Monday, August 16, 2010

Lakes, mountains and mosquitoes

Seattle broke a record on Saturday, 95 degrees! Fortunately we were up near Mt. Rainier where the it was comfortable, low 70's.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes and flies loved the heat and were out in full force while we were hiking. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm from Alaska where the mosquito is called the state bird.

We started off the hike at the Mowich Lake trailhead and our goal was Tolmie Peak Lookout, a fire lookout. Round-trip was only 6.5 miles and it was rated moderate. Moderate is never what I would expect it to be (somewhat easy), it's always a lot harder.

The views were breathtaking, but when we got to Lake Eunice the mosquitoes ruined my good time. There were literally thousands of the little blood-sucking beasts. Of all the times I've hiked up near Mt. Rainier I've never been bothered by mosquitoes, yet I always carried insect repellent. In my infinite wisdom yesterday I decided to lightened my 20-pound backpack and take out the repellent. I never use it anyway so why carry it? I was eaten alive. Lake Eunice was beautiful, but the mosquitoes swarmed me. I was covered in bites, at least 30 on each arm. They were weird mosquitoes, very small but they left big bumps that itched like crazy. However my husband didn't get a single bite!

Sunday morning the bites didn't itch anymore, and were just lots of tiny bumps. In Alaska the mosquitoes are huge, and they leave a bite that itches for days with huge welts. The bites still look awful, it's like I have some sort of arm and leg acne, but at least they don't itch.

The hike was difficult, and we didn't make it all the way to Tolmie Peak. Mainly because the mosquitoes were so bad I couldn't take it anymore. I felt like I was going insane trying to keep them from biting me. Plus that last mile to Tolmie Peak was very steep, up the side of a mountain. We both agreed to head back to the trail head.

Even though the hike was beatiful, the bugs were horrible. Besides the mosquitoes, there were swarms of small flies everywhere. We might try the hike again in late September when there aren't so many bugs.
My eating was good until I got home and made a Flatout pizza, which has become my new favorite food. It's mostly vegetables (red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms) with either chicken breast or turkey pepperoni and 1/4 cup 2% cheese. It makes a huge serving and it's delicious, but I haven't figured out the calories/Points yet (because I'm not sure I want to know). Then I ate four--yes four so sort of a binge--Dreyers Pomegranate frozen fruit bars (second ingredient is sugar so not exactly a health food). They're 70 calories each, but I ate four. Not a good thing.
Even though I burned 800 calories on our three-hour hike yesterday (only 5.5 miles round-trip but they were HARD miles), I still weighed 173.6 Sunday morning. Oh well, it's a new week.


Mowich Lake at the trailhead.

Just an example of the how rough the trail was, and this wasn't even the bad part. After we hiked another mile we were looking forward to getting to back to this part. It made this look easy.

 Mt. Rainier

Lupine (?)

Paintbrush (?)

Some sort of wild lily
A sweet, young couple offered to take our picture. It seems like the people we meet when hiking are the nicest people. I've never run into anyone weird or rude. Maybe just lucky, or maybe people that like nature are innately nice. :)

Me wading in Lake Eunice. It was icy cold, but felt wonderful to my hot, tired feet.  As long as I was out in the water the mosquitoes left me alone.

Lake Eunice

Crystal clear water of Lake Eunice with a soft, sandy bottom. And me with naked toes!
There was another couple there that were actually swimming in it. Probably to escape the mosquitoes.

Jack looking at the incredible scenery. At the very top of that peak is Tolmie Lookout.
You can see why we didn't hike up there. Maybe next time.

Back at the trailhead, Mowich Lake

Another view of Mowich Lake

Mt. Rainier

And Mt. Rainier again. One can never
have too many Mt. Rainier pictures.


Joy said...

Beautiful. Can't believe how clear the water is. Looks very refreshing!!! Hugs!

Miz said...

love the photos as Ive never been to seattle!

methinks Ill wait till its cooler there than texas though :)

Have a great week,


Ron said...

Beautiful Pics, sorry you had to fight the mosquitio's. Hmmm maybe I do want to head to Mt Rainier after I hit Glaicer in September!

Helen said...

Do you not believe in Deep Woods Off? Or some such other type of buggy spray. It's practically a pre-requisite around here but more because I live in the Lyme Disease capital of the world.

That lake looks so gorgeous I'm surprised you only had your feet in it!

Natalia said...

Wow, that looks amazing! And enjoying it in 70 weather instead of 95 is blissful!

midlife_swimmer said...

I was up in Seattle this weekend for the danskin triathlon... man was it hot! great photos...makes me wanna swim in a lake.

M Pax said...

Awesome photos! Lavender helps repel mosquitos. I use a moisturizer with lavender in it and I rarely get bit. Usually, I'm a skeeter banquet.

Have you tried the cauliflower crust for pizza? It's awesome.

95 is hot. I think we're supposed to hit 90 this week. Maybe. I'd rather we didn't.

Lisa said...

WOW!!! That is beautiful!

bbubblyb said...

Diana, boy how beautiful, looks like a wonderful day minus the mosquitos, sorry they were such a pain (literally). Hope next time you make the trip they are gone or at least you have repellent (taking it out of the backpack sounds like something I would do lol).

tena said...

Oooooh! How beautiful is that place? Sorry you had to suffer with bugs and such, but still, it sounds like just being there had to be worth it.

Roxie said...

I am a bug-magnet, too. I feel your er, itch! Gorgeous photos! The hike looks beautiful and like you, I'm always surprised by "moderate".

Alan (Pounds Off Playoff) said...

Wow, you captured that beautiful day with great photos. And we don't have to fight the bugs to enjoy them!

Ida said...

Beautiful pictures. Too bad the skeeters ruined your fun. They never bite my hubby, but always feast on me, then I swell up, so needles to say, I ALWAYS carry the bug spray. (or use it before I go)

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