the Cascades. But it was a weekend, so we’d surely be competing for space on the trails. Since Sue and I were camping tonight there was no rush. We slept in (kinda) and ate breakfast over the morning’s fire around 8 am. Another hour later we found ourselves lacing up our shoes and pulling our packs on to hike up Marion Mountain.
The start of the trail looked like a superhighway: wide, flat and well-trodden. Easy walking brought us to the lake. Pretty, pink flower sprays and cattail leaves created a natural flower arrangement on the lakeshore. The sky overhead was white with clouds. Miniature frogs hopped out of our way as we hiked along the lake.
We crossed a talus field and headed up through a burn. The blackened tree hulls looked eerie with the cloudy backdrop. But the burn provided an excellent view of the lake down below! There’s always a silver lining.
At the summit, the fog blanket was so thick we couldn’t see any of the nearby peaks and could barely see the lake anymore. We shared the summit with a large group of boy scouts so we hurried to find a quiet place to sit and enjoy our lunch away from the crowd. They were throwing rocks and being loud and generally not people we felt like hanging out with.
We found a small rock outcrop with a view into the nothingness, where I dug into my veggie sticks, cheese, hummus and mixed nuts. I think I unconsciously pack better lunches when I’m hiking with a partner!
For the return hike, I decided to go barefoot. It didn’t seem like there were too many bad spots on the way up, so…
I was doing okay for a while. Sue was patient and let me go ahead to set the pace. Ouch, that trail was much rockier than I remembered. At one point I had to put my shoes on to cross a particularly rough section. When I took them back off again, my feet were SO sensitive to the touch, I could barely walk. But I was determined to finish, dammit. Did I mention Sue was patient?
I could not have been more relieved to see that trailhead. The agony was over. I was shocked at how wimpy my feet had become after spending a few minutes in shoes. I’d have to incorporate even more barefoot hiking to let my feet toughen up without killing them.