Spider Gap / Buck Creek Pass
The injured athlete is forced to practice a kind of triage: is the existential need for a sense of purpose and the familiar rewards of exertion greater than the need to let the body heal? Or does she instead risk causing enough permanent harm to undermine both goals? I am lucky and durable enough to mostly avoid injury, but like to think of myself as the kind of runner who errs on the side of caution. Yesterday might suggest otherwise.
I’m nursing a tight IT band — its proximate cause riding too much on a poorly fit bike, its ultimate cause any number of underlying muscle imbalances and weaknesses — and while I should be diligently doing strength exercises and torturing myself with a lacrosse ball, I decided to ignore this good sense. Snow is in the forecast, and being late October, Sunday’s fine weather seemed to be my last chance for a long run in the high country. I am also still sorting out how to be a grad student living in a big city for the next five years, and thus prone to behavioral extremes.
Because of these things and the usual reasons, I joined Luke on Sunday to run the Spider Gap / Buck Creek Pass loop, a 36 mile / +9100′ affair touring the stretch of Glacier Peak Wilderness sandwiched between the Entiats to the east and the Dakobed Range to the west. I did a longer variation on the route with my brother as a backpacking trip three years ago, one of those formative trips that made me fall in love with the North Cascades. Sunday was long and hard and not the best rehab for my injury, but oh so worth it.
Luke on Spider Glacier, looking for the wolverine spotted earlier this month.
Lyman Lakes from Spider Gap.
Lyman Glacier, calving into upper Lyman Lake. Sadly, it’s shrunk dramatically over the past four years, let alone the preceding century.
Larches. They never get old.
After an unintentional off-trail detour, we barely beat the dark back to our car, and thoroughly exhausted, stopped at the ’59 Diner north of Leavenworth for a late dinner.
“How are you going to drink both that milkshake and that beer?”, our server asked. It was a reasonable question, I reflected, two tall glasses and half a burger in front of me. But I had no trouble.