Three miles out, one mile up

Hank is in town! My little (but yet big) brother is on the west coast visiting for a few days. On Saturday, his first full day in the city, we had brunch, and then went kayaking out on
Lake Union. It was still cloudy that morning, but it was still warm enough that both of us were perfectly happy out on the water splashing each other every now and then. We made a full lap around, and I showed him some of my favorite houseboats, before we paddled all the way back to Agua Verde. It was time to get ready for the night’s festivities: CountryFest at CenturyLink. 

We got into the stadium at 4:45pm, and immediately started walking around. Exactly at 5pm, Old Dominion opened up the show with their newest song “Snapback”. We stood in the lower bowl and jammed along for their entire set. When Old Dominion finished up, we walked all the way up to section 319 where our seats were and sat down, eagerly waiting for the next act: Sam Hunt. He was so awesome. I’d see him last summer and he was just as good the second time around.

I danced and sang along to every song and soon, it was time for Miranda Lambert to get on stage. Again, she was awesome and really kept the whole crowd engaged over her hour long set. The sun was setting slowly to our left as Chesney came on stage.

He crushed it.

I’d seen him at Gillette the summer before, and this time around, I knew what to expect. He is such an entertainer, and you can tell that he absolutely loves being on stage. Right around 11pm, the concert wrapped up and it was time to head home. We had already decided that we were going to go hiking the next day, so we went to sleep ready to wake up and sweat.

On Sunday morning we woke up, went and had breakfast, and then started driving east towards the Cascades and Bandera Mountain, our hiking destination for that day. We were treated to amazing views from the getgo, because we we drove across the bridge from Seattle to Mercer Island, we could clearly see Mount Rainier to our right. About an hour later we arrived at our destination, parked and started walking up. We had scoped out the hike ahead of time, so we had an idea of what we were getting ourselves into, and how long we could expect to be hiking for.

The start of it wasn’t that bad, we were walking uphill, but it was similar to Mount Beacon at home, so we weren’t struggling too hard. About 2.7 miles in is where we hit a rock wall, literally. We walked around a switchback and then had to look up to see the trail. We were basically going to be climbing straight up for the remaining half mile to the top of the mountain. This was one of the toughest hikes I’d ever been on. I’ve never hiked on a terrain like this, and the constant navigation around the rocks and high stepping made for a very difficult hike. We got pretty close and knew that we didn’t have too much left to go, so we hunkered down and finished strong. It was so worth it. Rainier was so clear and beautiful to the south, and you could even see Mount Adams peaking up to the east of Rainier over the low Cascades. I’d never seen the mountain that clearly and it was absolutely breathtaking. Soon enough it was time to hike back down, which was a little bit more frightening than going up because the drop down was pretty steep, and also really long with a lot of rocks. We made it though, and soon began our 2.5+ mile descent back to the car. At one point we were so tired of walking downhill that we savored any slight incline that we would walk across. After 6.63 miles we were back at the car and so ready to drive home.

We were both pretty dehydrated too, having underestimated how warm it was going to be on the hike, so we looked up a grocery store and pulled into Trader Joe’s to stock up on food. I did need to go grocery shopping so this was a good stop because I was able to stock up on all kinds of food for next few weeks. After we got back home and put away the groceries, we changed, packed some snacks, and drove to the beach in Ballard. Golden Gardens was pretty packed with people, but it was also so nice to be out on a beach and laying there tanning. We at our snacks, I read my new book “Boys in the Boat”, and every now and then we would get up and walk to the water to dip our feet in. The water was really cold so I didn’t actually dive in completely, but Hank did and he felt a lot better afterwards.

Eventually we were hungry enough for dinner so we went back home, I cooked up some chicken and put it over a bed of kale, arugula, and tomatoes, and we walked down to the lake to enjoy dinner. We thought about the day we had just had, and about the things we were still going to be able to do over the upcoming week. It was so nice to be able to just sit by the water and relax while eating a good meal.

It’s going to be a good week hanging out with my brother, and I’m excited for the adventures we’re going to have.

Who knows, maybe I’ll lose my tank top tan line by the time he heads back home.






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