Thursday, June 22, 2017

Washington Trip, June 2017

Prepare for photo overload!  The big event of June was a vacation to Washington State that we've been looking forward to for months.  Eric and I went for our honeymoon ten years ago, and we always said we'd go back for our tenth anniversary to hike on Mt. Rainer with our kid(s).  So back we went!  :)  Here are photos, if you'd like to see...

We flew into Seattle/Tocoma and got there mid-morning, so we had plenty of time to spend the day walking around downtown Seattle.  This of course included a stop at Pike Place Market:

And of course we had to walk by the "gum wall," which has turned into the "gum alley," basically- it's unreal.  Eli was disgusted. :)

We ate lunch on the water at the Crab Pot- give this kid a big plate of seafood and he is happy (as a clam :) ).

On the pier in Seattle.

One more walk back through the market on the way back to our parking place...

I love this place!  It's so tourist-y, but you can't NOT see it.

We bought a giant snickerdoodle at a little bakery, and we had to stop and take a picture, because ten years ago I stood as a newlywed on this very same spot and devoured a giant snickerdoodle from the very same bakery.  :)  I am so happy to have a little boy to share my cookies with now!  :)

After what seemed like FOREVER stuck in the traffic in downtown Seattle, and what should be jotted down as a major victory in our marriage since we did not get mad at each other in the most stressing of all stressful traffic conditions! :), we made the drive to our little AirBNB house in Eatonville, which is midway between Seattle and Mt. Rainier National Park.  The house was ADORABLE...  quaint and cozy and comfortable and clean, and you couldn't beat the view!  You walked out on the back deck and down a little lawn to THIS!  A private view of Clear Lake, and the mountains in the distance.  PERFECT!!

This was my view the next morning from my cozy spot on the couch with my book and coffee- nothing could be better, in my opinion!

Later in the morning we made the drive down to the Oregon coast, to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.  What a BEAUTIFUL (sorry for all the CAPS- I can't contain my excitement about this trip! :) ) place!  The weather was really chilly, which helped to make our long walk up and down the beach so magical.  

Eli spent hours finding these little crab things that would wash up with each wave and quickly bury themselves in the sand.

The next day we went to one of our favorite places in the whole world- Mt. Rainier National Park!  What a blessing it was to get to go back, and to introduce Eli to this gorgeous place.

Like every other tourist, we stopped at almost every turnout to admire the view and take pictures.  :)

It was pretty cloudy when we first got there, so only the bottom half of Mt. Rainier was visible.  We started seeing more and more snow as we made the drive up from Longmire (near the park entrance) up to Paradise (13 miles UP the mountain from there!).

We have this same picture of me from ten years ago, and I'm wearing the same jacket.  This LL Bean coat has aged better than I have these past ten years.  :)

But look what 10 years has given me!  Eric and I were both a little emotional on and off during this trip- what a JOY these past 10 years have been.

This was a hike we really wanted to do (and did 10 years ago), but it would have required some serious snow gear.  We were really surprised at how snowed in the park was, even in June!

And THIS is what we found at Paradise!  Can you believe it??  These Texans sure couldn't!  :)  Eli was in heaven.

After we spent some time in the visitors center and had lunch in the little cafe there, we walked outside to see THIS!  The clouds miraculously dissipated, and Mt. Rainier was on full display!

We drove back down to a lower elevation and did a 6-mile hike, much of which was UPHILL.

It misted on us on and off during the hike, but that didn't stop us.  It was GORGEOUS.

We finally came to this little isolated pond- so pretty!

We finished the hike and drove back to our house, stopping for dinner along the way.  The next morning we woke up to this:

You can't beat a breakfast with this view!

We went back to another, much more isolated part of Mt. Rainier for another hike.  This time it was 10 miles, and we enjoyed every single step of it.

We kept saying that it felt like being inside a terrarium...  The giant trees, ferns, moss...  it was surreal, almost.

The hike dead-ended way up in the mountains at a little glacier-fed lake called Green Lake.  The water was crystal clear and FREEZING.  We sat up here for a little while and admired the view and ate lunch before heading back down.

A very memorable sandwich with a very memorable view!

The hike included a view of a beautiful waterfall, too.

And this is what happens in the car when you're 9 years old and your parents make you hike 16 miles in two days.  :)

The next day we went to Mt. St. Helens, which was amazing.  We admired the views, spent some time in the observatory, and then set out for another long (8 miles, I think?) hike.

Unfortunately, clouds hovered right around the peak of Mt. St. Helens all day long, so we didn't get a great view of it.  But the mountains and valleys surrounding it were breath-taking.  We'd never seen a landscape like that before...  It was destroyed in 1980 by the eruption of the volcano, and now things are growing again, but the forest that once was is totally wiped out.  Hiking there was a very different experience than hiking at Mt. Rainier!  We loved it.

We got up into the snow again, which Eli adored.  These two spent much of the hike tossing snowballs at each other.  :)

We finally decided to turn around when we reached this ridge...  

See Eli??

You know you're exhausted when you can sleep in this position.  :)

That evening we got a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier at sunset, right from our back deck.

The next day we went to yet another part of Mt. Rainier for another hike, 5 miles in the forest to see the "Grove of the Patriarchs."

To see the "Patriarchs" (GIANT and OLD trees!), you had to walk single-file across this suspension bridge- a bit scary!  :)

Look at these trees!!

We couldn't drive past Paradise without playing in the snow a little more:

On our last day in Washington, we went to a nature park called Northwest Trek and saw some awesome animals.  We took a long train ride through the park...

Up close with the wildlife:  :)

We spent the afternoon back at the house.  Eli fed the ducks, and we took the paddleboat out for a spin.

Eric and Eli even managed to catch a few little fish with a rope and a bucket.  :)

We came home to Texas the next day, eager to be home and see Hank, but very sad to leave Washington after such a beautiful, magical, restful, fun week together.  We will always remember this trip, and we are so grateful for the week we had in Washington together.