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

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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?

Creative Birthday Card

Northwest Pearls: Birthday Card Map
Northwest Pearls: Birthday Card Map

I've seen greeting cards sold at REI before, but when I went to one REI location to buy one for a friend's birthday, they didn't have them. I'd been pretty set on these cards so I was disappointed when they weren't there. But a sales associate came up with the idea to use a map as a birthday card. It was the perfect idea and she came up with it on the spot.

The only problem was that I wasn't sure what maps he already had.

That problem almost made me give up but then I came across some thin flat paper maps and one covered a place we had gone snowshoeing. It's not the most useful map as I doubt he'll go back for a long time, and it covers such a small area, but it has sentimental meaning.

So I got it, folded it, and wrote "Happy Birthday!" along the front. That's all I fit on there, I didn't want to write more because of the map details, but I printed out a picture of him and his dog to write an actual birthday note on.

I loved how the map-card turned out, and in the future, I might even write a whole message on the map itself.

Do you have any creative card ideas?

 

The 10, no, 11 Essentials for Hiking

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I went to a talk by a Search and Rescue organization leader and he talked about what ten 10 essentials you should carry on you no matter the hike. Here's what he said the ten (plus one) essentials are:

  1. Navigation: A map and compass
  2. Sun Protection: Sunglasses and sunscreen
  3. Extra clothing
  4. Headlamp
  5. First aid kit
  6. Fire starting gear
  7. Food/nutrition
  8. Water
  9. Tools
  10. Insulation and tarp (so you're not sitting on the cold ground. And so you can stay warm.)
  11. Fully charged cell phone and a portable charger

I will admit, I don't own a compass. But it's on my list to get after this talk. And while I rarely have a physical map on hikes, I do usually take a screenshot of the map online before going out. I've always got sunglasses with me, but I don't bring sunscreen. It's something that I'll start to store in my pack for when I go out.

I will bring my headlamp, and it's a fine one for now, but at some point I'd like to invest in a better one. I don't have a real first aid kit, I'll usually just bring a few basics when I go out like chafing cream and bandages, but I've been looking around at REI and have been trying to decide between the Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight/Watertight .5 First-Aid Kit and the Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight/Watertight .7 First-Aid Kit.

For fire-starting gear I'll either get a strike lighter or some waterproof matches. I always carry extra food and water, and my Swiss Army Knife, but I may also get a simple Swiss Army Knife to keep in the first-aid kit, just in case. And finally, I'm going to get this survival blanket for insulation.

I use my phone for pictures on hikes and can really run the battery down. I try to take a portable charger with me, but it keeps on getting misplaced, and on top of that, the battery doesn't hold a charge like it used to.

I'm also going to get a mirror and a whistle for my pack.

All of this will add some weight and bulk to my pack, but it'll completely be worth it if I need it.

What are your favorite hiking basics?

Reading List: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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I picked up Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I'm not sure exactly why I picked it up. Maybe to better understand some friends who have done, or want to do thru-hiking. I understand grief. I've gone through it. I know it changes you as a person. There are moments when I kinda of consider doing what Strayed did. Heck, after reading that she did it, I realized that I could do it. But I shouldn't. And I'd be slightly more moderate. And prepared.

Strayed makes poor decisions. She overpacks her pack. Doesn't train.

She just gets her stuff and goes on a potentially deadly journey. A journey that's deadly to even the prepared. She was extremely lucky and fortunate on the trail when if she hadn't had good fortune, she wouldn't have made it.

I'd heard that the book is polarizing but I don't entirely see how you could love it. In some ways I can see how it's empowering. But I don't think that one should be empowered to go on a journey like that with so little preparation. It'd be an entirely different story if she'd prepared and trained through her grief to do it instead of choosing it and being lucky. I'd be a lot more impressed with her if that's what had happened.

To be slightly fair, a coworker of mine attended a talk by Strayed and wasn't expecting much based on the book. She was very pleasantly surprised by Strayed which encouraged me.

Even though I finished it, it's not a book I'd recommend. She annoyed me as a character/person and made unwise decisions that exasperated me.

What are your opinions of the book?

How to Layer Clothes for Hiking

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When you're hiking, you want to layer so you can shed layers, or add them, as you need to. You don't want to be stuck with one heavy layer that's too warm as you're going uphill.

You want to have a synthetic, moisture wicking base-layer. I have one from Costco that does the job, but I'm looking at getting something like this REI Co-op shirt when it's time for a new one. In the summer I'm usually fine in a loose synthetic running tank top I have.

My next layer is a fleece mid-layer. I use my Patagonia Better Sweater, but there are lots of different types of fleece options out there. I looked at a few brands, Columbia, Arc'teryx, and The North Face, but Patagonia fit me best.

If it's cold enough, I'll even have another insulating layer. For now I've been using The North Face Summit Series jacket. I have a version that's about four years old but here's the current The North Face Summit L3 Down Jacket. I'd really like to get The North Face ThermoBall Insulated Full-Zip Jacket.

And on the outside, I have my water-resistant hard shell. This is usually my Arc'teryx Beta Lt. Hybrid Rain Jacket. It's a pretty great jacket and I love it for backpacking and hiking. And it's on sale as of this post being published! I really wanted my jacket to be made of Gore-Tex® and I loved that this had a detached collar so I could have the collar up but not the hood on, when I needed it. And you want to make sure you size this so you can fit your other layers under it.

For my other "layers" I have my wool running socks. I actually don't think I've ever used them for running, but I use them for every hike I go on. While my favorite running socks are the Balega Hidden Comfort ones, they're too short for me for hiking as mud and rocks will get in them. So my wool Smartwool and Feetures socks work better because they're higher.

My next sock purchase will be these Darn Tough socks. A friend of mine raves about the brand and because I'd like a higher pair of wool socks, I'm planning on getting these next so I can try them out and see if they're worth the hype.

You also want wool or synthetic underwear, and not cotton.

As you can tell, all of my technical layers are upperbody. I have some wool thermal pants I wear under a pair of running pants on cold days, but I do need a pair of water-resistant or waterproof hiking pants for winter and rainy hikes. When it's warm enough, I'm usually just in running pants or capris.

And remember to size your layers so you can fit other things under them if you need to.

Do you have any layering suggestions?