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  • Writer's pictureChris Toepker

Ruck It: A Gem of a lake

Updated: May 15, 2020

Saturdays it's time to say, "Oh, ruck it." The Issaquah alps call, and I am drawn in. This week's trip was to Gem Lake and I'm afraid it was a "first and last time" affair. To be sure, the hike is lovely. The trail not long, and the steepness focused. You can get over the hump, feel like you've accomplished something and nicely recover on the way down, enjoying the energizing views as you go.




Still, the area's charms are also it's downfall. So many people! Indeed, the crowds ultimately killed the pace because there were so many pauses to let people pass - either going the other direction, or (from time to time) people wanted to go faster. Hey! They weren't rucking 40 lbs!


Gem Lake

Me & my rucksack, a regular odd couple

So, what's with the rucksack? It's one way I mix up the training and ensure I'm hitting different ways of being fit. Putting on a pack and carrying it up a hill is a great workout. No mistaking that. Equally, I like backpacking. What could be better than being in the mountains? Being there for days and days! Last, but not least, this is my bug-out bag. While Washington can't beat California's fame for earthquakes, we're nevertheless on major fault lines. Sooner or later we're going to have the Cascadia Subduction, and if it happens there may be the need to get out of Dodge. To be clear, on the geologic timescale, it is due - but that timescale is way longer than any one lifetime, so who knows?! Nevertheless, being fit for disaster adds purpose to the training and monotony of trudging with the weight!


Equally, regularly carrying the weight makes me consider what items are truly important and the backpacking keeps it super-practical for safety and comfort for longer periods of time.





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