Sweaty Hike Through Saint Edwards State Park

Seminary Building

Boy was it hot on the day I decided to go take an urban hike through Saint Edwards State Park! This solo adventure started off with me asking myself is this worth getting sweaty? Yes!

I started out towards the beach (Lake Washington) for a glimpse of the lake from a different angle. I started off on the Perimeter trail, but somehow found myself on the Seminary trail which lead to the beach. The beach was peaceful with the water lapping at the shore, and a few people where swimming in the lake as Kenmore Air float planes came flying overhead.

Peek of Lake Washington

After taking in the view of the lake I headed towards the Orchard Loop. The trail that connects to Orchard Loop trail ended up being the part of the hike that felt like it was going to kill me! South Canyon trail ended up being one of those challenging trails because I had to hike it all uphill!! Here I was huffing, puffing, and sweating all the way to the connection for the loop trail. I now know for future hikes to go down this trail instead of up it. Once on the Orchard Loop trail, it was all easy, and I regained my breath. Unfortunately the “orchard” was nowhere to be found, or I miss something along the trail.  I must have because there was not an orchard to be found as I made the whole loop again. Very disappointed after huffing and puffing my way to it.

After finding my way back to where the seminary buildings are, I decided to find the famous Grotto seen in wedding pictures. Ha! I ended up reading the map wrong! I thought the Grotto trail lead to the Grotto, but nope. Apparently it by passes it from the bottom of the hill instead (palm to face). I hiked all the way back down to the lake, and then had to take Seminary trail back up!

Stone Steps On Trail

Eventually I found a map with the “you are here” circle to finally be steered in the correct direction for the Grotto. Dear reader, I made it harder than it should have been. The Perimeter trail going towards the playground in a corner of the field is where the entrance to the trail leading to the Grotto starts.

Behind Look of The Grotto

Once there I really found it peaceful and secluded. A little slice of magic in the middle of the woods. I joked on Instagram I had found the place where I was getting married….when the time comes….when I find someone first…..ok then.

Selfie with The Grotto

The structure is a small stone altar with stone steps and a path leading up to it. Stone walls border around the area to make it look like small outdoor church/sanctuary. A very beautiful spot for a small intimate wedding.

The Grotto
Leading Up To The Grotto

After hiking lost all around the area, I decided it was time to head back home and get out of the heat. While walking back to the car, I decided to check out around the Seminary building.

Seminary Building From The Lawn
Entrance To The Seminary Building

There is something about old church buildings and how they speak volumes without making a sound. Lots of stories being told in these hollow halls of this building, and judging by the land action notice sign, it seems the place will have a few more to share in the coming years.

Overall I hiked a total of 5.5 miles. Not bad for an urban hike.

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Seattle Skyline Atop Kerry Park

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Panorama view atop Queen Anne

Since the Seattle Center is in lower Queen Anne neighborhood, I thought it would be wonderful idea to take my Nana to Kerry Park to see the Seattle skyline and Elliot Bay in all of it’s glory.

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Downtown Seattle with Space Needle

From the perch atop Queen Anne hill, there is a spectacular view of the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, West Seattle, Alki Point, Bainbridge Island and in the far distance Bremerton. From this point of view the Olympic Mountains in the distance on the Olympic peninsula could be seen. To bad the clouds coming in where hiding this beautiful sight. Oh well! Another day perhaps.

West Seattle looks very close to the Southern California beach towns off highway one from a far. The ones with the apartment buildings close to the shore. Train’s song Mermaid comes to mind when I go through West Seattle. Strange but true. These buildings are visible clear across Elliot Bay from Queen Anne hill.

West Seattle Alki Beach (C) Seattle Apartments

Heading home from Kerry Park through Upper Queen Anne, I decided to give Nana a tour of the neighborhood perched atop the hill. Upper Queen Anne reminds me of Nob Hill in San Francisco where the houses are a mix of old Queen Anne, Craftsman, Old Farmhouse, and old/new mansion styles. The whole hill has a quaint charm of old Seattle and this truly an old part one should see if you are into architecture.

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Sitting in the sculpture

After the little driving tour, we both headed home before the rain clouds could catch up to us in Shoreline. I realized how “Seattle touristy” this day was, but I just could not do another Space Needle tour again. This was so much better!

 

 

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Riding The Ducks Through Seattle

I understand there is still morning of loss after a year three years ago a terrible crash involving a Ride the Ducks vehicle resulted in serious injuries and a few lost their lives when one crashed into the side of a tour bus on the Aurora Bridge. I respect those who remember this terrible tragedy, and in no way being insensitive by riding this vehicle. I was in the area when the crashed happened and remember those who put their lives in danger to help those injured. Below is an account of riding the ducks after major changes to how the tour operates and the route. All I asks dear reader is to not post any mean-spirited comments below. Thank you, and continue prayers for those who were affected by this tragedy.

I will admit it has been a while since I have been down town at the Seattle Center. I was a little nervous in not being able to find a parking spot, but alas there was a grange not even full! *cue happy dance music* I believe this made my day more than riding the ducks.

We started the tour on the Duck when the sun was out and ended with the sun starting to go behind the clouds. Thank goodness the rain was kept at bay for the whole ride. I had a wonderful time riding around down town Seattle and cruising Lake Union in a strange vehicle.

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About to ride the duck

The tour started from Seattle Center, down to the waterfront to drive under the US most dangerous elevated highway (Viaduct), past Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, shopping district, Westlake, Fremont, boat around in Lake Union, and then back to Seattle Center. All this while partying like a bachelorette party minus the inappropriate behavior and dancers.

In downtown Seattle we cruised through the old and new parts of town, with silly music blaring. Random people on the streets did play along with our crazy antics. One guy even started dancing to the music on the street corner to the embarrassment of his girlfriend. Another decided to engage us all in a sign that told us to smile more. In SLU it was hard to get the “Blue Badges” of Amazon people to look up from their phones at the stop light. Oh well! I guess we all cannot be fun all the time.

While aboard I saw a condense version of the sights in Seattle and listening to the tour guide tell funny jokes and stories about the history of the city. Being from the area I enjoyed seeing how the locals reacted to the crazy tourists on a boat with wheels. As I said above, the whole thing can be down right comical.

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Two ducks taking a selfie

Cruising Lake Union in the Duck was by far the best part. One minute you are driving on the pavement, and then next you are floating on the water without sinking. I have never been boating on Lake Union, so this was what I was looking forward to. Sights seen on the lake were the original Sleepless In Seattle house boat which when seen looks just like an ordinary house boat, Gas Works Park and the Seattle skyline from South Lake Union,  from the comfort of a steel military boa

Since taking a spin on the Ducks I will be more willing to go along with the crazy when a Duck pulls up at a light. After all it makes the day go a lot smoother when you can have some fun. After the ride Nana and I went to the Center House to have lunch and then up to Kerry Park for some Space Needle ogling.

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Thanks(Friends)giving Week Adventures

What?! No cookbooks this year?! This is what my dear mother said at Costco on Black Friday when she realized there were no cookbooks to be passed out this year. Honestly Costco you could have announced it to all your members before Thanksgiving. So another Thanksgiving tradition has come to an end after a few years. RIP Costco Holiday Cookbook, RIP. And that is just be beginning of the Thanksgiving week of disappointments. Yep after only having a laptop for three months before the dark screen of death happened,and the laptop gave out. Now into the final two weeks of classes, what a suck this is. Then again you get what you paid for, if it is a $200 Chrome book, then yes it is going to be a piece of crap! So I bought myself a proper laptop this Black Friday, and it is a Christmas gift to myself (also can write it off for taxes since it is a school expense). The third thing as the cherry on top of the above happenings, the FDA has stopped all shipments of English fruit cake from Australia. WHY?! It was the only fruit cake worth eating! Not the American disgusting, radio active cherries on top and what the heck filling type cake! Seriously why? No go on the only fruit cake worth eating during the holiday season. Such a disappointing realization.

But the weekend was not all gloomy and depressing…..

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Beautiful Thanksgiving Day!

I don’t know what compelled me to do this, but I blame it on Pinterest and reading a post off of Anderson Ever After. I decided to propose the idea of Friends-giving for our church’s young adult group get together. This meant rounding up people to bring stuff for the dinner and to make sure we had a feast at the end. It was. We ended up with sweet potato casserole, turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, mash potatoes, stuffing, and all the other fixings. By the end the night we all where stuffed and ready to go home happy-full. Next year there will be another Friends-giving, and it will be epic (do they still use this word?).

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the whole group

Thanksgiving was a small affair since my Nana came up from Oregon to visit. Thanksgiving was at my parent’s house which meant we all chipped in to help with the small feast. Ham, turkey breast, cheese scalloped potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, and sparkling cranberry juice for a feast. But…. we celebrate Thanksgiving with English Christmas crackers! Yep during desert we open or more like pop, crackers full of paper crowns, cheesey jokes and some surprise gift inside. I love wackiness of wearing a brightly colored paper crown and eating chocolate! Not the typical American Thanksgiving at all.

I have posted before I do not do the Black Friday thing at all. After spending three Christmas seasons in retail, I no longer partake in this crazy tradition. Black Friday is spent going to Costco for their free cookbook (which as you can tell didn’t happen this year), hunting for the famous European fruit cake (another disappointment) and relaxing. I did shop for a new laptop in the comfort of home, and will be getting a Surface 4 Pro tablet for Christmas.

Saturday morning I rounded up the gang and went to decorate the Church for the Christmas season. Like the two years before, our group was assigned front lobby tree decorating duty. This time we out do ourselves again with the trees.

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Church Lobby Trees

After tree decorating, I decided to make a huge batch of Butter Shortbread Cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Oh my goodness the best homemade shortbread I have made and tasted! I will be using this recipe from now on.

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Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Later in the evening we all hopped into the car to stand in the cold to Edmonds Tree Lighting Ceremony to see the tree in the town square light up. I froze my butt off standing there waiting, and wishing I had stopped at the Starbucks on my way to the event. Oh well next time I will stop. Nice clear crisp day and evening made for a beautiful display for the lighting of the Christmas tree.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone! Now on to Christmas and seeing what the end of the year brings. Two weeks until finals, and three and half weeks until Christmas!! Time has flown by!

Last Two Months of Summer

Wow! Where did the time go? It’s the end of August and I still haven’t posted all that has happened in the month of July. I better start…

 Decorating the new apartment

While decorating my new apartment, Mom and I went to the Goodwill in Shoreline looking for an old mirror to do up. We ended up with a mirror along with another find I never expected. There sitting in the middle of the store was a perfect conditioned microfiber love seat for only $45.00! I ended up snatching that couch up on the spot and called Dad to come with his pickup to haul it to my apartment. I guess it was a day the gods of couches was looking down on me, or I would still be looking for a couch.

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 Mini adventures during the week

One day I decided to take a little trip to Golden Gardens to take advantage of the sunshine. I have been so use to the beaches up in North Seattle area, and so I decide to need explore more of the parks around Seattle.

On the nice sunny days during the work week I would take a 30 minute lunch run around South Lake Union park. Mostly there are other runners, walkers, bicycles, and summer campers in the park. This makes a fantastic people watching moments and you could see all the tech workers hanging out on their lunch break.

Discovery Park adventure

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For a while I have been wanting to explore more of Discovery Park. M’s apartment is just walking distance to the park, so on the hottest day in Seattle we headed to the park for some lunch and to explore a new part of the park for me. I have seen the West Point Lighthouse before, so I wanted to see a part of the old Fort Lawson and see the old buildings that are left over from when the officially closed. Being the hottest day in Seattle, poor M started melt in the heat and sun. I feel sorry for dragging him out during the hottest part of the day with not much shade to be had. I ended up getting very good shots of the old falling apart buildings of the former base.

Lab Monkey Strikes!

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Funny thing to put “I love lab monkey” on my bio safety cabinet window, only to come in the next morning to someone drawing a picture of said monkey. Science is not all seriousness. When you have an awesome team of people we just are like family playing practical jokes on each other.

First Mariner’s game with M and his friends. See post: Play Ball Boys!

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 Adventures with Megan.

When Megan is in town things become more like a non stop fun fest. This girl is a kick in the pants to be around and you never have a dull moment with her. Case in point the Happy Meals On Crack. Why did Mc-D’s decide to put a very scary happy face on the side of a children’s food box? Was someone very-or should say a team of creatives/marketing high when they came up with the idea?

Megan:” is it my hangover making this box look creepy?”

Me: ” Nope, the box is creepy.”

Megan: “Looks like it is on crack.”

Me: (putting the psychedelic glasses it came with it on it)

Me: ” More like on acid!”

Just look at the pictures. One friend on Facebook wrote “Holy cow!”  Then you have to ask why two adults be buying Happy Meals? We were hung over and tired to care about what form our food came in.  Maybe creepy faces are our punishment for thinking we are kids when we are not.

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A few days we checked out my apartment’s pool and sauna. Conclusion, decent enough to swim in, and lay beside. After sunning ourselves, we decided to head to Roy’s in Edmonds for a Mac and Jacks and a burger before she left for Pullman for one last year of college.

BBQ Galore!

August was the month of BBQ! I guess with all the great hot weather Seattle has been getting lately it was time to get serious about BBQ-ing. At work we had a total of two BBQ done of the sun deck with everyone attending. A huge success since many of the social events fail terribly. M bought a Weber BBQ a year ago and never had used it until now! Our first BBQ adventure was making hamburgers and then moved on to hotdogs. Both times turned out well, and M’s BBQ-ing is up there with how my Dad does it, so M is a keeper.  At the end of August the church I attend puts on a community BBQ called Grill and Chill. This year there was BBQ hotdogs and a lot of entertainment. The bottle rocket station was one of M’s favorite things to watch, and I am guessing if he could, he would have been up there with the kids letting them off.  After the Grill and Chill BBQ, I have eaten my last BBQ hotdog for a while.

Summer Movie Nights

Saw a few new and old movies this summer. The church puts on a free movie night in the back parking lot of the church for a family movie night. This summer it was the movie Frozen, and all snacks had the Frozen theme. I’m a sucker for Disney movies (grew up on them) and was in heaven to just to be a kid again laughing at all childish jokes. Two weekends later I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard with M and M’s friend Al. The movie was good and would say more of a guys movie then a girls one. I love to watch the Marvel Comic movies, and at that point I feel like I’m a bro-girl when I go see them with M. I would recommend seeing the movie if you like misfit superheros, but it is not really for kids since there are adult jokes that will go over any kids heads.

Oh, and the Seahawks are back to defend the Super Bowl title.

On a group lunch date I had the 12th Man sushi roll at I Love Sushi in South Lake Union. Go Seahawks!

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Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Days 12-15 (Last Days)

Updated: 12/2017

Day 12: Zip lining & Beach

Zipping through the palm tree tops! Three rides 1,200 ft! At first when I saw how far off the ground I was going to be, I started freaking out. I’m not afraid of heights, but it looked to be very scary. Now that I tried it, I will be doing it again. The morning started off with a down pour for five minutes, then cleared up long enough to take three rides down. The first two rides were with Mom , and then the last one was just me by myself. Once I got through the first one, I was fine to take the last two rides down. It was very short ride, and so I recommend getting at least more than one ride to really experience the zip line. I now can add this to my life experience list and hope to try out the one near home called Wild Life Trex near Seattle. The rest of the day was spent at the beach again just relaxing.

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zipping along

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me zipping along

Day 13: Marine Base Crazy & Last minute stuff

Another relaxing day getting last-minute stuff done before we leave for home. Took on last trip to the Marine base to do some last-minute shopping at the Exchange. When I stepped outside the store I saw a new sign that appeared in front of the doors. Apparently the new base commander is trying to keep the unmentionable people from “polluting” the base and disrespecting the military environment. So just imagine the pictures you see on People of Wal-Mart website and you have a good picture of what was posted on this sign. These were the things that are not allowed to be worn when on base. I really could see why the commander is doing this and why he doesn’t like half-naked people walking around base when not in uniform. The whole time I was on base (even Bellows had a dress code in their commons areas) I never say anyone out of uniform looking like a bum.  I just go some Hawaiian theme stuff to take back to Seattle at the Exchange.

Relaxed on base for a bit and started to see Man of Wars washed up on the beach. Remembering there was a full moon when we got to Hawaii and five days later the jelly fishes started to appear, every time we walked the beach we had to make sure to watch where we stepped or else get stung by the blue tentacles. Later that evening we all went out with my cousin one last time to a small local pizza place in Kilua.  The place was busy with locals stopping in to grab a slice of pizza or a whole pizza for dinner. The pizzas are huge at Bob’s Pizzeria, and so a whole pizza can easy be shared with five people. I had two big slices which amounted to four small slices.

Now here is a funny story in a way to share….When we went to drop off my cousin at the Marine base, we did not go through the main gate as we have in the past, but he back gate where the housing is. A huge mistake because when we pulled up and my cousin showed his ID, the guard at the gate wanted everyone’s ID. Apparently there is a huge crack down at night due to a Marine sneaking a prostitute on base a few weeks back and getting caught. Also the guard in a moment of putting his boot in his mouth made it almost clear that he thought Nana, Mom and I were prostitutes! Nana and Mom felt offended, but for me I just though “oh thanks for letting me know I look like one.” As I was stating in above paragraph, the commander of the base is really on a crack down. We did drop my cousin off at his barrack without anymore trouble from the Marine Security Force.

Day 14: Sea Turtles

Our last full day in Hawaii. We did some last-minute shopping again and packed up our bags for our afternoon flight back to Seattle. Walked the beach one last time (ok a few times). While on one of our walks we saw a group of sea turtles swimming along the beach. A half a mile down there is a little cove where the waves are strong and the turtles get stuck in. All three turtles tried their hardest to swim back out to sea, but kept getting swept back into the rocks. At one point one came very close to some kids in the water and freaked them out along with the poor turtle. I believe the three turtles did get out when the waves calmed down a bit.

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While packing for the trip home, I realized I had bought a lot of Hawaiian food. Hmm…I think I will need it when friends come over for tea and a Hawaiian short bread macadamia nut cookies.

Day 15: Going Home

Going to the airport was crazy stressful adventure. Why? Because 1) my suitcase all of sudden put on weight, 2) security check point was a mad house and I thought for sure I was going to throw my shoe at TSA (Sea-Tac has it down to a science), 3) USDA inspection line was crazy! Poor Nana had to be patted down because she set off the metal detector and her sleep machine had residue of liquid in it. Really just wanted to get on the plane and get to Seattle without anymore stuff happening. The flight was six hours as usual. The only crazy part was landing in Seattle after a huge windstorm came through. Overall, the six-hour flight went off without much stuff happening. When I left Seattle for Hawaii the temperature was 70 degrees F, when I came back it was 50 degrees F and a storm blowing through. Just shows how much the weather changes within two weeks of being gone. I still look at my phone’s weather app for Bellows to see what the weather is at the moment. I miss the warmth, but Seattle did have a wonderful summer with all the sunny hot weather we had. I can’t complain.

I really enjoyed my two-week adventure on Oahu Hawaii. I will of course return to the islands again in the near future. I think the next island to visit is Kauai or Big Island. I am glad I had the chance to see my cousin while he is stationed at K-Bay, and hope he has a great time while there.  I loved not having to do all the touristy things this time. I really got to see the island from a different perspective. I know now all the main freeways, and know which major highways lead to where. Great to stay somewhere other than Waikiki for a change. I really got to see the beauty of the island without the sky scrapers in the way. I still would love to hike up Diamond Head since I did not get the chance this time. I guess I will be making a return visit again.

Mahalo for reading about my adventure in Hawaii! Hope you enjoy Hawaii really soon.

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