If you’re anywhere in the Carolinas or Virginia, you’ve probably spent at least a little bit of your time and a lot of your brainpower this week preparing for Hurricane Florence. We’re in Raleigh, originally where Flo was projected to come straight for. While the path has curved south a little bit, we’re still preparing for lots of rain and strong winds! It’s actually started raining just as I’ve typed this, but the “real” stuff is supposed to start overnight or early tomorrow.
Andrew & I enjoyed a vacation in Asheville with Maggie this past weekend, which was a nice little outdoor respite before being trapped inside for a few days this weekend! We stayed on an Airbnb “glamping” platform about 30 minutes from Asheville, slept in hammocks, enjoyed foggy mountain views, and HIKED UP MOUNT MITCHELL. That’s the highest point east of the Mississippi River. With a wrong turn and what’s got to be incorrect trail length info, we ended up hiking 16 miles total up and down the mountain - YIKES, but we’re alive and my legs are just starting to feel normal again (aka, not sore). A lot actually went wrong that day, but God got us up that mountain and it turned into a big metaphor moment for me… read about all of that and see photos from that trip on Instagram & Facebook. It was totally worth it, and yes, our dog Jack came with us! He was a champ!
While we had a blast over the weekend, I also want to share photos from our week-long trip out west! At the end of July, we ventured out to Denver, Portland, & Seattle. This was our first time out west, and my first time any further west than Houston!
Our hearts were warmed as we were blessed with the hospitality of friends along the way. Scroll down to read more about the trip and see lots of photos!
We found ourselves in Denver just for about a day & a half. We stayed with our friend Doug & his family. Doug was a volunteer with the youth group Andrew led in Virginia, and it was great to reconnect with him, Christine, & their son Toshko. We visited Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is so beautiful! I was about to comment on how many stairs we climbed while there, but then I remembered I hiked up a mountain last weekend…..… That evening, we went to a Denver Rockies baseball game with them & stayed the night at their house.
The next morning, our friend Shae picked us up for some adventure! We met Shae while Andrew & I were in Houston for Mission Year, and Shae was there with Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Andrew & Shae volunteered at the largest emergency homeless shelter in the city, and we enjoyed spending time with her and her housemates that year!
We had to see Shae while we were in town, and we went WHITE WATER RAFTING with her! It might sound more intense than it actually was, because the water was at historic lows, but we had to dodge plenty of rocks and there was indeed a good amount of strategy involved to not get thrown off the boat. We got lunch & ice cream with Shae, ventured around an arts district a bit, then had to go to the airport for the next leg of our trip.
Enjoy the photos from Denver!! Click on any individual photo to view it larger, and you can scroll with arrows through the enlarged versions, too.
We borrowed this sweet glass sphere from a friend, and almost didn’t get through security at the airport because of it, haha! Thankfully we were let through AND have sweet pictures to share because of it.
We went white water rafting! The water was at historic lows, the lowest it’s been in 12 years (thanks, global warming), so we had to dodge lots of rocks but it was fun! Can you see which one I am?
Visiting Portland was the main purpose of our trip, but we’re so happy we were able to stop in other cities before & after! We stayed with the Pollard family while there, played with their boys and got to know their fun personalities, and got to meet their littlest one, Journey. <3 Kate and Zach were our city directors when we did Mission Year, and it was awesome spending extended time with them as friends and enjoying a different kind of community in that.
Andrew & I got a rental car for the first full day we were there, and we drove through the High Desert - where we saw some of the most beautiful sights from our whole trip. See below!! Our day trip included a good amount of driving (totally worth it) and gorgeous stops along the way. Don’t miss the photos with the glass sphere!
We were with Kate & Zach & their kiddos the rest of our long-weekend stay, dipping our toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time (!!!), lounging around their house in the Rockwood neighborhood, eating ice cream, playing games, and reading children’s books like What Does the Fox Say? - yes, it’s a book, too, and it reads just like the song. I also did an impromptu baby photography session with 3-month-old Journey & Kate, which made my heart strings flutter so much. I’ll be sharing those photos next week!!
We took a train to Seattle on Monday at noon to continue our journey, thankful for that time with special friends.
There are a lot of photos to share from Portland, so don’t let me lose you halfway through!
As mentioned, we took a train into Seattle (super fun & easy), and we were there for about another day & a half. We went to the top of the Space Needle, ventured around downtown, and went to a Seattle Mariners baseball game. If you’re curious about the baseball games - Andrew has a goal of visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, so we’ve got to take advantage of our locations when we travel! We also took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island, and it was really cool seeing the Seattle skyline as we traveled across & back. Ferry tickets are pretty cheap, & the island is neat with great restaurants & lots of little shops. Once back in Seattle, we visited the gum wall as the last stop before heading to get food & to the airport. Definitely see those photos…. they’re disgusting in the most intriguing way.
Pro tip: Enchiladas taste even better when you haven’t had them all year (I’ve been gluten-free and they’re typically made with flour tortillas). These were made with corn tortillas & were DELICIOUS.
We took a red eye flight home, and MAN, did that knock me out. I’m teaching Spanish at an elementary school one day per week, and of course the only teacher workday I had to be at was the very day we got back! I got home, showered, took a nap, and headed to school. I didn’t realize how much red eye flights will knock me out, but I caught up on sleep over a couple days, adjusting back to reality - which isn’t too bad either. ;)
Andrew & I saved up money for this vacation for a long time, and I’m thankful we were able to make it happen. We loved seeing friends, seeing beautiful sights, and going places we’d never gone before! We enjoyed every place we went, but we’d love to hike around Oregon and see more of Seattle sometime.
I hope you enjoyed the photos (almost) as much as I enjoyed capturing them!
Like I mentioned above, I took some precious 3-month photos of Journey while we stayed with her family, and I’m excited to share those here next week! In the meantime, you can see Phoebe’s newborn session to get your baby fix!
Stay safe during the hurricane, friends, and find your own indoor adventures as the rain comes down! I’m thinking to read by candlelight (or Kindle-light), do a puzzle, crochet, make a blanket fort… :)
In light & love,