into the woods, and back out again

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i would walk 500 miles

I got married yesterday.

But let me back up…

Liam and I went on our first date May 9th of last year.  We talked on the phone for the first time the night before our date, and talked for four hours.  I met him at 1 in the afternoon at Barnes and Noble, and got home a little after midnight that night, after riding the big wheel in Seattle, playing pinball in the International District, eating at two different Irish pubs (the second had live music), viewing a sculpture garden and walking all over town… or so it felt.  For our second date, we had intended to go to swing dancing lessons, but there was no class that night, so we sat and had dinner and drinks and talked.

On our third date, he came to my house for dinner, advised my landlord on the leak in my ceiling and did dishes.  I had company staying from out of town, and I told my friend that night (as Liam was up on a ladder outside my apartment, telling my landlord how to fix things) that I was going to marry this man.  There were a lot of dates after that, a lot of talking; there was the meeting of the parents and siblings and kids and late in November, we decided to get married, which is how we made it to yesterday.

The weather was beautiful, everything went according to schedule and thanks to some very kind friends who offered a living room to get married in, decorated, handled rentals, who set everything up and then cleaned it all back up again, who donated services… it was a good wedding.

I got our cake at a little Mexican bakery in the town where I live.  I had asked for the cake to be ready at ten, and I was a little early, so I waited while the cake was finished.  The man working at the front counter asked if we were having a party, and I said we were having a wedding.  He asked if I was the one getting married and, when I said yes, he hugged me and told me that this day, and every day after it, would be like a honeymoon.  I laughed, and said I hoped so.  The cake was loaded (in an open box to leave room for the plastic bride and groom on top) into my trunk, and I drove to the house like I had a baby in the trunk.

My friend Shannon came to do my make-up, and my sister Peggy roamed in and out, alternately photographing Shannon’s progress on my face with Maribeth and company’s progress on the decorations.

Gradually, the family came in, Liam showed up with the food, and we mingled and chatted until the judge came.  He was a friendly man, who had agreed to marry us just a week before–after teasing me for having set a date and sent invitations before securing an officiant.  He went over our paperwork with us briefly before putting on his robes.  Peggy started the music and everyone sat down, and then it was time.

The judge led us through a very simple reciting of our vows and exchanging of our rings, inviting Peggy up to take a picture of us putting our rings on each other, and then he paused.  We’d been clicking along pretty quickly, so I wondered at the pause, and I whispered, “Is this where you tell him he can kiss me?”  “No,” he replied with a grin, “First I have to pronounce you husband and wife.  But someone obviously took a lot of trouble to make this a beautiful formal wedding, so we’ll just let this moment sit a bit.”  So we waited a quiet moment, and then he pronounced us husband and wife, and told Liam he could kiss me.  Which he did.  We turned and faced our family and friends then, and Peggy started our recessional.  I gave Liam’s hand a tug and we headed into the kitchen.

After the ceremony, the family chatted and the kids hovered around the cake until we cut it, and then they frolicked in and out of the house the rest of the time.  We had a ‘first dance’ in the living room, and then Liam danced with my mom, and after eating and drinking and talking for a good long time, the wedding party gradually dispersed.  Liam’s parents took his kids home; Peggy took my kids home with her, and we packed up the car and left… almost, but not quite, the last ones to leave.

Howarth Park

I’ve been away a long time.

Hiking has been sporadic this last year, and I’m working at getting that part of my life back.  On that front, I took my kids out to Howarth Park yesterday to walk on the beach, only to find that the bridge was very definitely closed and there was no way down to the beach.  There’s a little trail through the woods right there, though, that goes from the landing up to the park, so we walked up that.  It’s really not a very nice trail, especially this time of year, but it was nice to get into some trees.  The kids played in the playground for a bit, ate their cookies and finished off the drinks we’d gotten at a coffee stand on our way in and then we took the road back down to the car.

I’m working my way up to taking the kids out on longer, real hikes, but this was a good start.

Solstice

I’ve been out to the Deception Creek trail four times now.  The first time, we had to turn back due to time constraints.  The second time, we had to turn back because my hiking partner for the day was having knee trouble.  Third time should have been the charm, but it was snowing and we lost the trail.  Yesterday was the longest day of the year and the weather was perfect for a thirteen mile hike.

A while back, I decided that once I got past about 7 miles in total, I was about done.  I was just too tired the last mile or two to be having any fun on longer hikes.  I don’t know what made the difference yesterday, because even though my calves burned and my feet were on fire at about mile 10, I didn’t want to lay down and take a nap until we had actually made it back to the car.

I really don’t know why it’s called Deception Creek.  It definitely seems river-sized to me, but I just looked up “river” on Wikipedia and I guess there aren’t any definite rules on what qualifies a river as opposed to a creek.  In any case, this hike is definitely all about the water.

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It was frothy and glassy and plunging and noisy.  The trail crosses the creek, meanders away, then returns and crosses again at least three times on the stretch that we hiked.

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The weather was not too hot, and there weren’t many bugs, and I only got a little bit muddy.

Spring is still making its way into the Cascades, so we didn’t see many flowers… mostly trillium and dogwood flowers.  The ferns are still curled up…

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We even saw baby Devil’s club.  New leaves are edible, but I’ve never been hungry enough to try it.

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On the way, we met a nice couple who gave us a map of the area, and we saw that there is actually a network of trails connected to Deception Creek.  We’d known about the connection with the Tonga Ridge trail–which we’ve done partially on our way to Mount Sawyer to pick blueberries.  We decided, this time, to call it quits and turn back near the juncture of the two trails, but maybe next time we’ll take the spur up to Deception Lake.

I was nearly in a daze of fatigue by the time we got back to the car.  I’d had a lot of talking and a lot of scenery and a lot of walking.  We stopped on the way home for bubble tea, and when I got home, I staggered in to run myself a hot Epsom salt bath.

 

Shady grove, my little love…

Until I started working at Starbucks, I managed to hike about once a month… sometimes more.  That eighteen months at Starbucks deprived me of a lot of hiking time, since I worked weekends and hiking weekdays was frequently impossible or too problematic to consider.  While a regular work week produces its own issues, at least it means I’m free on weekends.

Today Ms. K and I found out that Duvall has TWO roads named Cherry Creek Road, although one has a crucial “NE” at the beginning.  Both roads happen to take a steep turn off the highway, but the main differences are that one is poorly signed and leads to nothing, while the other has several clearly marked crossroads and takes one directly to a very nice trail that heads out to a very pretty waterfall.  The correct Cherry Creek Road was also the route for some kind of bicycle marathon.  Lots of bicyclists out in Duvall today.

The salmonberries are getting ripe.

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I had hoped we would see more wildflowers, and we might have been at too low an altitude and too early in the season for a lot of variety, but we did see buttercups and vergissmeinnicht:

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Buttercups are a kind of ranunculus, but I’ve only met one person who found that information as interesting as I do, or rather, who even knew what I was talking about.

The theme of the day seemed to be misdirection, because after nearly getting lost when trying to find the trail, the trail itself was primarily an old logging road which forked off several times.  In fact, toward the end (and after paying not enough attention to our directions) we almost missed the turn-off to the falls.  If only we’d noticed this:

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Well, okay, maybe that was placed after we passed the spot.  We headed right, then left, then went back, and found ourselves in a loop before figuring out which direction would take us where we wanted to go, which was here:

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Well, I thought that picture wasn’t so blurry when I took it.  The waterfall spills into a small pool, and it was possible to get down to the banks of that pool by heading to the right, but we decided to head to the left and do a little balancing on fallen trees to make it to a flat rock at the top of the falls.  We considered having lunch there, but decided that other hikers might want pictures of the waterfall, and we shouldn’t spoil the view.

K and I are both of the opinion that there is no such thing as “hiking season”.  It’s all hiking, all the time.  The important thing is to have the right clothes.  Layers are important, as are a water-proof jacket and wool socks.  As much as I enjoy the challenge of winter hiking, it was awfully nice to be out in the sunshine.  I think I got a tan.  Or maybe I just got some more freckles.

The entire walk today was about 5 miles over relatively level ground, so it wasn’t too strenuous, which is also nice sometimes.

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 Okay… also thought that picture wasn’t so blurry.  I’m still leaving it.

On the way home, I was torn between finding coffee and finding bubble tea.  However, I was completely distracted from a quest for beverages when we saw a sign advertising raw milk.  I’ve been wanting to try raw milk for ages now, so we stopped, bought a lovely half gallon of whole milk and a quart of raw blackberry honey.  SCORE.

Hush, hush, darlin’

Oh.  Well, hello there, Blog.  I guess I’m serious about not sleeping tonight.   I went to bed late, after hanging out with work friends for my last night at Starbucks, and woke up at 3.  Usually, when I wake up like this, I lay in bed and try to rest but this morning I got up and painted my nails and read some in the books that Trever gave me as a going-away gift.  I went back to bed, but I’m still not sleeping, so forget it.  I’ll catch up later.

I’d forgotten how long ago it was that I left KCN church.  We started going there when the Boy was 18 months old, which was… wow.  A long time ago.  We attended there for two years before we bought our house in another town and at that time, I decided that a half hour drive was too far for church.  If I wanted my kids to really be friends with kids from church, we needed to be someplace close.  As I began the process of looking for a new church, I realized how many friendships I hadn’t made at KCN.  I decided then, that no matter how long I spent in a place, I would invest myself fully.

Growing up the way we did can teach a person to deal with transition in a few different ways.  Moving every year or two and constantly changing schools can either make it difficult to make friends, or it can make it really easy to make friends.  It can also make it difficult to keep friends, even if they’re easily made.  When I think back, my pattern was always to find one really good friend.  I didn’t learn to have a group of friends until I was in middle school, and even then, my “group” was two other girls.  Being an “all or nothing” kind of person, I’ve always found it difficult to maintain casual friendships, although I’m okay at friendly acquaintances.

Several years ago, I worked at an espresso stand where I made a really good friend.  At least, I had thought she was a really good friend, but when I left the stand, I never saw her again.  I’ve had a lot of jobs, and made a lot of friends that way, and lost most of those friendships when it was time to move on.  Moving schools, changing jobs, moving from place to place… I’ve left a lot of people behind.  I was thinking that leaving Starbucks is hard because I don’t deal with change as easily as I used to, but I’m wondering if maybe it’s really that I’m leaving still more people behind.

I’ve spent the last week not thinking too hard about that bit.

The internet and social media change things, of course.  Do we really leave anyone behind anymore?  I think yes: the frequent, 3-D connection is important.  So, when I’m losing this connection with some people who have become very dear to me… I ask myself, did I invest myself enough?  Did I love enough?  If I did, then it’s worth it to be sad now that I won’t see these people all the time anymore, because I made the most of the time I had with them, and any of the friendships that carry on will be an even greater blessing.

So, I start my new job on Monday, and I’ll begin investing again in a new group of people.  If my new co-workers are even half as funny and smart and hard-working as the ones I’ve left, I’ll consider myself amazingly lucky.

Lower Grey Wolf River trail

I was pretty excited about today’s hike, because I’ve mostly hiked out in the Cascades and the foothills east of here.  Going out to the peninsula and the Olympics was new.  It also involved a ferry ride, which necessitated getting up early.  I’m no longer a morning person, so 5 came pretty early this morning.  I got my pack together (complete with a thermos full of coffee) almost in time for K to show up.  I’m always glad when she doesn’t have to wait more than ten minutes for me.  (Clicking on pictures makes them bigger.)

We drove down to Edmonds, boarded the ferry, and headed upstairs for some hot chocolate.

All stairwells in all ferries look just like this.

All stairwells in all ferries look just like this.

Actually, this picture is us heading back down to the truck.  Anyway.

It was a longish drive out to the trailhead, and on the way we had to wait for the Hood Canal Bridge to do its thing to let some barges through.  I got a picture of the Olympics, though, so it was worth the wait.

hood canal view

We got to the trailhead at about 9:30 and were the first people there.  Which really means I cleared the spider webs from the trail for K and everyone else who showed up after we did.

trailhead

The parking area didn’t look promising, but this turned out to be one of the prettiest hikes I’ve done in a long time.  The trail meandered through a meadow, then played peek-a-boo with the river: sometimes following the water, sometimes climbing up onto ridges just out of sight of the river.  I’ve never taken so many pictures on a hike before, and I’m only sharing a fraction of them here.

Grey Wolf River:

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river2

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A charming little stream making its way to the river:

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This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it looked just like something someone would pay to put in a very fancy garden.  The path right there had been shored up with a little rock wall, and here’s K:

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We saw lots of plants I knew:

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

indianpaint

Indian Paintbrush

False Soloman's Seal

False Soloman’s Seal

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern

Kinnikinnik (I think)

Kinnikinnik (I think)

Devil's Club

Devil’s Club

Figured out that I like Devil’s Club because it’s prickly, but actually very delicate and grows back slowly if damaged.  Kind of like some people I know.

We also saw rhododendrons, wild roses, columbine, and a bunch of mosses.  Should have known the names of the mosses, since Herr Baumgaertner taught them to me on our hike to Twin Falls, but I could only remember the snake moss.

Saw some new plants too:

Not actually new to me, but I don't know the name of it.

Not actually new to me, but I don’t know its name.

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We also saw some wildlife!  We saw a deer on the road, but I couldn’t get a picture of her, and we saw this little guy:

Froggie!

Froggie!

We had to cross this bridge, which would have been more frightening if it had been at a height, or had anything scarier than a stream below:

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We ate lunch by the river, on a mossy boulder.  I was happy to have my thermos:

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And it was at this point that I realized that black yoga pants don’t hide mud any better than khaki hiking pants:

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My backpack made a good leg-rest.

The hike back seemed a little extra long.  I mean, maybe it was, because there was a “loop” off the main trail, which we took and which involved a lot more mud and climbing and where I was nearly mauled by a beagle.  We figure we walked 7.5 miles (about 12 kilometers).  It’s the furthest we’ve walked in quite a while, so the truck was a welcome sight at the end.  I nearly fell asleep on the way back to the ferry and at this point I’m seriously doubting my ability to walk normally for the next few days.

I think a hot bath is in order.

here comes the sun

9 a.m.  The sun is shining and the weather is cool enough that I can throw back the curtains without worrying about how hot the sun is going to make the house.  We’ve all had breakfast; I have virtually no plans, and the day stretches ahead with nearly unlimited potential.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting on my back porch and remembering how long the days were when I was a teenager, and how much I could do in a day.  We’d walk forever to get somewhere, hang out forever while we were there, and then spend forever walking home again.  And that would be after we’d spent most of the day in school.  I realize that memory is a tricky thing and there’s a lot that I’m forgetting, but I do remember that time moved a lot slower back then.  I figured out the other day that Trader Joe’s is just a mile from my house and once upon a time it would have been no bother to walk that distance.  Now?  Forget about it, I don’t have that kind of time.  I’m taking the car.