A few weekends ago I was whisked away to the majestically wet Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Here’s part 1, a snippet, if you will of the trip. Smoke and mirrors and all.
First of all, I love the rain, it called me back to the pacific northwest.
Bestcoast (sorry eastcoast I’ve never actually been so I’d say I’m biased and experience ignorant).
I’ve always felt most at ease when the rain is coming down. I’m unsure I can actually recall a time the words or thought “ugh, rain, again!” crossed my lips or mind.
So, the summer here was a long one. I started keeping track of our days in Vancouver without rain, hoping I would wake to the comforting sound of dribble outside. A disappointment for me turned out to be one of the most incredible summers in Vancouver in years.
Which leads me to a fateful late June evening I spent with my aunt, Angela.
If you haven’t read about any of our previous adventures together (a la Tourism Challenge), here are a few things about Angela that help provide context to any story involving her:
- She is a child. She giggles profusely at cookie monster, farting, burping, and talking guinea pigs.
- She knows all the good places to eat, and which events are expected to be awesome, and all the cool little things nobody quite knows about yet
- An extreme extrovert (she claims otherwise), will start and maintain a conversation with just about anybody
- Go with the flow, ball of positive energy kind of person
- Often travels solo (she’s unmarried, no kids- unless you count me and my brother)
- Pretty fuckin cool lady if you ask me
Despite my love for this ah-mazing female role model I have in my life, I often find my tolerance for her waivers in certain situations. Most obvious in recent months was our day-trip to Whistler where my foul mood clashed with her ever- positive outlook even when certain parts of the day did not go to plan. I’m not often a stickler for following a plan, however, my demeanour often reflects the opposite of the other person I may be with. For example, if I were to spend a day with someone who is a bit of a downer, maybe serious and gets disappointed when plans fall through, I’ll be the happy-go-lucky, cheery kid to balance things out.
Stick me with someone super positive and flowy and I turn into this version of Angela
Anyways, around late-June, Angie, who doesn’t really drink, took me out one night to a pub near her place. We sat at the bar, and before we get a chance to order she realizes the bartender is a guy she used to with twenty years prior at a restaurant in a nearby city. They get to chatting, I get to drinking. All of a sudden it’s three hours later, I’m four pints deep and my Angies bartender friend is off work and has joined us.
She pulls out her phone and starts talking about one of her recent solo-adventures to Washington. Things for me are foggy at this point but she’s showing us, from my best recollection, pictures she’s taken at some beach. In some forest. At the top of a mountain. Regular pacific north-west stuff.
At some point, we leave the pub and go on what seemed at the time like a walk worthy of a hobbit adventure up to the top of some hill to watch fireworks, get vegan poutine and another drink before staggering home.
Let me preface the next bit with, I am not a hiker. My idea of a hike is a walk, with slight incline that lasts at most 2.5 hours round trip. Outside is a tricky thing for me. I like it when it’s raining, but have a strong dislike for the heat- more specifically the sweat-inducing aspect of it. In my old life, I trained 20 + hours a week over an 8 year period so I think as soon as that beating on my body was over I overcorrected and became a hybrid sloth-human.
When I moved to Vancouver I knew this was going to have to change, but I still hadn’t taken a significant shot at the whole “hiking” thing. Like as a hobby. As people do here. Sure I got on board with the Kombucha fad, but that takes very little effort.
So, about two weeks after that summer-fun adventure with aunt+ bartender, I receive a text from dear Auntie Angela. It’s a screenshot. Of a hotel confirmation for two nights in Sequim, Washington. With a note underneath:
“Hey sweetie, we are booked for our Olympic Peninsula hiking trip for your birthday!”
My initial reaction was, “that sneaky witch!”, Angie had been trying to get me to come out and go on hikes with her regularly since we were now living in the same city. She caught me off guard. In a weak state of being. She knew I was vulnerable with my belly full of beer while showing me pretty pictures of a place so nearby we could go for a weekend.
I was going to be spending my 27th hiking up a Pacific Northwest mountain in mid-November.
I came to terms with it pretty quickly, considering all the instagram worthy pictures I was going to squeeze out of the trip.
Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day weekend arrived with haste once summer ended. Being a “coordinator” at work, I often try to avoid “coordinating” during my off-hours and if someone offers to plan something I leave them to it.
Perhaps something I need to reconsider with my aunt.
Being the yin to her yang leads to increased levels of frustration in me, and an exponentially cheery aloof sensibility in her.
To quickly gloss over the first 4 hours of our trip we were mostly car bound yet she somehow managed to lose her credit card, misplace our passports and forget where she put her wallet. All before we even arrived at our hotel (they were all found- just not put back in their normal homes).
Ok, maybe we were less car-bound than I initially pointed out, some of our stops included:
- Trader joes (I was incredibly angry in here, not able to find snacks I wanted. Then, after about 45 minutes fuming and stomping around the store like a five-year old I picked out the one thing Angie also wanted and she helped herself to- which normally wouldn’t have been a problem…but me having the personality and attitude of a five-year old was not interested in sharing).
- Ebey’s Landing for a little gander
- Coupeville (where they filmed Practical Magic, we got cinnamon buns and Angie made friends with the lady at the tourism office and used the tourism office computer to reserve spots on the ferry over to Port Townsend)
- Whidbey Pies & Café for lunch and pie (am not a pie person but a marionberry birthday pie was in order).
- Ferry to Port Townsend where we drove around before heading into Sequim to the hotel
Our first day, mostly driving ended up being the most jam-packed. We got to the hotel- tried to check in- which was when Angie realized her wallet was missing. Twenty minutes later after checking her car, trunk, and purse twice each, she found it in a compartment in her duffle bag.
We ate at the Denny’s style restaurant across from the hotel. It was bear themed. Angie spent most of dinner fawning over how clever the marketing was. There was a little gift shop at the entrance of the restaurant with bear stuffed animals, postcards, pyjamas etc. The menu had quirky names for their food “grizzly den BLT”, “bearpaw pies” and the sort. The bar stools were made of wood with wood burned scenes of bears acting like humans (on the phone, reading books with glasses on, shooting a gun…)
Back at the hotel we crashed immediately.
The next day was the big one. The hike.
At dinner the night before I asked her “so how long is this thing we are going on?“
“10 kilometres round trip according to the website,” she responded. The phone was open and she was looking at it so I didn’t think I needed to do any further research. I could handle 5 kilometres each way. Easy.
We arrived at the trailhead for Hurricane Ridge, the hike, Sunday morning. The main trail was snowed out. Not a great sign, but Angie was motivated and we were going to do a hike. We find another way in and a sign for a different trailhead up to Hurricane Ridge…
Lake Angeles…3.8 miles
Klahhane Ridge… 6.2 miles
Hurricane Ridge… 9.9 miles
…”so, when you said 10 kilometres, did you in fact mean MILES?!”
… check back for part 2- “the hike” (working title- subject to change).