STORM KING MOUNTAIN

Fall 2019 Social Hike? DONE! Today some of my bravest friends met me for the first social hike ever planned by Salvi Nomad. Some were friends I have hiked with several times before, and others who would be joining for the first time.

It was a difficult task deciding which trail to do. I wanted to give everyone enough of a challenge by having a little scramble and elevation. But not be too difficult to discourage anyone from joining in on future hikes. My other concern was knowing there was a good mix of athleticism and not wanting anyone to be slowed down or pushed too hard.

So after going through my pictures to recollect which hikes kicked my butt just enough, but not too badly, I came across the answer. The group would venture onto Storm King Mountain. And it was perfect for today’s group.

We took 2.5 hours to hike 3.0 miles and reached and altitude of 1,339 feet. The beginning of this hike really gets your heart rate going with some steady climbs. And you have a couple of descents where you can catch your breath before another steady climb. I’m also glad to report only one person fell took an unplanned seat (extremely graciously I might add lol).

I followed Hike the Hudson’s guide because he has a great 3.0 mile loop. Make sure to check his page out HERE if you’re venturing into the Hudson Highlands!

Click HERE for the coordinates to the parking lot. And below are the spark notes version of the trails we followed today:

  1. From parking lot follow ORANGE
  2. Continue on ORANGE past ruins 
  3. RIGHT onto Yellow/blue (NOT LEFT)
  4. RIGHT to Stay on blue/yellow (when blue/red intersects)
  5. LEFT to stay on yellow/blue (when blue blaze intersects from right)
  6. Follow BLUE/YELLOW down until WHITE.
  7. Follow WHITE (sometimes BLUE/WHITE) all the way back to car 
  8. Eat snacks you left in car 🙂

Below is a picture of my favorite type of hiker, the four legged kind. We saw at least three of them today and it makes my day every time! You can also see there’s still a lot of green left on the mountains. I was hoping there would be more red and orange. That just means I’ll have to come back again soon to make sure I don’t miss it.

Overall I would say this was a successful hike. We even went into town to have lunch afterwards. There are several places to sit and dine or grab a quick bite at a deli. And maybe I’ll see you out on the trail for the next social hike: Winter 2019.

Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.

– Unknown
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GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN

INTRO

What do you do when you have a free weekend in North Carolina? You brainstorm in a group chat with your cousins. One of your cousins will come up with the amazing idea to hike Grandfather Mountain. I saw one picture online and was immediately convinced!

So I landed at 9am in Charlotte. A car with 3 female cousins pulls up full of snacks, water, excitement and fear (more on that later). The drive from Charlotte airport to Grandfather Mountain takes over 2 hours when you stop for gas and pee breaks midway. Long enough to feel away but close enough to not need a hotel room if you live in Charlotte.

We were fine until we stepped out of the car. Not only was it a lot chillier than Charlotte, but the thunder was audible in the distance. I had asked the young lady at the entrance kiosk what time the rain was supposed to hit the mountain. She said 5pm and I thought that would be plenty of time to go up and back (assuming the rain didn’t come down earlier).

The lot attendants informed us that hikers park in the Black Rock parking lot. As you can see, the lot had plenty of cars when we arrived at 12:30pm.

HIKE

GPS: 36.095083, -81.829623

TIME: 5H

LENGTH: 3 MILES RT

ELEVATION:  5,964 ft

FEE: $22 PP

It’s hard to miss the sign pointing the way up. None of us had been here before and we weren’t counting on the extra .4 mile hike to the start of Grandfather Trail. But thems the rules!

It’s an unmarked trail, but very easy to follow. Many of the stones having been placed like “stairs,” which makes the walk easier. You’ll soon come across the bridge. And very soon after that the parking lot.

If you need facilities or want to buy a magnet to prove you came to see grandpa, this is the time to do it. Trust me, you won’t want to do anything after hiking the mountain. You’ll cross the parking lot and see this sign:

You’ll need the color/make/model/plate number of your car to fill out the permit. And take special notice of the “return to your vehicle by 6:00pm.” This is important so a search party isn’t sent out for you. We were on our way up, and the view from over my shoulder includes the mile high swinging bridge, the upper parking lot, and Linville Peak on the right.

Follow the blue trail markers the whole way up.

When you get to “The Patio” there are wooden benches and a nice view to take in. Yup, that’s where we were hiking to, MacRae Peak. This is a good place to drink some water and catch your breath!

We came across the Grandfather Trail sign and continued hiking the blue blazed trail until we reached Grandfather Gap. This is another awesome spot to stop for snacks and water.

After our break we came across what looked like a rope on the trail. I had read about the 9 or so ladders and was just finding out about the cable. It’s meant to assist your ascent, especially if you’re wearing sneakers.

When you’re done with the cable, you’ll meet the first of nine ladders on the blue trail. The nine ladders include the final one you’ll need to climb to summit MacRae Peak. You can see that one of the ladders (second ladder) is tucked between two large rock formations. You’ll walk slanted to reach that one, and find a cable at the top to assist you. I won’t undersell the ladders, they are difficult. They are spaced wider than your average ladder and can be found next to very exposed sides of the mountain. If you’re afraid of heights like my cousin, I would avoid looking down! I saw the look of fear pass through our little group a couple of times. HOWEVER, I wouldn’t deter you from attempting the climb. One of my cousins had never been hiking before and was able to complete the climb (so proud!) without dying quitting.

Here’s an awesome pano I took while waiting for the hiker traffic to pass atop one of the ladders.

And as we continued to hike the blue trail I spotted a ladder in the distance. It’s at the bottom-center of the picture below. I didn’t know at the time but I was looking at the only ladder on the Underwood Trail. That ladder would round us out to 10 ladders total for the day.

Finally! MACRAE PEAK!

Just kidding lol, there’s another ladder first (ladder #9).

Ok, now I can say it…

MACRAE PEAK!!!

We took so many pictures up there. But one of my favorites is this one. I had made it to the clouds. The 360 degree view was nice and the snacks were totally welcomed.

Views? Check! Time to hike down? Yup! We continued past MacRae Peak into the saddle and found a cable heading down on the blue trail.

We made a left at the Underwood Trail to make a loop out of our hike. It’s a great way to avoid lines at the ladders as well.

And here’s the 10th ladder I had seen in the distance a while back.

The Underwood Trail dumps you back onto Grandfather Trail for a little bit. We made a right in the direction of the swinging bridge. At the next junction we hopped onto the Grandfather Trail Extension, which by-passes the swinging bridge. We were cutting it close and needed to be back to the car by 6:00pm.

We got to the car at 5:58pm and we were exhausted. Luckily we didn’t get rained on and we were back unscathed.

Truth be told, we were drawn to the park because of the swinging bridge. But after conquering MacRae Peak, none of us cared to walk up to it. Maybe next time we’ll get there earlier and cross the bridge, buy some magnets and make it all the way to Calloway 🙂

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” — Lucille Ball 

GAS WORKS PARK

GPS: 47.646050, -122.334911

DATE: MARCH 10 2019

What an interesting park! Seeing the grass, children, and dogs juxtaposed to old machinery is just an odd sight. But there’s beauty in the oddness. And it’s a small win for human kind to have turned such a pollutant producing company into a lovely park for its residents to enjoy. The park also has restrooms and a parking lot.

Lake Union’s water however is still very much a worry for me. You could see right to the bottom when you’re standing near the edge of the park. Eww. And no one is allowed in it. They don’t want the sediment to be disturbed. If you’re interested in reading on the history of the park check HERE.

If you’d like to see what else we did in the Seattle check out my other posts HERE. I have some pictures I’m going to leave here of our time in the park. Enjoy!

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“I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way youdrive my car, I hate it when you stare. I hate your big, dumb combat boots and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick — It even makes me rhyme”

– 10 Things I Hate About You

SEATTLE DAY 2

This post is four of four. It’s about my sister and I setting out to see the Pacific North West. Well, as much as we could in the time we had. She had school and I had work come Monday morning BUT THE LONG WEEKEND WAS OURS TO CONQUER!!! [insert fun, evil, maybe not so evil but slightly delusional from lack of sleep laugh here]

For those of you who came here in search of information for your own trip, or simply don’t care for the somewhat mundane fluffy stuff. I’m providing you with an out. Below you will find links to all the posts directly relating to the things Diana and I did in and around the city of Seattle. If upon reading this they’re not all updated, I promise I’m working diligently to get it all on here ASAP. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask 🙂

This day we woke up the latest we’d gotten up the whole weekend. We got ready and checked ourselves out of the Airbnb. We were staying in the Queen Anne area and I woke up wanting some Seattle coffee. So we drove…

Our first stop was Storyville Coffee in Queen Anne. It was a 7 minute drive in the rental. Queen Anne has a ton of steep hills and I was not physically ready to walk that. I was real happy to have that rental. We drove it the whole weekend, and being summer, it was really easy to park. We found parking across the street right away.

If you read my post regarding what we did in Seattle Day 1, then you know how lucky I think her birthday is. The barista informed us about the free mugs they were giving away and we scored two!

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After coffee we walked over to a game store Blue Highway Games. Some patrons were sitting at tables playing games. There were signs of the many events the store held. There were soooooo many games. they even had

We then drove to the Gas works park 8 minutes away. The sun was out and even though there was some wind, it was enjoyable. We had on long sleeves but some people had on shorts and no shirt!

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We went back to Kerry Park because the night before my sister didn’t see Mount Rainier. She had no clue it sat just to the right of the city in the horizon. (I’ll be back to see it up close one day!) Again, parking was super easy.

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From Kerry Park we drove 15 minutes to the Washington University area. We wanted to visit the Henry Art Gallery. I had done some research and knew it was free on Sundays. Check that link out to see what exhibitions are available when you visit. It’s hard to post these pictures and not post all of them, closeups and all. So I invite you to visit their website. I could not do the art justice describing it myself.

This hall below had art that invited the viewer to get close and personal.

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A quick walk up the stairs and we entered the Suzzallo and Allen libraries. All the Harry Potter feels!!! Also, for the fellow coffee drinkers, there’s a Starbucks on the first floor.

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Once we had our fill of large university life, we headed over to the Olympic Sculpture Park. There’s several levels to it with a decent collection of outdoor sculptures. There’s also plenty of places to sit, relax and reflect. We were tripping over the Wake sculpture by Richard Serra. There’s a great picture of it HERE. With this piece it really is a matter of perspective. We were not expecting these massive S-shaped ship-like shapes. We saw what that picture shows, not THIS. I swear they’re the same sculptures. Mind. Blown.

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I can’t say I’m a fan of taking elevators to top floors of famous buildings. So I tend to avoid them. However, I don’t mind getting close to marvel at them for a moment. The space needle’s lobby has a rather large souvenir store that wraps around the base. And tickets are purchased outside at kiosks to go up or buy them HERE ahead of time. Whether you ride the elevator or not, the surrounding areas are nice for leisurely walks. There was even live music to accompany our stroll.

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To finish our super busy and wonderful trip to the Pacific North West we had planned a sunset watch. As I mentioned in my other posts, we had a sunset watch almost every night. This night we got a great parking space and spotted a few seals. The time-lapse is amazing, I’ll post it to my instagram. You can just make out the tide coming in and my sister and I are spotted throughout as we attempted to skip rocks.

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We didn’t stay until it was super dark as we had a flight home to catch. Thank goodness we left when we did. The line at security was unbelievably long. Luckily we had stopped at a Jack in the Box on the way. We ate dinner while we waited in line, like a true new yorker going home.

Until next time Seattle!

SEATTLE DAY 1

This post is three of four. It’s about my sister and I setting out to see the Pacific North West. Well, as much as we could in the time we had. She had school and I had work come Monday morning BUT THE LONG WEEKEND WAS OURS TO CONQUER!!! [insert fun, evil, maybe not so evil but slightly delusional from lack of sleep laugh here]

For those of you who came here in search of information for your own trip, or simply don’t care for the somewhat mundane fluffy stuff. I’m providing you with an out. Below you will find links to all the posts directly relating to the things Diana and I did in and around the city of Seattle. If upon reading this they’re not all updated, I promise I’m working diligently to get it all on here ASAP. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask 🙂

Getting There

“WAIT! WHAT?!”

Those were the words I said as the GPS informed me I would be getting on a Ferry. We were driving to Seattle from Port Angeles and I had pulled over to verify this info. I was freaking out because what do I do with the rental?!?!?!?! I can’t leave it and hop on a ferry!

Turns out it’s pretty normal to take the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle with your car. It reduces driving time because you avoid driving through Tacoma and it gives you a chance to stretch your legs. I can’t say it wasn’t a welcomed surprised once we figured it all out.

It was only appropriate we had another awesome surprise like this. It was after all my sister’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROLA! Her birthday had already brought me luck earlier that day. A certain someone was speeding and got pulled over by a state trooper. I don’t know if it was because of the out-of-state license or the fact that we weren’t actually rushing to be anywhere. I told him I honestly didn’t know I was speeding. My sister and I were just laughing it up and enjoying each other’s company. Lucky for us, it was March 9th. So we were sent on our way with a warning! Also, we were THE LAST CAR to get on the ferry. Luckily for us that meant we wouldn’t have to wait for the next one. Drive time uninterrupted. WOO! 🙂

So, the ferry. Well ok then… begin photo shoot 🙂

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Never one to miss opportunities for some great pics we did just that. From different levels of the ferry and different distances from the city. We even had time to face time with our parents and tell them how exciting this trip was so far.

I should mention the weather though… It was cold and windy, don’t let those smiles fool you. Most people stayed in their cars or in the enclosed portion of the observation deck. We don’t get to do this everyday so we enjoyed every moment of it.

Soon the ferry was arriving and it was time to get back in the car.

We drove for 5 minutes after getting off the ferry to the Pike Place Market Garage. You can find their hourly rates HERE. We chose this lot because even though it isn’t the cheapest option, it’s centrally located. We walked to everything from there.

We started our Seattle sightseeing by heading straight to the Seattle Art Museum. Just a tip we learned from a local: donate your own amount instead of paying the suggested admission fee. Also, I wouldn’t pay for the extra exhibits. There isn’t a guard or attendee to check tickets at the exhibits so you are free to go where you wish.

This piece here… it spoke to me on levels I can’t even explain. I may write a post about it one day, but for now here’s a picture with its description. #RedCedar

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And as any self-respecting coffee drinker I had to see what the fuss was about at the first Starbucks. Full disclaimer, this in fact is not the original location of the very first Starbucks. It’s the place the first store moved to in 1977. We read an article on The Guardian and it provided some informative history about the place.

Either way, it was cool to see the original mermaid logo with her bare breast and a sign erected over 40 years ago. The line was crazy long and as much as I love coffee, I wasn’t interested in waiting for one at the moment.

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So the birthday girl opted for coffee flavored ice cream instead 🙂

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It was delicious. Even more so because we did not wait on-line for it. Just a minute walk down the road was the famous public market sign and clock. It’s a timing game trying to get a picture there with everyone standing around for their own perfect picture.

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Now… the fish throwing. It was hilarious watching this guy trying to entertain a group of tourist. He played a couple of pranks (which I won’t ruin by sharing here) and cracked a ton of jokes. Here’s the catch, get it? Catch! I crack myself up! Sorry, my husband says my jokes are terrible lol.

Anyways, the catch is that in order to watch someone throw and catch the fish, someone has to actually purchase something. So be patient, a local will show up and buy something eventually.

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Now. The fish market didn’t bother me. Not even the smells. Probably because it was chilly out and not the middle of summer. But this right here- I could smell the weird icky sugar-ish odor as we walked downstairs to the gum wall. Gross. If this is your kind of thing, I totally respect that. Just not my cup of tea. I even totally understand how it started, and you can read more about that HERE. I just don’t get how it became a tourist spot. I found a truly satisfying video of the wall being cleaned off HERE. After we took our pictures, we ticked it off the list.

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Here is something to note about walking around the market. There are stairs and steep streets everywhere. Bring your walking shoes.

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Once we’d had our fill of walking the market and its surrounding areas we had lunch. Biscuits as sandwiches? YES PLEASE!

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We grabbed our car and headed to the AirBnb. The AirBnb, located in the Queen Anne area, was perfect. She even had a hard cider waiting in the fridge for us. We were able to relax for a bit and rest our feet. The plan was to head over to Kerry park in an uber around 5:30pm. Just in time for sunset. It set us back $7. Not having to drink and drive? Priceless.

Now THAT is a view. We were prepared (unlike many others there) and had a large plastic bag to sit on. It rains a lot in seattle and you can’t be too prepared for sitting on a wet ground. We also brought a blanket and set the time-lapse on the GoPro. Aside from the first night in Washington, we were treated to some great sunsets that weekend.

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After sunset we took an uber to Kinokuniya. My sister watches anime and I was in dire need of some market shopping. We purchased tea sets, looked through tons of merchandise and even bought some chopsticks to replace my broken ones.

It was Diana’s birthday and she was preparing for a feast. We went to a place my friends and I had spoken about in 2018. It was this magnificent video that we all passed around via Facebook messenger. I figured since my sister loves seafood and we would be in town, it would be a great place to spend her 19th birthday. They even give you bibs and gloves. That should have been a sign of things to come.

Downside? We waited for an hour to be seated. But we completely forgot that once this bag showed up. We were so hungry! It was full of crab legs, crawfish, and all sorts of delicious sea creatures. This is my sister preparing to devour her dinner.

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And devour we did. That bag was E M P T Y

They were nice enough to gift my sister her favorite ice cream (green tea) for free. The drinks also got a lot stronger. I’m telling you, March 9th is a lucky day!

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You can actually see her ice cream sandwich right on the table above 🙂

We closed that place down as some of the last customers there. They even do this cool thing where if you spend more than $100 you could spin for a free appetizer. We spun, we won, we conquered! I’m hoping to go back to Seattle soon enough to be able to use that voucher for some more good eats.

“Uber, take me back to Queen Anne please…”

“Food is philosophical”

Cindy Torres

HOH RAINFOREST

GPS: 47.860714, -123.934639

DATE: MARCH 8, 2019

HI THERE!

While doing my research for visiting Olympic National Park I found some pretty interesting things about the park. It has mountains full of snow and everything winter while simultaneously being home to a temperate rainforest. It sounded interesting and I began looking through pictures and could not believe the amount of moss present. So without hesitation I added it to the list of must see places while in Washington.

For context think about this: In New York we get about 42 inches of rainfall annually. In the HOH rainforest however, they get 140-170 inches of rainfall annually. And 30 inches of that is from the fog alone! The visitor center has plenty of information for those seeking to be informed hikers. They have free pamphlets with drawings to help you identify plant life and animal prints.

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GETTING THERE

From the town of Forks, WA, the drive is 45 minutes. From Port Angeles it’s closer to 2 hours. And what a drive it is! You can watch the trees changing in height, color and type as you approach the park. You’ll arrive to the booth to pay admission. We paid $30 on a credit card. The fee grants you access for the week.

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HOH RAINFOREST

I just love seeing these brown signs! I get so excited when I cross the threshold of a national park. As though I have made it to a secret land where only beauty, fresh air and freedom exist! This is one of two we saw on our way in.

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Right outside the visitor center there is a bulletin board with information about the surrounding area. There are maps and daily weather updates which are super helpful if you’re doing the long hike. The hall of mosses is .8 miles, the Spruce Trail is 1.2, and the HOH river trail is 35 miles to Blue Glacier (not this time ONP!) and back.

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I spotted this wild Diana perched on a trail sign (Haha!) The trails are all very different lengths and the mini trail which isn’t shown here is wheelchair accessible.

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Right after crossing a cute little bridge over a stream that’s a small vein of the HOH river you climb a short way up. Passing this gorgeous tree just commanding your attention. It’s impressive when you look to its last branches. IT. IS. TALL.

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Soon you arrive to a sign pointing you in the direction of the Hall of Mosses loop. It was fun reading that we were entering an older part of the forest. Primeval spirit? Yes, absolutely…

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The higher we climbed the more snow was present. Or ice I should say as it was a little slippery. This beautiful tree looked like it was taking a nap. Or taking a bow. I don’t know. I just know this tree was way more graceful than anyone I’ve ever seen.

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Look at this amazing moss!!!

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So green!!!

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I couldn’t help myself so I hugged this gentle giant. I owe so many good shots to my sister Diana. She grabbed some great pictures. But we also shared some good laughs with the phones put away in our pockets or backpacks.

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Amidst our walk we spotted this hoof print. We weren’t sure how fresh it was but how cool!? Was he coming or going?

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My sister saw this tree and claimed it as her own. She said there was enough room in there to call it a condo. A one bedroom condo she said by New York City’s standards lol.

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This fungus was interesting. When seen higher up in the trees it looks like there are sea turtles sticking out from the tree showing their under bellies.

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I asked my sister to sit on the other side of this log. We sat for a couple of minutes in silence and closed our eyes. We concentrated on the sounds of the rainforest, birds, stream and trees. There weren’t many other people at the park so we were able to take it in unbothered.

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Before leaving the HOH rainforest (when I least expected it and wasn’t looking at her) Diana was taking a rest. She said that it helped her hips and back after laying there for a little bit. I believe the poor thing. We were using every ounce of daylight to sightsee everything we could.

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The hall of mosses was gorgeous. We were so happy to have seen this part of the Olympic National Park. Considering the time of year it was, it wasn’t nearly as cold as we anticipated. Chilly yes, but not cold…

If you’d like to see more about this trip, click the links below:

“Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle”

-Unknown

OLYMPIC PENINSULA – DAY 2

This post is TWO of four. It’s about my sister and I setting out to see the Pacific North West. Well, as much as we could in the time we had. She had school and I had work come Monday morning BUT THE LONG WEEKEND WAS OURS TO CONQUER!!! [insert fun, evil, maybe not so evil but slightly delusional from lack of sleep laugh here]

For those of you who came here in search of information for your own trip, or simply don’t care for the somewhat mundane fluffy stuff. I’m providing you with an out. Below you will find links to all the posts directly relating to the things Diana and I did in and around the city of Seattle. If upon reading this they’re not all updated, I promise I’m working diligently to get it all on here ASAP. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask 🙂

So what’s jet lag? Super determined to get through the crazy itinerary I worked so vigorously to build, I didn’t let that thought creep in to my mind. But in retrospect it would have helped explain the tired faces getting ready at 5:30am.

We snagged the free coffee and waffles at the Super 8 and took it to go. My sister ate first, and then helped me eat as I drove. Multi-tasking at its finest.

We drove for 70 miles, equaling 1.5 hours to Rialto Beach. I have an entire post of that beautiful experience HERE. Below a pic for reference of that gorgeous beach.

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When we left the beach we headed over the Quillayute River for second breakfast at the River’s Edge Restaurant. They had a breakfast special of 1 pancake, 2 eggs, and 3 bacon strips or sausage links. We both got the same deal and I decided to have coffee #2. River’s Edge had a nice view and we were so lucky to have sat near the window. We were treated to spotting two bald eagles and a pod of seals.

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After enjoying a delicious breakfast and some wonderful views at First Beach (a walk up the road from the restaurant), we were on the road again. This time towards Forks, WA.

Insert screaming Twilight Fangirl here…

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I COULD NOT be so close to Forks and NOT go. It would be a complete betrayal to who I was circa 2008. Not to mention I never fangirled anything so hard in my life since the Spice Girls. Still can’t believe I won’t be able to go to their reunion tour in England this year 😦

Anyways, Forks… It still has more Twilight references the closer you get to town. And once you’re in town you’ll see movie posters in windows alerting to twilight things sold inside. I can only imagine what it must have been like back when Twilight reached its zenith. However, it is March and for all I know it still gets busy here. Maybe not Twilight busy, but most certainly people heading into the Olympic Peninsula to be outdoors busy.

As we headed back to the car my sister spotted the Rainforest Art Center. It was a neat display of props and costumes from the movie. Things you can see in Edward’s room in Twilight and costumes from the saga. They even have the board versions of Jacob’s wolf that acted as a stand in.

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Having shopped and had my fill of Forks I happily got back in the car and headed towards our next destination: HOH rainforest.

The rainforest, part of Olympic National Park, still had snow on the ground. The trail was so green and mesmerizing. The carpet of moss on the entirety of the trails was otherworldly. I have another post, mostly pictures of the rainforest. If you’d like to see it click HERE.

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Now it was time to drive back to Port Angeles. The drive was just under two hours. We remembered the receptionist shared details of a good sunset spot. So once in Port Angeles, we went to Ediz Hook. We were in for a nice sunset. My sister couldn’t believe that was Canada on the other side of the water.

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We stopped at Anime Kat to peruse for a while until dinner time. My sister was in the mood for noodles. We drove around for a bit looking around and ended up eating Pad Thai at Jasmine Bistro. The spring rolls and pad Thai were delicious!

After a full day of activities and a full belly it was time to turn in. I have two other posts about our two days in seattle. If you’re interested in them check them out!

Thanks for reading 🙂

MARYMERE FALLS

HEY READER! Looking for the sentimental exciting (maybe boring?) stuff from our trip to the PNW?! Check out THIS post for all the feels regarding this trip.

For those of you strictly interested in Marymere Falls, here you go:

GPS: 48.056716, -123.787458

DATE: MARCH 7 2019

TIME: 1.5 HOURS

LENGTH: 1.8 MILES

GETTING THERE

We drove to the storm king ranger station. As usual I assume I don’t get service in the woods. So just in case I had my trusty google maps download the area onto my offline maps. It was only a 30 minute drive from the Super 8 (20 miles west on the 101). Very convenient!

We parked right in front of the ranger station. You can see it off to the right of this picture. You can see a tiny sliver of Lake Crescent in the background. And to the left of this picture there are some bathrooms. Parks with facilities are always a win in my book.

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MARYMERE FALLS

We walked right passed the sign and past the closed ranger station to begin our hike. There are signs for the hike and if you miss those, the ground is very worn from where everyone else walked. It’s hard to miss. Don’t forget to look up at these amazing trees while exploring this hike. They’re huge!

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After walking for some minutes you’ll come across this tunnel. It’s meant to keep hikers looking for Storm King and Marymere falls off the road. It isn’t very long or creepy in the daylight hours. Walking through there at night however is a different story.

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I wasn’t exaggerating about these trees. Can you see my sister?

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The “snow” was actually just straight up ice. It was slippery and definitely will add to your overall hike time. Walking on the edges of the dirty snow was our plan but the truth is we should just invest in some traction attachments. I’ve ended up on icy trails on more than one occasion now, including winter hikes in NY.

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And then there was the sign. Originally I had planned to conquer the Storm King Trail. It’s approximately a 2000ft. elevation gain hike and has views worth the sweat. My sister and I, having done Breakneck Ridge back home several times, would have attempted this without hesitation (my favorite hiking blog has a great post on Breakneck HERE). However, the ice added a new element we were not prepared for. I like to push my body’s limits, but I don’t like to risk injury. So we snapped a picture and kept walking toward the falls. Something tells me I’ll be back one day when the snow and ice have melted…

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After a while you’ll come across this cute sign letting you know you are on your way to see something awesome!

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You come across this first bridge. This one is made of metal and wide enough to fit 2-3 people across. We made sure to have great foot placement as it was very slippery.

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From the area of the first bridge you can see the second bridge you’ll be crossing shortly.

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The second bridge is wooden and very narrow. One person at a time narrow. Again, watching our footing we trekked across and no one slipped. Thank God!

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After crossing the wooden bridge you start ascending towards the falls loop. I have to stress how tense our legs were here. We knew we were going to have a hard time coming down because it was so slippery going up. My sister is actually placing her feet in grooves in the ice to make her way up.

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After finding the first flat-ish portion she’s turning around to check on me. We had a brief discussion about whether it was worth ascending the ice to see the falls. We luckily decided on continuing. We made that decision because there are banisters the entire way up and we could use them to stay upright.

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You’ll come across this sign pointing to the left for the one way loop. You’re almost there!!!

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As you walk on the loop, the bend doesn’t let you see the falls. But you can definitely hear them.

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There are two portions to the Marymere falls. But the top one… WOW!

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I stole this one from my sister’s SnapChat 🙂

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And this one from my GoPro is actually where someone dimmed the light. It happened so quickly it was alarming. It went from perfect daylight to darkness in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t help that the sun probably went lower than the mountains around us and the trees make a very dark canopy.

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Needless to say, I have zero pictures of our descent on the ice. I needed both hands to hold on to the wooden guard rails at the speed we were going. But I found an instagram post that can give you an idea of what it was like HERE. It’s a 30 second video. We didn’t “snowboard it” like he did, but it was intense! I mean just look at how dark the trail got. And we were the ONLY TWO people on that trail.

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Haha!!! This picture makes me laugh because its lack of focus shows how fast we were walking at this point. No time for pictures. We had headlamps with us just in case, but I’m no fan of the dark. We were moving out there lol.

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By the time we reached our car at 6:45pm this is what that same sign from earlier in the afternoon looked like from the car.

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Ice and darkness were interesting to experience in what felt like the middle of no where. No other hikers around and the whole place was ours. I don’t regret skipping the Storm King trail seeing how hard the Marymere falls loop was coming down. And that was with guard rails. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like having darkness descend on us while climbing down Storm King. Can you say scary?

Don’t get me wrong, this hike was so much fun! And on our first day in the Pacific North West it definitely set the tone for the adventures to come that weekend. I have a post of all the fun things we did in the PNW HERE. Check it out 🙂

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

-Sir Edmund Hillary