Tag Archive | opt outside

Travel Bucket List

COVID has given me a far amount of time to fantasize about retirement and the things I want to do once I get there. And mind you, I’m not planning to wait until I’m 65! I’ve been coming up with my bucket list… Some of these might not have to wait until I’m retired, but some are harder to do in a standard two week vacation slot, especially if you want to take the time.  Here are some of mine (in no particular order)!

  1. Drive US Highway 20 from coast to coast
  2. Drive Route 66 from start to end
  3. Take a river cruise through the wine country of Europe
  4. Visit the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island
  5. Take an Antarctic cruise
  6. See the Grizzly bears at Katmai National Park
  7. See the Northern lights in Europe (or maybe Alaska)
  8. Visit Machu Picchu in Peru
  9. See the Great Wall of China
  10. Visit Petra in Jordan
  11. See the Churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia
  12. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  13. Visit Cappadocia in Turkey and take a balloon ride
  14. Visit Auschwitz in Poland
  15. Go backpacking
  16. Do a multi-day trip on the White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park
  17. See the night skies at Chaco Culture National Historic Park
  18. Do an African photo safari
  19. Hike in New Zealand
  20. Camp and snorkel at Dry Tortugas National Park
Treasury petra crop.jpeg

The Treasury Building at Petra (photo from Wikipedia)

What’s on your bucket list?  Have you been fantasizing about travel during COVID-times?



Anderson-Watson Lakes Hike

Today, the fourth Saturday in September, is National Public Lands Day.  As designed, it is the largest organized volunteer event for public lands in the United States.  Well, because of COVID, many of the in-person events have been put on hold, but there are still virtual events that you can participate in – find them here: https://www.neefusa.org/npld

To honor our public lands, which I have been so fortunate to enjoy frequently, I decided to feature a recent hike.

August 3, 2019 – Watson Lakes
Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – 9 miles roundtrip

This hike includes the option to go to a series of alpine glacier lakes, including Anderson Lake, Lower Watson Lake and Upper Watson Lake.  This hike has it all!  You start out hiking through the forest, with multiple inclines and declines.  Eventually you arrive at a meadow and a series of boardwalks so you aren’t slogging through water.  More forested hiking then deposits you into an alpine landscape with beautiful views!

The lakes are amazing, with lots of rocky outcroppings and views of the mountains above!  There are some incredible views of Mount Baker, as well as huge rocks that were deposited by glaciers.  Lelani and I enjoyed this hike thoroughly, taking time at the top to have lunch and canned wine.  After resting up a bit, I braved the waters of Upper Watson Lake for an ice cold swim!

I’ll have to make sure to get back to this hike soon!


As for today – it is pouring down rain here, but I was still able to get out for a soggy walk this morning.  It’s fall, so it’s time for that reminder that you won’t melt!  I hope you are able to get outside for National Public Lands Day today!




#HikeYourOwnHike has been floating out there in the world lately.  It is meant to be a reminder to not compare yourself to others, and to not minimize yourself or your accomplishments based on what others can do or their opinions of you.

I was asked the other day when I started hiking and it got me thinking.  I mean, I went on little hikes when I was a kid, and have walked the trails in my woody Pacific Northwest city my whole life.  But when did I start really hiking?

I would say it was when I was dating my ex, in that period before I got married.  We started locally, and then did more on trips, when we visited National Parks.  It just kind of went from there, and pretty soon, I was a hiker.  According to the ex though, I was too slow.  He didn’t hike with me; he hiked ahead of me.  He complained that I didn’t keep up, and he just couldn’t be bothered with that…  He would wait for me somewhere up ahead.  The hike was a competitive thing for him, and I couldn’t compete at his level.  He made me feel that I would never be up to doing a long hike, or a really strenuous hike.  That I wasn’t enough.  Of course, that’s nonsense.

I kept hiking after we split.  Since that time I have done far more than I ever did with him.  I have hiked 10-12 miles at high elevation, with thousands of feet of elevation gain.  I have hiked all over the country.  I have hiked with friends.  I have hiked alone.  I have hiked in bear country with bear spray and bells.  I have hiked in rattlesnake country.  I have hiked in hot weather and cold.  I have hiked in the rain, and on snowshoes.  I’m not the fastest hiker.  I certainly haven’t been in the last year, when I was struggling through some pretty significant pain.  But who cares if I’m fast?  It isn’t a race.  It isn’t a competition.

For me, hiking is about seeing nature, standing at the viewpoint, taking way too many pictures, and spending time with friends.  It is about clearing my head, and smelling the mountain air.  It is about cracking open that can of wine at the glacial lake at the top, sucking in my breath as I wade into the freezing cold water, skipping rocks at the beach and watching the sun lower over the horizon.  It isn’t about miles, or elevation gain, or speed, or remoteness, although those are sometimes factors in the best rewards.

If you put one foot in front of another on a trail, you are a hiker.  Don’t let anyone else tell you that your version isn’t good enough.  Figure out what speaks to you and makes you happy, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.  Find people who are on the same page, but if you don’t have that, go anyway.  Life is too short and too complicated to burden yourself with comparisons.  You do you.  #HikeYourOwnHike