alpine lake adventures.

Colchuck Lake, The Enchantments
Wenatchee National Forest

The mountain has left me feeling renewed, more content and positive than I’ve been for weeks, as if something has been given back after a long absence, as if my eyes have opened once again. For this time at least, I’ve let myself be rooted in the unshakable sanity of the senses, spared my mind the burden of too much thinking, turned myself outward to experience the world and inward to savor the pleasures it has given me.
Richard Nelson

The Bitzers

We are six months into 2020, and I think we can all agree it’s been quite the year. Not only are we all fighting a global viral pandemic, there’s a fight against racial injustices, gender inequality, and police brutality happening all at the same time.

With everything going on, I couldn’t find a way to shut up off my mind. My phone was alerting me that I’ve been on it for far more hours than usual. Our conversations at home seemed to revolve solely around what was happening in the world. I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more in the last couple months than I have in my life. I’ve definitely experienced hate and racism, but learning about the violent injustices towards our black community has been devastating and heartbreaking.

On top of this, Michael lost his dad, my father-in-law, from his fight against kidney cancer. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for this type of situation. Nick is truly one of the good ones and to lose him like this, makes life seem so unfair. I wish we could have had him be Pappy to our kids one day, but I know he will be there with them in spirit. Several months ago, Michael wrote something that we never posted. So I want to share it here.

My dad is the epitome of the protector of our family. He showed me what it meant to be strong and that family always comes first. When he started dating my mom (who already had two kids: me and my sister), he wasn’t that much older than I am now. I have so much respect and appreciation for him taking on that responsibility and stepping in as our father figure without any hesitation. If my life continued with my biological dad in it, it would be completely different in the worst way possible.

I wish I didn’t struggle with knowing how or when to express my feelings of gratitude and love for him as a son because I do. Without a doubt, he has helped me become the man that I am today.

It’s hard to grasp how life is going to be without him. There’s such a fear of the unknown for me. 

Miss you and love you, Nick.

 

We realized we both deeply needed some self care. We don’t know a better way other than going outdoors and having no phone service.

A lot of campsites and outdoor areas are still closed, but when we found out this hike was actually open, we had to do it. It’s been on our list ever since we moved here and oh my GOSH is was incredible. All-in-all, we hiked over eleven miles, and it really kicked our butts. Our legs were killing us towards the end of the hike. But this view… is therapeutic. Alpine lakes are magical and so worth the hike up to them.

We still cannot get over how stunningly beautiful this hike was!!

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The trail splits off here to Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lake.
All smiles here because… how can you not?!!? This view is incredible!
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Those turquoise-y blues are so dreamy. 💙 After a tough hike, we had to take off those hiking shoes to let our feet breathe. It felt so good to sit back against a big rock and relax.
The Bitzers
Our hiking snacks this time!
The Bitzers
Spotted a backpacker taking a snooze. He looks like a watermelon slice with those colors hahah

After enjoying the view from a higher spot, we wanted to continue along the trail to see if we could find a spot down closer to the water.

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We ran into a mountain goat along the way!! This goat was so chill and could not care less that we were there. We kept our distance though, just in case.

 

And we found a spot closer to the water!!

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Michael is pointing at a skiier coming down that pass between the mountains. It’s crazy!!
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Happy as can be.
One of these days, we plan to come back here to camp out a few days. (If we actually win permits in the lottery!)

 

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Our walking stats after the hike. 😅

 

After hiking, we found this lovely dispersed camping site near a lake. It rained all morning and night. I love our conversations together when it’s just the two of us like this. Life together has been a dream and I am just so excited for what’s to come.

The Bitzers

Sending a lot of love out to you all.

Times are extremely wild and sensitive right now, so I hope you can take some time to find some mental peace and joy.

 

dog mountain sunset hike.

*With Oregon now having a stay-at-home order, what better time than to be a little nostalgic for one of the more rewarding hikes we’ve done.

Dog Mountain trail. 7 miles. 2824 feet elevation gain. Kicked our butts.

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In spring of 2017, Michael and I were visiting Portland because he was visiting his new workplace and I was interviewing at OHSU. We talked to a stranger about local recommendations and they suggested this hike.

We didn’t read about.
We didn’t look it up.
We just… went and did it.

It ended up being one of the hardest hikes we’ve both ever been on. The elevation gain was so difficult. I’m almost thankful we didn’t know what to expect, because we wouln’t have done it otherwise. We even got cheers once we got to the top by the people that passed us because we told them we were struggling haha 😅.

In May last summer, we decided to do it again to see the sunset at the top and to hike down at night. We can definitely report that the hike is still very difficult! However, the sunset made it so. worth. it. It was like we were seeing a live painting because the color changes were unreal. And we finally saw all of the wildflowers!! 💛

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When we made it to the first clearing and saw this view!
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Michael waiting for me.
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It’s impossible to not stop a million times and take in this view… or to take a breather. 😅

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The last two at the top!! The two guys we met took this picture before they hiked back down. We got to enjoy this place with just us… and some double stuffed Oreos.

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Those bird sounds and wildflowers. 😍

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We can officially say that we were so freaking exhausted after this hike.

As much as I would love and wish to go outdoors on my days off, it’s not a time to be selfish. What better time than to work on house projects and do some spring cleaning!

Take care, everyone. 💛

Also, Feel

glass gardens by chihuly.

As much as we love disconnecting from everyday life to find ourselves adventuring in the outdoors, we also really enjoy simple dates within the city.

Through all of high school and early college, I was either painting or playing the piano. I love the arts and any chance we get to visit a museum, we gotta do it! In Seattle, there’s the Chihuly glass and garden exhibit that is… mind-blowing. All of the unique blown glass pieces are illuminated to show off the most vibrant colors. Your jaw will drop from how incredibly beautiful it is.

Take a peek below!

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This little room with the ceiling of glass pieces and the light coming through them was my favorite!!! There are benches in here so you can sit back and just get lost in the view.

Also, the Native American blanket wall (first photo) you get to see when you enter the exhibit is incredible.

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They almost look like enormous clam shells.
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He got close, but he didn’t touch!!

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Michael takes so many candid photos hahah
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Hello, space needle!

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Also, this is just us enjoying ourselves on a rooftop after our date. 💙

Whether the glass is half empty or half full, you have the power to fill it up. Matshona Dhliwayo

exploring outside portland.

Psst! We are going to let you in on a little secret of ours…

 

When we have friends or family visit us from out of town, we have probably taken almost all of them (if the weather behaved) to these easy-to-visit-but-absolutely-stunning sights along the Columbia River Gorge. I mean.. how could we not?! The drive is less than an hour away from Portland. Even after visiting several times, we still aren’t tired of these views.

Michael and I both grew up in Texas, so we used to joke around about how when we would see a small stream on a hike back then, we would be so excited. Nowadays, we are constantly blown away by the mountains, the waterfalls, the rivers, the trees and everything else we get to see in the pacific northwest.

Here’s our little tour. 😊

 

Latourell Falls

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We loveeeee how moody the pnw can be. Look at all of the beautiful fog hugging the trees.
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This waterfall is gorgeous with the columnar basalt rock formations behind. It is amazing.
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It’s a big plus when you get to stand behind the falls!
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Latourell from afar.

 

Columbia River Gorge

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The drive along the gorge that separates Washington state and Oregon is breathtaking.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

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Michael climbed that big ol’ rock to get a close up view of these falls!

 

Multnomah Falls

If you visit Portland and don’t visit these falls, did you even come visit?!

Yes – it gets crowded. Probably the busiest tourist spot in Oregon, but worth a visit. She’s just so picturesque.

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Rowena Crest Viewpoint

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Driving further east along the gorge, you can stop aside to see this winding road!

 

Hood River, Oregon

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You have to stop in Hood River, Oregon for mountain views, local beer or wine, and delicious food. It’s a must! Also… if you see salmon on the menu, order it. 

 

I’ve posted this quote before, but it’s a personal favorite. 💙

Here in the corner attic of America, two hours’ drive from a rain forest, a desert, a foreign country, an empty island, a hidden fjord, a raging river, a glacier, and a volcano is a place where the inhabitants sense they can do no better, nor do they want to. Timothy Egan

winter in leavenworth, wa.

What a weekend!

This winter wonderland, Bavarian-style mountain town in Washington state is absolutely a dream and if it’s not on your places-to-visit list yet, it should be. It is unlike any other town we’ve ever visited up here in the pacific northwest.

Michael wanted to snowboard for his birthday and when we found out this adorable village up in Washington was pretty close to a ski resort, it was a no-brainer. Our good friend, Ashley, wanted to learn to snowboard while I learned to ski, so she came along with us too!

 

Leavenworth, WA
Bavarian Village of Lights

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How can this even be a real place?! It is so beautiful in every direction you go.

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So many lights covering all the trees in the town’s central park area.
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We came into town at night, so when we visited during the day, we finally saw the cascades surrounding it! So incredible to see.
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As if the town couldn’t get more adorable, there were even horse drawn carriages!

  Continue reading “winter in leavenworth, wa.”

pnw captured in macro.

cold wrinkly finger tips & water droplets on pine needles.

We haven’t picked up our camera in a good while… but looking back at some of our somewhat-macro shots go us excited to shoot again. We are going on a trip this weekend for Michael’s birthday, and I think we are gonna finally dust off the little guy and take some photos again!

In the meantime, here’s a few of our favorites we’ve taken on some of our adventures. 🌿

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Snuck up to this little bee!
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Getting close up and personal with pine trees because look how beautiful it is!
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Moody tulip season.
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Pretty droplets.
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SO sorry for the terrible quality on this one because it was compressed… and I’m a little too lazy to sift through alllll of the old photos for the original.
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A field of daisies where we saw a view of Mount Saint Helens.
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The fall colors here in the Pacific Northwest are stunning. I’ve never seen colors like this before. And when it rains, we love seeing the water droplets on everything.

All taken with the good ol’ nifty fifty f/1.8 Canon lens.

I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure. To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
Elliott Erwitt

backpacking at mt. rainier.

When we found out Michael’s old friend, Jonathan, from college was doing a huge cross country road trip with his girlfriend, Laura, and they were going to be in the pacific northwest, we had to take a few days to go adventuring with them!

We decided to meet up with them at Mount Rainier National Park and because we didn’t have service, we had to pre-plan our meeting site and approximate time. We chose the Paradise area around Reflection Lake.

Continue reading “backpacking at mt. rainier.”

fire lookout views.

Park Butte Lookout, Mount Baker National Forest 

7.5 miles RT.
2200 ft elevation gain.
Unobstructed panoramic views.

This was our first fire lookout!

This place is also first come first serve for overnight stays. We thought it would already be taken, but when we arrived, nobody was staying there!! 😭 We wish we had our backpacks with us. Next time we visit a fire lookout, we plan to bring a small backpack of necessities just in case we can stay!

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Love love love windows.

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Took some snapshots inside the fire lookout. So many filled guest books, old maps, and drawings from people who have been there before.

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About half-way through the hike, there’s a spot where you can get some really neat reflection shots.

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On our way home.

 

Although I deeply love oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty.
Victoria Erikson

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