17 December, 2016

More Like Sea to Snow

Well to say that I’m a little overdue for an update would be like saying “going down the Green River Narrows is kinda tough” or “pancakes are okay I guess.”  For those of you who thought I was dead in a ditch somewhere between Wyoming and Washington, well first off follow me on Twitter and second: Nope.

In fact right now I’m living large!  Spending the weekend at my friend and coworker’s place in Leavenworth, Washington and enjoying watching piles of snow tumble off the boughs of evergreens alongside a flowing river.

You may be asking, “Ooh a river?!  And you’re in the Cascades right now?  AND I just googled Leavenworth and you’re like 30 minutes from two different ski resorts.  AND it’s the adorable Bavarian-themed town that looks like it’s out of a freaking storybook when it snows!!”  If you didn’t ask that just bear with me, it’s a hypothetical, and yes all of those things are true!  But that comes later.  First off, I live in Seattle now.

It’s been busy, needless to say.  On Saturday, July 30th I arrived in Washington, and then shortly after in Seattle since I was coming up from Portland to the south and not the eastern side.  I have a whole video yet to make with all of my trip footage so for now I’m going to focus on what’s been going in since I arrived until the video’s done.  That’ll be a separate post, so for now let’s go over the past 4 months real quick.

It took me 10 days to find a job.  Lucky doesn’t even begin to describe it but I’m now working in IT for a company that owns a bunch of restaurants in the area, plus they make a bunch of cheeses which is pretty much fantastic since, by proxy, I get to eat a lot of cheese now.  To be honest it’s not where I expected to end up but I’m happy to be there.  No part time scheduling worries, my first big-boy office job, and I get to stay busy with helping people out with their computer woes and worries.  Right up my alley since my Eagle Scout instincts kick in whenever someone has trouble logging in.

It took me 2 months to find an apartment.  Seattle’s housing market is downright vicious.  Any place I went to go see was usually rented out the next day, or within 2 or 3 if it was in a “less popular” area.  My renting experience in NC was one of taking your time and making sure you ended up with a place you liked.  This was more of a mad dash to snatch up any little morsels of space that happened to fall off the adults’ (read: Amazon developers’) table at dinner.  That being said I ended up in a place that I really adore.

You say claustrophobic, I say comfy!

It’s a tiny studio right at the southern base of Queen Anne hill, which is to say just a few blocks north of the Space Needle and pretty close to downtown.  I bike into work, I walk around the city when I need to run errands, I get to be active even when I’m just living life day to day.  Overall, I’m really enjoying it out here minus missing my friends back east.

But hey, I spent the weekend in Leavenworth which is an entirely different beast!  Just on the other side of the Cascades, between Stevens Pass to the north and Snoqualmie Pass to the south we have this down that is completely Bavarian themed from its architecture to its culture.  We chowed on bratwurst and enjoyed the Christmas tree lighting that came with the first snow of the season we came in for.

All my life I've wanted to grow up in a small German town.  Close enough.

My friend Ben’s family has a house there right on the bank of the hearty Wenatchee river, which after some research proves to be a nice kayaking destination!  Since it didn’t get above freezing all weekend I didn’t really, you know, get into the ­guts of the river but from what I’ve read it’s up to a 28 mile stretch with a good spread of Class II – III+ rapids with a low-head dam right in the middle to portage around.  Put it on the list!

We also went snowshoeing, which is the first time I had done that ever.  To be fair there probably wasn’t enough snow on the ground to really justify the snowshoes, only about 6 – 8 inches in most places, but there was a snowshoe trail so screw it, we used ‘em.  After a short trek in we veered off the trail and started going straight up the side of the mountain, made it to a secondary ridge and followed it up to the primary where we were greeted with wind, clouds and snow blowing in, and an absolutely breathtaking view of the town and the mountain range stretching out to the south.

The little mountain village sits, unassuming, being observed from the high mountain range.

Since the trail came up to the ridge in the first place we picked it back up and meandered our way back down the mountain.  Town was absolutely insane because of the tree lighting, which happens every Saturday night in December, so we grabbed some handmade bratwurst, a few jars of gourmet mustard, and a bomber of cider and went back to the house to grill and watch the Sounders win the MLS Championship in front of a roaring fire in the wood stove.  If you’re jealous of that setting you should be since it was fantastic.

So I’m digging it here so far, and I’ve managed to start keeping track of all the outdoor adventures I want to go on in the future.  There’s the Wonderland Trail, a 93 mile trek around the base of Mount Rainier, Rainier itself I’d love to summit after some mountaineering lessons, the 3 ski resorts nearby of which I’ve heard one is the best in the world (from a random dude but still), plus the countless rivers around with rapids galore.  I guess it’ll be pretty easy to stay busy once I start planning these trips out.

I know for a fact I’ll be getting my skis back on sometime this season, and of course I’ll be getting my roadtrip video(s) out in my next installment of Catching Up With Evan.  But for now the takeaway is that I’m out west, life is good, and it’s thick with adventure out here.  Derek, get your ass over here.

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