WA

Solo Hike to Lake 22

20190121_114745.jpg

I’m going to start off my attempt at getting back into blogging with a (mild) adventure.

20190121_112356.jpg

I’ve been wanting to hike to Lake 22 here for a while, but it just wasn’t happening. So I decided to make it my fourth solo hike!

It was a winter hike (and the WTA website warns of avalanche danger) so I packed a lot of extra safety gear. Including food and water, my pack was about about 20% of my bodyweight. But hey, that’s all training weight, right? (For real though, I need to figure out how to get my packweight down. I’m petite though which doesn’t help.)

I told my mom what time to expect to hear back from me, but I did my math wrong which meant that I had a very frustrating hike I didn’t know I’d be able to finish for the first hour or so. I was so annoyed at myself and at the lack of cell-phone signal to tell her that I wanted/needed more time. I did the math though and figured out that my turn around time had to be 12:15 p.m. Wherever I was at that point, I needed to head back.

I booked it up that mountain-I passed so many people! Somehow (I ate a snack while I walked) I made it to the top with time to spare! There was snow at the top so I pulled out my poles but didn’t need my micro-spikes.

I checked the time, it was about noon. I wanted to loop the lake, but again wasn’t sure I had time. I decided to try it though and see how far around the lake I was in 10 minutes. Sure enough, I was halfway around it in time so I was able to loop it.

It would have been kinda nice (but kinda cold) to stay at the top, relax, have lunch, but I didn’t have time for that. I headed straight back down and again passed lots of people going down.

I made it to the car with a few minutes to spare but was still 30 minutes from cell-service. Worst case scenario I figured I’d stop and ask to use a phone at a local business but I made it!

I’ve never wished for a 1-2 way satellite messaging device more than I did on that hike. I carry a personal locator beacon, but it would have been nice to have some way to tell my mom “Hey, I’m fine, don’t call the rescue team. I’m just taking longer.”

Looking back, I think in the future I’ll be more careful about my math and give myself some extra time to hang out and relax. I’m so glad I was able to finish the hike though, and I did it in record time!

6.6 miles with 1,400 ft of elevation gain and a pack that weighed 20% of my body weight in 2 hours and 40 minutes! It was a record for me and I’m proud of it.

What’s one of your prouder hikes?

20190121_115327.jpg

Weekend Trip to Lake Wenatchee Part Two

lake-wenatchee-part-two.png
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

After we went snowshoeing, which if you want to read about is available at the Lake Wenatchee Part One blog post, we spent a few hours down in Leavenworth, Washington. My favorite thing to do there is to get a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Caramel Apple. I got it and some other candies, and we probably stopped in every single store downtown. There was an outdoors store that sold some Woolrich pants one of my friends got, an art gallery that sold metal wall art of the mountains and trees, a bookstore, and so so much more. Leavenworth is a pretty little town but it's my favorite when there's snow on the ground. We happened to go the same weekend as their ice festival so there were lots of other people in town watching the ice carvings and various contests and races.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth

After our time in Leavenworth we went back to the cabin and cooked burgers. We got up early the next morning to head home and made a couple of stops along the way. We had second breakfast at the Cascadia Inn in Skykomish and then made another stop on the side of Stevens Pass Highway to look at some massive icicles hanging from the cliff on the other side of the river.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

My L.L. Bean Thinsulate boots worked for this little stop fairly well. I fell through the ice once or twice but the water below was only a few inches deep so my feet stayed dry. I am planning on getting waterproof hiking boots in the next week or two though, when the coupons from REI come out with the REI member dividend.

Do you have any favorite places to stop or explore in the Cascade Mountains near Steven's Pass?

Weekend Trip to Lake Wenatchee Part One

lake-wenatchee-part-one.png
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

Some friends of ours have a cabin up on Lake Wenatchee and we had the opportunity to stay there one weekend in January.

On our way up we stopped for dinner at Benjarong Thai Restaurant in Monroe, WA. It was so yummy! If you like Thai, you should check it out.

We got up to the cabin late Friday, started a fire to keep us warm, and just chilled. After waking up early the next morning, we got ready and went snowshoeing. I definitely need better gloves for next time I'm out in such cold weather. My fingers were freezing the whole time. The rest of me was fine though at least.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

FYI This was the adventure that I realized I needed a Merino Wool Buff and not an annoying scarf with ends that wouldn't stay out of my way. Here's another Merino Wool Buff option. I got the first because it's on sale.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

Before and after snowshoeing we drove around a little bit too and explored the area around the lake. I'd love to have a small cabin up in the mountains for adventures like this. It's so beautiful.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee
Northwest Pearls: Lake Wenatchee

After snowshoeing and driving around we went back to the cabin to warm up and change to go to Leavenworth which I'll talk more about in Part Two of this blog post.

Where's your favorite place in the Cascade Mountains?

Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak Hike

eunice-lake-tolmie-peak-xs-2 Back in July, a friend and I went up to Tolmie Peak in Mount Rainier National Park. My brother had gone a few days earlier and had been able to see the Port of Tacoma from the peak. But when we went, it wasn't raining, but it was pretty cloudy and foggy the whole way up. We were lucky to see the lake from the fire lookout. It was still one of my favorite hikes.

Words can't describe how beautiful that lake was or the view of the lake from the trail going up. I sat down to get some dirt out of my sock, and just sat there staring at the lake for a while. It was amazing.

eunice-lake-tolmie-peak-xs-3eunice-lake-tolmie-peak-xs-2eunice-lake-tolmie-peak-xs-5eunice-lake-tolmie-peak-xs-7

I brought along my hiking backpack, and wore an old pair of running shoes. It was fairly muddy, there were times I was wishing my shoes were waterproof. But the hike was so worth it. We hiked to the fire lookout then sat up there, eating our lunches.

If you're looking for a hike to do, I'd recommend checking out Tolmie Peak/Eunice Lake. Our hike on a cloudy day was beautiful. The pictures I've seen on sunny days are breathtaking.

The road to the trailhead was really rough. We took my friend's Pilot which fared a lot better than my sedan would have. My sedan would have made it, it just would have had to be more careful about all the potholes.

And since it's a National Park, make sure you have the right pass(es)!

What's an amazing hike you've done?

Tolmie Peak Washington Trails Association Page

eunice-lake-tolmie-peak-xs-6

Guest Post: Guide to Fairhaven

I've got a special guest post today by Martha Kay from North Left Coast. She's a style blogger based up in Vancouver, Canada. Be sure to check out her blog!


 

Hey everyone! It’s Martha here, from North Left Coast. You can find my life and style blog at northleftcoastblog.com and visit my Instagram at instagram.com/northleftcoast.

Since Spenser and I are both from the Pacific Northwest we thought we’d share a couple of our favourite places in the region. I have recently discovered a charming area of Bellingham, Washington called Fairhaven. I’ve visited the area a couple times this Spring as I have a cousin who just moved nearby, so I wanted to share some of my photos of this charming destination and a recount of my favourite restaurants and shops.

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

Fairhaven was originally its own town until it became a part of Bellingham circa 1900. It still has its old charm and when you enter the centermost part of Fairhaven, known as the Historical District, it feels like you’ve gone back in time. In fact, according to one of Bellingham’s Municipal Codes, all newly constructed buildings in the district are required to conform in outward appearance to the community's traditional 19th-century style (via). As you can imagine, it’s a charming place to visit!

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

Both times I’ve been to Fairhaven, I’ve gone out for lunch with my mom at one of the local restaurants. The first time, we went to the Colophon cafe which was cozy and relaxing. The food reminded me of some of my most comforting homecooked meals. The restaurant is full of tables, booths and even sofas to lounge in. It’s definitely the type of restaurant where you can either eat a quick lunch with your family, or settle in with a book and a hot cappuccino for an hour or two.

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

We ordered soups and sandwiches which were quite yummy!

On one of our other visits, we went to Harris Avenue Cafe for brunch. I had an omelette which was HUGE but when I asked the server how many eggs were in it she said there were only 3. I think there was just a ton of vegetables and cheese! It was really good and definitely filled me up for the day!

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

Fairhaven is a really nice area to explore and walk around in. I really enjoyed Boulevard Park which overlooks the water. Within the park there are picnic tables, pocket beaches and great views of the ocean and the boats. It would be great place to go to with ice cream cones in the summer!

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

Another Fairhaven favourite of mine was Eclipse Bookstore and Fine Art. This shop was incredible! I wish I’d taken a video while I was inside because the photos don’t necessarily do it justice. There are books EVERYWHERE, piled up on every surface (of two floors!) and overflowing out the door. In the hour or two that I was inside I saw a stack of the original yellow Nancy Drew books (I was tempted to buy them all) as well as numerous other hardcover classics.

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

North Left Coast: Fairhaven, WA

This is the kind of place a book lover could spend an entire day in. On a weekly basis. I mean, the books are never ending!

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Fairhaven, Washington. It's such a cute little area to explore and definitely one of Washington's hidden gems!

Don’t forget to head over to northleftcoastblog.com to see Spenser’s guest post! Thanks for reading,

Martha Kay

Keeping it Casual

People in the Pacific Northwest don't really dress up. Ever. I am ashamed to admit that I have seen people who have worn jeans and sandals to weddings. To weddings! Come on people. But at the same time, while you want to look nice, you don't want to look out of place. I like to pair a blazer with a t-shirt and dark blue jeans to look put together, but still casual. You look nice enough to go out, but still casual.

Northwest Pearls: Keeping it Casual

What's a polished but casual look you like?

Gasworks Park

We went to Gas Works Park on north Lake Union in Seattle a few days ago. The night view of the skyline is pretty awesome. I want to say that the blue lights are in honor of the Seahawks beating the Vikings earlier this week, but I can't say that for sure. Northwest Pearls: Gasworks Park

A lot of the old machinery that was used to manufacture gas is still on the property. We walked around the park and enjoyed the view before going back to our car and getting some warm tea.

Have you been to Gas Works Park? What do you think?

Staircase Rapids Hike

Someone recommended that I go and hike Staircase Rapids in the Olympic National Forest. The hike is out by Lake Cushman, at the very end of the lake and a little more. Northwest Pearls: Lake Cushman

We got a late start to the day and got lunch in Hoodsport at a little diner called The Tides. Then we continued on our way and got to the hike. We bought a day pass for the hike, one of these days I might buy an annual pass but as much as I'd like to use it, I'm not sure I would use it enough to justify the expense.

So we parked and started on our hike. We started by going over the bridge first. It was pretty and the color of the water was spectacular. Once we were over the bridge we got to the trail where we were warned about a recent cougar sighting.

The hike isn't very strenuous although we did break a sweat. However, most of that is probably due to the fact that we went when it was around 90 degrees out. We took a detour down a path that led to an ancient fallen tree, 14 feet in diameter. It was around 800 years old when it fell.

Northwest Pearls: Ancient Fallen Tree

The river runs along most of this part of the loop so you can view it fairly often.

Northwest Pearls: North Fork Skokomish River

Northwest Pearls: North Fork Skokomish River

 

There is a bridge connecting to the other side of the river and you can feel it move beneath your feet. It reminded me of a bridge over in Spokane. (I don't remember the name of that hike.)

Northwest Pearls: North Fork Skokomish River Bridge

Once we were across the bridge we went right right away and down a little path. This was not the actual path and we turned around after a bit. The path we were supposed to take is straight out from the bridge and eventually we came to a 'T' where we turned right to go back to where we started. This path was a lot better maintained and about four feet wider.

Once we reached our car, we drove off and stopped at a few places to take some more pictures of Lake Cushman.

Northwest Pearls: Lake Cushman

It was a nice hike, and if you're looking for something that's pretty but not too long, it's a good one.

Have you been out to Staircase Rapids? Are there any other hikes in the PNW that you'd recommend?