You may have the mistaken impression from my pictures that it’s always sunny here in Seattle and all my whining is superfluous. I assure you, it’s not. It’s just that I haven’t strengthened whatever gene these Seattleites posess to go do everything in the rain and be happy about it. We do do things in the rain (if we didn’t, we’d never leave the apartment)- the Ballard Market this weekend for example. I just am so rarely moved to pull out a camera (or phone) to document the longest deluge of my life.
Mt. Rainier from the University of Washington campus
But when the sun does shine here it moves me so. I stop my run, pull out my iPhone and just snap a picture to try and convey it. This has what living in slow Chinese water torture has done to me – I’m compelled to document the cloudless sky. Forgive me, it’s too, too pretty not to.
Cascades range and Mt. Rainier over I-5.
And the Mountain.. when she is out it’s all I can do to look away. Not only does she take up a vast part of the skyline – in an incredible way that only a telephoto lens could give you a good grasp on, she is ultimate witness that the skies are indeed as clear as they can be.
My phone washes this out, but the white space in the middle is full of mountain.
Where ever we end up from here, I’ll never take the sunshine for granted again.
When we first told people we were moving out here the most common response we got was about the weather; the second was about how great the outdoors were here:
Sadly, save from a few outings this summer, residency has gotten in the way of a lot of enjoying the nature around us. I had a random vacation day a few weeks back and as luck would have it, it was one of the rare, gorgeous, cloudless days. The kind of day no one really deserves. I like to think I took full advantage of it and headed to Wallace Falls in the Cascade mountains east of Seattle.
The moss here is truly insane. When we first got here someone quipped to me that “I guess we have to put up with a little rain for all the green” and in my head I indignantly thought, “hello lady, it’s green other places and there isn’t NEARLY this deluge going on all the time”. This was the first time I was able to wrap my head around what she meant.. if I were instead hiking in February in the southern Appalachians, the ground would be brown and crunchy and covered in three feet of leaves this time of year. I would’ve been able to see far down the trail instead of only a few feet into the mossy curtains that hung by the path.
The hike has three main waterfalls and a smattering of smaller ones which make it an enjoyable 6.2 mile round trip. At one point towards the highest falls you could see a clear 82 miles to the Olympic mountains in the far distance, that’s how clear a day it was!
We’ll have to get out on some more hikes as the weather gets better! Many thanks to my co-resident Steve for the great recommendation!
Is there anything worse than waking up an hour early in the spring?
Is there anything better than the drive home from work in the daylight?
I think if you don’t live in the northwest, some wintertime sun isn’t anything to write home about. But here, it seems like it started raining one day in October and never stopped, so bare with my iPhone photos of the sunshine. It brings warmth to my heart, a renewed faith that this isn’t the Noah’s Ark redux and some breath taking views of the snow capped mountains around us.
Other than some brief reminders that the skies won’t always be grey, it’s been back to sklerk (Jeff’s combination of “school” + “work”, but accurately spelled schlork).
And to end the day, one of my favorite groups singing one of my favorite hymns: Mumford & Sons – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Jeff and I rung in 2013 downtown with our friends Symon and Ashley, plenty of champagne and great views of the Space Needle fireworks:
And then to welcome in the brand new year, Mother Nature gave us the gift of a sunny day. I’d been wanting to show Jeff Discovery Park out in Magnolia since I had driven through it when I was up last year for my interview and the sunshine seemed to be the perfect excuse to go.
We were joined by several hundred dozen other Seattleites out there soaking in some Vitamin D after being cooped up for so long under grey skies, but it was worth it to catch a glimpse of The Mountain in January.
This picture does not do Rainier justice. I need a telephoto lens.
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, because they’ve always seemed a bit silly to me. If you want to start working out in October, what’s the point of waiting two months for an arbitrary day to do it? That being said it is always nice to take some stock of where you are and adjust any of the many directions that may need it. So to that end, in 2013 I look forward to writing, reading, exploring, and connecting more; eating, playing, and dressing well; and ultimately offering a better version of myself.
Get in here 2013, you’ve got some big ol’ wonderful shoes to fill!
Puget Sound from Discovery Park
Over Labor Day weekend we took a trip up to Mt. Rainier (pronounced Rah-neer, not “rainy-er” despite the weather situation up here). It was a gorgeous weekend, but unfortunately every other person and their brother thought it would also be a great idea to spend some time on what Seattleites affectionately call “The Mountain”.
I’ve had a slight obsession with this gorgeous volcano since I first came out to Seattle to interview. Before catching my red-eye back to Chapel Hill, Sandra Fisher and I took a walk down by Lake Washington and she pointed out what I thought were high clouds in the distance. Those clouds were really the snow capped slopes of Rainier and I was fascinated by a mountain that could be so high it had snow all year round. My beloved Appalachians in contrast only have snow in the deep of winter and the blanket is dirtied by the trees that cover their hills.
We visited probably the busiest part of the park – the Paradise area which is famous for its alpine wild flowers. Below are some pictures of our 5.4 mi loop hike.
This is my imitation of Maria in the Swiss Alps
Jeff is not as willing to reenact the opening scene of The Sound of Music
During our entire hike, the 14, 410 ft peak remained an elusive site behind clouds. The Mountain makes its own weather it’s so tall. Right as we were about to head out of the visitor’s center the clouds parted briefly for a look at her summit.
Despite the crowds it was nice to get out of the city for a little bit. Oh! And we saw a bear! I didn’t have a really nice picture of it, so nothing to post, but it was cool to see one. Don’t worry, we took a quick survey of the other people watching it and Jeff and I decided we could at least out run three of them. I was also really excited to walk on some glaciers after not getting to see any at Glacier National Park on our trip out here (that long delayed post will come soon!).
This is a stunning time lapse video of the Pacific Northwest by Portland photographer John Eklund. After seeing the gorgeous San Juans earlier this week, I think I’ve got the travel bug. Can’t wait to start exploring some more of these places!