“Why should I climb it? Why does anyone actually care about getting to the top of things?”
That’s an actual thing I said, about the haystack on top of Mt. Si, around five years ago on one of my first visits to Seattle. I was visiting my partner, Wade, while I was still in college, probably unsure why I was flying across the country for this boy I met 6 months or so before he graduated. It’s not that I thought the scramble seemed particularly hard, I just literally didn’t care and was being petulant.
Though I grew up in the woods, I have always been very unathletic and I was especially sedentary in college. I was still suffering through the engineering degree I didn’t really want. Wade was still at Microsoft, playing video games in his free time. I made him go to the climbing gym once soon after this visit; he took me on this basic hike.
Even though I was still lost at the time, I don’t think we were unhappy. Even in the less than 2 years we’d known each other, I’d grown from the sad girl he bodily dragged out of bed and took places to a reasonably functional person who found stuff for us to do together. Now, several years later, Wade is always begging me to do more rock climbing and I’m taking him to Mt. Si on rainy winter nights after work, trying to convince him to run in the dark .
Thematically, hiking Mt. Si at night makes sense. It is said to be the body of the moon, Snoqualm, according to the Snoqualmie people who originally inhabited North Bend. He fell from the sky chasing the fox that stole his fire and brought it down to Earth.
The ability to make fire frequently symbolizes the agency and advancement of mankind in creation myths, and it’s fitting for a mountain that is the source of beginnings for so many people. While I can’t credit Si for initiating my love for arbitrarily climbing things (that credit belongs to Mailbox), so many Seattleites see it this way that this article calls it “probably the first mountain you ever climbed.” And many beginning mountaineers train by climbing it, so that you’re guaranteed to see people timing themselves with packs on.
It’s safe to say that Wade and I have changed since that hike. In the last few years, we’ve each seen some better and worse times, but it’s definitely been a theme that we embrace each others growth and convince each other to go on adventures. When I left my job to start my AT thru hike, Wade joined me. As we hiked, our goals changed, and we had to work with each other’s evolving fitness, hiking style, and emotional struggles. In the years since, we’ve continued to be flexible with supporting each other emotionally, logistically, and financially through many life circumstances. I actually really didn’t want to like rock climbing, but I’m glad Wade has brought me along as I start to enjoy it more. Wade isn’t sure if he wants to live in a van with me yet, but he’s happy to stay in it sometimes and share the title with me. We have many years left to continue growing, but even in the last 6 it’s amazing to realize how much we’ve changed. We haven’t grown apart, though, as much as included each other in our separate self discoveries.
I’m sure many people reflect fondly on how they used to find the hike up Mt. Si way more difficult than they do now. For me, it makes me feel a similar feeling about my emotional state. I’d definitely never refuse a little scramble nowadays, and I’m honored to say yes to Wade’s adventures, find my own, and leave my petulance behind.