Washington State – with Toddler

Dan, Gabriel, Dan’s mother, and I spent eight days in Washington State. We arrived home Sunday night – which was only five days ago, but already feels like a lifetime. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster of a week so far. Our cat, Penelope, seems to have gotten out of the house Tuesday morning (possibly Monday night, but we think we saw her Tuesday morning, and there was a clear opportunity for her to leave on Tuesday), and we haven’t seen her since. I’ve posted to our community’s facebook group about it and posted a few posters around the neighborhood with a picture and my contact info. I’ve asked at the local vet that everyone around here seems to use, including us (they also posted a picture in their office for us), and I’ve visited and filed a lost pet report at the local shelter. No luck so far. It’s been at least three days since we saw her. She’s gotten out maybe 4 or 5 times in her 13 years and has always come back, but this isn’t looking good.

And then Wednesday morning, I got Clio out the door at 5:45am to go for a run (which had the double purpose of looking for Penelope – slow run!), and two blocks away she suddenly yelped and could no longer walk on her front right foot. Dan thought she’d been limping for a while, but this made it suddenly really bad. I took her to the vet; he thinks she has just a bad sprain and is on pain medication. It seems to be doing better – she can walk on it and some of her steps seem normal… but she won’t move much! Which is understandable… but I took her out at lunchtime yesterday to go pee in front of our house, and she just laid down on the ground! Not usual behavior.

Anyway. We had a lovely time in Washington (and our pets were well-cared for by my good friend who housesat). We spent the first several days near Wenatchee State Park and Lake Wenatchee, about 30 minutes north of Leavenworth, which is a cute, Bavarian-themed town. Dan’s cousin got married near there, which is why we were there.

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The day after the wedding, the wedding guests were invited to hang out at Tierra Retreat Center for the day, and Dan and I got a chance to do a 2-mile burner of a loop hike while Dan’s mother watched Gabriel (side note: traveling with family willing – and excited – to be temporary caretakers = very good idea). Very steep uphill and even steeper downhill.

After that, we drove to the Olympic Peninsula and stayed in a house on Lake Sutherland, just west of Port Angeles and east of Lake Crescent. We took a FERRY as part of our travel, and it was AMAZING.

We visited the Olympic National Park visitors center in Port Angeles on our first half day there and walked the nature trail there. Gabriel was able to walk most of it on his own!

On our first full day, we drove to the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center and did two hikes/walks. The first was the 1-mile ish Hall of Mosses trail that was a loop near the Visitor’s Center. For the second, we walked along the Hoh River Trail for about a mile, then walked back (in the pouring rain). That trail actually goes about 18 miles and has significant elevation gain if you do the whole thing. Gabriel mostly preferred to be carried in the hiking backpack that day, but did some walking on his own as well.

Instead of driving straight back to our house, we took a detour off Highway 101 near Forks and went to Rialto Beach on the Pacific. It was SUPER windy, and high tide. Gabriel (water baby) wanted to be near the water (that is, crashing waves), and I got soaked once by a particularly large wave right after scooping him up into my arms. We walked along the driftwood for a bit, then returned to our house.

On our second full day there, we went to the Hurricane Ridge area, outside Port Angeles. On the drive up Hurricane Ridge Road, Dan’s mother dropped Dan and me off (but kept Gabriel – have I mentioned that traveling with grandparents is definitely the way to go?!), and we hiked up Switchback Trail (~1.5 miles), past a trail intersection that went toward the Hurricane Ridge Lodge, to Klahhane Ridge. We walked along the Ridge for about 3/4 mile, then returned and hiked from the trail intersection to Hurricane Ridge Lodge where we reunited with Gabriel and Dan’s mom. The view from the top of Klahhane Ridge was amazing. It was a super clear day, and in one direction we could see the Strait of Juan de Fuca (with Mt. Baker rising in the distance!); Victoria, BC across the water; and the valley below us, including Port Angeles. In the other direction, we saw mountains for days, including Mt. Olympus. The hike was about 6 3/4 miles in total with decent elevation gain (especially the Switchback trail – oof).

On our last full day, we went first to Lake Crescent and hiked the 1-ish mile to Marymere Falls. Then we went to the Sol Duc area and hiked the similarly 1-ish mile to Sol Duc Falls and then took Gabriel into the hot springs. They weren’t that great. Sort of crowded and not that hot, especially the pool that kids were allowed in. But I wanted to do it, so we did. The hikes were nice, though! Gabriel did a fair amount himself, but also wanted to be carried a bit.

One of the evenings, we took Gabriel on his first kayak ride on Lake Sutherland using one of the kayaks the house provided! He loved it, and wanted to do all the paddling himself.

On our last partial day, we stopped at the Dungeness Spit for an hour or so and walked along the ‘spit’ (a narrow piece of land jutting out into the strait). We also stopped briefly in Bainbridge Island on our drive back to Seattle to see Dan’s uncle’s family and the town a bit. Then we ferried back to Seattle (!!!) and flew home early the next morning.

 

Smoky Chicken Salad

As evidenced by this post and this post, I am clearly, though begrudgingly, a fan of chicken salad. I also recently made a curried chicken salad from Week 6 of Cook Once, Eat All Week, which I didn’t document. (It was good, but maybe not as good as the curried chicken salad that my friend’s mom made for a post-Frederick-half-marathon picnic we had at Black Ankle Winery in May… yum.) I still think of it as a novelty and something that I don’t really like, but I should probably officially put it in the regular rotation, because I do like it. It’s versatile (Put it on lettuce! On bread! On other vegetables! Eat it fresh, eat it as leftovers, as a main, as a side, etc.) and delicious. And there are so many different ways to make it and flavors! I don’t have a favorite.

Most recently, I made the Smoky Chicken Salad from Diane Sanfilippo’s 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I have not done the 21 Day Sugar Detox, but I considered it once. I don’t know, my days of food elimination/reintroduction programs (or food programs in general) may be over. I learned a lot from my various Whole30s and the Fed&Fit project and other programs, but I’m not sure I have much more to learn, and now it just feels like unnecessary deprivation and a head game.

Anyway, the chicken salad! I was poking through the Daily Guide the other day to get some meal inspiration, and this chicken salad was the second day’s recommended lunch. It used Diane’s own recipe for a smoky spice blend, which used both smoky and sweet paprika, among other spices. Which was perfect, because my parents recently did a river cruise in Europe and brought me back both types of paprika. The spice blend also included chili powder, so it was a little spicy! We didn’t give any to Gabriel. He’s realized recently that more-than-very-mildly spicy food makes him cranky. The recipe also included other standards – mayo, red onion, and celery. No fruit.

And it was good! I tripled the recipe from the book (which was only for two servings), so we had it in the fridge for a few days. I ate some on homemade sourdough (yep, doing that again – I finally let my previous starter that I had for 8 years die, but I’ve started another), on lettuce, and by itself. Dan brought it on a sandwich to work several nights – and even praised it. I think he also thinks he doesn’t like chicken salad and is surprised when he finds he does.

 

In other food news, at the top I mentioned Cook Once, Eat All Week, which I’ve been really enjoying! Maybe I’ll do a post on it, but in the meantime, just know that it’s worth it, buy it. #notsponsored, duh, I’m not that cool. It takes the planning/thinking out of what to do for dinner most nights of the week, and I’ve been able to manage most of the prep during nap time on the weekends (was able to do even before I quit my job).

Did I mention, I quit my job?! I’m currently funemployed and going back to a full time job (still with the government, still in health policy,  but now in Baltimore instead of DC!) in November.

Cheers!