I am in love the with the cool summer breezes and the clear glacial waters and the green green green of trees that go on forever.
I love the moss and the mush and spongy earth and the little ponds that collect after the rains.
I love the fog that drifts through in the early mornings and creeps back to bed with you as the sun goes down.
I love that there are giant, hand-sized slugs.
I love the endless wet and the rivers that meanders through every step of the landscape.
I love that the trees are massive and the summers brief and the snows still thick in the heat of July.
I love the mountains that fill my memories with everything I have always imagined mountains should be.
I love everything about Mt. Rainier and the Northern Cascades.
The well manicured trail to the ice caves, one of the nicest in the Cascade Mountains, began at the base of this mountain. Once home to an elegant hotel, the meadow was now only inhabited by a lonely brick chimney. People have been coming here for over a century to make the short hike to the famous Big Four Ice Caves.
As you wander through the immense flush of evergreens and thick, swampy mosses, swatting at mosquitoes and sticky in the heat, you can’t help but disbelieve the possibility of snow just a mile away.
Each year, these massive piles of snow, built up by the almost endless Cascade winters, begin to whither away, spring devouring them from the inside out. Snowmelt from above seeps down, carving out frozen passageways that eventually open up to the crowd of curious onlookers.
This year, however, the snowfall had been so massive that the castles and domes of the Cascade snows hadn’t even begun to wilt.
So we chilled our beers, instead.
We stand and stare up 4,000-foot walls of sheer rock and watch as the powder of an avalanche poofs and shimmers. The sound of cracking ice hurdling down the cliffs catches everyone’s attention.
Because avalanches and cave-ins occur regularly when the ice caves begin to form, hikers are forbidden from hiking on the snow fields. Just last year, a young girl was killed when the ice shifted and collapsed, and tragedies happen regularly.
Carefully, we played in the snow, enjoyed a couple of beers and made our way back down the mountain.
We hit up Seattle and the surrounds for the 4th of July weekend, so in typical Pardo fashion, as soon as we checked in to our delightful international hotel — catering to Asian businessmen and tea-and-crumpets Brits — around noon, we made a B-line for the baseball and beer.
We stopped in at Seattle’s oldest saloon, Central Saloon, not to be confused with Seattle’s oldest restaurant and bar, Merchant’s Cafe, which just reopened from a short hiatus in 2010. Central Saloon has been open since 1892 but didn’t originally serve food; Merchant’s has always been a food establishment since opening day in 1890. Central was raucously quiet, with several patrons nursing hangovers with beer and eggs and various forms of gravy.
We then made our way, via Elysian Brewing Company, to Safeco Field for a Seattle Mariners game.
We elected to save some money and sit in the bleachers, which were crowded but arguably better seats than half of those in the ballpark.
We were right over the dugout and could hear the coaches discussing strategy. We always sit in the front row, no matter what the section, as I hate having to almost kick people in the head while fidgeting, like I do.
The view from our $20 bleacher seats:
I highly recommend sitting there if you hit up Safeco Field.
We went to go get a couple of beers, and I (Kat) saw this chic posing in shadow. It was too cool NOT to take a photo of it, even if that makes me slightly stalker-like. After the game, we meandered back to our hotel via Pyramid Brewing Company and an oyster bar, before getting dressed up and heading to a seafood place on the docks for a light, romantic dinner.
Definitely an advantage of the big city over a small Wyoming town: I don’t feel out of place wearing a 50′s swing dress and a hat with a birdcage veil.
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