Last weekend, my brother Judson came up to Seattle to visit me and climb Mt. Si with me (cross it off the list), and boy, was it a time. We woke up at 6:00am on Sunday morning and trekked an hour out to North Bend (after consuming a couple McDonalds breakfast sandwiches, of course), where we found ourselves at the foot of a mountain of imposing height. It was cold and misty so we started out the hike with our coats on, but as we slowly ascended the crazy-steep grade, we began shedding layers really quickly until both of us had our sweaters tied around our waists like goons and Judson had the pantlegs of his jeans rolled up (who wears jeans on a serious hike? Come on!).
It was a really arduous and intense hike, but when we reached the top, my brain was yelling “Worth it!”: there was a thick mist hovering over the rock ledges and even though I couldn’t see much through it, the altitude, and the feeling of power and disbelief at knowing how high you are above everything, was palpable, and we climbed over jagged rocks and crevices to stand up against what, from the outside, looked like the abyss, and it wasn’t scary. It was incredible. I’d definitely like to hike Mt. Si again in the summer, when it’s clear and you can see green for eons, but I’m glad that my first climb was through the mist. It was more timely and applicable to my present existence that way.
It took us about four hours roundtrip, and after waking up early, saying hi to every hiker and their dog on the trail (no complaints there!), feeling dizzy from the elevation change and getting our muscles wrecked by a mountain, we were exhausted and famished. So we returned to Seattle and ate some monster Elliott Bay subs, and all was right with the world.
Belfast, Northern Ireland (the first time)
Belfast, Northern Ireland (the second time)
NEWSFLASH: Kayaking is awesome. My outdoor adventure pal Bekah and I borrowed a friend’s oversized kayaks that didn’t quite fit into the back of her boyfriend’s sports utility vehicle, so I had to sit in between the kayaks and bear hug them with both arms to keep them from sliding out onto the road. It was kind of stressful, but it was also kind of exciting. We also had to enlist the help of some buff strangers to help us carry the kayaks down to the canal, for we are but weak females who need help with such things. BUT, once we got in the water, it was perfection. There’s always so much going on on Lake Washington, and yet it’s always so quiet and still. It was a great sanctuary to float among the lilies and soak up the sun and feel, for a moment, far away from the city. When we started paddling back toward land, we passed a boat full of twentysomethings who were blasting “My Way” by Limp Bizkit, completely unironically. There was fist-pumping and everything. We were horrified, but we had a good laugh about it. It seemed an appropriate way to end our afternoon on the lake.
Ever since the closing ceremonies concluded the weekend before last, I’ve had an Olympic-shaped hole in my heart. I remember getting really excited about the Olympics as a kid, but these Games were the first that I’ve invested time in watching as an adult, and truth be told, it was a little magical. Everything is so big! And Olympians are so impressive! For the first time, I understand what a simultaneous honor and struggle it is to be an Olympic athlete, to represent your country on a world stage and perform at a consistent level of near-perfection. I would watch the Olympic happenings at Nate’s house with he and his roommates and it was a very communal experience, to sit together and cheer on Gabby Douglas and Misty May-Treanor and Allyson Felix and to all be emotionally invested in their victories together. There was such a latent excitement surrounding the Olympics this year, and it was fun to live in that excitement for a couple weeks.
But what happens when the Olympics are over and the excitement disappears? I came across a series of photos the other day on FlavorWire that attempt to get at that question. The Olympic City, a collaboration between photographer Jon Pack and filmmaker Gary Hustwit, is a photo collection of the ruins of former Olympic host cities. As it turns out, many of the grand Olympic structures built for the Games have faded into obsolescence, and a few have been repurposed for wildly different uses than they were originally intended for. These photos are really beautiful and haunting, and it makes me wonder whether it’s worth it to pour so much money into such a temporary grandiosity if this is the fate that awaits future Olympic sites. It’s an interesting and tricky question to consider.
See more photos from The Olympic City Project here.
One of the perks of dating a band manager is that sometimes you get to attend outdoor music festivals in the mountains of eastern Washington for free. On Friday night, we packed my car with provisions for the weekend and drove out to Darrington, the location of the groovy Summer Meltdown, to pitch our tents alongside the weirdest crowd of people I’ve ever found myself among. And I mean that as a compliment. We probably spent more time people-watching than we did watching live music because there was such a huge spectrum of strangeness: we saw a man in a speedo offering blueberries to passersby, girls in bikini tops and neon-colored tutus, folks in full-body green man costumes and a perpetually shirtless guy swimming in the river with his pet tortoise. I think we all thought it was really refreshing, though, to see people who were completely unpretentious and unabashed lovers of music come together and dance like they didn’t give a damn, because they didn’t, and be so free and un-self-conscious. It was kind of inspiring. There is much we can learn from the weirdos of the world.
Here are a couple photos from the weekend:
1. So many Westfalias. 2. Sunshine in the woods. 3. I almost bought some of nature’s jewelry. It seemed like a good idea in the moment. 4. Getting melty. 5. Stacked stones at the river. 6. Ben and Jill, trying to pretend they’re in a tropical locale and not staring at the guy in a speedo behind me. 7. Over-the-shoulder speedo shot = maybe the highlight of my weekend. 8. True Spokes brought out some of the UW marching band for a few songs, which you’re allowed to do if you invented Summer Meltdown. 9. Jill, tortoise whisperer. 10. Where everyone in attendance was from. Lots of homies from South America, surprisingly. 11. The daily view.