A pair of boots on my feet, a pack on my back, and the intoxicating scent of nature in my nostrils: to me, that’s happiness in a nutshell. This weekend, my friend JP and I tackled one of North Bend, Washington’s most popular hiking trails: Little Si. Almost five miles out and back and rated at moderate effort by the Washington Trails Association, Little Si offered the perfect way to start the weekend, pouring rain and all.
I thought we’d be one of only a few to brave the weather, but the parking lot at the trailhead was packed. Neither snow nor sleet nor rain, baby: this is the Pacific Northwest.
We trekked upward around massive puddles, over mossy rocks and past slick tree roots through the lush growth, pausing every once in while to catch our breaths or snap a picture. It felt so refreshing: the raindrops hanging like plump crystals from the brims of our caps, the thick mud caking our boots, the mighty gust of wind threatening to sweep us away as we celebrated with selfies at the top of the mountain. Heck, yeah.
It didn’t take long during our progress for me to realize that the waterproofing on my seven-years old Marmot Precip jacket had finally worn off. Less than halfway through the muddy uphill portion of the hike, I was already soaked through to the skin. Fortunately, I was wearing a polyester/wool blend base layer from Outdoor Research that kept me warm in spite of being completely drenched. Still deciding whether I should try to revive or reapply some waterproofing to my Precip or if it’s time to say goodbye to the first ever honest-to-goodness trail-approved rain jacket I’ve ever owned. Sniff.
The hike was also an ideal test for my newest hiking boots: a pair of Keen Footwear‘s Verdi II Mid Waterproofs. I’ve always preferred the Merrell brand for boots, but on the recommendation of a couple of friends (plus the amazing discount I received during Keen’s New Year’s Eve sale), I decided to go with a pair of Keens this time. I’m thrilled with the outcome: my feet stayed almost completely dry throughout most of the morning and were so, so comfortable from the get-go.
Pi Day = Pie Day
Post-Si, since it was also Pi (Pie) Day, we headed into the downtown area of North Bend for hot chocolate and a slice of cherry pie at Twede’s Cafe, made famous in Twin Peaks as the Double R Diner. Get the pie with ice cream–it will not disappoint.