NASSAU SUFFOLK TRAIL

[OCTOBER 2019- UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST]

I have biked different parts of this trail and completed different distances per visit. I love this place for it’s location, access and options. Want to walk hand in hand with a loved one? Want to fish without having to take the boat out? Want to bike 20 miles? Want paved or dirt paths? Want to hang out with the resident swans, ducks, geese, fish, etc? It’s a versatile trail with a little bit for everyone.

My brother and I went for a bike ride Sunday. This time we started on Sunrise highway, unlike last time where we started on Merrick Rd. The good thing is that there are several different places you can park along the way. I’ve parked in Plainview and headed south on the trail too. You can essentially choose to start the trail wherever you find an entrance. Just please park responsibly and be courteous to the neighboring residents when deciding where to leave your vehicle.

The trail begins in Cold Spring Harbor and ends in Massapequa. Here’s a screenshot of my google maps so you can get an idea of the trail and it’s location.

There’s a few things you should pay attention to when biking this trail.

  • 1. Always stay to the right and be courteous to the pedestrians sharing the trails.
  • 2. There are dirt paths as well, but pay attention to fallen trees (my brother was almost taken out by one as he likes to pedal fast).
  • 3. Bring bug spray, especially if you’re going in the later afternoon.
  • 4. STOP at the stop signs when crossing roads or ramps. The cars are supposed to yield, but wait until they come to a complete stop before crossing (better safe than sorry).
  • 5. As expected, bring enough water. Especially in the summer months.

There isn’t much else to say about this trail… So I’m going to share pictures from different parts of the trail below. These pictures are compiled from the different times I’ve gone throughout the years. My hope is that if you haven’t gone to this park yet and live locally, that you would take advantage of this backyard space we all share. It may not be a crazy mountain or have spectacular 360 views, but it’s a great place to forget we live in a densely populated suburban area for a while. And if you have gone, maybe I’ll see you there sometime soon!

[UPDATE: OCTOBER 2019]

I’d like to thank one of my readers for expressing some frustrations that can be experienced on the trail. It’s an unfortunate thing to experience while enjoying the outdoors, but a reality for some.

In an effort to prevent any animosity on the trail for a hiker/biker visiting my blog, I’ve very diligently researched and collected information for you below. I hope you find this useful and informative for your next outing. Especially because it is impossible very difficult to find one full map for the different biking/hiking sections without paying a fee and becoming a member. But fear not, I have done the leg work for you and saved us all some money!

Beginning at the northern-most portion of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail you’ll find a trailhead specifically for hikers. There is a parking lot across the road from the Billy Joel Park and Boat Ramp (I can’t make these names up). And this trail runs the length of the Cold Spring Harbor State Park.

Once you reach Stillwell Woods Park there will be a plethora of bike paths. If you’re biking these trails, be aware of the different skill levels and the fact that they are single track trails. Wouldn’t want you to collide with other mountain bikers at those speeds! If hiking you’ll want to stay on the Trail View/Nassau-Suffolk LIGTC.

Between Stillwell Woods Park and Bethpage State Park you’ll find Trail View State Park. After crossing under the train tracks (not over the train tracks! this is dangerous!) there will be two parallel trails that run along most of this park. The western trail (Blue Bike Bath and CLIMB Bike Path) is for biking and the eastern trail (Nassau-Suffolk Trail LIGTC) is for hiking. They will generally overlap when crossing roads or bridges as shown below.

When you reach Sunnyside Blvd there are a couple of options depending on what method of transportation you chose for the day. If you’re biking/hiking you can find a way to SAFELY cross the street at the crosswalks at Fairchild Avenue and head south on the Bethpage Bikeway (BB). Or you can ride south on Sunnyside Blvd and make a quick left back onto CLIMB Bikeway. I have not gone onto the CLIMB bikeway here and so therefore I’ll leave that for another post another day. For now we will follow the BB south.

The BB -which is the paved trail, NOT the dirt path- will run parallel to the 495/LIE N service road until you make a right on Washington Avenue. The bike trail is very easy to follow south all the way to Massapequa Preserve.

It is imperative I mention this in this post. The BB begins just north of and runs south of Bethpage State Park. According to the DOT.NY.GOV website the southern-most section of the trail is for biking, skiing, horseback riding and walking. It is a Shared Use Path as described by their caption below. There are dirt paths that intersect the BB but I couldn’t find anything clarifying whether they were specific to bikers or hikers. For now it is clear that the paved path is a shared path to be used by the allowable uses listed below. If anyone can impart some wisdom on the dirt paths it would be highly appreciated. Otherwise I’ll provide an update the next time I’m out on the trail.

I hope this update has clarified the different uses in the different areas of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail. Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to discuss and I’ll do my best to research and inform! And if you’ve made it this far into the update, you’re today’s MVP. Thanks for reading 🙂

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”

– Gary Snyder
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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 

FORREST GUMP POINT

GPS: 37.1013933, -109.9905065

DATE: APRIL 28, 2019

Sometimes you think you know where you’re going and what you’re going to do when you get there. That was me. After all my research, I thought I knew for sure that Forrest Gump point was going to be the perfect place to take that iconic picture. Turns out we were close, but a little off.

Now don’t get me wrong. You can get some pretty awesome pictures from that viewpoint, but if you look at the picture below I’ll share a secret with you: The better viewpoint, at least in my humble opinion, is just down the road.

There were no other cars there, no other tourist and plenty of road to get just the right pictures we wanted.

Taking these pictures was the closest I ever got to playing frogger in real life. Kind of fun and kind of scary at the same time. It is super important to pay attention to the road. It’s easy to get distracted trying to get that perfect shot. Remember the cars have the open road and don’t want to stop because they are avoiding a pedestrian. We were lucky because we had one subject, one person on the camera, and one person yelling “CAR!” It was a system where we rotated and it kept us all safe.

Below I’ll share some of our awesome shots from that second viewpoint. You can see Monument Valley is closer in the background.

And for those of you who scrolled this far, I’ll show you some behind the scenes and bloopers 🙂

“I’m pretty tired… think I’ll go home now.”

– Forrest Gump

VALLEY OF THE GODS

GPS: 37.236771, -109.815529

LENGTH: 17 MILES ONE WAY

DATE: APRIL 28, 2019

While researching for my trip to the southwest I read all about the limitations monument valley has regarding hiking. How there’s only one hike you can do unaccompanied and everything else must be hiked with a Navajo guide. I think guides are important to meet the locals and learn things not otherwise noted. However, I’m an advocate for also being able to explore at my own pace. So I came across Valley of the Gods and was pleasantly surprised to see you could walk right up to buttes and not need a guide. Just make sure when traveling to Valley of the Gods that you’re prepared. There are no facilities and no source of drinking water. And remember to carry out your trash.

We turned onto the 17 mile-long dirt road just north of Mexican hat. It’s a bumpy ride and we were in an SUV. I saw sedans on the road as well so I don’t think an SUV is necessary. But online it states that when wet the area is impassable, even in an SUV. So check the weather and enter at your own risk!

There were tents at the base of some of the buttes. I’m sure people who had stayed the night had an awesome experience there. It’s so peaceful and quiet.

The buttes have names and it’s fun guessing which ones are on the list. We found a very informative map Here. The one that struck me as the easiest to see was the lady in the tub. I couldn’t unsee her in that tub! It totally personified the butte for me.

After we drove the 17 miles we headed over to Moki (Mokee) Dugway. It’s also a dirt road and there are warning signs at the base before entering. Impassable during rain and 10% grades made for an interesting ride in the passenger seat.

But so worth it. The views were a bit hazy and the pictures don’t do it justice. Atop the dugway you can see the Valley of the Gods below. Can you spot the lady in the bath tub? On clearer days you can even see monument valley from there.

Overall Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway are areas for people to explore with less crowds. You can have a real personal experience here in solitude if you wish. And that’s hard to come by in the ever growingly popular south west.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Jennifer Lee

WATCHMAN TRAIL

GPS: 37.200281, -112.986103

TIME: 1H 45M

LENGTH: 3.0 MILES

ELEVATION CHANGE:  356ft

DATE: APRIL 23, 2019

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For our first day and first hike at Zion National Park we decided to do a warm up. We searched online for the easier hikes with views and found the watchman trail. The National Park Service website has a super informative PDF here if you’d like to learn more.

We liked that we didn’t have to take the shuttle and could park at the lot and walk to this trail head. It’s super easy to spot as there are many signs pointing you in the right direction. We followed these brown signs across the lot, along the Virgin River, and across this neat little road. If you know me, then you know I couldn’t help myself and stopped for some pictures lol.

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Like I said, across the street you’ll see the sign for the trailhead. Once you’re on the trail it’s very easy to follow out and back. So everything from this point forward are just pictures and ramblings of a hiker who couldn’t believe she was finally in Utah.

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I loved the small green signs they had scattered throughout the trail. It’s nice to not only enjoy your views, but to also now what you’re actually looking at.

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If you can spot my husband below, you can see this portion of the trail gains elevation rather quickly. He only took about 3 minutes to walk to that point from where I was.

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We were there in the late afternoon and it was pretty quiet. Sometimes I would look behind me and realize it was just us and the trail. It felt like every corner had a beautiful viewpoint and I couldn’t imagine what Angel’s Landing had in store for us the next day.

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It’s difficult to convey in images what the eye sees in person. These hills, canyons, valleys, mountains, or whatever you classify them as are so layered. There are so many different components joined together at different depths. It’s hard to perceive but if you look closely it feels like you could deconstruct the layers and each one would be its own beautiful scenery.

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The sun felt amazing even though it was on its way down. Coming from New York where winter seems to not want to leave it was truly welcomed.

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So we finally made it to the top. The next images are actually from further down the trail in the “loop” portion. The loop itself is fairly small and barely has any elevation changes. If you made it to the top, you’d be cheating yourself if you didn’t do the loop.

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The rest of these are just some pictures I’d like to share from the top of Watchman’s trail. I’m going to post about most of the trails I did in Utah and Arizona throughout the month of May. If you’d like to see some pretty cool pictures check back soon!

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Here’s Tony’s version of Blue Steel lol.

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Below from left to right is Carlos, Nicole, Tony, and myself. We were the #UtahPutah crew on a mission to complete a crazy roadtrip through Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Can you tell I’m so happy to be standing in Zion?

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I can serve some blue steel too!

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Even as I write this blog I cannot believe these pictures are real…

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“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” -John Muir

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