Two Wonderful Day-Hikes

August 26th, 2015

Spray Park Big Waterfall I love it when my guests go up to The Mountain, or out to an island on one of our ferries.  The Pacific Northwest is so blessed with natural beauty.Spray Park Little Waterfalls

This summer has been spectacular, and I wanted to share a couple of glorious hikes I did.  The first was on the northwest flank of  The Mountain – Mt Rainier – to Spray Park.

It’s just a 2-hour drive to the trailhead at Mowich Lake – then about 4 miles of hiking along a pleasant forest trail.  Even in this dry year, moisture weeps in shady spots.Spray Park Flowers in FG

Then you suddenly break out into the park. “Parks” on the mountain are wide-open spaces just below treeline where glaciers have recently retreated.  There, the lupines, Indian paint brush, and several other wildflowers whose names I don’t know, greet you with their short-lived frivolity.

On another day, I went a bit farther, up north to Cascade Pass off Highway 20.  These mountains are even more rugged – sharp peaks, steep slopes, glacial cirques everywhere.

Cascade Pass 1

A friend and I drove up to Marblemount on the Skagit River and stayed in a rustic cabin the night before, expecting a tough hike up to the pass.  I’m sitting on the pass there,  with Sahale Arm in the background.

But that part was actually pretty easy.  If we’d gone up to Sahale Arm, that would have been really strenuous.  Annie at Cascade PassAs it was, we did the steep switchbacks at the beginning, but then at 3:00 we figured we should turn around so as not to get caught by the now-shorter August days.

Thanks for sharing these two wonderful mountain experiences with me.

 

 

 

A quiet summer morning at Soundview

June 29th, 2015

A quiet morning at SoundviewThis setting is so quiet and serene – and cool, due to the tall trees and the proximity to the water.  There’s usually a little breeze off the Sound.  My guests from Texas and Florida are amazed at how comfortable our summers are in the Northwest.

This is part of the view from the cottage’s private deck.  Most of the water view is in the other direction. The house you see is where I live, about 40 feet away (the cottage is BEHIND the camera).  The hot tub is nestled on the deck.

I’ve considered solar heating panels on my roof, but the trees shade the roof, so there’s not enough steady sunlight to make that practical.  Instead, last year I changed the heating/cooling system in the cottage to a ductless heat pump system (with AC) and replaced the old hot tub with a new, more efficient one.  My energy use is down 40%!!!  And the eagle family who owns the nest high in that middle tree are still happy.

 

My Recent Trip to the Other Side of the World

May 28th, 2015

springtime

 

 

Maybe it’s because I was gone most of April. But I have NEVER seen such an outrageous spring as this year in the Northwest!

 

 

outdoor Buddha

Few Western travelers have visited Bhutan or Myanmar (formerly Burma).  I usually choose the road less traveled.  In April, 2015, I was fortunate to visit both.  My friend Karla took good care of the cottage guests while I was gone.

It was hard to winnow down my snapshots to this number.   If you want to see the full-size, full-frame version, double click on a picture.   I hope you enjoy them!

Both countries are devoutly Buddhist – they believe in reincarnation and human kindness.  Bhutan has a proud and colorful history, full of legendary heroes flying in from Tibet on the backs of female tigers who later become their consorts.  The government is a progressive, benevolent monarchy, respected by the people.  They also respect religion, their unique history, their family, and the community.  This first batch of photos is from Bhutan.

 

Myanmar has a sad history of invasion and occupation – most recently by their own military – but I’m impressed by the resilience and fortitude of the people there.

 

New, energy-saving hot tub!

November 30th, 2014

In October, 2014, I replIMG_2381aced the ancient hot tub with an energy-efficient one.

Just right for a friendly couple, the new Birch Bay tub has the same spectacular view and the same privacy as the old one.

Cottage guests are the only people who use it.WP_20141127_15_27_01_Pro

Folks enjoy watching eagles cruise through the treetops and hummingbirds zip around within reach.

I keep the hot tub ready any time of year.

 

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More improvements to the cottage

September 15th, 2014

IMG_2248 Cottage guests will now enjoy greater comfort, and I will enjoy using less energy, with the new Daikin multi-split ductless heat pump system I’ve just installed.  The two “heads,” one in the living room and one in the bedroom, quietly produce either warmth or coolness, depending on which you need.   Our Seattle summer has been gloriously warm, but the cottage stayed cool, thanks to the new systemIMG_2249.

With autumn coming soon, I’m really looking forward to lower electric bills and a smaller energy footprint!

A Sweet Reward

January 29th, 2014

I just wanted to share the note my last guests left on the dining table.  It really made my day.

Annie, thank you so much for providing this little slice of heaven! We thoroughly appreciated the lovely extras – from the flowers, to the fruit basket, to the well-stocked fridge and pantry.  And don’t even get me started on that BED – amazing!! The hot tub was so relaxing, and the view outstanding.

You are a gracious hostess, thank you! Soundview will be our “Seattle Place” from here on.

Andrea and Chris, Vancouver, BC

Improvements to the Cottage

December 13th, 2013

I took advantage of the slow season and added a convenience to the cottage. There is now a laundry closet off the kitchen so guests can wash their clothes when they need to. Except the cottage hasn’t really slowed down yet for the winter – my wonderful Homer has had to squeeze in his work between guests. He’s pounding away today in the rain so he’ll be finished before the new folks come tomorrow afternoon.
We also built in a small bookshelf and expanded the clothes closet.
The other news here is the charming new sleeper sofa from Calico Corners. I had it custom-made because I really loved this fabric! It’s kind of a nautical stripe featuring rust and aqua – so I just HAD to get new table linens and kitchen towels to go with it. Fun.

The sofa is so comfortable to sit on, and it will actually sleep two people instead of one, like the old one did.

Today was a beautiful chilly clear day.  You could see Mt. Rainier from the cottage.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

September 18th, 2013


The Chihuly Garden and Glass in the Seattle Center is a beautiful attraction for people visiting the city. These pictures do not do justice for all the wonderful pieces of glass artwork on display at the garden. There are small, intricate and detailed pieces of glass as well as large and almost overwhelming pieces.
It is a great activity for an afternoon, but if you are in Seattle for the day, the Seattle Center is full of other activities. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is located directly beneath the Space Needle, within walking distance of the EMP (Experience Music Project) building. The Pacific Science Center is also within the Seattle Center. However, if you only have time to visit one place, the garden is a beautiful experience and well worth the price of admission.
As you can see from the pictures, they have blended the glass work of Dale Chihuly with a lovely outdoor garden.  A glasshouse also displays a large selection of Chihuly glass.

Another Chihuly exhibit is located in Tacoma, WA.  However, it is nice to have one in Seattle as well. If you have not yet experienced Chihuly Garden and Glass, it is well worth your time.

September’s here…

September 2nd, 2013

…bringing the prettiest sunsets to Soundview.  People who’ve stayed here will recognize this view from the deck.  Usually things start slowing down about now, but not this year. The cottage is booked solid through October!  But I’m offering the low-season special anyway – 20% off for stays between November 1 and May 15 – because I enjoy my guests.

I’ve been up on The Mountain recently.  The last post was a hike to Spray Park on the northwestern flank, and a couple of weeks ago I hiked with a friend out of Sunrise.  The Sunrise road goes up to 6400 ft., the highest road in the Park, and it will close soon for the winter.  This was a beautiful view looking south across the terminus of the Emmons glacier.

And, looking far to the southeast, the Tatoosh Range pokes its pointy peaks into the sky.

Another fun recent Northwest happening for me was an informal fundraiser concert in a Bremerton backyard – for the local symphony.  Yummy BarBQ, amazing music performed live in a clearing in the woods, pleasant people supporting the arts – what more could one want?

Well, I guess if you really take that question seriously, you could answer world peace; freedom from hunger, disease, want and fear for everyone; a loving home for every child; and a true democracy for our country – washed clean from the corrupting influence of money in politics.

A glorious day on Mt. Rainier

August 3rd, 2013

We’ve had a spectacular summer, and last Friday I took an 8-mile round-trip hike into Spray Park on the Northwestern flank of Mt. Rainier.  It’s been warm, so a lot of the snow has melted, but there were still some patches left.  Water was gushing everywhere, and Spray Falls was brim-full.  What a day!