Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mt. Rainier

We went on a hike for work the other day - a perk of the job. The fall colors, and of course Mt. Rainier, were amazing.

We ran into this gentleman on the trail. His name is Gary and he was the SIXTH employee of REI. The sixth person ever to work for REI back when it was a teeny company located on Capitol Hill. He went on to work for REI for 36 years. There he was just hiking along the same trail as us! A legend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I'm cheesy. I'll just say it.
Its Fall and we made sure we celebrated accordingly last weekend.

+ Tailgating before the UW football game.

+ An 11-mile run with Tyson kicking crispy leaves in the sunshine.

+ Brunch and Sunday morning football complete with Top Pot donuts and mimosas.

+ A trip to Fall City Farms for a carving pumpkin.

+ Carving said pumpkin all while making butternut squash soup AND apple crisp to the sound of tunes circling on a record player and the visuals of yet another football game (on mute).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Less 'ahhhh' in terms of a sigh-like pronunciation because well, we were scared. So instead, perhaps UtaHHHHHHH!

Backpacking and bathing in a river - the trip had inspired rugged whimsy and I think this hike was all part of the package. Simply put, we were doing it and we were hardcore.

Regardless of our thwarted original plans, we had always intended on hiking Angel's Landing in Zion. We were somewhat aware of the intensity of the hike, but I think for the most part we were all welcome to a challenge, if even a bit of a scare.

The hike started out simple enough, including man-made paths and gradual switchbacks. It was a slow process to get to where it turned to a questionably-safe and narrow catwalk high above the valley below. And it wasn't until I gripped the safety chains on a three foot-wide section that dropped 1200 feet to the bottom of the canyon, that the feelings of terror started to set in. In the same breath, a middle-aged man or woman would come effortlessly bounding down towards me having summited and I would say to myself, "Wait a minute. If they can do it, I can do it."

I had to say this to myself over and over and over again. Thrice I actually sat down on a rock, looking down to the bottom palms sweating - making me even more nervous because I couldn't grip the chains with sweaty hands - and said I Give Up. I'm done. I don't need to prove this to anyone. People have died on this hike, for crying out loud (but actually said with a few swear words and possibly heavy breathing). And each time I would stand up and begin again with new found confidence and gusto.

Here's a little shot of the final narrow climb to the stop that I stole from someone's online photos.

Because we were all so terrified and our sweaty palms were wrapped around those safety chains, I believe its safe (pun intended) to say we didn't snap a lot of photos.

I tell you what, when I reached the top the feeling wasn't Victory it was additional terror for I knew the route in getting up there and the route down was no different. I don't even remember the 360-degree panoramic stunning beauty that I'm told the top beholds.

In any case, I will say having completed the hike and not died, now that I can safely put my feet on ground where the furthest I can fall is on my own bum...I am glad I did it. It was terrifying. Tyson even said so. And I think the group relished in the fact that if Tyson thought it was terrifying well then surely it IS. Because Tyson is a manly forest ranger, or something. But I am glad that I pushed myself and I am glad that I am alive. Much the same as my diving experience was in Australia, it is in these moments where you achieve a strong sense of feeling alive. I don't need those feelings very often and in fact I may have filled my quota for the year. But I'm alive and I did it and I'm happy.

At the bottom, we came across this tarantula who was crossing over the trail!

We celebrated with Mexican food and margaritas. NOT cooked on a camp stove.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Part 1.
We flew into Seattle on Tuesday night and noted the green landscape below. Definitely different from the orange and gold arid landscape of Utah. We really had the best trip. As far as the landscape and scenery, the photos speak for themselves. Just as good though was the company and laughter woven effortlessly throughout the entire trip. The group dynamics, at times shockingly comfortable, oscillated between 5-year old potty humor and solving the worlds problems within the context of religion and parenting. The fact that Tyson and I knew both of the other participating couples well, but they had not spent significant time with each other and by the {FUN} hand of Tyson were forced into a sleeps-six tent experience, did not phase the group. We hiked all day and then we curled up in our sleeping "glow worm" bags each night and laughed until someone said "Goodnight".

And it was obvious from the start that this was the group who would not be rattled by an open itinerary and last-minute changes. Upon arrival, Tyson and I learned that the route we had carefully chosen and researched was literally awash after heavy rainfall had flooded the roads we had planned to travel en route to the Escalante area. Once everyone had arrived and all the bags were collected and carefully stowed in our super cool minivan, we simply pointed the wheels in the direction of Zion and let the weekend begin. No plan. No itinerary. No worries.
Oh and it was great! By the time we reached a campground just a couple hours outside of Zion, it was after 10pm and temperatures had gone from sunny and sandals to freezing and goose down. We all shivered as we set up our "party" tent and cracked open some PBRs in the process. The celebratory brew and cheers to the first night!

Friday we rose and decided to embark on our overnight backpacking trip. We loaded up our packs and hit the trail around 3pm for what was described at the visitor center as a three-mile hike in.

It was the first of the canyons, the incredible views and the non-stop banter.

Um, and then several hours and 4.5 miles later the sun was nearly set and we decided to start looking for a place to plop our ten. The heat turned to freeze and in a small frenzy we decided to simply set'er up in the middle of a grassy field. Its funny how the worker bee mentality kicks in when you need to initially set up camp. So many things to do. Put up tent. Unpack sleeping pads and bags. Remove sweaty layers and load on the warm ones. Find the appropriate food, stove and utensils and begin to cook. Eat. Then finally, Relax. Once we were relaxed, fed and warm, a definite ease set in. Sigh. Camping. In the middle of one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life. With great friends and a metal cup of red wine in-hand. And tons of comfortable laughing before crawling into our bags for sleep.

In the morning it was my Birthday. Thirty deux. A candle in a pumpkin pancake.

We hiked out feeling the success of an overnight in the wilderness and a new found familiarity that can only be found when a group sleeps in one tent and the conversation focuses primarily on going Number One and Number Two.

More to come. Like the time we all thought we were going to die on the most terrifying hike of my life! But I'm back now and in warm and clean clothes. I've showered and I have reflected on a great trip indeed. Thanks, Friends! -for flying from your respective cities to meet up and hike around in Utahhhhh.