My First Hike of 2023

And My First Time Hiking to Mt. Si

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: snowy hikescellphone photography • Places: Mt. Si

So it happened that 2023 rolled around, and New Year's Day fell on a Sunday. That meant that I got the following Monday, January 2nd as a holiday from work. And, the fact that I was still a little jet lagged from hanging out in Pennsylvania meant that I was well and truly motivated to get up early for a hike.

And, I actually mean that I got up kind of early. I was catching a stunning sunrise as I cruised along I-90. My destination was one of the popular and formidable Mt. Si trail.

Catching an early start...
Catching an early start...

Taking the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point

On a Day When Nobody Was Jumping

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: Issaquah Foothills • Places: Poo Poo Point

The Issaquah Foothills, rebranded by boosters as the Issaquah Alps are the perfect, convenient getaway for a hike closer to Seattle.

They have numerous lovely trails that hit a sweet spot of not being too far, nor too strenuous. But many of them are, understandably, rather popular.

Image On Where-Is-Steve
open_in_full   info

One popular hiking destination is Poo Poo Point, a popular jumping spot for paragliders, famed for its lovely views.

Naturally, I went there on a cloudy December day when no one was jumping, but the misty atmosphere of the forest more than made the walk worthwhile.

Image On Where-Is-Steve
open_in_full   info

In Love in Tbilisi (or Maybe Just Drunk)

✍️ 🕑 Late January 2016 • Tags: GeorgiaTbilisibarsgood eatsalcoholjob searchingeta dayseta days • Places: Tbilisi Mtskheta

This memory from the archive is intended to serve as a Valentine's Day post -- mostly because somewhere along the way, someone else tells me that I am in love. Were they right?

It was winter in early 2016.

I was on vacation from teaching, and traveled abroad. I got the flu, and I returned home. I recovered, and somehow, winter break was still happening. Faced with time, but fewer funds, I realized I could still go exactly where I really wanted to. East.

I bought a second grey colored thermal shirt from the corner grocery store, put my waterproof boots back on, and again bought a bus ticket from Turkey to Georgia....

A preview of where I'd be going: Tbilisi, Georgia
A preview of where I'd be going: Tbilisi, Georgia open_in_full   info

Along the Way to Kagan Bay

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: beachesRecreation SitesHaida GwaiiGraham Islandwaterfallsinsect photography • Places: Rennell Sound Recreation Site Bonanza Beach Riley Creek Trailhead Kagan Bay Recreation Site

The trajectory I had ahead of me was clear. The previous evening I felt compelled to trade Agate Beach for Bonanza Beach, to travel from Naikoon to the Rennell Sound.

Image On Where-Is-Steve
open_in_full   info

I knew that I wanted to make the most of my day and see as many beautiful sights as I could near Graham Island's rugged west coast. I also knew that I needed to make my way to Sandspit by the following morning for a tour of Gwaii Hanaas.

And so I meandered back from the Rennell Sound, towards Dajing Giids and Kagan Bay.

Donate To Earthquake Relief in Turkey & Syria

✍️ 🕑 TurkeySyriafelaketnatural disasterstake action

By now, I imagine you're aware of the devastating earthquakes that struck a few days ago near Gaziantep, Turkey. The affected area is huge and monstrous. So far, the count of the dead across Turkey and Syria exceeds 20,000 people, a number that is absolutely inconceivable to me.

When I lived in Turkey, I lived outside of the affected areas. But I visited them. I couchsurfed in them.

I had many students whose families were from those areas. Many of them, I haven't kept in contact with, but there are some whose social media accounts have gone silent, leading me to fear the worst.

I always enjoy the fantasy of meeting again. Crossing paths with a friendly former student with an infectious love for Adana's football team. He's okay, though in his words, "the situation is so scary here."

But there are others with silent social media accounts, and no replies. I'd love to meet again with another former student, a bright-eyed entrepreneur, doing her best to run an independent English school in Antep. Her school was located so close to the citadel, a castle that stood for 2,000 years without crumbling like it did a few days ago. Her social media is silent. My message has no reply. That's all I know. We might not meet again in this life.

And then, there are people who I crossed paths with, who showed me incredible kindness over the years. Is the religion teacher who insisted on paying for my sandwich in Maraş okay? How about the couchsurfing hosts whose accounts disappeared from the internet, and phone numbers from my phone?

I will probably never know.

Survivors need shelter and aid from frigid winter temperatures. I encourage readers to donate to help with earthquake relief.

The most central link I've found, with a group of organizations seeking donations, allowing people to report that they need help, providing gathering places, etc. is this page of links. Please donate if you are able.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these organizaitons.

Annette Lake At Last!

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: lakeswaterfallssnowy hikesice • Places: Annette Lake

As befits a post with "At Last!" in the title, I'm actually writing about a hike I did last November. Yay

Back when I was discussing where to go backpacking with mom, the trail to Annette Lake was a real contender. The problem was, the trail closed for renovations/reconstruction a few days before we planned to go backpacking. And, it didn't re-open until late November...

When I returned to Washington State from my journey to Suriname, I was surprised to find that the skies were clear. There was an unusual, week long stretch of no rain. It was so uncharacteristic of the wet, foggy Washington winter I was expecting. Naturally, I wanted to go for a hike. Seeing as the trail to Annette Lake had recently reopened it seemed like a fun choice.

It was a clear, sunny afternoon -- this is just the view from the trailhead.
It was a clear, sunny afternoon -- this is just the view from the trailhead. open_in_full   info

Wishing & Wandering

2022 & January 2023 In Review

✍️ 🕑 January 2023 • Series: Month in Review52 Frames • Tags: New Yearsfilm photographylife updatesferriesmuseums

Image On Where-Is-Steve

Brace yourself, reader.

Since last December, I've been quite busy, and it's time for me to share a bit of what I've been up to. This post is extra long, because I'm also sharing my reflection on the year 2022, which I probably should have posted at the beginning of the month, but whatever.

We've also got four weekly photography challenges, some tunes that I like, and a plethora of links for other things that you can read elsewhere.