Summer 2023 was marked by shoulder surgery for me. After 3 years of shoulder instability and frequent dislocations, I decided to get a Bankhart repair to stabilize my left shoulder. June and July were somber months with lots of time for introspection and thought. I mostly just tried to avoid FOMO of what others were doing. I removed all social media apps from my phone and computer and tried to just stay in ‘digital silence’.
One idea I got really excited on was biking to Snoqualmie Pass from my house in Snoqualmie, WA, then hiking up Snoqualmie Mountain. One of my ‘surgery projects’ was building a gravel bike for myself and I relished at the idea of combining human-powered travel with sports that I could do in my recovery timeline (biking, hiking).
About 8 weeks post-surgery I decided to give it a go. The ride from my house is about ~30ish miles to the pass, with around 2,500′ of elevation gain. The hike up Snoqualmie Mountain is ~3,000′ over 3.5 miles. Then, turn around and bike the ~35 miles back home, mostly downhill. No one statistics is overwhelming but it makes for a full day.
I headed out from home around 10 AM with a trail running pack and handlebar bag loaded with food and hiking shoes. It took me just over 3 hours to bike from home, up the Iron Horse Trail, through the tunnel, then along the road to the Snoqualmie Mountain trailhead in Alpental. Ironically, I had never hiked Snoqualmie in the summer before.
I made one grave mistake through the day: I didn’t bring water with me on the hike. I figured it wouldn’t take all that long to get up and once I was coming down I’d be fine. Wrong. It was a hot, sweaty climb in the mid-day heat and I felt like an idiot for not bringing the bottle that was on my bike. Silly.
The views on the upper ridge of Snoqualmie are absolutely wonderful. You’re in such a great position over the Alpental valley, with panoramic views the whole time. Highly recommend!
I slogged my way up Snoqualmie, reaching the top in around 90 minutes. The hike down didn’t take much less, with a round trip of 2 hours 50 minutes. SLOW! I had one trekking pole (because I failed to check that both worked at home…doh!) and no water. Ugh.
Once back on the bike, I stopped at the gas station at the pass and bought ice cream, a large Gatorade, and a soda and drank/ate them pretty much on the spot. I threw on another podcast, got back in the saddle, and rode back down the Iron Horse to home. It took me 2 hrs 15 min to bike back home. I finished just after 6:30 PM, totaling around 8 hours round trip. It was an awesome day on bike/feet and all from home!