June 2014 archive

Seattle (Part 4 – I told you it was an epic trip!)

Day 6 – Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains

At the top of everyone’s list was seeing Mount Rainier and finding a good place to hike somewhere in the Cascade Mountains. Seeing Mount Rainier was easy enough but, much to our surprise, finding a hiking trail that wasn’t closed was more difficult than I would have imagined in late May.

We got up and packed some healthy food for snacks and lunch (even though a healthy lunch never happened because someone (me) forgot the bread) and hit the road early. Mount Rainier is a huge stratovolcano (which is a volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash) and it is located about an hour southeast of Seattle. It’s the most topographically prominent mountain in the lower 48 states and considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Sounds like my kind of Wednesday.  I could bore you to tears with all the fun information about Mt. Rainier, but instead I’ll just show pictures.

We decided to make our way to Reflection Lakes to take pictures and hike the 3 mile trail. Of course, we saw many photo ops on the way there so we had to stop.

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The information that we had found online said that the trail opened in mid-May. Unfortunately, that was not the case this year. Stevens Canyon Road was completely closed off and we found out later that there had been an avalanche (not on the road itself, but apparently near enough to cause concern). We were pretty disappointed, but we decided to just keep driving and find something else, but I am definitely going back one summer so that we can see it. After Reflection Lakes fell through we decided to drive over to the Paradise Visitor Center and got some great snapshots of the mountain. Look at that snow (Cliff is 6’2 for reference)

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We walked around the center and checked out the few little exhibits they had inside. The road normally went on past the visitor’s center; however, today it was closed to traffic but they let people walk down it a bit. We walked about a quarter mile just to look around (and climb on top of snow banks without looking like fools to everyone else) and then we head back to the car. One the way to the center we had seen a little pull off and decided to check it out on our way back. It wound up being a huge waterfall! There was a trail that led from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes, but it was 6 miles one way and I don’t think we’re quite ready for a 12 mile trek across the Cascade Mountains (but we will be one day!)

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We continued to drive back towards the base of the mountains when we saw a little sign that said Carter Falls Trailhead.  A quick glance at the Google’s said that it would be about perfect for us.

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We decided to park and check out the trailhead and when we saw 1.3 miles we decided to go for it.

They left out the part about it being 1.3 miles UP.

However, I will say that the trail was perfect for me because it was through a forest so no sunburn!

I’m having a difficult time describing just how amazing the scenery was (which doesn’t say a lot for me as a blogger does it? Guess it’s good that I write primarily about weight loss!)

When I was bigger I never really appreciated nature. I hated being outside (especially in the summer) because it just meant that I was going to turn into a sweaty, gross mess (even in the winter!) Since I’ve lost a lot of the weight I’ve found myself drawn to the outdoors more. I have been checking out our local park system, I bought tickets to an outdoor concert, and I find myself planning trips to places where we can spent a lot of time outside. A year ago I would have never gotten out of the car to even walk around, let alone walk/hike 3+ miles around a mountain range. Just think…I would have missed all of this:

Day 5 - Mt2*Sidenote* I just noticed that I have completely neglected my quotes for quite some time.  Just getting a post up some days can be nearly impossible.  Anyhow, I feel like I definitely miss the little oomph that they provided to the end, so I’m going to try and get back into the habit of adding one to each post.  Feel free to share some of your favorites!

“If you can’t fly, then run.  If you can’t run, then walk.  If you can’t walk, then craw, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”  ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Seattle (Part 3)

Day 5 – Relaxing (Farmer’s Market and Alki Beach)

All the traveling started to catch up to us on Day 5and we decided to just take it easy and stick close to the apartment.  Cliff and I decided to start the day off with a workout so he went to the gym and my Dad and I went for a run/walk along the Puget Sound.  It was so wonderful to run along the water!  If I had a place like that right outside my front door I would be out there every single morning.

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After we finished and showered we decided to take a nice, leisurely stroll back to Pike Place Market.  We were hoping that going back on a week day would be a bit easier to navigate and we were 100% correct.  The market was just fantastic!  I could spend days there (and the streets around it) and never explore it all.  There were little shops in every little crook and crevice spanning each floor.  Over the course of the trip I think we visited the market 3-4 times and I found the best store there on the very last day (more on that later) and I have NO idea how I missed it.

Cliff picked up an awesome Kill Bill picture that this guy made by using stencils that he had created.  I picked up a few souvenirs and a jar of strawberry jalapeno jam that was (is) delicious.  I’ve completely replaced my regular jam with it and have no idea how I’m ever going to be able to go back to it once it’s gone.  Guess I’ll have to go out and get more.  😉

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We picked up loads of fruits, veggies, and meat to take back with us to the apartment.  Cliff and I also found this incredible lemon cheesecake flavored Greek yogurt that has ruined me on both cheesecake and Greek yogurt.  I’ve been trying to recreate the flavor for weeks and it’s impossible.  We skipped over the pastry and candy shops (and believe me there were A LOT) and just stuck to fresh food.  Mom and Dad got scallops and shrimp, Cliff got a stuffed pork chop, and I got a butterfly pork chop.  After we finished picking out food we went back to the apartment for lunch. 

After lunch we relaxed for a few hours and then decided to head over to Alki beach.  I had read that you could see some amazing views of the city from there and, since it was pretty close to the apartment, we decided to check it out.  We were not disappointed.

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After we walked around the beach a bit it was time to head back to the apartment to cook dinner.  Mom made a super tasty dish that I haven’t stopped thinking about since we’ve been home.  She fried up the scallops in butter (I never said it was super healthy) and then put the tehm over seasoned rice and put crumbled up bacon (which we had also gotten from the market) and green onions on top.  It was absolutely scrumptious.  I can’t wait to be near an ocean again so that I can try to replicate it.  I really wish I would have thought to take a picture of it.

I would have never tried the foods that I tried on this trip a year ago.  I’ve never been a big fruit and veggie eater.  I’ve lost the majority of my weight just eating less of the foods that I’ve always eaten.  I ate Totino’s for dinner several times a week for months and was perfectly fine with that because it filled me up and was within my calories.  Working full time and going to school full time while also trying to lose 200+ pounds doesn’t always leave much time for healthy alternatives.  This is especially the case when you really don’t have any idea how to cook those foods in the first place.  So now not only do you have to dedicate the time cooking the meal, but you have to spend even more time learning what the hell you’re doing with all these foods that you haven’t tried for 20 years, let alone cooked.  A Totino’s is ready in 14 minutes you say?  Sold.  However, I’ve been trying really hard to get away from that mentality and I have really come a long way.  I am proud to say that I have been Totino’s free for almost three weeks.  I owe the change in my eating habits solely to this trip.  I forced myself to eat outside of my comfort zone because I loved the area so much and I just wanted to absorb myself in my surroundings.  This, of course, meant buying fresh food and learning how to prepare it.  I still have a long way to go but I certainly never thought I would be eating salad regularly or buying salmon burgers at the grocery store.  I’m actually having a blast trying all these foods that I’ve spent years turning my nose up to.  Next week I think I’m going to try my hand at guacamole for the first time.

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On the next installment read all about how this girl, who was completely sedentary a year ago, hiked almost 3 miles in the Cascade Mountains!

Seattle (Part 2 – LOTS of pics)

Day 4 – La Push and the Olympic Mountains

One of my favorite days of the whole trip was this one.

We got to experience all of the seasons within hours of each other and it was awesome.  We drove from Seattle to the Pacific Ocean and then through the Olympic National Park.

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We had picked up a few things at the corner market the night before, so we had breakfast at the apartment and then head out towards Edmonds to catch the ferry to Kingston so that we could drive up through Port Angeles and on to the Pacific Ocean.  Cliff was the only one of us that had ever seen the Pacific, so we were all really excited to go.  It was the same amount of time to drive to the Oregon coast and since I had read (and, unfortunately, watched) all of the Twilight books I thought it would be neat to see La Push.

The drive to the beach was almost as awesome as seeing the ocean itself.  On the way there we drove beside a place called Reflection Lake and we just had to stop and take pictures (shocker, right?)

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This part of the country is just amazing.   Everything looks untouched and pristine.  Even on cloudy days, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that it’s gloomy because everything is so lush and green.  I felt like my eyes were never going to be able to take in all of the beauty around me.  I felt like I was drunk on nature – which was a first for me.  I’ve never been known to be an outdoorsy type person.

The Pacific Northwest changed all that.

Rather than ramble on about the awesomeness, I’ll just show you.

IMG_0795 IMG_0797 IMG_0802 IMG_0816 IMG_0837 IMG_0839After we left the beach we drove up into the Olympic National Park and the scenery there blew me away all over again.  I had never seen a mountain with snow on it (except in the movies) and I actually teared up as we began the ascent to Hurricane Ridge.

Once we reached the top we were, literally, standing in the clouds.

IMG_0907It was so surreal to think that just a few hours prior we were dipping our toes in the ocean.  Now we were shivering in our hoodies at the top of a mountain range.

Have I mentioned how much I love the PNW?

10382988_10201891992286194_3160400055736409592_n IMG_0862 IMG_0863 IMG_0865 IMG_0873 IMG_0881 IMG_0902 IMG_0906 IMG_0917 IMG_0923 IMG_0935 IMG_0959 IMG_0979After we finished in the mountains we drove back to Port Angeles for a bite to eat.  By the time we were finished there was no way we were going to make the Kingston Ferry back to town, so we decided to stop at Albertson’s and get groceries for the rest of the week.  We had already decided that we would get our meat and produce at the market the next morning so we just grabbed a few staples and drove down to Bainbridge to catch that ferry back to the apartment.    I still suck at nighttime photography so this was the best I could do.

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View from the ferry

Almost three weeks later and I still daydream about this day.  I feel so lucky to have been able to experience it with the people that I love most in the world.   It definitely deserves it’s own post.

Next installment tomorrow so tune in!

 

 

 

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