Back in the Real World: One month off the trail

Jean

So here we are in Seattle! Off the trail for just about 30 days now, settling into our post-trail lives, doing adult things like buying a vacuum, and gearing up for our next hike. Neither of us are experiencing the dreaded post-trail depression…adjusting to reality really wasn’t so hard. We managed to take enough zero days in towns along the way, that we never felt any kind of culture shock once we encountered civilization again. If anything, the trail has imbued me with a sense of calm and quiet. It may sound cliche, but the time on the trail was actually very centering.

We wrapped up our trip in South Lake Tahoe, flew from Reno to Seattle, and reunited with the cats Pork Pie and Loki. Our first order of business: eat sushi. Then: meet Tyler and Amy at the Stumbling Monk – an awesome bar and Jared’s reason for living in Capitol Hill. Then: celebrate Sid’s birthday! That first week back to the city, Jared jumped right back into work and I jumped right into job hunting while trying to enjoy the Seattle summer (the summer here is gorgeous! for a few months, there is no gray – only clear blue sunny skies). Our first weekend back we saw Arcade Fire at the Gorge with Jamie and Angie – and their crew, Mike and Allison, and Tyler and Amy. It was a great show at a beautiful venue.

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A perfect first meal of sushi from Sushi Maki

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The Gorge! In George, Washington. Surrounded by drunkards, beautiful scenery, and great music

Since then, the days have been a blur, blending into each other as normal life resumes. We met up with Spencer (trail name: Pig Pen) of the Spencer-Andy duo that we met way back in Big Bear. He was passing through Seattle on his way home to LA. At the time we met them they’d been averaging 30 mile days. They continued to average 30 mile days all the way to Canada, took only 3 zero days the entire way, had a high mileage day of 50+ miles, and finished the trail in 93 days! Amazing.

I hiked to Blanca Lake on a cloudy, drizzly day, but was still able to see the spectacular opaque blue-green glacial lake nestled between mountains with a layer of fog hovering tens of feet above the water.

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Blanca Lake! Round trip, the hike is 7 miles. And 3000 feet of elevation gain. Nice and steep

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Epically beautiful Blanca Lake

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Blanca Lake in panorama. The logs formed a dam at the outlet of the lake

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So much life and trees and ferns

 

Jared and I hiked in the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula – in a real live rain forest, covered in moss and ferns and mist – and camped on a gravel bar along the Hoh River. It was a sweet trip out to the Olympic Peninsula – my first time out there. Getting there and back took a long time with the ferry and the wait, but it was totally worth it. On the way back we ate burgers from the Grub Hut at the brewery before the ferry. Burgers are really the only way to end a hike…

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Hoh!

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Jared looks pensively up the Hoh River

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Dwarfed by moss and ferns

 

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A sweet campsite on the gravel bar

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The makings of a campfire. Turns out, foraging for dry wood in a rain forest is hard

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Jared’s physics related camp activities

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The skies cleared in the morning and there was nothing but sun!

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BIG tree

We camped with the crew – Tyler, Amy, Sid, Mike, Allison, and Trey – last weekend at this random little spot on a forest road with the best views of Mt. Ranier.

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Did I mention that we bought and consumed an obscene amount of brats, sausage, and chorizo while camping? It’s true

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Ranier

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And more Ranier

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A great camp spot

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Aww, Ranier

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And…Ranier

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This mountain never gets old…

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Amy. And Ranier

 

Coming soon: The Wonderland Trail (hopefully)! In a week, with luck, we’ll be hitting the 93 mile trail that rings the base of Mt. Ranier. The story behind the the permit goes like this: Mike Henrick got a permit with space for 4 people. There were 5 of us wanting to go: Mike, me, Jared, Tyler, and Sid. Mike’s knee is injured – he’s out. Sid has a hairline fracture in his leg – he’s out. Jared may have plantar fasciitis – he might be out. That leaves me, Tyler, and maybe Jared… stay tuned!

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