Labor Day Fun

Happy September internet pals!

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Y’all ready to get yer PSL on!? Oh wait. Apparently those are bad for you now, nrrmind.

So. Last weekend was the big’n. Labor day. The holiday that marks the last day where one can acceptably wear white on one’s bottom half, or at least that’s MY interpretation. It’s a bit bourgeois, but hey. Thems the rules.

Bry and I planned on a camping trip in the eastern regions of our fair state, but a surprise interview popped up for yours truly on a SATURDAY (more on that later). Sunday morning we headed out early into iffy weather. I think Bryan could sense my hesitancy as he let me sing along to the ENTIRE Moulin Rouge, Legally Blonde and Sister Act 2 soundtracks on the way there.

We decided to try a brand-new campground in Cottonwood Canyon and it was just that – NEW. Beautifully situated in (you guessed it) Cottonwood Canyon, the area is gorgeous. The campground? A bit, er….desolate. No grass, no trees no campfires and plenty of wind. We immediately took off on a trail run because we are hard-core like that.

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I was wearin’ my trusty, hideous REI hiking pants which have tear-away bottoms so they can become shorts – which meant that I was the foxiest lady on the trails.

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You know, just being normal

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air guitar?

After our run, Bryan was dead-set on setting sail in our two-man tube RR for a bit of floating. After our last disaster floating adventure, I was a little skittish about jumping right back in. However, the river looked calm, shallow and yes – even a bit appealing, so I obliged. Things started out honky-dory – I had my juice box (aka wine-in-a-box) and the sun was starting to come out.

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About 15 minutes in, we spotted a couple of folks fly fishing in the distance. As we got closer, we both agreed that we should make portage (look at me and these official words!) around them and carry our floatie on the rocky river bed. We clumsily paddled our way over and somehow managed to make it safely ashore without slipping on the slimy river rocks. As we carried the raft around those GD fly fishers, I noticed something move quickly right next to my feet.

IT WAS A MOTHEREFFING SNAKE.

I shrieked, dropped the raft and ran up the embankment towards Bryan. Of course by my reaction, he had to think I was bitten by a cobra or scorpion or some other terrible creature. We switched sides carrying the floatie back into the water and I basically jumped in, arms and legs shaking furiously. Two or three sips of wine calmed my nerves but MY GOD. Bry assured me that he too, saw the sn- the one who will not be mentioned – and said it was tiny. I BEG TO DIFFER.

After my brush with death I did what anyone would do. Proceeded to assume there was a snake everywhere. In the raft, the cooler, my hair – you know. Once our float was over, it took us a good 20 minutes to find a trail leading us back to the camp site, but eventually we did.

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We were muddy, wet, a bit cold and super hungry upon returning to our car and my run-in with nature had really taken it’s toll. Bryan simply looked at me and said, “I think I know someone who would rather sleep in her own bed tonight.”

TEARS OF JOY, you guys. THIS is just one of the many reasons I love my husband.

He then packed up the entire shambangle while I sat licking my wounds in the passenger seat, inhaling a turkey sub and listening to The Producers with the heat blasting. We got the hell outta there as the wind realllly started to pick up and I couldn’t have been happier.

That night for dinner, we both had a serious jonesing for Mexican and decided to try out a random place we found on Google Maps, Mi Mole or something. We ordered a bunch of food, margs and sat down to guzzle liters of water. I ordered a kind of bean+rice+guac mixture which I just dipped chips into. Bry ordered seafood tacos. We later discussed that the use of “seafood” when referring to a type of taco can be a bit misleading, as seafood is a fairly broad term.

The tacos ended up being shrimp, and the toppings? There were carrots. Lots and lots of cooked, mushy carrots. Neither Bryan nor myself are the least bit opposed to this vegetable – sure, throw it in a slaw and serve it on a taco. But to cook down 1/2 a lb of the things and pile em high on a seafood taco? hmmm…

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Just a part of the aftermath

The carrots became a catalyst for a larger, deeper conversation over dinner that night. Sometimes we get so caught up in going going going – we forget to simply look at eachother as honestly as a person can and ask “How ya doin?” While Portland has been a fun adventure for us both, we are still trying to determine if it’s the city for us. If we fit in, if we WANT to fit in and if so, where that might be. It’s a little scary, but exciting too.

The next morning was pure perfection. Our planned breakfast for camping was bacon, egg and tomato sandwiches on ciabatta with pesto and oh lord were they good. After that, we did a little mini-golf and hit the sack early, what a great Labor Day weekend!

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Until next time, tootle-oo!

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Summer Glamping

Hey pudding pops!

All I can say is thank God Bryan and I purchased THIS last summer:

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Since it’s first appearance last 4th of July, our two-man island of fun has srsly been our BFF. The three musketeers, we are. And when the hot Portland sun is pouring through the windows in our AC-less apartment all I wanna do is cannonballs all. day. long.

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A few weekends ago, Bryan and I packed up the Jeep and headed east for a little overnighter in the desert. After striking out at THREE different campsites, we finally nabbed one on the river at Peach Beach, which sounds like a cocktail.

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We sprang out of the car, inflated the RR (River Run), dumped a six-bomb of BLLs and a river drink for moi in the COOLER and set sail. I also applied m’trusty 70 SPF because my mamma didn’t raise no fool. We floated until lunch time and then I had the PB&J Bry so lovingly made for me with potato chips. We went through almost an entire gallon of water too. I always talk about our dranks, but we DO drink tons of H20 as well.

After the afternoon session we had covered all relevant topics; how we want to parent our offspring someday, which is truly the best of the 3 Ninjas series and obviously we played last meal.

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At Peach Beach no campfires were allowed (SONOFA) so our dinner was puuurty sad. We boiled water for hot dogs and then roasted mallows for s’mores over the tiny flame of the Jet Boil. It was a little pathetic but it worked.

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Then we watched about an hour of Wolf of Wall Street (told you it was glamping) in the tent and fell asleep. The next day we headed home to get some errands done but decided to head back the very next weekend. Can you tell we had fun?

The next weekend, we headed the same direction but decided to make it a day trip. And this time, we weren’t lazy bums. We ended up doing a 6 mile hike along the Deschutes River and I LOVVVVED it (yes it was totally flat). We hiked up a bit and then back to our car along the old railroad trail which was beautiful but long.

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We got back and immediately got RR in the water. A ranger explained to us that we were free to float along a stretch of the river all the way to the Columbia if we wanted. Things started out innocently enough until I suggested we paddle over and take a little tributary (that’s what I was calling it, but, LIKE I KNOW what a tributary is). As soon as we paddled over, poor RR was going through rapids, skidding over huge river rocks and Bryan and I were swirling around out of control. Things only got worse as we made our way down – it was so narrow, rocky and full of rapids that we were totally freaked. I was getting shoved into trees and foliage full of gross spider webs. I was screaming and being dramatic per usual.

Then Bryan was a prince. He got OUT of RR and pulled us back against the rapids. He was literally IN the water, pulling hard against the rocks and he basically ruined his swim trunks in the process. When we finally got back to the calm water, I made us do 25 tick checks and cleaned all the debris off RR. I had a few sips of wine from my wine cube and everything was all better. We ended up tying ourselves to a rock and spending the day lounging in the waist-deep water and catching some rays. Another eventful day out on the riv!

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Wrong way, genius

Also, what is more surprising: That football season starts in just WEEKS or that I actually care?

A Very Rainier Weekend

Yodle-ay-hee-hoo!

Spending more than 48 hours in the great out-of-doors makes me feel like yodeling.

As I sit down to type this post of epic proportions, I have to wonder how it went by so darn fast. It seems like yesterday we were at QFC, filling our cart with Bud Light Limes and Hebrew Nats. Perhaps that’s where I should start, n’est pas?

Firewood, beer, hot dogs and bug spray. These are just a few of the supplies Bry and I snagged on Friday in preparation for our first official camping trip in Washington since our September move further west! Bry had mapped out our Saturday schedule which looked a little something like this:

  • 4:00 am – Wake up
  • 4:30 am – Drive to camping ground at White River
  • 7:00 am – Arrive to camp-spot
  • 9:00 am – Begin day hike to Sunrise
  • 1:00 pm – Lunch break at Sunrise Visitor Center
  • 2:00 pm – Hike Wonderland Trail back to camp spot
  • 3:30 pm – Arrive camp spot

The 4 am wake up was just wonderful. Brought me right back to my days working at the Starbucks in the Davenport Hotel. I used to sleep in my uniform.

I rolled myself into the Jeep and surrounded myself with pillows and blankets while Bryan hit the 24-hour Starbucks in Kirkland for a venti misto. I awoke as Bryan pulled into the campsite at White River and marveled at well, the White River. It really is white. Very LOTRish.

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We finagled our camping spot and Bry Jet-Boiled me up a VIA to combat the low temps. I slapped my face a few times (Harry from Dumb & Dumber style) and completed a set of 25 jumping jacks to wake up my lethargic stems. Then, we hit the tray-tray.

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The spot

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It started off with a gradual incline and after only 15 minutes I inquired as to the length of our excurion. We thought we were in for a 10 mile day which sounded about as good as a soggy ham sammy on a hot day. I got the majority of my complaints out within the first hour of the hike…’my legs hurt’, ‘so how far is it again?’, ‘I wish we could just switch bodies so you knew how I feel’…

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I spoke of the heaps of work I had in front of me – preparing for Megan’s bachelorette party the coming weekend by making a cake, shopping for my LBD (the theme), securing a lunch reservation and buying a gift. OH – not to mention cleaning our entire apartment. No sweat, Nat. It’ll all come together. So, I pulled up my already-above-the-bellybutton gray hiking pants from REI and pressed on.

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The trail evened out, got steeper, evened out, got steeper. We had traveled 3 miles on our way to Glacier Basin, when Bry decided to bag the idea and just head on up to Sunrise. So, we did an about-face and half a mile later were back at the fork to hike the 5 miles up to Sunrise. I pulled my hair back, made my pants into shorts and got all gangsta.

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Most beautiful girl in the world.

Every time I told myself “This sucks – I want to be at home cleaning out my tub – organizing my sh*t –  watching makeup tutorials  – eating Pirate’s Booty t”, I just had to take a step back, quite literally. Here I was, on this absolutely gorgeous trail with hardly any other people, taking in views of Rainier in all her majesty, eating trail mix and spending time with my favorite person in the world.

Bryan and Natalie Jackson Hole.

I look like a wet dog.

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We reached the top of Sunrise and I was elated at the view, beautiful surroundings and the fact that the uphill portion of the day was DONE.

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Ohhh the white socks.

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Although trekking up the mountain was behind us, it turns out the dangers were not.  We approached a snow field and as we drew nearer, I was realized it was looking a little steep. Bry grabbed my hand and said, “I’ll go first and we’ll go nice and slow.” TWSS. Oh – and might I add that I was wearing flimsy cross-trainers from Fred Meyer? Balls.

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As we crossed the sloping snow field, I looked down to my right and realized that one false step could result in sliding quite quickly down the embankment of snow into a pool of jagged rocks at the bottom. I surmised that falling down the mountain may not result in instant death, rather a most frightening fall. Reaching the other side safely, I realized what I had just done and decided it was a good time to cry a little. So I did…

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We hiked a bit further, played the “last meal” game and wouldn’t you know it? Hit yet another snow field! This one was quite a bit longer than the first. We held hands, steadied ourselves again the snowy mountain and after a 2 minute sloooow trek, had reached the other side.

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Yeah, we didn’t.

After our snow field excursions, my mood was quickly lifted at the sight of mountain goats. You heard me. There were mommas and babies and well, it was pretty cool.

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It wasn’t long after the goats, that we had reached the visitors center! We sat at a picnic table, gobbled down our turkey + swiss sandwiches and Tim’s Cascade chips and then inquired inside as to the quickest way down.

We made our way back down the mile long road to get back to the trail head and then took the famous wonderland trail back to camp. Glancing at the map at the visitor’s center, it looked like a somewhat straight shot back down – we figured no more then a couple of miles. We learned it was about 3.5 after hitting a trail marker a good chunk into it, but obviously we were on our way DOWN so everything was peachy.

We reached camp around 3:30 pm and after changing out of our dirty clothes and applying some Pink Chiffon body spray (or was that just me?) we settled into our camp chairs with PBRs and sore legs. ‘Murica.

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Yes, we put up that American flag.

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No clue how Bry got this pic!

I read my Brides magazine and sipped a vodka + soda outta the Nalgene while Bryan set up our new tent from Targs. We really glamped it up this time by bringing along our air mattress.

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As the sun fell slowly behind the mountains and the sound of the White River hummed peacefully in our ears, it made me blissfully aware of the reason why I do indeed enjoy putting myself through all this. The grueling accents uphill, the bugs, the snow fields, the unexpected. It is frustrating and annoying, yet also fun. I have to get in my obligatory 15 minutes or so of complaints, tell myself there is about a million other things I should be doing – but at the end of the day, I am always glad I did it.

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Yep.

We made our dinner of Hebrew Nationals and potato chips, polished off a couple more beers and satisfied our sweet teeths with Rainbow Chips Deluxe.

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Man and Firewood

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Then we hit the air (?) in our respective sleeping bags, mine the -30 degree mummy bag which kept me wonderfully cozy and helped coax me in to a deep, scrumptious slumber within seconds.

Sunday morning I woke up to Bry asking me if I wanted to go on a “nature walk”. I think he was trying to disguise the word “hike” as best he could. I gave me a “heeell to the nah” and promptly turned over for a 45  minute snooze while Bryan eked in his last moments in “neature”.

I emerged from the comfort of our tent at the promise of a steaming cup of VIA and after once glimpse in the car window, realized I literally looked like I belonged in the wilderness. Then we packed up and hit the road early, only stopping in Enumclaw for a Starbucks and restroom break.

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Beautifying

After 2 quick showers, re-packing the cooler with MORE beer and a tub of Boursin – we ventured off to the marina to take out the Nash’s boat.

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Fueling up

We picked up our chummies Kyle, Melissa and their little one in Kirkland and spent over 3 wonderful hours hanging on the boat, watching little M experience her first boat ride and catch up.

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Little M was SO adorable.

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The day was absolutely gorgeous and Mt. Rainier was clear as crystal. I was battling a little fatigue after our 14-mile Saturday, but the great company and beautiful scenery made it just perfect.

After boating, we hit Chipotle (our new obsession) and went home to collapse after our busy weekend in the out-of-doors. I can’t believe how far I have come! Camping, hiking, being dirty – check, check, check!

Oh – and my biggest accomplishment, peeing outside 🙂 but hold your applause, because coming up is sister Megan’s bachelorette party. You know you’re excited.

Don’t miss a cupcake, unicorn or vodka drink – follow me on Bloglovin’!

MIA, 3rd World Democracy

We got more records than the KGB.

Apologies for being MIA the last week or so. You see…Bryan’s parents are here! Shout out to Mary and Greg! We are having an absolute blast together and I have felt like I’ve been on vacation along with them, well aside from the 8 hours of work per day :-). Dinners out, hiking, trying to spot bears (eek!), drinking wine and amazing conversation is what has kept us busy this week. So awesome ya’ll.

Oh! And last week we went camping again. I’m basically a pro now. Here are some snap shots from that epicness:

Kicking it off right

Essentials: FN Mag, Pink Cards, Citronella Candle, Bug Spray, OFF Fan, Hand Sani

By Slide Lake

M' Drink of Choice

Dinna: Grilled Cheese w/Tomato

Snagletooth

Majestic Tetons

In other news, I leave for San Francisco on Saturday!! Cue toe jumping and mini-claps. I cannot WAIT to visit the city, shop, eat cupcakes, but most of all…see my sister Megan and my mom. I miss my two best friends.

I promise to post pictures of our visit with the Nashs later, but for now, I’ll leave you with some thought-provoking visual treats.

True.

Even though I don’t condone the “B” word I agree. Go Paula.

Source

There’s a First Time for Everything

This was me about 2 weeks ago.

My friends it’s true…I went CAMPING. Don’t cry, everything is fine.

For those of you who know me, you’re already well versed in the Danielson ways of vacationing. Bigger cities (i.e Seattle, Portland, New York), hotel rooms, shopping, Red Robin and the occasional melt-down. An outdoorsy, rollin around in the dirt, sports playin youngin’ I was not. My childhood was all about stirrup pants, Hello Kitty, trading stickers, Barbies and trying to convince my Mom to crimp my hair like errday.

When I started going out with B, I knew I was in for some adventures…hello THE PASS. But I was actually excited about trying this whole camping thing.

Apparently, there are different kinds of camping. For your convenience, I shall break them down in laments terms for ease of understanding:

  • Backpacking – This is when you hike with a really-effing-heavy pack on your back into the wilderness, stop at some point, put up a tent and go to sleep. Advantages – great workout and the scenery might be pretty. Disadvantages – Having to carry everything you need on your person. This means that a 5th of vodka, ipod player, Juicy jumpsuit and 3 bags of Stacy’s Pita Chips are simply out of the question.
  • Car Camping – This is when you drive in the luxury of your own vehicle to the campsite directly and either sleep in your car or in a tent. Advantages – Ability to pack as much as you like, including multiple bags of chips, cases of beer/wine/vodka, ukuleles (why not?) and maybe a teacup yorkie named Professor Snazzypants. Disadvantages – n/a.

To ease me into the whole camping thing, Bryan opted for the car camping option. That’s m’boy.

We departed at around 2 o’clock and Bryan had smartly packed all the essentials.

  • Clothes
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags + pillows
  • Chairs
  • Cooler
  • Beer, wine, rum
  • Water
  • Food
  • Bear spray
  • Sunblock
  • Toilet Paper
  • Camera
  • Fire Wood

My contributions.

  • Dry Shampoo
  • Blush + Mascara
  • Nerds Rope
  • Chex Mix
  • 2 celebrity gossip magazines and a Food and Wine
  • Hot Pink deck of cards

We drove out to Slide Lake (about 1 hour from Jackson) and claimed a camping spot as we anxiously awaited our friends, Jeremy and Lorie to join us. To pass the time, we ate, drank and played trivia games on Bryan’s phone.

Michelob Ultra, Cactus Lime = Delish

Boxed Wine...Duh

When Jeremy and Lorie arrived, we decided to try and find a more secluded spot along the Gros Ventre River. It didn’t take long for us to find this little gem.

The View

We immediately made a fire and let the good times roll.

CAUGHT!

The next morning B and I woke up around 8:30 and went on a “nature-walk” as I was calling it (SO Bob Ross). But not before I got in a little bit of breaking news:

And dorky faces…

Our Nature Walk was so beautiful and we had a nice little 20 minute stroll.

Check out this arty photo I took of the wildflowers:

I May be Going into Business

When we returned to camp, Jeremy and Lorie were stirring and Lorie brought the ingredients to make breakfast sandwiches. Ingredients included:

  • Amazing organic ciabatta bread
  • Tomato
  • Bacon
  • Homemade Pesto Aioli

Sizzlin Bacon

Can you say holy-yum?

Since my allergies were killin me softly and I forgot my meds (aka Allegra) we packed up camp and hit the road back to Jackson.

Overall, I did a pretty good job at camping. Some would argue that one cannot be “good” or “bad” at camping, but I think you can. The only skills I need to work on are

1.) packing more candy

2.) bringing allergy medicine and

3.) urinating in the woods :-).