In which we took a day trip to Mount Rainier

You know you’re going to miss a place when you can go on a random Thursday afternoon road trip with your awesome neighbors to say goodbye to your favorite mountain.

It started off cloudy

It started off cloudy

We stopped at the Box Canyon on the way - it was such a steep and narrow drop that a picture doesn't adequately encompass it.

We stopped at the Box Canyon on the way – it was such a steep and narrow drop that a picture doesn’t adequately encompass it.

We hiked the short Grove of the Patriarchs that we think should be renamed - or at least get us our own Matriarch Grove.

We hiked the short Grove of the Patriarchs that we think should be renamed – or at least get us our own Matriarch Grove.

The trail was short, but full of giants.

The trail was short, but full of giants.

And required crossing a cool bridge.

And required crossing a cool bridge.

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There were plenty of photos taken, but none do it complete justice.

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Anna's water bottle to commemorate her first time at Mount Rainier matches mine.

Anna’s water bottle to commemorate her first time at Mount Rainier matches mine.

The largest trees had a built walkway around them.

The largest trees had a built walkway around them.

You couldn't help but look UP.

You couldn’t help but look UP.

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Giants.

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So lucky.

Is this real life? Is this Thursday?

Is this real life? Is this Thursday?

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When we emerged from the forest we caught our first glimpse of the Mountain. She had been obscured by clouds all day.

When we emerged from the forest we caught our first glimpse of the Mountain. She had been obscured by clouds all day.

See?! She is SO BIG!

See?! She is SO BIG!

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I have amazing friends

I have amazing friends

After stopping at all the view points, we popped into the Paradise Visitor’s Center. Seattle may be getting ready to slide into the sea in the coming Big Earthquake, but we’re safe if Rainier erupts:

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The clouds obscured the summit before we were done - so we headed home.

The clouds obscured the summit before we were done – so we headed home.

I will miss this Mountain and all her beauty. I will miss my dear friends. I will miss all of this so much. But how lucky am I that I have so much good to miss?

I will miss this Mountain and all her beauty. I will miss my dear friends. I will miss all of this so much. But how lucky am I that I have so many amazing things to miss?

In which we go on our Graduation-moon, Part I: Haleakala

Jeff and I decided to take a celebratory trip after graduation. Twenty-three grades, four degrees and two certificates now under my belt; we both needed a vacation. Since we are currently “so close” to Hawaii and neither of us had been it was an easy choice. Picking the island was a little harder – but we narrowed it down to Maui or the Big Island in part because they both have national parks. Maui won out and I’m so glad we picked it – we had an incredible time!

Po'olenalena Beach

Po’olenalena Beach

The first day on the island we picked up our 2015 Nissan Rogue (thank you Priceline for letting me bid on an incredible deal – having an SUV was a fun luxury) and drove to our VRBO condo in Kihei. The Rogue was brand new – only 520 miles on it. We would double that amount on our adventures. Most of the rest of the first day was spent sleeping, which was much needed after the hustle that was finishing residency and my final graduation. The second day we explored our nearby beaches (Kama’ole I, Po’olenalena, Makena Landing and Big Beach), snorkeled in among the reefs (and saw sea turtles!) and ate the best lobster of my life at Mama’s Beach House. It was so good we went back for the only other reservation available during our time there and we both ordered it again! My Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry would be proud of us – we toasted with Cakebread chardonnay – from one of their favorite vineyards.

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Wednesday we woke late and had a lazy brunch at Chez Meme in Kihei after seeing the line for the other popular breakfast spot, Kihei Caffe, was going to be an hour long. It was a great choice – they had delicious mimosas and french toast and a couple of freshly baked pastries ended up coming home with us for later.

After relaxing on our beach, we drove to Pai’a and picked up a picnic lunch and dinner from the Hana Picnic Lunch Company and began the winding, foggy drive up the volcano.Most of the drive was in thick clouds – so much so that the car in front of us just gave up and stopped driving in the middle of the road. They insisted on waving me around by way of the oncoming lane – a scary proposition considering it was so hazy I couldn’t see the front of their car, but we made it. The road snaked through the Maui high country, then into deep coniferous forests and then out into fields that looked like Scottish moors. We finally emerged from the soup into a landscape that looked more like the moon than a tropical island:

Emerging

Emerging

At the top we ate our lunch sitting on beach chairs in the parking lot and took in the visitor’s center. You could see over into Science City where national space observatories and secret Air Force tracking facilities are housed.

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The road into Science City. The pale blue ocean is separated from the sky by a thin line of clouds on the horizon.

At the observatory

At the observatory

After lunch we started on the first of many hikes that we’d take on our visit here: Keonehe’ehe’e,  or as we called it, Sliding Sands Trail down into the crater of the Haleakala volcano.

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You can see some of the cinder cones in the right of this picture. Each one marks a different eruption.

While it looks warm the temperatures hovered in the mid-70s since we were 10,000 feet above sea level. Every step you take going down this trail makes you acutely aware that you will have to come back up the other way soon enough. We marked our progress by time – one hour down in order to give ourselves two hours to return. We were pleasantly surprised it only took us an hour and a half to climb out though.

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Clouds rising off the western shores of Maui and cooling as they reached us. It felt so good.

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Like walking on the moon

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I don’t even care if this picture is sappy. We needed this vacation! We’re done! We made it!

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You can take the girl out of the South.. but you can’t keep her from hiking in a skirt.

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Stepping off the trail damages sensitive roots of endangered plants and wrecks the fragile ecosystem

These are 'ahinahina plants - also known as Haleakala silversword. They are found here and no where else on earth.

These are ‘ahinahina plants – also known as Haleakala silversword. They are found here and no where else on Earth.

Their Hawaiian name means

Their Hawaiian name means “grey grey” – the closest word the ancient Polynesians had considering they had never seen silver metal. They are only found at elevations above 6,900 ft on this island and came close to extinction due to cattle grazing and people taking them for ornamental purposes.

They are like salmon - they bloom once in their 15 - 40 year life spans, and then they die.

We were lucky enough to see one in flower – they bloom once in their 15 – 40 year life spans, spread their seeds, and then they die.

Overlooking the crater on the way back up.

Overlooking the crater on the way back up.

After hiking we hung out around the summit waiting for twilight.

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Feeling on top of the world.

Feeling on top of the world. This is looking towards the north – strange to think there is nothing but water until you reach Alaska.

Sunrise and sunset on Haleakala have taken on a mythical event status for Maui tourists. Most people (in the throws of jet lag, I’m convinced) rise at ungodly hours, drive up that windy road in the dark and watch the golden light rise from the ocean. Many then bike down afterwards. Neither rising early on our vacation, nor hurdling down the side of a 10,000 ft mountain, white-knuckled and potentially ruining my newly-earned career that needs fully functioning hands, appealed to us, so sunset it was:

Moon rise over the observatory.

Moon rise over the observatory.

Everyone gathered for the sunset. Bonus for being crepuscular later - less people to share the summit with.

Everyone gathered for the sunset. Bonus for being crepuscular later – less people to share the summit with.

Another spin around done.

Another spin done.

I loved how it bathed the volcano with it's last rays.

I loved how it bathed the volcano with it’s last rays.

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Changed into warmer clothes for the plunging temperatures.

Going, going...

Going, going…

...and gone.

…and gone.

I became mildly obsessed with taking pictures of the tiny people silhouetted by the setting sun on the rim of the crater. It just looked so cool:

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As the last bits of light settled out of view we retreated to the Rogue to rest and eat our picnic dinner while it got really good and dark. I wanted to try to take pictures of the stars since we were in one of the best places on Earth to see them. Unfortunately a brilliant full moon wrecked our plans to see the Milky Way, but it was cool nonetheless:

Too many lights

Too many lights

Kahului from above. While the full moon ruined plans for some spectacular stargazing we did see Jupiter and Venus at their closest point in the sky in 2,000 years. Some think that the last time they were so close together was the inspiration for the Star of Bethlehem.

The town of Kahului from above. While the full moon ruined plans for some spectacular stargazing we did see Jupiter and Venus at their closest point in the sky in 2,000 years (upper left corner – the big dot is Venus, the smaller one to the right, Jupiter). Some think that the last time they were so close together was the inspiration for the Star of Bethlehem.

Despite the full moon, it's easy to see why you would put an observatory up here - it's so far from light and air pollution you feel as if you could reach up and graze the sky with your fingers.

Despite the full moon, it’s easy to see why you would put an observatory up here – it’s so far from light and air pollution you feel as if you could reach up and graze the sky with your fingers.

We ended our full day crawling slowly back down the mountain, listening to the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Buffet and planning our next adventure on the island.

In which there are a few more pictures from Sol Duc

Just a few more pictures:

Taken by a man we met at a viewpoint along Crescent Lake

Panoramic taken by a man we met at a viewpoint along Crescent Lake

This poem has been reminding me about our trip this past week:

Give me a land of boughs in leaf
A land of trees that stand;
Where trees are fallen there is grief;
I love no leafless land.

-A.E. Housman

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Seriously, I will take trees any day. I love no leafless land either Housman.

In which I glamp with the neighbors

Glamping is the portmanteau of glamorous camping. And my new favorite thing, or at least the RV version of it. Until now I’ve always experienced the outdoors under the thin cloth of a tent, but after tasting the civilization in the wilderness that is wine, cheese, Trader Joe’s appetizers, an actual mattress and a heated, dry place to sleep, glamping might be my new thing. This past weekend I went with my friend-neighbors Anna and Mary out to the Sol Duc area of Olympic National Park – an absolutely gorgeous corner of Washington state. Even the drive out was breathtaking:

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Fog lifting briefly off the road

Fog lifting briefly off the road

Gary the Mann took our picture by the side of the road.

Gary the Mann took our picture by the side of the road.

The next morning after setting up camp we decided to make an easy hike up to the Sol Duc Falls. We started in a light mist that progressed to heavier rain.

Starting out

Starting out

And then, was that snow? And then, omg snow! So much of it!

Covering the trailhead in a winter wonderland.

Covering the trailhead in a winter wonderland.

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What do you get when you mix a rain forest with snow? A mossy, cold wonderland:

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The falls were fairly close to the trail head – good thing, because we were cold and wet at this point:

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Overlooking the water

Opposite side of the falls

Opposite side of the falls

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Close up of the falls

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So cold – let’s go to the hot springs!

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Bridge over the river

Lunch was sandwiches complemented by bacon jerky and prosecco eaten under a 1938 shelter built by the CCC - galloping at its finest.

Lunch was sandwiches complemented by bacon jerky and prosecco eaten under a 1938 shelter built by the CCC – glamping at its finest.

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I wish I could show you how large this forest feels. The greenery is overpowering and my neck was constantly looking too far up to grasp it all. It overwhelms you what tiny, tiny creatures we are in this forest; how small we are on this planet:

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Mary and Anna

Anna and I

Anna and I

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You can tell you're almost back to the springs by the sulfur smell in the air

You can tell you’re almost back to the springs by the sulfur smell in the air

After our hike we spent some time in the hot springs that Sol Duc is famous for. I never quite got a picture since I did not want to take my camera, but here is a picture from the website:

The large pool in the background was 53oF (cold!!!), the smaller ones closer were in the between 98oF and 103oF.

The large pool in the background was 53oF (cold!!!), the smaller ones closer were in the between 98oF and 103oF. It was fun to soak while it snowed and then jump in between to get the circulation going.

All too soon we had to get home.

Kingston-Edmonds ferry.

Kingston-Edmonds ferry.

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When you wave goodbye to the mountains off the back of the ferry – the fact that you’ve had to travel over land and sea to get there combined with their perpetual misty cloak, makes the Olympics seem like a forbidden land unlike any other.

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Here’s to many more adventures with these two!

In which we visit the Ice Caves

I have been traveling quite a bit lately, so it was nice to have an entire weekend in Seattle for the first time in while. After watching Duke beat MSU yesterday (and we’re going to the championship!!), we decided to spend our balmy Easter seeing the Big Four Ice Caves in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National forest.

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They’re formed by avalanches off the mountain behind it and carved out by summer streams. Their position in perpetual shade means they’re there all year round – making them the lowest elevation glaciers in the lower 49 states.

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The caves and ice fields are actually pretty dangerous – people have died as a result of falling ice. Signage was everywhere.

People have died

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In which I went to Boston and turned 30

Last fall I was one of two residents who were chosen to represent our pediatric dental department at the International Association of Dental Research conference in Boston. The next few times this conference meets it’ll be in LA, South Korea and San Francisco – not sure how I got lucky enough to go to the city who is having snowiest winter on record!

Seattle is currently in full on spring right now

Seattle is currently in full on spring right now

As the dates worked out – I had to take the Red-Eye flight on our anniversary (3 years! how did it go by so quickly?!) and left Seattle springtime for this:

That is the Charles River - frozen.

That is the Charles River – frozen.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting a lot out of this conference – I had presentations Wednesday morning (an hour after landing from the Red-Eye) and a presentation on Saturday (two hours before leaving to catch a flight home on my birthday), but not much else lined up. I brough extra work to catch up on and something I never bring to a conference – running clothes in anticipation of going to the gym. HAHAHAHAHA. None of that happened. I was busy every day from early in the morning to late at night finding symposia, attending lectures, and  meeting up with old friends. So much for getting caught up.

The conference was in the same place whee the AAPD meeting was last year so I knew where everything was and it also meant that I had pretty much exhausted the must-do touristy things in the area. That didn’t stop me from heading up to the North End for Italian food with another grad student the first evening though:

I ordered the lobster special - was not disappointed!

I ordered the lobster special – was not disappointed!

Cheers to good food and grad student therapy sessions

Cheers to good food and grad student therapy sessions

I don’t have many other fun pictures – because what else do you expect from a research meeting? I did have the chance to catch up with Kevin Ricker, my classmate from UNC and the only one still hanging out with me in residency since his is a three-year program as well:

Always good to catch up

Always good to catch up

The largest component of a research meeting is the poster presentations. To give you some scale, here is one half of one of the two halls that were going on a given day:

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And there were two halls filled with posters. Each day was a new session with new posters – and there were three days of those. Goodness! It was a little crazy. You’re required to stand in front of your poster for an hour or so at a given time on the given day of your presentation in case someone wanted to come ask you questions about your research – otherwise people were free to browse them at will.

My advisor and I in front of my poster

My advisor and I in front of my poster

Karin, my co-resident who presented a poster as well, and I

Karin, my co-resident who presented a poster as well, and I

You’re assigned your poster time and unfortunately mine was on the 14th, my birthday.

Don't all the cool kids celebrate turning 30 at a dental research poster session?

Don’t all the cool kids celebrate turning 30 at a dental research poster session?

Despite spending most of the day on the east coast, the plane ride back to Seattle meant that I got an extra three hours of birthday in the air. I ordered wine accordingly. Arriving at 11:00pm meant that I was in no mood to go out, but my dear friends offered to host a birthday brunch the next day – my favorite kind of party 🙂

Mike made these awesome authentic Belgian pancakes with apples and bacon - so delicious!

Mike made these awesome authentic Belgian pancakes with apples and bacon – so delicious!

Great friends!

Great friends!

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Beautiful cheese tray

The only thing that could’ve made the party more perfect is if I didn’t have a final the next day – oh grad school! You’re so close to being done!

Since I’ve posted about my 30th here, I might as well post Jeff’s pictures too since I’m catching up on things. I threw him a surprise party at the Moon Temple (before it closed 😦 ) back in December with a bunch of our good friends:

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Pecan pie - his favorite

Pecan pie – his favorite

Tim McGraw, as he always so good at doing, summed it up best in his song:

I think I’ll take a moment celebrate my age
End of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

In my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doin’ here in my next thirty years

For my next thirty years I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years

The only line I take issue with is to “try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done” – those crazy things have been some of my favorite memories or best lessons. It’s been a humbling, intense, amazing three decades for which I am immensely grateful; I’m excited to see where we go from here.

In which we Burned the Man (again)

Wow – how long has it been since I’ve updated this thing? Between hunting for jobs, finishing up the last remaining residency requirements, conference season and successfully defending my thesis (yay!), I’ve been a bit busy. Here’s the beginning of an attempt to catch up!

Jeff and I were so fortunate to go to Burning Man again in 2014. I’m not sure what 2015 hold for us, so our plans to return to Black Rock City may have to take a small hiatus, but we’ll see. Our camp, Camp No Plan, named for the fact that we were taking only one virgin with us and none of us had adequate time or resources to plan something elaborate, was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better companions. It was an amazing time, as I suspect it always is.

Our car - as clean as we'll be for the next week at some rest stop in Oregon

Our car – as clean as we’ll be for the next week at some rest stop in Oregon

To begin with – the drive down from Washington, through remote parts of Oregon and across the tip of Northern California into the Nevada desert is absolutely breathtaking. Jeff, Anna, Alyssa our virgin, and I left out Saturday mid-morning with the trailer and made it all the way to Klamath Falls, OR the first day.

We had spectacular views of Mount Hood outside Portland

We had spectacular views of Mount Hood outside Portland

We drove down through Bend in what I can only describe as desolate volcano country. It's eerily empty and beautiful.

We drove down through Bend in what I can only describe as desolate volcano country. It’s eerily empty and beautiful.

After a night in Klammath and the annual trip to the Fred Meyer to stock up on last minute supplies, we decided to try to a night approach to the line. That meant leaving Klammath in late afternoon so we hit the line entering Gerlach just perfectly at sunset. Our dear Jeep is running strong, but no one wants to sit in a hot, dusty line in the blazing heat without any air conditioning. This also mean we had fantastic “golden hour” shots of some of my favorite landscapes along the way:

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This is what the drive looks like from the backseat from Anna’s camera

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Always good to take a look back and make sure the trailer is still attached..

We hit the line around sunset and made it almost to the gate at around midnight. It ended up that we were three cars behind the gate when the fireworks began to celebrate the official opening of the event – so close! After we made it through, we found some of our friends camped in a great spot (9 o’clock and E) who offered us space. We had to decide at that point if we were going to set up camp in the dark or go out exploring – exploring won the day.

I got to hold this 30 seconds after our group making that decision:

A giant ballon string filled with tiny LED lights. Photo by David Hays from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dav1d/4979419103/

A giant ballon string filled with tiny LED lights. Photo by David Hays from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dav1d/4979419103/

Slightly terrifying – it’s all your childhood nightmares of letting go of a balloon multiplied by 1000 – but it’s tethered to a harness, so the chances of that happening are slim.

The other half of our group had planned to come the following day, so we went in search of some of our other friends but couldn’t find their camp. We have a tradition of meeting at the far side of the Temple at sunrise in the mornings as as the sky began to lighten we gave up our search and headed there. The playa was unusually quiet, but we chalked that up to it being still early on the first day. Unknown to us the gate had been closed because of rain which turned the gigantic prehistoric lake bed into an oozing sticky clay. We hardly saw anyone as we approached the Temple, but as we rounded to the other side we saw a small group of people standing under a “Finish Line” art piece/sign. Our friends! Some of whom we hadn’t seen since last year!

Finish Line art installation at sunrise

Finish Line art installation at sunrise. Photo credit: Alex Cahn

Our friends! Photo credit: Alex Cahn

Our friends! I’m in the leopard coat and neon green backpack. 
Photo credit: Alex Cahn

Catching up with old friends and drinking champagne - just like how all mornings should start.

Catching up with old friends and drinking champagne – just like how all mornings should start.

We all went to Robot Heart afterwards and got to dance to the smallest gathering there all week - it was great! Like having the best party place all to yourself. I also got to drink bloody marys with the owner which was awesome.

We all went to Robot Heart afterwards and got to dance to the smallest gathering there all week – it was great! Like having the best party place all to yourself. I also got to drink bloody marys with the owner which was awesome.

For comparison, this is what Robot Heart normally looks like at sunrise:

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Crowded, fun, chaos with great beats

After being up for 36 hours Jeff and I somehow managed to make it back across the playa in a rain storm, put up our yurt and crawl inside to sleep. Typical Burning Man. The other half of our camp managed to get in early Tuesday morning after being hampered by closed gates and rain.

Random pictures of excursions into the playa:

Biking down the 9 o'clock street

Biking down the 9 o’clock street

Climbing brightly lit plexiglass sculptures.

Climbing brightly lit plexiglass sculptures.

Watching the sunrise in front of a laser-cut wooden gorgeous Temple

Watching the sunrise in front of a laser-cut wooden gorgeous Temple

Hanging out with friends in a huge net-hammock seat.

Hanging out with friends in a huge net-hammock seat.

Comparing beard lengths

Comparing beard lengths

Dressing as Jeff with a beard - he was only slightly amused. I didn't keep it on for long because it was too hot!

Dressing as Jeff with a beard – he was only slightly amused. I didn’t keep it on for long because it was too hot!

Beard reprisal.

Beard reprisal.

Beard buddies

Beard buddies

Night adventures

Night adventures

Giant crocodile art installation

Giant crocodile art installation

Biking down a path towards the temple

Biking down a path towards the temple

Open playa

The Man - the tallest one they've ever built

The Man – the tallest one they’ve ever built

It was hard to get him into my lens

It was hard to get him into my lens

Surrounded by souks in the spirit of the Caravansary theme.

Surrounded by souks in the spirit of the Caravansary theme.

The Canadians filled their souk with useful items for rent.

The Canadians filled their souk with useful items for rent.

Meeting in front of the temple to drink champagne and watch the sunrise

Meeting in front of the temple to drink champagne and watch the sunrise

The Embrace sculpture you could go up into!

The Embrace sculpture you could go up into!

Looking through paper books in the library

Looking through paper books in the library

Getting ready to go out - camp style

Getting ready to go out – camp style

Because Burning Man is the only place a bear hat, hot pink tutu, geometric tights, moccasin boots and a leopard fur coat don't look out of place together.

Because Burning Man is the only place a bear hat, hot pink tutu, geometric tights, moccasin boots and a leopard fur coat don’t look out of place together.

My camera broke early on, so most of these pictures are stolen from Anna, Mary, Hannah and Alex. I was sad at the time, but it allowed me to truly live in the moment of being there. All too soon the week came to the final close and it was time to burn the Man:

Burn night

Burn night

Dusty burn night

Dusty burn night

Goodbye Man!

Goodbye Man!

Dusty friends

Dusty friends

We took one last shot of the best No Plan Camp ever…

Ben, Amy, Yoni, Alyssa,

Ben, Amy, Yoni, Alyssa, Anna, Mary, Jeff and I

…and headed home:

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Writing this post now so many months removed and just trying to spill all the pictures into place I’m remiss on too many things from that time to put on here. Burning Man stretches you to all the limits you knew you had and exposes you to new ones – I always come back in a weird state of refreshment and exhaustion and with a renewed hope in humanity.

This year I felt like I knew what I was doing (to the best you ever can); was integral to our (no) plan camp in ways I could’ve have been last year; and immersed myself in the community more (one morning I was one-handed biking through a dust storm, eating an Uncrustable sandwich on three hours of sleep to get to a volunteer shift at the airport and kind of felt completely normal about that). I hope life has many more Burns in store for us in the future.

In which my mom came to visit – Part I

My mom had a big birthday last year and our present to her was a plane ticket out to see Seattle. We’ve been here a little over two years now, but the timing hasn’t been quite right to get her out here to see it. That combined with a busy summer and a need to put in vacation requests 6 months early, we had to wait until this summer season was almost at an end for the trip.

It was well worth it – every other visitor (Graham, Molly, Kuppy, Teresa and Larry, Roy and Nell, our Duke friends for the wedding) made the perfect practice for our amazing time. As Jeff put it so well: We did ALL of the stuff and things. If it was to be done, we won Seattle. Our amazing itinerary:

On Saturday we…

Picked mom up at airport mid-morning | Had her lashes done at Lash Noir | Ate a late lunch of chicken and waffles at the Bugundian | Walked down to Green Lake | Had tacos and quesadillas at TNT Taqueria & adjusted to Pacific Standard Time zone by going to bed early.

{No pictures apparently exist for this day because we were too excited to see each other – it’s been almost 2 years!}

On Sunday we…

Brunched at Bastille | Explored the Farmer’s Market and various cute shops in Ballard | Walked on the beach and enjoyed Puget Sound at Golden Gardens | Watched the boats, salmon and sealion (!) at the Ballard Locks | Visited a PNW Trader Joe’s | Said hello to the Fremont Troll | Made delicious BLTs with the fresh homemade bread and Benton’s bacon that mom brought in her suitcase along with farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes & then walked our dinner off around Green Lake:

Ballard Farmer's Market

Ballard Farmer’s Market

Fresh blackberries

Fresh blackberries – isn’t she adorable? I’m going to age so well!

Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens

Ballard Locks - we loved this public sculpture!

Ballard Locks – we loved this public sculpture!

Boats in the locks waiting for the water to fill

Boats in the locks waiting for the water to fill

This picture is for Graham and Nick who wanted to steal this sign when I brought them back in the Spring.

This picture is for Graham and Nick who wanted to steal this sign when I brought them back in the Spring.

Selfie with the boats - we could not have gotten luckier with the weather!

Selfie with the boats – we could not have gotten luckier with the weather!

Fremont Troll

Fremont Troll

Delicious dinner! Yes, my dear Southern mother loves me enough to bring me Benton bacon and 10 lbs of White Lily flour.

Delicious BLT and green bean (fried in bacon grease) dinner! Yes, my dear Southern mother loves me enough to bring me Benton bacon and 10 lbs of White Lily flour.

Walking off the BLTs around Green Lake

Walking off the BLTs around Green Lake

On Monday we..

Took an Uber downtown to explore the tourist district | Drank a chai tea from the Original Starbucks | Ate sweet and savory pastries from Piroshky Piroshky! in Victor Steinbrueck Park overlooking Elliot Bay | Were disgusted by the Gum Wall | Used the buggy escalator at the multi-level City Target | Rode the monorail down to the Seattle Center | Visited the extremely cool Chihuly Museum | Took pictures in front of the Space Needle & then, if that all weren’t enough – drove 2.5 hours to go hike up to Glacier View in Paradise at Mount Rainier:

{This day’s itinerary convinced me that this trip needed to be spread out over several blog posts, not just one!}

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Inside the Original Starbucks

Inside the Original Starbucks

Chai lattes in front of the mermaid with boobs Original Sign

Chai lattes in front of the mermaid with boobs Original Sign

Gum wall - thoroughly disgusted

Gum wall – thoroughly disgusted

Seattle Center - the line was way too long to go up in the Space Needle, plus, we had a lot to do this day!

Seattle Center – the line was way too long to go up in the Space Needle, plus, we had a lot to do this day!

Very cool Chihuly museum

Very cool Chihuly museum

We've been to Chihuly exhibits in Knoxville and Nashville stretching back decades. It was very fun to see him in his hometown.

We’ve been to Chihuly exhibits in Knoxville and Nashville stretching back decades. It was very fun to see him in his hometown.

I had never wanted to pay the $20 to go in because I just thought it was the garden area - but the other exhibits were totally worth the price of admission.

I had never wanted to pay the $20 to go in because I just thought it was the garden area – but the other exhibits were totally worth the price of admission.

These boats reminded us of the ones he did at Cheekwood mansion in Nashville

These boats reminded us of the ones he did at Cheekwood mansion in Nashville

View from the atrium

View from the atrium

Reflection in the garden's glass balls

Our reflection in the garden’s glass balls

On the way up I could tell it was going to be an amazing  hike - the top of the mountain was so clear!

On the way up I could tell it was going to be an amazing hike – the top of the mountain was so clear!

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iPhone photos don’t even do it justice.

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We chose to do the Skyline trail and since it was after 5pm and a weekday, we almost had it to ourselves. It was so much less crowded than the last time I was up here.

We chose to do the Skyline trail and since it was after 5pm and a weekday, we almost had it to ourselves. It was so much less crowded than the last time I was up here.

Only part of it was paved, but it was all straight up.

Only part of the trail was paved, but it was all straight up.

Views from all sides were perfect - we kept feeling like we were Maria in the Sound of Music

Views from all sides were perfect – we kept feeling like we were Maria in the Sound of Music

Because it was so late when we started, we decided just to get to the start of the glaciers, not more and stopped at Glacier View

Because it was so late when we started, we decided just to get to the start of the glaciers, not more and stopped at Glacier Vista

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Feet on the snow!

Feet on the snow!

On the way up we saw a couple of deer, and on the way down we saw a marmot!

On the way up we saw a couple of deer, and on the way down we saw a marmot!

He was a fat little guy, ready for winter.

He was a fat little guy, ready for winter.

As we left we had an awesome view of the sunset from so far up

As we left we had an awesome view of the sunset from so far up

Don't be completely fooled by the gorgeous scenery though - Mount Rainier is an active volcano!

Don’t be completely fooled by the gorgeous scenery though – Mount Rainier is an active volcano! This is the first of several Natural Disaster signs we encounter – the Pacific Northwest is a dangerous place.

All this, and we were only on day two!

In which my mom came to visit – Part II

And the adventure continues!

On Tuesday we…

Bored my mother out of her mind and presented my research at UW School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral Health Sciences Research Symposium | Perfected the art of eating dumplings at Din Tai Fung | Visited the Center for Pediatric Dentistry and got to meet the amazing people I work with | Had a mini winery tour in Woodinville and tasted flights at Novelty Hill/Januik, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia wineries | swung by Gas Works Park to see the houseboats on Lake Union | ate Paseo sandwiches for dinner | found Graham’s picture on the wall and had Johnny drinks at the Moon Temple & recreated our favorite Bacon and Maple Syrup ice cream with the rest of the Benton’s bacon:

First winery - Novelty Hill/Janiuk

First winery – Novelty Hill/Januik

Watching them fill the barrels

Watching them fill the barrels

Second winery - Chateau Ste. Michelle where we had a flight of bubbly

Second winery – Chateau Ste. Michelle where we had a flight of bubbly

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And to finish it off - Columbia winery

And to finish it off – Columbia winery

As always, crowded Paseo. We were smart and called ahead on our way back from Woodinville

As always, crowded Paseo. We were smart and called ahead on our way back from Woodinville

So good! Mom agreed that this was one of the best sandwiches ever made.

So good! Mom agreed that this was one of the best sandwiches ever made.

Look Graham - we found our picture on the wall!

Look Graham – we found our picture on the wall!

A sweet end to a fun day

A sweet end to a fun day

 

On Wednesday we… 

Got up very early and took the Edmonds-Kingston ferry to the Olympic Peninsula | Froze our butts off on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park | Visited the longest sand spit in the United States at Dungeness Spit | Ate my favorite sweet potato mexi-fries at Taco Time, a PNW version of fast food | Drove down the western edge of Puget Sound and Hood Canal past oyster farms and adorable cabins | checked into Alderbrook Resort and drank wine on our balcony overlooking the canal and Olympic mountains | Learned to filet Coho salmon from a master chef & finished the night off with a delicious seafood boil of shrimp, clams and dungeness crab:

On a boat!

On a boat!

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You can tell we were trying to fit a lot in when my mom has to start the morning off with a Monster energy drink!

You can tell we were trying to fit a lot in when my mom has to start the morning off with a Monster energy drink!

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It was pretty, but very cold and rainy!

It was pretty, but very cold and rainy!

Lovely view of the very cold mountains

Lovely view of the very cold mountains

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At this point we decided that hiking would just lead to hypothermia, so we headed down the mountain.

At this point we decided that hiking would just lead to hypothermia, so we headed down the mountain.

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Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit

Pacific Northwest Beaches aren't like those back East..

Pacific Northwest Beaches aren’t like those back East.. If you can imagine, five miles out into the distance is a lighthouse – it was barely visible for all the fog and rain.

Feet in the sand this time.

Feet in the sand this time.

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This time the danger was tsunamis, not volcanos!

This time the danger we needed to be aware of was tsunamis, not volcanos!

Then down the edge of the Sound to Alderbook:

Alderbrook Resort

Alderbrook Resort

Apparently it's a thing to seaplane down from Seattle to eat at the restaurant. Maybe in a different lifetime we'll be able to do this.

Apparently it’s a thing to seaplane down from Seattle to eat at the restaurant. Maybe in a different lifetime we’ll be able to do this. Or when we win the lottery – which ever comes first!

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View from our seats on the lawn. We make good resort people.

View from our seats on the lawn. We make good resort people.

Unfortunately my real camera is still broken, so this trip was documented through iPhone photos which can't do this place justice. I stole this from Alderbrook's website to give you an idea of our amazing view.

Unfortunately my real camera is still broken, so this trip was documented through iPhone photos which can’t do this place justice. I stole this from Alderbrook’s website to give you an idea of our amazing view.

Delicious dinner!

Delicious dinner!

Mm.. Northwest seafood boil!

Mm.. Northwest seafood boil!

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On Thursday we.. 

Said goodbye to Alderbrook and then drove over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge | Stopped by IKEA on the way back into Seattle so my mom could see what all the fuss is about | Checked out the REI headquarters downtown | Popped into some cute Ballard shops one more time | ate Fish and Chips at Ivar’s happy hour overlooking Lake Union and watched the seaplanes land | packed up and did some laundry & then headed down to Westward for one last meal out:

IKEA! The closest one to mom is 4 hours away in Atlanta. Also I am thinking about buying this mirror - it would fit perfect in this random nook in our bedroom.

IKEA! The closest one to mom is 4 hours away in Atlanta. Also I am thinking about buying this mirror – it would fit perfect in this random nook in our bedroom.

To cap off the PNW Natural Disasters to be aware of the evacuation route from: Floods! Seen in Renton.

To cap off the PNW Natural Disasters to be aware of the evacuation route from: Floods! Seen in Renton.

REI headquarters

REI headquarters

Ivar's for fish and chips. This is where UW Pedo had the applicant dinner when I interviewed, so it was fun to show mom where my Seattle journey truly began.

Ivar’s for fish and chips. This is where UW Pedo had the applicant dinner when I interviewed, so it was fun to show mom where my Seattle journey truly began.

And then Friday morning, it was all over way too soon and we headed back to the airport. I kept saying we needed three more weeks, or at least three more days, but in reality we made the very best of what we had: we ate some of my favorite Seattle food, visited two of the prettiest national parks in the nation, saw all the typical Seattle touristy things plus the all tucked away places that make this city home. We really did win Seattle.

To give you an idea of all the places we visited, I’ve marked them on a map:

This is the greater NW Washington area we covered.

This is the greater NW Washington area we covered.

And a more specific Seattle-area one. We. Covered. Some. Ground.

And a more specific Seattle-area one. We. Covered. Some. Ground.

When I was little people always commented on how much I looked like my mom. As I grew up I realized that this similarity extended far beyond features and the phrase “I am my mother’s child” was especially applicable to me. This trip was not only a chance to show one of my best friends our new city, but it was also a chance to hang out with Future Me. I am so lucky, blessed and grateful. It was so much fun. Can’t wait for the next adventure!

In which we go to a wedding: Bri & Ian edition

You know it’s been a long time since you’ve blogged when wordpress changes it’s format.. obviously I have a lot of catching up to do, so let’s start with our first August wedding. Bri and Ian were married on Decatur Island up in the San Juans – it’s a special place to their family and it was so sweet to watch the ceremony in his grandparents’ back yard. I’ve been stalking their wonderful photographer’s website for pictures to include in this post, but ultimately decided that 1) it’s taking a long time since summer is prime wedding season and I’m sure she’s still editing and 2) those are really her photos and it’s unfair to put them on this blog. So here are mine from that EXTREMELY fun and gorgeous weekend:

We arrived on Decatur from Anacortes by private very boat. The Washington State ferries don't run to this particular island like they do to the larger San Juans.

We arrived on Decatur from Anacortes by private very boat. The Washington State ferries don’t run to this particular island like they do to the larger San Juans.

Happy to have escaped only mildly sea-sick!

Happy to have escaped only mildly sea-sick!

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The view from our cabin was gorgeous - we watched otters play in the bay below.

The view from our cabin was gorgeous – we watched otters play in the bay below with high def binoculars.

At the rehearsal we ad a preview of the gorgeous view from the ceremony site as well. You could see all the way across the straight to Mount Baker

At the rehearsal we had a preview of the breath taking view from the ceremony site as well. You could see all the way across the straight to Mount Baker.

Walking back to the cabin after the rehearsal dinner took a little extra time - there are no road signs on the island, so we got a bit lost.

Walking back to the cabin after the rehearsal dinner took a little extra time – there are no road signs on the island, so we got a bit lost.

But the views of the bay at sunset were worth it.

But the views of the bay at sunset were worth it.

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Boats in the bay

The next morning the bridesmaids were picked up in a pickup truck to go get our hair done.

The next morning the bridesmaids were picked up in a pickup truck to go get our hair done.

It was a little windy!

It was a little windy!

Obligatory bridesmaid dresses shot

Obligatory bridesmaids’ dresses shot

The day had robin-egg blue skies and great views of Mount Baker across the water.

The day could not have been more perfect: robin-egg blue skies and great views of Mount Baker across the water.

Hydrangea bouquets

Hydrangea bouquets – These had to be carefully guarded as the deer on the island were clamoring to get them all weekend. One unfortunate guy got his head caught in the garden gate that was containing them and almost had to be “taken care of”, but escaped at the last minute. 

Hair done

Hair done!

Hair all done!

Make-up done!

At this point I put down the camera for a while, so there are no current pictures from the amazingly gorgeous ceremony, but trust me, it was amazing.

Jeff and I at the reception

Jeff and I at the reception

Dental residents: Ian, Karen and I!

Dental residents: Ian, Karen and I!

At the end of the night we all headed down to the beach to light paper lanterns:

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Lighting it up...

Lighting it up…

...getting hot..

…getting hot..

... and LIFT OFF!

… and LIFT OFF!

Someone commented that Jeff's eyes looked crazy in this picture. Really this moment is capturing his thoughts that his dear wife has had several glasses of prosecco and is innately clumsy, we're holding a lot of fire and if something happens we will need to be (expensively) airlifted off this island. I think he's being rather calm given the situation.

Someone commented that Jeff’s eyes looked crazy in this picture. Really this moment is capturing the thoughts that his dear wife has had several glasses of prosecco and is at baseline rather clumsy, we’re holding a large, highly flammable object and if something happens we will need to be (expensively) airlifted off this island. I think he’s being rather calm given the situation.

The next morning we had to wait until the tides came in to head out on the ferry – Kat and I used this time to wander around the beach, look in tide pools and poke at seastars.

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It was so much fun seeing all my co-ressies one more time. It's going to be a long year without them.

It was so much fun seeing all my co-ressies one more time. It’s going to be a long year without them.

On our walk we ran into Bri!

On our walk we ran into Bri!

Soon it was time to get back on the boat and leave.

Soon it was time to get back on the boat and leave.

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I’m smiling in this picture, but I’m actually really sad this is the last time for a while that I’ll be near these lovely ladies.

I was sad to leave the island, but the ferry ride back had some spectacular views of Mount Baker and friendly porpoise sightings to smooth the way.

It was sad to leave the island, but the ferry ride back had some spectacular views of Mount Baker and friendly porpoise sightings to smooth the way.