Life on Social Media

I once posted a picture of a hike I'd gone on to my personal Instagram and Facebook page. It was a good hike. Fun. But life at that point hadn't been all that I thought it would be. It had been exceedingly hard. A lot of things had fallen apart. Even the things I hadn't wanted to do but was doing anyways hadn't ended up working out.

The night I posted the picture on Instagram I was crying in bed. And my cousin posted on that photo "You really know how to enjoy life!"

Oh yes, I did. I was in bed at 8:30 p.m., crying about a lot of overwhelming things. If she could have seen me then, she wouldn't have said that I had been enjoying life. She would have given me a hug and tea. I hadn't even been enjoying it that much when I posted it earlier in the day. It was just a cool picture and I wanted to share it.

And honestly I hadn't been enjoying it for the first hour and a half of the drive and hike. I had been quiet and sad. Only getting a little happy when we got out of the woods and into the sun. Then the interesting sites and mountains cheered me up a little.

But social media portrays a false side of life. I can be happy on social media. I can only show the good parts of my life. The interesting parts. The enviable ones. But I don't show the tissues in my car. The running mascara. The donut for breakfast. The stress.

So while I try to enjoy life, there are days that I don't. And I, and others, need to remember that everything we see on social media isn't true. And it's not a competition.

So try to enjoy life, but don't take social media at face value.

Lower Lena Lake

Lena Lake-3.jpg

I'd been wanting to hike to Lena Lake for around a year. We were going to hike to Upper Lena Lake last inter, but it was inaccessible with snow, and then the WTA had trip reports of a bridge out for Lower Lena Lake. It turned out that you didn't have to cross that bridge to get to Lower Lena Lake, so once I figured that out, I planned a hike. 

It was one of the easiest hikes I've done. The switchbacks were so enjoyable. According to the WTA you gain 1,300 feet over a roundtrip of 7.2 miles. My only regret is that I didn't go in the late spring when the water level was higher. But oh well, there's always next spring!

In case you aren't able to tell by now, I like hiking to lakes. This wasn't the prettiest, but it was the easiest! When we started out at 8 a.m. we were the only day hikers. More came along later, but the trailhead had been full when we got there from either backpackers who started out earlier than we did, or the day before.

I'd definitely recommend this hike. I'll be sure to do it again when it's wetter out.

Any easy hikes you'd recommend?

Orcas Island

A few weeks ago a friend and I went to Orcas Island to move some furniture. I had brunch by myself the next morning at the charming New Leaf Cafe. Since we were hiking that morning, I wanted something hearty and not too sweet or heavy. I ordered the duck confit hash and it was fantastic. Better than I could have imagined.

We drove to the park and got to the trailhead. We were going to hike to the top of Mount Constitution. You can also drive this, but we chose to hike it. Do you ever have those days were a hike or a workout is nearly impossible? For whatever reason, that was this day for me. I don't know the last time I was this slow on a hike.

There was ice cream at the top though so that was a bonus.

The day we went was one of the times the wildfire smoke was heavy. From the top you're supposed to have an amazing view. We didn't have that, but it was still cool.

Once we hiked back down we stopped for dinner at a bar in town. 

The next day we kayaked before we had to catch our ferry. There were lots of sand dollars in the water, starfish on the rocks, and I even saw one otter! 

It was a fantastic weekend. We ended up getting stuck on the island when one of the ferries broke down, but we made the best of it and had a blast. Except for the getting home at 4 a.m. on a Monday part. That wasn't ideal, but hey, at least I was able to work from home that day!

Any PNW weekend trips you'd recommend? I've been wanting to go to Crater Lake, but it's a bit too far to do in a weekend.

Barclay Lake

This post is late, we hiked this on July 4th, but hey, life gets busy.

Barclay Lake had been on my hiking list and it was pretty close to where we were staying for the fourth, so we woke up early the morning of to set off to do it.

The glimpses of the mountains around us as we hiked were beautiful. A freezing river runs next to part of the trail and I was able to wade partly across to a small island. 

We didn't spend much time at the lake, one of my friends had to get back to study for a test, but the lake was beautiful. 

Where have you hiked to lately?

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Barclay Lake-6.jpg

Hike to Wallace Falls

Earlier this week we drove east on Highway 2 to hike to Wallace Lake. When we got there, we changed our destination to Wallace Falls. The trail was mostly in the shade but I still managed to get sunburned in the 10-15 minutes we weren't in the shade. Yay fair skin. We took the Woody Trail all the way to the Upper Falls. I loved hiking next to the river but eventually the trail left the river. There were a few river and waterfall viewpoints along the way.

It was a pretty hike and the waterfalls at the end were beautiful. What are some hikes you've liked lately?

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Annette Lake Hike

I have a list of hikes I'd like to do, and when the opportunity to hike Annette Lake came up, I jumped at it. We started out around 7:45, there was still room in the parking lot on a Saturday, but not a ton! So be there early if you're wanting to find a space near the trailhead.

I hiked a short .75 mile nature loop while I waited for my friends. When they arrived, we started on the actual trail.

I was more out of shape than I thought I was but the lake was so beautiful. I wish I'd brought a book; I could have sat there all day. Lake Serene may have been a touch more magical, (it may have also been the company) but Annette Lake was fantastic.

Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake
Northwest Pearls: Annette Lake

I'm so lucky to live in such a beautiful area. What are some hikes you love to do?

Refreshing Yourself

Northwest Pearls: Refreshing Yourself
Northwest Pearls: Refreshing Yourself

It has been a long year. I'd been overwhelmed for a long time now. Honestly the only thing that kept me from completely breaking was my faith. But there are other things that I'd like to share that help me feel a little better in the midst of the storm. Maybe they'll help you figure out what you need to recharge.

  • Alone time. This doesn't always work, sometimes I need people, but more than I've ever needed in my life, I've needed alone time to think and to process and to pray.
  • Time outdoors. This one doesn't always work either sadly. There are hikes where I just want to sit down and quit. But more and more I'm enjoying hiking like I used to.
  • Time with friends. For me this can't just be with any friend. It has to either be with a friend with no idea what's gone on in my life, or with one close enough that if I'm not talkative, they don't mind.
  • Time reading the Bible. There is so much that's comforting in the Bible. You can read about God's love and faithfulness or about others' pain and suffering and see that you're not alone and that God was with them. I'm so grateful for it. You have no idea how many verses I've highlighted and how much I've read my Bible in the last few months. I've read through Job, been encouraged by Paul's conversion, and been comforted through the Psalms.
  • Time praying. This doesn't always help, frequently it's me crying out to God for relief or patience, but it's nice to know that God is listening. Even if I feel like the world has caved in around me, he's there and he cares.

Things are better; life doesn't always go according to plan but you adjust and you move on. All of this has made my faith that much stronger and has made me a stronger person.

What do you like to do to keep yourself refreshed?

No Microwave, No Problem

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When I moved to my most recent rental, it came furnished. But didn't have a microwave. The house was old, over 100 years old, and while the owner assured me that it could handle a microwave, I wasn't so sure based on none of the outlets working with my fast charger. Between that doubt and me being too busy to read reviews for microwaves online, I never got around to getting one. The previous two and a half weeks I'd been petsitting for a friend who didn't have one and I'd gotten used to it. I just had to heat thing up on the stove, in the oven, or not at all.

So living without one actually wasn't a huge adjustment.

The biggest adjustment was waking up early enough to heat up the oven to heat up my breakfast burritos. I'd been doing that while petsitting, but his oven worked. The one at my house? It stayed on once every fifteen times you turned it on. I wish that was an exaggeration but it's not. There were days it just wouldn't stay on, no matter how many times I started it. So I just ate something else for breakfast.

But I heated up soup on the stove, milk for hot chocolate on the stove, leftover thai on the stove... And it all worked pretty well! There were a few things I chose to eat cold, but they weren't bad cold, they were just meant to be hot.

Overall it wasn't a huge adjustment to live without a microwave. I didn't think I could do it, but it was pretty easy. I understand that not everyone has the time or the budget to do it, the fact that I had the time to wait for the oven to heat up and for it to heat my food says a lot. And honestly, environmentally-wise, and utility-wise it may not have been better to use the oven than the microwave. Someone else might be able to figure that out; it'd be interesting to see what difference is.

And finally, adjusting to living without a microwave makes me think I could adjust easier than I think to other lifestyle changes. Like a smaller house or less stuff. 

Has there been anything you've adjusted to living without?

Ebey's Landing Hike on Whidbey Island

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I'd been looking for a hike I could do safely by myself. Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island is well-populated, only 5.6 miles long, and not very technical. It's also not in the middle of the mountains. So I picked it.

It happened that my mother came along, which made it a lot funner. But it did mean that I wasn't by myself. Not a bad fact.

You may need a ferry reservation to access this hike. We got lucky and made it on as a stand-by, but barely.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

We parked at the trailhead across from the cemetery for the hike. The Washington Trails Association had recommended that trailhead for more of a hike and the other one for more of a beach walk.

We'd chosen a day to go when it was supposed to be raining sideways. Thankfully, the rain and wind weren't as bad as predicted. It rained a bit, but I stayed dry in my Arc'teryx. My mom's Columbia wetted out.

The prairieland here was amazing. Nothing like other parts of Western Washington I've seen.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

At one point two bald eagles flew at eye level maybe 15 feet off the trail. It was amazing. I had my phone in my hands but was too busy looking at them to take a picture. So I took one when they were flying away.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I could have done without the walk on the beach. It wasn't as enjoyable as the walk on the bluff. If I did it again, I'd probably stay on the bluff, walk down the hill to the beach, and then back up to the bluff and just do a there and back.

It was a pretty good day-hike. Afterwards we took the ferry back to Port Townsend (again, get reservations!), got pizza for lunch, stopped at a loose-leaf tea place where I found my new favorite decaf tea, and drove home.

Do you have any fairly easy hikes you'd recommend in the area?