2018 Christmas Tree Hunt

I’ve always been lucky enough to have a live tree at Christmas. As a child, we would go to a u-cut farm, pick out our tree, and take it home to decorate. As an adult, I was excited to do the same in this apartment.

The day I was going to get mine from the u-cut farm I remembered that if you have a permit, you can go out to National Forest Lands to get a tree. After some furious researching, I found out where we could get it and where we could go! (We ended up going to Baker-Snoqualmie near Enumclaw, Washington.) They sell a limited number of permits each year, so we were lucky there were permits left. (I’m betting they’re just about out if they aren’t already as I write this two days later.)

Because I still wanted to get a hike in, we went to Greenwater Lake, a short and easy hike recommended by the ranger. Then we took our permit and our map and ended up in a place where we could find a tree! I was determined to get one where it was snowy, so we drove until we found it. We were blessed with a beautiful day.

We could have easily gotten a tree at a lower elevation where the terrain was easier and there wasn’t snow to deal with, but we made an adventure out of it!

I’m so glad I remembered this was possible. It’s going to be my new tradition. I’d highly recommend doing it yourself. I know I’ll be sure to get a permit again next year!

Birthday Hike to Twin Falls

I've been lucky enough to be able to hike on my last two birthdays; I'm hoping to make it a tradition! This year I met with one of my best friends to hike.

We met at Twin Falls in Washington state. (I finally got a photo of my newish car on a hike!)

It was one of those days this summer where it was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit all day but had cooled down to about 89 by the time the hike started. The hike was great, not too difficult, and we finished just after sunset. I'm thinking I need to make a bigger habit out of hiking after work from here on out; it's just too much fun!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Caribbean Vacation Part 5: Florida

After our cruise docked back in Florida, we had about 12 hours until our flight left. So we rented a car to set off in search of wild manatees. It wasn't the right season to go looking for them, but we tried three separate places. Unfortunately we didn't see any, but we still had a fun time at those places! With more time on our hands, we went to a historic lighthouse. 

While Florida and the Caribbean were fun, I see most of my future adventures going to more adventurous locations. Where are you hoping to travel to soon?

Caribbean Vacation Part 4: Favorite Port

I wouldn't have thought that my favorite port on our trip would have been Roatan, Honduras, I would have thought it was somewhere we went diving, but ziplining through the jungle, snorkeling at a reef, and relaxing on the beach made Roatan my favorite port. (Honestly probably because it was within walking distance of a beach! The other ports didn't have a beach.)

I wasn't nervous about ziplining until we were about to start. Then I was nervous! But I went through with it and it was pretty cool!

The zipline took us right down to the beach when we were done and we rented snorkeling equipment there. See my post on snorkeling here! We snorkeled until we were too tired to keep on going and then went to the beach to relax for a while. We got chairs right on the water and lay in the sun for a bit. It was a fantastic and relaxing day. 

It was such a cool vacation and I'm glad we did it, but I'm also excited for some of our upcoming vacations that will be far less relaxing but way more adventurous! 

What do you have coming up that you're excited about?

Caribbean Vacation Part 3: Diving

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I recently got Open Water Certified for scuba diving with the intent of diving in the Caribbean. Here's where I wrote about getting my Open Water Scuba Certification.

When we booked our trips, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend four straight days scuba diving so we only booked two days of it. Looking back, I kinda wish we'd done all four! But snorkeling, ziplining, and spending time with the other people on our trip was fun too.

We had two two-tank dives booked. One in Grand Cayman, and the other in Cozumel, Mexico. 

Grand Cayman was my first dive after my certification; it was a beautiful sunny day and we were going to a wreck and a reef. I can't remember the name of the wreck for the life of me, but it was just off the coast!

On that dive we saw lots of fish, lobster, and even a sea turtle! The sea turtle was definitely the coolest thing we saw diving.

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In Cozumel we had two drift dives scheduled. It was a choppy day on the water and entering was difficult. But once we were in it was a nice dive! There were lots of unique fish, a barracuda, a crab spider, sea snake, and a seahorse!

While learning to scuba dive in the Puget Sound was difficult, it was completely worth it for the Caribbean. I'm even considering diving here again!

Stay tuned for the last two posts on our trip!

 

Caribbean Vacation Part 2: Snorkeling

On our recent Caribbean cruise, we didn't want to spend all four port days diving. We did end up renting equipment one of the days though to snorkel, and it was so much fun! Apparently, the diving in Honduras is amazing, as it is in many places down in the Caribbean, but the snorkeling was cool too!

One thing we did learn after snorkeling is that sunscreen kills reefs. The reef we were at was about 90% dead because of the tourists' sunscreen. (Ours included!) But you can buy reef safe sunscreen. Next time I go swimming, snorkeling, or diving, I'm going to make sure I have environmentally friendly sunscreen!

Caribbean Vacation Part 1

I was lucky enough to be able to go on a weeklong vacation with friends recently. We took a cruise in the Caribbean. While it was fun, and I'm glad I went, I don't think that a cruise is for me.

The food was delicious, and I saw dolphins from our balcony three separate times!

I have so many cool photos from our trip that I'm going to break them up into a few different posts, so keep an eye out for them in the coming days!

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

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I learned a new phrase "Type 2 Fun." Type 2 Fun isn't actually fun while it's happening, but when you're looking back on it, it was fun. 

I seem to have a lot of Type 2 Fun with one of my friends. Now that I think about it, I'm having trouble coming up with something that isn't that way with him...

We started our drive down to Oregon 2 hours late, and 4 hours later than I wanted to start. So at about noon, we began what was a four drive.

After arriving at the trailhead at 4 p.m., we started our hike. Let me tell you, this was a fantastic hike. I was the one slowing us down. I wanted to go look at each and every waterfall. I went down side trails, I lingered, it was all on me. 

But you wouldn't believe the waterfalls.

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We left the hike, got to Portland around 9:30-10:00 p.m., got dinner, and left the restaurant around 12:30 a.m. Too tired to drive any further, we spent the night in Olympia, WA. 

There's more to the story, but you can tell from what I've told you that it wasn't the best planned trip (Ahem, J.) But we had fun and I'm so glad we went!

What's been one of your crazier hiking stories?

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Open Water Scuba Certification

  *Picture from Unsplash.* I wish it was from my class!

*Picture from Unsplash.* I wish it was from my class!

On a whim, I decided to learn how to scuba dive and get my open water certification. To be honest, it wasn't a very fun experience. Within the pool, it wasn't too bad, but when we moved to the Puget Sound, it was pretty bad.

The diving conditions were some of the worst our instructors had ever seen and if they hadn't been familiar with the area, and known that there was no current, they would have canceled the classes.

We could see 2-3 feet at most. For most classes the whole class is able to go out at once, but we were out in pairs, and at times we were out individually so we didn't get separated. 

We were able to see some sea cucumber, starfish, crabs, fish, sea life, and a sunken boat, so those were pretty cool! And apparently, the training is usually the worst part of scuba diving. From here on out, it should just be touring/seeing things.

I don't regret doing it, but it wasn't very fun. I'm really hoping that scuba diving in the Caribbean will be worth this!