Sunday, July 8, 2018

Butterfly Stitch-a-Long, part 1

Perhaps it's a post-project hangover, perhaps it's summer, perhaps it's the World Cup ... but I can't believe it's been THREE WEEKS since the last update! And, well, my progress shows it.

Here's where I was three weeks ago, with a brand new project to kick off:

And here I am, three weeks later:

Though I will say that every time I look at it, it reminds me of a red panda...

Now, I am sure my fellow stitchers have accomplished MUCH MORE this time, and you should click on over to their blogs to see for yourself!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, LindaMary Margaret, Heidi, Jackie, Hayley, Tony, Megan and Timothy.

Our next check-in is in three more weeks... and I promise to get some stitching done this time!!!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Adventure Time : we tried stand-up paddleboarding

I have wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding for years. So when I got an email with "upcoming classes at your local REI", and saw an "Intro to SUP" course that was both nearby, on a day we were available, and had two places, I signed us up.

You'll note there are no pictures from the adventure -- let's just say I knew I would be getting wet.

But Wil and I arrived a little early at Magnuson Park, wearing tech clothes and water shoes. Yeah, I wore these sweet water shoes. Sign me up for water aerobics in Boca Raton, please!

I was really anxious about it ... would I be able to get up on the board? Would I fall off? If I fell, would I be able to get back on the board?

Okay, I knew I would fall off. But I was worried about being able to get back on.

Our instructors, Dave and Katie, were really friendly and upbeat, and started by telling us about different kinds of paddle boards -- both hard and inflatable. We were given life vests and told how to fit them securely. Then they showed us the boards.

We would be using hard boards; the Bic Sport 11. Big, steady, sturdy. I felt better already. Sorta.

Soon we were on the shore, carrying our boards and paddles into the water. We all started out on our knees, paddling around. Why on our knees?

The wind was really gusty, and the water was really choppy. Really choppy. But it wasn't too bad when we were on our knees. We got accustomed to steering and turning and moving... and then it was time to try and stand up. 

Wil was the first to try ... and therefore the first to fall in. I decided I wanted to be brave, too, so slowly got to my feet ... and promptly fell in the water. Amusingly -- and as Dave said -- the water wasn't really very cold ... but it was cold in the wind when we got out. 

I had been worried that I would't be able to get back on the board, but I was happy to see that I could get myself most of the way up with my arms, and then swing a leg onto the board and pull myself the rest of the way up. Result!

We paddled around for a while, some of us trying and succeeding -- at least for a short while -- to get to our feet. Wil was the most successful -- getting to his feet for long stretches. I got to my feet multiple times, but fell in each time. Then for a while I decided to just paddle around and sit on my board. 

Still, by the end of the class I was pretty tired and pretty happy to be done. We carried our boards onto the shore, turned in our paddles and life vests, and got a little pep talk from Dave and Katie telling us that we all did amazingly well, given the conditions, and that he was impressed that any of us even tried to stand, let alone succeeded at it. Awwww. 

Wil and I shed some wet clothes, changed more in the car, and then headed home... already talking about buying our own boards. Wouldn't it be great to take boards out to the lake and paddle around? Yes. Yes it would. Watch this space...

Oh, and, yes, trying stand-up paddleboarding was on my 101 in 1001 days project ... which makes 14 / 101 fully complete!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hike of the Week : Talapus and Olallie Lakes

I honestly don't know where I read about this hike. Seattle Magazine, the Weekly, and Seattle Met magazine all did articles about local hikes lately... but the distance looked good, the trail looked good, so we headed out on Saturday morning. 

As we got close to the trailhead there were already cars parked on the road .... a bit surprising, because the trail was meant to have a lot of parking. And it did... but that just meant that there was a lot of cars already there. 

I liked that the ranger was there ... and was ticketing people without a pass. 

We set off around 8:30 -- a bit late for us -- and were instantly in the woods. The trail was pretty uneven -- rocky and rooty -- but not too steep or challenging. It was just a nice walk in the woods. 

The forest started to get really misty, and it felt lovely and quiet and magical. As if we were going to encounter a centaur or a unicorn.

We walked alongside the creek for a while, seeing no one ... which surprised us given how full the trailhead was.

Lovely, lovely solitude!

We came to a stretch where the trail was being renovated -- some "turnpikes" (raised paths to keep hikers out of muddy stretches) and some log bridges ...

I also liked seeing the signs along the path -- always reassuring!

Doesn't this look magical? Wil may as well be Gandalf with a hood and a staff.

We arrived first at Talapus Lake, which had a couple of nice-looking campsites... some of which were just being abandoned, given the weather. Still, what a view to wake up to!

Then we continued along the trail to Olallie Lake.

Many campers seemed not to have seen this sign...

This sign made us laugh, too ... as there was no obvious path or destination...

We arrived at Olallie Lake, surrounded by campsites full of people. One site seemed to have 20 people crammed in it, all talking loudly.

The lake was pretty, but given the weather and the fact that we couldn't easily spot a way down to the shore that wasn't in someone's campsite, we basically just turned back.

The weather got a bit worse, and a lot mistier ...

... and the trail FILLED UP with people heading out to the lake. Which seemed so odd ... but perhaps everyone else read the same article I did?

By the time we got back to the car, the trailhead was still full and cars were parked nearly a mile down the road. It's a nice hike with a decent payoff at the end. It would be even nicer if the weather held, and if you could get to the lakeshore without walking across a campsite. But I'm really puzzled by how crowded it was. 

Talapus and Olallie Lakes via Olallie Lake Trail
6.3 miles
1368 ft elevation gain

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hike of the Week : Granite Lakes Trail

This week our training schedule had us at a 3.5-hour hike. We haven't exactly been burning up the trails this year -- at least not in comparison with last year's Kili-training festival. But I wanted to get out and get a proper hike in ... even if we didn't want to drive a long way.

To be honest, I can't really remember where I first read about this trail -- it but the distance and elevation profiles seemed good, and I do like a trail with a payoff at the end. So we set off early Saturday morning to drive to the trailhead.

As we made our way to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road, we passed a school with a big sign saying "TRAILHEAD SHUTTLE". I saw a small clump of people waiting for the shuttle, and we thought, wow, how great that people are using the shuttles!

Then as we approached the trailhead for Mailbox Peak, there was a little line of cars, a closed lower parking lot, and a parks department employee telling people to turn around and go to the shuttle parking. Well okay then! As we got to the "front" of the line, we told the man we were headed to Glacier Lake, and he laughed and said we would be fine, and that this chaos was all people wanting to hike up Mailbox.

So we drove another two-ish miles down the road -- really, how great is the repaved road? It's awesome! -- and right by the entrance to the trailhead parking. But we made a u-turn, headed back, and were really surprised to find the parking lot reasonably empty.

Thirty-seven spots, only about 10 of which were taken when we pulled in at 8:10. Amazing!

Apparently this trail was rerouted in 2017; a new trailhead being created to take pressure off other local trails (cough-Mailbox-cough). We made pitstops at the very clean restrooms and then headed up the trail.

As you can see on the map, the "new" trail is shorter and steeper than the old trail (now called the Granite Creek Connector), but it's new, very well maintained, and very well graded. So while you're climbing steadily, you spend the time admiring how nice the trail is. At least I did.

Seriously, it's like a poster girl of trails!

There are several handsome chainsaw benches on the way up, perfectly placed for little breathers.

But, really, the real attraction is this lovely trail. It feels open yet shady -- not the corridor of forest one often finds. This felt light and airy.

Soon we reached the junction with the old trail, and headed on toward Granite Lake.

This was older trail, but still very nicely maintained. 

We caught glimpses of what Granite Creek rushing alongside the trail, though we could hear it more often that we could see it. 

We did cross the creek on a handsome bridge that was apparently helicoptered into place. Fancy!

We reached the split in the trail and decided to go to Granite Lake, rather than Thompson this time. It's clearly marked, though I neglected to get a photo. The trail got a little rougher and yet flatter, and soon we were heading down to the lake.

The trail got very faint -- in fact, it sort-of petered out into a "choose your own adventure" thing ... but we picked and leapt our way to the lake itself.

The lake was, obviously, lovely, though there wasn't much of a trail around it and the handful of people -- 8 including us -- seemed to have found all available lakefront seating.

We didn't linger too long, however, because it was very, very buggy. I mean, I know that I am delicious, but...

So we took another look and turned back for home.

The lower part of this trail, especially, was so smooth, so well graded, that we fairly flew down it, moving absurdly quickly.

And then, suddenly, we were back at the parking lot which, even at nearly noon, wasn't full. It goes without saying that we eyed the crowds of people at the shuttle stops for Mailbox Peak with some amusement...

We liked this trail very much -- great for training because you can get a great workout, it has a nice payoff at the top, and the trail is nice, too. We plan on going back in the not-too-distant future to hike to Thompson Lake.

Granite Lakes Trail
8.7 miles
2428 ft elevation gain


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fox Stitch-a-Long, part 7

Hi everyone! Last time I was SOOOOOOOO CLOSE!!!!

Well, a week later and the stitching was DONE! Happy dance time!!!

But I wanted to challenge myself this time... I mean, Fox is one of three William Morris needlepoints, and the other two have been hidden away, stitched but incomplete, in the basement for years. Here they are, all laid out for the first time ever:

It would have been waaaay too easy to just roll them all up... but thanks to this stitch-a-long, I had a "deadline"!

I went out to find backing fabric, trim, zippers, and thread ... boy, fancy fringe trim is expensive. As expensive as the backing fabric I found, and of course I needed much more. 

And in a frenzy of zipper setting, trimming, and sewing ... I finished making up the cushions! More happy dancing!!!

Before you ask, no, these won't be outdoor cushions.... but I couldn't resist photographing them outside in the sunshine on the patio.  Here are the pillows in the order I stitched them. Here's Raven:


And our good friend Mr. Fox:

I am SO HAPPY with how they turned out, and thrilled to see them on my aubergine-colored couch. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. What's next?

While poking around my local thrift shop I found a nice cross-stitch kit that I think my Mom will like. It's much less involved than the needlepoint I've been doing, so feels like a good summer project. The previous owner had done a little work, but it appears that all the thread is there and it has even been sorted. So I look forward to doing this project for the next little while. 

Thanks everyone for all the support and encouragement on this project! 

Now, there are others on this stitch-a-long who will be doing their own happy dances -- click on over to their blogs an you will be amazed at how talented my fellow stitchers are!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, LindaMary Margaret, Heidi, Jackie, Hayley, Tony, Megan and Timothy.

Our next check-in is in three more weeks!