A few weeks ago, I had my summer break week. As in, there was a week when I did not have classes and I did not have to teach. It was a wonderful, magical time filled with lots of sleep and sunshine. There was also this fun little hike. SIL S and I decided that even though the weather in Seattle was grey and cloudy, we bet that on the other side of Snoqulamie Pass, there might be sunshine to be found. We were right! We decided to hike up to Margaret Lake, and figured that, as it was a weekday, it wouldn’t be too crowded. We were right, and were given the wonderful gift of having the trail essential to ourselves. Sweet!
The first few miles of the trail follow the same trail as the trail to Twin Lakes, but the way to Margaret Lake drops off at the ridge instead of continuing on to Twin Lakes. The hike up is exposed and warm until you get through an old clear cut and into some nice old (er) growth near the ridge. Oh, and there are Rainier views, which are always sweet. As I mentioned, you quickly drop over the other side of the ridge down a steeper and rougher trail down to the lake. The lake its self is on the small side but very pretty, with Mount Margaret as the backdrop and pikas whistling all around. The day was warm, and so was the lake! We swam around for about 20 minutes before settling down for lunch. It was so peaceful to have the lake all to ourselves. What a treat. I need to hike more on the weekdays!
Tom and I had a wonderful time celebrating his birthday together, but I knew that he would want a party with all of his friends as well. Several months ago, I contacted pretty much everyone we knew to see who would be interested and available to come to a surprise birthday party for Tom. I also solicited ideas about where and when we should have the party. We decided on the weekend following his birthday, and decided to have a big camping party. In college, camping parties were a staple, and I figured it would be a nice throwback. So I rallied the troops, roped some folks into helping out, and jumped into party planning mode with both feet. It was not easy keeping the secret from Tom, and there were MANY logistical details to work out and coordinate, but with lots of help from friends, and some good luck from the weather gods, I was able to pull off the surprise.
We ended up camping at Penrose Point State Park, which is south and west from Tacoma. I reserved three campsites, and got as many people to come as possible. Folks arrived around 4:00 to start setting up tents, food and of course, booze. Tom and I arrived a little after 5:00, and everyone was there, waiting at the site, with party hats and noise makers. He was totally surprised. It was wonderful!
We spent the evening with our friends, laughing, drinking, and grilling. There was a dinosaur cake, cheese balls, snacks and many grillables. There was a whole picnic table for drinks. There was swimming in the ocean, and staying up late talking around the fire. I was so glad that everything came together in the end, that so many of our friends were there to celebrate with Tom, and that he was, indeed surprised. Thank you so much to all of our friends who helped out! It was great!
On August 11th, Tom turned 30!! Since we’ve both had a very busy summer, he decided to take the day off so we could enjoy it together. We started the morning with a cupcake party! The previous day, SIL Suz came over, and we proceeded to make 30 cupcakes, in three different flavors, (ten of each flavor). It was chaos, with two stand mixers going, and flour flying, but we got them finished, iced and hidden before Tom came home. The next morning, I set the cupcakes up in the number 30 followed by a !, and surrounded with Reese’s Cups, his favorite candy. It was so cool.
Cupcakes were followed by presents. He got lots of pretty cool presents this year, including some handmade pillows from his mom, a Lego headlamp from his sister, a GPS from my mom and Charles, and finally a Lego Star Wars set set, one of our pictures if Mt Baker printed on canvas, and tickets to see The Waifs from me.
After present time, we went for a hike! We wanted to do a hike which wasn’t too far from home, as we had to get back in time for the concert that evening. We decided on Snow Lake, which is a short, fun, flower-filled hike on the I-90 corridor not too far from the house. We had great weather that day, lots of sunshine. Even though it was the middle of the week, there were still a fair number of folks on the trail, but it’s a popular route, so we weren’t too surprised. We had a yummy lunch, (complete with cupcakes!), at the lake, took a quick dip, and headed back.
After cleaning up from the hike, we headed into Seattle. The concert was at The Triple Door, which is this neat venue that shares the building, (and the kitchen), with one of Seattle’s ymmiest restaurants, Wild Ginger. The deal with this venue is, you arrive early, eat dinner and have some drinks, then the musicians come on stage. It’s like dinner theatre, except with music instead of theatre. The band, The Waifs, is a folk/rock band from Australia that we both like. The show was excellent!
Tom’s birthday was a very fun, long day, that he seemed to love. Happy Birthday Tom! Here’s to many more!
Little did he know, there was still more fun waiting from him that weekend…
So it’s been like a gazillion degrees around here for the past few days. Now, I know that I’m from the south, and all of you VA readers are probably laughing at my weak sauce, west coast, can’t handle the heat, wimpiness, but y’all have AC so you can shut it. For the past few days, it’s been around 90 degrees. IN OUR HOUSE. Right. So I decided I would no longer cook. Too hot, too much stuff, and again, too hot. But…then I got hungry. And so did Tom. So it seemed that I needed to provide food for us after all, since we’re trying to be healthier, and really, eating cheese balls out of the can does NOT count as a meal. Or so I’m told.
So I made pasta salad. The only cooking involved was the 8minutes it took to boil the pasta. Sweet. I adaped this recipe from the Tasty Kitchen by adding a carrot form our garden and an extra green pepper, and also left out the tomatoes…cause I dont’ like them. It resulted in a wonderful, cool meal we could eat on our porch. Win. Plus, look how pretty!
Recipe (please disregard the fact that there is a zucchini in the ingredients photo, I didn’t end up using it):
1 box Acini di Pepe pasta, cooked and cooled
1 green pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
about a 1/4 cup of mixed olive oil and balsamic vinegar – (to this I also added about 1/2 tsp of oregano, garlic powder and a pinch of black pepper)
Mix it all together and allow to cool in the fridge for about an hour.
Add grated parmesan to the top if you like that kind of thing. I know I do.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have a thing for alpine lakes. I’m not sure what it is, but something about scrambling around rocks, through trees, over ridges and finding a beautiful lake, nestled between old, mossy trees, surrounded by towering peaks, just gets me every time. Now, I’m all for getting up high atop mountain peaks and seeing the world all spread out before me. That’s amazing and awe inspiring and grand. However, when I’m truly looking for peace in the wild, for me, it doesn’t get much better than the quiet beauty and splendor of an alpine lake. This lake was no exception.
Lake Ingalls is a popular day hike near the Teanaway and just over the ridge into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The trail is very exposed for most of the way, and as it’s on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, the trail is much drier than over here in the west. Oh, and you come up over the ridge over 6,000 ft, which is about when I start noticing diminishing O2 and start sucking even more wind. After cresting the ridge, however, you’re still not there. Which just seems cruel to me. You are greeted with jaw-dropping views of Mt. Stuart though, as well as the black-fly welcome committee. It’s still about another mile of gentle downhill followed by a short, but very steep, scramble. All of this just serves to make the view at the lake that much sweeter.
When we finally got up there, we thanked our lucky stars that we were able to drag our sorry, sleepy butts out of bed and into the car on that rainy morning. Sun greeted us at a lake that we had it all to ourselves. When the sunlight hit the lake directly, it glowed a turquoise green color that I have never seen before. Beautiful.
We both took quick dips to cool off and sunned ourselves on rocks like lizards while we ate our lunch, (it was late afternoon, but we’ll still call it lunch). The hike back down is rocky and steep, and my knees were screaming the whole way, but it was totally worth it.
Two weekends ago Mom and Charles came out to the northwest neck of the woods for a few days. It was great to see them, since they live so very far away. We’ve been really lucky to have seen lots of family this summer, and to show them many of the wonderful things we love about living in Washington. The thing we wanted to do most with them was take a hike. As you know, Tom and I love to hike, and to explore the wild places around our beautiful state, and we really wanted to share this with them. We headed up to Mason Lake, which is on the Ira Spring Memorial Trail out in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It was cloudy and cool in Seattle that day, but after we were hiking for a while, we got above the clouds and into the sunshine. The weather warmed up and Tom and Charles even took a swim in the lake!
Another highlight of their trip was venturing into Seattle, and visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park for a picnic, as well as Pike Place Market. We packed a great lunch and were able to “use” some of the art as our picnic table. (Don’t worry, it’s allowed.)
Tom also prepared a wonderful dinner, which we shared with friends. It’s great to have our house filled with our friends and family, it’s one of our favorite things of all.We had a great time with Mom and Charles on their visit! We hope to get them back out here soon!