Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hardcore in Training

Here is a huge shout-out to my five year old "hardcore in training" nephew, Grandin!

Mike and I went hiking (shocker) on Sunday with Dan (brother-in-law), Mel (his kick ass GF), Michael, Bentley, Allison, and Grandin (four of the five kids).  We drove out to Baring and hiked 1.3 miles to Lake Dorothy.

The trail was great!  Boardwalks, bridges, stairs, trees-a-plenty and sun.  Little Grandin made that trail his bitch.  He powered up it, never complaining, and even wearing a pack for part of it.  He even fashioned himself an ice axe (a stick bent in half) so he could be just like his Uncle Mike.

When we got to the lake we spent the afternoon swimming, catching bugs, and eating food.

Catching small fish in a sandwich bag

Swimming to the rock

Grandin didn't disappoint and managed to add a touch of awkwardness to the adventure.

While lunching we heard water hitting a rock...we turned around to find Grandin peeing uphill on a rock.
"What are you doing?!?!"
"I'm making a pee waterfall.  I like pee waterfalls."

The kid is honest.  But seriously...who doesn't enjoy a good pee waterfall.  
This hiking trip also reassured me and Mike that we could have kids someday and still enjoy our awkwardly hardcore life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Key(s) to a Successful Marriage...

...is to live in different countries.
That and spend time together in the woods...alone...in the rain...with two bottles of wine.  This is commonly referred to as camping.

Stuck in the rain and still all smiles
We celebrated four years of marriage at Sand Point on the Washington Coast.  After 5 hours of driving, a ferry ride, and a last minute trip to REI for "necessities" we arrived at Lake Ozette and began our 3 mile hike to our camp site.

We are NOT light packers; Mike will pack three pairs of jeans for a two day trip to Eastern Washington (he is going to kill me when he reads this).  Mike has a 70 L pack and I have a 60 L pack and they were FULL.  Needless to say, it was a long 3 miles of constant pack adjustment and muttering about whose idea it was to pack the French Press (guilty).  

It took us about 20 minutes to select the perfect camp site.  We needed to to have great beach access, be close to the water hole and be far away from anyone with kids (kids are even noisier in nature).  

I am new to backpack camping.  This was my very first time out in nature with only the items that I could carry.  I have never had to purify drinking water, hide my food in a bear keg or pee in the woods, so this was definitely an eye-opening, learning experience.

I can honestly say that I loved every minutes of it!  Here are some highlights:

Breakfast on the beach!

French pressed coffee!  Worth the extra weight in the pack.

It stopped raining!!! We wear able to hike down the beach.

Drinking wine from camping bowls with sippy-cup lids.  No spills!

Spending the rainy afternoon in the tent, drinking wine and reading.

Nature!  We ran into this "little" eagle on the trail back to the car.

We are looking forward to having as much fun in the next four years of marriage as we did in the first four.  Cheers!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's not all about the mountains

The great thing about being hardcore is that you can be hardcore in anything...not just in climbing mountains.

2012 is the year of hardcore balls-out gardening; if you are going to garden, you might as well go balls-out.  We have two mighty rows of random vegetables: one snap pea, two broccoli, two brussel sprouts, one eggplant, one cucumber, two zucchini, and one PUMPKIN.  Special emphasis on the plant that has decided to take over the garden.

"Oh, I have all this room on the right side...?  I think I'll grow straight towards the f#cking peas!  What an a$$hole" - Mike Griffith  (he is very passionate about gardening)

Those poor little f#cking peas are getting smashed into the fence designed to keep out bunnies and chickens.

This adorable moment is brought to you by Butters.

Caption contest:

"I'll never let go, Jack.  I promise"

"If only I was a cat and I could jump over a 2 ft fence..."

"I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you"

"Rawr, bad kitty"

"The grass is so much greener on the other side of the fence"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Camp Muir

The hike of our life!

Starting at Paradise (5400 ft) and we climbed to Camp Muir (10,188 ft) on our third attempt.

Not only is the mountain steep, the learning curve also has a challenging incline.  The first attempt at camp muir we made it to about 8000 ft before we turned around.  The view was spectacular!!

The skies were clear and the sun was out!  We couldn't ask for more...except for maybe a sunburn, and a sunburn is what we got.
If you know me, you know that I live and breathe by chapstick.  Did you know that chapstick is just a  tube of oil?  Did you know that hiking in the snow with oil smeared on your lips and nose is the equivalent to deep-frying your face?  Lesson learned.
How about the ever awkward sunburn line... Mike decided to wear a sweatband.  I'm sure everyone can figure out how awkward he looked at work the next day.

For our second attempt at Muir we were prepared!  We stocked up on fancy sunscreens, head covers and glacier approved sunglasses.  I also wore a V-neck shirt, but put on sunscreen like I was wearing a round-neck shirt.  The triangle is my favorite shape.

There was no stopping us on our third attempt.  We couldn't see 50 ft in front of us, our sunglasses were fogging up and we got a late start,  but we pushed on.  The last two hours I was pretty sure that Camp Muir didn't exist.  At about 9000 ft we passed a guy puking his guts out.  Hard.Core.  We cleared the clouds and there it was!  It was real!  I could have started running, but I was so freaking tired I just cheered instead, and took an awesomely awkward photo.

Is that one of Santa's helpers???  Nope, it's just Mike wearing his head cover like an elf.  Notice the three bandanas that I am sporting???  Two for blowing my nose (I know, right?  I even blow my nose hard core) and the purple one for covering my awkward triangle burn.  Camp Muir is the tiny building in the distance.

Mike Griffith!!! Hard Core Hiking Champion!!!

We were surprised and relieved that we didn't feel the effects of the altitude.  We had some lunch in a snow pile and tried to hide from the wind.  We started heading back down and I began to feel the altitude.  My body was so tired, I could barely move my legs.  They just weren't getting enough oxygen to properly walk down the mountain.  So I just fell over instead...like the ugly kind of fall.  I just laid on my side with my pack still on moaning like Tina from Bob's Burgers.



Mike fed me Jolly Ranchers until I got back up.  Such a good husband.  

Where are we hiking this weekend?

This became the most asked question of 2012 in the Griffith house.  Mike joined the American Lung Association's Climb for Clean Air, to raise money for the ALA and to summit Mt. Rainier.  This meant that Mike was going to be spending the summer fundraising and training and that I was going to be spending the summer going along for the ride.

Before 2012 I had only been on a hiking trial twice in my adult life.  The first time was in the summer of 2005; I was overweight, out of shape and not into nature.  The second time was in the summer of 2011; we hiked Mt. Pilchuck, didn't carrying a pack, and I asked "are we there yet" about 32 times.

We hit the trails hardcore this year!

  • Rattlesnake Ridge
  • Little Si
  • Mount Si
  • Tiger Mountain
  • Lake Ozette triangle
  • Lake Serene
  • Boulder River Falls
  • Heybrook Ridge
  • Mailbox Peak
  • Pebble Creek/Camp Muir
The two most challenging hikes of our life were Mailbox peak and Camp Muir.

Mailbox Peak

6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 4100 feet...hardcore is an understatement.  After 2.5 hours of hyperextending our calves, we hit a boulder scramble and I was ready to give up.  Mike went on ahead and I sat at the bottom of the scramble feeling sorry for myself.  It took about three minutes for me to realize that I was getting in my own way.  I could scramble the shit out those rocks!  So I climbed onward and made it to the top.  The view was breathtaking!  I was so glad that I made it to the top!

We signed the mailbox that gives the hike its name.

A hike wouldn't be a hike without and awkward photo.  It kind of looks like Mike is wearing khaki underwear...You can call me crouching dragon.

On the way down I accidentally learned how to glissade (butt sled).  I was trying to gracefully walk down in the snow, and look like the hiking goddess that I am.  Instead I fell...and then kept falling.  I stopped fighting it and embraced it.  I make awkward look good.  

I ate lunch today at a nude beach with one of my favorite chemists.  Just a standard day at the office...distill some solvents, mix some chemicals, try not to stare at the parade of man meat walking by.

In between mentally encouraging the ONE hot guy at the beach to take off his shorts and avoiding the old men wearing nothing but shoes and a backpack, we discussed biking, mountain climbing, rock climbing and sea kayaking.  I made the statement that I would like to call myself hardcore by the time I reached 40.

But there are so many different levels and definitions of hardcore...How would I know when I had reached "Hardcoreness"

Compliments of Urban Dictionary:

Someone who rides their bike all the way to the store just to get a can of Special Pepsi.
Paul Miller's father is so hardcore
(What is Special Pepsi...? Clearly I am not that hardcore)

Compliments of Mike Griffith:

Doing mundane activities to the point of causing personal injury.
Mike ate a baby carrot so hardcore that it scratched his throat causing him to lose his voice for 2 days.
(True. Story.)

Compliments of Jennifer Griffith:

After completing an activity/challenge/adventure, you stop and say to yourself "WOW!"
Jen and Mike are on a quest to become hardcore...awkwardly.