The Daily – 7/27

Quick note, I’m heading to an area for the next few days where I don’t expect to have reception. See you in August!

Word of the Day: earworm

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I hiked another mountain! I’m sure most of you aren’t surprised, but it hasn’t really occurred to me to keep track of the mountains I’ve climbed since for me it is more about exploring the parks. 

I’m working on my list of things I want to come back and do at every park including the things I’ve learned about from people once I’ve left a spot. So, I hope everyone is ready to join me on an adventure or two!

I started my day by driving aross the park to the Grove of the Patriarchs to surround myself with 1000 year old trees. It’s a super-easy stroll through some incredible trees. I also brought along my tripod and took some hilarious-bored looking shots of myself. Maybe I’m developing resting bitch face?

From there I drove back through the park to hike Bald Eagle Mountain. I stopped a couple times along the way to see a few sights. I felt terrible for everyone moving east through the park that day as there was a cycling rally touring the main park road and snaggling traffic on top of  all the road construction. But, I was thankful I had gotten up so early. 

I parked at Longmire and headed over to the trailhead. The trailhead started at a decent incline and then never flattened out. It was a strenuous uphill, but beautiful woods and a few stunning, wildflower-filled meadows. 

It was odd, on the way up I had only passed one group, so I thought I was by myself. The entire hike I couldn’t get this snippet of a song out of my head, so instead of thinking, I hummed it over and over. I saw a couple timid marmots, who scurried out of my way. When I was getting close to the top, I heard someone yell and assumed there were rock climbers near by. The last 1/2 mile was the steepest climb. I think I must have gained 1000 feet in elevation over that last bit. 

As I approached the summit, I heard more noise and realised it was it was just me and 40 teenagers on the mountain. There was a camp group full of all that high school awkwardness I don’t miss. There was so much yelling and so many group shots I wanted to find a quiet spot as fast as I could. I had planned on eating lunch at the top but there was no way I could enjoy myself in that maelstrom. 

And honestly, who was I to tell these kids to quiet down? If this was going to be one of their most memorable experiences with nature, or give them a passion for being outside, I didn’t want to take that away. We were the only ones on the trail. They weren’t hurting anyone and they all seemed to be having as good a time as you can at that age and there were no adults to police their behavior. 

I headed back down the trail and bumped into a couple kids who were trying to get a head start. I let them know where I saw the marmots and trotted back down to civilization. 

I stopped in the giftshop and found a really pretty bowl that I wanted to grab as a gift. I tiredly waited in line for 10 impatient minutes. When it was finally my turn the clerk asked for my ID, which I realized was sitting in the car.  She wasn’t willing to compare it to any of the other cards in my wallet. As I had no interest in going back into that store I left without it. It turns out I was pretty tired and grumpy after all that hiking – but was so excited to come back to a bed and a shower. 

I headed back to Whitakers where I had a room to myself for the night. The place just feels like a woodsy vacation. I spent some quality time in the hot tub with a few guides and an elderly couple chattig about trips and then headed off to bed. 

Current Location: Mt Rainier. 

Cost of Coffee: $2

Miles Traveled: 75

Miles Walked: 10-11

Dollars Spent Today: $115 – $95 on a hotel room, $5 on breakfast, $15 on dinner

Total Dollars Spent: $3,951

People Met: the fun group of tour guides at the hotel

Mood Emoji:πŸ‘ŸπŸŒ²πŸ”πŸ€”πŸ˜πŸ˜΄

The Daily – 7/26

Word of the Day: Snow

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I woke up to a world of white. I knew there lake Quinalt was near my campsite, but the site I snagged in the dark had what I can only imagine was a stunning overlook of the lake. I had to imagine it because most of the lake was sleeping under the fog. 

I packed up and looked for the camp host to complain about my site snafu, but there wasn’t one. So I headed south to Ranier, after some debate about staying in Olympic another day or two longer. The route was unusual as I felt like I was driving down all these country roads and must have taken 10 lefts in a row at one point, but I made it!
Along the way I grabbed an amazing breakfast in this little town at this adorable cafe where the owners were definitely adventurers and cyclists. They asked me a ton of questions and had some amazing biking adventure pictures around their restaurant. 

As I approached the park, and generally while I’ve been in this area, I cannot help but think about Mt. Everest being more than twice the height of Ranier…and it’s such a large mountain…and Mt. Saint Helens is even taller! And you can see it from several spots in the park!!!  I saw a place called Whitakers that had a bunkhouse near the entrance of the park. I stopped in to see if they had space and find out how much (they did, $35!). A comfy bed and clean sheets just sounded so great. So I was in. 

After consulting my nps bible, I headed up to Paradise and did the Skyline trail. The lazy ranger I spoke with recommended I only do the first half, come back down, and then hike up part of the other side to see the falls.

After looking at the map and the time I had before checkin, I decided to do the full circuit and first hiked up to observation point. On the way down the long side, I realized why the ranger had suggested I go down the short side…the long side was snow bound. No matter, I half skied in my boots and half hiked my way back down and it was a ton of fun! 

I came back to Whitakers and hung out in the hot tub for a while before heading to bed.  Seriously, I think I may need to live somewhere with hot tub or hot spring access when I grow up. 

Current Location: Quinalt lake to Mount Ranier National Park

Cost of Coffee: $2

Miles Traveled: 180 

Miles Walked: 6

Dollars Spent Today: $88 – $16 on gas, $35 on lodging, $20 on breakfast (i tipped really well), $10 on souvenirs, $7 on about 5lbs of fruit. 

Total Dollars Spent: 3,836

Mood Emoji: πŸŒ«πŸ΄πŸ€€πŸ˜²πŸ—»πŸŒΊπŸŒΈπŸŒ·πŸŒΉπŸŒΌπŸ•Ά

Food/Beverage Highlights: omg, a breakfast burrito in Montesano, WA that was the size of my thigh, and so very very tasty. 

The Daily – 7/25

Word of the Day: Canada

Notable / Highlight of the Day: This park is amazing! I’ve explored rainforests, dipped my toes in the pacific ocean, and hiked mountain ridges (hiked is a strong word). It’s absolutely one of my favorite parks I’ve visited and I really haven’t experienced the crowds here like I have at other spots.  

I needed a slower day as my legs were really tired, so I opted to check out Hurricane Ridge and then head over to Victoria by ferry. I am realizing that I miss the balance of another person’s suggestions for things to do in a new place and seeing things I normally wouldn’t opt for. But I love the freedom of being the architect of my own day, even if that day is spent lazily. 

When I was up at hurricane ridge, a few deer came through the area and everyone was so delighted. It made me so happy to see all these people genuinely thrilled by their experience in such a stunning setting. I hope it leaves a lasting impression and helps the parks legacy. 

I puttered around Port Angeles for a bit before hopping on the ferry. There were zero whale spottings on my 90 minute ride back to Canada. It’s amusing to think I haven’t gone to Canada my whole life, and now I’ve been four times in less than a month, and I even got to check out Canadian Costco. Since I was sick of paying for parking, I opted to park up this really really big hill and carry my bike down (and back up) a breathtaking (as in I was sucking air) flight of stairs. 

I brought my bike aboard and tried to pet every single dog that was on deck. I even met a swedish Valhound, the ancestor of the corgi!!! Georgi was the sweetest and just as vocal as a corgi. 

Victoria is seeped in charm. I don’t know how much that city spends on flowers, but my goodness they really add a nice touch. I biked all over the place, checking out the gardens, chinatown, fishermans warf, and the downtown area. I only had about 4-5 hours, so I peddled to everything that looked promising and working on my bike as a photo subject skills for a bit (as you may have already noticed). It’s a pretty small city with lots of coast to keep you hemmed in, so I never got too turned around. 

I spent some quality time in their pristine gardens, which were home to lots of ducklings who entertained me for a while by showing off their diving skills.  

I sat at a cafe downtown for a while to people watch and reflect…and enjoy a snack. It was getting close to departure time, so i visited a few gift shops and then headed back to the Ferry dock. 

I tried my hardest to stay outside for the entire ride back, but it had gotten so cold and windy that I ended up pacing the boat both inside and out. 

I made the foolish mistake of pre-booking a campsite about 2 1/2 hours from the ferry terminal, and since I didn’t get back to the car until nearly 10, I still had a long night ahead of me. I stopped at Safeway on my way out of Port Angeles. Thankfully, someone followed me into the parking lot to let me know I had dropped my bike helmet about a 1/2 a block back. 

It was a long, dark, twisty ride back around the peninsula, but it was uneventful. As I traveled down the road there was this huge, fancy resort that looked so enticing, but I had spent ‘so much’ to get this site, And had already spent so much today I needed to just go set up camp. 

I arrived at the campground and discovered, to my dismay, someone had taken my regrettably expensive and poorly located site. I circled the campgrounds and decided I’m just camp in one of the day-use picnic sites instead. 

This is where those pop-up tents really come in handy. It was pitch black save for my cool kid headlamp and I was set up in no time. It took me longer to throw the tarp down than it did to set up the tent. I was pretty sour about the end of my day, but at least I had protection from the elements and my cozy sleeping bag. 

Current Location: Olympic National Park / Victoria, BC

Cost of Coffee: $2

Miles Traveled: 200ish

Miles Walked: 2-3 / biked 10-15

Dollars Spent Today: $138 – $35 for campground reservations (snaps forehead), $50 on ferry tickets, $5 on a snack, $2 on coffee, $14 on lunch, $32 on gas

Total Dollars Spent: $3,750

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: Georgi, the sweedish valhound who was keeping everyone on board safe bt alerting us all to threats to our security perimeter. 

I also met this pupperoni who was a ball of flop and cuteness…and puppy teeth. 

Mood Emoji: πŸ™‚πŸ›³πŸŒŠπŸš—πŸ˜΄πŸ˜‘πŸ˜΄

The Daily – 7/24

Word of the Day: beach bum

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I spent my day at the beach…ok, a couple of beaches, and it was spectacular. I got a bit of a late start and caught up with T for a bit in the morning and got a full doggo report (dogs are good, cupcake has a new bestie and Huck is tolerating the nonsense). 

Olympic is amazing, it has significant, snow capped mountains, temperate rain forests, and a coastline like no other. 

I accidentally started at Flattery Point. I didn’t double check the map I got with my tribal permit, but it was a fun stop because, if I’m not mistaken, it is the most westerly point in the contiguous US. There were some seabirds flying about, cormorants and  another small adorable bird that looked like a puffin. 

I ‘hiked’ back up to the car, consulted the map, and then headed down to Shi Shi beach. It’s a muddy two mile trail to the beach entrance and was worth every step. It’s a pretty easy, flat hike with one quick descent down onto the beach. 

On days like this, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am to be out here. The beach was a long, flat slab with natural crumbed rock stacks creating jetties on either side. I walked the entire length and back barefoot and scrambled over a rock pile to another hidden beach that I think may only be visable during low tide. Another interesting thing about Olympic’s beaches is that these huge log pile form from all the trees that get downed in the winter. They’re huge and are beautiful in their color and ruggedness. 

I was out there for nearly four hours exploring and making friends with all the crabs who were surfing in the tide and realised I was fully jealous of all the overnighters staying in that paradise. Next time I’ll definitely camp for a night or two. 

On my way back to camp I stopped at Ruby beach to check out the sunset. The tide was almost out and had left a bunch of tidal pools teeming with life. I saw a whole bunch of neon green anemones waving at me and more crabs. There were also even bigger log piles I balanced across to make it down to the beach. 

I was parked next to another car from Massachusetts that had one bike and looked like a solo traveler. I wanted to wait to introduce myself, but it was getting late and I didn’t want to be creepy. It was dark out when I finally got back to camp and I pretty much went straight to bed. 

Current Location: Olympic National Park. Cost of Coffee: brewed my own

Miles Traveled: 150

Miles Walked: 8-10

Dollars Spent Today: $30 – $20 on camp, $10 on tribal permit. 

Total Dollars Spent:$3612

Mood Emoji:🌞 πŸ¦€πŸŸπŸŒŠ

The Daily – 7/23

Word of the Day: Pacific

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I was bummed to leave my cozy new family, but I didn’t want to loose my oceanside reservation. After another signature Jason yummy breakfast, I packed up, said my goodbyes to everyone and headed over to the ferry to take me and Etta over to the Olympic  Peninsula. 

I somehow was lined up at the front of one of the car rows so knew I’d be one of the first off. I quickly grabbed my stuff and headed up to the top observation deck and scanned the waters hard for some Orcas. Sadly, they did not want to make an appearance even though I waited out in the cold for them, and soon my ferry ride was over. I noticed on my way back in the ferry company had set up a bunch of puzzles for people to entertain themselves with while in transit – A+. 

While waiting to get greenlighted to lead my section off the ferry, I realized it is a very strange sensation to be sitting in a car and feeling the ocean roll. 

I have wanted to see the rainforest here since I can remember having wanderlust, so Hoh Rainforest was going to be my first stop!  I grabbed a quick lunch in Port Angeles ($2.50 for a fish taco!!!) as I made my way. 

Oh my goodness. Even for just exploring the very well trodden path, the Hoh rainforest made me giddy. It probably helped that I had been listening to a podcast on summer camp, which is still one of my favorite childhood memories, but it was spectacular. The trees look like these slumbering giants and reminded me of the Ents (spelling?) from Lord of the Rings. I kept thinking one was going to come alive at any moment. 

It just looked so different from anything I’ve experienced. It smelled so fresh and rich and the layers of life consumed everything. I also made a quick assessment that I was so very happy I wasn’t camping in the nearby campground because it was very very muddy. 

I finally got to my campsite around 7, made a quick dinner, walked the beach for a while and watched dogs play. I hungout reading for a while at my campsite and watched a herd of children play a fierce game of hide and seek amonth the trees. I then headed off to bed on the early side and fell asleep listening to the waves. 

Current Location: Seattle, WA to Kalaloch Campground. 

Cost of Coffee: homemade

Miles Traveled: 150

Miles Walked: 3-4

Dollars Spent Today: $38 on gas (ugh, why os it so expensive!!!), $18 ferry ride, $20 campsite, $3 taco. 

Total Dollars Spent: $3582 

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: so many dogs on the ferry, though none were on deck, and lots on the beach!

Mood Emoji: πŸ›³πŸ•πŸ

The Daily – 7/22

Word of the Day: Hunger
Notable / Highlight of the Day: You know when you find your tribe? Like, when you meet people, or get to know people you don’t know well, and everything just fits. That’s what my visit with Joleen and Jason has been like. Just the comfortable feeling of good friends. I’m also so impressed with them. They fit really well together and are such a good balance for each other and their daughter, even going through such a stressful time. 

I spent the first part of my day catching up on banking, writing, and other boring personal stuff. When I came upstairs Jason was working on some stuff in the garden so I went out and lent a hand for a bit with that and with Joleen and the kiddie pool. 

Joleen was on first shift with that little spitfire, Makenzie, who had a full morning schedule. Jason was on cleanup duty and headed out to grab Makenzie up shortly after Joleen got back from dropping her off at activity #2…I got tired just thinking about it. 

When everyone got back and ready, we went into the city to try the Taste of Seattle which was held in this park in Queen Anne that had a crazy fountain and tons of space. We met up with their friends Dasnia and Ethan and checked out all the stalls. Theycare a really interesting couple who is are close to figuring out how to travel long-term while working. I’m also pretty sure it was 187 degrees out. 

We all got something to nosh on and then headed back to Ethan and Dasnia’s place. Makenzie, Ethan, and Dasnia walked back to their place downtown while Joleen, Jason, and I headed back to the car. We made a pitstop at a bar with these intentionally crumbly looking brick walls to rehydrate and use the restrooms. I’m certain the bricklayer who built them was not too pleased. Joleen seemed to be holding up better than me in the heat, and she even has a small infant beating her up from the inside. 

We met up with the other half of the tribe back to check out the stunning view at their place and then headed down to one of Seattle’s most recognizable spots, the public market. We were searching for all of the pieces for our dinner, and Dasnia knows her way blindfolded around that market. When there was a lull in the activity, I got to go see the bubble gum alley, which was surprisingly colorful and bubblegum scented. 

Our haul for dinner included two types of salmon, fruits, veggies, cheese, oysters, and more. And 1/2 the vendors seemed to know Dasnia by name. It was going to be a feast. I should also mention no one had let me go hungry since hitting the ground in Seattle. I literally have not yet felt one hunger pang and have contemplated buying larger pants. 

We made our way back to the apartment to catch sunset and cook. When we unpacked we found that the oyster guy had gotten a bit distracted over motorcycle stories and gave us 27 oysters instead of the dozen we paid for. 

Dasnia did not let any of us down with dinner, nor the flowing conversation. The salmon was perfection and had a texture like butter. The salad was perfectly dressed and just the right combo of flavors and textures. The oysters were slimey and satisfying. I will be dreaming about that meal for a long time. 

Current Location: Seattle , Wa

Cost of Coffee: home brew

Miles Traveled: 0

Miles Walked: 3ish

Dollars Spent Today: $70

Total Dollars Spent: $3,544

People Met: Dasnia and Ethan. A charming couple who are figuring out how to start working remotely so they can travel around the world. I can’t wait to hear about their adventures. 

Mood Emoji: 🀰(fat, not pregnant)

The Daily – 7/21

Word of the Day: fish-out-of-water

Notable / Highlight of the Day: today wasn’t the best planned adventure, but it was most certainly an adventure!

I first headed down to check out a wolf sanctuary pretty far south of Seattle. The visit itself was great and informative (one of the Washington wolf packs is called Huckleberry!!!). Each wolf had at least a 1/2 acre of space, but most had even more than that. They sancuary is part of an active breeding program and breeds grey and red wolves.  Red wolves look a lot, but not exactly like, coyotes. Don’t worry, they also had Coyotes there too. 

What I wasn’t anticipating was the weirdo factor of the visitors. One woman kept asking questions about if the wolves could get out, would they attack her, how high can they jump, how often do they kill people, can they get out of the enclosures, etc. another woman kept wandering away and asking questions like why do they have to be in cages, and but do you really think they shouldn’t be socialized with people because they seem so friendly and want to come see us. 

It was bizzaro-world. But the wolves were social with us and howled several times. One of the wolves had recently lost her partner, any my heart broke for her. She just looked so sad and lost (and I was definitely projecting). 

I wrapped up my visit and headed back to downtown Seattle as I had tickets for the Capitol Hill Block Party. I grabbed lunch at this great little cafe and chatted with a bartender about life. He also told me I should check out Volunteer park. 

I puttered for a bit more, tried a few beers at a brewery, and then went to see Lucy Dacus at the Block Party! Her voice and range are so so good and she put on a sweet show. I stayed to watch a few more acts and saw a bit of DC love with someone wearing a 9:30 club T shirt. 

I stuck out like a sore thumb though. The neighborhood and block party participants were all so edgy, tattooed, and probably a lot cooler than me (in my sunny yellow capris and purple top). It was perfect people watching. Though, I was also doing what I could to not get high from all the smoke. 

After catching a few artists I headed over to volunteer park to climb the water tower and take in the city views. 

I then headed back to Joleen’s and Jason’s place. We hung out for a while and watched Legend. 

Current Location: Seattle, WA

Cost of Coffee: $4 

Miles Traveled: 120

Miles Walked: 3

Dollars Spent Today: $142 – $12 for the wolf sanctuary, $8 for a mediocre breakfast from one of those little coffee shops in a parking lot (aka I should have known better), $24 for parking, $30 on lunch (ouch), $60 on block party tickets (bought forever ago) $8 for my beer sampler. 

Total Dollars Spent: $3,474

People Met: Tom the British bartender who recommended Volunteer Park πŸ‘

Mood Emoji:πŸ™‚πŸŽ€

Food/Beverage Highlights: the Plum and almond cake at Cafe Pattirosso