Saturday I spent almost the entire day offline, hiking Heather- Maple Pass Loop with a couple of great friends. We left early, just as the sun was rising and by the time I came home, the kids had already been tucked into bed for the night. I am so thankful for a husband who recognizes how this energizes me and for friends who take me places more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Some people go hiking to escape the world. I want to hike because the world is so beautiful, I can’t imagine not experiencing places like this. As long as my legs can move, I want to move them, step by step, to experience this incredible area in which we’re privileged to live. The hike was long- 9.4 miles is what my friend’s app told us and we climbed over 2000ft. At the top, the elevation was 6,650. Hiking in a higher elevation didn’t bother me, but I could definitely feel my ears popping on the way up and down.
“When I run on the treadmill, red faced and sweaty, when my arms shake in a downward dog and I want to drop to my knees, when the hike is going straight uphill and we still have another mile, in those moments I want to keep going, because I CAN and there’s a women out there who can’t. I want to do it for her, as a gift that shows I won’t live this life, taking it for granted.
See, some women lay in bed only dreaming of being able to move their body. Some women are nearing the end of their lives and they say they wish they would’ve done more of the things they dreamed about. Some women only wish to be able to walk across the room. So if you can, then you should, even if it’s hard.” When I hike with these girls, I breathe hard, sweat and my legs feel like jello at the end, but here’s the thing….I CAN and some women would only wish to have legs that move. I think of those women and I want to live in a way that doesn’t take health for granted. I want to breath in fresh air and view the world from mountain tops because as long as my body will let me, I want to thank it for allowing me to do things like this. On the trail, we passed some of the most inspiring old ladies, climbing their way to the top. They were blowing past us, with smiles and sun-worn skin. Someday I want to be like them. Strong. Determined. Not defined by age. If ever there was a hike to satisfy all a hiker’s desires, this one would be at the top. A loop hike with many fabulous changing faces throughout the seasons, Heather-Maple Pass features ridgelines blanketed in wildflowers in summer, lakes ringed with golden larches in fall, and before the highway closes for the season, a dramatic place to experience early winter’s snows.
If you love fall colors like I do, you need to go do this hike soon. Right now the Larches are bright and yellow. They won’t last too long so, hurry! The trail heading counter-clockwise leaves immediately from the parking lot, heading uphill moderately through second-growth forest and dappled sunlight. After about 1.25 miles, a trail branches left to Lake Ann, a jewel cradled in a talus bowl, a glacial cirque created in eons past. The detour is a relatively flat 0.6 miles round trip and well-worth it. Stopping by the shore of Lake Ann affords you a view of the pass that you’re headed to. Be sure to note the forces of glaciation and landslides which have created it and the large island within it.
Back on the main trail, you’ll traverse above Lake Ann, traversing through swathes of wildflowers before reaching Heather Pass, about three-quarters of a mile past the Lake Ann turnoff. From Heather Pass there are social trails which meander through meadows to the north. These are routes that cross-country hikers and climbers use to visit Lewis and Wing Lakes, Black Peak, and beyond. But views from the trail itself are stunning enough.What I personally loved about this hike is how we experienced incredible views almost the entire way up and down. Some hikes take you through the woods and you don’t see the reward until the very in, but not this one.
Of all the hikes I’ve done, I’d have to say this was the most beautiful so far. I’m crazy for fall colors and this was better than I could’ve imagined. To find directions to Heather- Maple Pass Loop, to read the full details and look at recent trip reports, visit the WTA website here.
So tell me, what did you do this weekend?