I’ve officially been 29 for a full day. As far as my 30 goals go, it’s been a productive day. Here’s how the weekend unfolded:
[Before I go on, I have to say how gratifying it is that so many people want to help with my list. I’ve already had friends suggest mountain peaks, hiking, brewery tours, dishes to try and so on. The number of friends who have offered help after only a week or so is staggering. I am blessed.]
14. Try 100 beers / 17. Take 30 brewery tours
This is off to a good start. I headed up near Seattle to visit my best friend and his wife for Labor Day weekend and my birthday. He kept me in the dark about what we were doing right up until we pulled into the Redhook Ale Brewery outside of Bellevue. There we sat on the patio and enjoyed a lunch that I washed down with a glass of Wit, Redhook’s summer ale.
It had a nice citrusy taste and went down easy – truly the perfect summer beer. Only a lack of refrigerator space kept me from taking advantage of the brewery’s unreal offer: two 12-packs of Wit for $15.
Following lunch, we took the Redhook “tour,” such as it was. Our guide led us upstairs into a wide open room with a small bar and five beers on tap off to the side. On one side was a set of windows looking out on where Redhook beer is actually brewed. On the other side was a door to the room where beer is cooled and prepped for bottling.
Our guide told us that no beer is brewed or bottled on weekends, so the tour would consist of “drinking, and then talking, and more drinking, and a little talking, and drinking, and a little more talking, followed by more drinking.” We would only leave that room once during the “tour” — and that was to walk into the prep room for less than five minutes. The rest of the time, true to our guide’s word, we drank and talked. He described the tour as a lot like college: lots of drinking and a little learning.
Needless to say, I felt great about my goal at that moment.
In between serving sample cups, the guide talked about the history of Redhook, its various beers and how beer is made. Fun fact: At four pints/day, it would take 33 years to drink your way through one of the 8,000-gallon tanks that hold Redhook’s various beers before bottling.
After an hour and six samplers, the tour ended. I laughed and drank a lot in that hour, so I’d say it was a successful start to my quest.
Later that night, we had sushi for dinner. I washed it down with this:
01. Hike 150 miles
We left the brewery and made for Snoqualmie Pass for the next event: Hiking the Snoqualmie Tunnel.
The Snoqualmie Tunnel was built in 1914 to get folks out to the ski resorts at Snoqualmie Pass via train. Cars came along and ruined all that. Today, the 2.7-mile-long tunnel is paved over and is a popular walking/biking trail. It goes through the mountain you see to the left (even though this is the end of the tunnel).
It’s easily one of the most surreal hikes I’ve done. The three of us walked in and saw a small pinprick of light dead ahead. That was the other end of the tunnel. We walked in a nearly straight line the whole way. There couldn’t have been more than five feet of elevation gain along the way.
It was a fun hike. How often do you walk in the dark for a solid 45 minutes?
But it was also a depressing hike. As soon as you head into the tunnel and make it about 100 yards, it’s more or less pitch-black in there. You can make out the arch-shaped outline of the tunnel and the small beam of light ahead. But that’s it.
And you walk toward that light. You keep walking. And walking. And walking. And, until you’re about five minutes away from exiting the tunnel, that light doesn’t seem to get any bigger. I imagine it’s what it might look like if you’re on the treadmill when the lights go out in the gym.
In any event, here’s the view from about 100 yards from the end. It might as well be the view from 500 feet in or halfway through.
5.5 miles down, 144.5 to go.
26. Read 50 books
The first of (hopefully) 50 books is “IV” by Chuck Klosterman. I’ve read it before, but it’s such an easy, fun read. Highly recommended if you’re into pop culture dissection, well-written/in-depth celebrity profiles and thoughtful essays about all kinds of weighty topics.
And with that, the list is underway.