Archive 2015 July
Travel Tuesday: Upper Crystal Lake

Travel Tuesday: Upper Crystal Lake

Today marks two weeks since we drove into the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

The day we drove in it was above 80 degrees and all the vegetation was dry and yellowing. Not quite what we had pictured. Apparently the area around I5 has been experiencing some abnormally high temperatures and abnormally low amounts of rain. Luckily we received a taste of the true Washington this weekend on our first hike in Mt. Rainier National Park.

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The number of hiking opportunities within driving distance is now overwhelming. Since this was our first hike and we are trying to budget, we picked one of the closest hikes we could find. The Sunset entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park is just over an hour from our home and this hike is less than 5 miles from the park entrance.

The Crystal Lakes trail leads to Crystal Lake Peak and then both upper and lower Crystal lakes. It was incredibly rainy so we only hiked the 3 miles in to Upper Crystal lake and the 3 miles back out (6 miles round trip). Had it been a nicer day with less clouds we definitely would have attempted the peak for the view of Rainier.

We didn’t mind the rain too much. More on that later. The views were still picturesque.

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It was a fairly steep trail that ascended about 2300 ft in the 3 mile hike to the lake. We are both a bit out of practice so that may have contributed, but we were definitely breathing hard throughout most of the ascension. One water break was very necessary.

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Toward the end of the trail, it finally opened up to fields and the outline of mountains in the distance. On a clear day it was probably a sight to be seen, but for us it was an eerily quiet view.

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I mostly enjoyed the drizzling rain, despite it putting a damper on how far we could see. The fog rolling in and out of the trees and mountains and the feeling of hiking through the clouds was unreal.

The best part of the hike was feeling like we were alone. We passed maybe five small groups on the trail but for the majority it was just us. Since arriving in the Tacoma area I feel like we have been surrounded by people every single second. Escaping to nature was much needed.

Yes, that’s right Alaska. You have ruined me. This girl now cherishes her away from humans.

After about 2 hours, we finally reached the lake:

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To say I was in love with be an understatement. The water was completely see through and the green of the surrounding vegetation was so vibrant.

When looking out across the water and eating our sandwiches I realized for the first time since I’d arrived I wasn’t stressed about finding a house, or a job, or wondering where our household goods were. The only thought in my head was honestly – “Wow.”

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Aftermath? Me legitimately looking like I fell in a river.

The rain soaking us clear through all of our clothing was new. Even my poor rain jacket didn’t fair well and allowed my flannel to get damp. Experienced hikers, any tips? The North Face jacket was supposed to be “water proof”…

Overall, a hell of a hike.

In the wise words of red-headed Annie, “I think I’m gonna like it hereeeee!”

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
John Muir

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

Moving 2,300 miles across two countries in a packed to the ceiling Toyota Rav4 with my iPhone and my husband. That is where I have been.

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So for starters, APOLOGIES!

I miss my Travel Tuesdays and Food & Fitness Fridays. I miss writing. I miss this beautiful blog of mine, and all of the lovely readers who have kept up with my sporadic writing the past few months.

Did you know moving across the country (and by “across” I mean from Alaska to the continental United States by way of Canada) is an intense amount of work? I glamorized the hell out of the move. I will be the first to admit it. Beautiful Washington with its ocean sides and mountain views and urban living. Siiiighhhhhhhh. I was smitten.

I was sure everything would be as dreamy as this view in British Columbia
I was sure everything would be as dreamy as this view in British Columbia

Then the actual moving part came.

In a car for 44 hours over the course of 4 days, and then in various hotels for a week while searching for housing, and then sitting on the cold, hard floor of what is supposed to be the living room typing out a blog post at noon on a Thursday because I currently have no furniture and no job.

I can hear my parents now, “This is a once in a lifetime experience you’ll never forget!”. I will never forget these past few couple weeks. That is for damn sure.

Thank God for my husband. I mostly bring money and sass to this relationship, and so currently just the latter. He is the most optimistic, upbeat, adventurous guy. Every little trial has been like a Sudoku puzzle he is excited to solve. Marry your opposite. He makes me laugh in the moments I want to cry. So important.

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Realistically, we’ve been crazy lucky. Our car had ZERO issues driving all 2,300 miles. We got into a house exactly one week after we arrived in Washington. I have had a couple staffing agency interviews and have been applying to only positions I truly want thanks to the generous amount of saving we’ve done the past few months. Husband man doesn’t want me to settle for anything I don’t want just as much as I don’t.

Being unemployed is the worst though.

Moment of silence for all of us currently job searching.

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I wish I could be one of those Type-B people who gets all pumped about it and sleeps til noon and lives on Taco Bell or the dollar menu and embraces days of Netflix but NOPE, I’m the Type-A girl. I get anxious and nervous and wake up at 5 am wired and wanting to apply to more jobs and clean every inch of the house and go for another walk and try to be as productive as humanly possible while simultaneously stressing myself out so much I can barely eat or enjoy the “little things”.

For mental health, I’ve been batting a zero since we left Fairbanks. For physical health, I ate surprisingly well for the entire road trip. It was when we entered the land of every-single-fast-food-we’ve-been-deprived-of-for-two-years and stuck in a hotel that it went downhill. But we’re in a house with a refrigerator (luckily that’s not stuck in a moving truck with everything else) now and so we’ve been shifting back to eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch, and healthy protein options for dinner.

I intend to do a couple blog posts on PCSing from Alaska because we learned A LOT from this trip. From staying healthy and fit, to staying clean and organized, to finding hotels, houses, and even jobs. I intend to share what you should do and what you shouldn’t based on our trial and error. Hopefully my wisdom can be useful for others relocating across the country (or countries).

Well friends, I am off to apply to more jobs and make real food for lunch. Can’t wait to get back to consistently posting and sharing all the crazy happenings in my life.

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Camille Mae (2)

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