February 8th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a year ago today that I made my second trip to Europe with my two oldest girls, leaving Kansas City on a Saturday morning to go to Dublin, Ireland. I know my first trip over really was a complete assault on the senses – foreign country, different foods, languages, using public transit, plus experiencing how life is for others with which we share the planet. I remember pulling into Amsterdam Centraal that first trip in 2018, seeing all the trains and tracks everywhere, thinking “Oh shit…what have we gotten ourselves into…”.

Even though I had been there before, this trip was still a life-changing experience for me in several different ways. Seeing the castle where our family started out was incredible and getting to see it with Chelsea and Angie on their first trip was such a cool thing (you’re next, Meghan!). Of course there was all of the great food we ate, the things we saw and did, people we talked to…much like the first time all over again.

I was in a weird headspace for many reasons. I hated the prospect of having to leave. There was also an accumulation of the previous five years of loss and the other BS life put on my doorstep in a flaming paper bag. In Amsterdam we took time on our last day there to go different ways and explore. I was lost in thought just getting lost in the city. I got myself into a much better headspace before my adventure and everything in life was calm & peaceful as I wandered around, looking at some familiar places and finding other places I had never seen before. It really helped me in ways I cannot describe, and it was badly needed.

Right now it would be nice to have the opportunity to do that again, venturing out into unknown areas of a city that is nearly half of a world away. No map of any sort…just walking; no matter where you go that’s where you are. Everything is new in every way and you just kinda say “WOW” inside. I would even settle for someplace domestic; how nice it would be just to be able to wander around Seattle on foot like I used to do on occasion.

A steamed BBQ pork hombow from the Chinese bakery at Pike Place Market would be delicious right about now, as would breakfast at Biscuit Bitch and a burger, cheese curds and a pint at the Five Point or a pizza from Serious Pie. There are so many places to wander around checking out and so many things I have not made note of yet. I do still update my bucket list for things and places of interest, and there are more places in Seattle on that list I have not been to but want to check out when it is safer for my health to do so.

I always keep an eye out for interesting places everywhere and I put them into both my bucket list and Apple Maps so I can have directions ready to go if I end up someplace on a whim (which does happen often). I still have plenty of things to see and do in Amsterdam yet, and both Ireland and Iceland are islands of so many things to see and do. Beyond that there is still a lot more of the world I want to experience.

I will be looking into some domestic road trip options as well, adding more to that section of the bucket list. When things calm down I will be traveling locally more so I should do something unique, like visiting all of the state parks in Washington. I have been to almost all of the National Parks in the state so there are a couple of those left I want to visit; not because they are on a list, but because I want to visit them.

I will hopefully be going to MT soon to get my stuff, but want/need to get my vaccines first. I don’t want to miss out on getting it in fear of not being able to get it if I do miss out the first time because I am gone. The weather, being another factor, has not been bad there, but I don’t need to take a chance with that either since I would be towing a cargo trailer back.

The past year has been tough for everyone but in hindsight getting to go to Europe was a big help to get me through the year. We have talked about it often and relived our experiences both separately and with each other numerous times ever since we returned. I hope at some point in the next year we can all go together.

That’s all for today.

Another New Adventure

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

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The View From the Warming Hut on top of Puffer Butte – Fields Spring State Park

After a few months job hunting after my summer in the San Juans, I got another position with Washington State Parks. For this particular job I have landed in the SE corner of Washington at Fields Spring State Park. It is a seasonal position that ends at the end of March.

In the summer the park has camping and hiking, and in the winter it becomes a snow park with lodge rentals, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding and tubing. It is a small park but actually has quite a bit to offer. The scenery actually reminds me of Colorado quite a bit, and it has snowed a lot since I have gotten here. There are some amazing views at the top of Puffer Butte and there is a really nice warming hut with a wood stove and a supply of firewood awaiting your arrival. There are also a couple of other warming huts scattered around the park that are supplied with firewood. Some of the trails have to be groomed and we do that with snowmobiles and a small groomer. This is my first experience riding a snowmobile and I have discovered why people like to snowmobile – to me it’s like an interesting cross between riding a motorcycle and off-roading in the forest. There are several miles of trails of varying degrees of difficulty that are groomed and some that are not groomed. Snowshoers can hike on trails they have all to themselves. For more info check out the State Park website for the park.

Fields Spring State Park

Early Morning – Fields Spring State Park

If you plan to visit you have to have passes/permits displayed on your vehicle or you can get cited. Both the Discover Pass and Sno-park passes are available at the park office. It can be a bit confusing so it is best to ask which you need if you are in doubt. You can call the park office or stop by and purchase the appropriate passes/permits before you enjoy the park. Please remember that the money collected helps maintain the park!

This is an area with interesting physical features that are quite diverse. I understand it gets hot here in the summer, and that’s hard to imagine seeing all the snow on the ground (to be clear, anything over 75 is getting warm for me and I have been told it was in the 90s and 100s last year…whew!). It is about a 40 minute drive from the Lewiston/Clarkston area. The park sits on top of a plateau at about 4,000 ft. above sea level. You can see part of Hell’s Canyon from the top as well as see into Oregon.

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The View From the Warming Hut on top of Puffer Butte – Fields Spring State Park

If you are wanting someplace different to visit I think this area is well worth a trip and seems to have plenty of recreation opportunities to offer with the river running through Lewiston/Clarkston, Forest Service land, and the State Parks (which there are several in the area). Parts of the area look like the Badlands in South Dakota, parts look like Colorado, and there is farmlands amidst all of this. I had no idea what it was like here beforehand (other than a few pictures on the internet) but I have been pleasantly surprised buy what I have seen and experienced so far!

That’s about all I have for now.