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.

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In which we climb Oyster Dome

We eked out the last bit of our sunny three day weekend on a hike up to Oyster Dome in the Chuckanut Mountains near Bellingham, WA. The difficulty says 3.5/5, and that it is “family friendly” – but for two out of shape city folks this trail proved to be a lot of uphill lung busting. Fortunately the views at the top of the Sound and islands was well worth it!

Finally at the top - view of the San Juan islands in the distance over Samish Bay.

We started a few feet above the water pictured below. Finally at the top – view of the San Juan islands in the distance over Samish Bay. Elevation 2025 feet.

Relaxing on top of Blanchard Mountain

Relaxing on top of Blanchard Mountain

Made it to the top!

Looking much better after some lunch.

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Much of the hike was through old growth forests

Much of the hike was through second growth conifer forests

Ghostly tree stumps reminded us of how large these behemoths once were before logging days

Ghostly tree stumps reminded us of how large these behemoths once were before logging days. On parts of the trail you could see old rusting logging coils left over (and harboring tetanus).

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Part of the trail runs with the Pacific Northwest Trail that runs from the Olympics to Glacier National Park in Montana.

There are only two really good places where you can see the Sound. Most of the time you're in the forest. Here was the other one besides the Dome.

There are only two really good places where you can see the Sound. Most of the time you’re in the forest. Here was the other one besides the Dome.

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Total length: 6.5 miles with 1900ft of elevation gain – whew!

In which we had MLK Jr. weekend

Last year we made our three day weekend stretch into a quick trip down to Portland, but with Seattle playing for a chance at the Superbowl, Jeff and I decided to stay in town.

Glad we did! That was an exciting and well fought game against the 49ers. So pumped that my new town's team is headed to the Superbowl!

Glad we did! That was an exciting and well fought game against the 49ers. So pumped that my new town’s team is headed to the Superbowl! This is a reading of the seismographs UW placed under CenturyLink field (so clearly we win nerdiest football city on top of the NFC championship).

In fun rivalry news: The fans of the 49ers and Seahawks tried to out do each other in raising money for their opponents’ children’s hospitals, with the respecting football teams matching the funds. Seattle managed to raise $73, 941 for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the Niners fans raised $34, 412 for Seattle Children’s. Love this.

Monday promised clouds, but no rain, so we headed up to Deception Pass State Park to hike the trails on the other side of the bridge. We were rewarded with stunning views of Mount Baker, the Sound and not a cloud in the sky (love when the weather forecast is that kind of wrong!). It was perfect:

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Looking across to where we hiked last time

Looking across to where we hiked last time

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So nice to be able to celebrate freedom in such glorious sunshine. To end, my favorite MLK, Jr. quote (when it’s difficult to chose from so many good ones):

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him” – MLK, Jr. 

In which we take a hike

Ever since the hike Jeff planned to Tiger Mountain State Park last summer (which inspired our Glacier road trip the very next weekend), he’s been saying that it’s my turn to plan one. We’ve been a bit busy around here so it’s taken me a while, but we were finally able to get out of town and head north to Deception Pass State Park near Anacortes, WA.

Pictures from our Rosario Head to Lighthouse Point hike:

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Bowman Bay

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Deception Island and Puget Sound in the background

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Lyrics from I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers

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Rocky beach walls

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Bridge over Deception Pass. There are no toll cameras per AMC's The Killing story plot thoug.

Bridge over Deception Pass. There are no toll cameras per AMC’s The Killing story plot though.

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Hidden cove

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Cloudy day, but we had a few peaks of sun.

Cloudy day, but we had a few peaks of sun and it didn’t rain.

Sandy hiking

Sandy hiking

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The grayness here is subtly beautiful.
We had some great views over the Sound and even got to see a few sea otters!

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In which we take a trip to the San Juans

The San Juan islands are located 2 hours or so north of Seattle, probably faster if the traffic isn’t bad. Bri, one of my co-residents and her boyfriend Ian were so sweet and invited us up to his family’s cabin on Decatur Island to spend the weekend. Even though the trip was too short we had an amazing time! A little time outside the city seemed to exactly what we needed.

There are no bridges to the islands so we drove up after work on Friday evening and took a ferry over in the dark. The next day Bri’s dad came up and took us crabbing on his fully outfitted, customized fishing boat. It was so much fun! Jeff and I’ve watched The Deadliest Catch for years and it was neat to live it out in miniature (and minus all the dangerous conditions of course).

The islands in the morning from the boat

Hauling in the first catch

Helping to pull in a crab pot

Jeff pulling in a crab pot

Sometimes we found creatures other than crabs hitching a free ride on a pot

Many legged star fish

I married him for his inner biology nerd 🙂

If this was an octopus instead of a starfish and beer you might think we were at a certain hockey game

We can’t thank Bri’s dad enough for bringing up the boat and teaching us how to crab – what a fun day! Seriously we own that man a couple of packs of PBR. After dropping us back onto dry land we furthered our crab knowledge by getting a first hand lesson in cooking and cleaning the wild beasts. One had gotten a claw around my finger while on the boat and I was determined to cook him personally (they’re all “hims” – you must throw the females back).

I think these crabs are the first food I’ve “hunted’ and then eaten. Somehow the many gallons of fresh blackberries I’ve picked in my life and fistfuls of basil I’ve collected from the garden over the years don’t really compare to pulling a live creature smack out of what was probably a pleasant crabby morning and then devouring it. It just made the delicious fresh crab taste even better.

We spent the rest of the evening cooking, eating crab, learning to play bridge and cooking s’mores over a campfire (how can I have s’more of nothing? you’re killing me Smalls). The next day was gorgeous and Bri, Jeff and I walked around the island looking for otters and poking around in tide pools.

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View out from Ian’s cabin

Its so much fun to explore a totally different Nature after spending years climbing around the foothills of Tennessee. There you used to have to worry about snakes and ticks, but here you’re just trying to keep your eye out for an otter, seal or sea lion. Both have lots of deer though!

What a wonderful, much needed getaway! Thanks Bri and Ian for being such gracious hosts!

Our amazing hosts – Bri and Ian and their dog Lola on the beach waiting for the ferry back

We can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring!

In which there was no rain and there were no vampires.

After our gigantic kayak fail last weekend we decided to take a trip that left navigating water to the professionals. From our balcony we can see the glaciated tops of the Olympic Mountains and so today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and took a trip out to the Peninsula. Nothing like sunny day to inspire a trip to one of the rainiest spots on earth!

We left early and caught the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston – the first time I’ve ever driven my car on a boat!

As you can see, it was a little foggy. Looking through the windows of the boat you could see little more than a thin line dividing similarly colored heavens and water. This blank background made it easy to pick out orangey pink jellyfish floating in the sound and we briefly giggled at a passing otter that Jeff spotted.

Once on the Peninsula we drove west, a direction that after the past month or so we thought we had run out of. This took us through the town of Forks of Twilight fame. Lots of kitsch, but no vampires – maybe because by this time the sun had come out.

(and no we didn’t go on the tour – I like being married and I’m pretty sure forcing Jeff on the Twilight tour would have ruined this good thing we have going)

 There isn’t a whole lot on the Olympic Peninsula; it boils down to mostly a big chunk of inhabitable rugged mountains making up the Olympic National Park in the middle circumnavigated by the 101, a highway that starts up here and goes all the way down to the East Los Angeles Interchange (the world’s busiest highway interchange, btw). The 101 took us past Lake Crescent on our way to the Western entrance to the Hoh Rainforest.

It was really pretty, really blue and really clear

 We finally made it to the Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park around lunchtime. Yay for our America The Beautiful pass for getting us in for free (we’d broken even on buying it at Glacier National Park but now we’re saving money on it!). This is the rainiest spot in the continental US, averaging 150 inches of rain a year – that’s 12.5 feet! From our visit you’d never know it though because it was gorgeous and sunny.

Phone booth!

We walked the brief Hall of Mosses trail which looked like it was straight out of the Dagobah system.

Many massive trees!

In a temperate rainforest there is a lot of moss

This was a skinny tree

Trees growing out of trees!

Massive trees and moss!

Little blurry, but that’s what you get with the auto timer

After lots of green and sunshine to recharge my soul, we headed back to Seattle on a much clearer ferry ride with great views of Puget Sound.

My car – ON A BOAT!
(i was wearing flippie floppies)

Good day trip 😀

After a long day of driving all over creation we settled into a nice chicken dinner at home and past episodes of The Office.

So today’s lesson: sometimes there is no rain in the alleged rainforest and when it’s sunny there are no vampires in Forks.

Also we found Twilight beer at our corner market and thought it was an appropriate end to a day spent visiting Forks.

Jeff saw this picture on my phone right after I took it and immediately said

“Well you won”.
“Won what?”
“Won Instagram.”
“What?”
“You took a picture of an ironic picture of an ironic Twilight beer (which was probably already ironically named) with Instagram while in Seattle. If that doesn’t win I don’t know what does.”

So I drank one for winning. And it was delicious. The End.