The Carly and Lois Road Show

Look what I dredged up from the internet Carly! 
Back in June, I logged into Facebook one day and saw that it was Carly's birthday, and kind of out of the blue, I wished her a happy birthday and told her she should come visit me up in Seattle. Now who is Carly? Carly and I played volleyball together at the same all-female high school and took a lot of the same classes. I'd say she was my "arch nemsis" of sorts, but since she beat me at everything, that's not an accurate depiction of our former one-sided rivalry. After HS, she went to fulfill her destiny in CA, the land of the blonde and sunny, while I did my stumbling-life-path thing I'm so good at. Since HS, we met up once for lunch briefly in Western NY to catch up (circa age 20), but... it's been a while since we've seen each other.

Rainier is always worth an early wake up! 
Anyways, a few months later, I got a text from her saying she wanted to take me up on the offer, and the planning began... By planning, I mean none at all. Carly shows up Thursday evening and our conversation pretty much goes:
me: "hey, you OK with camping?"
Carly: "yeah"
 me: "OK I have some hikes I think you should do. Are you OK with a lot of hiking?"
Carly: " yeah"
me: "great, OK we need to go to bed now (~midnight) and wake up at 6 AM tomorrow"
Carly: "that's nothing, my partner wakes up at 4 AM everyday"
me: "that's the spirit"

Brave Carly can't be stopped by snow
Part I -- Rainier

On a clear Friday in early Fall, Rainier is perfect and relatively uncrowded. We made the 3 hour pilgrimage there before rush hour traffic (only getting lost about 9 times), got out of the car at the Paradise Trail head, and just started hiking on whatever trail went up and looked good. Our expedition was like Virginia Woolf's dream - we rambled up the mountain (OK, it was actually a pretty grueling pace because Carly was as fit as she was in HS) and discussed modern feminism, our life successes and failures in regards to our gender, and what we thought might be the best path forward for women and use of our time.

This conversation was picked up multiple times throughout the weekend, and it was so totally refreshing. I spend my life surrounded by men -- between bicycling, working at Microsoft, and dating men there are very few young women in my world. To have 3 days of idealogical validation and reaffirmation that I wasn't nuts (whew!) was akin to having a massive weight lifted.

A moment of introspection
OK, we did more than just talk about the oppression of women - we saw a ton of wild life (burly mountain goats, burly marmots, and some huge black bears (fortunately we were looking down on them from a cliff!). It was beautiful - we climbed through snow up to glaciers, we walked through forests to lakes, and capped off the end with a nice waterfall (good touch Pacific Northwest style). The forests were in prime Fall colors, and Carly was suitably impressed with what we had to offer here :).

We probably hiked upwards of 2000 feet and over 12 miles, meandering through the mountains till 4ish PM. From there, we ate dinner, and then drove to the Eastern Olympic Peninsula along Highway 101 to the Lake of the Angels trailhead. We completely missed the trailhead at night, basically found a random spot to camp on the side of the road, and set up the tent in the pouring rain (Welcome to Seattle Carly!). After conking out like rocks, we woke up early for the beginning of day 2...

 Day 2: Lake of the Angels and Hurricane Ridge

I wish I had any photos from this hike, but since it well crossed into Type 2 Fun (re: it wasn't fun at the time, and it's debatably fun now retelling the story), our phones died early and I think I only have one picture of Carly looking annoyed on the way down.

Lake of the Angels was a brutal hike, like a brutal, vicious, omg that was freaking hard hike. For a 7 mile round trip, 3400 ft elevation gain hike, I was not expecting what we got. First off, within 15 minutes of the hike, we got off trail and maliciously attacked by some yellow jackets that chased us and stung us repeatedly. Apparently they had been pissed off proper by some hikers ahead of us who also went off trail, but man those buggers were mean. Carly got stung 5 times, and I got one guy who chased me (I was like 15 feet away behind Carly when the stinging began), crawled into my boot, and then wrecked havoc. It was horrible. Fortunately (?) while running away from them, we actually found the trail. Small mercies...

Innocent Heroines on Hurricane Ridge 
The rest of the hike was a straight up cliff scale. My hamstrings and butt were not used to hiking for miles up the equivalent of taking 3 steps at a time. Over and over and over again. The hike started out sunny, but quickly devolved into a light rain as we questioned life decisions and our feminist discussions were muted by the intense cardio effort this hike quickly became. After what felt like a small hell/eternity, we did summit. The Angelic Lake was very pretty, but the nearby mountains were shrouded in clouds. Oh, and it was snowing. And super windy. We lasted about 3 minutes at the top with dead phones before retreating down the now equally-brutal downward descent (wet slippery step rocks... aghhhh). Needless to say, we both almost wept when we returned to Leaf.

Carly learns the wonder of plush car camping
(aka inflating the mattress with a foot pump)
Happiness was restored with lattes at a cafe along 101 towards Port Angeles and a solid meal (once again, our 'lunch' was served around 4). From there, we crawled our to Port Angeles, determined to find a hotel. There were none (of course) - it was the infamous "Crab Festival" in PA (of course) and literally every hotel within 40 miles was completely booked. We made the most of our situation by driving up Hurricane Ridge, where they were having a white out blizzard at the top ("abort abort! I lived in Buffalo long enough to know what snowy roads means!"). We consoled ourselves with mediocre Dairy Queen in Sequim and decided to camp, fortunately finding a perfect campground after a few more desperate pleas at hotels (please, we just want a shower... we smell soooo bad).

Day 3: The Dungeness Spit, Port Townsend, and Smelling Awful

Well this isn't too bad... 
 After a leisurely and delightful breakfast in Sequim at apparently the best cafe ever in Seattle (that's a designation you can have?), we decided to hike out to the Lighthouse at the end of the Spit (~10 miles round trip). It was a beautiful day, the ocean was calm, and we had a walk that flew by as we discussed high school, lasting impacts, and basically how we've managed to grow together through all these years. I have to say, it's a pretty incredible thing to reconnect with someone you haven't seen in years and find that you just like them more and more with time.

After a brief stop at the light house (apparently they were spying on us before we arrived -- so glad I didn't pee out there in the 'wilderness'!!), we returned to Leaf and decided to 'start' making our way home to the Sea Tac airport to drop off Carly. At this point, we smell so bad that it's unmaskable. Like we constantly can smell how terrible we reek everytime we move or twitch or lift our arms (that was the worst). Even better (worse?) our legs are totally shredded at this point - all forms of walking, sitting, and breathing cause immediate sharp pains in our devastated quads. Our bodies are just done with us and basically want to not move, sleep for days, and ice cream.
A perfect sunset on a stellar trip

We take a small detour in Port Townsend (Thai food and super slow paced town strolling!) before heading to Kingston to catch the ferry (ice cream stop!). We watch the sunset from the ferry and as I drive Carly to the airport, we can't believe how fast this trip has gone and how much ground we've covered. Our bodies, minds, phone batteries, and enthusiasm for feminism are pretty much exhausted and ready for recovery at this point.

Overall, it was an incredible trip. I honestly can't believe how much we accomplished in so little time; it feels like weeks have passed. It was amazing to see Carly, and I wish all friendships were so easily rekindled -- it definitely felt like we've been best friends all along instead of women rekindling a friendship as adults now. I'm looking for more Carly trips in the future :D

PS the shower felt AWESOME except apparently warm water can re-activate histamines in bee stings. So my foot swelled up and became incredibly itchy after the shower... D'OH!

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