Exploring the East, Revisiting the West

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What the Mountain Taught Me Today

September 16th, 2009 · 9 Comments

Today, I defied protests from my softening body and went on a hike in the Cascades. My friend Tom, a music critic who also spends the vast majority of his time sitting on his ass, goaded me into it. Having grown up on ventures into the hills surrounding Seattle, I was quick to come up with a hike that looked both easy and convenient. I grew up on hikes and cross-country skiing in the mountains and rowing in the various waterways of the Seattle region. How low I have fallen since then!

Tom, who has a deadline on Friday, used sheer force of will to get me to come along, saying that he needed to go TODAY or he wouldn’t finish his work. After dropping the kids off with grandma this morning, I got some much needed time to clear my head, and when Tom called I relented and packed a bottle of water and a couple sandwiches for the trip.

We drove to the trailhead in North Bend and began our little journey into the hills, which started out on a steep grade. No problem for the first mile or so. We were moving along and chatting happily as we wended our way through the woods and ferns. “What a happy little hike,” we remarked. However, trouble struck around the halfway point, when I misinterpreted a sign, leading us to a rock-climbing ledge on a sheer cliff, cut through only by a meager trail fit for goats at best. Tom and I heroically lugged our hefty frames some 100 yards up the diversion, until it became clear that something was wrong when we saw climbing ropes snaking past us into a mossy abyss. Looking down was out of the question — our grim fate was written all too clearly on the faces of defiant boulders many stories below. So we held on, grasping the slanting rocks for dear life, clinging to the diminishing trail, which mocked us with every narrow neck and slick protrusion. Fortunately, we made it back down in one piece, and continued on our way along a far more tame route up the hill.

But I digress.

Despite our brush with a gory demise, there was something else remarkable about our hike up the mountain. On the way up, we came across a number of young women, some coupled and some alone, who really stood out for their physique. Healthy, trim, fresh and happy, they greeted us like valkyries on our ascent. Every single young woman we saw on this hike was well above average in terms of looks. They emerged from the trees with little backpacks, trim legs and ponytails. It was a wonderland up there that bore no relation to the world I see around me every day in Seattle. In fact, the closest I can get to it is at daybreak, when younger career women go for their morning jogs, but they hardly compare to the fresh-faced, leggy girls I saw today.

I mentioned this to my friend, suggesting that perhaps selection bias is at work here. In fact, it must be. The two of us had a rough go of it hauling ourselves up some 1,200 feet in the two miles to the peak. Your typical city girl would dread this kind of exertion, as moderate as it actually was. But the girls I saw on the trail were so at ease that they had no problem stopping to chat with a couple sweaty, red-faced guys from the city.

Although making it to the peak was a satisfying accomplishment, I think the lesson I learned today will stand out in my memory in far sharper detail than the view from the top: if you want to find healthy, attractive women, engage in some healthy, active pursuits.

Tags: Men

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jz // Sep 17, 2009 at 8:03 am

    I’ve thought this myself.
    The Roissy-type dating sites are notable for their lack of comments on recreation. I suspect the men who are kyacking, biking , running, x-country skiing, climbing, etc. have less problem finding fit, goal-directed girlfriends.

  • 2 Johnny Abacus // Sep 17, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Sounds like Little Si, although I’ve never been.

    There is definitely a sweet spot for this sort of thing, though: I recently hiked from Stevens to Snoqualmie and 90% of the people on the trail were male nature hippies – huge beards, etc. (although interestingly enough there were a few cute girls on the trail as well).

  • 3 Justin // Sep 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I bet they were feminists, though. Liberals for sure. I’ve known lots of those rock climbing hiking outdoorsey kind of girls. They are the type that hate capitalism, hate white men, hate traditional religion, and dream of Africa as the ideal place to live. Why do you think that the guys in that environment, as Johnny A points out, are so, how shall we put this, counter-cultural?

  • 4 Alkibiades // Sep 17, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Damn man. When I saw the title of your post I thought you were going to talk about ‘The mountain’ radio station.

  • 5 Welmer // Sep 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    That’s the one, Johnny. Mt. Si would have been too much for us, what with our sedentary lifestyles, although I remember hiking it with no problem as a kid, and even climbing the haystack unassisted.

    Actually, Justin, the ones who really seemed like feminist, hippie types were middle aged. The problem with the young women isn’t so much that they’re “feminist,” per se, as it is that they are off the rails in terms of behavior, have a huge sense of entitlement, and absolutely no concept of duty, honor or responsibility.

    As for the guys I saw, with the exception of one or two they all seemed pretty conservative. The really liberal guys in the Seattle area are all “hipsters” now, and they are generally even softer than the females.

    BTW, nice to see a couple of locals posting here.

  • 6 whiskey // Sep 17, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    In SoCal at least, there are some mountain bikers and skiers. I used to be into that scene. My own personal observation is that while the girls are very, very fit and have “nice” personalities, they have very high expectations in men and flit from them constantly.

    For example, any guy MUST be AT LEAST six feet two inches in height. That is the floor. Six four is preferred, and being what they are these girls can get them.

    Second, the guy MUST be very able in whatever it is they are doing: better than they are in kayaking, or mountain biking, or skiing. They HAVE to be good looking, equal or better than the girl in question, and MUST be attractive to and flirt with lots of other girls.

    Now, these girls are nice, somewhat flirty, and quite feminine. BUT … the only interest they have is for extremely fit, TALL, and Alpha guys. The guys they date are almost always firemen, EMTs, or semi-pro athletes. It’s hilarious.

  • 7 Welmer // Sep 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    You might be exaggerating the height requirement by a couple inches, Whiskey, but otherwise you make a good point.

    I was on my way to this kind of lifestyle until my rebellious side kicked in at about the age of 17. I just couldn’t be one of those mindless meatheads whose primary concern is which fabric to wear for what outdoor activity.

    However, I do retain a certain respect for the healthy, outdoorsy types. They really are good looking people, as inane and shallow as their culture may sometimes be, and it is good for the soul to expose oneself to this physicality and health from time to time.

    I suspect, Whiskey, that the SoCal manifestation of this culture may take it to extremes, as white SoCal cultures always do. Up here in the NW there’s a bit more of a continuum, which encompasses normal for those who live in this environment. For example, you’ll see plenty of guys of various physiques and ages tooling around the woods here. But, curiously, the women are overwhelmingly of the attractive, fit type, and there are more of them than you’d expect.

  • 8 Professor Hale // Sep 18, 2009 at 8:21 am

    And yet you have no pictures to show.

  • 9 Espio // Sep 19, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I’m 25 and live in central california, and am active in road biking, hiking, and many other outdoor sports. Outdoorsy women like this are the pretty much the only types I go for…. however, as others have commented, the downsides are that:

    -they have a lot of guys going for them, since outdoor sports groups are mostly male

    -they tend to be very flakey, even for women, probably because they have so many guys interested in them ( or maybe because most of them are hippies whose brain have been burnt out from too much drug use)

    But regardless of those downsides, they are still the only women I bother spending time with now a days. Mostly because, for some reason I cannot explain, they tend to see relationships as more of a mutual effort, and not a man giving/ woman receiving relationship that city women have-both liberal and conservative.

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