Enchanted

Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is a vast expanse of wilderness in central and northern Washington. Headlining the region is, as you can guess, Mt Baker- a 10,000 foot glaciated volcanic peak.

We’d been up there last time we were in Seattle, and were itching to return. With a few days off, we loaded our gear and our Charley into Archie and rode I-5 northbound toward Bellingham, cutting northeast and into the Cascade range. We found a dispersed camp site near Artist Point, a jump off for several day hikes around Baker and the surrounding forest.

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Seattle, the sequel

Over a month has passed since our last post. That’s a lot to cover. So to avoid rambling, we’re covering the essentials. The meat and potatoes, if you will. The main events and experiences. Only the most important aspects of our first 5 weeks here. Not a lot of fluff.

Already rambling.

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Mountains, oceans & trees

May 29. Waking up after an excellent night’s sleep, it was time to move on. We slept til 7, prepared oatmeal, loaded with peanut butter, mixed berries, granola and honey, 2 mugs of coffee.

“Where should we go?”

“Head toward the coast and up?”

“Sure”

Be skated westbound from Yosemite and the Stanislaus Forest. Route 1, riding the coast northward, would be our initial destination. I figured we could pop the roof tent on any of the number of pulloffs along the highway overlooking the Pacific. Two slowly realized issues to this thought: 1- it’s not legal, and 2- its very very windy in those spots, anyway.

We began to (slightly) regret our decision to take Route 1, instead of the inland US 101- very beautiful in its own rite. Every mile we continued along the coast got us farther from any possibility to get back to 101. Every campground sign along the coastal byway: FULL. Every inn along the coastal byway: NO VACANCY. Memorial Day weekend, probably the worst time to be improvising a road trip with no reservations for lodging or campsites.

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That’s a wrap!

December 31 2020 -January 11 2021

To ring in the new year, Jamie and I worked three consecutive shifts again. Hopeful that COVID would magically disappear with the end of 2020, we were left disappointed, as case numbers continued to rise while bed numbers shrank. A dull hum of baseline stress seeped into the entirety of each day at work, as it seemed inevitable things would unravel more. 

Selfishly, we could not wait for our two week break from work at the end of our contract. I think we both started to feel burnt out, and I had to keep reminding myself that what we were seeing on a daily basis was not normal, because we were getting so used to it.

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Goodnight, 2020.

December 17-30, 2020

“Hi, Bijan, I’m calling from the staffing office. You and Jamie will be floating to the covid floor today.”

It’s the phrase we heard over the phone at 6AM for the next three days as we returned to our work after some time off. By the end of day three my poor nose felt like it was going to fall off from the N95 respirator glued to my face for 12 hours each day. The saving grace was that Jamie and I were going through it together (being sent to the same floor each day), helping each other out when the other was overwhelmed with their group of patients.

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Stay at home, but get outside.

December 3-16

It’s been about 2 weeks since our last post. Let’s catch up.

We returned from our epic Big Sur tour and worked 6 of the next 8 days, making up for the eight days we had off for our trip. The in-between days off were spent hanging with friends and checking out other areas of SB we hadn’t been acquainted with yet. At the same time, Governor Newsom sliced up the state into 5 regions for Covid management purposes, and SB was lumped in with its big brothers LA and San Diego in “Southern California.” So on December 6th, SB and the rest of SoCal were placed on a stay-at-home order, and we had to say “see you later” to our favorite wineries, breweries, and restaurants for at least three weeks.

There are worse conditions in which to spend time under shutdown mandates, though, and we rolled with it.

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Central Coastin’

November 25 – December 2

For Thanksgiving, Bijan and I had requested 8 days off from work, in the chance that we would be able to fly home for the holidays. Unfortunately, flying home was not in the cards this year, so we decided to use the time to travel up and down the California coast instead.

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Local Expeditions

November 9 – 16

Before Bijan and I went to San Diego, I was still wearing shorts everyday and enjoyed temps in the 70s. It felt like when we returned from our trip, the weather had changed to fall. We needed jackets in the morning and at night, and we started driving to work because it was too cold for us to enjoy biking. Now we understand when Californians say it’s a different kind of cold. We found ourselves talking about how cold it was when it was 55 degrees even though we are used to temps below freezing in New England. Maybe it’s because we are expecting it to be warm, that it effects us differently!

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Sequoias & Sierras

October 20 – 30

Now working full-time again, Bijan and I’s free time to adventure has been cut down to 4 days per week. We are not going to lie and say that work is a piece of cake, because it’s not. It’s hard and stressful most days. We can get through it, though, and justify the stress that it gives us by taking full advantage of the days that we have off.

Whether its a day trip to somewhere that is close to Santa Barbara or a few-days getaway, we always make sure we have something to look forward to. The first month or so of a new travel assignment is always a difficult adjustment, but it does get easier towards the end!

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Finally, SB.

Our first glimpse of the Pacific came when we hit Pismo Beach on Saturday (Oct. 3) afternoon, a little over an hour’s drive north of Santa Barbara on US 101. The drive to get there from Yosemite took us along numerous state highways as we zigged and zagged our way through farmland lined with endless almond and pistachio trees. The air had a heavy haze and the thermometer was flirting with 100F. My only concern was our little Crosstrek; poor girl had been huffing and puffing over 5500 miles as she carried us and our worldly belongings to Santa Barbara. Easy does it with the gas, Bij. Climb the hills slow, steady, I told myself.

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