3 of My Favorite Hikes in Washington State

Being a Pacific Northwest girl, I like to take advantage of the many different hikes around the state.  In my opinion, I think that out of all of the hikes that I have been on, North Bend and Bellingham have some of the best hikes in Washington state.  With both North Bend and Bellingham having so many trees, hills, mountains, and great scenery, they make for some of the best hiking spots.

If you are looking for a fun hiking trip on the west side I would highly recommend the 3 following locations.

 

1. Rattlesnake Ridge (North Bend, WA)

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The first time I hiked Rattlesnake Ridge was last summer and it was probably my all time favorite.  I woke up at around 3 am on a beautiful summer morning to get to the hike by 4am and arrive at the top of the ridge by 5 am to watch the sunrise.  Even though I am totally not a morning person at all, it was so worth it.  With no one else on the trail, it didn’t take long to reach the top, just in time that the sun was rising.  After sitting at the top for about 3 hours it was a perfect clear blue sky day and made for some great pictures.  Rattlesnake Ridge is a great hike for any time of the year, but I would definitely recommend going in the summer, especially at sunrise or sunset!

 

2. Oyster Dome (Bow, WA)

Oyster Dome

My second favorite hike is located near Bellingham in a small town called Bow, WA.  This hike is definitely longer than Rattlesnake Ridge and slightly more challenging.  The hike is pretty steady throughout the majority of it, but near the top there is one steep spot that has to be the most difficult part of the hike (be careful at this point).  Once arriving at the top, the view of Samish Bay and some of the San Juan islands makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.  It’s amazing, and totally worth struggling through that one difficult spot.

 

3. Heather Lake (Granite Falls, WA)

Heather Lake

My third favorite hike is Heather Lake located in Mt. Baker National Forest in Granite Falls, WA.  Last summer when I did this hike I was originally planning on hiking Mt. Pilchuck, located just next to Heather Lake (still one of my bucket list hikes) but due to poor weather ended up hiking Heather Lake instead.  Even though this hike wasn’t planned it ended up being one of my favorites at the end!  The hike is pretty flat and easy and offers great scenery.  Once arriving at the lake you can’t help but stare at the big mountains and hills all around you.  It’s a total kodak moment for sure.  There is a small loop that takes you around the lake that I would recommend walking through once you get there, you get to see a lot of different views around the lake this way and it’s a lot of fun!

Celebrating Your 20th The Right Way: Birthday Weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia

With my 20th birthday coming up in a few days, I enjoyed what had to be one of the busiest and best weekend getaways by celebrating up north in Vancouver, British Columbia with one of my friends, Danielle.

For only being in Vancouver for 36 hours, Danielle and I pretty much covered the whole downtown portion of the city and saw all the best that Vancouver has to offer.  Now that the weekend is over I have never felt so tired from being a tourist, and feel like being the laziest couch potato ever for the next couple of days.

Starting off the weekend right and taking advantage of the Canadian drinking age, it was so much fun to go to all of the different bars around the city and try the unique and delicious kinds of drinks the bartenders make.  From walking around Gastown and Yaletown, there were so many restaurants and bars to choose from.  One of my favorite bars was Steamworks Brewing Company in the Gastown district downtown.  Enjoying a peach schnapps and other fruity drinks while sitting at the bar was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip, and was definitely the perfect way to start off being 20 and to say goodbye to the teenage years.

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What I enjoyed the most about walking around Gastown was all of the old brick architecture of the buildings and streets, and how original the district of the city was.  It was so unique just to be able to walk around through the town and definitely took advantage of its picture perfect scenery.

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As our first day in Vancouver came to an end after all of the barhopping, Sunday was definitely tourist day for us.  After visiting the Vancouver Public Library, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Granville Island, and the University of British Columbia, we were both ready to crash hard for the next week and couldn’t wait to head back home.

As an admirer of creativity and art, I felt it fascinating to take a short trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery to look at the unique works of art done by some of my favorite artists like Pablo Picasso, Stephen Waddell, and more.  Having not been to an art museum in over 6 years, I forgot how amazing it is to see the famous works of art in person rather than on a computer screen.  It was truly unforgettable.

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After walking through the art museum it felt great to get outside and enjoy the nice weather with a short trip to Granville Island.  Walking through the public market and the little town shops by the waterfront was a true summer day, and felt as if we were wandering through Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.  While enjoying some of my favorite things, seeing some of my favorite types of flowers (carnations and roses), and smelling all of the good food around the public market, it only added to how much fun the short weekend trip was.

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As the weekend came to an end after walking around the UBC campus and being completely exhausted, we both felt so content with what we had accomplished around the city in the little time we had spent there.

For those who are turning 19 or 20, I would highly recommend a short trip to Vancouver for a fun first bar experience and to see all of the fun things around the city!  With Vancouver being such a big city that it is, you really can’t run out of things to do or see.  This birthday weekend was the perfect getaway to celebrate the end of my teenage years by staying in a nice hotel downtown, going out to the bars, and celebrating with friends.  I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday celebration!

Aspiring Photographer: Getting Your First Real Camera

After great patience and years of waiting, I am so excited to have finally purchased my first real camera! From heavy photoshopping, photo editing iPhone apps, iPhone filters, and Instagram, I’ve done as much as I can to try and perfect the pictures I take from my iPhone (which only does so much).

With being a broke college student and working my butt off at Macy’s this summer I have been trying hard to save some money for something that is really important to me, and something I have wanted for a very long time. For the past few months, I have been doing research on cameras that popular Instagram users use that make their pictures so high quality.  After getting a feel for popular cameras and searching around for cameras within a reasonable price range, I am satisfied with my purchase of a Nikon D3200 from Tall’s Camera.

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Nikon D3200 w/ 18-55 mm lens ($399.95 – Tall’s Camera)

 

As I am taking my first photography class next semester at WSU, I can’t wait to start practicing with the camera this summer and try to become a better photographer.  I hope to take this camera with me on each adventure that I go on and use it to enhance the pictures I post not only on my social media profiles, but on my blog as well.  I am so excited to see what this camera will do for me and where it will take me in the future!