Archive for the ‘Visitors’ Category

Basil the Buff hikes the bluff

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

After much nagging from friends, JK and I finally drove to Whidbey Island and hiked the Bluff Trail to Ebey’s Landing, lauded by many as their favorite hike. It seemed like the perfect place to take JK’s mom, who was visiting us from Norway.

Tall grass, golden light

The hike sure was gorgeous, but I found it somewhat difficult to focus on the views when Basil’s disturbingly bulging thighs were powering along ahead of me. Our new furry (well, not so furry actually) companion looks like a juiced-up bodybuilder!

Buff Basil

We adopted the little guy from Italian Greyhound Rescue Northwest, where we also found Wellie in 2009. Basil – British pronunciation, √† la Basil Fawlty – is 7 years old and fit as a fiddle, missing a lot of fur and the tips of his ears…but what he lacks in hair and hide, he makes up for in pure snuggliness. He seemed comfortable with us right from the start, and it’s an absolute joy to have two little nutrias running around the house again.

Simuljumping It's a Basellie!

“Me and Wellie was like peas and carrots.”

Dogs on a log

Ebey’s Landing is definitely going on our list of Excellent Hikes for Visitors, since:

a) It’s purdy.

b) It’s doable for anyone, including a guy who was moving so fast that I didn’t even notice until I was right by him that he had a prosthetic leg. What a badass. He even ran after his kids.

c) It’s in the Olympic rainshadow, so chances are it’s sunny there while we’re being massively rained upon in Redmond.

d) You can refuel at Cove Thai after the hike. So that’s what we did. *rubs belly appreciatively*


Ebey’s Landing | 5.6 miles | 260 feet elevation gain –

Wonky Wellie

Tour de Muir

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

JK had promised our Norwegian guest a ski tour, so when the summer solstice forecast read sunny all the way, he took the day off work and drove us to Paradise. He brought his randonnée skis and Jolli rented telemark gear Рa true Norwegian!

Silly Nannies

I, the bad Norwegian, was on foot. Honestly I wasn’t planning on going very far, so I brought my Kindle and my Zune, prepared to hang out at Panorama Point while the guys skinned up to Camp Muir. I haven’t done any really challenging hikes in a long time, elevation gain-wise, so I had sort of lost the confidence I used to have about being able to keep up with other people and join them on longer dayhikes.

Meh, they're rentals Feels like the beach Almost there (for real this time)

Not that I haven’t been enjoying our lazy hikes this year, au contraire – I love late starts, hanging out at lakes and taking summit naps…but it would be nice to not have to turn down hiking invitations because I’m worried that I won’t be able to push myself.

A good day to play hooky

Anyhoo, back to Rainier. The weather was amazing – strong wind to begin with, but it died down once we hit the Muir Snowfield, leaving us stripped down to base layers and roasting in the glorious sun. Somehow I was consistently ahead of the boys the whole way, so I decided to just turn on my Zune and keep going.

"Almost there"

Between the gorgeous views and the perfect playlist – mostly Hot Chip and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – I felt amazingly energized. Even as we got close to 10,000 feet, I kept stopping to throw down dance moves. Hmm, maybe the altitude affected me more than I thought.

I guess I'm in better shape than I thought

I reached Camp Muir, 10,080 feet, infinitely proud of myself, confidence restored. I ate my disgustingly soggy Subway sandwich (note to self – Subway works better as a winter hiking food) and chatted with some climbers while waiting for JK and Jolli to arrive.


After taking group photos, I left the boys to their own soggy sandwiches in order to get a head start – skis beat feet on the downhill. I got some good glissades in where it was steep enough, but the snow was so soft from the heat that I spent most of the 4,700 feet of elevation loss posthole-running.

Excited about the descent

As for JK and Jolli, all that uphill paid off in surprisingly good skiing. They were all smiles as they caught up with me, just above Pebble Creek.

Definitely worth the climb



I hiked down to Glacier Vista with some very nice climbers celebrating their successful summit bid, then posthole-jogged the rest of the way to the car, still high on endorphins and thickening air.

Just as I was telling Jolli that the only thing missing from our day on the mountain was a fox sighting, this little guy came into view. With that, it was official – we’d had a perfect day.

Roadside fox

Camp Muir | 9 miles | 4700 feet elevation gain –

Ski tracks

Goat vs Wellie

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Eager to finally tackle my annual birthday hike to Iron Peak (see 2010 and 2011) and rescue our Norwegian guest, Jolli, from the soggy Seattle phenomenon known as Juneuary, we packed up the car and sped towards the magical land of the Teanaway.

Norwegians* take Iron

Crossing Snoqualmie Pass felt like driving through a car wash, but if Tom has taught me anything, it’s that it never rains in the Teanaway. And it didn’t, mostly. We hiked in hot sunshine up to the saddle, somewhat intense wind along the ridge (luckily Wellie didn’t blow away – we would need him later), and enjoyed a light two-minute sprinkle on the summit.

Wellie's ears are blowing in the wind Magica De Spell

After devouring summit Subway sandwiches and summit Kona Wailua beers, we had time for a satisfying summit snooze before heading back down.

Summit snooze

On the way up, we had told Jolli about the different kinds of wildlife we see on hikes here – adorable marmots, majestic bears, and mountain goats that follow you if you separate from your group because they want to lick your salty fluid deposits.

Naturally, we mentioned the fatal goring in Olympic National Park a couple of years ago…which was the first thing that popped into Jolli’s head when he ran into a mountain goat on the way down.

Oh, hello

I’ve met a lot of goats throughout my almost five years of hiking in the Cascades and they’ve never really made me nervous, even when they’ve cornered me mid-pee and moved close enough to touch. This one, however, moved right towards us with such speed and determination that it gave me pause.

The boys got their hiking poles ready for battle and I hugged my camera tightly (ALWAYS SAVE THE CAMERA FIRST), but just when the goat got within goring distance of us, Wellie let out a sharp bark which scared the bejesus out of him. The goat literally jumped into the air and ran up the ridge to get away from the terrifying 17-lb canine. Brave Sir Wellie saves the day!!

Iron Goat

Iron Peak | 6.5 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –

Brave Sir Wellie

Seattle Showcase

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Whenever we get visitors from the old country, we do our best to impress them with our fabulous adopted state.

Wowsa Space Needle Dinner

Once in a while the weather cooperates and we can pretend that we don’t live in the American version of Bergen. Other times the monsoon will be out in full force and the poor out-of-towners can stay here for weeks on end without catching as much as a glimpse of our beautiful mountains. To this day, my brother thinks Mount Rainier is a figment of my imagination.

Marthe & Olle Wellie's newest slaves

Luckily Marthe and Olle timed their visit perfectly with a stretch of unseasonably clear autumn weather, so in addition to touring Discovery Park, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market, JK and I lured them down to Mount Rainier National Park for a hike, buttering them up (literally) with donuts along the way.

Layered Tahoma

Actually, if you stay at our house you are contractually obligated to go hiking with us. Consider it rent.

Norwegians on Rainier

Rent in the form of amazing views…

Cold blue

…and wildlife encounters. Foxes!

Yes, you're heartbreakingly adorable...

Black Bears!!

Why did the bear cross the road?

Cascade Mountain Gorillas!!!

Primate in Paradise

We hiked through the fresh snow up to Panorama Point. JK and I have been there, oh, about 756 times before, but we still love it. Especially when we get to share this piece of our new life with people from our old life.

My brother needs to come back and see that we’re not making this stuff up.

We seriously have to start keeping a tripod in the car..

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]).


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

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