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Womxn’s March on Seattle

womxn's march seattle

I woke up Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep, and with a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. My body was telling me to stay home and rest – that it couldn’t handle marching in the Womxn’s March on Seattle.

Even as I sit in bed sick writing this on Sunday, I’m so glad I went anyway. I regret nothing.

Originally, organizers estimated between 50,000-75,000 people at the most. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd that big (outside of maybe a sporting event).

I showed up 1.5 hours early to Judkins Park, only to find that there were already 50,000 people there! People came by foot, car, bus, ferry, bike – however they could get there.

By the time the march started, I was standing in a crowd of almost 100,000 people.

womxn's march seattle

(Marching down Jackson Street, with people stretching in front and behind me as far as I could see!)

I marched with 130,000 people, though organizers now say it may have been closer to 175,000. I honestly couldn’t tell you which number is true – both are equally nuts to me. We filled the entire 3.6-mile stretch of our march’s path. It was wall-to-wall people for the entire 5 hours it took to complete it. Every muscle in my body just straight hurt afterwards.

What I will remember most about Saturday was how positive and kind everyone was throughout the day. It’s hard to feel safe in a large crowd, especially given I went alone. I had a great time, and never once felt unsafe. Not a single person got arrested, and no one reported shoving/pushing that usually happens with crowds that big. We were there together, marching and chanting with the same mission – to show our solidarity and support for each other.

I spent the day chatting with women of all ages, sharing goldfish crackers with hungry kids, and taking in the amazing signs everyone made. It was poignant to see signs that young girls and boys made for the event. They sincerely expressed what their generation worries about – the environment, immigration laws, bullying, racism, science education, equality, and more. I was proud to see so many children marching and chanting alongside their parents.

womxn's march seattle

The number of signs with a positive and supportive message far outweighed the angry ones, which made me feel encouraged. Sure, it’s funny to see a “Queef on Trump” sign. It was more impressive to see signs from men supporting strong women, children supporting their friends, and women supporting each other. I didn’t make a sign of my own, but once I got there I kind of wish I had!

womxn's march seattle

(At the Space Needle, trying really hard not to look like sick and exhausted!)

By the time I made it to the end of the march, I was ready to head home. It was an amazing experience, but the cold medicine wore off about an hour before we finished, and I was physically shutting down hardcore. I was exhausted, but extremely happy to make it the entire way, sniffles and all!

When I got home, I told my husband all about it while he made dinner, and I watched television coverage from our march and others happening around the world. Not having cell coverage for most of the day, I missed a lot of what was going out outside of Seattle. Seeing millions of people show up around the world on Saturday was comforting. To know that so many others were just as supportive and kind throughout their own marches restored my faith in humanity that I lost in November.

Now, I’m working on what to do next – how to take what I felt Saturday and spread that into my everyday life. I’d love to hear how you plan to do so, too!

Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking

Summer hiking spots (clockwise from top-left):
Lewis Creek Park / Cougar Mountain / Cougar Mountain / Timberlake Park

Hiking this summer has been…sporadic at best. The weather was either extremely rainy or extremely hot – neither of which make for great hikes. I was looking forward to August, when we usually get a break from the extreme weather…but that didn’t happen this year!

At the beginning of August, I stayed near home because every time I went out, it would start pouring down rain. I don’t mind a little rain while I’m outside, but a crazy deluge isn’t fun. As the month dragged on, it got warmer – a lot warmer. We are seeing temperatures well into the 90s, so any hiking I do now has to be early in the morning (if at all).

In my summer hiking adventures, I managed to check out a few new parks. Timberlake Park was my most recent trek, and it was the perfect, flat loop out to Lake Sammamish that I need when I’m looking for an easy morning run (yes, I sometimes run…I know, crazy me). The views are amazing, and it’s only a few minutes from home. I also mentioned a few places I checked out earlier in the summer in my “Chasing Views” post if you want to see more!

I haven’t gotten out as often as I’d like to, but isn’t that always the case? I’m hoping things will chill out (literally and figuratively) in September. I also want to start going to some new places, and revisit some old favorites I went to last fall. Let’s hope the weather cooperates!

Where have you been hiking lately? Any great places to try out this fall?

Chasing Views

Chasing Views

(Clockwise from top-left: Twin Falls, Rattlesnake Ridge, Poo Poo Point, Snoqualmie Falls)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.”
~John Burroughs

Hiking lately has looked a lot different for me. Instead of heading out on the same old trails, I am exploring more challenging trips. Aside from the killer views, I learned a few things about myself along the way:

I’m slow. Like, really slow.

As a solo hiker, I thought I was an average hiker in terms of speed. As it turns out, I’m not. I’m embarrassingly slow. Sometimes I’m slow because I’m not ready to handle the trek (as was the case with Poo Poo Point), and other times it’s because I would rather stop and enjoy the view (as was the case with Twin Falls). I’m learning that racing to the top is not my style. I’d rather wander and see things than race to the top with my head down.

I’m too hard on myself.

I hiked up 3 mountains this year, yet only summited 2 – and that one I didn’t summit still pisses me off. I got a bit lost, a bit tired, and had to give up. I know that I should appreciate what I accomplish, and not focus on what I didn’t. I also know it was an important lesson to listen to my body instead of risking getting hurt or really lost. It still makes me mad that I can’t do everything I want to do, but I’m getting better about it.

Hiking is great therapy.

Whenever life sucks donkey balls, I like to head outside. It is a great way for me to get whatever is bothering me out of my system, and to physically push myself to exhaustion. It’s a great outlet when I need one. However, I worry sometimes that I’ll start associating hiking with being upset or angry because that seems to be the only times I do it now. I did that with bike riding in Ohio, and grew to dislike it somewhat. Guess that’s something I need to deal with.

Heights bother me now.

When hiking Rattlesnake Ridge with a small group recently, I discovered one reason I’m a slow hiker might be a mild case of vertigo. After about a 1,500 foot climb, I found myself dizzy, out of breath, and nauseated – which scared the crap out of me. Since then, I’ve done a few 1,000ft+ climbs and the same thing happens each time. I have done much longer hikes with shorter ascents that don’t do this to me, which is why I think it might be vertigo and not just an in/out of shape thing. Maybe this flat-land Ohio girl isn’t meant to climb mountains? If you’re a seasoned hiker and have any ideas of how to help, I’m all ears!

The views are always worth it. Always.

Even if it takes me forever, I’m angry with the world around me, and I’m dizzy as fuck, it’s always a great feeling to make it to my destination. Being rewarded with a great mountaintop view or a beautiful waterfall is worth the shit I put up with to get there. It’s also a consolation to know the trip back will be easier (and usually downhill)!

PNW Parks: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

PNW Parks: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park Anti Aircraft Peak Trailhead

PNW Parks: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is one of my favorite places to hike in the Bellevue area. It’s an enormous park with four trailheads (I’ve been to three so far) and 38 miles of hiking trails – of which I’ve barely hiked maybe a third of it.

The trails are much easier to handle than most of the other parks I’ve been to, so it’s the perfect place for a beginner hiker. They also have horse trails, if you happen to have a horse and want somewhere awesome to take them!

Cougar Mountain has been through a lot before it became a park in June 1983 (coincidentally also the month I was born). It was originally inhabited by the Snoqualmie and Sammamish tribes, then later became a mining site (hence Coal Creek running nearby) in the 19th century. There are still many mining shafts and equipment lining the trails, with signs up explaining some of the history behind it.

It later became the home of a Cold War anti-aircraft missile station in the 1950s. While the missiles are gone, there is still some evidence of the military’s presence if you hike up to the Sky Country Trailhead.

In fact, there are signs up all over the park that explain facts about the park’s history and wildlife. I learn something new every time I head up there!

PNW Parks: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park Sky Country Trailhead Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park has been my favorite park to hike through this fall. The trails are well maintained, which has been great given how much rain we’ve been getting! It’s also a great park to view the changing colors of fall – there are so many great viewpoints, open fields, and wide trails to take it all in.

So if you find yourself in the Bellevue area, I highly recommend checking out Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. It’s easy to find, easy to hike, and very easy to enjoy!

PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park

PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State ParkOne thing that Washington has that Ohio could never compete with is a great parks system. The state has national, state, and city parks that provide people beautiful beaches, amazing views, and fun activities for all ages. I swear there is a park on every corner, and since we’ve moved to Bellevue, none of them have disappointed!

The park I’ve frequented the most this summer (aside from the one right outside my apartment) is Lake Sammamish State Park. It’s one of those parks that has just about anything you’d want. I spend most of my time on the beach that overlooks Lake Sammamish, getting my tan on and watching water skiers and boaters go by. They also have hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and sports fields – not to mention tons of great lakeside views!

My only warning to visitors is that parking can be a bit expensive – $10 for a day pass. However, if you live in WA, or plan to spend your visit in several state parks, it’s worth it to spend the $30 for an annual Discover Pass. Mine has more than paid for itself, that’s for sure! So if you’re in the Issaquah area, and looking for a great place to spend an afternoon, definitely check out Lake Sammamish State Park!

*NEWS!* Today is a Washington State Parks Free Day! Parking today is FREE, and you don’t need a Discover Pass to visit any of the Washington State Parks – so now’s your chance to check out this great park!! PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park

PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park

PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park

PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park

PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park