Olallie Lake via Pratt Lake Trail

Oh wow to this hike! We went with Sausage and Igloo today, which is lovely to share hiking with them.

Firstly we were all a little surprised at how much snow was at the start of this trail, I expected snow but not until a little further up. We started with our chains on our feet to from the very beginning and kept them on the whole way. I kinda wished I had my snowshoes for the end of the hike as it would have made it easier than the pot holing we ended up doing. But I made it to the lake!! 😀

I need to take my photos off my camera, so will do that tomorrow – currently I’m sat in front of the T.V at 9:30pm with The Vampire Diaries on! I’m watching from the beginning as I missed the last 2 seasons. Any way I digress — I’ll update this post tomorrow. In the meantime have some photos from my phone of Olallie Lake ❤

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Gold Creek Pond 03/20/17

I went on this hike with one lady – usual hiking buddy – and we hoped to meet the other one on the trail….which we did! Lovely to see her briefly too.  Driving along the i90 towards Snoqualmie Pass we were able to see how much snow was still around. I knew that people were still skiing and snowboarding up here, but it wasn’t until I saw the snow mounds on either side of the road that I realised just how much they had been clearing the roads over winter. It was really high and we could not see over the top, not even to see the gas station!

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I thought I had snowshoed around here last year, but couldn’t remember for sure until we arrived. There were not many people when we parked up on the road side, using a Sno-park pass. I did not drive this morning because I don’t have one of those pass. I have the other two popular ones though!

I was not as cold as the last time we went out for a snow covered hike, but it was still chilly and so much snow! More than I expected, but after a weekend of lovely weather, the amount of foot traffic had really packed the snow down so the snowshoes stayed on my pack.

We wandered around the lake originally, and then veered to the left off onto another trail through the trees and up onto what would be a driveway for the little huts which are out there, and then onwards to Gold Creek Trail.

The little huts and homes in-between the trees are beautiful, some are more modern and some look like they need a little t.l.c on the outside.

We had agreed that we would do around 5 miles this morning, which worked out brilliantly as we turned around and ate when we reached a clearing which had recently had an avalanche down it. We decided we had walked far enough and also neither of us particularly wanted to cross this area. We had no doubt that it was safe at that time, but the sun was out and it was quite warm. I had gone down to wearing only my fleece as had become quite warm. We didn’t know how soft the snow would become a couple of hours later, and we still had 3 miles to the end of trail, plus 3 miles back. This trail will be there another day.

On our way back we stopped at the restrooms…I am incredibly happy to have discovered these! Clean, indoors, and warm 🙂 There is also a little cafe, where I tried a raspberry white mocha! Nom nom nom….oh and a snickerdoodle cookie!

I think I want to camp here next winter. It is a safe trail, people use it, plus it is close enough that if I needed to I could get in the car and drive home to a warm bed 🙂

Visit from Mama S February 2017

Mama S came to visit last month for just under 3 weeks. We are both working now, so we weren’t able to take her out and about as much as last year, but we passed the Orca card – like a Oyster card in London – which meant she could use the buses.

A little reminder of our trip for me, and her if she’s still reading this 🙂

Max and Marie went in for a bath and groom up the road at The Whole Cat and Kaboodle. This is a wonderful establishment. Nancy and her team are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, but they also have adoptions and boarding capabilities. You can play with the cats! They have lots of grain free foods, litter and other goodies. Our heat reflective catnip cat mats come from there and all proceeds go to feral cats.

Max looked gorgeous in his little bowtie which stayed on for a very long time! He posed repeatedly on the countertop! We played with some of the cats and kittens in the boarding room too.

We had a real mixture of weather whilst Mama S was here, from full blown snow through to sunny through to torrential downpour! Waking up to snow and having a couple of days to enjoy it was really nice.

One place Mama S asked to visit was Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls again. I love these places so that was a definite stop off for us, and we even treated ourselves to a yummy lunch where I had a pizza and cherry pie for dessert…oh and I wasn’t driving so a cheeky cocktail joined the table!

These appear to be all the photos I have from Mama S’ trip! We did have a trip up to the Outlet stores for Valentine’s so I was treated to a new watch, and pair of trousers and a top for work.

It’ll be another year before Mama S comes for another visit.

 

Project 365 Weeks 6 & 7

It is another 2 week write up for me this week. Hubster’s mum came to visit and arrived on the 2nd February and is here for just less than 3 weeks so I’ve not had much time to sit and write up anything. I think for now this Project 365 is mainly a photo diary of my year, the boring and the fun!

Week 6

Day 36 – Happy Birthday night to me, and it is snowing! I don’t think I can ever remember it snowing on my birthday in the UK so this is exciting. Hopefully it continues to settle overnight.

Day 37 – It settled! Local school districts are closed today, but it doesn’t affect me as I don’t work on Monday’s. I went for a wander around our complex with MIL and found the swans on the larger of the lakes.

Day 38 – Another snow day so no work for me today, school districts still closed, and yet the postman (USPS) still made their rounds. A sneak peak at our wedding Thank You’s! Yup…we are 8 months behind.

Day 39 – Double cat watching me on the deck whilst I try to safe some of our potted bulbs after the random snow 🙂

Day 40 – Max Cat … work day so didn’t capture any other photo!

Day 41 – Marie Cat decided she had had enough!

Day 42 – Saturday came so we took a drive out to one of my favourite places, we take all our visitors here! Snoqualmie Falls — Twin Peaks fans, this is the falls in the show!

Week 7

Day 43 – Now it is past Valentine’s Day it is ok to post this. As usual I made Hubster’s card.

Day 44 – In the attempt to stop Marie cat putting on weight whilst we also try to help Max cat put on weight we decided to make it harder for Marie to eat. She dug for food for all of 30 seconds before remembering she is a bully and pushed Max off his bowl. *sigh*

Day 45 – Tried another feeding attempt by putting them out of view of each other in the hopes Marie wouldn’t eat Max’s food. Didn’t work!

Day 46 – I joined Ispy which is a monthly make-up/beauty thingy. This is this months treats! Needed a new mascara and never worn this colour lip-stick so happy days 🙂

Day 47 – Decided to buy a new craft bag as it was in the sale! Very good sale price in Joanns, but then realised it was too small for my crafts…it works perfectly for my make-up though! So now I have it all in one place 🙂

Day 48 – Tried another crochet project, in thread. Made a bookmark for my MIL and really impressed at my first attempt at such small and fiddly crochet stitches.

Day 49 – Saving my plants from the deck worked! I have blooms 🙂

Nordic Skiing 01/09/2017

Nordic skiing or Cross Country Skiing is something I’ve been interested in trying, but assumed you needed to be able to ski well! I can snowboard, as can Hubster, and have some skiing experience but not in the last 5 years. It turns out however that you do not need to be able to ski 😀 *happy dance*

Myself, Hubster, Igloo and Sausage headed over to Steven’s Pass on Monday for a Nordic Skiing lesson at 11am, followed by – we hoped – an exploration of the skiing trails.

Due to leave at 8:30 from our friends, we were of course late! We always are late. I know people can hate those of us who are late, but we try not to be, I promise we try! We arrived at the Nordic Skiing place at around 10:30am, with enough time to part, rent our equipment and get kitted out. Nordic Skis are worked out via your weight, I don’t know how much I weigh, but seeing that Igloo and Sausages’ skis were 10cm longer than mine and I am sure I weigh more, I must have made a mistake. It was okay though, I could manoeuvre comfortably on them.

Our lesson instructor was Arianha, she was great! A really amazing instructor. In our group were 3 children and 6 adults, and she was able to explain what to do in such as way as the children understood but she did not come across as patronising to us adults.

Nordic Ski Boots are SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE than normal ski boots, plus the whole equipment was lighter, so much lighter *happy dance*

During the lesson we learnt how to hop along so we could slide on the skis and travel safely and somewhat speedily along the groomed tracks, we learnt how to snow plough down any little hills we might come across in both the tracks and also when there are none. The lesson was only 1 hour long, but that was long enough. We were in the shade and my goodness…..so cold! 6F so -15C approximately….I LOVE MY HAND AND TOE WARMERS! Then we were able to head out along the groomed trails on our own.

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I have a new winter sport! Our lesson, plus equipment rental, plus full day trail pass cost $50. If we decide to buy our own equipment then we could get a beginners set (boots, skis and poles) for $300!

After a warming lunch we headed to the main groomed trails, we followed the green line which is the easiest and called Main Trail for about 2.5km before heading back. Igloo and Sausage stayed on the Main Trail, whilst Hubster and I did a little detour onto Side Track, a blue trail, so the next level up. This was soo much fun! Lots of little hills, so some downwards trails and snowplough only downhills, we picked up some speed which I loved. We came out back on the Main Trail just in front of Igloo and Sausage so we all headed down together-ish (Hubster and I had a little race to see who finished first!).

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These are some photos from Igloo who gave me permission to use some of these 🙂

Once back we gave back the rental bits and bobs and headed over the Leavenworth, a little Bavarian Town just through the mountain pass. Where we ate a Bratwurst 😀 Leavenworth is a lovely town, I enjoy visiting there and it is a guaranteed place we take our visitors. Winter is beautiful, as is Spring and Autumn. I haven’t been in Summer yet, but maybe this year!

A huge shout out to Igloo for driving us today.

(I’m running out of space on my wordpress media so discovered a new app on my iPhone which I quite like for creating collages and little videos…)

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!

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.