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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Hiking To Mason Lake.

One of the things I was most excited about when we moved to Seattle was our proximity to all the amazing wilderness and adventure opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.  I didn’t grow up camping and I don’t have any fancy gear, but I do love being active and being outdoors. 

This past weekend, some friends invited us to join them on a day hike to Mt. Baker in the Snoqualmie National Forest.  We had no plans, so we happily accepted.  We drove about an hour east of our house, and arrived at the trailhead to the Ira Spring Trail. 

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I read some info about the hike online the night before, so I knew we’d be going 3.4 miles UP, and then 3.4 miles back down.

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We grabbed our gear and set off on our climb.  I’ve been in Seattle for over a year now, but for so long we were just exploring the city itself.  This summer we’ve done a few day trips like this – beyond Seattle, and it’s pretty incredible what you can find just an hour outside of the city.

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I was a little nervous about accepting the invitation for the trip, not knowing how Cullen would behave in a hiking backpack for most of the day.  All he wants to do these days is walk, and he’s not big on being carried much anymore.  He surprised me by being a total champ – barely a peep from him the whole time.

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So many thanks to Kelsey and Jason (and adorable 6-month-old Norah!) for inviting us along. 

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They are serious hikers and they didn’t make fun of our Gap clothes, running shoes, and Jansport backpack.  We might not have all the gear, but we still did just fine.

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I knew going into it that the trail was all at an incline, but I was surprised at just how difficult I found it.  Definitely a wake up call on how out of shape I am!  We were all literally dripping in sweat as we climbed.  Can’t imagine doing it with a baby on my back!  (Check out those THIGHS!)

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We stopped a few times for snack and water breaks.  It was a serious climb, and I couldn’t believe how tough it was to hike just a little over three miles.  The gorgeous views and scenery made it more than worth it though, and I was happy to be getting in such a good workout.

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And then the trail opened up to one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. 

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This gorgeous mountain top lake was surrounded by tall trees and giant rocks.  The water was so clear you could see the bottom even in depths of ten-ish feet.  It was perfectly still – I’ve never seen anything like it.

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We pulled out blankets and took a much needed break. 

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We snacked on lunch, as well as these delicious energy bites I made the night before.  (Recipe coming up on Wednesday!)

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And then – because you only live one – we all stripped down to our underwear (and bras) and jumped into the freezing cold mountain water.  Casey and I took turns as Cullen watched us jump and swim.

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Is there anything cuter than a little boy in love with his dad?

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We couldn’t put Cullen down at the camp sight because he kept trying to eat rocks and sticks – he was a good sport and hung out on our shoulders.  He was fascinated by my bun!

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Family shot courtesy of Kelsey (who is starting a photography business here in Seattle – check her out!)

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After a cool down in the lake and a break for food, we packed back up to begin our descent back down the trail.  I had no idea that the whole time we were hiking UP, this amazing view was just behind us…

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Mt. Ranier in all her glory – these pictures don’t do it any justice.  I felt like I was standing in the middle of a painting.  Nature is so powerful.

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Cullen was not quite as impressed, and decided to take his one 20-minute nap of the day at the top of the mountain.

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2550 up with a steep descent below.  Still snoozing.  Figures!

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Kelsey was one of the first friends I made here in Seattle, and we started walking together when she was just 8 weeks pregnant, and I was 20-something weeks along.  Now we have big hiking backpacks filled with babies!

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The way down was much easier than the way up, but still tough on my wobbly legs.  I definitely need to invest in some hiking boots if I want to make this a regular thing – I was slipping and sliding in my gym shoes.

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Just under seven miles total round-trip, but it felt like a lot more.  I am SORE today – ouch.  I definitely have the itch to go again soon, and I’d like to make this part of our weekend workouts from time to time.  So few weekends left this summer, and so many mountains to explore! 

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66 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 4:04 pm

Wow! Gorgeous photos, but you definitely worked for it. We don’t have as intense hiking around us, but we are hoping to trek to ADK sometime in the fall.

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Sana     at 4:05 pm

I hiked the Swiss Alps in running shoes because I did not know what to expect ( I took it slowly and was just fine). But hiking boots are awesome and totally awesome to hike in!

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Maria     at 4:39 pm

We hike a lot and instead of hiking boots, which are giant and uncomfortable to me, I picked up a pair of trail runners shoes by Brooks. They are light and comfy and I barely ever slip now :)

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Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries     at 4:41 pm

Wow! Beautiful photos! My husband and I love to hike. Ever since we moved to Northern Utah, we have taken full advantage of the beautiful hiking trails. It’s such a fun way to explore and see the beautiful sights!

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Ashley B     at 4:43 pm

I miss hiking. I cannot wait to live out west! Illinois is so flat and ugly in comparison.

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Rachel @ For the Love of Chocolate     at 4:45 pm

These are beautiful photos, Emily! My sister is currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the pictures she has been sending over are so amazing as well. It makes me want to jet off to the West Coast from the East coast where I am now to see these sights in person. Incredible!

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Ingunn     at 4:47 pm

Yay, I was waiting for this report! Swimming in alpine lakes is my favorite summer activity…and my little Italian Greyhound likes to jump in and “rescue” me from the cold water.:D

The more I hike, the more I appreciate using trail runners instead of boots (unless I’m going off-trail or on lots of snow). I use Merrell Pace Gloves now and my feet hurt way less at the end of a long day on trail. I do recommend hiking poles, even though they look a bit dorky. They’ll save your knees on the descent and give you lots of stability, especially when you’re carrying precious cargo like Cullen on your back.

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Ashley     at 4:59 pm

Hi, What kind of pack to you have your little guy in? I’ve used the Ergo but am looking for something different for hiking.

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Maya Reply:

I have the exact same question. It looks comfy! Gorgeous hike!

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Emily Malone Reply:

It’s a Kokopax. We borrowed it from a friend, and I really like it!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}     at 5:01 pm

Wow! I would loooove to have that in my backyard. Absolutely stunning. What a fantastic way to get a workout in. :-)

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 5:20 pm

Beautiful photos! It makes me want to plan a hiking trip for this weekend.

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Erica     at 5:26 pm

When the bf and I talk about having kids one of our biggest concerns is having to give up all our favorite activities (hiking being one of them!). Thank you for showing it is absolutely still possible to do!

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Leah Reply:

My parents used to hike and cross country ski with me and my brother in baby backpacks (and bike with the kid bike seats attached to the back). This was in the late 70s-80s. You don’t have to give up one of your favorite outdoor activities!

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Alison     at 5:29 pm

I just went on an intense hike with my brother yesterday and it was amazing! Steep mountains, great workout, quality time with my brother before he goes back to college…I also wish we could hike more often! The view is gorgeous where you were! Cullen and Norah are such cuties. And lovin’ your YOLO moment ;)

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Liz     at 5:30 pm

These pictures are amazing! Cullen looks like a hiker in the making for sure. I just found your blog recently and I love it. I’m living in Boston and have been thinking that I need to head back west where I’m from. I’ll be heading to Seattle for the first time in the fall and would love to hear your recommendations for must-dos in the city. I’ll only be there for a three-day weekend, but I can’t wait. If you ever do a post about that (or a neighborhood guide for East Coast transplants), this reader would be incredibly grateful!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Here is the page with all my favorite Seattle spots! :)

http://www.dailygarnish.com/seattle

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afarmerinthedell.com     at 5:37 pm

I am a northwest girl living on the east coast. these photos were amazing. makes me homesick! nice work on the hike, can’t wait to see more photos from hikes to come!!

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Ashley     at 5:37 pm

These pictures make me want to move to Seatle, how beautiful!

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Ashley     at 5:45 pm

Beautiful! Glad Cullen was a happy camper..err, hiker. ;) Fun stuff!!

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Lee     at 5:57 pm

Looks amazing!

I’m always surprised at how hiking just uses totally different muscles from running. We hiked up a mountain the other weekend that was literally only 1 mile up and I was really sore the next day.

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Sara     at 6:11 pm

Incredible! My husband and I are FINALLY making our move to Washington this week and I will be adding this to our list of things to do when we get there!

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LoriV.     at 6:25 pm

You should do the hike to Snow Lake! It’s gorgeous and a real workout on the legs. You will definitely want boots for the rocky terrain. I have photos on my blog from this hike last year, or just Google it. =)

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jen     at 6:25 pm

this weekend must have been the unofficial hiking weekend! we did an 8 mile loop to see 3 waterfalls with family in town. it was gorgeous and the weather was great, but my niece refused to be in a hiking backpack so i carried a 24 lb toddler for 5 of those 8 miles (she would only go to me or her mom so we traded off and since her mom is pregnant, i took one for the team!) and i’m SO sore. the views sure are great and being in nature rejuvenates me like nothing else. your day sounds (and looked) amazing!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh man, building up the biceps! :)

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Jenna     at 6:31 pm

That view of Mt Rainier from Mason Lake is amazing. I plan on doing that hike again just for that view.

My favorite hike along I-90, however, is definitely Snow Lake.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I will check that one out!

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Andrea     at 6:34 pm

Gorgeous pics! Yes- the mountains are what drew me here…I love being able to do all the outdoorsy stuff without the humidity (mostly)… Glad you had fun!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 6:38 pm

Wow! Great shots. Seattle is so beautiful, you’re really making me want to come check it out. Casey is a boss, I could not imagine hiking up a mountain with a baby on my back!

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Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)     at 6:39 pm

Wow! Seriously…all the posts where you mention the nature and adventures you’ve been taking in Seattle makes me want to MOVE there!! A lot more exciting than DC ;) Those views are amazing!!!

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Chase     at 7:02 pm

He’s such a trooper! Those pictures of the lake are just gorgeous. How long did it take to get all the way up and all the way back down?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Probably took 2 hours to get up, 1 hour at the top, and another 1 hour to get down. A good day trip!

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats     at 7:38 pm

I went on a hike on thursday, it was gorgeous! I hiked up Pikes Peak near CO Springs, and that 4,000 ft gain to the summit was rough! Although I have to say the way down was harder, just because it got so rough on my knees! Those pictures of Cullen on both of your shoulders are so cute!!!

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Mandy     at 8:53 pm

We live in North Bend (VERY close to Snoqualmie/Snoqualmie Pass) and I can definitely confirm it’s gorgeous out here! if you haven’t yet, you should look into hiking up Mt. Si – another local landmark. :D

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Ally     at 8:58 pm

So beautiful! I was over at Mount Rainier the same time you were at Baker. Such magnificent views.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh how cool! We could have waved to each other. :)

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Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras     at 9:14 pm

That view is so gorgeous! They just don’t make spots like that on the east coast. Very jealous :)

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Leah     at 9:18 pm

Just gorgeous! I’m from Seattle and never been on that hike. We must check it out! Thanks for sharing. Glad you had a great day!

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Olviya@olivehalth.wordpress.com     at 9:40 pm

Looks beautiful! I love how you guys workout together as a family!

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts     at 10:14 pm

This looks so incredibly perfect. Just my sort of activity – sadly no lakes or mountains like that are near me, so thanks for letting me live vicariously through you :)

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Lindsay Loves Veggies     at 10:43 pm

You keep giving me such great ideas for day trips! Thank you!

You guys are completely adorable, by the way, especially Mr. Cullen!

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Jess     at 11:59 pm

I just rewrote my life to do list.

1. Get married to the love of my life
2. Honeymoon in Seattle and do that hike, and possibly never leave!

Amazing pictures, it looks breathtaking!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Haha!

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Kristen     at 12:17 am

Gorgeous! Glad you’re able to get out and enjoy the beauty that is the Pacific Northwest! I grew up in Vancouver (Canada) and never appreciated what was around me every day. Now when I go back ‘home’ to Vancouver, my friends and family just roll their eyes because I can’t stop talking about how beautiful it is.
Ps. Sleeping Cullen in the backpack is just too cute for words

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Heidi - Apples Under My Bed     at 4:20 am

aw sounds perfect!! I wish we had some hiking spots near us. Fun :)
Heidi xo

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Ali @ Peaches and Football     at 4:43 am

It was 10 years ago (wow, so long) and I was in Seattle with my best college roomie and we drove over the mountains in the winter and explored some of the cute little towns. Couldn’t believe standing and staring at the mountains in the background because even though I knew they were real, they looked so fake – just too perfect. Definitely something I’ll always remember.

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Shari     at 5:36 am

Those views are positively breathtaking!

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Adrianne     at 6:59 am

Wow, that scenery is incredible! It’s places like that that make it clear why so many people put up with the not always splendid Seattle weather:) If we ever make it back up there (and I really hope we do!) I’m going to be coming back to your site to remember all of these great ideas for day trips!

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Leah     at 7:07 am

Yes–get some hiking boots for sure (save those ankles, reduce risk of injury from falling etc.). I like the ones from LL Bean. :) You will get a lot of use out of them!

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Ali @ Around the VeggieTable     at 10:25 am

Such gorgeous photos!! Thanks for sharing them :)

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 12:31 pm

Gorgeous! I was very intimidated to get back into hiking once our twins came along 2 years ago. If it was only one baby, I could have just passed the pack to my hubby but with 2 we each have a kid. So fun and so worth it! Plus, I’ve got super strong legs for carrying all the extra weight. ;)

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Coco     at 12:43 pm

Wow, What an amazing view! Looks like a great time for the whole family!

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Angela     at 2:18 pm

That is so cool that such amazing hikes are so close to you!

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Charise     at 6:52 am

That lake and those mountain views are so, SO gorgeous! I am jealous of people who live so close to such beautiful areas – I’m on Ohio, and sure, we have good parks for hiking and whatnot, but it just doesn’t compare!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m from Ohio, so I know what you mean. It’s so different out here!

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Elisabeth     at 8:51 am

Soooooooo jealous of your environment in Washington! I’m here in Ohio & would love to have some of that :)

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Rebecca S.     at 2:44 pm

n-thing the “don’t get hiking boots” and get trailrunners instead. They have the same good tread as boots for cheaper.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Great tip – thanks!

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luv what you do     at 6:34 pm

Beautiful pictures!!!
I love reading everyone’s hiking stories from this weekend. We just had an awesome day of hiking in Wisconsin.
http://luvwhatyoudo.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/will-hike-for-pizza/

As you can see, our mountains aren’t as hight but the water is so pretty!

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Katie     at 7:53 am

These pictures are gorgeous! Looks like a blast.

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Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Coconut Date Energy Bites.     at 10:43 am

[...] weekend when we got a last minute invite to go hiking, the email accompanying the invite mentioned bringing snacks and a lunch to stay fueled during our [...]

markus     at 8:15 am

Try Snow Lake trail from the Alpental Ski area on top of Snoqualmie Pass the next time (great views and nice trail). Big alpine lake with views to the granite mtns. Also the kendal catwalk on the pacific crest trail is awesome. You have until end of Sept/beginning of October hike Washington state hikes. Have fun.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks for the tip!

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Kristine     at 7:16 pm

I HIGHLY recommend Snoqualmie Falls itself – there are some nice hikes around there (including great hikes on Mt. Si) and it is just breathtaking. We got married at the Salish Lodge, which sits atop the Falls – definitely a romantic spot if you and Casey ever want to get away. :-)

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Delishhh     at 8:38 am

One of my favorite things about living in Seattle, on a gorgeous day it is truly a gorgeous city, one of a kind. And so many things to do within the hour. Great post and great pictures. Next thing you have to do and try is Snow shoeing during the winter. I started that when i got a dog a few years back instead of going skiing during the day, and now i love it. This year will be the first time i go snowshoeing with a baby on my back.

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Tara     at 10:14 am

Ironically, I just did this hike on Sunday! However, we didn’t go to Mason lake, but instead to the peak. The last stretch to the peak was quite a challenge and my quads were dying by the time we got to the top. I would highly recommend it, although you do look like a spider monkey climbing over boulders.

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