Tag Archive | girls weekend

COVID Diaries: Day 207

Last weekend I got to have what was probably the last the last hurrah of mountain hiking before the pass closes, the snow falls and I am confined to the lowlands until next year’s season.

Audrey, Jena and I spent a fabulous day hike at Blue Lake, a spectacular out and back hike with views of the larches. Larches are one of the only types of conifers that lose their needles in the winter, so they give a beautiful fall color show. Blue Lake did not disappoint – it certainly deserves its own post!

We stayed the night in Winthrop, one of Washington’s small mountain theme towns. We poked around and enjoyed the warm, sunny weather, and laughed more than I have in a while. Good girlfriends soothe the soul.

This weekend has been quiet – just yard work and housework. There’s always a project or two at home that I should be doing!

Mount Rainier Snowshoeing 2019

In February, Paula and I did a repeat of our snowshoe weekend.  We spent two nights at Mount Rainier over the President’s Day holiday.  It was glorious!

Last year, the road up to Paradise was closed the entire time we were there, due to avalanche danger and rain.  This year, we were able to drive up to Paradise and snowshoe up there!  We got up early and headed up early, driving up just after the road opened.  We were the first ones out on most of the snowshoe trail, and had the opportunity to snowshoe through fresh, unbroken snow!

That morning, we hiked out under a partly cloudy sky, with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier!  It was so beautiful!  We took lots of photos and selfies, because when you grow up around mountains, you know that the mountain isn’t always out, and you take advantage of the view when you can get it.  I love seeing this view!

We snowshoed out a bit further in the fresh snow, and on our way back noticed that Mount Rainier was now obscured by the clouds.  We were lucky to have gotten out there when we did – there is a benefit to being the early bird!

That afternoon, we snowshoed around the Trail of the Shadows, an easy 1 mile flat loop trail. I love it because it takes you by an old turn of the century cabin, originally built by the Longmire family, as well as remnants of the old mineral baths – they were advertised as having healing properties, if you could stand to soak in the sulfur smelling waters.

We renewed our ritual of sitting on the porch to drink spiked hot chocolate and wine, and also had a good time working on a new puzzle in the game room and making new friends.  We had grass-fed burgers and blackberry cobbler.  Both were to die for!

We were sitting on the porch just after they closed the gate to Paradise at 6 pm, and Paula spotted a critter making his way near the road.  We watched him trot across the road and realized it was a fox!  It was too dark and we were too far away for photos, but he was so adorably cute from afar!  This may be the first time I’ve ever seen a fox in the wild too!  Our room this year overlooked the road in the front of the hotel – it is so pretty there!

I certainly hope that we continue this tradition, either just the two of us or with other friends as well!  It was so much fun!

Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K 2018

On March 4, 2018, I ran my first ever Hot Chocolate 15K.  Two of my girlfriends, Katie and Katy, went with me, and we had such a fun girls weekend!

Katy and I drove down on Saturday, picked up Katie, and the three of us went down to the Seattle Center to pick up our race packets and go to the Expo.  They had a lot of great vendors, and some great freebies!  We had some hot chocolate, posed for some photos, and got our race gear!  The race had some really nice medium weight pullover fleecies; I love it and have been wearing it on my road trip when I need something more than a t-shirt, but don’t want something too warm.  Katy treated us all to 15K shoe bling too – girl power!

We stayed at Katie’s house the night before the race and got up really early to head into downtown Seattle.  The traffic at 5:45 in the morning!!!  It was sooooo cold the morning of the race!  I knew we would warm up and be fine once we were running, but waiting for the start was very chilly!

Waiting to start

The course was ok; to be honest I wish it would have been more scenic.  It winds around downtown Seattle, and they closed off the Battery Street tunnel for runners to run through – how many Seattle-ites can say they have run through the Battery Street Tunnel?!  Sadly, there are a lot of dirty, littered parts of Seattle.  It reminded me that I am more a small town girl.  The highlights are definitely running across the Aurora Bridge, and heading back in toward the finish line and seeing the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project Museum (although I think they might have changed the name of this iconic museum?) brightening up the view at the end.

The race has some really amazing volunteers – it is sponsored by Allstate Insurance, and their employees manned water stations and cheered us on.  I love when a race has a good cheering section.  Along the way, there were some really cool Seattle residents who got up early and had the music booming from their decks and yards – it really gives a boost to my motivation.

There are definitely some tough hills on this course!!!  However, the fact that it is only 9.3 miles meant that I wasn’t as fatigued as I would have been on a half-marathon with the same hills.  I felt like I still had energy at the end of the race – the 15K distance was good for me!

I ended up finishing in 2:05:45, or a 13:30 minute mile pace.  I was happy with that, considering I really hadn’t trained at all for this race (which has become all too common on my races lately!).  I knew I could do the distance with muscle memory!

After the race, we got our hot chocolate goodies.  A cup of super-rich hot chocolate, and a melted chocolate dipping sauce with a banana, pretzels and cookie to dip in it…  Sooooo good…  It was just what we needed, with a little hot chocolate sectioned cup to take home after the race.  We couldn’t linger too long though, because it was still so cold!

Post Race Hot Chocolate

We headed out from downtown Seattle, and avoided the departing traffic by stopping in Ballard for brunch at the Portage Bay Café.  A mimosa and avocado toast really hit the spot for me – this place did not disappoint!

Brunch and cocktails!

I am so blessed to have such amazing girlfriends.  They love me, they build me up, I can share both my trials and joys, and I get to feel the incredible bond of girlfriends.  I LOVE these ladies!  This was another example of the wonderful life I get to enjoy.

 

President’s Day Weekend 2018: One More Snowshoe

Our last day at Mount Rainier, Paula and I had another great breakfast at the National Park Inn, and then we got our bags packed up and put in the car.  We had time for one more snowshoe before we had to head home…

We decided to do the trail that heads up toward Cougar Campground.  This hike is more of a hill and after hiking up part of the Rampart Ridge Trail the day before, Paula felt she was ready for snowshoeing uphill.  The road to Paradise had reopened, so we could see the cars driving by on the road.  The hike winds along between the road and the river; at times you can see the river.

It is such a pretty hike in the snow!  We even saw a Woodpecker!  We went a few miles up, and then had to turn around to come back to the Inn and our car.

It was a fantastic weekend – Paula and I both had so much fun!  I always love a good combination of hiking and relaxing, and this was a perfect girl’s getaway!  We want to do it again next year!

 

President’s Day Weekend 2018: Snowshoe Day!

The second day of our trip, we had an amazing breakfast, which was included in our room price.  Then we headed out to for our first weekend snowshoe.  I showed Paula how to put her snowshoes on – it took a little doing, but soon we were on our way.

Paula and me snowshoeing

We hiked the Trail of the Shadows for our first hike, which is a fairly short, level loop hike directly across from the National Park Inn.  I have always liked this hike, because it takes you past the cabin of Elcaine Longmire, the son of James Longmire, who first established Mount Rainier as a tourist destination by touting the hot springs in the area as medicinal (they weren’t).  There are also some ruins of the structures built around the springs for use by the tourists.

The Trail of the Shadows also has some amazing old growth forest, with giant Western Red Cedars and other trees that have lived in this forest for hundreds of years.

Towards the end of the loop, we decided to hike up the hill for a bit on the Rampart Ridge Trail.  We knew we weren’t going to do the whole trail, but we hiked up the hill for a while and rested when needed.  Paula had a great time, and I was so happy to have a new snowshoeing friend!

We went back to the lodge and had a lunch from the cooler we had brought with meats and cheeses.  While we were eating, the power went out, and then came back on.  We learned later that they had switched us over to a generator after the power went out, because a tree had come down over the road leading into the park.  No one was getting in or out for several hours, which meant we had a really quiet afternoon!

My car – day 2

After lunch, we hiked over the bridge near the Inn to go check out the river and a few historic structures on the other side.  The Longmire Wooden Truss Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge that was built in 1924.  You can drive across it too, but it doesn’t lead anywhere for cars on the other side of the bridge.  The snow was coming down, and it was so beautiful!  There is really nothing like the peace of a lightly falling snow – the sounds are muffled, and it just makes me happy to see the landscape covered in white.

We came back to the Inn and got hot chocolate (we may have added a little homemade liqueur) and sat on the porch for a bit, enjoying the afternoon.  We had a late lunch in the restaurant (lunch there is cheaper than dinner), and were able to skip dinner because lunch was so filling! I had a burger and fries.

Our evening was spent drinking wine, playing games and socializing in the game room.  It is nice that not having cell service, phone or TV encourages people to come together and actually talk!  There were several nice people at the Inn that weekend, and we had a chance to hear their stories.  We even talked about all coming back the same weekend next year!  It was a great end to another really good day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Day Weekend 2018: Rain and Wine

My friend Paula texted me in early February, from the Oregon Coast.  She had had a hard week, as had I.  We talked about life and love and disappointments and new beginnings.  We talked about meeting for a girl’s weekend on President’s Day weekend.  At the time, I was on the computer, so I looked up the National Park Inn at Mount Rainier.  They had one room left – so I asked Paula if she wanted to go snowshoeing!  It was meant to be!!!

As I am sure you guessed, she of course said yes, so a few weekends later, we were making our way to the Inn for the long weekend.  We met outside the park at a friend’s house so we only had to take my car (hers is not suitable for snow).  Driving in, we were both in awe of the scenery, as the wooded lowlands give way to snow.  She had never been to Rainier, and made jokes about how I was taking her to a remote location so I could murder her where the body would never be found…  I have the best, more morbid friends!

When we got up to the Inn, we were able to check in early.  It was raining, and I figured Paula would never want to snowshoe again if I took her out for the first time in that wet slog, so we joined a Ranger tour on the history of Mount Rainier National Park.  It was supposed to be a ranger guided snowshoe but they decided not to go out in the pouring rain either.  Our ranger gave a wonderful talk!

After the talk Paula and I did what any self-respecting young women on a relaxing vacation at a mountain lodge would do.  We got all bundled up for the cold, and filled up wine glasses, and found a couple of chairs on the front porch to hang out, drinking and people watching.  We stayed outside several hours, and yeah, we got tipsy.

Eventually the rain gave way to snow, and we loved watching a trio of guys in their thirties going all out posing in the snow.  They were hilarious!  They were taking off their jackets to pose in just their t-shirts, flexing their muscles, putting their sunglasses on and taking them off.  I swear we thought we were going to see them do the duck lips!

The Inn at night

Once it got dark we went inside to the restaurant for dinner – it was amazing – and then went into the game room and played backgammon and worked on a puzzle.  We had such a good time!  Even though our plan was to snowshoe that day, we still had such a great day!

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 8

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

Rainier-River

Snowy River, Mount Rainier National Park, Girl’s Weekend, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 7

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

 

 

Wine on the porch of the National Park Inn, Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 6

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

National Park Inn, Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 3

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

In no particular order…

Snowshoeing, Longmire Cabin, Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018