Summer 2019 Adventure Journal
Written September 9, 2019
when things start looking up,
and all i can see is the light,
it really starts to feel
it has been worth the fight.
rising stronger with a full heart i come
remembering how life can be oh-so fun!
dancing and climbing
through life and up walls
i know now what i need to stand tall!
with feet rooted in faith,
mind focused on strength,
and a community by my side,
i am here feeling grateful, wholehearted, ALIVE.
This summer has been fulfilling in many ways. My pasty Irish complexion has connected with my Italian roots, as consistent sunshine has kissed my skin and given me tan lines. I’ve done some epic stuff, but also some whole hearted LIVING with people I love and a growing community in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve grown in relationships with my coworkers and friends, plus maintained connection with those far away. I’ve summited peaks, skied glaciers, camped in vans, supported friends in the Pride Parade, hung at the beach, mountain biked for the first time, bought my first road bike, and MORE! It’s been sunshine and fun galore.
This is my adventure journal for 2019’s sunny, glorious summer. It is certainly not all-inclusive of course, but I put forth a decent effort to recount all these amazing memories from mid-May to August.
This summer sparked a lot of joy. And it’s not just because I learned how to better fold my clothes (yes, ALL my pants – patterned & bright colored – are now folded in three’s. Thank you, Marie Kondo), but because of the connections I solidified. My connections sparked inspiration and a deep sense of gratitude and love within me.
I kicked off May with a trip to the Olympic Peninsula with Marissa, which was filled with salty breezes, rainforests, and insanely delicious seafood.
Hiking, Climbing, and Running, Oh My!
On May 13th, Erin and I hiked Oyster Dome for a total of 5 miles and 1050 feet of gain (round trip). Here, I shared some of my new favorite trail snacks (Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bars and Bavarian Meats Landjaeger) as we talked about Erin’s wedding preparations, our past relationships, and how we keep moving forward in life. The trail was dotted with bleeding hearts – both in literal and figurative forms. Connecting with Erin is always soulful, healing, and full of adventure.
On May 18th, I went rock climbing at Vantage to escape some of the rainy city days with Reid! We met in Ellensburg at my favorite diner for breakfast before a casual day of getting back on some rock. I did some lead climbs of 5.fun to 5.8ish and got pumpy in the forearms. Reid had a solid first chaco ascent! We topped off the day with a stop at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest, which is 150% worth the stop if you’re headed out towards Vantage & the Columbia River Gorge. We giggled as we declared each other as landscape detectives and read warning signs about “fluctuating water levels.”
The next day on May 19th, Krista, Lauren, and I killed it on Mailbox Peak as a conditioner hike! We took the Old Trail up and New Trail down, which was a VERY long descent made exponentially more tolerable by intermittently running downhill. It took us 3.5 hours to gain 4785 feet and 7.61 miles. Not too shabby, eh?
On May 27th, I did a solo trail run to Goat Lake for a total of 1,506 feet of gain and 10.79 miles in 3 hours (including wanderings around the lake). The sun was shining and I’ve been loving living close to Mountain Loop Highway. I took the lower trail on the way towards the lake and the upper trail on the way back to the car. The lower trail was a bit soggy, but manageable.
On May 30th, Jane and I took the most amazing baking class to learn how to make Lye Rolls with Seattle’s Sea Wolf Bakers! I froze the rolls we made so that I could enjoy them for months to come (AND save one for my parents’ visit Labor Day Weekend).
June 2019 Adventures
June 1: Silver Star Mountain
June 8/9: Erin and Todd
Being part of Erin and Todd’s wedding was pure magic. I was invited to take some video footage using Todd’s camera and arrived at the cabin rental the morning of the wedding. The real treat was ‘working’ alongside Karen who was photographing the wedding. Her eye for capturing genuine moments is a true gift.
The love between Erin and Todd is pure and has a strong faith foundation. They share common values and hobbies and are constantly challenging each other physically, emotionally, and intellectually. I have been so blessed to have these two in my life.
Their wedding inspired me beyond words as it fit their love perfectly. They got married at a state park near Mount Baker and the night consisted of lawn games, tacos (made by the groom himself), and bonfire conversations. They didn’t have a cookie-cutter wedding and had almost zero waste from the wedding! Their plates & cutlery were wood, which we burned in the fires. The sermon and prayer read by Nate was deeply moving. I felt God all around us as Erin and Todd said “I Do.” The rain held off and sun gleamed through the clouds as the prayer was read and we stood to welcome the new Mr. and Mrs.
It was incredible to see the friends that end up surrounding people such as Erin and Todd. I was so grateful to meet new friends (and reconnect with old ones!) who share common interests and values – people who share similar beliefs, accents (you know who you are, fellow Long Islander!), mountain goals, and values. These are the people I want to surround myself with: positive, fun-loving, connected people.
The day after the wedding, all Erin & Todd’s friends drove to Mount Baker for the Newlywed Shred! We were gifted with an OPEN ROAD at Artist Point (thanks to the hard work of WSDOT, who obviously knew the Sweatland wedding weekend was a deadline for clearance completion). With the road being open, we did CAR LAPS on Baker, with shuttles running up & down the mountain of gear and awesome people. We skied one sketchy line with narrow chutes and rocks, then skied the same line twice because IT WAS SO BUTTERY AND CORNY AND EPIC. Some of the gents did a pond skim as their last run. Epic day? Yes, epic day.
I can’t wait to see what other adventures we go on together!
Jerid, Lauren, and I brought furry friends Diego + Moose to Lake 22 in honor of our dads for Father’s Day. We planned to start later on the trailhead so that people would be clearing out by the time we got there. It was a great plan and we found a quiet section of rock to sunbathe/cliff jump from. It was a casual and fun 5.4-mile, 1350-foot climb of a day. It started with a sign of trail etiquette and we giggled at the “I love rules” comment.
June 22: Inter Glacier Ski
This was one of my highlights of summer 2019. It showed me that all the vertical feet I have climbed, gym workouts I’ve done (ones where people tell me they’re tired just looking at me), and hard work has paid off!
I went home for a short but sweet visit with my family + touch-up eye surgery for my right eye. After my PRK eye surgery in January 2017, I haven’t had perfect vision, so my eye doctor decided to do an LRI procedure on my right eye to rid me of my astigmatism. The surgery was faster than PRK and I didn’t even need to sit in a dark room! I was poolside for hangs with friends in no time. I visited with a lot of family and friends this trip. I’m grateful for people who spontaneously planned visits with me, studying our Italian family tree with my Nonno, sleepovers/house decorating with Danielle + Bobby, poolside hangs with Karina, lunch break gatherings with Marissa, vineyard dining with the family, game nights, and chicken parmasean.
On June 30th, I walked in the Pride Parade with my coworkers at Seattle Children’s, following a giant unicorn and rainbow balloon archway. Here, I met some new people and walked alongside some of my closest friends. I loved the energy of people lining the streets, cheering for inclusion and love for all. Even the police officers were smiling and greeting everyone. It felt like a giant family gathering and I was so happy to wear my rainbow leggings. Love is love. I am grateful to live in a place that is so welcoming.
July Fun In The Sun
Independence Day was celebrated with friends, lawn games (KUUB!), and a lot of American flags. Even Jerid The Canadian wore American Flag shorts. U-S-A at its finest. Krista bartended and made us margaritas, Alex provided amazing jams, and we were all quite spirited.
Krista’s 30th birthday celebration at a house on Ocean Shores was a real beachy escape the weekend of July 15th. We rode the Slick Track of go karts, battled in bumper cars, put on temporary tattoos, wore coconut bras, and played Kuub with even more ridiculous antics than those at the Fourth of July. I swear all these things were more fun as an adult than they were as a kid. I remember bumper cars being a headache, but we all wanted to immediately “play again.”
On July 22nd, Erin, Wang, and I went for a hike to Park Butte for insane views of Mount Baker. Our gathering was sparked by our time spent together at Erin’s wedding and I really loved our quality time. Wang brought tupperware of her homemade popcorn which I would literally buy for any amount of money it was so good and addicting and amazing and perfectly popped. AND Erin had Swedish Fish. I would’ve stayed at Park Butte lookout for all of eternity.
Seriously, hearing the stories of Erin + Wang’s vulnerability and overcoming obstacles (rising strong, perhaps? Or braving the wilderness?) spoke to my heart so deeply. We shared thoughts on social media, minorities in the outdoors, vulnerability (BRENÉ BROWN WE LOVE YOU), and what it means to be authentically connected.
Biking in July
I have always loved biking and this month I finally purchased my own road bike! REI’s ARD 1.2W checked all the boxes of things I wanted in a road bike… including the fact that it was on CLEARANCE! (winner winner chicken dinner!) SURPRISINGLY, there are still bikes available online here... so grab this insane deal if you can! You can order the bike, then test ride it in the store it gets sent to. I recommend ordering online and shipping to the store so they can put it together.
I have been on a few long rides with the bike, plus local commuting and socializing. I even downloaded Strava to start keeping track of my many activities. Erin kept telling me about Strava and I put it off and off and off… until she sent me the link to download it and I figured “why not?” My competitive self really enjoys it so far! I’ve really been enjoing my proximity to the Centennial Trail, which starts in Snohomish and ends in Skagit County Line. One of my favorite rides was a 40-miler to Skookum Brewing in Arlington.
SECONDLY, I went MOUNTAIN BIKING for the first time EVER. This was an unplanned adventure with Erin. Our Plan A & B didn’t work out because of forecast, which led to frustration… but when we sat and thought about possibilities, we looked up the weather in Winthrop and saw SUNSHINE in the horizon! We decided to chase the Eastern Washington sun for a weekend of Mountain Biking!
I rented a mountain bike from Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop and we spent the first day getting warmed up at Sun Mountain. Watching videos of our trail riding is kind of funny because I felt like I was going really fast, but the videos look like slow motion. It was definitely a new sensation for me and a totally different challenge. Our first day on July 7 was a total of 9.23 miles and 1,402 feet of gain in 1 hour and 44 minutes. It was a nice leg-stretcher and left us enough time to head up to the highest road in Washington for camping in Erin + Todd’s van!
The morning of July 8, we awoke to insane views at Hart’s Pass and decided to have portrait sessions with expansive views of Mount Triumph, Picket Range, Liberty Bell, and the North Cascades. It certainly isn’t an easy view to obtain, however, because it’s a pretty dangerous road. So dangerous that it has a page on “Dangerousroads.org” here! I’ve done the drive once before, but it was definitely an adventure the second time around.
On day two of mountain biking, Erin and I headed up Buck Mountain, which involved 13.65 miles and 2,338 feet of climbing on a mountain bike. Now this involved some serious sweat, graceful topples, and walking with the bike on downhills (swearing I’ll never do this again!!). Yet… being surrounded by sage and riding through this open valley was BEYOND worth it for the struggle (which was real). I’d definitely do this again.
On July 28, I traveled with an adventure buddy to Orcas Island for a climb of Mount Constitution! Our day consisted of 38.11 miles and 4,646 feet of gain. Climbing the road to Mount Constitution via bike was a tough push, but INCREDIBLY REWARDING! I’ve been to Mount Constitution before with my family in 2016 (flashback here) and the views were no less impressive this time.
A Big Move
The weekend before heading to Tanzania, I moved into my OWN apartment. I didn’t exactly PLAN for this to happen, but gosh golly am I finally glad this change found its way into my life. I have been living with others and temporary housing situations for the last THREE YEARS. This is a product of being a Travel Physical Therapist in Washington state, then choosing to live with other people. My roommates for the past two years haven’t been perfect matches, so I was ready to be my OWN roommate again. I really do well living on my own. I loved my apartment in Florida where I was able to create the space that way I wanted.
It is so much more comfortable to have a home that I call my own and I found a two-bedroom apartment near work that fit my budget and needs. I am forever grateful for my coworkers who came together to help me move on a Thursday night. Have I told you how blessed I am to have a family at work? Well, it’s true. I love my work family. This was the FIRST time EVER that I moved with furniture and had to rent a truck.
And so, this has been my summer. I’ve done so much and really solidified so many adventure partners & lasting friendships. I am so deeply grateful for the changes that I resisted and now accept. I am grateful for all the support and love that I feel hugging me as I move forward with clear intentions and values. The best part is that summer isn’t nearly over yet.
Next step? TANZANIA.
the skies are clearing. i feel my mind opening. i feel my heart glowing, my spirit soaring. i am seeing the reason why i was given these challenges – a reason to stop, pause, and make changes. i didn’t know this much light could be found, but it’s within me, and its shining, from my cracks, do you hear that sound?! it’s my heart beating and i feel it from my center to toes, expanding and growing – letting go of the woes! my spirit is itching for more to explore, because i know with this energy i can continue to soar. so thank you those who have walked into my life, who continue to support me and give me reason to strive. i love the way i feel – bubbling with motivation, creativity, passion, and zeal! so much productivity… in simply BEING ME!
With love and gratitude,