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Outdoor Addict: Tackling the Chambers Bay hills

Be like Jessica

Built on a former gravel mine, Chambers Bay is a 932-acre waterfront park in University Place.

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Sometimes, dear reader, I have a diabolical streak. I mean I am the outdoor addict. It's not my fault that sometimes I spring it on my unsuspecting friends. I can't help myself.

This week I'm telling the story of the first time I took my dear friend Jessica to Chambers Bay. I've previously wrote an ode to its ability to make even stony Seattleites shut their critical yaps. But that was just an overview. I mean I could write hundreds of words about its spectacular playground, wide open spaces with perfect wind for kite flying, huge dog park, awesome Frisbee tossing meadow, perfect beachcombing. ... Ok, I'll be quiet. While y'all come back to read this every week you probably don't want to read that much - at least not in one sitting.

Back to the issue at hand. Jessica. Poor girl. It was one of the first lovely spring days. After a whole winter of gray the sun felt fantastic and the temperature was perfect to make us want to get outside. My enthusiastic "lets go to Chambers Bay!" was met with unwitting agreement. She laced up her tennis shoes and we were off. I waxed poetic on the drive over about the view. As we drove down the hill she completely agreed. Gorgeous! We parked in the main meadow and started off on the lovely trail.

We followed the trail over some gentle rolling hills along the water, admiring the view and soaking up the vitamin D. Never ending chatter is a hallmark of us, so the path pass quickly and before we knew it we reached the end of the water part of the walk. At this point, the trail turns to the right and heads up hill into the trees. The trail is full of switchbacks and flatter sections to make it easier. It's also deceiving as to how big the hill is.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, as we drove down the hill to the parking lot Jess asked if we would be walking up that hill. I told her we would go as far as we wanted and that the water part of the trail is great to do a down a back walk. But when we got there I said, "let's just try a little of it." Inside a little devil giggled.

Like I said, the switchbacks are deceiving. So we did a couple then as she got tired and started giving me the death stare, I suggested just to the next turn. The there was a flat spot. Then as she started cursing at me I promised she was halfway up so it wasn't worth turning around. We were maybe 40 percent. Oops. A little further I started purposefully walking ahead of her, just out of reach. Because if she could have caught me she probably would have pushed me down that "little hill."

At the end of the day, we did the entire loop - something Jessica swore before hand she couldn't possibly do - and tired, laughing, and sweaty we piled back in the car for the drive home.

We went back many, many times last summer - at least once per week - to do that walk. After the first couple weeks the cursing slowed. After a few more we started jogging sections. And by then end of the summer she was outpacing me up the hill (Part of me hates to admit that and part of me is so damn proud of her).

So dear reader, how will you push your boundaries this year?

LINK: Rock climbing

LINK: The Waterwalk at Point Ruston

LINK: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

LINK: Penrose Point State Park

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