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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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TR: Green Mountain

Posted by gck Wednesday, June 24, 2015 0 comments

Distance: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 3100 feet
Trailhead directions and more on WTA.
My GPS tracks

IMG_6024 IMG_6026 IMG_5471 Left: Llamas reduce conflicts between users
Center: Suiattle River (from Suiattle River Road)
Right: Glacier Peak Wilderness sign

The Suiattle River Road opened up late in the season last year after being closed for a number of years after storm damage. This restored access to the Green Mountain trailhead, and I was eager to do the hike before word got out and all of Seattle started to pour into the area. When I told my brothers that we were going to drive 20 miles down a road that has been washed out by a storm before, they were dubious and reminded me that we do not have good luck with river roads. But it was a 0% chance of rain, so we were okay. The river itself is quite beautiful, and it was tempting to just go swimming instead.

IMG_5372 IMG_5779 IMG_5567
Left: Tiger lily
Center: Western Pasqueflower
Right: Lupine on the trail

Cars were parked down the road when we arrived, and I was afraid that the crowds had begun already. But people were spaced out pretty well on the trail, and we got enough solitude. There’s not much of a lot at the trailhead, so once this trail gets popular, people may end up having to park pretty far down the forest road.

IMG_5481 IMG_5468 IMG_6022
Left: Butterflies
Center: Glacier peak and wildflowers
Right: Butterfly

The first 1.5 miles isn’t terribly interesting, mainly switchbacks through the forest. The grade wasn’t that steep, but for me, it was the first hike of the summer after months of almost no exercise, so I struggled. There has definitely been a good amount of trail maintenance done since the road reopened because other than a few minor blowdowns and some overgrowth later on in the hike, the trail was in perfect condition.

IMG_5487 IMG_5570
Left: Trail and Glacier Peak
Right: Green Mountain – the shaded section is the summit/our destination

Once the trail exited the woods, views started immediately. And there was (appropriately) lots of green stuff. The trail was always visible but sometimes partially obscured by overgrown foliage. I wasn’t paying much attention and ended up stepping in a few holes where the trail was uneven. This section reminded me a lot of the Crystal Peak trail, with the long switchbacks facing a mountain range and a volcano.

IMG_5578 IMG_5600
Left: A pond with a happy dog in it
Right: Western pasqueflower and Glacier Peak

Flowers didn’t seem like they were at peak, but we got a nice variety: tiger lily, columbine, paintbrush, lupine, and more. There were also lots of butterflies – more different types than I’ve seen on a hike before. Most of them would fly away before I could get a photo, but we found a cluster of the blue-violet butterflies I saw on the Bean Peak trail, and they were more cooperative.

View from Green Mountain

Much to my dismay, the trail headed downward (I was not happy to see this part of the trail on the way back). Our destination, the fire lookout at the top of Green Mountain, finally became visible. Before this, I had no idea which peak we were actually climbing because everything was green and there were plenty of high points. There were some ponds here, the first and only major water source we passed, and a dog from a nearby party happily jumped into the water.

Glacier Peak 

To get to the top, we had to go up steeper switchbacks with the sun beating down, and finally we reached a ridge leading to the lookout. The views here were spectacular, with mountains all around and the Suiattle River valley leading up to Glacier Peak. Peakfinder wasn’t very informative with these mountains, and from my pathetic peak knowledge, I could only name Glacier Peak, Sloan Peak, and a mostly cloud-covered Mt. Baker. Later, I found a partial panorama with labeled mountains.

 IMG_5366 IMG_6021
Left: Sign about the restoration of the Green Mountain fire lookout
Right: Green Mountain fire lookout

The lookout was locked and is obviously still being actively restored. There were lots of boards in the area, and the viewing platform on the outside was missing on one side of the lookout. There were a number of people at the summit, but we found a non-busy area on the cliffy side of the fire lookout and enjoyed our lunches. It was surprisingly chilly and I put on my jacket, which I hadn’t expected to use. We stayed up there for awhile, dragged our tired bodies down the mountain, and woke up with extremely sore legs the next day.

View from Green Mountain (photosynth)

Movie Review: The Imitation Game

Posted by gck Tuesday, January 6, 2015 1 comments

This actually won’t be a movie review, it will be a soapbox rant because it’s just one of those days. First of all, I have to say HELLO to the Egyptian! It was my first time back in there since SIFF took it over. In current light of the Harvard Exit closing and the unknown future of some of the other Landmark theaters, I’m very, very happy to have the Egyptian still operating as a theater. 

The Imitation Game
UK, 2014
Genre: Biopic, Historical Drama
Watched: in theater, SIFF Egyptian 
Rating: **** (out of 5)

I gave the film a four star rating, which is probably a bit too generous, especially seeing that I gave The Theory of Everything 3.5. I felt like the two movies were similar in the sense that they felt really glossy, meant more for entertaining the masses than giving any deep insights. This was especially true with how a lot of Turing’s behaviors and interactions in the movie garnered somewhat cheap laughs. Still, I’m the first to admit that my tastes often fall into the mainstream, and I enjoyed the movie as entertainment.

Why take the bus over to Seattle, trek up Capitol Hill, and eat popcorn for dinner in order to see a film in the theater instead of waiting a few months to come out on Netflix? This was one of those evenings that highlighted how different the experience can be. First of all, I’ve been having trouble focusing (especially on films with subtitles) at home lately. In the theater, there is no Dragon Age in the other room to distract me. Secondly, it’s the interaction with the other moviegoers.

It’s a small world at SIFF. I saw Wild over the weekend (loved it – see, I’m totally mainstream) and I’m pretty sure “the lady who responds” was in the audience because I heard a few outbursts of assent (“Yes!”) during a scene where Strayed’s mother was giving good life advice. I was mentioning this to my friend, and then she mentioned that her pet peeve had come up in this movie – someone scoffing audibly when chemical castration came up. She said that it really annoyed her because it was someone looking down on a different society and feeling sooo much more enlightened, as if our society isn’t just as full of the sheep mentality.

Self-righteousness has been on my mind in the past few years. It’s what draws me to reading The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, even though nonfiction and I are a hopeless combination. It’s easy where I stand to be pro-feminism, pro-civil rights, etc., but how many of us would even hold those views if we grew up in a society that didn’t accept them? We can hold our lofty principles from the comfort of our sofas and laptops, but how many of us have had those principles tested by fire? What attitudes do we condone or ignore that future generations will look back and scoff at?

Self-righteousness is a dangerous state of being. I say this as much for myself as for anyone else – if you find yourself thinking that you’re better than other people, it’s time to examine your blind spots.