Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Larch March

The hike homies drove out to the North Cascades this past weekend to see the LARCHES! Here are a bunch of glorious photos from the Blue Lake trail, with little to no commentary.

First views

Approaching the lake

Larch Madness

Found a quiet spot at the water


Photo by CJ

Pure Beauty

Gettin stoked for snowshoe season!

Liberty Bell Mountain 

Photo by CJ
After the slippery, icy Blue Lake trail we did Thunder Knob: a quick 4 mile out and back that offers great aerial views of Diablo Lake and Highway 20 snaking through the Cascades.

Diablo Lake


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Green Lake and Grannie

Last weekend I flew to Bend, Oregon to celebrate my Grannie's 80th Birthday. The festivities were lively but bitter sweet since we lost my Grandpa last Spring. The last time I was in Bend was just under a year ago for his Celebration of Life ceremony. We poured scotch on his casket just the way he wanted followed by a large party at their local country club. Afterwards I felt guilty and weird for not getting up and speaking at his memorial. In the moment I felt too shaky and awkward and just not able to express what his support meant to me. I'm a pretty confident person but public speaking is still not easy for me. One of those small regrets that I can't seem to rectify now.

No hikes were done last year but we did float the Deschutes on a screamingly bright and sunny day. A few days later I flew to Iceland on my first solo trek to enjoy the exact opposite in weather.

This time around my Uncle planned ahead and found a hike he wanted us to do together. When I checked it out on AllTrails it reported Green Lakes as one of the most trekked trails in all of Oregon. We must have gotten lucky because the 9 mile out and back trip was not overly crowded on a Saturday morning.

The mellow yellow days of Fall were on full display as we walked upwards through the Deschutes Wilderness Area just outside of Sunriver.

As you can see in the pictures below, the mountain views were absolutely epic. We had full frontal visuals of South Sister as well as Broken Top once we reached the lake. Although the forecast was sketchy that morning, we had crystal views and good weather up until the last 20 minutes of our return trip when it finally started to rain.

Plenty of water crossings and log bridges

South Sister summit peaking out

Uncle Ed with Broken Top behind


Clear views of South Sister

Two hours later we were in our fancies for Grannie's big dinner party at a nice restaurant on the Deschutes River, right in the middle of downtown Bend. Really crazy to see what a huge hub of outdoor industry (and breweries!) Bend has become. When we were young annual visitors there was seemingly nothing to do except for biking around the neighborhood and swimming at the pool. I remember how excited my grandparents were when their little town finally got a Red Robin.

If I could transport Bend two hours North or West I would seriously consider living here. As it is, it suffers from the main problem I keep finding in every place I temporarily fantasize about as my next home base: too hot of Summers and too cold of Winters. I have been blessed with a somewhat temperate weather palate my whole life and now I am spoiled beyond repair. I don't want 105 degree days three months out of the year. Though the snow I can make peace with, I think...

This coming from someone who has had legitimate sun stroke way too many times to count. I am not built for the sun, y'all.

Juliet and Juliet

During this trip my Uncle asked us how long we expect to live until. I immediately answered "108!" I have no idea where that came from but it was my natural response. Why the hell not...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cloud Surfing

Happy Girl
Soooo I did a thing! I checked off one of my top Bucket List items and went Tandem Paragliding last night! Quite the Tuesday. We took off from Chirico Ridge at Tiger Mountain (1750 ft up) and were welcomed by absolutely pristine flying conditions. I was able to stay in the air for a full 45 minutes! Epic views of Rainier, Baker, and the Issaquah Highlands below. It felt totally natural and I had zero fear running off the edge of the take-off cliff.

Proud of myself for becoming a braver, bolder Me.

Take off from Chirico Ridge

Looking back at Chirico Takeoff

Issaquah Highlands

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Freedom to Be: The Many Faces of Me

My kind of freedom

My friend and I had a conversation the other day about people with a central path. I think you know the type...your friends and family members who know what they want and pursue the same steady track diligently, eyes on the prize, actualizing unwavering movement towards a goal they decided on ages ago. The kind of commitment and assurance it takes to follow through on law school, a doctorate, moving up within one company from entry level to management, etc. The level of commitment it takes to stay in a marriage for thirty years.....

I am baffled, amazed, impressed, and sometimes disturbed by these kind of "permanent" endeavors. There have been SO few things that I have felt this kind of drive and dedication towards. I do not have a central path. I have a life map of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny little offshoot trails, some dead ends, some loops that lead me back to the same place again and again... Some long winded roads that fill the page of my existence only to be erased and then etched again as my focus waxes and wanes.

I don't see myself as an all or nothing person. I'm not a person of impressive focus and drive. Often I hesitate on making decisions or commitments and when I finally do, I can be guilty of trying to go back and chose the other path. I want to have my cake and eat it too. My process is scattered; I struggle to commit wholeheartedly to things and also to stand strong in one place no matter what tries to dissuade me. I was relaying all this to my friend the other day, self-deprecating wit on overload, and she stopped me in my tracks.

"That's NOT true. You're that way about hiking. You're that way about Mac and always have been (my dog). You're that way about your Mom, and this person..."

Well shit, that's true....She's right...there are exceptions to the rule... and hiking is probably the most obvious one. I've said this before, but it bears repeating, it is the longest standing hobby I have ever had. I've only been hiking for about three, three and a half years, mind you!- but that is the LONGEST AMOUNT OF TIME I have ever spent doing one thing consistently and genuinely enjoying it. As a kid I picked up and subsequently dropped hobbies sooo often that my mom actually stopped supporting me signing up for new classes or after-school activities. She knew how quickly I'd tire of it after she bought the supplies needed and was pretty much over it by the time I was 13. I've started and stopped many career paths and school/training programs over the years.

Yet I have no problem doing the most to make a hike happen. I will get up at 4 or 5am on my day off, sacrifice sleep, pay to have my dog taken care of while I'm gone, drive anyone and everyone who wants to join, read trip reports all week, print directions, pack snacks the night before, check weather conditions, keep up on car repairs, say no to friends I want to see on weekends who wont hike, drive long miles on gravel roads or through pot hole fields, flare injuries, etc. Just to hike. Never ever worried about what it takes to get there as long as I can get there.

Hiking to Goat Lake

I want to create the space and potential for this level of intense devotion and pure commitment in other areas of my life. I want to start by setting achievable goals that I can use as leverage against my old ideas about myself and who I am/what I am capable of following through on. NOT PLANS, just goals, no time limit or set dates needed.

We all need to remember that our ideas and image of ourselves CAN and SHOULD change. This does not mean we are inauthentic or confused or even bipolar! It means we accept and glorify the reality of things constantly changing and that we run with this to grow and transform ourselves. That we can be a lot of different people in a single lifetime, which is amazing to think about....

It's cool for others to be able to see and accept this in us as well, maybe even celebrate it rather than being scared and put off by our ongoing and often non-linear evolution. These are the ones we need in our corner: ready to support each new passion project we develop, or simply each version of us.

I spent many years dating the same guy on and off, going all the way back to middle school. Yes literally....I've known him since I was 12! I can't exaggerate how different we were back then: legitimately opposing poles in every way, from our interests to our personalities. In the last year or so we've steadily become real friends again after years of distance, and he is constantly aghast at the Juliet I am now. The Juliet who happily hikes and camps, does adventurous outdoors stuff, stopped making plans, plays board games..... Pretty much, a Juliet who is more like him now than I ever was back then. It's so interesting and valuable to hear outside reflections on how you have changed into the person you are now. It's also great to have someone in your life who remembers all the couldn't / wouldn't / shouldn'ts you professed back then, only to be living them now. Furthermore, a person who liked you then and still happens to like You 2.0 now.

Being single has one huge perk that I love more and more every day: I have the time, energy, and freedom to explore new friendships. I have met sooo many people lately which is WONDERFUL. The photos in this blog are from a hike I did on Saturday with my buddy Juan and three people I had never met in person before, mostly whom I knew from Instagram. We had such a great day hiking to Goat Lake!

I'm building a dope, eclectic tribe around me: new friends who see me for who I am now, free of comparison or even resentment for my changes, mixed with golden friendships from the past that are still meaningful, relevant, and supportive all these years later. Looking around my life, it's like a living collage of all the Me's I have ever been and could ever be. I feel so free!

Cutie Pie Esra

The hike to Goat Lake

Fuji gettin' it in

Oh hey bud!

Bushwhacked our way around the lake

Goat Lake


Fuji and CJ

Far end of the lake

The God Particle 

Fall colors abound