21 June, 2010

Solstice Celebration

Today was the first sunny day all month - and it's summer solstice, which is always bittersweet for me: beginning of summer, beginning of shorter days.  Sure, it won't be noticeable for a few weeks, but my heart knows it and mourns just a little.  (Winter solstice is the same for me: "official" beginning of winter, but also the beginning of longer days.)  My friend Jennifer invited me to go hike Blueberry Loop after work, so we could take advantage of the sun - sweet!
Unfortunately, by the time we were headed up the road, there were angry, dark clouds surrounding the area we intended to visit.  So instead we turned south for a drive.  Beluga Point is always nice - I've never seen the whales as they're cruising up the inlet, but the view is worth the drive.  We took some pictures - do you know how hard it is to get a decent picture in the self-portrait mode?  I mean, without cutting off heads, including the pretty background, and avoiding my 50 chins??  Well, we were lucky and got a few good shots - Jennifer's contagious smile helps a lot!
Not wanting to go home just yet, we backtracked a bit to McHugh Creek.  It's an area for exploring and hiking and goofing off, with a pretty water fall to boot (which we didn't make it to - I guess that's for another trip).  We started wandering around the area, looking for... yup! geocaches.  =)  Apparently there are several in the area, and the search gave us a little direction for our aimless wanderings.  (Note: We were using Jennifer's iPhone as a GPS.  How handy!  We could get directions, information about the cache, and the distance - just as if we had a regular GPS.  We also got pictures we used as hints to help find the caches.  Nice!)
We found an overlook - the same area where they did the rappelling I posted about here (I was too chicken to do it, but Anita did - and loved it!).  Then we wandered into the woods.  Can I just say that I absolutely *LOVE* my new hiking boots?  I've been wearing them to work on Fridays - Jeans Day - and on my charity walks to break them in, but today was the first day I've been hiking in my hiking boots.
I'll never be the spry little mountain goat that clambers over every gnarled tree root and boulder in the path without a care in the world.  My lack of grace and my vertigo ensure that.  But today, we were climbing up and over and around and back again...  and I didn't cry like a baby.  Not once.  Oh. My. Goodness!!  (Okay, there were a couple spots where I may have hyperventilated and peed myself a little, but not one salty droplet escaped my leaky faucet eyeballs.)
And we found the cache.  And made it back down in one piece, without ever encountering a bear.  A serious adventure!  No crying, successful climbing, two for two in cache finds, and no bear maulings.  What more can you ask for on Summer Solstice Eve?  What?  You're asking for the sun to come back out and play?  Okay.  Just for you.
And that is how I celebrated Summer Solstice.  My legs are jello (strawberry with Cool Whip, if you please), that's slowly firming up into what's more like those jello shapes (instead of just the bowl of jello).  By tomorrow, the first day since December that's going to be shorter than the previous day, I'll be recovered and ready for... Blueberry Loop - if it's not raining, like the forecast says it will.  So I leave you with a view from my deck at 11:30pm tonight.
Happy Solstice, everyone!!

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