Sometimes the best way to get out of your own head is to get out of town. To get out of my own cluttered head, I took a bit of a hiatus from normal life and spent last weekend on the West Coast, sometimes known as the best coast. My friend Andrew, who I met while studying abroad to Madagascar during college, moved out to Seattle last winter and has been bragging about how great it is ever since, so our friend Brenna and I finally took a few days to visit and check it out. I had actually been to Seattle twice before, but it has been years and I was interested to see what I thought of it with a more mature head on my shoulders, especially because I am always secretly on the hunt for the perfect place for me. The result? I would love to move there… if only it was warmer. It’s so outdoorsy, hip, walkable and full of vegetarian-friendly deliciousness. The people seem friendly and the craft ginger beers flow freely. Unfortunately, despite being from the Snowbelt of Western New York, I was not made for cold weather.
I was in Washington State for three days, but only actually in Seattle for one of them. We did the tourist circuit – checked out Pike Place market, walked along the “beach” (which was very pebbly and lacking in sand but pretty nonetheless), got some coffee (I went for the most complicated order, a pour over, which took approximately 20 minutes to make to the chagrin of non-coffee drinking Andrew), sampled some local produce and vegan donuts, which seem to be everywhere out there (and are obviously delicious), and visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit (which was just stunning. What a brilliant creative mind! Check out his work if you are unfamiliar).
I would like to make a side note here and tell you that along the waterfront, Andrew told us an interesting story that screams Seattle to me. Very rock and roll and superbly weird. Along the bay, there is a hotel called the Edgewater. The appeal of staying there back in the day was that you could fish from your window. Supposedly (the jury’s still out on this being true or false), back in the 1960s, Led Zeppelin stayed at the hotel and either members of the band or their groupies were fishing for sharks. Rumor has it, they used one of the sharks to pleasure a groupie. Sick right?! The story also goes that Led Zeppelin was banned from the hotel for life for the incident.This story bears no relevance to my life or this blog beyond the fact that I thought it was bizarre and wanted to share it with you.
Anyway, back to the point. It was a lovely, overcast day in Seattle, but we moved on for the next two to Olympic National Park, where we did some pretty intense backpacking. It was MAJESTIC! And TIRING! And COLD! We had a great time. We did a circuit of about 13 miles over the two days, took some absolutely magical photos, ran into some deer and grouse, narrowly avoided being attacked by some vicious wild mountain goats (okay that is a lie, we never saw any goats, but there were warning signs!) and definitely caught up on our sleep because due to the ground being covered in ice next to our tents, we stayed in our sleeping bags until 11:00 am.
I would highly recommend you visit this park at some point. We’re so lucky as Americans to have so many diverse, gorgeous natural areas that are open to the public and this one really is a different world from what I am used to on the East Coast. It actually reminded me a bit of New Zealand, so I briefly contemplated what it was like to be Frodo as I huffed and puffed up a couple of steep mountains. Surprisingly, it kind of made my back feel awesome despite the issues I’ve had with back pain. My legs felt less awesome. Very sore actually. But sometimes, there’s nothing like hard exercise to get out some aggression over an uncommunicative ex-boyfriend who dumped you out of the blue.
I would love to say I was so active and distracted during this trip that I didn’t think about him at all. Unfortunately, that’s not true. I find myself in the breakup stage where it so consumes me that I need to talk about it with everyone and want everyone’s opinion on what happened and where I should go from here. I talked about it with Brenna and Andrew. I talked about it with Brenna’s friend Manuel who joined us for backpacking (and was such a pleasant addition to our group). I talked about it with Andrew’s coworker that we randomly ran into on the ferry back to Seattle who met her boyfriend through online dating. But I think distractions are sometimes all you can hope for when you’re going through a period of pain, and this trip definitely reminded me that there is a much bigger world out there (along with kind people who are willing to listen, even if they don’t know you). There is so much going on beyond what I am stuck thinking about in my own head. So many more things to see, people to meet and mountains to climb. I don’t think I will be fully okay and back to my old self for quite some time, but adventuring with friends (or family) is at the top of my list when it comes to things that help me feel better. And donuts don’t hurt either.