Some of our favorite summery tracks include:
You Are Enough by Sleeping at Last
Settle Down by The 1975
Feel it All Around by Washed Out
Elevate by St. Lucia
Get in the summer mood with these songs, guaranteed to make you feel sunny, warm and nostalgic.

As summer 2014 fast approaches Kelly and I thought it would be fun to recap a few of our favorite adventures from last summer to get us into the summer spirit.  We’ve had a few warm days here in Seattle, but we know the real summer doesn’t start until after July 4, so we’ve got a few more days to reflect and enjoy some memories of sunshine, great hikes, swimming holes, long weekends and longer Pacific Northwest days.  We hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane as much as we did!

In late May of last year, we joined our good friend, Amanda, and her new puppy, Kona, in a protest march, March Against Monsanto.  Thousands of demonstrators lined the streets with signs and costumes decrying the chemical-turned-food giant’s meddling with small farms, relentless push for untested genetically modified crops in the US market, and notoriously shameless buying-out of congress and regulatory agencies.

March Against Monsanto Seattle

Our dear friend Amanda and Kelly pose for a photo at the March Against Monsanto

A woman carries her sign disparaging Monsanto at the march in Seattle

A woman carries her sign disparaging Monsanto at the march in Seattle

March Against Monsanto Seattle Poison

A young man lets his feelings about Monsanto’s dubious track record regarding food and pesticides be known

Monsanto Is Murder Seattle

A young girl gets her message across carrying a sign decrying Monsanto

Round Up Poison March Against Monsanto

A man dressed as a bottle of RoundUp sprays marchers with a “poison” bottle of water. He spent much of the day chasing around a giant flower on stilts as well

Snoqualmie Pass is a quick 45-minute drive from downtown Seattle, so it only makes sense that this was one of our first snow-free hikes of the season.  We hit this trail to Snow Lake (a very popular day-hike) on a weekday afternoon to avoid crowds.  By mid-July, the snow had melted off all but the shadiest forest glades and loftiest mountain peaks.  We picnicked up at the lake before scurrying down in a late-afternoon shower.

Snow Lake Hiking Snoqualmie Pass

Kelly pauses along the trail to Snow Lake in Snoqualmie Pass

Chair Peak Snow Lake Snoqualmie Pass

Kelly pauses and reflects at Snow Lake below Chair Peak in Snoqualmie Pass

Outhouse Forest Washington

A primitive privvy, these open-air outhouses are scattered throughout the national parks and forests of Washington

For our 3rd wedding anniversary, we decided to keep it cheap and simple with a lovely picnic dinner in our back yard.  We baked a rich four-cheese Mac-n-Cheese dish in a cast-iron skillet and loaded it with fresh scallops from the docks near our house.  Garnished with salads of baby arugula, we topped off our feast with a bottle of Prosecco and enjoyed it all next to a fire in our fire pit.

Cast Iron Skillet Mac and Cheese Anniversary Picnic

Enjoying home-made scallop mac-n-cheese in the back yard

Anniversary Picnic Fire Prosecco Champagne

A bottle of Prosecco and a fire in the backyard set the anniversary picnic mood

Anniversary Dinner Picnic

Kelly enjoys our anniversary picnic dinner in our backyard

The next weekend, my aunt, Robin, came to visit us.  She loves Seattle and tries to get out here as much as she can.  We celebrated her visit by eating lots of good food, drinking good drinks, and taking in gorgeous views, like these of a sunset over the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound.  Sailboats were returning to their moorings at the Shilshole Marina near Golden Gardens park, one of our favorite parks in the city.  It’s a lovely bike ride on long summer evenings.

Our brother and sister-in-law, Brian and Aimee, enjoy sunset from Golden Gardens

Our brother and sister-in-law, Brian and Aimee, enjoy sunset from Golden Gardens

Sailboat Puget Sound Golden Gardens Seattle

A sailboat returns to Shilshole Marina near Golden Gardens at sunset

Sunset Puget Sound Olympic Mountains Golden Gardens

Kelly enjoys the view of the sun setting over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound from Golden Gardens

Sailboat Puget Sound Dusk Golden Gardens Seattle

A sailboat motors into port as dusk settles over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound

To cap off an incredible July, we took a long weekend and motored up to North Cascades National Park with the Vibe.  Often referred to as the “Alps of North America,” it is one of the places that made Kelly and I fall in love with Washington State when we backpacked there a few years ago.  We set up shop at Colonial Creek Campground on Diablo Lake and spent some time kicking back with our fishing rods and a book or two.  Although we didn’t catch a single fish, the views and perfect weather were unbeatable.  The sunsets were extra colorful as a few wildfires burning nearby launched their smoke into the atmosphere to mingle with the summer thunderheads.

Kayakers Diablo Lake North Cascades National Park

Kayakers take on a windy Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

Fishing Diablo Lake North Cascades

Kelly tries her hand at fishing at Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

Diablo Lake Sunset North Cascades

Sunset takes on bright hues as smoke from nearby forest fires mixes with evening thunderstorms over Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

Diablo Lake Sunset North Cascades

The suns rays filter through smoke from a nearby forest fire over Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

Dusk Diablo Lake North Cascades

Dusk falls over Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

We also hiked up to Easy Pass while in the park.  It’s not a strenuous hike, but the bugs at the saddle are voracious.  The views were worth it, however, as we crested the pass and gazed down into the Fisher Creek Basin, a huge valley filled with stately firs and a winding creek.  The North Cascades boast some of the largest wilderness areas in the lower-48 and the jagged peaks of the mountains remind us why.  The terrain is simply too inhospitable for serious development.  After attempting a picnic, we were swarmed by mosquitos and horseflies, so we ate our sandwiches on our descent back to the trailhead.

Hiking Easy Pass North Cascades National Park Washington

Kelly Pauses to take in views of the Pasayten Wilderness from Easy Pass in North Cascades National Park

Trail Easy Pass North Cascades National Park

The trail to Easy Pass in North Cascades National Park crosses a huge meadow and boulder field

Easy Pass Switchback North Cascades National Park

The trail to Easy Pass cuts a switchback across a boulder field

Hiking North Cascades Easy Pass Fisher Creek

Kelly searches along the trail for a bug-free lunch spot below Easy Pass on the way into Fisher Creek Basin

Hiking Easy Pass Fisher Creek North Cascades

Kelly descends a switchback on the trail from Easy Pass into Fisher Creek Basin

In August, our sister-in-law’s sister, Alicia (or Ali), visited us from New Zealand and joined Kelly and I on a day hike up to Lake Serene.  Serene is an alpine lake in a basin scooped out of the base of the 3,000 vertical-foot walls of index peak.  The hike to the lake is steep and relentless, but short and the payoff is exceptional.  Snow still lined the far side of the lake where free-falling avalanches pummel the narrow shoreline all winter and spring and well into summer.  The cliffs block a few sections from ever seeing sunlight, so the snowbanks linger and the water’s frigid demeanor is sufficient evidence.  Thankfully, we hiked up on a hot August afternoon and the swim was a much-needed relief.  Kelly dove first into the crystalline waters and Ali and I followed suit.  The water was so clear, we could see branches and rocks resting on the lakebed in perfect detail even where the lake was over twenty feet deep.

On our way down, the afternoon sun lit up the mossy forest the most brilliant hue of green.

Swimming Alpine Serene Lake Index Peak

Kelly dives into the icy alpine waters of Serene Lake

Serene Lake Index Peak Washington

Serene Lake sits at the base of the sheer cliffs of Index Peak

Sunbathing Lake Serene Washington

Kelly takes in a few rays of sunshine on a blue-sky day at Lake Serene

Hiking Serene Lake Washington

Kelly and Ali begin their descent from Serene Lake after an afternoon of lazing by the lake in the sun

Our sister-in-law's sister, Ali, enjoys the lush Western Washington forest near Serene Lake

Our sister-in-law’s sister, Ali, enjoys the lush Western Washington forest near Serene Lake

Green Mossy Forest Lake Serene

The lush forest at the base of the trail to Serene Lake lights up iridescent green in the afternoon sun

A week later, we joined our great friends Nate and Amanda in Bend, Oregon (which we’ve taken to calling “the Promised Land”), for a long weekend of floating on the Deschutes River and sampling the town’s many breweries.  The beer delivered, particularly Boneyard Brewing, the ubiquitous Deschutes Brewing Company, and Good Life Brewing Co.  The high desert was sunny and warm and our campsite at La Pine State Park was exceptional  A short walk through fragrant Ponderosa Pine forests lead us to the edges of the wild Deschutes, where at night I caught this photo of the Milky Way.

Milky Way Deschutes River Bend Oregon

The Milky Way hangs over the Deschutes River in La Pine State Park, near Bend, Oregon

There are a few more adventures we had last summer, including a whale watch with my parents and the arrival of our beautiful niece, Audrey, which we’ll recap in another post shortly.

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