Little Si…Great family hike

I can’t think of a better way to spend my time while the movers pack up my TVs (I will blog about this soon) than by catching up on my blog.

If you keep up with my blog, I am sure you have noticed this summer was incredible and filled with lots of outdoor adventures – this post is no different. My friend Lex and I went on a little hike last summer and kept saying we should do another…so we did! His oldest son wanted to go on a hike that weekend so we decided on an easy, kid-friendly hike: Little Si. I have wanted to do this hike for a while so I was super pumped when we picked this one (good idea Joel).

Thankfully, Joel didn’t make us get up too early (like usual) but we still hit the road by about 8am. We sipped our coffee along the drive to the starting point of the hike and were ready to go when we got there. The weather that morning was perfect – well, I could have gone for a little more sun – but the temperature was perfect!

We began our stroll and right away I was in love with the hike. You walk into a deep green oasis – trees and greenery surround you and noises of birds and animals ring in your ears.

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The beginning of the trail…simply amazing!

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Little peaks of sunshine and rocks on the side of the mountain

The trail continues with a few little areas of slight incline, none of which made my whine (miracle, I know!), and in some areas you can see people rock climbing. You couldn’t hear anything but voices of families talking, rock climbers talking to each other, and animals communicating in their native language – animal. Apparently, a family saw a little bear along their hike – let’s just say, I was all eyes and ears as we walked and thankful we never encountered the bear! We made it to the top and even though there were clouds – the view was amazing!

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My favorite part of every hike – the view!

In typical Julie and Joel hiking fashion – we brought snacks to enjoy at the top while we admired the view Mother Nature blessed us with at the top of the hike.

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The guys enjoying snacks and the view

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Love this picture. Just a dad and his son…

In typical Julie fashion (no matter where I am), I took the opportunity to capture beautiful (ha!) memories before we began to head back down.

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Group picture…Probably the only one where everyone was smiling AND looking at the camera.

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Typical us!

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Julie: Let’s take a picture Joel: NO Julie: Yes Joel: Look over there This was our “best” pictures 🙂

We walked back through the green oasis and stopped along the way to watch the rock climbers (a definite bonus to the hike). When we made it to the end, I was truly sad the hike was over and wanted to do it again – until Lex mentioned lunch! This hike was easy with a little, steady incline but nothing too hard. We passed a few families along the way – some had some young kids so I definitely think this is a very family-friendly hike. If you are looking for an easy hike on the weekend, I would highly recommend this. You can go quickly and be done a couple of hours or you can take your time and watch the rock-climbers and enjoy a snack at the top. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this hike!

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Lex and his kiddo with the sign – you have to take one with the sign!

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Me and Joel with the sign…it’s our thing and usually the only picture he smiles for 🙂

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

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

 

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

 

Hiking High Point…

Unlike my blogging, our hiking and outdoor adventures were on a roll earlier this spring/summer. As you might have read from my other recent posts, we hiked Rattlesnake Ledge, the Bus route, and Tradition Lake. During the hike around Tradition Lake, we saw a sign for the High Point trail and decided to give it a try the following weekend. Of course, I did some research on the hike so I had an idea what to expect and like always – it was a bad idea! It never fails, I psych myself out when I read about a trail – it is going to be too hard, too high, hurt my back and neck, I won’t be in shape enough to make it, I will be the big, out of shape girl, etc. As I read about this one, I tried to remain optimistic – even though it starts out steep, it eventually levels out. Ha! LIES! All LIES!

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Tons of tall trees providing a little shade on the hot day

Me, my old man friend, and my pilates teacher took off up the trail around 8:15am to beat the heat and crowd. The trail starts out steep with tall trees all around providing some shade and cooler temperatures than when the sun was beating down. It took about 1.5 hours and lots of complaining by yours truly to get to the top. My back hurt, I was hot, I was hungry, and I was wondering when the trail was going to level out. Well, it did – at the TOP! When we made it to the top, we had some snacks, cooled down, and enjoyed the view for a little bit.

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Welcome to the top!

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When it leveled out!

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The 3 hikers

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Our usual picture with the sign

I was disappointed in myself for getting frustrated and hangry (especially in front of my pilates teacher since she probably thought I was out of shape) but I am glad I never gave up. I have learned one thing – don’t read about the hike before going – it just makes me nervous and then upsets me if it isn’t like the website describes. This was a good hike and really one for all levels but make sure to eat before you go and don’t expect it to level out until the top. Have you ever been tricked by a website?

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

A little walk on the Bus Trail and around Tradition Lake

As you might have read in my last post, my old man friend and I wanted to start getting outdoors and hiking more this year…you know, get healthy and exercise, we hiked Rattlesnake Ledge on April 9th. Whenever we would drive down I-90 to go shopping at North Bend or go on a hike, we would see a lot of cars on the side of the road so on the way back from Rattlesnake Ledge, we pulled over to see what they were parked for. Well, we found about 4 different trailheads – that’s why they were parked there! We looked up some of them and decided we would try one the next Saturday, April 16th.

April 16th: I was sore from the previous hike and procedures so we decided to do the easier hike – some might even call it a nature walk 🙂 Old man friend had invited a guy and his family from work to join us on the walk…apparently, they had talked about getting into hiking and didn’t know where to go. We decided to meet early to avoid the heat (we had a hot Spring this year)  and beat the crowds. The weather was perfect that day – not too hot with a few clouds in the sky.

We started on the Bus Trail which gets its name from an old bus that runs along the side of the trail. I was really excited about this one because of what I read online. Apparently, there are still some old buses along the trail that you can wander through. Well, there was 1 bus that you wouldn’t know is a bus if you didn’t look it up beforehand. See what I mean below:

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Yep – that’s the “bus”

Although the bus might have been a little smaller than what I expected it was still neat to explore the trail and see the bus. The Bus Trail connects  to the Tradition Lake Loop which is another easy “hike”. It is a peaceful, flat,  2.9 miles round trip nature walk. As you walk along the trail, you are surrounded by big, beautiful, green trees. If you look to your right at about half a mile in to the trail, you see the first of two lakes.

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The first glimpse of the lake….

The water was still and the sounds of birds chirping surround you. It was so relaxing being out there.

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Another view of the lake with greenery…you can see one of our group members walked right down to the water…

We continued venturing on the trail and enjoying the scenery. I think connected to another trail because we came out in a very different area than where we started which was totally fine since we were at least in walking distance to the car 🙂 The views were amazing, meeting new people was awesome, and the weekend was started off just right!

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Another view of the lake….can you tell where the water starts and the reflection begins?

Do you have a place you like to go walk that is a secret until someone wonders why cars are around and ventures that way? I would love to hear about!

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

The beginning of hiking…Rattlesnake Ledge (April 9th)

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The view at the beginning of the hike

**Please note: I forgot to hit “publish” a while back so this is a little outdated – like from April 9th**

When I moved here 4.5 years ago (holy poop! Has it really been that long?!?!?) I was constantly traveling for work and didn’t really  get to venture out much and see how wonderful the area was. In fact, I HATED living here and never thought I would be here this long. I stopped traveling as much when I switched jobs 1.5 years ago and wanted to venture out but didn’t have any friends that were really active (yeah, my old friends were lazy – and it showed quite honestly) so I didn’t hike (or do physical activity) much last summer (plus, I had an injured hip); however, I have made friends (and had some old ones move here) over the last year that are much more active so I have begun to venture out more and explore this amazing city and the surrounding areas, as my neck, hip, knee, and back permit.

My friend (we shall call him “old man friend”) and I bought 3 books, hiking boots, and hiking sticks at the beginning of spring to encourage us to venture out more. We haven’t done any big hike because I am still in the process of recovering from my wreck in 2014 and have medical procedures every other week but I do enjoy taking walks/little hikes and clearing my head at the beginning of the weekend.

April 9th: the sun was shining and the temperature wasn’t too hot so it was the perfect day to head out and climb (walk up) a mountain! We decided to hike Rattlesnake Ledge. We woke up early and to get a jump-start because parking can be difficult and we didn’t want to hike in the heat of the day. As much I didn’t like getting up at 6am on a Saturday, I was extremely thankful I did. We pulled into the parking lot around 8am and had plenty of spots available (thank goodness) which is definitely the not the case if you get there later in the day.

We began the 4 mile roundtrip hike (which is rather popular) and about 30 minutes in, I wish we had gotten our hiking sticks in time because my legs were tired – or maybe I was just hungry. I complained for a few minutes until I had a snack and then I was ready to keep going (apparently, this is a common thing for me). The views were amazing on the way up:

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Love this little bridge

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The leaves and trees…such beauty

This hike tricked me…we had about 15 minutes left of the hike but I thought the top was just one switch back away. I was a little bummed it was more like four switchbacks – I just wanted to be to the top (I had not learned the patience needed for hiking yet). When I got to the top – it was amazing! I mean, AH-mazing!

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This was worth it – the amazing view at the top!

There were quite a few people at the top and we had to cross some gaps in the rocks to get towards the edge (which I knew my dad would be telling me to “get away from the edge”). I panicked and was scared I would fall off and get hurt (seriously, like almost cried) but I managed to get across and take in the view (and another snack). While crossing the gaps in rocks, my leg knocked my camera lens cover off and it dropped it – but my “old man friend” was able to retrieve it!  We took in all of the sites before heading back down.

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You could see so far that day!

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I could have stayed up here for hours!

As we made our way down, there were TONS of people (and dogs) making their way up! When we got to the bottom, we walked around the water and enjoyed the scenery.

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How peaceful is this?!?!

After enjoying the peaceful water area, we made our way back to the car. The parking lot was PACKED and people were parking over a mile away! It makes sense though – the view is amazing, the hike isn’t too long but has some good incline so definitely a good work out. It is rated moderate and I would say that is accurate. A new hiker could definitely make it to the top – just might need to go slow and take a few breaks. I would highly recommend going early and packing a snack to enjoy at the top. In my opinion, this hike has a beautiful journey to the destination at the top so if you have to go slow – you will just get to spend more time in the beautiful trail! I will definitely be doing this hike again…and waking up early. I think this one would be cool too if you could catch the sunrise or sunset at the top…maybe I could switch it up next time.

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Me and old man friend after the hike

Have you done Rattlesnake Ledge? What did you think? Until the next hike…xoxo….Julie