So it has become an eratic tradition that on my birthday I get away from the house and do some hiking. On my 45th, Kate went to Mt. Rainier, and starting at Paradise and went up the side of the mountain as far as you could without a back-country permit. This year (My four-dozenth, for those keeping score), we went after Little Si, in a minivacation that mixed oppulence with hiking. Because, the Lovely Bride determined, I really needed to mellow out.
Little Si is located just east of North Bend, which was used for some of the shooting of Twin Peaks. We stayed at the extremely posh Salish Lodge, just west of North Bend. The lodge is located at the head of Snoqualmie Falls (The hotel in the show? That's the one). Its all of about 45 minutes away from home but was very much another world. This is one of those posh resorts with spas and incredible (and expensive) menus and the works. We got what could have been the best room in the place (top floor, close to the falls), and kept the windows open all night to listen to the rushing water.
If anything, the resort may be operating at a higher level than most of its clientele. You may have met some of these guys before in your own travels. The family with four kids that would be hard-pressed to handle a night out at Denny's, much less a resort resturant. The guy in the funny message T-Shirt dining with his wife at the romantic rooftop cafe. And the clown with the thundering voice in the "silent rooms" of the spa that has to talk, ignoring all the signs around him asking not for just quiet, but silence ( a couple of the other spa users pointed that out to him, and he thought they meant "Keep talking, but do it softer").
Despite this, it was a first class operation and an incredibly pleasant weekend. The food was fantastic. And Kate decided that after all these years, I should get a professional massage. Warm oils. Hot stones. Strong hands. Meltably excellent. And Dusty, who was playing old folk music at the Attic, reminded me that not all the music of my youth was the horrible pap that gets recycled on Jack-FM.
Saturday we hiked up Little Si, the smaller of the "twin peaks". It was about a five mile hike, up and back, with a rewarding view of the valley below from the top. The trail was a bit steep in places, and the Lovely Bride had trouble coming down (she was wearing lightweight hiking shoes that passed on every bump and root, and I had to help her down off some of the larger drops (as small children were bouncing down the mountainside around us, giggling). But it was a wonderful trip, and very nice birthday present.
Needless to say, I did mellow out.
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