An unintentionally early babymoon

March 13th, 2014

Thank you so much for the well wishes! We’ve wanted this for a long time, so we’re over the moon about it and looking forward to what is sure to be our biggest adventure.

Good morrow

The years we spent trying to get pregnant were some of the toughest of my life, but at the same time, I feel like I finally learned to truly appreciate all the wonderful things (…and people, and pups, and experiences) I do have in my life. It was a strange time of vacillating between feeling like everything was hopeless and then realizing I need to make the most out of this life, because you never know what’s in store. This process really does teach you to not take anything for granted.

Caribbean hiking views

In the end, we were one of the lucky couples for whom treatment worked, and I am so grateful for that. Infertility is so awful and so lonely, and my heart goes out to everyone who is affected by it.

Open-air living room

Since we assumed that this cycle wasn’t going to work (if you don’t get your hopes up, it hurts a little less when you fail), we ended up planning a vacation smack dab in the middle of the first trimester. This is not something I would necessarily recommend, unless you’re really into creative ways of, uhm, feeding the fish while snorkeling.

Underwater hiking

(I’ve also fully mastered the stealthy walk n’ puke, which is an essential skill to learn if you want to stay reasonably active through your first trimester.)

Bitten off more than he can chew

Still, I lucked out since the worst of the “morning” sickness didn’t begin until the end of the trip. Plus, if you’re going to be barfing anyway, you might as well do it in paradise, also known as St. John, USVI.

My favorite tree

I’ll get my act together soon and write a guide to my St. John favorites, but for now I just have to mention the amazing vacation rental where we stayed, Coral Bay Eco Retreat. It’s totally off the grid, using solar power and rain water for your electrical and plumbing needs, and the views are to die for.

Afternoon amazeballness

Of course, our very favorite thing about St. John is the out-of-this-world snorkeling. JK loves turtles almost as much as I love marmots, so getting to swim with them almost every day is a huge rush.

One of many turtle friends

Side note: scuba diving is off-limits while pregnant, but snorkeling is great for you as long as you make sure you don’t hold your breath – so no free diving, and no holding your breath in terror when you see a shark. ;^)

Our first nurse shark!

Our friends happened to be on the island at the same time as us with their beach-loving son, and they were happy to report that it was “the easiest toddler vacation ever”. Methinks there will be another trip to St. John in the future when our little family has grown, too!

Reunion

Hiking for two

March 12th, 2014

My hibernation instinct has been extra strong this winter – with good reason – but my energy is slowly returning and I finally get to hike for two!

Coming September 2014

Our tiny new trailmate is expected to arrive in September, and we are ridiculously excited to meet the little nugget.

Ptarmigan Ridge to the Portals

February 28th, 2014

I am slowly but surely waking up from my marmot-like winter hibernation, so while I’m stretching my paws and getting my hiking mojo reset, I’ll play catch-up with some of my favorite trips from this fall.

The same, but different.

Since we had our furry running coach, Brutus, with us, we picked a trail we knew would be excellent for running, the Ptarmigan Ridge trail on Mount Baker, but due to the heat (omgz way too hot for September – little did we know it would rain the rest of the month) and my getting over a cold, we ended up just hiking most of the day…

Oh yeah

…with lots of breaks to cool off in streams and roll around on snowfields.

Them dogs be bananas

I love this trail. Similar to Paradise and Sunrise on Mount Rainier, Ptarmigan Ridge lets you cheat your way through thousands of feet of forest and drive straight up to the timberline. Alpine views from start to finish!

Last flowers of summer

Last time we were here, we stopped and camped at the turquoise lake, but this time we had our eyes set on the Portals, which you can see in the distance in the photo above. Last time we also didn’t have any views until the last fifteen minutes of the hike, so we were kind of blown away this time.

Inviting trail

Still, I was feeling pretty blah from my cold, so Brutus and I took a very satisfying nap while JK and the Italians explored the Portals.

Snooze Rock

The hike back to the car was breathtaking (the views, not the trail – it’s mostly flat) – Mount Shuksan ahead…

Mmm, Shuksan

…and Mount Baker in the rear view mirror, all taken in while snacking on trailside huckleberries. Hells yeah.

Mount Baker, you are magnificent

Oh, and marmots, marmots all around. All in all, it was an excellent summer for marmot sightings.

It's been a good marmot year

It was hard to leave, so we stopped the car at Heather Meadows to watch the sunset and feed the hounds before driving the long road home to Redmond.

– The Portals | 12 miles | 1600 feet elevation gain –

Aah

This was the perfect ending to the best and most fulfilling summer of my life – so far.

Favorite Hikes | 2013

January 3rd, 2014

Aaahhh, 2013. So much beauty. So many marmots. So many rewarding experiences. And fantastic weather (unless I have a very selective memory).

View from Amabilis It don't get no better than this

We started the year off right with a cross-country ski trip to Amabilis Mountain. For a while (a looong while) there it seemed like we weren’t going to pop out of the clouds, but when we finally did, it was glorious. A week or so later, I met up with Janelle for our first hike together, in postcard-perfect snow conditions on Mazama Ridge.

Ram Head Trail Salomon Beach

In late January, JK and I jetted off to the Virgin Islands for the best vacation of our lives (so far) on the small island of St. John. I don’t know why I never get around to blogging about our big trips (but have countless blog posts from Tiger Mountain), but I promise to write about this one soon, because wow. For now, I’ll say that our favorite hikes were Ram Head, which starts from one of our favorite snorkeling spots, Salt Pond Bay, and the Lind Point Trail – not for the trail itself, but because it takes you to beautiful Salomon Beach.

Happy Hoodlums Samish Overlook

Our car was totaled in a hit-and-run right before we left for St. John, so we spent most of the winter hiking in the lowlands until we could get another car. A weekend in the sun on Mount Hood was a welcome return to snow, even though we just hiked straight up to the top of the Palmer Chairlift and then back down again. As winter turned to spring, the newly ambulatory Nathan took us to Oyster Dome, which never seems to disappoint, especially when you can wear shorts in March.

Shy Bear Marsh Marmots on top

In April, I participated in a bunch of trail work parties for WTA on Cougar Mountain. Since they end early in the day, I liked to go running or hiking afterwards, which would leave me hopped up on all sorts of endorphins and in love with the Shy Bear Trail. I also did one work party on the new Mailbox Peak trail, where I earned my shiny new hard hat and found solitude(!) on the summit afterwards.

Balsamroot Fearless leaders

May saw us eating our way through London, Rome, and Oslo with our families, and when we came back, I ate even more after picking marvelous morels on Teanaway Ridge with Dani and Jo. Mmm, morels. Then I decided it was time to get in shape, and kicked off the summer with an excellent long run on Cougar Mountain, setting grander goals for the summer.

Elg i solnedgang We heart the Teanaway

It’s interesting how many Issaquah Alps hikes made it onto the list this year. I think it’s because I tend to run more on those trails, and the bigger the endorphin rush, the giddier I become. We had so many good hikes to Poo Poo Point this year, but I’ll highlight our June trip as it was the most amooseing. My annual birthday hike to Iron Peak was wonderful as always, and was followed by a most excellent night of camping along the Teanaway River. I really love that area.

Celebrating his fifth volcano Unnamed pond

July was big this year, and the weather fantastic. I accompanied JK on his final Washington volcano climb, Mount Adams, wrestled with the panic monster, and was rewarded with a truly epic glissade. A couple of days later, I hiked and ran the Mount Defiance Loop I’ve had my eye on for years. Score!

A strong contender Wandering through the meadow

One of my absolute favorite hikes this year was Benchmark Mountain near Glacier Peak. It was a new trail for us, but it will definitely go on the repeat list. Wildflowers and views in every direction, and hardly anyone else on the trail. To round out the month, I finally hiked to Sahale, home of the most picturesque crapper of all time.

Broots I made it!

August means WTA Hike-a-Thon, where I get to hike as much as I can while raising money for trails. Yay! Mount Defiance made it onto the list again when JK and I escaped the clouds in Redmond and found wonderful sunshine and total solitude up there, even on a summer Saturday. Later that month, we hiked the Enchantments and Little Annapurna in a day, my big goal hike for the summer. It felt so good and I want more!

Stahp! Ridge with a view

Our participation in TNAB sucked this year too, but we chose the one we did go to well. Rampart Ridge provided marmots galore and a ridonculous sunset. Oh, and a yellowjacket nest, but let’s not focus on that. My last Hike-a-Thon hike was Point 6262 above Minotaur Lake, where we (and the dogs) found lots of huckleberries and ate ourselves silly. The views were okay too, I guess.

Mmm, Shuksan Our own little corner of the woods

More huckleberries were found along Ptarmigan Ridge on a very very hot day in September. After that I suddenly lost all interest in hiking, but I did manage to get out to finally see the golden larches in Headlight Basin in October.

Late season big'uns This be Novembers?

My hiking blahs continued until JK and I were hit with mushroom fever (which sounds like a really gross disease) and took every opportunity we could to hunt, pick, and eat chanterelles, yellowfeet, and hedgehogs. This year we’ll start earlier…and we might have to buy an extra freezer. Right before Thanksgiving, we enjoyed an unseasonably warm and unseasonably sunny trip to Mazama Ridge, where we ran into Janelle (not surprising since I think she might actually live there) and Jessie welcoming the holiday season with a Christmas tree.

Then I got an ear infection followed by a bad cold, and the only hike I have done since Mazama was a short loop on Cougar. I’m sure my first hike of 2014 will lead my lungs to quiver and explode and my leg muscles to actually detach themselves from my body in protest.

Happy New Year!!

Happy Holidays!

December 26th, 2013

'Tis the season

…and an excellent New Year…

God jul!

…from our family to yours!

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