snoqualmie pass

Thirty

It's been a while since my last update here, and I thought it would be good to check in after reaching a new milestone: turning the big 3-0. Despite the fact that I've felt this age for a while (I often had to remember that I was, in fact, 29), actually getting to that age caused me a bit of stress over the last few months. It seems like kind of a big deal! However, at the same time, I'm in a much better place than I was a year ago:

  • I have a few circles of friends that I see regularly, whether at weekly trivia nights, softball games, or some other activity. I met some really awesome people in the last year, and am so glad for that.
  • As a result, I felt confident inviting people to my birthday party for the first time in a long time. And they actually came! (More on that later.)
  • I deleted both Tinder and OK Cupid from my phone after some successful dates, so we'll see what happens there.
  • I officially started school and have a plan toward progressing in my career.
  • Work seems better, and I have a great team (though, it is going through some transition at the moment). Plus, I'm doing better at that whole work/life (and school) balance thing, though I feel too busy 90% of the time.

I spent my actual birthday by taking the day off work and heading to the mountains with my parents. I had brought up the idea of a hike a few weeks before, and my dad remembered that Snow Lake (the one near Alpental) is supposed to be a great hike, and it's not too far away. 

What better place to turn 30? 

What better place to turn 30? 

The day was absolutely gorgeous—much better than it was supposed to be. Perfect hiking weather, for sure. My dad loaded up his pack with all of his backpacking gear to see if he could do it (he could, with a lot of perspiration), and while I could have used this as preparation for the Enchantments, I didn't want to unnecessarily kill myself. It wasn't a hard hike, but the reward was beautiful nonetheless. There's a point where you reach the top of the ridge, and are greeted by a view of the green-blue lake from above, and it was awesome. Reaching that point made the rest of the trek down to the water go so quickly. We made our way down the rest of the trail, pulled out the lunch snacks, and took dozens of pictures before heading back up.

Once we got back from the hike, we were short on time to make dinner reservations at Palisade. I drove home, got ready and met them there. Dinner was...slow. And my dad complained, which made things a bit awkward, though well-intentioned. At least the booze and food were good, and coincidentally they sat us at the same table where we spent my 21st birthday, as well.

Mom and I heart champagne

Mom and I heart champagne

So, turning 30, I figured I might as well do something with friends, as well. At first I had no idea what, but I knew I didn't want to travel too far from home and I liked the idea of karaoke. There aren't many places to do that, so I settled on Waterwheel, one of the divey-est of awesome dive bars. There are also a ton of breweries in the area that I hadn't been to yet, so I also took this as an opportunity to try Reuben's Brews and their new outdoor patio. I'm so glad so many people came! Kickball/softball/trivia friends and Getty-related friends, all in one place! There was plenty of beer, ping pong, corn hole and, of course, karaoke. I was having such a good time that I really didn't take any pictures, but I gathered a few from other people.

And now...it's time to do 30!

Tree Trip 2.0

Now that it's actually springtime, the weather has become quite wet. What happened to those unseasonably-warm, crystal-clear days? My sister and I planned to go on a hike to Talapus Lake last Sunday, but of course that was when it literally poured all day, resulting in more rain in 24 hours than we'd had in more than SIX YEARS. So, that didn't happen, obviously. The forecast looked a bit better for this past weekend, though, so we decided to try again, and thankfully the weather was mostly in our favor.

This was a surprisingly easy 6-mile hike, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially given the fact that it was threatening to rain the whole time. That was also probably why we hardly saw any people at all, which was a nice change from my experience at Annette Lake. I'm glad I didn't bring my pup, because she would have ended up extremely muddy. We reached Talapus Lake in no time at all, and quickly decided to continue on to Olallie Lake, as well. The latter made the hike worth it, for sure; we would have been a bit disappointed if all we'd seen was Talapus. I might have damaged my car on the way back to the freeway (I hit a pothole wrong and heard a definite scraping sound underneath), but it was still good to get out in nature and the fresh air, while spending time with my sister before she's gone for a year. We used to go out in the woods behind the house where we grew up on what we called "Tree Trips," so this was kind of like that on steroids!

I didn't get a picture of it, but I was also trying out my new Deuter daypack on this hike. The shoulder straps on my older Camelbak bothered me a lot on the Annette Lake hike, and there was zero room left in when I had Ellie's stuff in there, too. This new bag isn't that much bigger, but is better suited to what I need. It has more of a backpacking look to it and one big compartment that can be better utilized than the awkward ones on my Camelbak. It also has a front zipper to access anything at the bottom of the bag, which is handy. And...it's so pretty that I almost didn't want to put it on the ground.

Hopefully this hiking trend will continue further into the spring and summer, even though I know it will be harder once I start school in May. The Annie Dillard quote in the header of this blog is, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives," and I'm trying to be more mindful of that. I could binge on House of Cards from my bed, or I could relax in a hammock next to an alpine lake. I could browse for random housewares online, or I could take my camera (read: iPhone) to a trail and snap some pictures worth sharing. Which is going to be more rewarding? Sure, lazy days can be great and necessary (as an introvert, I know this), but at the same time there's so much to see, even just in Washington. I have a lot of places on my to-do list already, so now I just need to find the time (and decent weather).

In other weekend news, I spent Friday night at Smashputt, went on a first date Saturday evening, and played pinochle with a few friends at Prost! after the hike on Sunday. A pretty solid weekend, if you ask me.

Hello, Springtime!

The weather this winter in the Pacific Northwest (and much of the West) has been nothing short of incredible—as long as you're more a fan of sun and warm temps than any mountain snow whatsoever. And apparently I am. Mentally, I feel so much more at peace with everything right now than I probably would be if I were stuck under the usual grey cloud-cover while walking along streets that never seem to dry. (I feel weird using the phrase "at peace," because it sounds like something my free-spirited sister would say, but I don't know how else to describe it.) Instead, the last several weekends have been consistently clear-skyed, unseasonably warm, and full of promise for what I hope will be an equally nice spring. In fact, it's hard to believe that it's not spring already, since the flowers and trees are already blooming.

This weekend the forecast was for more 60-degree days, so all I wanted to do was be outside as much as possible. I'd been wanting to go for a hike for a while, since so many pictures I'd seen showed that the trails were relatively clear of snow and ice, and I finally decided to do Annette Lake on Saturday.

I didn't try too hard to find anyone else who might want to go, since I thought it would be good to take my dog and let us go at our own pace. I'm glad I did that, because it was nice to just be out there in nature, not trying to make conversation along the way. It was a freaking gorgeous day, and warm enough to wear just a sweatshirt for most of the trek (including at the destination). Ellie walked the first mile or so, and then (as expected) I carried her the rest of the three miles to the lake. We had lunch there, took some selfies, and then started back since there were a lot of groups arriving. I was so impressed that Ellie walked almost the entire way down! I carried her for half a mile, and that's it. She got lots of attention along the way from dozens of people who stopped to say hi to her. Life's rough for a cute, tiny dog. Overall, the hike was really great, and I'm looking forward to doing it again this spring or summer after the lake thaws out.

Continuing the outdoors trend, Sunday was all about softball. I honestly didn't do very well today, but we played for about three hours, and then got food and drinks after. And, I'll admit, I felt like such a spaz today that on my way home I stopped at Big 5 to get a bat and some balls, and had my own little practice at Ballard Playfield. Hopefully I'll do a bit better next time. It really is fun and I'm starting to learn, but it's been so long since I've thrown a ball, let alone tried to catch one in a glove. Practice makes perfect?

Next weekend isn't supposed to be quite as nice, but I think I'll try to do another hike, this time with my sister, and I'm pretty sure softball will be involved again, as well. Lather, rinse, repeat. No complaints.