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

DSC_0153

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

Advertisements

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.

DSC_0083

DSC_0076

DSC_0078

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

DSC_0084

DSC_0088

DSC_0089

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

DSC_0116

Overlooking the water

Opposite side of the falls

Opposite side of the falls

DSC_0133

DSC_0125

Close up of the falls

DSC_0096

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

DSC_0129

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.

DSC_0103

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:

DSC_0151

Mary and Anna

Anna and I

Anna and I

DSC_0108

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.

DSC_0161

DSC_0163

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.

DSC_0168

DSC_0175

Here’s to many more adventures with these 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

IMG_3765

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!

IMG_3789

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!

IMG_3802

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

IMG_3813

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.

IMG_20140917_120101359_HDR

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.

IMG_20140917_133729975

IMG_3846

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!

IMG_3841

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!

IMG_20140917_202256784

 

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 Canada

Flashback: Spring Break 2005, Sophomore year of college. Jeff and I had been dating just over a year and we and a couple of friends decided to drive to Canada. Why there? Well we were too poor to fly anywhere warm, we could try skiing and because the legal drinking age was 18. A few days before the trip everyone had dropped out except for Jeff and I, but we decided to go anyway. I should’ve known I was going to marry him then because how else do you drive 1024 miles in one week WITHOUT fancy GPS equipment or iPhones in a country where my middle school French was not helping us out that much?

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 5.47.44 PM

Roughly our route (and remember this is pre-GPS days. Durham -> Boston -> Quebec -> Montreal -> Durham. That last stretch we drove in one day.. something like 14 hours!

That trip was so much fun; I’m so glad we ended up still going. Sadly most of my pictures were destroyed or corrupted a long time ago, but here is some vintage Jeff and Elise:

Young us visiting the ice hotel in Quebec

Young us visiting the ice hotel in Quebec

Snowy streets of Quebec

Snowy streets of Quebec

Flash forward: So we find ourselves so close to the Canadian border once again – only three hours via I-5 to Vancouver, but just haven’t found the time to make it to our snowy (or on this side, temperate) northern neighbors.

After our hike out on the Dungeness Spit we drove on to Port Angeles to catch the ferry to Victoria, BC. The city lies at the end of the Vancouver Peninsula and is basically only accessible by plane or boat. This ferry was much larger and it took us over an hour to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca, much longer than the 15-20 minute one across the Sound.

Tickets and the view from the ferry.

Tickets and the view from the ferry.

Us on a boat (sweaty from our hike)

Us on a boat (sweaty from our hike)
And look what our phone can do 8 years later – take pictures, edit them AND has the INTERNETS! All in our pockets. And all this on a 2+ year old phone.. Amazing.

Once we landed we checked into the Hotel Grand Pacific (thank you Hotwire and your awesome deals!) and hurried through a much needed shower before heading out to find some food. Victoria (and Seattle for that matter) is so far north that the sun is still pretty high even at 8:30pm, so it didn’t seem too late out until the lovely people at The Keg brought our our steaks – then we ate like the famished hikers we were!

The next day we explored around the Inner Harbour where we were staying – it’s kind of touristy, but fun to see all the cute little shops, boats, seaplanes coming in from Vancouver and Seattle and the lovely Fairmont Empress hotel and old British Columbia Parliament buildings.

DSC_0394

The Empress Hotel

DSC_0397

Boats in the Inner Harbour – early morning before the throngs of people started to come out.

After a quick breakfast we headed out to the Butchart Gardens. Victoria is where a lot of people in Canada go to retire due to the temperate weather (it’s basically their Florida), so they’re slightly obsessed with gardening. I was excited to see the Butchart Gardens because there was a picture of them on my grandparents’ wall for so many years when I was younger. They did a lot of traveling when my granddaddy retired and I loved flipping through their photo books, always wanting to see the places for myself. Jeff is humoring me and we’ve been checking off places that hung on the picture wall pretty diligently (the Badlands were our last ones).

DSC_0413

DSC_0406

The exact picture my grandmother has!

The exact picture my grandmother has!

The whole place was pretty incredible – some of the best gardens we’ve ever seen. Neither of us has anything close to a green thumb, so I like to think we appreciate this amount of horticultural knowledge and expertise on a well respected level.

DSC_0398

Their Japanese garden section outdid Portland’s entire garden devoted to the theme.

DSC_0412All too soon we had to head back to the ferry because unlike when you cross into Canada and can just show up at the dock, the US customs agents need you to be back 1.5 hours before your crossing to ask you a bunch of questions.. and then make you wait for an hour and twenty minutes.

DSC_0424

We were once again blessed with clear skies and smooth waters.

Hello Olympic Mountains, peeking out from your ever present clouds.

Hello Olympic Mountains, peeking out from your ever present clouds.

DSC_0417

Bye, bye Victoria!

From Port Angeles we headed back to the Kingston-Edmonds ferry and then back down into Seattle. It was a quick, perfect trip!

A: Seattle; B: Dungeness Spit; C: Victoria and then back again.

A: Seattle; B: Dungeness Spit; C: Victoria and then back again.

In which we hike the Dungeness Spit

Forgive my lack of posts, I’ve been on a month long anesthesia rotation and maybe it’s long hours around the gasses or the 4am wake ups, but when I get home all I want to do is try not to fall asleep until 8pm so I can go to bed and do it all over again the next day.

photo 4

It’s been a wonderful rotation though, and I’ll be sorry for it to end. I’m on a week of vacation this coming week, so there is no excuse for me not to play a little catch up on the old bloggy blog. First: our little corner of the internet turned ONE YEAR! on May 21st which is 1) way longer than I thought I’d keep this going and 2) kind of a nice accomplishment. I should’ve done some great post about it, but well I didn’t.. so here’s hoping any future hypothetical children get a better first birthday party.

A map of all the countries (43!) where people have stumbled upon our blog. We've been viewed 4,142 times (4,000 of which are probably my mom).

A map of all the countries (43!) where people have stumbled upon our blog. We’ve been viewed 4,142 times (4,100 of which are probably my mom and aunts..).

We had originally planned to drive down the Pacific coast this week and see San Francisco for my week of vacation, but for a variety of reasons we decided that we’d use the time to play our favorite game of tourist in our own backyard instead. This weekend we started off by popping up to Victoria, British Columbia for a quick get away. We hopped on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry like the pro Washington ferry riders we now are and sailed over to the Peninsula.

We bypassed the huge Renaissance Fair going on in Port Gamble and first stopped by the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, home of the Dungeness Spit, the largest natural sand spit in the US (I know, I know, contain your excitement).

DSC_0388 It’s this huge stretch of sand, rock and driftwood that juts out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the passage of water that separates the Peninsula from Canada and connects the Pacific Ocean to the Puget Sound.

DSC_0385This hike is famous for its wildlife, especially its abundance of bird species. To be honest, I was in it for the seals, sea lions and otters of which we didn’t see ANY! Lame nature not showing up when it was convenient for us. So we had to make do playing around the driftwood ourselves:

 

DSC_0381At the end of the 5.5mi stretch is a lighthouse where we enjoyed a well earned picnic lunch. The grounds and light used to be maintained by the US Coast Guard but is now kept up by the New Dungeness Light volunteers who pay to come spend a week every two years on maintenance and giving tours. They’re a bunch of adorable elderly folks who were finishing up their week when we were out there – they even passed us on our return hike in their “Keeper Mobiles”. PS – you too can sign up to be a light house keeper, how awesome does that sound??

DSC_0366

 

DSC_0358

DSC_0357

DSC_0362

From the top you could look out and see Victoria, BC – our next destination!

As well as the long hike back to the mainland.

As well as the long hike back to the mainland.

DSC_0363

After lunch we hiked back to the mainland so we could continue on our way to Victoria (nothing like booking a non-refundable hotel room to make you quick hop step it back so you can catch the last ferry to BC!).

DSC_0370

DSC_0373

 

After 11 miles of sand and driftwood our legs were feeling it, but as far as hikes go this is a good one. And despite the lack of adorable baby seals I was hoping for we had amazing weather, which can be just as good.