The Day Nature was on Our Side and then….

the day(s) air travel was not on my side.

It was my last day in Montana and Seth’s day off so we decided to make a trip out of it and head to Yellowstone.  It’s technically a 2 hour drive both ways which doesn’t seem all that appealing. But when there are trees all around and big beautiful skies and no traffic it’s really not the bad.  Then again I was not the one driving.

I had no idea how large Yellowstone actually was…or that upon entering the West entrance you were also entering Wyoming (there was no welcome sign, so I guess Wyoming wasn’t all that excited to see us). We really only had time to drive through the lower left corner of the park to see some geysers and hot springs with some stops to walk through a river and do some handstands/falls.  We even got up close and personal with Ojo Caliente, one of the little hot springs, and by up close and personal I mean no one was around to tell us not to step over the barrier and touch a small stream of the water that we hoped was not going to scald our skins. And the water flow changed the color of the rock from grey to rust orange to brighter orange to pure white.

I mean, sometimes nature is neat.

Then we arrived to Old Faithful, whose faithfulness lies between 40-126 minutes.  We had no idea when the last eruption had been but walked around, vowing to keep her (it?) in our sites. Just a short while after hiking up to a viewing spot the show started. I must say, I was impressed. Even though we were a short distance away up a hill you could tell that baby was blowing, steam/smoke effects included.

But the best part about this whole day was that even though it was raining off and on.  The on parts were always when we were in a car, and the off parts were always when we were outside. I’m pretty sure that rarely happens so I’m to take that as a super big “Good on ya!” from Nature herself.

Yet when I tried to deal with technology and society and modern means of transportation I was met with delay…

upon delay….

upon delay…

I was already pushing it by getting back Saturday afternoon and leaving Sunday night for  Costa Rica. Then my flight was delayed so my layover involved me running through airports and have barely any time to think. I get back feeling frazzled and start doing laundry and unpacking and repacking for the next portion of my trip…took a break to see Despicable Me 2 (pleased with Agnes’ screen time). I had a feeling that the crash at SFO would change something, and sure enough I was woken up at 8am to hear that my flight was cancelled and moved to the next day. First I was upset because I was getting antsy to leave, then I found out I was put in first class…so I was alright with the change after all.

Original plan:

SFO to LAX leaving at 8PM (1 hour flight)

LAX to San Jose, Costa Rica leaving at 11PM

First flight gets delayed until 9:12…then 10…then 10:24. According to my calculations that means we ain’t makin’ it folks.

So we change it to a flight that was supposed to leave at 7 but has been delayed until 8:30…and then 8:50…and then 9. We ended up making it to LAX at 10:40 and walking to our gate (and first class seats) with hearts pounding and stomachs ready for complimentary drinks. I heard someone say something about chan=mpagne so when the flight attendant came by for pre-departure drinks I replied with little to no hesitation…

I heard there was champagne?

Sitting in a Tube, Floating Down the River

Days of hiking and nights of dancing are the best way to spend a summer.  I was having a wonderful time hanging out with Seth and making new friends. The star gazing was absolutely amazing and I never wanted the sun to come up except then I got a bit chilly and changed my mind on that, I’m not the most warm-bodied person there is. Thank the beach gods I managed to plan my trip for the exact week that the one and only Beach Boys had also planned to visit Big Sky.
Completely unintentional.
Completely awesome.
It also led to the meeting of even more new friends, who then invited us to go river floating with them.  I had heard this was a thing to do in Montana, but assumed that I would just be in Big Sky the whole time.  These guys were from Bozeman, the city an hour away where the airport is located. Unfortunately Seth had to work….
Side note tangent: the fact that everyone I visited had work at some point made me feel like I was behind in the job game, but then I was like, hey, there’s time for that in a couple months, and then everything was ok. Yes I know this was slightly/mostly irrelevant…that’s how I roll sometimes.
(cont.)
…the next day, but one of his coworkers did not and was very interested in going. His name is Riley and he is one heck of a good-time singing machine. He has no shame listening to his ipod and singing along with Fergilicious and I respect him for that.

We get there and are invited to go shoot some shotguns for America. But actually.  I have never experienced anything like this. Sadly while we were on our way to that adventure we got a call that people were leaving to river float so we had to go meet up with them.

It was almost the most complete American Fourth of July EVER…almost.

But I mean, there was still river rafting.  Meaning we bought a lot of beer, threw it in a cooler, which then went into the back of a pick up truck along with every inner tube and inflatable object we could find, and we were off. We got there and I realized that this is a very popular thing to do considering the sides of the dirt road were covered with cars, all packed with people and inner tubes. It was almost like a ride in the sense that everyone would situate themselves in their respective tubes, then make sure the beer was ok, then grab a beer and drift into the current, reaching out to form one mega-float of people.
And then you quite literally just go with the flow.
Sometimes your butt gets caught on a shallow part. Sometimes you start drifting away and have to double-time it back. And sometimes you misinterpret a small rapid, scramble, and get flipped over.

The big finale to it all? Bridge jumping.
Yup, that story is one for the books.

My activity level is at an all time high…

So here’s what I’m thinking.
I blog every few days and only talk about the good stuff. This method worked very well in El Salvador, mostly because I only had a few days with Internet to begin with, but I myself am already tiring of just repeating what I do.
Where’s the excitement?
Where’s the action?
Where’s the drama?
The storyline of blogging needs to be similar to the ups and downs or a steady heartbeat-like rhythm with plenty of highs, not a slowly rolling kiddie ride at a carnival.

Summarizing in short sentences is more fun for me anyways. And even if I can’t get that heartbeat going I still consider getting some writing in a small success for the day.

The last few days have contained a crazy amount of hiking and eating good food, and that’s really all I could ever ask for.

Sunday Nate and I hiked along the dungeness spit in Washington, 5 miles out to the lighthouse, eating yummy homemade ciabatta sandwiches as soon as we got there, and 5 miles back with the mountain range in clear view. I must say it was slightly tormenting being able to see the lighthouse and feeling like you were getting nowhere near it…very tricky that spit is. We were sure to replenish with some of the perfectly crispy pizza in port Townsend. And then I was taken to a food co-op where I had the hipster moment of getting excited about finding kombucha brewed in Washington in a snazzy blue bottle. It was called Kombucha Town and it was most refreshing. I will disclose that I have these moments fairly often, I think it’s from living in the Bay Area, or possibly some side effect of being a girl with short hair…

After another night in Poulsbo, a morning run, and a heartfelt goodbye I made my way to Big Sky Resort in Montana on a small plane that I boarded from the runway. I’m staying with my friend Seth until Saturday and spending a majority of my time hiking in the mountains.
And I am really not kidding when I say a majority of my time. One hike shortly after my arrival, 2 hikes yesterday, a run this morning, and most likely an evening hike. This also means that food consumption is at an all time high…also a win.

Big Sky resort reminds me a lot of Mammoth Lakes, if you don’t know about Mammoth I encourage a trip as soon as possible. Both places are known for skiing, more in Big Sky(I have seen multiple bragging posters about the resort having the most and best skiing in North America), but are so beautiful year round that they might as well keep up the money making. The amount of nearby trails is insane, and it seems like there are always people trying to get out there, something I am very grateful for. Big Sky is basically its own little village/town with some buses connecting the upper and lower parts. There are cabins and vacation homes, concerts in the lower meadow(the beach boys are playing this week), hotels, small shopping centers, and little restaurants and bars. And as much as it blows my mind to see the elaborately designed vacation homes with floor to ceiling windows, as much as I wonder about how awesome parties there are, I would still prefer to be in the small dorm like room I’m in.

Why? Because it would be a lot harder to leave a beautiful home like that than this room.

Why Do I Not Have The Feeling Of Surprise About Me?

Because as soon as I stepped onto the streets of Seattle it started raining…
Classic.
But then it got really nice for a bit. So it’s all good.

It took far too long to figure out how to get on the light rail out of the airport. And by that I mean I walked past the exit to get to the light rail not once, but twice.

As long as I convince myself that every day is a learning experience I am ok with looking lost all the freakin time every now and then.

Good news though, I managed to be the most efficient I have ever been in my packing skills. This is highly uncharacteristic for me, a person who normally takes on the “well I might need it so I’m going to pack it” mentality. I give myself kudos on that one (does anyone else remember the actual kudos bar that was just a granola bar with candy pieces in it? That’s all I can think about whenever I hear that word, and then I get hungry…).

Aaand now I have an entire day and half of Seattle travels to catch up on because I was too busy doing things I want to blog about than actually blogging, funny how that works huh?

So after navigating the light rail out of the airport I knew I had planned to meet my friend Nate for the few hours in between when my other friend Katy, who was housing me for 2 nights, would pick me up. I am one in the minority of people that actually love libraries. My mom is a librarian and we would often take trips to our public library’s children’s section when I was little, I remember they had small aquarium tanks there with TONS of colorful fish, and books too of course. And as a little kid I guess that’s all you can really ask for, colorful fish and Dr. Seuss (even better when they merge in the form of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish).

The Seattle Public Library is something else, after finding my friend, he took me on a little tour of the 8 floors, modern styling, seating areas, computer resources, and the red hall. The library’s outer walls are all glass, so the natural light (or cloudiness) illuminates the stacks. I imagine that if I was left on my own in there I would get lost as a result of finding too many interesting books and the fact that the architecture can be slightly confusing. But the red hall was a surreal experience, definitely felt like I was in the middle of A Clockwork Orange, with less phallic imagery though.

We hung out, I started up the blog again, and when we heard music from outside we went to check it out. There was some sort of public announcement going on regarding the Supreme Court rulings. It was really great to see the community gathered outside in supports of marriage equality, and I stood there feeling hopeful and excited for what is to come.

The rest of the day just consisted of a reunion and then dinner and then bed. Thursday was more eventful and therefore I will skip to that. Katy was working until 1 or so, giving me the morning and part of the afternoon to relax and do some more reading and writing. Understanding my love for running, she had also suggested a trail not too far from her house that I should run on to see some sights. Her mom graciously drove me to the start of the Burke-Gilman trail (only a mile or so away) and from there I was off! It was so green and the weather was just under uncomfortably muggy, which is pretty good. I lost track of time and next thing I knew I had gone out quite a ways and I had to get all the way back to my friends house. But I did just in time for burger lunch with Katy’s mom and sister, and then Katy was off work we ventured to Lake Union (which I accidentally called union lake a few times in a series of “I’m not from here” moments) and kayaked around gasworks park until our arms and shoulders were too sore to go any further, at which point we had to make it all the way back. But we could see the city skyline, some elaborate houseboats that probably throw awesome parties, those duck tours boats that can go on land AND in the lake (one of the more popular tourist attractions from what I could tell, those quackery were all over the place), and some good ole cloud coverage.

Next was a mini campus tour of the University of Washington, which already made me want to go back to school. And another library stop! (I promise I don’t normally make it a point to see libraries where I travel, Washington just has some cool ones) This time we went to the UW reading room, which basically just looks like its straight out of a Harry Potter movie, which I loved.

And then came a jaunt around the downtown area, to the famous Public Market, past the first Starbucks ever. Note: the line outside this treasure is always out the door, and there are about 4-5 other perfectly functional Starbucks within 100 meters of the first, but I guess saying “I got coffee at a Starbucks near the first Starbucks” doesn’t have quite the same effect.

After seeing the famous fish throwing act and making shameless tourist sounds of “ooh’s” and “ah’s,” Katy and I met up with her parents at Ivar’s Salmon House for dinner. Beer and salmon never tasted so good. Along with trying red chowder made with smoked salmon, I also had grilled salmon skewers with peach currant chutney, cornbread pudding, and a IPA.