Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Dream Hikes

If time, responsibilities and resources weren’t a factor, what would you spend your life doing?  What would make you most happy, give you the most peace and contentment?  My husband and I were thinking about this a few weeks ago, and our answers were identical.  If nothing else mattered, we would spend our days exploring the world’s most majestic hiking destinations.

This Top Ten list is my favorite one to write, but also the most challenging because it’s difficult to choose just ten.  To create my Top Ten, I scoured the internet and researched many lists by the authorities on all things outdoors, nature and hiking: National Geographic, Backpacker and Discovery just to name a few.

My brainstorming process started big and got smaller, I began with the geographic destinations with the most splendid and scenic destinations (Everywhere from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Washington, Peru, Japan).  Then I thought about mountain regions known for the best hiking (The Andes, Appalachians, Sierra Nevada) and I finally narrowed my list down to what I thought were dream hikes, but I also added “bucket list” hikes that are totally doable.  Here are my Top Ten!

10.  Kalalau Trail – The Kalalau Trail winds along the Na Pali Coast located on the island of Kauai.  It’s a strenuous 11 mile hike (22 miles round trip) that begins at Ke’e Beach.  The Na Pali (Cliffs) Coast is described as a very special place because the rugged and narrow cliffs provide the only land access to the remote and legendary Kalalau Valley.  Most people think of tropical beaches when they think of Hawaii, but it’s so diverse in landscape that there’s much more to do than just swim or sunbathe.  This trail is considered one of the best in Hawaii and an absolute must.  Learn more about the trail here.

9.  Half Dome Hike – According to Yosemite’s website, the Half Dome hike is considered the ultimate day hike in Yosemite, “the one you must do before you die, but one you might also die while doing.”  Well of course if they put it that way, it has to be on my list. Honestly though, this is one I could only do in  my dreams due to my fear of heights and fear of falling.  Half Dome is 14-16 miles depending on where you start from, there’s about 5000 feet in elevation gain from the valley, and the most arduous part is the famous -or infamous- Half Dome Cables.  This a section that hikers must climb (without climbing gear) using metal cables, it’s a 400 foot ascent to the summit.

8.  Grand Canyon Rim to Rim – They don’t call it the “Grand” canyon for nothing.  I’ve visited the Grand Canyon before as millions of people have, but according to the National Park’s website, less than 1% of visitors experience the real grandeur, which lies below the Rim.  Just visiting the Grand Canyon and taking in the scenery is like seeing art come to life, or like being on another planet.  I imagine hiking Rim to Rim would be an absolutely unforgettable experience.

7.  Inca Trail – Part of the Andes Mountains, located in Peru, the Inca Trail is undoubtedly the most well known trail in South America, and considered one of the greatest treks in the world.  The trail covers diverse landscape in just 26 miles, from beautiful mountainside to subtropical jungle, and archaeological wonders like the Inca ruins.  The trail ends in the breathtakingly mystical Machu Picchu.

6.  Wonderland Trail – This is one of the most amazing, yet serious hikes in Washington. The WT is 93 miles of splendor circumnavigating Mount Rainier.  With varying degrees of elevation gains and losses daily, and every mile promising different awe-inspiring terrain such as lakes, waterfalls, glacial valleys, alpine and sub-alpine meadows and lush forests, no part of the journey will be identical.  It’s like 9-10 different hikes in one. Experience and skill is recommended  if venturing to hike the WT, and only lucky people that win the annual lottery are given permits for it.  This is a bucket list hike for sure!

5.  Everest Base Camp – There’s just something about accomplishing something that ordinary people don’t get to do.  Towering at 29,029 feet, Mt. Everest is the highest peak in the world.  About 1,000 people a year climb Mt. Everest but probably less than half reach the summit.  It cost something like $30,000 or more to attempt this feat without a guarantee of reaching the top,  not to mention the price one’s body pays at those extreme altitudes.  That being said, the 38 mile trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp is a demanding expedition in itself.  People can do this for a fraction of the cost (about $6000), it’s no stroll in the park, but just to be able to discover the history and culture of Nepal, would be the adventure of a lifetime.

4.  Mt. Fuji – Speaking of summiting peaks, there’s a special feeling of accomplishment and pride after reaching the highest point of something.  Mt. Fuji, or “Fuji-san” is Japan’s highest peak, rising at 12,389 feet.  It’s no Everest, Denali or K2 but it’s a summit that I believe I could take on, because I know people who have.  My brother, my husband and some of friends have climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji, and they’ve described it as a unique and memorable experience.  Despite steep slopes and challenging sections, Mt. Fuji is not limited to experts, people young and old of all shapes and sizes climb this beauty every year.

4.  Anything in Utah – Bryce Canyon. Moab. Zion.  Anything in Utah.  We’ve hiked mountains, forests, and volcanoes, but to hike in a desert like area where you can sleep under the clearest skies and a billion stars would be so awesome.  Utah has the most unique rock formations, and is considered canyon country in the US.

4.  John Muir Trail“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir.  John Muir is known as the “Father of National Parks, his strong influence helped to create the parks we’re able to enjoy today: Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and others.  There are trails, parks and even colleges are named after this man, who as a naturalist and conservationist, taught us the importance of protecting our natural heritage.  The John Muir Trail is an ultimate hiking destination in the US.  The 211 mile hike winds through the Sierra Nevada, beginning in Yosemite and ends at Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental US.  To hike the John Muir Trail would be an homage not just to John Muir, and what he stood for but for my personal love for our natural world.

2.  Pacific Crest Trail – The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is something I could only do if it were possible to take a 6 month break from life, and have all my affairs and responsibilities (my bills, my children, my home) taken care of.  All things considered, and if I was physically able, the PCT would be a dream come true.  The PCT isn’t just a hike, but a journey of 2600+ miles that starts in Mexico, traveling through California, Oregon, Washington, to the Canadian border.  Notable sights include the picturesque Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountain Ranges.  When I think of what completing the PCT would demand of my body, mind and spirit, I admit it’s a pipe dream, but I’ve always been a dreamer. Dreaming is free, so dream big right?

1.  Appalachian Trail –  Everything I said about the PCT, ditto for the AT.  Another pipe dream but this is a “Dream Hikes” list after all, and sometimes dreams do come true! We’ve hiked a small section of the AT, and seeing and meeting people along the trail makes me believe it’s not just possible but totally doable if we had nothing but time, and can take a break from life.  Now that is living the dream!  The AT is approximately 2,190 miles starting from Springer Mountain in Georgia, ending in Mount Katahdin, in Maine.  The AT crosses 14 states and numerous national forests, national parks and state parks.  Notable sights include the Great Smokey Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Alleghenies, Catskills, and more.

Have you hiked any of these famous trails?  With so many hikes out there, it was hard to choose a “Top Ten Dream List”.  Is there a hike you’ve done that rivals one on my list?  Share your thoughts!

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons Fall is the best season!

It seems I may have already introduced this topic when I wrote about what I miss most about Washington, or in the blog post bidding farewell to Summer and hello to Fall, so it’s a no-brainer that Fall is my favorite season.  Summer is just so hot and oppressive, Winter is so cold and depressing, and Spring is just blah!  There are so many reasons to love Autumn or Fall, whatever you want to call it! 🙂

Here are my Top 10 Reasons that Fall is the best season:

10. Sweater Weather – Boots weather, scarf weather, beanie weather, layering clothes.  I love Fall fashion just as much as the next girl, but what I really love about Fall is sweater weather.  I mean…the cool and chilly temperatures mean we don’t have to walk around glistening with sweat everywhere we go.  Summer weather calls for short, close to nothing clothing because we’re itching to peel clothes off to be comfortable.  Is there anything more comfortable than a favorite sweater or hoodie?  Sweater Weather is colder, and my favorite season for working out, training for something like a half marathon.  Sweater weather is also the best weather to just chill out at home, snuggle on the couch and read a book!

9. Two words: Pumpkin. Everything.  Pumpkin picking at the pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, and of course pumpkin flavored everything!  I love pumpkin spice lattes a couple of times during the season, my favorite holiday treats are pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin pie.  The love for pumpkin flavor during this time of year has exploded to pumpkin flavored everything, even Oreos, Pringles, oatmeal, beer, pasta sauce, you name it.

8.  Football Season – It’s that time of year when we root for our favorite football teams, whether it’s a college team, a professional team or maybe your kids play football. There’s nothing like an entire community rooting for their kids at Friday Night Lights, or the excitement of watching our college team playing for nothing but pride on Saturdays, and of course, our favorite NFL teams on Sunday, Monday and Thursdays too!  We love football in our house, football season is one of the top reasons Fall is the best!

7.  Start of Fall shows – Fall is when our television shows come back for a new season.  New shows are also introduced to the lineup.  This season, I started watching Blindspot and Quantico.  They’re great shows so far but my existing favorite shows have returned: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, The Walking Dead, Homeland, The Voice, Dancing With The Stars.  (I know, I watch a lot of tv!)

6.  Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all.  By mere definition alone, it’s just a time to give thanks, be grateful and praise God for blessings.  Sure, we can’t ignore the fact that Thanksgiving has evolved into so much more than the original historical significance of the holiday.  Now, there are extravagant Thanksgiving feasts, huge football games and yes…even Black Friday shopping. But that’s what I love about Thanksgiving, people can celebrate what they’re most grateful for, whatever that is.  For my family, it’s about the Four F’s: Family, Friends, Food and Football.

5.  Fall Colors

I mean do I really need to say anything else about this?  Fall marks the shifting of seasons when the leaves change colors and it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

4.  Bonfires, campfires and starting up the fireplace – Chilly weather means we can start a fire in the fireplace, have bonfires or campfires…and you know what that means…s’mores!

3.  Kids are back in school – I actually wrote another blog post that talks a little about this!  I love summer for about three weeks, one month max, then I’m ready for the kids to go back to school.

 

2.  Comfort Food – Fall weather calls for comforting foods.  Fall is the best time to enjoy comfort food because the cooler fall weather is also the best time for working out. Casseroles, soups and stews, yummy baked goods, the kinds that stick to our ribs and warm our souls.  Our favorite comfort foods are chicken soup, chili, beef stew, arroz caldo, and many more.

1.  Finally, the last reason why Fall is the best season, especially down here in the south…NO BUGS!  Mosquitos, insects of all kinds, they go away in the colder weather.  They finally go back to hell where they belong 🙂

What do you love about Fall?  Did it make my list?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Most Annoying Things on Facebook

Oh Social Media!!  What did we ever do without the ability to share and overshare on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter?  How did we ever keep up with all our friends, families, frenemies and all the trending topics of the world without the swipe and scroll of social media at our fingertips?

I love how Social Media has connected people around the world but there are certainly some Facebook Users, “friends” or posts that make us want to abandon social media all together.  Luckily, there are unfollow and hide buttons for that!  I read an article of the most annoying things on Facebook, I was surprised that I made this list more than once!  We all know them, we may even fall into these categories ourselves, we’re all guilty of commenting, posting or sharing something on social media that others may find annoying.  For this month’s Top Ten,  I’m writing about the Top Ten Most Annoying Things on Facebook, (I’m really just summarizing and paraphrasing the article I read, lol.)  Let’s laugh at ourselves a little bit!  I know I’ve done at least 3 or 4 of these things, how about you?

10. The Whiner / Complainer / Wanker – Oh woe is me!  Life is awful and every day is the worst day ever.  We all have a friend like this.  The one who can’t wait for Summer to arrive and when Summer comes, they complain about the air conditioning bill, but it’s way too hot to do anything outside.  These Debbie Downers just have a tendency to complain about everything and nothing can make them happy.  They may be on an amazing vacation, but they complain about it being the vacation from hell.  Sorry for the language but this E-card is hilarious and so applicable to our Debbie Downer friends, lol!

9.  “Everything is awesome!” Posts –  How is this annoying?  The only people that are annoyed by these types of posts are the Negative Nancies, see #1.  The complete opposite of the Debbie Downer posts are the “Everything is awesome” posts, these posts are about how fabulous peoples’ lives are.  I love these people, they’re my favorite friends.  Pictures of their cute kids on the first day of school (I do this every year!), flowers or gifts from their spouses “just because,” their homes look like they belong in the pages of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine, they travel the world and have cool jobs, pretty much the best lives ever.  We’re all a little jealous of these friends, their theme song in life should be “All I do is win!”  If you have an amazing, awesome life, like oh…say, Tom Brady, more power to you!

8.  The Selfie Kings and Queens – I love a good selfie!  Who doesn’t appreciate a good picture of someone that they took themselves?  Come on, there’s a selfie for everyone!  The mirror selfie, #ootd selfie, the gym selfie, the sweaty selfie or #swelfie, there’s also the selfie with a popular landmark, the “I’m doing something cool” selfie, messy hair selfie, #iwokeuplikethis selfie!  The Selfie has become such a huge cultural phenomenon, they created selfie sticks!  Here are some funny selfies I found online:


7.  Speaking in Hashtags – Notice all the hashtags in #3?  Sometimes, all of those hashtags are in one post or selfie!  Which leads me to another annoying thing on FB, speaking in hashtag!  I’m guilty of adding a hashtag, or two, or three in a post, but some people write a whole paragraph of hashtags in one post! #ridic #cantherebeanymorehashtags

Watch this Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake skit on hashtags!  #hilarious #lol

6.  The Constant Commenter / Liker / Sharer – I totally do this!  I like to comment and like stuff, lots of stuff!  It’s how I socialize, isn’t this social media after all?  I’ve liked and commented on every first day of school picture in my newsfeed this school year (You don’t want to leave anyone out!)  Sometimes though, I’m embarrassed for the constant “commenter/liker/sharer” because the post wasn’t a good thing, like RIP (Insert name of dog or cat here) someone’s dog died, and you obviously shouldn’t “like” that.

5.  Political Rants – Of course these are annoying because if you’re a Democrat, you’re annoyed by the Republicans and vice versa.  If you’re neither Republican or Democrat, then you’re annoyed with both, and if you’re clueless, then you’re just annoying.  Maybe I’m not brave enough, but I just think there are some things I shouldn’t talk about on Facebook.  It’s like that unspoken rule, there are three things you shouldn’t talk about with friends: money, politics and religion. Don’t get me wrong, I love posts that are informative and enlightening but Debbie Downer political rants are kind of annoying.  But you know, whatever!  It’s a free country! Here are some funny E-cards about this very thing:

4.  Photo Overkill – Fitness before and after photos, cute kids and pets photos, vacation photos, food photos.  Photo overkill, we get it, you look fantastic, your kids and pets are cute, and you’re a gourmet chef too?  Photo overkill!  (Totally guilty again 🙂

3.  Cryptic Messages – You’ve seen these messages.  You know, the ones that have just a few words, vague words like “Devastated” or “Feeling depressed.”  Cryptic messages are annoying, I’m the most curious and nosiest person ever so I’d be one of the friends commenting to ask “WTH happened?  Are you okay?  Is there something I can do to help?  Pleeease tell me what that cryptic message means!!

2.  Excessive Tagging – Have you ever been tagged on a post, or a picture and you weren’t even there?  Like dude, I wasn’t even there!

1.  Game or Random Event Invites – Please don’t send me any more Candy Crush invites, thanks!

Getting invited to random events

Which of these do you think is most annoying?  Better yet…which of these do you do that may annoy your friends???

Top Ten Tuesday: Uniquely Filipino

I’ve been reminiscent of the Philippines lately, missing family and just the Motherland in general.  Call this a Top Ten Things I love about being Filipino or what I miss most about the Philippines.  This is a blog that had to be written!  For this month’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m writing about things that are “Uniquely Filipino.”

10.  Big Families – It doesn’t matter if you’re an only child, if you’re Filipino, you’re part of a big family.  Your cousins, cousins twice and thrice removed, neighbors and in-laws are just like your immediate family (sometimes you’re all even living under one roof, no joke!).  There’s nothing like the unconditional, limitless, love from those that share your blood and name, but blood and name aren’t the only things that make a family.  In the Philippines, everyone that attends one of your parties is an Auntie or Uncle, lol!  I miss my BIG family.

9.  Public Transportation – In the Philippines, you don’t need to own a vehicle to get around.  Most people get around using public transportation.  The Philippines has the most varied types of transportation available and accessible to everyone, of anywhere I’ve ever been.  I’m not talking about buses or taxis, I mean jeepneys, tricycles, kalesa, and even three wheeler bikes called “pedicabs.”  Check these out:

#onlyinthephilippines

The “jeepney” is a colorfully decorated jeep-like vehicle that seats anywhere between 6 to 20 people and since they don’t go very fast, and they typically have fixed routes, people hang on the back of them, it’s all good!

Philippine Tricycle
“Kalesa” or horse drawn carriage in the Philippines.

8.  Street Food – Asian countries have the best street food, and of course I’m biased but I think the Philippines has the best street food there is.  Sweet potato fries, sweet corn, grilled meats of all kinds, beverages like coconut juice and soda in a plastic bag, and there are also plenty of “exotic” or “authentic” varieties to choose from.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can find street food for any meal!

7.  Fresh Food – “Farm to table” isn’t just a recently coined cool phrase .  In the Philippines, it’s a way of life.  I don’t really remember going to the grocery store for food shopping trips in the Philippines, instead we went to the market (called “Palengke”), everything was fresh from the farm, the sea or freshly picked off the trees.  If I wanted papaya, avocado or mango, I just went to someone’s house.  We had a papaya tree in the front of our house, our neighbor had an avocado tree and I recall there’s always someone I knew that had a garden of peppers or other fresh ingredients.

6.  Terms / Greetings of Respect – In the Philippines, there’s a term of respect for everyone: an older sibling, elders, employers, teachers, and other authority figures.  There is also “mano po” a tradition, or custom used in greeting any of those figures.  Think of it as a bow in Japan, it’s a gesture rooted in respect and adds formality.  “Mano” is a greeting where one takes the back of  an elder’s hand lightly to their forehead, it’s a sign of respect taught to children as young as babies.

Mano Po

5.  Household Help – It’s not uncommon for average, or even lower income families to have an abundance of household help in the Philippines.  Everyone needs to make a living, and household help was inexpensive.  An average family may have: housekeepers, maids, nannies (yaya), gardeners, or drivers.  They’re technically employees but some people stay with families so long, they become extended family.  I remember in college we had help in the house, even my son Dean experienced having his own nanny. When he first returned to Washington, he would often tell me “I miss Ruby!” (his yaya).

4.  Food Delivery – This is different from street food, vendors actually ride or carry their load around in neighborhoods and call out “tahoooooo” (fresh silken tofu with tapioca beads in a vanilla flavored beverage).  In the Philippines, the food comes to you, kind of like the ice cream man.  Common food vendors that roam the neighborhoods are ice cream, pan de sal, halo halo or balut.  All I have to do is bring out my tall glass or dish, and pay!

#onlyinthePhilippines

3.  Multi-lingual people – In the Philippines, Filipinos are at the very least, bilingual.  Some know more than two languages because the Philippines has many different regions that have their own dialect.  In most schools and businesses, English is taught and widely used.  Filipino or Tagalog is considered the national language.  I can speak three languages fluently. Well, technically, I can speak English and two Filipino dialects. The coolest thing about being multi-lingual in the Philippines is that it’s totally possible for two Filipinos to be speaking in their own dialect, and others won’t understand them at all!

2.  Filipino Food – Okay, I’m going back to food again.  I can’t help it, it’s such a huge part of our culture, it’s hard to ignore.  I never met anyone who didn’t love a lumpia.  Lumpia is basically a Philippine eggroll and everyone loves them.  The one thing a Filipino will be requested to bring to any pot luck is lumpia and trust me, they’re always gone within minutes so you have to bring a thousand.  There’s vegetable lumpia, lumpiang Shanghai (meat and veggies) and even banana lumpia. Be you a vegetarian, a vegan, paleo lover, there’s a lumpia for everyone.

1.  Filipino Mafia – It really exists.  A Filipino can go anywhere in this world, and they will most likely meet other Filipinos that will adopt them into their fold.  We’re clannish that way.  A Filipino will seek out other Filipinos in their community, or their place of work almost like it’s a gravitational pull.  I learned this on board an aircraft carrier when I served in the Navy.  Filipinos stick together, and it was almost like being part of an exclusive club that helped “hook me up” because someone knew someone who could get my laundry done when laundry was closed, or someone who could get me rice when the galley wasn’t even serving it.  I mean, people in general tend to stick with those they lots in common with, but being Filipino in a foreign country is like a badge of honor.

Washington is home because it’s where the Navy sent us for most of Jeremy’s Navy career.  Ultimately, home is where our little family is, but the Philippines will always have half of my heart and I’m so proud to call it home too!  I wish it were easier to fly to the Philippines and spend time with my family.  For now, I will reminisce about how great it will be to finally go on vacation to the Philippines…one day!!

Top Ten Tuesday: What I Miss about Washington

We’ve lived in Florida about 6 months now.  While we like it here in the Pensacola area, we miss Washington!  There’s no place like home.  Today, I’m posting my first “Top 10 Tuesday” which I’ll do every first Tuesday of the month.  As an Ode to Washington, I’m posting the Top 10 things I miss most!

10.  The Mountains – Oh how we miss the mountains!  The Cascades.  The Olympics. The breathtaking, magnificent views are unparalleled, you have to remember to pick up your jaw when you see these sights in person, and each time you see them it’s like seeing them for the first time.  The mountains surrounded us, almost serving as our daily reminder to come outside, explore something new, take in God’s beauty.  I don’t just miss the beauty of the mountains but the feeling of being with nature: bliss, calmness, peace.

Cascade Mountains.  I had to steal an image from the web because I don’t own a fancy camera, but even the best camera ever couldn’t do these views justice.

The Olympics.  I mean…even if you don’t hike or backpack, you can appreciate the beauty they possess.

9.  Coffee – You haven’t seen a caffeine addiction like that of a Washingtonian’s.  In the small town of Oak Harbor where we lived, there were 4 coffee houses and about 6 coffee stands, this is all within a 5-mile radius.  There’s literally a coffee stand on every corner, and that’s just in my small town.  If any of my Washington friends want to send me some coffee, here are my faves:

Image result for whidbey coffee 

8.  Sweater Weather – You can wear a sweater 365 days a year in Washington, even in the middle of summer you may feel a cool breeze, especially if you live by the water.  Sweater weather is my favorite weather!  Layers, scarves, boots, I’m all about it!

7.  Misty Rain – Since we’re on the topic of weather, I even miss the misty kind of rain we got in Washington.  I love the rain, there’s just something about its cleansing and soothing effect that makes me feel relaxed and comfortable. When people here ask if we left Washington because of the rain, I have to laugh because Florida probably gets more rainfall (in inches)  than Washington.  In the Pacific Northwest, we got a misty drizzle, drip type of rain, yes it would fall all day, but I could still do stuff: run errands, run or hike, because as they say “If you wait for perfect weather to do something, you won’t do anything!”  I never had to use an umbrella in Washington, now I have an umbrella in my car because down here, we get what Forrest Gump calls “big ol’ fat rain!”  Case in point:

IMAG3632Rain in Florida.

IMG_88498830144868Rain in Washington.

6.  Outdoor Activities – Backpacking, Camping, Hiking.  There’s so much to do in Washington, and this is where my husband and I truly discovered our inner “outdoorsmen.”  Washington’s Hiking trails are some of the best in the country, I could probably search everywhere and not find trails that compare to the ones in Snoqualmie or Olympic National Park.  I miss them so much!

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L-R: Mt. Pilchuck, Goat Lake, Fort Casey, Big Four Ice Caves.

5.  Washington Craft Beers – I don’t drink so this actually for my husband.  There’s over 200 craft breweries in Washington, a haven for a beer enthusiast.

30 Things No One Tells You About Leaving Washington

4.  The Greenery – They don’t call it the Evergreen State for nothing.  See #1 and #5, you get the picture(s)!  Okay, here’s one more…

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3.  Nature – Clean air, bald eagles soaring overhead while I’m on a run, deer crossing the street in my old neighborhood.  Washington isn’t just a state with wondrous natural beauty, but it’s a state where people have a reverence for nature and preserving the planet.  Recycling bins everywhere, bans on plastic bags, I’m down!

2.  Pet Friendliness – Sadly, pets aren’t welcome everywhere like they are in Washington.  We used to take Junior everywhere we went: public parks, the beach, dog parks, hiking trails, camping.  Now we have to make sure he’s even welcome 😦

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1.  Deception Pass Bridge – Every time we drove off the island, my husband and I would joke about how people come from everywhere to see the bridge, take selfies and pictures.  There are people on this bridge every. single. day!  Rain or shine, it’s really quite an attraction.  Every time we come back from a trip, or from living somewhere else, when we get to the bridge, we immediately announce… “we’re home!”  There’s just something about this bridge that is familiar, and it always feels like it’s welcoming us home 🙂