We made it to Seattle!
Britt, having grown up here, was pumped to visit friends and old hang out spots. We camped close to Redmond, at the Tall Chief Campground, and were surprised to find so much green space so close to the city. We really hadn't been in a major city in over 2 months, and the first thing we did was go to Chipotle. Then REI.
We spent hours in the downtown REI, asking a million questions about lightweight sleeping bags, pads and tents. After our trip to Cholchuck Lake and the Enchantments, we wanted the right gear for backpacking when the opportunity came. We had about a week to decide on our equipment before leaving Seattle and time will tell if we chose right, but that's the great thing about REI. You can always switch it out for something better. We went with the REI Joule women's sleeping bag, the Sierra Design Zissou 12 men's sleeping bag, and the REI Quarter Dome 2 tent. We will be nice and cozy if Buford joins us :)
Nick ended up having the week off, so we took the opportunity to drive down to Mount Rainer National Park for a couple of days. As we did not have a lot of time, we missed out on a a couple of hikes Brittany really wanted to do, but i'm sure we will be back sometime to tackle those. While in MRNP, we checked out one of the most popular areas of the park, Paradise. From the Paradise ranger station, there are a handful of hikes you can take, all with spectaclar scenery. We checked out the Skyline trail, Myrtle Falls, Nisqually Glacier and the Alta Vista Trail. While on the Skyline, Nick came across a girl who was trying to take a shortcut on the switchbacks by climbing through the snow. She ended up slipping, and twisting her ankle, claiming it was broken. Nick was able to text me (Britt) and I got ahold of some rangers who had us locate her on the map, and sent up a stretcher to help her out.
About 10 minutes from our campsite was Duthie Hill Bike Park. We were so happy to find this place because it catered to all skill levels. Britt had so much fun on the basic "boot camp" trail, learning more about her bike and gaining confidence with her turns after just a few laps. Nick made friends with some 11 year old BMX riders who took him throughout the park and showed him the best places to get rad on his bike. It was a good day.
Also close to our campsite was the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. After walking around the upper rim overlooks, we decided to hike down to the base of the falls. Upon arriving at the base, we realized that were many fences in place to keep people from doing just that. You could walk upstream about a mile and eventually get there, but luckily we ran into some ingenutive teenagers. Our new friends showed us two tricky routes the locals use in order to sneak their way through the fences. In order to fit and make it through, you literally had to be less than 100 pounds and not afraid of heights. As Britt is not as quick on her feet ;) , Nick made it through and was able to spend some time enjoying 270 feet of water plummeting down towards him.
Growing up in Woodinville and being underage, Britt never knew about all the great wineries in her hometown. It was great to hook to up with some old friends to check out downtown Woodinville and the adjoining bike paths. It was also great to hook up with new friends Ching and Jerud livesmallridefree.com at Black Raven Brewing in Redmond. Not only have they converted their truck to run on grease, but they also completely gutted their fifth wheel and made it more eco friendly. Cool stuff.
Next up, Anacortes and the San Juan Islands!