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  • 09/05/15--07:47: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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    With tons of apples onhand, I started looking for recipes to use them up. Specifically, I was hoping for vegan muffins or bread for my weekday breakfasts. There were plenty, but each called for about 1.5 apples per dozen muffins. Nothing that would make a big dent. I settled on apple butter in the crock pot.

    This will eventually be apple butter 🍎🍎🍎

    This was a nice excuse for us to finally get a kitchen scale, which Garrett ordered for us and we had the next day. Several people suggested an apple peeler/corer, but I didn't jump on that since I figured it'd probably be a once-yearly need. We have one of those corer/slicers that you push down onto the apple, which helped a bit. Peeling the apples, coring them, and chopping them up took quite a while. Good practice, though. I wish I'd chopped them up finer, as they never really broke down in the crock pot. Immersion blender to the rescue.

    I got apple bits and sugar everywhere, so it ended up being the perfect time to clean the kitchen. Since I was sweaty and feeling gross after that, I finally pulled all the pots, pans, and lids out of their cabinet and organized them. They're on slide-out shelves, which we've never had before, so maybe it'll be easier to keep them this way, longer.

    It was a sunny day out, and I joked that I'd be outside pulling weeds if it was a cloudy day. Naturally, it got cloudy, so I did it. There's still a lot more work to do in the flower bed, but the garden's nice and clear.

    I should have planned the timing on the apple butter a little better. The recipe calls for an hour on high, then another 9-11 hours on low. You're supposed to let it go overnight. I didn't do that, so 10 hours in the crock pot was right at bed time. I set a timer for three hours so it could cool before I put it in containers. Glad I thought about it again, because the timer alarm is pretty disturbing to wake up to. Just changed it to cello music.

    These are the containers I got because I've never done any real canning and yesterday wasn't the time to buy a bunch of new stuff and try it for the first time. I've had my eye on them for a while, and they happened to be on sale yesterday when I was shopping. I see at that link that they aren't getting good reviews on their own site, but Amazon shoppers seem to like them. I like that they match our other kitchen stuff.

    It rained like crazy all night, so I decided not to go for my walk this morning and just drove over to my inlaws' to leave a container of apple butter on their porch as I'd said I would. Of course, as soon as I got home and settled in with some coffee and a piece of toast with apple butter, everything cleared up nicely. Too late to set out now, though, as I have a brunch date this morning with my friend Nancy. Tomorrow's a holiday anyway, I can do a long walk then.

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  • 09/07/15--16:05: Back at it
  • My most recent episode of lower back pain was at least well-timed. We've had a lot of wind and rain, so being stuck inside doing yoga was a good option. I was finally ready to go out again yesterday, but didn't actually do it until this morning. Since it's staying dark later and later, and I knew the steep parts on either side of the gulch would be too scary if they were muddy, I decided that I'd do a pretty normal Western counterclockwise loop.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.16 miles in 1:44, 11,105 steps, 598ft gain
    5.16 miles in 1:44, 11,105 steps, 598ft gain

    I don't mind entering the area I went through today after a storm. It's a lot flatter and there's no danger of sliding down a steep hill or anything. Unless I change my schedule drastically, I probably won't see much more of anything but the center trail for a while. It was pretty dark, and I had to really watch where I was going to make sure I didn't get into the mud or slip on any roots or branches.

    Discarded furniture I came upon just after leaving the gulch. I love this shade of green.


    Sunrise over Schwan's.


    One thing I did differently today was take the long way from point A to point B on the map. I just wanted to see what all was over there. It's a pretty dull business park, and it's definitely not pedestrian friendly.

    Boeing on a misty morning.


    One thing that occurred to me in the gulch today was that there were definitely tons of new fallen trees, but since there are always fallen trees, it wasn't really obvious which ones are new. This one's new, for sure.


    Nicely-framed sky near the end of the walk.


    It's been a pretty relaxing day. Once I was showered, Garrett made breakfast and then I went shopping. I hadn't been to the thrift stores in a while, so I went to two Value Villages, two St. Vincent de Paul shops, a Goodwill, and a liquidator shop, plus Harbor Freight tools. Mostly I was looking for stuff to make into jewelry. And I was really hoping this cool Nagel picture I saw a couple of months ago would still be at St. Vincent's, because everything in their stores was 50% off today. Unfortunately, it was gone.

    Garrett also made us a very nice lunch before heading down to Sea-Tac for a business trip. It's just me and the boys for a few days.

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  • 09/08/15--19:37: Walking > Hiking
  • I had tentative plans for lunch today, but figured if they didn't come to fruition, I might head out for a hike I read about in the paper recently. With that in mind, I kept my regular morning walk short, just from the parking area at the Gulch up to the top and back.

    Even my short walk plan was cut slightly shorter.


    My sweatband's been getting soaked every walk lately, so I decided to order four more. It's pretty gross to wring the sweat out of something and then wear it again the next day, now I don't have to. The new ones are orange, for extra extra safety.


    Lunch didn't happen, so after I ate here, I geared up and headed out. It took two hours to get to the trail head, and by the time I was there, I wished I hadn't even gone.


    The full hike is four miles out and another four back, but the elevation gain is 3,600 feet or so in that time. A lot more climbing than I've been doing, into a much higher altitude, from a higher altitude. I think I could do it if I arrived energetic and refreshed, but that's not where I was at today. I ended up hiking just a half mile in and turning around. Here's a shot from the spot where I turned back.


    Weird, hollowed-out-by-fire? tree.


    Extremely vibrant moss that looks much less vibrant in the photo.




    Today"s awesome walk, 3.35 miles in 1:04, 7,202 steps, 400ft gain Today"s awesome hike, 1.06 miles in 37:27, steps not provided, 361ft gain
    Today's awesome walk, 3.35 miles in 1:04, 7,202 steps, 400ft gain
    Today's awesome hike, 1.06 miles in 37:27, steps not provided, 361ft gain

    I spent twice as much time in the car today as I did on the trails. Clearly I didn't think it through very well. :)

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    I haven't been to the pool in a couple of months because it's just too mobbed with kids during the summer. I tried to share, I really did, but I just got so sick of dodging balls and having water splashed in my face. You'd think it'd be easy to have my own space since I tread water in one spot and take a corner if I can, but it's not. No problem. I can stay away a couple of months out of the year. Especially since walking's what I really want to be doing.

    I was pretty sore after spending more than four hours in the car yesterday, so today being the first day of school was really great timing. I did 20 minutes of yoga this morning and swam 30 minutes this afternoon. It was so quiet and empty, too. Just lovely.

    One thing that did not survive today's swim is a cheapie watch/pedometer I bought recently. I was unfamiliar with IP ratings and thought it was waterproof, but reading the listing again, I see that it's definitely not. It might be fine after sitting in a bag or rice for a while, but if it's not, I really don't care. I'm mostly curious to wear it when walking sometime to see how it compares to the step count from the app I use. I'd like to buy an Apple watch, but I won't until they release one that works with Android.

    The rest of the day has been pretty relaxing. Shows are piling up on the DVR that I can't watch until Garrett gets back.
    Steve's keeping me company while I watch Ice Castles.

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  • 09/10/15--10:06: Serious fog is serious
  • It was a little misty when I headed out this morning, but I didn't think much would come of it. I set out for a pretty typical walk which became quite awesome once I walked up into the neighborhoods and the gulch.

    Oddly perfect.



    I decided my new favorite way to get over to the center of the gulch if I'm not actually cutting through it is to cut through the business park. There's no sidewalk and not much of a shoulder on the roads I've always taken, and there can be quite a bit of traffic, too.


    Today's route.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.14 miles in 1:38, 11,051 steps, 494ft gain

    Since it's Thursday, I had to take out the garbage, recycling, and food/yard waste when I got home. That's when I spotted this slug on our wall. Rare to see them on a vertical surface.


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  • 09/11/15--05:39: SchadenFriday

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  • 09/12/15--06:41: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 09/12/15--13:05: Just Beachy
  • I woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday, but didn't want to write the whole morning off. Instead of a big sweaty climb, I opted for a mellow beach loop. I recently noticed that people are allowed to walk in one area I figured would be off limits, and decided it was finally time to explore that.

    Almost every time I go to the beach, I find myself racing against time. I still always think it's going to be darker than it ends up being, so I'm always rushing to see more of the sunrise. I also saw the ferry start to pull away and was trying to find just the right spot to get a shot of it near the lighthouse.


    The beach was lovely, as always.


    I think this was the first time I've ever been there when this, uh, cargo thing had a bunch of containers on it.


    I recently noticed on a sign that you can walk from the Sounder station platform two different ways to get to the beach. Only one of them has a view of the water, so there's really no reason to take the other one unless you want to go in loops or enjoy the views of big concrete pens, piles of old rusty metal, and strange debris. But I finally checked it out today. On the map, it's the little branch where the mile 2 mark occurs.

    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 2.69 miles in 53 minutes, 5,788 steps, 169ft gain
    2.69 miles in 53 minutes, 5,788 steps, 169ft gain


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  • 09/13/15--16:14: Something a little different
  • I hadn't seen the ballfields and recreation area in a while, because they're a hell of a climb from the center of the gulch, and I've been staying off the steep trails since it rained. So today, I parked next to that area instead. Seaway Boulevard, the road that leads in there, is very steep, so it's good for some easy, safe climbs.

    Not so great for photos, though. Most of the time, you're on a road surrounded by very tall trees, so it all looks pretty much like this.


    I didn't see much open sky until I was right by where I started.


    Decided I'd add a small loop on the trails instead of avoiding them altogether. That area by the rec center is the fancy part of the trails. They're very well maintained, with lots of wood chips, and the plants are cut way back. And it's flat.

    Today"s awesome walk, 3.64 miles in 1:11, 7,837 steps, 374ft gain
    3.64 miles in 1:11, 7,837 steps, 374ft gain

    It's been a pretty mellow day. We're looking for a futon for the guest room which is also my office, and haven't really had any luck. After visiting a few stores up in Marysville, we picked up burgers to take down to Garrett's parents.

    We hit the Everett Farmers' Market before all of that, though, and here's a neat picture I got there.


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  • 09/13/15--18:21: Bonus Sunday CATURDAY

  • BONUS Sundogs

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    I'm not a fan of summer at all, but I definitely got a lot of non-summery enjoyment because of it this year. The trails were nice and dry most of the time, and I could go really early because sunrise starts as early as 5:10am. Sunrise is already 90 minutes later, but Mukilteo's the kind of place where lots of people are out early jogging, biking, and walking dogs, so I'm still good as long as I start on the streets.

    Parking the car while it's still pretty dark, I get more opportunities to see just what my phone's camera is capable of. This morning, I saw a vapor trail about to intersect with what I'm guessing was Venus, and managed to get a couple of decent shots.


    Forgot a headband today. Wish I hadn't, because I stopped for a photo in the dark to show how well my safety harness shows up. Wish I'd had an orange sweatband for the photo.


    Even natural colors look so nice in early morning low light.


    I think they must have done some sort of maintenance on these tracks. Perhaps the rocks had piled up too much.


    Today's route. This will probably be pretty typical for a while, though there will probably come a point where I stay out of the Western portion of the gulch due to rain or darkness. The center will be suitable year round.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.06 miles in 1:40, 10,876 steps, 487ft gain
    5.06 miles in 1:40, 10,876 steps, 487ft gain

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  • 09/16/15--05:17: Winter planning
  • Monday's walk left me thinking about how they'll play out in the next few months. Mainly, I was curious what the differences would be in the walk stats (time, distance, gain) if I stay on the streets until the second half. It turns out there is a difference, but it's not as drastic as I figured.

    This is how dark it was when I arrived at the parking lot. The gulch is open from dawn until dusk, so obviously this would be a bit early to enter.


    It didn't take long until it was decently bright out. This giant cloud that was out over the water was delightful.


    Here's the route. It was .4 miles shorter than the day before, and about 20 feet less of a climb. Far more boring, though. Those zig-zags on the residential streets are pretty dull. But it's still really nice to know that it's a pretty decent climbing route that should be doable year round.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.65 miles in 1:30, 10,007 steps, 463ft gain
    4.65 miles in 1:30, 10,007 steps, 463ft gain

    Starting off when it's dark makes it so I get some good sunrise views by from the business park. I'm always saying you need to go to parking lots for good views around here because there are so many trees, and sometimes it's really true. That's why people pay a premium to live on really steep hills.


    I never got a chance to post yesterday because it was a crazy day. My duties at work are changing a lot, and we've been on lots of conference calls for training. And those calls have been fraught with technical issues. By the time I was finally done with all that yesterday, it was time to make dinner. Things will be interesting for a couple of weeks, but should settle down after that.

    I'm actually still trying to decide if I want to go out this morning. I may stay in for yoga instead. Here are a bunch more sunrise photos from yesterday.


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    I ended up doing yoga yesterday after all. The 40-minute one I used to do all the time. I was pretty rusty on some of the moves, but did pretty well. I briefly thought about doing yoga again today, but that plan went out the window when I bashed my knee on the side of a door yesterday. It's definitely too tender to even think about getting on all fours. I was actually worried walking might even hurt, but it was fine. I also entertained thoughts of heading from the West side of the gulch into the center via the rusty car trail, but it rained overnight and things were pretty wet.

    I set out a little later than I have been so that it wouldn't be as dark. Realizing that the gates at the beach parking lot would almost certainly be open, I decided that starting there and taking the long way to the gulch and going up the center would be a great route without any mud. I know I've said I don't really like out-and-back routes very much, but it's time to embrace them a little more. For one thing, they make it possible to walk exactly as much as I want. Today I decided I'd go at least five miles, and because I was going to go back the way I came, I was able to turn just after 2.5 miles. Efficient!

    I've also figured out the hard way that it'd be in my best interest to get really familiar with the trails going both directions, as I've had problems before going the way that's opposite what I'm used to, and getting a little lost. And I've also gone further than I wanted to before my underestimating how big the loop I was making would turn out to be.

    I will say I was a little sad not to be in the gulch when this plane flew over. The gulch is basically the last land before the runway at Paine Field; there are even runway lights in the South end. Being there when one of these bad boys flies over is always awesome. It was cool being at the beach, but it would have been so much lower in the gulch.


    Yay slugs!


    I actually saw two ferries leave today because of my out-and-back route.


    This sign's at the temporary walkway to the beach. It cracked me up today because it made me think of adult life. What's next? Who knows?


    I finally understand how this thing works! The top part moves back and forth. Makes sense now. Ha.


    Today"s awesome walk, 5.09 miles in 1:39, 10,947 steps, 511ft gain
    5.09 miles in 1:39, 10,947 steps, 511ft gain

    I can actually see myself doing this walk a lot if it's going to be rainy. I might go a little further next time. One weird thing was feeling my body shut down a bit as I was coming back to the parking area at the gulch. Even though I wasn't parked there and had another 1.5 miles to go, I'm so used to it being the end of the course that my body got ready for the end. Force of habit is really something.

    It started raining again as I passed my regular parking spot. I always feel a second wind come on when it rains while I'm walking.

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  • 09/18/15--11:07: SchadenFriday

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  • 09/19/15--07:47: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 09/20/15--14:00: Two days, three walks
  • I got a late start heading out on Friday, but I was fine with taking a short walk because I had an appointment to get my car detailed and had already decided that I'd also walk while that was being taken care of. No point in sitting around in a shop when I could be out enjoying a walk in a new area.

    The first walk, a climb to the top of the gulch. 3.33 miles in 1:03, 7,146 steps, 394ft gain.
    Yesterday"s first awesome walk, 3.33 miles in 1:03, 7,146 steps, 394ft gain

    The second walk, a big loop in Mukilteo which began in a business park and ended up taking me around a golf course. 4.73 miles in 1:24, 10,172 steps, 129ft gain.
    Yesterday"s second awesome walk, 4.73 miles in 1:24, 10,172 steps, 129ft gain

    I chose the satellite view to show the major differences between where I started the walk and where I ended up. Turns out, the route I created on the fly was perfect. They told me the car would be done around 2:15, and I got there about ten minutes after that. They pulled the car out and started vacuuming as I approached, and I had just enough time to drink a cup of water and use their bathroom.

    That loop I walked was big enough that it never really felt like I turned around. I knew where I was going because I checked the map on my phone frequently, but it was still pretty disorienting to arrive back at the main road without it feeling like I'd ever made the full circle.

    Saturday, as always, was my day off, and I was ready to head out this morning long before I actually could. It was the kind of night where I woke up a bunch of times, but it didn't really bother me. Sometime around 4:45, Steve was pawing at my door, so I let him in and we snuggled until he started acting like a brat. At that point, I got up, geared up, and headed out. It was still pretty dark, but I knew it'd be fine if I started in the streets.

    I was going to park at the regular spot at the bottom of the gulch, but I saw as I pulled up that someone in a truck had just pulled in. I didn't feel like some creepy encounter in the dark, so I drove up to the spot where I often enter the gulch from the West. I'd been wanting to go up the rusty car trail again, so parking there meant that could be the last part of the walk.

    Today"s awesome walk, 6.88 miles in 2:34, 14,800 steps, 621ft gain
    6.88 miles in 2:34, 14,800 steps, 621ft gain

    It'd been a while since I climbed up through the Eastern portion to the ballfields. It's been a few days since it rained, so I decided to go for it today. It was nice, but now that fall is well underway, it's very different. Tons of dead leaves everywhere, plus a lot of fallen trees and branches from the recent windstorms. Still really nice, but very different from the green paradise I enjoyed all summer.

    I wasn't taking a lot of pictures until I started seeing a lot of mushrooms, which I had to get shots of for suxdonut .


    I very nearly walked right into this guy's web.


    One of two slugs I saw today. The other was green, but I don't typically take pictures of solid-color ones.


    I noticed this ladder and platform for the first time today. I can't imagine what anyone would do up there.


    Tomorrow might be a yoga day. Depends how my back feels in the morning.

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    Yes, it will definitely be a yoga day instead of a walking day. My lower back is stiff. Not so much that I couldn't walk, but enough that it might hurt too much if I keep pushing it. I wouldn't mind also doing some swimming later, but we've got a guy coming to do some various projects around the house. I'll be juggling him along with some cooking I plan to do and two conference calls.

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  • 09/22/15--08:41: Icon origins
  • Photo by jameth

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