Because of Rumble in the Rink, Chris travels back to Wenatchee, Washington each summer to run his hockey camp for the kids who live in the valley. He used to play for the Wenatchee Wild and during his time there, he started this kids summer camp and never really stopped. This year was year nine! This was my second time going with him to his camp and this time I took on the role of Coach K by helping Chris with off-ice stuff because he was short staffed. Dealing with 9-12 year old boys for five days straight shaped me into a much tougher and stronger person than I was before. Kids these days!
Wenatchee is a place unlike any other that I have seen before. While the town itself is the same kind of small town you’d find anywhere else in the U.S., the scenery when you look out your window at any point on the map, is just absolutely stunning. Surrounded by the Cascade Mountains, Wenatchee is one of those towns that we used to learn about in social studies class – theres a source of water with the Columbia River running through the middle and protection from the enemies from getting in because the entire town is surrounded by mountains. I often got confused as to where I was because we would drive across town but I could still see the place we just came from.
The first time I came to Wenatchee, we climbed up their famous Saddle Rock overlook. The climb up to the top was pretty hard and I remember being out of breath when we got to the top – but the view up there was so pretty! It looked over Wenatchee and we got a birds eye perspective among the rest of the mountains.
This year we did something even more challenging – unknowingly. After the last day of camp, Chris and I drove to Leavenworth, Washington – a really really cool Bavarian town. With the scenic mountains and German themed buildings, it really did feel like we were back in our beloved Germany.
We looked up hikes to do in Wenatchee National Forest, just outside Leavenworth and came across a “moderate” hike to Lake Stuart. What we didn’t realize was that this hike we were about to go on is a total of almost 9 miles with a 2,000 foot elevation. This was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life.
Maybe we were just being babies, but there were several factors stressing us out once we were inside – we were already so tired from running this hockey camp all week and we entered the forest at 4:30 p.m. – sunset was at 9 p.m. Were we going to make it?! Chris never stresses out about things but when he started telling me what to do if we saw a bear and how we were going to ration our food, I got nervous.
We hauled ass on our way up the mountain and my heart rate kept at an increasingly steady pace. The way up was purely climbing a god damn mountain. We finally got the the point in the trail that led up to an amazing opening where we were in a gigantic field with gigantic mountains surrounding us – just like you see in those preset Mac desktops. We took our time here to soak the beauty in.
After climbing for nearly three hours, we made it to the lake. It was really pretty and peaceful
up here and I wish we had more time to hang out. But, according to our calculations we
needed to start heading down now. We did not want to get stuck in this forest in the dark!
Two hours later of now hiking down a mountain, which to me was just as hard, we made it out. We made it out not being able to feel our feet, our legs, our last drops of water left and only 13 mosquito bites total (1 on Chris, 12 on me).
This was a really cool thing to do and I’m so glad we did it but holy hell it took me this long to write about it because I’m pretty sure I finally just recovered.