Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wedding Weekend

This past weekend, my dear friend Serena got married at the Kiana Lodge in Suquamish, Washington. Congratulations Mark and Serena! It had a beautiful, quintessential Pacific Northwest feel right on the Puget Sound on the Kitsap Penninsula.
My good friend Anya, who was also a bridesmaid, flew in from Chicago. It was so good to see her! I've been telling her for the last 6 years that I'm going to make it out to Chicago for a visit, but so far that's yet to happen. So I'm glad she had a reason to come out this way.

I'm so happy I was in the country for this wedding and able to be a part of the wedding party. Serena was an incredibly mellow and graceful bride, who made me feel relaxed all weekend with her composure. She also looked amazing. Her gown was custom-made, and included lace from her mother's wedding dress, such a unique and meaningful feature. One of my favorite parts about the experience was getting to know the other bridesmaids, all women who are important in the bride's life. This is such an powerful part of weddings- to bond with new people when you know you share a love for the couple and hope for their upcoming life together. And the bridesmaids were just fun, awesome ladies who I had a blast hanging out with. We did crafts together, made breakfast, and helped each other get ready.

This might be one of the most girly things I've said for a long time, but I was really excited that my hair is finally long enough to put in an updo. I haven't been able to an updo for over 6 years! It was really short (and I loved it!) for about 4 years, but the last couple years have been that unflattering, flippy, grow-out phase. Anya did a really great job of pinning up these curls.
I really enjoyed the whole wedding, but what stood out to me was the honest and personal ceremony, the grounded, spirited energy of the female officiant, the gorgeous but not overly-manicured natural setting, the seasonal salmon and veggie dinner, the family-made DVD of photos of the couple, the hilarious toast by the best man, the old black-and-white wedding portraits of their parents and grandparents (who are still married!), the self-operated photo booth, the dancing, the funny cake topper, and the chance to continue the party after the reception.

I'm so happy for you Mark and Serena, and I wish you a long, happy, joyful life together!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ross Lake

I got back to Seattle from Europe and a few days later headed up to Ross Lake in the North Cascades, off Highway 20. I spent a lovely few days with my friends K and A and their extended family. There are a couple of ways to reach this remote resort, and the way I opted for involves parking at a trailhead and hiking down about a mile to the lake's edge. From there you use a service phone to call the resort across the way so they can send a boat to pick you up. The resort is at the south end of the lake, a row of floating cabins and docks.
The first couple nights, instead of staying at the resort, K, A, and I got a boat ride up-lake to a campsite. The Ross Lake National Recreation Area borders the North Cascades National Park, and there are many designated campsites right on the water, along with trails around the lake and trailheads for the surrounding mountains.

It's from this area that you reach the Desolation Peak trailhead, to get to the fire lookout where Jack Kerouac stayed in the summer of 1956 and inspired his book Desolation Angels. There are many other amazing though less famous hikes, but we opted for staying close to the lake for now, doing a little trail running, light hiking, swimming, and mostly just hanging out. Because we could transport things by boat (thanks to K's sweet father!) we didn't have to pack light. The second day, as we hiked in to our next campsite and K's dad dropped off the gear, two other boats with K's sister and friends showed up on our campsite dock. It was an instant dock party in the middle of this wild lake. Surreal!
On the third day we hiked the 5 miles back to the resort and stayed my last night in a cabin. There were lots of family and friends there so we could be social or enjoy quiet time. We read, swam, sunbathed, cooked, sipped adult beverages, fished, danced, and played games. Oh, and ate a lot of really good food. Thanks to their family for including me on this long-standing family vacation!