Climbing on our new rope

This past weekend we finally got a real chance to break in our new rope. It was fun to hike up to the crag with a  rope and actually be useful climbing friends. Until now we've borrowed most people's gear and waited for all the routes to be set up for us. With our own rope, and our friend's patience in teaching us to lead climb we feel like a lot less of a drag. Neither of us is very good at feeling un-useful.

no ones life was dependent upon me belaying for this photo :)
but look how pretty the rope is, it has some orange in it!
 We headed back to what they call the secret crag. It was a lovely day with the minor problem of some mosquito bites. Our weeks have been pretty long so we took it easy, climbed about 6 routes, and ate sunflower seeds. Mostly it was nice to sit on the side of the mountain with a fun group of people.


5 Year Anniversary Trip

Woohoo! We recently celebrated our 5 year anniversary. Hopped on the Clipper Ferry out to Vancouver Island, BC and hung out in Victoria. We planned it really last minute and had no expectations. Joshua found a place to stay with a hot tub and I had directions on how to get from the ferry to the house, and there our plans ended.
We've both been busy with work and life and having no plans couldn't have been a better plan. Enter scooter! I've always wanted to rent a scooter and drive around another country. Canada so happens to be another country. I watched Mary-Kate and Ashley in Europe and they rode around on scooters and I've been determined to do the same! So we got one for tow days and being that I have a x-small head I secured a gold glitter helmet. Hopped on the scooter and set off. We later both confessed that we were ear-to-ear smiling for at least 10 minutes.

We drove along the coast and stopped at piers and beaches. Puttered into a small town to get sushi and coffee. Did a mini hike up to a little mountain around to view the whole area. Walked into downtown one night and ate pizza, then tacos, ended hanging out in the hot tub.

That night we had also secured this magnificent thing below- it was a donut ice cream sandwich! We went back the next day and got macaroon ice cream sandwiches too. More importantly we sought out the donuts and had them all 3 days we were there. Earl gray with currant glaze!!!

We also scootered all over the next day. Pit stop for a little hike and then did a wine tasting with a stunning view. We got a glass to go and sat amongst some of their cherry trees, which were ripe and free to pick. That night for our anniversary we grabbed some dinner back downtown. Ended at a fun old building with live music.

Last day there almost the whole downtown had its streets shut down for a festival. Accidentally sat down next to the donut stall, so we got one of those. Then we also got some earl gray cotton candy. Weirdly delicious! Hopped back on the ferry and chatted with some lovely people from Kansas and then made frozen pizza at home. It was a fabulous trip to just be with one another, let go of some of the stress we are currently swimming in and just have fun with one another.


Girl Hike

This past weekend was Girl Hike weekend! Started off the weekend by skipping out on work early to grab dinner and drinks at Latona Pub. They have free jazz and it was loud and amazing! We picked a friend up from the airport, drank wine on her rooftop terrace as the sun set. Then headed back to the ladies pad and put on clay face masks and drank wine. Which is a very busy Friday evening before you wake up at 6am to go hiking :)

So we woke up at 6am. Megan made us homemade hasbrowns and eggs! We drove to Cle Elum because they have the beloved rain shadow. So all of Seattle was in gray and rain and we had fluffy clouds and sunshine, we win! But first, alas we had to find the trailhead. The directions weren't clear and I'll have you know we found 4 other cars driving around trying to find it too. In the end we deduced well and ended up picking the right trail. The other cars of boys looking for the trial, well we never ended up seeing them- girl hike for another win!
Tronson pass was full of wildflowers. The hike begins through a burned down part of the forest, it felt like we were hiking through the 101 Dalmatian trees. But despite the burns and fire the whole forest floor was bursting with blue & purple flowers. Then we got out onto the ridge and we could see the Enchantments, Mt Stuart and a bunch of other mountains. It was a beautiful hike.
We headed back home made a fancy drink in a blender, that we then also broke. Liz & I headed out to a patio for a drink, then to dinner with mac & cheese, then to a champagne bar we happened passed so we ended the night with bubbles. A super fantastic stupendous weekend with equally as super fantastic stupendous women!


Snow Camping

Last weekend we backpacked Hannegan Peak. Previously we'd only done a day hike but the views were a bit socked in. This time it was all clear. We hiked up mid afternoon and found that the only places to camp were on the snow. I packed down a spot for our tent while Joshua looked skeptically on. The snow camping turned out to be no problem at all. We weren't cold and we didn't melt very far into the ground.
We also decided to attempt a snow fire that evening. Sharing some whiskey we took turns also running into tree wells to gather sticks and lichen. It took us over an hour of frequent fetching and blowing on it to establish a real flame but then it burned all night. The next morning when I checked out our pit it had melted to about 3' wide and over 3' deep which was pretty cool. That evening the moon was out of sight so the stars were populating every view. James took some cool long exposure star shots.

The next morning we hiked up to the top of Hannegan's Peak. It was a lot of tramping up snow which on the way back down turned into shoe skiing down the hills. The view was so clear and the wispy clouds only made it more beautiful. We spent too long admiring it and also acquired a sunburn, Joshua's is pretty bad :) On the way out the extreme heat climb was evident as we crossed back over all the streams that were now flowing very rapidly. It was a beautiful weekend to be outside among the mountains!! When we had made our way back out we stopped to have burgers and then 10 minutes later ice cream and headed home.

The boys are behind me!


Swamp Hike

After we were all Harry Pottered out (Well not me, I'd live there, but some of the others) we went on a hike my mom found. Initially we planned to go to the Everglades National Park but it was a long drive, the airboat people said that alligators aren't out this time of year and so on. Instead we did a muggy swamp hike that we had zero expectations for. It was amazing! We saw tons of alligators, baby ones 8' long ones. Beautiful birds basking in the sun with their wings out, floating over the water, eating fist size snails and sharing them with their babies. A raccoon even got uncomfortably close to us.
Once we spotted one alligator it became easier to pick them out of the marshy landscape. You'd notice their eyes and head just above the surface of the thick green surface or spikes of a tail interrupting the still water. My favorite one was where we were pointing one out in the distance and then my sister walks forward and goes OOO and one there don't go there and jumps away from the edge of the water as a giant alligator head was napping a few feet away.

Spotting the alligators and birds was really entertaining but not to be lost was the scenery. The thick vegetated bright green floating on the water, the moss dripping from the trees and the blue sky reflecting back the perfect puffy clouds. It is very different from mountain landscapes but there was something very alluring and transportive about it. Despite the mugginess this was one of my favorite parts of the trip, meandering along with my family. For fun, not even 5 minutes after we were in the car, a lighting storm blew in and dumped rain. Agin family vacation was a success!

lots of the bird and alligator photos from the Madre.


The Wizarding World

For family vacation this year we went to Florida and to... THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. Lucky me we were even there on my birthday! Immediately I got a wand from Ollivanders, I went with Luna Lovegood's wand. Then we made all the magic things happen. There are want movements you have to do correctly to create the magic, whenever someone got it on their first try it was awesome! Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade were very immersive and although crowded we enjoyed it a lot.
The butterbeer was perfection, the rides were fun & I loved the Hogwart's Express train ride. They did call us muggles though and I was very unhappy- I have a wand, I'm in Diagon Alley OBVIOUSLY I'm not a muggle! I'm a wizard, I even got a letter delivered to my desk the day before I left from an owl. My amazing friend Liz assisted in the delivery :)


But mostly I loved seeing my family! Look at that gang!

The dragon escaping Gringott shoots fire!