I've just had one of those weekends where everything went right and it was just happy and relaxing and calm and just....nice. I couldn't have planned a better sixth anniversary weekend if I'd tried.
On Friday night, our friends Gail and Gayland came down from Bellingham to see a show in Seattle. Eric joined us afterwards for a cupcake and a beer. It was good to see them again -- I miss not seeing them more often!
Saturday, Eric and I met up with Matt for the U-District Farmers Market (our first visit of the year) and then we hauled all three dogs out to Marymor, where Finn suprised us all by out-swimming Micky! I of course, failed to bring my camera, but there were witnesses! Finn swam and swam and fetched his "bouy" out of the middle of the river several times! And he's fast!
Later on, Eric and I joined up with Matt again for a ciopinno dinner, served with salad fresh from the backyard. What a fantastic evening.
Sunday brought rain in the morning and a cozy, intimate day for Eric and I to go out for breakfast and tour the Alki neighborhood of Seattle, where neither of us had been before. Movie night in the evening was just pleasant.
On Monday (by some miracle, Eric had all three days off), we struck out early for a hike in the Cascades. We initially selected a hike from our Hiking with Dogs book (thanks mom!) , but when we missed the turn off near Stevens Pass, we shrugged and kept going to the next one (the pass was sopped in with clouds and 40 degrees anyway). So we pointed the car eastward and decended into eastern Washington. We both knew it would be warmer and sunnier on the east side, but I don't think either of us were prepared for just how fast the change was. I think I blinked and actually missed it. One second it was cloudy and grey, and the next we were under a bright blue sky and the thermometer jumped.
We drove through Leavenworth--a tourist trap of a place, all decked out in German/Swiss facades and gothic script. Oompah music could be heard and men were wearing bundhosen. We picked up some batteries for the GPS and got the heck out of there. Tschuss!
We turned south on Highway 97 and pulled off onto US Forest Service Road 9716. Last summer was the last time we took Finn on a rough dirt road, and he puked. He's fine on smooth roads now, but he looked pretty darn miserable after about 10 miles of the dirt road (some snowy patches to boot!), so we parked about a mile shy of the trailhead to keep from having to start off the hike with cleaning up the dog's breakfast. Upon stepping out of the car, we saw two female Roosevelt elk in the meadow across the road....
I hustled to put Finn's leash on, incase he decided to try to make friends and after I did, I realized that he had already seen them and was content to watch them from a distance (good boy). He was off-leash nearly the entire time and was very well behaved.
All told, we hiked about seven miles, but what it lacked in mileage, it made up for in pure sweetness. We started off looking for the Tronsen Ridge Trail, but it made itself scarce so we were actually on the Mount Lillian Trail most of the time. The only other footprints on ometimes muddy, snowy and dusty trail were of the elk, mountain lion and bear variety.
There were fallen trees all over the place from winter storms--including ones with trail signs--and there were sections of trail that were still covered in snow.
Finn tried "sledding" on one snowfield--he took a flying leap and then slid with his front feet out in front of him, pushing with his back feet.
Besides the pair of elk, we saw one grouse and lots of wildflowers...
We loved these little yellow lilies that were everywhere:
A long-time favorite--Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum):
Finn helped me check out some little yellow flowers:
I found these really neat little orange cup fungi.... this one was about the size of a penny:
And I really liked these little white flowers. The leaves and stems look like Heather, but the flowers tell a different story:
update: Miranda has informed me that this is called moss campion (Silene acaulis). Thanks, Miranda!
And the views were spectacular! They made me realize that I have much more map studying to do to know Washington very well. We could see snowy, jagged crags and low, flat farmland. This viewpoint had it all.
My favorite part was that we didn't see another person on the trail, and only two others in cars on the forest road. What a great time. We grabbed some ice cream in Cle Elum before joining the rest of the folks flocking back over the Snowqualmie Pass. Finn and I both napped in the car--thanks for driving, Eric!
We finished the evening with great big hamburgers at a place called The Jones near our house, as it was National Hamburger Day (it's true! ask the internet!). The summer diet starts today.
a family photo....