Held at the end end of November annually, the Seattle Marathon/Half-Marathon is most definitely a challenging race (even by distance running standards)- lots of hills including a climb to the finish- it is unforgiving. But it is a great way to see Seattle and a very fun and different way to spend a vacation morning.
The expo is well organized, as is the start (but there are no seeded start corrals), and the finish. The handouts are good including a long-sleeved tech shirt.
I made the mistake of going out way too fast...but you can read more about my experience here:
Good luck and happy training!
Equipment: You only need to bring your running gear!
Washington State is a backpacking paradise. With such a varied terrain, there is something for everyone. Want to camp in a lush temperate rainforest? They have it. Enjoy an alpine lake? It's here. A meadow leading up to a glacier? That's Washington too. On the beach, close to tide-pools teeming with starfish? Get a permit today.
Many spots work on a quota system and no matter where you want to camp in the backcountry, you have to get a wilderness permit. For spots not on heavy demand, this can be done at self-sign in stations at trail heads but for the most popular treks, you will need to visit a Wilderness Information Center. You can pick up a copy of the free Wilderness Planner which gives you some important information about backpacking in each of the state's national parks.
Rangers are very helpful and many know the trails well. They can give you updates on trail status too. When we were there, many of the trails had just become snow free and that is likely why we were able to walk in and get some of the most desirable campsites. Obviously, weekends can be packed out so a mid-week visit is more desirable and the peak summer months of July and August are the most busy.
Equipment: You will need a good water proof tent as this is a park where the rain can fall at any time. Synthetic-filled sleeping bags are good for the same reason. They dry more quickly if they get wet. A good sleeping mat cannot be underestimated in adding comfort to your trip. If you want hot food, bring a small backpacking stove. There are no fires allowed in most backcountry campgrounds.
Always bring extra clothes in case what you are wearing gets wet. Synthetics are best for weight and for drying out purposes. A warm hat is a small thing that can save your life if it gets colder than planned. Sturdy water proof boots are a good investment. There's nothing worse than having wet feet for four days. A good backpack is also worth the investment. These are anatomically designed to help you carry loads often a quarter of your body weight. If you thought hiking ten miles up 5000 feet was tough, wait till you do it carrying 35 lbs.
So, you can imagine keeping your load weight down is important. In general, the better the gear, the lighter it is. Unfortunately, it also cost more. But you pay at the store or you pay at the park (while carrying it!).
One place you can save weight is in your food. Dried meals way a fraction of “regular” food and are much quicker/easier to cook after a long day of camping. These are not cheap but you get a full meal for two that doesn't weigh much so worth it as long as you can get used to them. We liked Mountain House brand though we found two serving to be a bit of a stretch after a day of hiking. I could have easily eaten a whole one myself. We would generally add some dried starch while cooking it. For instance, if having beef stew, we added instant potatoes and if a Chinese or Mexican dish, instant rice. You basically boil water and put in the pouch for the allotted time. We generally followed it up with a soup of some kind.
Another entry in my list of professional baseball stadiums that I have been able to visit...
I attended a game at Safeco Field in July of 2001. This is a rather unique stadium in that it is covered but there are openings around the sides so you can still get some fresh air but when it rains (and this being Seattle, when won't it rain?), the roof prevents rain delays.
1)Arrival & Departure
This was not easy. The stadium is downtown, a place notorious for parking struggles (no matter what city we're discussing), so I ended up paying quite a bit and parking quite a ways from the stadium. The several block walk was okay going to the stadium because it wasn't raining but after the game it was definitely raining, making for a very uncomfortable hike to my car. On a scale of 1-5, where 5 is perfect, this gets a 2.
Okay, here's what happened. I didn't arrive in Seattle with tickets to the game. The day before the game, I was in Vancouver, BC, and I checked the game time in the national paper of Canada, The Globe & Mail, which, I discovered the next day, lists everything in Eastern time. So, I thought the game started at 8pm, which admittedly, is a strange time for an evening game to begin but whatever. Well, I was in my hotel eating dinner, when I got a phone call from my mother, who knew I was planning on going to the game and who also knew that I thought it was at 8pm. She'd just seen something on the 'net about it starting at 5pm, which it currently was. She called to tell me and so I flew downtown and got to the game late but didn't miss it completely (what would be we do without mothers?!) but alas, I didn't get to eat there. So no score.
I found the stadium to be quite comfortable although I thought the tunnels (or whatever you want to call the areas under the seats where they sell the food) to be a little dark. The seats were nice, the space between the rows reasonable. I give this a 4.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was a beautiful stadium, everyone was very nice, the between-innings activities were all fun and not too cheesey, and best of all, then-rookie Scott Podsednik hit a triple in his first time up to bat - always exciting - and then, in the next inning, went out to his position in left field, where my seat was. So, all of us in that section stood up and gave him a round of applause. It was FUN! So this is a 5.
Overall, I had a REALLY good time and wouldn't mind going back. I give it a score of 3.
Equipment: Umbrella for the walk to and from wherever you parked your car.
Snoqualmie is the most accessible ski area in Washington State. Because it sits on Interstate 90, the main east-west highway in the state, it is almost always open and the road is well maintained. That being said, it is not the greatest ski area around, but if you want a quick drive to a decent place, this is it.
For the non-skiier or snowboarder, there is also the option of snowtubing on some small hills to the east of the main ski area. Tubes and equipment are provided for a nominal charge.
Lodging and restaurants are available, as well as most other things you could possibly want.
In the summer, I believe some of the runs are open to sightseers who want a view of the Cascades. Just hop on the lift and go to the viewing area at the top of the slopes. Also, there are hiking and mountain biking trails open as well.
Equipment: Bring your own gear or rent it at the ski area.
My first experience river rafting was as part of a girls weekend in Hood River, OR. I had NO idea what I was getting into, and it's probably a good thing, because as they were giving us our safety demonstration, I was getting really nervous. Luckily, it was too late to back out, because I had the time of my life!
The outfit we used is called River Drifters, and they were great! Awesome guides who pointed out interesting things along the way, provided good instruction, made you feel safe, yet adapted to the clients. The guide in my boat, Pete, was perfect for us, as we weren't serious rafters, just wanted some fun and a little bit of adeventure. One of the other boats on our trip chose more "high adventure" approaches to some of the rapids, and we got to watch as they got dumped from their boat. It was great fun, even when I got dumped in a very shallow part of the river.
The final rapid is Class V, and it's optional, but we all took it. That's it in the photo.
Oh, and while we were in Oregon, this trip was just across the Columbia river in Washington.
Equipment: River Drifters supplies everything you need. Wet suits, life jackets, dry shirts, helmets, and of course, the raft and the paddles. You supply your "under" garments, which may be a bathing suit and a wicking shirt, or something heavier if it's really cold.
Bring dry clothes to change into after your trip.
Washington State is a great place to visit in the summer and get outdoors. In addition to the three national parks, which offer tons of hiking opportunities, there are many state park and other recreational areas which allow for all levels of hiking.
Crystal Mountain ski area, recently ranked #12 in North America by Skiing magazine, is a great family ski area with lots of runs, a lovely lodge, an average of 380 inches of snow each year and -- if you're lucky -- spectacular summit views of Mt. Rainier. Experts will have plenty of terrain to practice their skills and beginners will enjoy the 'sleigh ride' green runs through ancient forests.
Crystal is close enough to Seattle to make for a reasonable day trip but far enough away to discourage half-day visitors. This means that the mountain can be wonderfully empty mid-week.
Equipment: Crystal has a full rental and repair shop with everything you might need. The REI flagship store in Seattle also carries a full line of new and rental gear.
In addition to all the other outdoor activities (hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, fishing, boating, hunting etc.), there is a lot of great skiing and snowboarding in Washington.
I have been skiing since I was 4 years old and spent most of my childhood skiing at Bluewood, in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Washington, but most of the skiing actually takes place in the Cascade Mountains. Washington is home to 10 Ski Resorts, 2 Snow Cat Operators & 1 Heli Ski Operator. So Check It Out!
Equipment: If you don't own your own gear, you can rent at the mountain or in town at a sporting goods store.
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