For the summer solstice this year, my partner and I spent a day in the central cascades, camping off of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. My partner’s camped there for years – it’s his River. Right now, the road out is one of the nastiest in the area, riddled with potholes – but the Forest Service is planning to pave it, opening up access to more people. I’m excited that more people will be able to get in there and explore…but we also lament its future overrun state, and that we won’t have it ‘to ourselves’ anymore (not that it’s not already busy!). Over the past few years, we’ve noticed more and more use of the area. The undiscovered has been discovered.
After four years of living in the Seattle area, I finally made it to Mount Rainier this weekend. We were in time for the tail end of the wildflowers, enjoying aster, indian paintbrush, lupine, and others. Enjoy this photo tour of late summer at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.
In early summer, the river surges from snowmelt, then lessens as the melt tapers off later in summer. Within the river, the flow crescendos from deceptively smooth but swift sections to cacophonous cascades of whitewater. I tried to match the varied tempos of the river with this playlist.
Listen to the playlist on Spotify for free (requires registration): The River in Summer
Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, making big plans less feasible. Instead of going on a trip, I’m planning on having a picnic in the park using local, seasonal ingredients. Here’s my (vegetarian) Fourth of July menu for a fun afternoon in the park, including a main and options for salads, drinks, and dessert. Continue reading
Go somewhere outdoors by yourself, preferably where you won’t see many people. Find a nice place to sit and spend half an hour there studying your surroundings. No music, no talking, no smart phones, just take in the scene. (Of course, be safe and let someone know where you’re going.)
Engage your other senses
- Eat a different type of local fruit at each meal and create a piece of art inspired by their smell, feel, or taste.
- Borrow a CD you’ve never heard and create a quick piece of art while listening to the entire album.
Push your limits
Try a new outdoor activity that stretches your comfort zone:
- Don’t like heights? Try tandem paragliding (I survived, so will you ;D). Tamer alternative: take a bouldering class.
- Not sure about the water? Give white-water rafting a try (or maybe wait until August when the flow’s lower). Tamer alternative: paddle surfing.
- Always lost? Take an orienteering class, or participate in a meet, to hone your navigation skills. There are also permanent courses set up; download maps online beforehand. (Seattle area permanent orienteering courses)
- Inspired by The Hunger Games or Brave? Try archery.
Read a book in a different genre or style from your status quo. Some PNW book suggestions I’ve enjoyed…
- Curious about graphic novels? Try the historical fiction graphic novel Northwest Passage, by Scott Chantler, or the beautiful fantasy/horror graphic novel Black Hole, by Charles Burns, about Seattle teens facing a strange STD in the 1970s.
- Strictly non-fiction? Try a sci-fi novel heavily influenced by biology, Survival: Species Imperative #1, by Julie Czerneda.
- Take a break from novels, try a travelogue! Try The Measure of a Mountain by Bruce Barcott.
At the 2012 Aspen Environment Forum in June, Kevin Trenberth said: “The problem: we’re continually changing the climate so there’s no new normal. How do you plan for that?” Envision the future of the Northwest in light of climate change and continued human development.
Over to You
What inspires you during the summer?