Tulip Town and Clayton Beach 04/16/17

Sometimes it is easier to insert a map to show where we visit, especially as no one lives here with us! We drove up, towards the Canadian boarder over Easter. It was a sunny day *yay :)* and this place has been raved about since we moved here. I am really pleased we left so early, and I’m also really pleased we missed our turning as it meant we were not stuck in traffic on the I-5, and we were able to see some stunning views on the back way into the venue.

It cost us $7 each to enter and see many different varieties of tulips, and some pop up stores which sold paintings, seeds, bulbs and kites. We wandered the fields, looked at the planned enclosed gardens and ate some ice-cream!

Tulip Town is owned by the De Goede family who were originally from Holland, and they open it for the month of April for people to come and see the tulips and bulbs. Click here if you want to find out more. There was also some placard information that the tulip bulbs were originally distributed from Canada as a sign of peace. Some also go to Washington DC. During the war, Canada took in the Royal Family from Holland and the Princess was born in Ottawa, who in turn raised the Dutch Flag so her heritage remained intact. As a sign of Thanks Holland sends tulips each year. Read more here!

I still have not got the hang of writing, and I know I tend to read blog posts with photos! So here are my photos from our day around the Tulip Town!

We weren’t ready to make the 1.5 hour journey home again after wandering the Tulips so decided to go for another little drive further north and along Chuckanut Drive which Hubster had previously been told would be a nice place to visit and drive his fast car along. We were in my jeep so there was no fast driving! It was a really scenic drive, which usually would take 20ish minutes but today took 50minutes! We stopped at Larrabee State Park and searched for the trail down to the beach 😀

The walk started in trees after we had crossed the busy main road, and was easy to follow until we came to a clearing and there was a train track with the following sign on…do we cross or not? Is this a used line? We saw a family come from the otherside and cross so we did too.

On our back to the car we crossed this, and then a little car on the tracks came past. The family in front of us told their children that it was keeping the track clear for the Amtrax train up to Canada….so yes, we discovered that this is actually a train track which is used.

Lots of dogs at the beach having fun in the sun. We sat and watched the massive sea gulls flying, and secretly hoped we would see some Orca Whales. No such luck, but maybe one day.

We went back to the car, and drove down towards home, stopping at a Panera Bread. It is like a Pret. I giggle everytime we buy some lunch there though, as they offer “baguette, apple or chips (crisps)” with any of the sandwiches, soups, lunch stuff. I ordered a BBQ flat bread, and apple on the side. Hubster did a great job of ordering a baguette sandwich with side of baguette!! Why offer baguette with a baguette?! Makes me giggle every single time. Why do people think they want basically one filled sandwich and one plain one!? I digress….

This is a map to show just how close to Canada we were! 30 minutes in medium traffic!

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Wallace Falls 03/05/2017

It has been a while since we’ve gone out with Igloo and Sausage but we managed it today. This is a hike I’ve done before but one which neither them nor Hubster has done.  We really wanted to get out, but sometimes at the weekend we have a lazy time and struggle to stick with any plans we try to make. By roping in Igloo and Sausage and agreeing to have a normal timed breakfast before we drove, it meant we committed!

We met at 9am at Homegrown in Redmond, a place we go to too often! Starting the day with a Avocado, Egg and Cheese sandwich and a tea or coffee, before the 1 hour drive up and along to Route 2.

Wallace Falls is a lovely hike with a lot of space to take your time and resting at different view points of the waterfall. The trip reports on WTA read that this would be an almost dry trail which I looked forward to. We have had a lot of snow, and some of our trails nearby are still in high avalanche territory, so finding one which would be suitable for our friends who do not have spikes or poles etc,  but also one which would be interesting for me can be difficult. I managed it this time!

I’ve multiple photos from this hike, using my camera until I filled the memory card (rookie move) and then having hubster continue to take photos on his, then asking for Igloo to share his — I wish I had waited for the new iPhone in  the plus size, the portrait option is AMAZING — huge thanks to him!

The trail began clear, slightly wet ground but easy going. Some trees in the growth had come down in recent high winds, but the path was clear. I like this route because you see trail runners, dogs and families along it. As we got higher the rain began, until we got higher above some of the lower tree line, and the rain turned into snow. The snow began to settle the further up we got and it was beautiful. We didn’t need spikes or anything but I do think if the weather up there gets any colder I’m sure the ground will freeze.

I’ve used a collage maker to upload as I did not want to take up too much space on Instagram and I quite like how these turned out 🙂

I’m never much good at the writing up of my hikes, and think maybe I should take notes, but until I decide how I want to write up you can have a lot of photos to look at!

Some from me, some from Igloo and none from Hubster as he hasn’t shared them with me!

Rattlesnake Ledge 15/01/2017

Brrr…not as cold as Franklin Falls, but it was still quite chilly! We went up with a friend of mine who doesn’t get to hike with others very often. The recent trip reports on WTA mentioned that microspikes would be needed and I am so pleased we took ours. At times it was very very icy and we saw too many people going up in bog standard trainers. Yes I am judging. It winds me up! Rattlensnake Ledge is one of the easier hikes, and therefore very popular at weekends, however people need to take responsibility for themselves.

Unfortunately I should probably put ourselves in this category too. My friend lost one of her microspikes on the way up, so Hubster kindly gave her his to wear as he was in hiking boots and had poles, we thought this would be enough. In hindsight, we should have just turned back.

It was a lovely hike to the top, Rattlesnake is definitely a easier hike than I’ve been doing so it was really nice for me to take it easy. The sky was clear blue for the entire morning. I only had my iPhone to take photos on today, so I have very few. The path was easy to manage, there was a mixture of snow coverage, dirt, and ice. Spring is on the way for sure. 🙂  Enjoy the few photos I took!

At the top, Hubster went for his water and discovered that it had leaked in his bag and over his camera — sadness number 1.

On our way back down, Hubster slipped on the ice and fell off the side of the path ripping his jacket and bruising himself but thankfully nothing more than bruises. He slipped and fell a few more times on our way back down to the car — sadness number 2.  We spoke to a lot of people going up in trainers, wooly boots and other stupid footwear combinations, told them it only got more icy on the way up and that they really need microspikes. Everyone ignored us. I hope no one else fell of the trail into bush and injured themselves.

On our way back on the freeway, a stone pinged onto the windscreen and cracked it — sadness number 3.

Oyster Dome 04/01/16

This was my last hike before I headed back to the UK. Oyster Dome. Somewhere I had not heard of, nor knew where it was.

This was just under 2 hours drive, and we all drove in one car. Hubster dropped me off at one of the Park and Rides, partly because I didn’t know where it was but also what I read online said it would be really busy/full by the time we were meeting.

My usual hiking buddies, plus another friend of theirs. I like that through hiking I meet different women, different backgrounds, different cultures and different life experiences.

This was one beautiful day, with a beautiful view up top. I read the reports on WTA (Washington Trail Association) before any hikes and noted that it can get very busy and that they are very quick to tow your car if left incorrectly! No signs up along the road though. We were ok, it was not too busy.

IMG_1934I simply cannot remember too much about our hike up, I know that some of the view points along the way had the potential to be beautiful but all we saw was mist. However, coming down was an entirely different and those same view points were spectacular.

This write up is definitely more of a photo journal! These first photos are of the trail up and down, with a pretty lonesome white flower and a leaf which someone turned into a smiley face.

This next set are of the view, with the mist rolling out to give spectacular clear sights. We spent about 2 hours sat up at the top sunbathing and chatting.

Of course a couple of selfies on our way up! This is quite near to where the Tulips bloom and next year I hope to go to Tulip Town to see them. Happy hiking!

Gold Creek Pond 03/22/16

I finally had the opportunity to use my snow shoes which we brought from Costco before Christmas. This was not the original plan, but because I managed to hurt my thigh yesterday by slipping on the Ira Springs Trail I asked to go somewhere nearer. I was the driver too, and couldn’t face driving almost 3 hours with a sore leg!

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I love this view. This was a great beginners snowshoe, which was great for me and Sausage (who also came too, might remember her from an earlier post…another Brit living her with her Husband – Igloo – and we spend a lot of time with them).

You simply walk around the pond!

There were a couple of bridges to walk over, a small section of the pond was unfrozen and the water was completely clear. We could see the bottom without being too near. Some Geese were having a little swim on this tiny area of unfrozen ice!

Enjoy the views 😀

Ira Springs Trail 03/21/16

So I hiked this with my two hiking buddies from the Ladies Hiking Group, we were aware of the low avalanche warning and for me I certainly feel comfortable speaking to the others if I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t continue on a route. This trail proved this, and also that we hike similarly to each other as we all felt the need to turn back at the same time.

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Turn back point

We met together and S drove us to the trail head, this was a point I had never heard of before. I hiked Ira Springs last year when I visited Hubster and remember it being really hot! We parked lower down, hiked through the trees and then came across the car park which was familiar to me.

Lovely water streams and mini-water falls along the way, a lot of trees which look blown down but the trail itself was clear from debris. Sometimes we needed to go under some trees but they were alright, nothing strenuous :-p

We enjoyed a brief lavatory break at the car park before continuing up, there were a couple of cars so I expected to see some people on the way. I think we saw some as we were coming down!

The trail began clear and open and relatively easy. Snow appeared along the trail the further up we went. Now, I’m writing this up in June, so my brain is foggy and I can’t remember when the snow appeared, or when we turned off to follow the main trail up instead of turning left and going up the “old” trail. So enjoy some photos!

The view part way up was spectacular! Just after taking those, we crossed an avalanche route. The first one was safe and secure, however once we had passed the next set of trees we had a look and decided not to cross the next one.

You can see how steep the sides are at this point, and after looking at the snow further up and seeing that some of it hard slipped we decided to turn back. This is when I took a small tumble down the side. It was not very far, no more than 2 metres, but honestly it felt like further! I now have a love hate relationship with a tree…..I love that it was there in my way to stop me slipping any further, but I hate that it hurt when I bashed into it. I hate that it gave me a bruise, but I love that it was nothing more serious. We took a slower pace down, partly I think because my confidence was shot after this stage.

We continued downwards and it was over a lovely day. I know since writing this the other 2 ladies attempted this hike again whilst I was in the UK, and made it to Mason Lake. Yay go ladies!

Licorice Fern Trail 03/05/16

An afternoon hike for me and Hubster today. I saw this hike posted on the Ladies Group but on a day when I would be unable to join them, but it looked like a nice one so I nabbed it!

Licorice Fern Trail is about 4.5 miles long, with not a huge elevation so was perfect for filling some time in the afternoon. It was not too far to drive to which was nice as well. It still has not sunk in just what amazing outdoor activities we have less than 1 hours drive from us.

I drove us down today *shock* I actually offer to drive places now, I’m even slightly worried about driving my mums little Fiat 500 when I arrive back NEXT MONTH! NEXT MONTH!!!

The parking lot, is actually road parking. Easy to get to though, and there is a clear sign of where to begin the hike.  We followed the path along and lowered down towards a small stream/creek on the left hand side and soon the path headed upwards so the water became below us. You could tell that we have been having wind storms lately, there were a lot of tree branches on the path and to the side of it. This was such a quiet trail – we saw 3 pairs of people on the first section.

We continued following the path until we came across Licorice Way, this is a road! You cross the road, walk a little to the left and rejoin the trail.

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We came across a couple of families and another pair, but apart from that noone else. It was very peaceful. There was only one section of the trail which was tricky and that was simply because a tree had fallen across which we needed to climb over. Other than that, it was a clear and easy hike.

It was recommended to me to look at Geo-cache’s so I’ve installed this onto my phone, only the free version so far, and there was one along this route. Very pleased to have found it! It took a while – this was a kiddies cache, so a little embarrassing – and had a peek inside. So cute! I didn’t have anything to leave behind so I didn’t take anything. Roll on the next one to look for 😀

Once we reached the end of the Licorice Fern Trail, we turned left and followed the Indian Trail up to the Far Country Lookout, before heading back the way we came.

We tried to find Far Country Falls, but managed to miss the turning somewhere, and ended up by a few houses and the end of the trail! We turned back and went back the way we had come, along the trail, across the road, back on trail all the way to the car. The only thing I really needed was a bathroom!

Mount Si Old Trail 02/29/16

The ladies I hiked with, minus one who needed to head back down. Next time!

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I knew this would be a hard hike, it is steep and long, plus I need to carry my own pack. There are some reasons why I married Hubster :-p

This was another Ladies Group Hike, and I really can not express how thankful I am for finding this group on Facebook. I met lovely women of all ages and countries and I love the conversations we have along the way, and of course I am really enjoying all these new places I get to visit.

Mount Si is in the same area as Talus Loop, Little Si and Teneriffe Falls so I am now very confident in driving this way.

Weather forecast as usual was *rain* and I saw some posts about snow towards the top of Mount Si so I had multiple layers, plus wet weather gear. I still struggle to regulate my temperature when I hike or run, I haven’t worked out why and I don’t remember having this problem in the UK. Changes in food, weight, muscle gain maybe? Anyone have ideas?

The Washington Trail Association is my go to website before I hike, it usually has good descriptions of the trail and directions also members can upload trail reports when they have completed a trail so often you can read about the hike conditions from the previous few days. See here for Mount Si’s page.

The Old Trail starts from the Little Si trail head, and follows the same route until after the Boulder Garden 2nd turn off on the right. There isn’t a sign marker, but one of the ladies we were with knew where we needed to turn off. The trail forked with a trail upwards and the Little Si trail to the right. Upwards we went!

This trail began to get really steep and I was thankful for having my poles with me! Also for having layers I could take off. Yay to hike number 1 in a t.shirt 🙂 I also really considered taking off my hiking trousers and being in leggings only, however it was a smart move to keep them on – it was cold at the top….brrr

There were many switchbacks on the way up, therefore many places to stop for a breather aka photo opportunities. After a while we joined onto the main Mount Si Trail so followed this to the top.

The temperature dropped, and snow appeared along the side of the trail. Spikes were not required today, but I can see how they would have been necessary a few weeks previous. The steepness really worked my legs hard, my thighs began to ache and I could easily have turned around if I wasn’t with a great group of ladies. The rain still held off which was great, because we still got quite wet from the melting snow in the trees.

Freedom The Top!

It was so cold, and so beautiful. We said goodbye to one member of the group at this point. The rest of us scrambled over the rocks – there was a path – and headed towards Haystack. 3 members of the group headed towards the right so look more closely, and 2 of us veered to the right to look at the view, take photos and eat lunch! Sneaky little birds tried to get our food, fortunately they did not like the look of my pasta and chicken! They flew off to bother a gentleman instead 🙂

Once we headed back down, we said goodbye to 2 members who hung back at the top for a little longer. 3 of us enjoyed a chatting hike down, weather temperature increased and we added the Boulder Garden Loop onto our hike (by accident!) as we came down back to the parking lot.

I ended the hike in my t.shirt again. This makes me happy, it is definitely nearly Spring 😀

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Roll on the next group hike with these and more lovely ladies.

First visitor to our new home! 1/14/16 -1/29/16

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy in the Gordon household!  We welcomed Mama S, who came for her first visit over here and her first holiday abroad in a little while! She is with us for 2 weeks, and hope she’ll have a great time. Edit: she did!!

It took us a while to find each other at Sea-Tac but we did….on a side note, I DROVE!! All the way to the airport for the first time, and back again 😀 *happy dance*

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Airport wanderings

The following day we drove out to an outlet shopping mall. We have two near to us, around North Bend and up towards Marysville. Having a look at what brands and shops were available we opted for the Seattle Premium Outlet in Marysville.

I like shopping…Hubster doesn’t like shopping…Mama S enjoyed shopping…

SUCCESS was reached!

UGG store for Mama S, and Salomon store for us. That was a surprise, crazy good sale going on in there. I appear to have lost my snowboarding helmet so was waiting for the end of season sale and would pick one up cheaply, but managed to get a pink one which will match my gear. Is that important? HAHAHA of course it is, for me anyway.   We both managed to get a new pair of running trail shoes. Hubster has the identical pair to what he already has so they are under the bed until he needs to swap over. I opted for trail specific running ones. Same brand, and style as both my current ones (more suited to rougher terrain) and my hiking boots, but these are light weight, specified for soft, wet, mud, quick drying. Perfect for the trails around here, even more when part of the trail requires some path/road running too. You never have too many running tops so crazy cheap orange T.shirt 😀

Of course we needed to take Mama S to our local Marina. Kirkland around sunset is beautiful. The views across the lake amaze me, no matter how many times I see it. At times I stand in awe about the fact my local area includes vast landscapes, mountain ranges, national parks, waterfronts, friendly people and a slow moving and therefore less stressful day to day life. My backyard is hiking, running and walking. I could get out more, of course! It’s only been 4 months. There is time.

We ensured that Mama S could get around on the bus whilst we were at work, or out and about with people (running club winter party and runs, hiking with ladies, needing to do work planning) we already had planned so she explored Bellevue, Kirkland and Downtown Seattle.

We ate out a lot, and also had a road trip down to Leavenworth which I’ll write about separately.

Boxing Day 2015

Boxing Day morning was a slow one. For some reason – probably because we stayed overnight at friends – we were up early. Way to early! Before Igloo and Sausage woke up. So after a shower I had fun playing their piano.

I really miss having a piano to play around on, but at least I now have a guitar 😀 I have recently downloaded Guitar Tabs on the iPad and am enjoying getting used to reading chords over words.

Anywhoo…onwards to Boxing Day. Igloo found us in the kitchen having sourced Tea and Milk! Sausage was taken a cup of coffee and emerged soon after then it was BREAKFAST TIME!  Phone was upstairs charging so no breakfast pics – Hubster thinks I’m turning into a closet hipster anyway so maybe this is a good thing.

English Muffins and Jam fueled us for an agreed journey to Snoqualmie Falls. This is somewhere I had wanted to go, but hadn’t yet and we assumed being Boxing Day it would not be very busy. It gave my Jeep her first proper outing, with 2 adults in the back and roads with a 40+ speed limit! She did good, comfortable and warm with clear skies above. I have an almost full coverage skylight in the Jeep 😀

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Oh dear Brits, how wrong we were. Boxing Day is a British thing and not an American one. It was quite busy and we had planned on having lunch in The Attic at Salish Lodge, so before heading to the Falls we made a reservation. Approx 40 minutes to wait, a good system though as they send a sms once your table is ready and you have 10-15 minutes to make it back before they give it to the next person.

We were able to see the Falls, and wander a little way. I am looking forward to going back, and this is one place on the list for taking visitors when they come.

Lunch was divine. I had chicken pot pie in a skillet and it was the best chicken pie I’ve ever had I think! Chamomile Tea on the side for me. We were lucky to have a table for 4 buy the windows which overlooked the Falls. We weren’t rushed to finish, even though we know it was busy. Our server was very busy and I don’t think he stopped moving even once the whole time we were there!

Dessert, oh dessert. I tried so very hard to resist, but I do indeed have a dessert stomach. Whilst Hubster visited the restroom, Igloo ordered his and I caved; completely caved in a snap of the fingers and I found myself ordering a Cherry Pie. OMG!!! This little pie wasn’t a pie where there is only the top crust, this had pastry the WHOLE way around, and came with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. It took about 10 minutes to come because they are cooked to order. Really worth the wait!

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I will be returning 😀 You can stay here, and they also have a spa so maybe this is a place to go to as a celebration, or general pamper day. Who knows…..