So our wonderful friend Bert had originally wanted to sing a song for us at our wedding, but due to many circumstances, he was not able to. Last night, however, we were treated to a late wedding present of the song he wanted to sing. He sang “True Companion” by Marc Cohen, and it was incredibly beautiful and moving. Quite a rare treat. Thanks Bert.
Check him out on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLgsmqMtYHQ
So as to not be a total lump on my week-long break, I’ve set a challenge for myself. I want to try and cook or bake something new at least 4 times this week. (I know we’re going out a few nights) Today’s quest was to try baking challah (don’t pronounce the “c”) bread. It was not a resounding victory, as part of it collapsed a bit, but it was tasty! I’m not sure if I didn’t let it rise enough at some point (it needs to rise twice), or if it did something weird in the oven, but it definitely doesn’t look like to quite should. Oh well, it was good and our house still smells like baking bread, so I’ll count it as a win!
(previous photos taken by Don Mears Photography http://donmearsphotography.com/)
So two weekends ago, Tom and I set off to go hiking. We had our lunches packed, extra warm clothes and rain coats, our “ten essentials”. Apparently, the thing we didn’t pack, was our brains.
We decided to hike to Lake Lillian, which is on the I-90 corridor just on the east side of Snoqualmie pass, to see the beautiful, colorful leaves. We drove to the parking lot signed for the trail, got out of the car, and started hiking down the established trail that lead from the parking lot. This was our mistake. We did not READ THE SIGN at the entrance to the parking lot which notes that the trail head was 100 yards up the road. DOH!
We instead hiked up the trail from the parking lot through the woods. It was a nice trail, if not a little under maintained, we thought. I started get more and more uneasy as the trail got harder and harder to follow. Soon we were following spray painted orange blazes which we later “determined” must be a new trail that someone is working on cutting. We finally stopped at scree field and decided that we were not in the right place. Luckily, wherever we were was pretty, so we sat down and had lunch and took some pictures. Tom tried to track down the pika that was meeping at us, but it ran away before he could get super close.
Things got slightly more interesting on the way down, as we got turned around several times trying to follow the “trail” that we had basically invented on the way up. After consulting the GPS and the less than stellar topo we had, we figured out where we needed to go, and soon joined up with the more established trail, (we think it’s a hunter’s trail…whoo hoo).
In the end, we didn’t have a true epic, but we defiantly felt like idiots for not reading the sign showing the true location. Luckily we had a GPS, and map to help us out, but we defiantly learned our lesson not to take any trail for granted, and that even experienced hikers make mistakes. Fortunately for us, this mistake didn’t cost us much more than a few hours in a pretty forest.
So on Friday, I turned 27! I’m officially in my “late twenties”, and I’m actually ok with that. I’m happy with my life and am enjoying learning and growing through my mistakes and my successes. And now I have a wonderful husband to continue to learn and grow with.
But enough of that emotional stuff. Let’s get onto the presents! I am so blessed that my friends and family know me oh so well. That it’s not about just getting more “things” but receiving presents that are meaningful, useful and sometimes delicious! From Dad and Sharon I received, as per tradition, 27 yellow roses, one for every year! This year’s batch has turned a bit orange, but it adds to their charm.
From Mom and Charles, I got a beautiful bracelet with owls on it. I haven’t been able to photograph it well, so we’ll have to wait on a picture of that. Super fun books from friends and a wonderful sister – in -law. Yummy pumpkin muffins and a super fancy beer also made it into the mix from friends who know my tastes all too well. Can’t wait to dive into these!
Tom’s parents win the award for the most unique present that I opened this year. Tom’s mom knows of my love of penguins, and decided that they were definatly underrepresented in our home. So she got me a stuffed animal penguin that not only stands on its own, but came with several seasonally appropriate sweaters that the penguin could change into over the course of the year. It will be a wonderfuly whimsical addition to our stuffed animal family!
Last but not least, the presents from Tom! There were some practical things, (sharkies, printer ink), a fun new pocket knife for hiking and backpacking, then there was the map. We have the goal to visit all the National Parks, and we want to visit them together. So my amazing hubby actually made a map labeling all the locations of every National Park in the US (including the islands). They are color coded to match the color of the National Park Stamps that go in the National Park Passports. At the bottom of the map is an alphabetized list of all the parks, with a space to write the date that we visited each park. It is an amazing gift, and one that we will use and treasure for many many years to come.
So back in 1995, a tall, gangly guy with a huge mop of red curly hair entered Trinity High School as a freshman. That guy is Trip Jennings. I was a sophmore, and due to many coinciding interestes, we became fast friends. We often climbed together, and he was one of the first people to teach me to kayak. He helped inspire the love of the outdoors that I so closely cherish to this day. This month, that guy I met almost 15 years ago, was named one of National Geographic’s “Adventurers of the Year” in their National Geographic “Adventure” magazine for his exploration of a totally unexplored river in Papa New Guinea. Trip is committed to exploring preserving the wildest places left on this earth through his work with National Geographic and his organization Rivers in Demand (http://www.riversindemand.com/) Way to go Trip!
Picture credits to Tom and http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/news/trip-jennings.html
So two days after Tom and Brendan and I hiked up Bandara Mountain, I’m still a little sore. But that’s a good thing…right? It was a beautiful fall day, the maples and huckleberries were starting to turn their vibrant autumn shades, and we could see all the way from Rainier to the Olympics. It was a nice reminder that fall is not all about rain, clouds and loss of the Vitamin D source in the sky. Hopefully we’ll get a few more lovely weekends, but that may be wishful thinking. Pictures to come soon!