Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cool Summer in the Pacific Northwest

I love summertime in Seattle. The weather, which is awful for most of the year, gets very pleasant and sunny and it's never too hot. Usually by the end of July we're enjoying the warm, dry weather with the occasional cool breeze off of Puget Sound. But this year there haven't been more than a handful of days over 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius). Across the United States this month, nearly every state has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave. But not here. It rained the first few days I was home, which was disheartening, but there have been a few promising sunbreaks in the cloudy skies to give me hope that things may improve. 

One good thing about milder summer weather is that you can go hiking in the middle of the day without much difficulty. And that's exactly what I did with my Dad and brother this weekend. We drove out to a random trailhead off of the interstate and took the first marked path we saw. It was a more strenuous hike than we were expecting up to the peak of the hill, and the view was quite underwhelming (it was actually a power station) but we still had a good time. Hiking in the woods is something that reminds me of my childhood and the countless summers I spent either away at camp, sleeping in a tent or working on a volunteer trail maintenance crew. I love the smell of the pine trees, being able to identify plants (I used to remember more of them!) and the calm that comes from being outside of the congested city. The Northwest is one of the best places in the US to find trails and other outdoor activities right outside your doorstep. Although I've chosen to spend the last several years away from here (and have no plans to move back permanently) it does feel good to come back and appreciate this beautiful place. Best of all, I get to spend lots of time with my wonderful family and friends who make it so hard to stay away. 

Here's me and my brother, sweating on our two-hour hike. 

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