Archive for March, 2011

Parents in Paradise

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This blog needs some sunshine, but since the Great Fireball in the Sky has decided to shun Seattle for the time being, I’ll post about warmer, brighter, drier days in the past instead.

Autumnal Tahoma

My parents tend to visit us during official Norwegian holidays like Christmas and Easter, smack dab in the middle of monsoon season. So when the asked if they could come in early fall, I was excited to show them the Pacific Northwest at its finest. Unlike their previous visits, they got to see Washington in full color instead of grey – and look!! Ginormous volcanoes all around us!

Best seat in da house Lazin' on a sunny afternoon JK descending

The most ginormoustest of them all, Mount Rainier, couldn’t possibly have provided us with better conditions for our hike to Panorama Point.

New hobby Mukmuk's cousins
Turns all year Wobbly

It was my first day back on trail since I pulled a muscle in the Enchantments, so I was in full-on giddy mountain mode; my dad got to stalk marmots and deer with his new, fancy camera; my mom was absolutely enthralled by the mountain (see, I told you it’s magic!); and JK kept bursting into evil laughter every time he thought about his coworkers who were stuck in the office. Moahahaa!

Family portrait

My parents turned around at Glacier Vista to mosey on down the meadows and check out the Paradise Visitor Center while JK and I hoofed it up to Pan Point.

Saluting Mount Adams

This was our first time hiking around Paradise sans snow. Everything looked the same, but somehow…different. At least now I could wear shorts, which is always a plus.

Hello friend

We looped back down to Paradise and found my parents waiting in the waning sunlight, then decided to drive the long way home around the mountain.

Reflection Lake

Skyline Trail | 5 miles | 1300 feet elevation gain –

Wahkeena Falls

Another highlight of my parents’ visit was our weekend road trip to Portland. There were outdoor markets and big bookstores and good eats, but since I apparently never take photos in urban settings, here are photos from day two, when we went on a waterfall tour and drove out to the coast (wow, that was a lot of commas…and I’m sure none of them were used correctly).

Multnomah Falls squishy Happy dog View from our dinner table

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Wellie happier than when he was playing fetch on Cannon Beach. Those little feet were made to run in the sand.

The happiest dog in the world

Unfortunately my mom was coming down with the Flu of Doom (it got all of us before the month was over), but I think she enjoyed herself anyway. Not so sure what she thought about the weird little hippie cafe we took them to though. ;^)

Ecola* State Park

Sunset somewhere along the way home. Sometimes you just have to pull over.

Sunset somewhere

After the roaring success of taking JK’s mom to the Space Needle in the summer (hey, I never blogged about that, either. I suck at this!), we hit the jackpot again with a gorgeous sunset dinner. And lavender beer. Mmm.

Beautiful Seattle

This was my favorite parental visit yet. Hopefully they’ll come back to visit their grandson (don’t get excited – I’m talking about Wellie!) again soon, and, if we’re lucky, maybe the weather and views will treat us just as well as they did this time around (there I go with the commas again [and with the parentheses]).

IMG_0188

Now I think my parents finally understand why we love it here in Washington and why we never want to leave…but that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t miss all of you guys back home.

Sunset over the Olympics

Back on trail

Friday, March 25th, 2011

There are so many extra little things to worry about when snowshoeing - avalanches! man-eating tree wells! yetis! - that I had yet to take the leap into solo winter hiking. Since this was technically the first day of spring (and I was going absolutely mental from lack of outdoor time post-Maui), it was about time.

JK spent the day at climbing instructor training in the Washington Alpine Club’s cabin on Alpental Road, so he dropped me off at the Kendall Peak Lakes trailhead and left me to my own devices. I had forgotten how much I love hiking by myself. I get all calm and happy and zen and junk, and the miles fly by effortlessly. I actually hike faster when I’m alone, because I go at my own pace and don’t have to keep stopping to gasp for air. JK says it probably helps that I’m not “wasting energy on worrying about what other people think”, which sounds about right.

Got it!

The only downside to hiking by myself was having to use the self-timer on my camera – next time I’ll try to remember my mini tripod and, uhm, some skillz.

Outtakes

I hiked to the two lower lakes, hit some extra bumps on the ridge, then headed over to Kendall Knob and back to the trailhead. I still had lots of time to kill, so I walked up to Hyak and took the ski shuttle to Summit West. I wandered around Commonwealth Basin for a bit before walking to the WAC cabin where my chauffeur husband was finishing up his training.

Kendall Peak Lakes & Commonwealth Basin | 10.6 miles | 2900 feet gain –

Spring has sprung

Now that spring has sprung and the days are getting longer, it’s easier to motivate JK to go for post-work hikes. We’ve also made a deal that instead of rejoining the gym, we’re going to make an effort to get up in them thar hills more often. On Tuesday we revisited an old (and close to home) favorite, Poo Poo Point, to take advantage of the sun(!) and the natural stairmaster that is the Chirico Trail.

Master of Issaquah Welcome to Poo Poo

The sunset didn’t let us down, and I got a better cardio session than I ever would in a gym. Apparently I need it, because after I had huffed and puffed and wheezed and moaned my way to the top, JK let me know that he didn’t even break a sweat. Great.

Poo Poo Point | 3.5 miles |1750 feet elevation gain –

Crayola sky

Every year I promise myself that I am going to get in shape for TNAB, and every year I fail to do anything of the sort. The season started last night with a mercifully gentle jaunt to Dirty Harry’s Balcony. Unfortunately this was the only (in my eyes) easy hike on the TNAB schedule this year, so you can start placing bets on how long it’ll take before I hurl on a hike again.

TNAB summit shot

(Group photo stolen from Scott)

Dirty Harry’s Balcony | 4 miles | 1400 feet elevation gain –

Mobile Maui

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

It’s been two weeks since we came home from Maui, and I have yet to finish processing all our photos from those 12 days in paradise. So, since I was very excited to be on my first vacation with one o’ them thar fancy phones that take photos and connect to the intertubes and everything, here’s Maui seen through my cell phone.

Good night Maui Paradise

Time for reflection Olivine Pools

Photo bombers Still wearing the toque

Surfer girl This is what they eat in heaven

Sunset over the ant people View from my beach towel

Haleakala The world is our spa

Photos processed with the Hipstar app for Windows Phone 7
-The rest of our Maui photos on flickr -

Distinguished

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

30 Years Ago

My husband and best friend and adventure partner turns old and grey and thirty today. Happy birthday, JK – it’s all downhill from here, so just strap on those skis and go!

Still just as cute

Jeg elsker deg, Gapo!

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