Celebrating Independence Day with a hike – Snow Lake

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the 4th of July (well really the 2nd) this year than enjoying Mother Nature with a hike. We decided to hike Snow Lake with our friends, Nels and Sonya that morning because, according to my old man friend, it was an easy and short hike. I looked up the hike (like always) and somewhere I found information saying it was approximately a 3.5 miles hike so I figured it would be perfect since this was Sonya’s first hike this season and we didn’t want anything too hard.

The weather that morning was questionable but we ventured out anyway. The temperature was perfect – not too hot with a little bit of cool, crisp air when we got to the lake. You start the hike up some steps made from logs and rocks. You continue to climb up and around the mountain on rocky terrain which is why I was so glad I wore my hiking boots for extra ankle support and had my hiking sticks for stability. If you have those items and are hiking Snow Lake, I highly recommend bringing them with you! We get to the top and I was little disappointed – there was no lake (although there was snow along the hike) and not a great view (thanks fog) but then – the surprise came. You hike DOWN the backside of the mountain to get to the lake. This was not mentioned in the website I had found when researching the hike (don’t worry, I gave you a good informative link above) so I was little confused but thankful the old man knew what to do or we would have missed what the hike was really about.

We start hiking down the backside of the mountain and the views are much better – at least when the fog would clear for a few minutes – and there is much more snow on that side. Yeah, I might have had a few moments of panic thinking I would slip, fall, and get hurt but I survived.

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Just strolling along..

When it leveled out, there was a sign for toilets and we (well, the ladies) thought would make a pit stop. Needless to say, the toilet was just a spot where no one could see you going in the woods.

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Bathroom anyone?

When we got to the lake we took a little break to enjoy a snack and the scenery. This is definitely a hike worth packing a small snack for since you really get two hikes in one (up, down, up, down) and the view is worth taking in for a while.

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Enjoying a snack and the scenery.

The scenery here was amazing and I can only imagine how much more incredible it would be on a day when the clouds/fog weren’t so thick and the sun was shining. It was still awesome that day and really fun watching the fog roll in and out – you could literally see it coming in towards you blocking any view then rolling out and exposing all of amazing features of Mother Nature.

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Clouds starting to roll in..

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Clouds rolling out…look at the beautiful view.

After our snack and energy boost, we started to make out climb back up the mountain just to go back down the other side. By the end of the hike my knees and back were starting to hurt but it was worth every bit of the pain to spend time outside in Mother Nature with friends. I always find such peace when I am hiking (even though I complain a little bit during the hike – or until I get a snack) so I could not think of a better way to kick-start the 4th of July weekend.

At the beginning of this post you saw me mention we wanted an easy hike right? Well, did you catch on when I said you hike up, then down, then back up, then back down…it was like a double hike! It was not 3.5 miles – it was a little over 7! It was not a dirt trail – it was rocky which adds took it from easy to moderate. I will admit, it was probably good I didn’t know this ahead of time or I might have wimped out before starting. This is definitely a hike I would recommend – especially on a sunny day.

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Me and my old man friend about to hike back up 🙂

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

 

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The “What was I thinking” weekend

In Seattle, people ask “What are you doing this weekend?” or “How was your weekend?” and they really don’t care what you have to say but that doesn’t stop me from actually answering the question. In both instances, I think the answer I heard the most was “What were you thinking?” which now, looking back, I can totally see why that would be their answer. I will admit, it really threw me off that they even listened enough to answer! So, what did I do that weekend? I did two things for the first time: 1) completed a half marathon and 2) camped….in a tent!

The first time my friend, Roberta, and I went out to eat we talked about doing a half marathon (something I wanted to do before turning 30) and a little over a year later, we completed the Seattle Rock n’ Roll half marathon! I was not prepared for this and still had one (of the 6) procedures left on my back to finish but figured what the heck, why not do this with Roberta! She had no intention of running and instead walking the half marathon so I thought it was totally doable. We went to pick up our race packets the day before and that’s when it got real!

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Race bib, energy bars, and water all packed and ready!

We started the race (after about an hour of waiting for our group number to be called) walking, enjoying each other’s conversation and sites we too often just drive right past. We were walking a very nice, casual pace and at one point there was only one other participant separating us from the pace van but we were doing it – and that is what mattered! Around mile 4 it started to sprinkle (typical Seattle) and by mile 4 Roberta got blisters (that’s no good). Mile 5: we really started to slow down and Roberta was beginning to really feel the blisters. Mile 6: Roberta’s feet were hurting and she was “feeling the pace van in her future” so she told me to go ahead. I didn’t want to leave her because we agreed to do this together but she insisted so I put in my earphones (glad I brought them at the last minute) and took off on a casual pace. I ended up jogging the last 8 miles which I am still trying to figure out how that happened!

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Crossing the finish line. I might have cried a little when this happened 🙂

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Me, my medal, and my million dollar smile!

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We did it Roberta!

After the race, we went back to the car where I needed help lifting my right leg inside because my hip had tightened up so much I couldn’t feel or move my leg. Once we got that situation handled, we rushed to the house to shower and load up the car and head down  Ocean Shores to meet friends for a night of camping. We got a late start so we stopped for dinner on the way and still got there in time to have a little sunlight left to set up the tent. Our friends had gotten there the night before and had their camper set up and offered to let us stay in there but I really wanted to try out my new sleeping bag and tent so we decided to “rough it” even though I was super sore! Granny (our friend’s mom) had some cream you can rub on sore muscles to help ease the pain which she was gracious enough to let me try…and let me tell you – life saving! My hip and knee felt so much better. I was exhausted and fell asleep in my chair by the campfire so they gently woke me and I moved to the tent. Needless to say, I slept like a baby!

The next morning, we woke up (thank goodness) and my old man friend and I went for a walk on the beach to enjoy the ocean breeze.

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Enjoying the ocean breeze with a morning walk on the beach

After that, we all loaded up and headed into town to venture around. We had a great time walking around, looking at the little shops, and getting coffee. After that, we went to another little spot on the beach and as the guys said “had a photo shoot” with my friend’s granddaughter.

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Of course, they capture me in my element…me and my camera

After a wonderful day, we went back to the campsite, made dinner, and loaded up to head home. I would have LOVED to stay another day but we had to get back to work. On the way back, my old man friend hit the brakes real quick and did a quick u-turn. I wasn’t sure what was going on but of course, he saw some people eating ice cream and realized the little store we just drove by was an ice cream shop so we had to go back and get some.

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Yummy ice cream! Can you tell which one of us is a little OCD on how they eat their ice cream?!?! **we were parked when taking this picture**

It was a super busy weekend where I did things I never thought I would do but am sure glad I did! I am already thinking about doing another half marathon (training for the next one though) and did more camping this summer. What an incredible weekend spent with so many friends!

Do you have memorable weekend where you did things you never thought you would?

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

Mount Rainier…simply amazing!

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This is the view from my car while eating our sandwiches after the hike

I haven’t been posting lately because I have been spending so much time with friends in the sunshine and doing school work in the other little bit of free time I have had. With that being said, the typical Seattle “doom and gloom” weather is rolling in (with big storms this weekend) so I won’t be doing much other than schoolwork so I figured I would get motivated to do some writing for school by writing about something that was absolutely amazing and breathtaking…my climb up/around part of Mount Rainier this summer.

June 4th: a perfect day to venture out to Mount Rainier – sun shining with a few clouds scattered in the gorgeous blue sky. The night before we packed out camelbaks, some bread and lunch meat to make sandwiches, some fruit, and chips for after the hike. Of course, we also packed our hiking shoes and poles (which I will touch on shortly). We had everything ready to leave first thing in the morning!

We woke up bright and early (well, it wasn’t really bright out since we got up before the sun was out) and hit the road. Before we even drove a mile, we stopped for coffee and Joel’s brownie (it’s his breakfast before every hike now). We drove and drove and drove for what felt like forever but I think it was only maybe 2 hours (cue “are we there yet?”) until we got there. I forget which gate we went in but we had about a 20 minute drive once we got in the park until we reached our destination (I think Paradise was where we started – that is really the name). I don’t know why they call it Paradise but it could definitely be because some of the magical sites you see along the way like these:

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This pops up out of nowhere along the winding road. **hits the brakes to get a picture**

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I wonder why they call this Reflection Lake 🙂

The parking lot was full so we made out own parking spot about half a mile down. From there, we began our trek. The hiking poles – you remember those? Well, someone (aka: Joel) told me that I wouldn’t them so I should just leave them in the car because he doesn’t want me to complain when I end up carrying them since “they won’t work in the snow.” Well, let me just tel you this – that was the LAST time I listened to him about my hiking poles! I believe the first 15 20 minutes I complained whined (yep, that’s me) about not having them because I would take one step in the snow and slide back 2 steps. Once I realized whining wasn’t going to help me and that Joel would just continue walking and leave me that I might as well save my breath and get to stepping!

We climbed and climbed and climbed and came across this amazing little spot without snow that you could sit and overlook everything below and miles into the distance. We sat there for a bit to enjoy the quiet (not many people made it that far or to that side – not going to lie, I think I resisted a little because I was scared), the scenery, and watch some people training for the climb and overnight stay at the top.

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The view of the mountain from our little spot

After sitting there and enjoying a few snacks (those tend to make me happy so  stop whining and complaining – what can I say, I get hangry!) we continued our trek upward. The scenery was breathtaking and no words can really describe the experience.  We didn’t go all the way to the top but I can only imagine how life-changing that experience would be – if only I was 95% more in shape 🙂

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A different view from the hike (I am facing Rainier). Simply beautiful everywhere you look!

Who would have thought you actually be warm in capris and tank top while your feet and stepping on snow? Not me! Who would think to continue to apply sunscreen so you don’t get burned? Not us! We hiked for about 3 hours and would have loved to keep going but the sun was melting the now making it very hard to keep going (yep, my hip started to get tired which makes my knee hurt) so we enjoyed the view a little bit longer and took in every bit of the experience that we could.

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Pretty far up but still a long ways to go….I am going to miss this…

We decided to started heading back since it was getting colder, the snow was melting, and my hip (and knee) were killing me. I will admit, if I had brought a light jacket and my hiking poles, I would have pushed through the pain to keep going. We got back to the car and made sandwiches to eat with a snow-covered mountain view. It was an incredible experience and I would do it all over again…but with my hiking poles! If you ever get the chance to go to Mount Rainier – I would highly recommend it – even if you don’t hike, just driving through the National Park is incredible!

Until my next hike…xoxo…Julie