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.

wp_20160710_11_53_32_pro

The beginning of the trail…simply amazing!

wp_20160710_12_15_38_pro

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!

wp_20160710_12_55_51_pro

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.

wp_20160710_12_56_57_pro

The guys enjoying snacks and the view

wp_20160710_13_25_54_pro

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.

wp_20160710_13_28_53_pro

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

wp_20160710_13_27_31_pro

Typical us!

wp_20160710_13_25_03_pro

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!

wp_20160710_14_30_49_pro

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

wp_20160710_14_31_08_pro

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.

dsc_0044

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.

dsc_0047

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.

dsc_0055

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.

dsc_0064

Clouds starting to roll in..

dsc_0068

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.

dsc_0076

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!

instagramcapture_b827df78-4628-49d3-89df-8d2ddba53301

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!

wp_ss_20160622_0005

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

wp_ss_20160619_0001

Me, my medal, and my million dollar smile!

wp_ss_20160619_0007

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.

wp_20160619_08_52_07_pro

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.

fb_20160619_20_19_03_saved_picture

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.

wp_20160619_16_26_54_pro

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

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!

DSC_0766

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.

DSC_0775

Welcome to the top!

DSC_0786

When it leveled out!

DSC_0776

The 3 hikers

DSC_0797

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

Sunshine and Margaritas

I have been a slacker on the blog lately (lots of fun things have been going on) but the sunshine in Seattle this weekend has me thinking about my upcoming trip to Phoenix and my “recent” (a month or so ago is recent, right?) trip to Mexico with Leana Layfield.

Would you ever agree to go on a trip that you know nothing about? I usually wouldn’t but I figured, Leana was planning it so I was good to go (she is the ultimate planner). All I knew was that I was flying in to Phoenix and we were driving down to Mexico the next morning for a weekend of fun in the sun. Other than that, I knew nothing – which was actually kind of fun. At the time I agreed to go on the trip, I had no clue that I would be on a temporary assignment (now permanent) on 1st shift so this ended up being a nice little break in the 3 week (ha! 3 weeks…I should have known better) assignment. I completely disconnected from work (and life) on this trip and turned my phone off…only had the iPad to text dad his morning messages.

So, we got up, packed the car, and drove down to Mexico Friday morning (like how I fast forward through all of that?). I am not going to lie, I was a little nervous when we crossed the border and it was mainly dirt roads and people who didn’t follow the streets signs very well…but I have faith in Leana and just sat back while she drove. We pulled up to the hotel and my nerves were calmed! We had a fabulous first floor room with a view of the water…doesn’t get much better than that! We unpacked the car, changed clothes, and headed out for the sunset boat ride. The boat ride was fun – even with me getting motion sick (which I should have expected).

The girls on the boat..at the beginning

The girls on the boat..at the beginning

Trying to get my head and stomach from hurting

Trying to get my head and stomach from hurting

Me and Leana all bundled up

Me and Leana all bundled up

Captain Leana

Captain Leana

And the sun is going down

And the sun is going down

The next morning we woke up, grabbed a bite to eat, and then parked our butts on the beach all day. We spent the day soaking up the sun, reading books, and chatting…

Yep - I am all kinds of Seattle with my technology at the beach!

Yep – I am all kinds of Seattle with my technology at the beach!

Pretty girls and our hats at the beach - all about the skin protection!

Pretty girls and our hats at the beach – all about the skin protection!

After a day on the beach, we cleaned up, grabbed dinner, and headed to a little local bar for drinks and people watching and memory making.

Group selfie at dinner!

Group selfie at dinner!

Letting loose and getting the party started

Letting loose and getting the party started

My teacher of letting loose and having fun - Leana

My teacher of letting loose and having fun – Leana

Pretty girls at the bar

Pretty girls at the bar

Who needs a barstool when you have a swing?

Who needs a barstool when you have a swing?

Group shot at the end of the night

Group shot at the end of the night

The next day, we went through the same routine – breakfast, beach, clean up, dinner… and then a really cramped car ride back to the hotel…

Girls before dinner..

Girls before dinner..

Yeah - 6 people in a really tiny car...it's how we do it!

Yeah – 6 people in a really tiny car…it’s how we do it!

The next morning, we woke up, had breakfast, packed up, and then made a quick stop by JJ’s bar to get one last picture…

Of course, Leana can convince me to climb on the bar for a picture

Of course, Leana can convince me to climb on the bar for a picture

After this we headed back to the states and reality…but not before getting dressed up and going out for drinks one last time….I am beginning to think that is how the “pretty girls” roll 🙂 There it is folks – Mexico in a nutshell.

Until next time….xoxo…Julie

No More Navy Boy…

Logo_USNI guess it is true – all good things must come to an end; however, after some time away from him I am starting to wonder if that “something” was actually good. So, I started talking to Navy boy around January of 2013 but we never actually met until this summer. Our friendship started out in such a weird way but it was fun. Apparently we met on an online site (must have been when I was in Japan and my friends signed me up) and then became friends on facebook. We would message back and forth and follow each others journeys through social media. This summer we really started talking more often and finally switched phone numbers…right before he went out on the submarine. So, we resorted to emailing. A good friend (more like family) of mine was in the Navy years ago told me I should email him as much as possible so he has something to look forward to – so I did. I think one of them started out along the lines of…Hi Chris! I don’t really know you but I feel like I do so I am just going to write as if we are the best of friends…and that started our stronger bond. I looked forward to getting his emails and was really getting to know him. When he came back in town, we started talking about getting together and hanging out – but out schedules never lined up.  I asked what his plans for the 4th of July were because my friend Kim told me I could bring him to the get together at her house but he had a friend coming to visit. Apparently, that friend, was a girlfriend from back home in Nashville that he never told me about. They broke up shortly after her visit up and we started hanging out on the weekends (remember my ferry rides?) and talking every day. We would motivate and encourage each other everyday to work out by sending pictures after our workouts (dorky, I know but it worked – you didn’t want to be the one without a picture that day).

After his first day working out and running :)

After his first day working out and running 🙂

We would have dinner together, grab drinks, hang out on the Navy base, and my favorite – sit down by the water on the dock and just talk while admiring the beautiful stars. I took the ferry over to have dinner with him the weekend before his birthday and it was different – almost like he was pulling away a little. I thought maybe it was just his way of emotionally disconnecting before going back out on the submarine in the next month but it turned out to be more than that. I told him to think about what he wanted to do for his birthday and let me know since I had the weekend off from work and wanted to make sure he didn’t spend it alone (since his family is back in Nashville). He told me he didn’t want to do anything since he couldn’t be with his family and friends (talk about a punch in the stomach) and I told him he had a friend here and she wanted to make sure his birthday was special. I had made a birthday present for him and was super excited to give it to him the next weekend…well, there was no next weekend. I heard from him less and less throughout the weekend and then nothing from Thursday – Monday. I posted on his facebook wall and he “liked” that almost immediately. I sent him a text message that said, “Hi Chris! Haven’t talked to you in a few days so I hope you are having a fabulous birthday weekend!” Harmless message, right? WRONG! He text me back that Monday night saying that he didn’t to talk to me anymore. He then followed up with a note about how I knew he had just broken up with his girlfriend and we could have dated if I had just been patient and that my clingy message Sunday freaked him out. I have still yet to figure out how that was clingy but I guess I won’t tell someone that I haven’t heard from them in a few days again. I didn’t talk to him after that and a week later I got a call from a number I didn’t know on my way home from work so I answered – I assumed it was one of my employees – boy was I wrong! A girl on the other end of the line started telling me I was crazy and needed to move on because she met Chris on his birthday weekend (the one before I got the phone call) and that they are madly in love and engaged. I told her congrats and then something sarcastic/smartass and then hung up. Needless to say, that was the last time we talked. I sent him a text on Veteran’s Day thanking him for his service in the Navy and heard nothing back (didn’t expect to). I know from our conversations that he is out on the submarine now and will be spending the holidays under the water and I want to email and let him know he isn’t forgotten but I don’t want to make those long, hard times on the submarine worse so I am fighting the urge. I still care about him as a person and a friend and hope that one day we can be friends again. If we can’t, then I hope he finds happiness wherever his journey in life takes him. So, I am sad to say for now, no more Navy Boy…

The first picture he sent me when he got back on land after being on the sub...

The first picture he sent me when he got back on land after being on the sub…

Until next time…..xoxo…Julie

A “ferry” fun weekend :)

I never like to wait a while in between blog posts; however, I had been on the go so much that I decided to take a weekend (or two) to relax and get caught up on things that come with being an adult (cleaning, laundry, cleaning, and laundry). This past weekend turned out to be a pleasant surprise full of fun with some very “Seattle” things included. I started my weekend off with a dance party at the gym (aka, zumba). I thought I was going to take a quick little power nap and then meet up with some friends…yeah, thought was the keyword there. I ended up going to bed at 9:45pm and I have no shame in that either. I also have no shame admitting that I slept until 7:30am the next morning. I would like to say that both of those are rare but that would be lying – I don’t usually sleep that late! I woke up Saturday, started some laundry and then thought about what I would do to enjoy the beautiful weather we had in Seattle. I decided to head down to Greenlake to enjoy the sunshine and try out my new running shoes.

YAY for new running shoes!

YAY for new running shoes!

The weather was awesome, the new shoes were fantastic, and the run was wonderful. The sun was shining and a cool breeze was blowing throughout the run. I must say, I couldn’t complain.

Post run selfie :) trying to get some sun while working out!

Post run selfie 🙂 trying to get some sun while working out!

After the run, I stopped by Starbucks to get an iced tea and sit outside to people watch. I was lucky enough to have my friend, Rachel, come meet me and have great conversation – always a good time with her. Saturday finished up with a haircut (trim, can’t cut too much off since I am growing it out again for Locks of Love) and drinks with a friend. I woke up bright and early on Sunday to help a friend (loan the back of my car for transporting goods) then had my weekly brunch meeting (it might be a “thing” now) with Kim. We tried a new place this time – Alexa’s Cafe in Bothell. It had a cute atmosphere and good food – definitely worth going to if I don’t want to drive to my usual spots (Pomegranate Bistro and Brown Bag Cafe). After brunch, I ran to the grocery to get food for the week (yes, I am one of those people who is a one and done for the week) and then came home and started the prep process. Right as I was finishing up, I got a text message from my friend who I was going to meet that night so I jumped in the shower and got ready. I got ready super fast (for me at least) and jumped in the car and zoomed over to catch the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry – it was a beautiful day for a ferry ride so I was not going to miss that and be stuck driving 80 miles around to the “island”.

Beautiful view on the ride over

Beautiful view on the ride over

I had dinner and fabulous conversation with my friend and then we scooted over to the movies to see “Let’s Be Cops“…for those of you who really know me, don’t worry – I didn’t bring my movie blanket since it was the first movie outing with him – that comes next time 🙂 The movie was funny and a good pick on his part. I will admit, I had to control my laughter so I wouldn’t embarrass myself (I didn’t want to pull a “my dad” on a first movie outing with someone). After the movie ended, he brought me back to my car and we parted ways..until we decided to turn around and meet back up. It “might” have been late and I “might” have had to work in the morning but the conversation at dinner was so good I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for more. I mean, I could sit in line for the ferry or I could sit with a friend enjoying their company – of course I am picking their company. We talked until after midnight when we decided to really part ways this time. I scooted on over to  catch the last ferry out of Bainbridge Island – got there with two minutes to spare 🙂 The ferry ride back was absolutely stunning. The Seattle skyline was lit up and the moon was bright and shining. I sat on the deck, wrapped in my blanket, admiring how beautiful and peaceful that moment was. I captured a picture but will admit, it does absolutely no justice for what I felt that moment. It was really one of those times, you just had to be there. I might have gotten home late that night and had to get up early the next day but I would do it all over again – it was a perfect night with a phenomenal ending! I might just have to ride the 1:25am Bainbridge ferry ride more often 🙂

View from the ferry ride back to Seattle

View from the ferry ride back to Seattle

Until next time…xoxo – Julie