The early summer weather continued into another week, with midweek temperatures climbing over 90° - unheard of for June in the PNW. With plans for backpacking over the weekend, I spent the week carefully monitoring the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, worrying about hot dry weather. To my relief, by Friday we had some relief in the form of rain and the weekend forecast had dropped from the mid nineties down to the low seventies, with some cloudy skies thrown in for good measure. Much better hiking weather! After our foraging last weekend, Andy and I had morels to enjoy, and while I had plans to try several new recipes - including a morel risotto I still want to try out - we liked them sautéed in an excessive amount of butter and tossed into a bowl of ramen so much that we ate it for dinner twice, even with the heat!Read More
After a week of warm, sunny weather, Andy and I had hopes that one of our favorite nearby trails would be snow free and showing signs of spring. Saturday morning, we headed out for a hike, and were discouraged to see snow lingering in all the shady places as we neared the trailhead. Even worse, when we parked, the microspikes that I would have sworn had spent the entire winter in our car were nowhere to be found! Still, hoping the traction of our hiking boots would be sufficient we decided to attempt the trail. Sadly, about halfway up the trail, the well packed snow had turned to ice and with a narrow trail and steep slope, we decided to turn back, opting instead for a lunch and some beer back in Redmond where we had a better chance of pretending winter was over!
What started last week as a light dusting of snow has turned into a full week of actual winter in the PNW, with even more snow forecast to come over the next week. Overnight between Friday and Saturday, the Seattle area saw more snow than we typically get over the course of an entire year! While some are starting to tire of all the snow, I’m loving it! When I moved to Washington with my family as a child, I imagined that we were leaving behind the eternal summer of California for Great White North, where there’d be snow for three months out of every year. Our first winter in Washington was a snowy one - not the three months I’d imagined, but enough that we had an extended winter break with school cancelled for multiple days. I loved every minute of it, with sledding, snowball fights, and cocoa to warm up inside while our soggy winter clothes dried. Sadly, while we had a light snow most winters, that memorable snowstorm in 1996 was a rare event, and since I’ve had to head east for adventures in the snow.Read More
My favorite season is disappearing daily, with the last leaves dropping from trees and hillsides changing from the vibrancy of fall into the muted tones of winter. This change was especially apparent up in the mountains, where Andy and I spent the weekend at my parents cabin - likely our last chance to drive in for the year. The rain that had dumped on the lowlands all week had turned to snow in the mountains, leaving the lightest wintry dusting on the peaks. The white stuff also stuck around in the shady places surrounding the cabin, making for the jarring sight of fall mushrooms sprinkled with snow. After arriving at the cabin in time to join my parents for lunch, Andy and wanted to be sure to make time for a walk before the sun disappeared behind the ridge - an early event these days! As the afternoon sun warmed the frosty ground, the world around us steamed. The swirling mist drifting over the creek and pond led us to linger on our walk, but eventually the warmth of the cabin called to us. After a dinner of rabbit stew cooked by my dad, we broke out an anniversary gift from my mom, a national parks board game that turned out to be addictive, fun, and highly competitive. Sunday morning, we stretched out our stay as much as possible, stopping at Dru Bru for lunch and a beer before the short trip home. As always, I’m already dreaming of the next free weekend I’ll have to spend relaxing in the mountains.Read More
Pausing under a towering old juniper, I watched as birds floated along the slow moving Crooked River. A breeze rippled through the tall grass around me, and I found myself wishing I had the time to spend hours in this peaceful spot, perhaps with a picnic blanket and a good book. Not exactly the rugged athletic experience nearly everyone else in this small park is here for, but Andy and I had found our own little haven. After hearing about Smith Rock State Park from multiple friends, I'd been itching to visit, and staying only an hour away in Sunriver for a family vacation, I finally had the perfect opportunity. I'd had a cold since the day before we left home for a our week-long vacation, so we decided to avoid the popular Misery Ridge trail and instead opted for an easier loop hike along the river. As we watching the crowds across the river snaking up the Misery Ridge trail, for a while we were the only hikers on our stretch of trail.Read More