Parents Hiking Adventure Pt. 1

Pushing through a broken clavicle and back issues my parents made it to Seattle. They are troopers and true mountain fans as they still pushed to go hiking and we just switched from campsites to a little cabin. The cabin was delightful, it came with fresh eggs, veggies, and a hot tub.
It was a hazy day but since we got an early start we were able to see the top of Mt. Shuksan for a bit. The overcast day though did punch up all the colors around us. We took the Chain Lakes loop and started out at the lower elevation. Forgot the names of the lakes but I made up a few, Spicy Lizard lake, and I think they believed me. Our adventure group started the climb, pit stopped to eat handfuls of wild huckleberries and blueberries and to get a picture in the snow. My parent's were troopers, being on the injured list for awhile, they both did a great job with the hike and really enjoyed it.

Eventually we did end up totally socked in by fog. Sadly this meant the couldn't see Mt. Baker and the surrounding view but the fog was quite cool on its own. It did lift a bit once we finished hiking and we drove back up to Artist's Point so they could see it a bit. We've wanted to share the Baker wilderness with them for awhile so Joshua and I were really excited we had a chance to take them here.

We ended the expedition by putting the parents to work. The wild berries were abundant and I convinced them to pick berries for over an hour. I think I made up for it by later making them huckleberry toaster strudels. :)


Waterfall Rock Slide

A few Sundays ago we headed out to the woods with a little group of friends. Joshua and I didn't expect much, we had a small kid in our group, it was already 1pm. Turned out to be a lot of fun and a great spot to add to our list. The hike is about 4 miles total and starts with you walking under an overpass which has a beautiful contrast to the trees and woods. There are wood bridges and creeks along the way. We also found a TON of wild blueberries.

We popped out onto a huge rock that had water running down it in little pools. People were splashing in them and we soaked our feet for a bit. Continuing on the view opened up to some great overlooks and a waterfall that you normally would have to put in a whole lot more elevation gain to see.

The as we walked down the layered rock and checked out all the waterfalls our friend showed us the rock water slide! It's a short little smooth slide in the rock that dumps you into a pool of clear blue ice water. We all got in on the slide action before the last of the sun ducked behind the trees.

We ended the night, as we seem to most weekends, at a small burger shack where I finally got my first soft serve ice cream of the summer. It started out almost the size of my face, I finished it all.

photo by Liz


River Floatin'

Saturday in Seattle was HOT, it had been hot all week. So we brought along our newly acquired donut floaties and drove until we found water. We drove out toward Darrington to the Sauk River and started scoping out spots. Ideally we wanted to escape the heat and crowds of people, as we knew many would also flock to the water like us. Eventually we found a dirt road along the water and grabbed a spot.

The water was quite chilly but so so lovely too. We brought a little cooler of beer and floated our donuts over baby baby rapids for awhile. Moved along to a spot with more deep open water and a sandy spot after that to float down the river more.

Ended the day with a milkshake and fries at the same place we stopped at last weekend. I'm pretty sure I've had a burger, fries, and milkshake at least once a weekend for the last 4 weekends, I've decided I'm okay with that.


Late Night Float

Last week a coworker invited us over to go floating from his houseboat. He's renting a gorgeous wooden houseboat that looks over Gasworks park and downtown. There's a tub, steam room, wood burning stove, and you can hang out on the roof. Basically it is heaven.
To prepare earlier in the week we got an amazon order together for fun floats and then spent a very long time blowing them up. But, the water was warm, we weren't at the office, and the lighting was magical. We also had a floatie for the cooler.

Ended the night getting pizza and drying off on the roof. Was one of those summer nights you want to hold onto forever.


Mile High Hiking Club

Grabbed a good weekend of car camping, river dipping and intense hiking with a group of Joshua's coworkers a few weekends ago. We headed out to Darrington and had some great camping sites. Kicked the weekend off right on Friday night with beers, fires, and a random assortment of chips. The next morning the rest of the group rolled in and we headed out to hike Painted (Red) Mountain. It isn't a well known hike so we actually had the entire thing to ourselves.

I almost hesitate to call it a trail as it was mostly as slog straight up for miles through a forest but there were kind of more used looking parts to the slog than others.  The hike is about 4 miles long total but over 1 mile of vertical elevation gain, so around 35% slope for most of the hike. Everyone was such troopers though and we all stuck with it and it was really beautiful. Glacier peak was so close and there was a beautiful alpine lake and a grueling for your knees hike down. At the end of the day we dumped our sweaty selves into the river nearby and made salmon and tons of veggies for dinner.

The next morning, sadly 2 left to go to urgent care for an arm injury, we made sausages and blueberry pies for breakfast. The sun was out and poppin so we headed to the river to jump in and play some Jerk The Gherkin (game invented on this hike) Got burgers and shakes at the local Burger Barn and headed home with tired legs and my skin a slightly darker shade of super pale.


Dressed up Pineapple Mousse cake

A coworker was kind enough to bring me a handful of rhubarb from his garden. I had seen images before of rhubarb pulled into strips and I've been dying to try it out. The result is crazy stunning! And since the pineapple is diluted with coconut cream I can eat big slices of it and not make my tongue angry with me. 
Dressed up Pineapple Mousse cake
adapted mousse recipe from here
crust recipe by me
rhubarb technique by Bernd Siefert
1 1/4 cup pistachios
3-4 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tbs sugar
pinch of salt
1    combine ingredients in food processor and beat until pistachios are well chopped
2    press flat into an 8" springform pan

2 tbs unflavored gelatin powder
1/4 cup pineapple juice
pineapple; cubed
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup coconut cream
1   in a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over the pineapple juice and let sit. Once absorbed place mixture in small pan and over medium-low heat until gelatin has melted
2   puree pineapple in a food processor and then combine gelatin mixture, puree, and sugar. Let sit out for about 20 minutes
3   in another bowl beat coconut cream until stiff peaks form. Gently stir a few tbs of fruit mixture into cream, then fold in the remaining fruit mixture.
4   pour mousse over top of pistachio crust and freeze for at least 2 hours
Rhubarb strips:
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 stalks of rhubarb, best if they're long
1    with a y-peeler peel the rhubarb stalks into thin strips longways and set aside
2    in a saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil, stir until sugar is dissolved
3   lower to medium heat, a simmer, and place a double layer of paper towels on a surface nearby
4   place 2 strips of rhubarb into the simmering sugar water for 20-30 seconds, remove with tongs and set on paper towels. Repeat with remaining rhubarb strips.
5   reserve the remaining syrup for later use
1    remove cake from freezer and drape rhubarb strips onto top of it, they strips will stick. With kitchen scissors, trim any rhubarb that overhangs the edges.
2   brush the top of the cake generously with the reserved syrup
3   place in fridge to thaw for 10-20 minutes, if you're serving it later than this place back in freezer.


30 Miler

This weekend we took on our longest backpacking trip yet. It was 15 miles to the top, where we were going to camp. We took Friday off and headed in. The first 10 miles we chatted, laughed, kept a good pace. Then came the switchbacks, for the next 5 miles we didn't talk much and took the longest breaks we've ever taken while hiking. Alas we made it, set up our tent, hiked another mile to check out the view of Image Lake and Glacier Peak. It was stunning, the evening was cloudless and the lighting was making everything glow. Another big plus, there were almost no people around. But there were mosquitos. So many! I can't actually count how many bug bites I have. We spent the early part of the evening smacking each other when bugs landed and eventually cowered in our tent reading Harry Potter until we fell asleep.

The next morning we explored. We found out that if you kept moving the bugs took awhile to locate you, it was a solid plan. Although our feet told us to sit still and do nothing we climbed up to the top of Miner's Ridge where all the mountains erupted once we made it over the top. We normally see Glacier Peak from the opposite side so a lot of these were mountains we'd never seen before. We spent a lot of time looking at a map checking them out and enjoying respite from the mosquitos, who for the time being we'd out run. Rarely in Washington do we get to sit at the top of land so beautiful alone. It was a treat and it was defiantly savored.
We had allocated time for staying another night but being that the bugs made it hard to hang out at night we thought we'd hike down the 5 miles of switchbacks and decide to camp there or hike out. Being who we are, of course, we hiked out. After about 7 miles our feet were screaming and butt muscles I didn't know I had hurt. I had mentioned putting my feet into water would be glorious so when we came upon a waterfall we immediately dropped our packs. Although tired, we ended up hiking about 33 miles in 2 days, the hike out was beautiful. It was almost all forested, which meant glorious shade!! There were also over 40 little water crossings, counting helped me somehow, some were waterfalls cascading down big boulders and some were little trickles. The undergrowth and waterfalls though made the hike so visually pleasurable. Eventually we made it out floored it to the Darrington small burger joint- 2 double bacon cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes later we headed home. 

Even though we weren't all giggles and sunshine feelings the whole trip it was really fun to push ourselves in this way. I'm very proud of us. Also my legs feel like jelly and my butt muscles ache, and I have a 90 minutes soccer game tonight- wish me luck!