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Oct 20, 2020

Saddle rock is the name of one of the hills that overlooks Wenatchee. It's name comes from the fact that, from a distance, it looks like a horse's saddle. It is a popular hike for locals and visitors, and offers a wonderful view of the town, and the Columbia river flowing down from the North. I hiked up to its rocky crown a week ago, and sat for a while taking in the view. I only saw one other person, a lady hiking down the very steep trail, trying not to fall. The soil is loose and sandy, so it is easy to slip and slide(1), particularly when you are coming downhill. It's quite magical when you have the whole trail to yourself; it's as if it belongs to you. The Saturday that I hiked it was a perfectly still, autumn day at first. As I got to the top, the weather changed, the clouds moved, and I got rained on. By then, I was hot from the uphill (2)walk, so the rain didn't bother me at all; it was quite refreshing. The local authorities maintain the trails each year by fixing any erosion. I noticed that on the way up, there were signs of closure of certain areas. This happens every now and then, so the plant and animal life can be undisturbed for a while and recuperate(3) from the busy hiking season of summer. 

The local school district has regular trips for school children up Saddlerock. It's considered a 'field trip', or an excursion. It's a great way to get out of the class, away from books and computer screens, and to exercise out in nature, and learn at the same time. Often the school children will do a unit of study on the local, natural environment, perhaps learning about the type of rock and soil, or a subject like erosion. Then, they will participate in their field trip and see a real life example of what they have just studied. It really validates what they have learned in the classroom. And then there are other groups who will hike up there too. A physical therapy patient I was working with, told me that his boss has been trying to get all of his employees fit, so they can stay healthy and not miss work. He created an incentive for them to hike up Saddle rock 10 times: those who chose to do it would get a $500 bicycle from him. What a clever idea! The hiking gets people in shape, and the cycling maintains their health. Everybody wins! I will certainly keep hiking up Saddle rock until the bad weather gets here, and hopefully I will be able to do it alone and at peace.

1. 'Slip and slide' we tend to put these two similar verbs together to emphasize the sense of losing your footing and your balance.

a. I got out of my car and slipped and slid on the thin ice.

b. Be cautious coming down the mountain and wear good shoes, otherwise you will slip and slide all the way down.

2. 'Uphill / downhill' these are obvious words to use when talking about hiking. They are often used figuratively.

a. Biking downhill is easy, but remember to use the brakes!

b. That class was an uphill struggle for me; I had to really focus and study so I wouldn't feel lost.

3. 'Recuperate' is a great verb that means 'to get better', or 'to return to normal health/ strength.'

a. If she rests adequately and takes her medicine, she should recuperate from her accident.

b. Sleep is a key to help us recuperate from illnesses, exercise, stress, and surgery.