Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter in Western Washington

Lena Lake in Olympic National Fores

Eating lunch at the Lena Lake Campground

Camping in "winter"
Most of the time I LOVE living in Western Washington. I love the mild winter weather. I love being able to camp and hike without snow. I love hiking in my sneakers in January. I love not having to scrape off my car every morning, not having to shovel my driveway, and not having to spread sand on my walkway just to make it to my car. I love living within walking distance of four grocery stores, a Mediterranean market, and a farmer's market. I love being able to ride public transportation (nearly) any time of the day or night and I love having the option of biking to school. I love the occasional 60 degree day in the middle of winter. There are, however, just a few things I detest about Seattle. The traffic, for one, would make anyone want to pull their hair out. I also dislike the excessively tall tress; I find them oppressive. The general greyness and rain don't bother me though; this place has nothing on Kodiak.

Our camping trip last weekend in Olympic National Forest was refreshing. It was great to be out of the city and wonderful to enjoy hiking and camping in mild weather. I have always found it kind of silly that most campgrounds in Western Washington are closed in winter (since there is no snow) but I suppose it saves a lot of money not to maintain them. We camped in a closed campground in which "dispersed" camping is allowed, the only real difference from summer being that the "facilities" are locked and you don't have to pay a ridiculous place for a flat spot to set your tent. Being a good Alaskan, I have a -20 down sleeping bag. I wanted to bring it this weekend because I have rarely used it since I moved here. It was a bit overkill, to say the least. My six-person tent may have also been a bit of an overkill, but I thoroughly enjoy being able to stand up inside of it. Ryan is not quite as sold as I am on the advantages of a big tent, but that's okay, he doesn't have to use it when he goes camping without me!

The first couple of photos are of our hike up to Lena Lake on Sunday where we saw a little snow and ice.

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