Snow Lake Trail – My First “Real” Hike

Prior to the COVID19 shutdown, life mainly consisted of family, work, and the dojo (6 days a week). On weekends, we would do small family outings, but didn’t travel too far or too late into the day, because Sunday mornings were occupied with Karate, and Saturday mornings were quite often cardio kickboxing, then Monday was work again. Weeknights were swim team and karate for the girls, in addition to my own martial arts training.

When the governor ordered a shutdown of Washington, swimming and karate were no longer on the schedule. Sure I practiced at home. A lot at first, but over time, and without in your face instruction, my motivation dwindled. I’ve always exercised and practiced harder when an instructor is there supervising / yelling at me. The dojo has reopened, (albeit at a reduced schedule to conform with the governor’s orders), and the girls swim team practices have also resumed.

Like other families, we’ve been spending more time together. Due to social distancing guidelines, we’ve been outdoors more often – local trails, beaches, and hikes. The distance from the dojo has reinforced that while karate and training are important to me, so are many other things. I love my wife and my children (this isn’t new, just stating a fact) and enjoy spending time with them. Going forward, we’re going to be at the dojo less (if at all) on the weekends and instead will be going out doing things and seeing places on the weekends instead! I won’t regret training less to spend the weekends with my family. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all still going to train and do karate.

Quite a few of my friends are into hiking. They post photos online of beautiful vistas and places that they’ve visited. They’ve inspired me! There’s one “power couple” from the dojo (James and Malia) that I train with. They’re a dynamic duo – they train hard, play hard, and are constantly on the move! They venture out with their kids, go camping, hiking, swimming in mountain streams and lakes, and more! They post amazing photos of their adventures, and have even invited me to go with them. I have yet to venture out with them, but I’m hoping to in a couple of weeks (a moderate one, nothing crazy). Hopefully, my oldest daughter will come as well since all of our kids are around the same age and do karate together.

Another friend of mine (Eric), is always on the go. He is also into hiking, climbing, camping, and also posts beautiful photos from the amazing places he’s visited online. He even did 21 miles in a day on a recent hike! He’s snow shoed, driven on crazy terrain, slept in a hammock, and even cooks out in the wild! Since I’m new to this whole hiking thing, I asked him if he would guide me on a hike that James and Malia were doing just a few days prior. He agreed, and yesterday we ventured out to Snow Lake.

We hiked just over eight miles, took many photographs, crossed over small waterfalls, walked across some extremely rocky terrain, tromped through a little mud, and even got to walk on a tiny amount of snow! There was some parts of the trail required a small amount of Spider-Man-ing and unusual maneuverability – stuff that I’ve never really done before, but I believe my karate and cardio kickboxing conditioning helped me handle it without too much problem.

Per his advice, prior to hiking, I bought some Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking boots which turned out to be invaluable. During the hike, I also borrowed an extra pair of his gators and hiking poles. Funny enough, I’ve never owned hiking boots before, used or even seen gators, and never used a walking stick. I can say without a doubt, those hiking poles really helped out on the way back.

Venturing out with the Panasonic S1R, Panasonic 16-35mm f/4 lens, B+W polarizer, a Fotosharp rain cover, and a garbage back over my backpack to protect it from the rain, we made our way up the path to Snow Lake! A quick note about the lens. While f/4 might seem like a detriment, it’s actually nice to have a fairly small, compact, and lightweight lens for the L-Mount. It focuses fast, and is quite sharp! Moreover, the S1R is a great choice for landscape photography! One piece of gear I need to research more is Peak Design Capture Clip. Eric uses one and swears by it, so I’ll probably invest in that as well after watching some reviews online.

BTW, the pics of the four friends are people we met by the water. They saw my camera and figured I knew what I was doing. They asked me to take their photo and email it to them, which I did.

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