Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

In honor of National Wildflower Week (yes, apparently that’s a thing), I hereby present a short guide to my favorite wildflowers. I am as far from an expert that you could possibly get and don’t even own a book on flora, so I’ve learned the names of these from my hiking partners. In other words – if any of these are wrong, blame my friends.

First up, lilies. I love lilies. My absolute favorite flower is the Tiger Lily (left), and I have yet to see one without emitting a high-pitched squeal of joy. These just say SUMMER to me. I’ve only seen the Chocolate Lily (right) once, but look! So cool! So elegant! So named after my favorite food group!

...and even more.

The Glacier Lily starts popping up in late spring/early summer depending on the elevation (we saw a bunch of them last week on Sauer’s Mountain) and make quite the impressive display in an alpine setting.

Kyes and Columbia?

Even prettier, the Avalanche Lily! I’ve seen huge fields of these in Spray Park and Summerland on Mount Rainier.

We're pretty

Columbine (left) signals the beginning of summer to me. I usually see these popping up on Poo Poo Point in June, then giddily follow their development as the snow melts in the higher climes. Calypso Orchids (right) can be deceptively hard to spot and a pain in the ass to photograph, but man alive, so pretty. I usually find these east of the crest, but have been surprised by them once or twice on exotic Tiger Mountain.

More columbine Calypso Orchids

Aah, Beargrass. If you ever decide to hike Bandera Mountain (or any other open-sloped trails along I90), do it in late June when it turns into a veritable wonderland of these purdy stalks.


I have a special affinity for Paintbrush since one of our very first hikes (to good old Noble Knob); I remember the trail being lined with beautiful shades of red, and it was one of the moments that made me fall in love with these mountains.

Indian Paintbrush Magenta Paintbrush

Winner of the best smell category: Lupine. I’ll never forget the scent of sun-warmed lupine on the Wonderland Trail. It was like walking through a cloud of perfume, except it was light and airy and not gross (I really hate perfume).

Professor Lupin

Shooting Stars will always remind me of the Teanaway, which automatically puts them on the favorites list. They’re quite easy on the peepers, too.

Shooting stars

A lot of these flowers excite me so much because they symbolize the changing of the seasons, and Trillium is the official herald of spring. When these start popping up in the Issaquah Alps, I know lighter, greener days are coming.

My first trillium of 2012

Another spring favorite – Balsamroot! These flourish east of the crest, and warrant at least one drive across the mountains every April or May for a petal pilgrimage.


Last but not least, my second favorite flower – actually, as far as I can understand, this is when the Western Pasqueflower has gone past the flower stage; these are the seed heads! Also known as Western Anemone, I usually call them fuzzbuckets or hippie heads, especially when there’s a whole flock of them gathered like a miniature Woodstock Festival.

Western Anemone

How you can help Oso

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Most of you have probably heard about the devastating mudslide that hit the small town of Oso, WA, last weekend. As of now, 26 people are confirmed dead and at least 90 people have been reported missing. Volunteers and rescue crews are still working to dig through thick mud, water, and debris to look for victims, and will be doing so for a long time.

To help those affected by the slide, please visit this link for information on cash donations: Where to go to help mudslide victims

If you’re local, here’s information about different supplies you can donate to the emergency workers: Oso mudslide: ways to help

Sunset over the Sound

Living vicariously

Monday, June 17th, 2013

I spent most of the last week sick and pathetic on the couch, but instead of using that time to get caught up on my own blog, I got lost in the world of PCT blogs.

I’ve been a Pacific Crest Trail fangirl ever since JK gave me A Blistered Kind of Love for Christmas back in 2007. I doubt I’ll ever hike the entire trail myself (I would miss JK too much!), but there are several sections of it that are on my bucket list. In the meantime, I’m living vicariously through some of this year’s thru-hikers who are journaling their way from Mexico to Canada.


- First up, my favorite – Carrot Quinn is an incredibly gifted writer (check out her fascinating memoir about freighthopping) whose words truly convey the ups and downs of life on the trail: Carrot Quinn

- It’s a given that I would like this girl since she not only carries a Mukmuk mascot on her pack like I do, but her trail name is Muk Muk!! Excellent photos, too: Mexico to Canada 2013

- I can’t get over how high-tech some of these thru-hikers are. UB is hiking with a video camera and an iPad so he can edit and post videos along the way: UBSeRiOuS

Have any other PCT favorites? Please share!

Sean McCabe

Friday, June 15th, 2012

JK and I stumbled across these prints in a gallery in Winthrop last month, and I decided to buy them as a birthday present for myself. They took me right back to one of my favorite hikes.

Heather Pass © Sean McCabe Studio Heather Pass, our version

(Heather Pass © Sean McCabe Studio | Carlos and Ingunn below Heather Pass)

We were saddened to hear that the artist, local climber and art teacher Sean McCabe, passed away in 2009, leaving behind his wife and two daughters.

A view from the top, our version A View From the Top © Sean McCabe Studio

(Looking down from Black Peak | View from the Top © Sean McCabe Studio)

His gallery is full of beautiful artwork from the Cascades, so take a peek if you’re a local mountain lover.

I’m going to hang these canvas prints in our living room, a reminder of our past and future adventures when the weather is dark and dreary, and a nudge to live life fully while we can.

Spring redeemed

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I’m taking a break between trip reports to acknowledge the incredible amazingness that was Seattle Spring o’2012. After the preposterous excuse for a spring and early summer we had last year, I think I just forgot how fantastic this area is when it’s, well, not raining non-stop for months on end.

Melting Wellie

Not only was it not raining, but it was so hot that even Wellie couldn’t be outside in the middle of the day (and he’s Italian!) – every day I would find him melted on the floor or over various pieces of furniture like a Dalí clock.

Sunshine Welliepop Redmond Watershed

Spring on the Powerline Powerline sunset

Hot days led to warm afternoons spent walking on the Powerline Trail or biking to the Redmond Watershed Preserve…

Climbing Mount Si

…rock climbing in North Bend or sailing on Lake Washington.

JK with alpenglow

Thank you, Washington, for providing us with the best playground we could ever ask for. You have more than made up for the nightmarish spring of 2011, and with this blog post I hope I have made up for all the smack I talked about you back then.

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