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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.