Enchanted Valley + Trail Cookies

I'm writing this as I sit on the front porch of my childhood home in Vermont, savoring a cup of hot tea with milk and honey and trying to fight the urge to nap instead of write. In front of me, across the gravel road, is a sunny, green cow pasture dotted with blooming wildflowers. The cows just went in for milking and we (my dad, Noah, and I) just got back from a quick mountain bike ride on the single track crisscossing the woods in back of our house. Life is good. Coming back home is always good. A respite from the go, go, go of city life in Seattle. 

But this post isn't about Vermont, it's about our recent trip into the Olympic National Park to the Enchanted Valley. There is something so deeply satisfying about heading off into the woods with everything you need (hopefully...) strapped to your back. This was actually my first backpacking trip ever and I'm kind of embarrassed to say that. I've done plenty of hiking and car camping, but for some reason have never actually gone on an overnight backpacking trip. What was I thinking! Backpacking is awesome and now I'm hooked.

The trail that we chose for my first hike was a pretty easy one. Mostly flat, well-traveled, and easily done in 4 days. We had heard that the Enchanted Valley was, well, enchanting, and definitely a highlight of the Olympic Peninsula, so we decided to give it a try for Noah's birthday weekend. My plan was to make some trail bars for the hike, but two days before we were supposed to leave I got a nasty 24 hour bug and spent the next few days recovering. Needless to say, the trail bars didn't happen, but the following recipe for trail cookies will be on the snack list for next time.

I'm not going to narrate every step of our trip because that would make this a long and boring post, but here are the the highlights that we will remember:

- The gravel road. At the beginning and end of our trip we had to hike along a two mile stretch of gravel road to Grave's Creek Campground where the trailhead to the Enchanted Valley started. Winter storms had washed out a section of the road, making impassable by car. It was fine at the beginning, we had fresh legs. But on the last day those two miles were torture. We were exhausted from the 15 miles we had just hiked out from the valley and my footwear wasn't the best so my feet were on fire with blisters. Noah and I didn't talk for those two miles. The rest of the trip was great, though!

- Our first night was spent at Pyrites campsite after hiking in for about 13 miles. We were definitely glad that we stopped here instead of continuing on to the Valley because those last four miles on the second day were the prettiest and we wanted to see it in the morning light

- The forest! We weren't strangers to the Olympic Peninsula or National Park, but every time we go we're reminded of how beautiful it is. The old growth trees - firs, cedars, and hemlocks - are draped with lichen and the forest is intersperested with light-filled meadows and crystal clear streams. Berries are everywhere - blackberries, thimbleberries, huckleberries, blueberries... Enchanting indeed. The only drawback was that we didn't see any black bears. Almost every other hiker we talked to did :( 

- The blowdowns. Holy moly the blowdowns! At one point in the hike we came to the river and it looked like a massive giant had stormed through the valley. Huge trees were blown down in every direction over and in the river and the trail turned into an obstacle course. Thankfully, we weren't the first ones hiking in since the winter storms, so a nice path through and over the trees had already been established

- When we made it to the Valley and chalet on the second day, we opted to camp down by the river rather than up in the main campsite by the tree line. Our campsite was well equipped with a clothes line (noah carved some clothespins), a table made out of sun bleached wood from the riverbed and a tree stump for a base, and a some log benches next to the fire. It was a perfect setup and the privacy was great

- That first night in the Valley, right after collecting firewood, we were hit by a heavy downpour. We were just able to string up the tent footprint over the log benches as a tarp roof before the worst of the rain hit. We stayed mostly dry :) Thankfully we had started a fire before going to get firewood, so we had hot coals to work with when the rain came

- Showering under waterfalls = best showers ever. It was a bit of a trek to get to the thinly cascading waterfall on the other side of the Valley, but so worth the effort after a day of hiking and sweating profusely

- On our way out on the last day, we hiked most of the trail with a ranger who entertained us with stories of his time with the Park Service and Navy. When we were passing through the blowdown section, his radio chatter started going and we heard that someone in the trail crew working with chainsaws had been 'tagged'. We couldn't figure out what had happened until we rounded a bend and saw a section of the path blocked off. Apparently one of them had disturbed a hornet's nest and was stung multiple times. Yikes!

It was a short trip, but definitely a good one. I can't wait to set out and explore more trails and forests by foot with everything that we need strapped to our back. Including these trail cookies (recipe below)

// Trail Cookies // Makes 12 cookies
These cookies are everything a trail cookie should be: salty, sweet, not crumbly, covered in chocolate, and easily eaten by hand. Unfortunately these ones didn't make it on our hike to the Enchanted Valley because I came down with a nasty 24-hour bug two days before we left, but they will definitely be in our packs for the next trip. Or maybe before that... 

Dry ingredients
1 3/4 cups spelt flour
2/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup peanuts
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Wet ingredients
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well

2. In large bowl, stir together the ground flax seed and water and let sit five minutes. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the flax seeds and mix until well combined. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until a dough has formed

3. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spoon or scoop 1/4 cup of dough onto the parchment paper about 1 inch apart (they won't spread much while baking). Flatten cookies into a round, disk shape. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack

Spain part 3: Southern France + Rosemary Cornmeal Pancakes with Red Wine Figs

It was never our plan to go to France. It actually never even crossed our minds until we got to Zarautz. Our plan was to explore as much of Spain as we could in three short weeks without feeling rushed. Crossing a border was not something we had even considered. But in Zaratuz we found ourselves at a crossroad. We could drive 8 hours south to Granada (our original plan) to experience southern Spain’s frenzied Easter celebrations or we could… we weren’t sure, but we knew that spending a whole day in the car driving from north coast to south coast wasn’t very appealing. It just didn’t feel right. But what to do? After going back and forth for hours, we eventually asked our airbnb host what she would do for a week before needing to be back in Barcelona for a flight out. Hands down, she said go back through Southern France. So that’s what we did.

Once we entered France, the mood and atmosphere changed immensely. The north coast of Spain is very laid back, open, and easy going. The villages are painted in light tones like beige, terra cotta, and white and people are always out and about. Southern France - the part that borders the Pyrenees - is dark and almost sinister in a beautiful way. The tiny cluster of houses that make up the villages are roofed with a dark, glossy shale and have an eerie abandoned feel to them, almost like they haven’t been touched since medieval times. 

Our first night in France was spent in Ore. Not because Ore is a popular destination town or because somebody suggested that we should go there, but because Ore was where I found an airbnb within driving distance from the border. We really had no idea where to go or what to do in France nor do either of us speak French. We were kind of like fish out of water, but that’s how we tend to travel, for better or worse. One day at a time. Ore turned out to be great, though, albeit a bit deserted. We spent the early evening exploring the narrow stone streets that were devoid of human life (where was everyone?) and were captivated by a gothic graveyard that looked like it came straight out of a Tim Burton movie. Definitely eerie, but beautiful in an haunting sort of way 

The real highlight for us in France, though, was a total unexpected gem. After Ore, we continued east along the north side of the Pyrenees passing through small village after small village until we came to Galey, home of L’Ancienne Bergerie Bed & Breakfast hosted by Becks and Kevin. The B&B is actually a converted barn that has been beautifully and meticulously restored inside and out. It sits on a ridge overlooking the cloud-encased Pyrenees and dark shale roofs of Augirein below. The surrounding area is a honeycomb of miles and miles of great hiking trails that we explored and got lost in. We only spent one night at the B&B, but I could have stayed a week. Becks - an unofficial chef - prepared a five-course dinner for Noah and I and a Spanish couple visiting from Barcelona (their third time there). We drank Kevin’s homemade herbal wine for an aperitif then sat down for the feast. The first course was toast with local foie gras followed by braised rabbit, local camembert goat cheese from a fromagerie we stumbled across on one of our walks (baby goats galore!), wine poached pears, and lots of red wine. It was decadent! Not staying another night at L’Ancienne Bergerie might be our only regret of the trip…

Our last three days in France were a little rushed, mainly because it was Easter and we didn’t have any airbnb’s booked. We ended up spending one night in Sete during the height of a tall ships festival, which was fun, but the small city was insanely packed with people. For our last night in France we continued south along the coast to Collioure, a whitewashed coastal town recommended to us by the Spanish couple at the B&B. We really liked Collioure for its lazy atmosphere, good food, and artistic current - we definitely could have spent more time here as well. Our last French meal was at the outdoor patio of La Cuisine Comptoir who’s red wine poached figs were the inspiration of this posts recipe. They were so simple, but so delicious and a perfect ending for our Spain/France sojourn.

// Rosemary Cornmeal Pancakes with Red Wine Figs // - makes about 10-12 pancakes
This recipe was inspired by a dessert we had in Collioure, France. The dessert was just red wine poached figs, fresh cinnamon whipped cream, and candied walnuts, but it was one of our favorite dishes we had on the trip. So simple, but so delicious! While this recipe isn't quite the same rendering, it's no less satisfying. Perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch. The figs can be made a couple of days in advance and kept in the fridge for 1-2 weeks

For the red wine figs:
1 pint fresh figs, about 8 whole
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

For the pancakes:
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon flaxseed, ground
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Butter or oil for cooking

For the walnut-honey syrup:
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 inch piece rosemary

Plain yogurt or creme fraiche to serve

1. Cut the figs in half lengthwise and place cut-side down in a deep glass or ceramic baking dish. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the red wine, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Pour red wine mixture over figs and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake figs for 20-25 minutes, then flip so cut-side is facing up and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove figs from oven and let cool slightly. With a slotted spoon transfer figs to a bowl. Pour remaining red wine sauce into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until thick and syrupy, about 10-20 minutes. Let cool then pour sauce over figs and set aside

2) For the pancakes, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and rosemary in a large bowl and mix well. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, yogurt, flaxseed, melted butter, and maple syrup. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup cupfuls of batter onto skillet and cook until bubbles form on top and edges turn golden brown. Flip and cook until browned on the other side and cooked through. Keep pancakes warm in oven set at lowest temperature

3) To make the honey-walnut syrup, combine the walnuts, honey, water, vanilla, and rosemary piece in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until honey dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble ferociously. Cook 1 minute more then remove from heat

4) To serve, top pancakes with yogurt or creme fraiche, fig halves, and honey-walnut syrup

Spain part 2: Basque Country + A Spanish Tortilla

Welcome to Spain part 2! After exploring Barcelona by foot and bike for a few days, we rented a car and headed west toward wine and Basque Country. Our first stop was Logrono where we got our first taste of real Spanish (or Basque) tapas called pintxos. We sampled them according to tradition - hopping from bar to bar (each bar is known for its special pintxos) and with copious amounts of red wine. If you aren't familiar with pintxos, they're basically little bites of food skewered on top of crusty baguette slices with a toothpick. Bars display plates loaded with a wide variety of colorful pintxos on their countertops and patrons choose the ones that they want. You pay for the toothpicks later. The great thing about pintxos is that wine is basically free. Seriously! Single pintxos cost anywhere between 2-6 euros and you usually get a half glass of wine with that :) Truthfully, though, Noah and I were a bit disappointed with our pintxos experience in Logrono. There were only a few amazing standouts - freshly grilled fish and turkey and buttery mushrooms with a tiny shrimp on top. The rest of the pintxos were ok, but that was probably because they sat out on countertops for hours to accommodate the tourists who eat between 5-7pm and the locals who eat any time after 9pm. Definitely go for the pintxos that are grilled or sautéed to order! Another pintxo peculiarity that dismayed us was that after ordering, the pintxos get zapped in a microwave. We'd point to a tasty looking one that had beautiful ribbons of Iberico ham on top and before we could say "no microwave" into the microwave it went for 60 long seconds. The ham (or whatever else was on top) would come out sad looking and defeated. Sigh. Again, go for the pintxos that are fresh. 

After Logrono, we made a pit stop in the medieval defense-turned-wine town of Laguardia. No cars are allowed in the walled area, so we spent the rainy, chilly afternoon walking the narrow stone streets and ducking into little bodegas for snacks and wine. A bodega is basically a wine cellar that serves pintxos and local - often made-in-house - wine. Underneath Laguardia is a honeycomb of wine cellars and we decided to visit the caves of Carlos San Pedro Perez de Vinaspre for a wine tour. Unfortunately, the next tour wasn't in English, but it was really cool to see the musty, moldy old cellar where their wine is made and aged. Coming from a country where almost everything food-related is sterile and stainless steel, it was striking to see the balls of mold on the walls and bottles caked in grime. These people know the benefits of good bacteria! 

After leaving Laguardia, we headed north to the heart of beautiful Basque country. We passed epic landscapes of vibrant green hills, abandoned stone villages, and densely wooded forests. Basque country is easily one of the prettiest places I've visited yet and that's just from seeing it during early spring. We'd love to go back in summer! Our stop for the next three nights was in a tiny, tiny town called Elortza. We had booked an airbnb there mainly because the host has two donkeys and I have a huge soft spot the furry beasts. This stop turned out to be one of our favorite highlights from the trip. Phil - our host - took us on a day hike with the donkeys (Momo and Django) into the surrounding hills and we explored the depths of a crystal-studded limestone cave. Amazing! Hiking with donkeys is not a rushed affair, so we took our time and enjoyed the fresh air and Basque countryside. The recipe inspired by this leg of our trip is a Spanish tortilla that Momo made every effort to eat when we stopped for lunch atop a steep bluff overlooking the valley. Who knew donkeys liked eggs and potatoes?! 

The last leg of our journey through Basque country was along the northern Bay of Biscay coast from Elantxobe - a tiny fishing town built into steep coastal hills that slide into the ocean - to Zarautz, one of our favorite towns that we visited in Spain. The road between the two towns is rugged and beautiful, dotted with small villages with names like Ea and Lekeitio. Zarautz is a mid-size town right on the coast with a great, laid back feel and a gigantic sandy beach. We didn't spend much time in the popular San Sebastion, but I got the feeling that Zarautz was sort of like its lesser known cousin with amazing boutique shops and great restaurants. Our airbnb host sent us on a great walk from the town center of Zarautz along backroads to the neighboring town of Getaria. We passed an abandoned and graffitied coliseum that definitely looked out of place amid the vineyards and sheep pastures, but would be a perfect venue for a music or skateboarding video. I practiced my handstands. In Getaria, we spent a few hours walking around, had a fantastic lunch, then walked back along the coastal footpath to Zarautz, taking some time to sit on the rocks and watch the ocean splash at our feet 

Next up: Southern France and a decadent breakfast

// Spanish Tortilla // serves 6-8
A Spanish tortilla isn't what you normally think of when you hear 'tortilla'. Most people think of Latin American tortillas made out of flour or corn and food like quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, etc... But a Spanish tortilla has neither flour or corn - it's made almost entirely of potatoes, eggs, onion, and olive oil. It's kind of like a frittata, but better. A note about the olive oil: this recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of olive oil. Don't freak out, you don't actually consume all that oil, it's just used to fry the potatoes and onions and the rest is saved for another use (like salad dressings). I added kale to this recipe because I'm a greens fanatic, but feel free to leave it out for a more traditional version. Oh, and watch out for donkeys - they like Spanish tortillas.

1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, about 1 1/2 cups sliced
2 pounds yukon gold or russet potatoes
2 1/4 teaspoons salt (2 teaspoons if you're sensitive to salt)
8 eggs
1/2 cup packed parsley, chopped
6 large lacinato kale leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Gently heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed deep frying pan or skillet. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion slices and cook for 8-10 minutes or until they're translucent, but not super soft. Stir often

2. While the onions are cooking, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4" thick rounds. Add the potatoes and salt to the onions and oil. Try to submerge the potatoes as best you can under the oil for even cooking. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes over low heat, checking on the potatoes every so often to make sure they're all cooking evenly (i.e. stir and flip as needed). The potatoes are done when they can be easily pierced with a  fork or knife. With a slotted spoon, transfer onions and potatoes into a colander placed over a bowl to catch the extra oil. Pour out remaining oil from pan and save for another use

3. Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Whisk in most of the parsley and all of the kale if using (reserve some parsley for garnish). Add 3 tablespoons of oil back into the frying pan and turn heat on low. Layer onions and potatoes in the skillet, flattening them out as best you can. Pour eggs over onions and potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Gently pull away the sides of the tortilla from the pan with a spatula to allow eggs to run over the side and cook. When eggs are mostly done, place tortilla in oven to finish cooking for 3-5 minutes. Turn oven on to broil and broil top for 1-2 minutes. Remove tortilla from oven, let cool 5 minutes then either flip tortilla upside down onto a plate or slide it out of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature 

Spain part 1: Barcelona + Artichoke, Sausage and Pine nut Sauté

This post is long overdo. Last time we posted on Traveling Fork was over two months ago and we said the next time you'd hear from us we'd be in Spain. Well Spain has come and gone and now it's the middle of June. Where does time go! It seems like our trip was just yesterday but also a lifetime ago. Not sure how that works... But we're back and excited to get started on posting recipes and travel stories again. We have lots of exciting ideas in the works! First, though, let's talk about Spain (and then France)...

We started our trip in Barcelona. After traveling for 16 hours from Seattle, we arrived at the city center at about 9am, wondering what we were going to do - jet-lagged and toting our bags - until 2pm when we could check into our airbnb. We found a little cafe that sat beneath a gigantic medieval stone church (one of the many in Barcelona) and sipped on small coffees that we would later learn to order as cortados. After caffeinating, we decided to jump onto a double decker hop-on-hop-off sight-seeing tour bus that whisked us to the different neighborhoods of Barcelona. We're not typically keen on doing these types of tours, but the bus was perfect for our jet-lagged situation. We didn't actually get off the bus (expect to switch to the second line) because we were too exhausted to even think about figuring out a plan. 

Neither Noah or I are big city people (yet we live in a big city...) so our plan was to spend a couple of nights in the gothic quarter, explore the sights, then book it west toward Basque country. The following days were filled with delicious tapas, €2 glasses of wine, lots of walking and exploring, window shopping, and of course, siestas. Despite not loving big cities, Noah and I found Barcelona to be extremely charming and livable. The pace of life was laid back, everyone was super friendly, and there were no mega box stores; everyone had their own little cute boutique shop .We both agreed that we could spend several months blending into the city. Maybe that's just the €2 glasses of wine and siestas talking, though... 

Highlights of Barcelona:
- Renting bikes and cruising through the narrow alleyways of the Gothic and Born neighborhoods then down the waterfront esplanade. This is probably our favorite memory of Barcelona
- The markets! I loved wandering through the stalls and crowded aisles of Santa Catarina market and La Boqueria. So many amazing smells, textures, colors, tastes, and varieties of cheeses, sausages, and olives. Try the yayas - they're amazing!   
- Cafe Bar Centric restaurant. We ate here twice because it's that good. The artichoke and sausage sauté recipe in this post is inspired by a dish we had there
- Parc Guell. The park was ok - we're not really into tourist attractions like this. My favorite part of that experience was listening to a busker play guitar under a stone colonnade while waiting out a downpour
- Our epic walk up to Parc del Laberint d'Horta, a beautiful and lightly visited park north of the city. From there we came back through north Barcelona and climbed up Parc del Carmel (behind Parc Guell) to get a widespread view of the city
- Sit-down coffee in tiny glass cups. Seriously. We loved taking 10 minutes in the morning to sit down in a small coffee shop to enjoy our cortados and watch the city move around us. This is one habit we've tried to maintain back home: no to-go cups and 10 minutes to just enjoy the coffee
- Quiche at The Pan's Club (strange name, but the quiche's are amazing!)
- Dumplings at Mosquito in the Gothic Quarter. Not exactly Spanish cuisine, but some of the best dumplings we've ever had

Market in Spain

// Artichoke, Sausage + Pine Nut Saute // serves 4-6
The inspiration for this recipe came from a dish that we had at Cafe Bar Centric in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona. Their dish was just artichoke hearts, sausage, and lots of olive oil. It was so good that we ordered it twice! I found that I needed to add more variety and flavors to make this recipe work, though. Use the highest quality sausage you can get your hands on. It's worth it! 

6 small artichokes
1 lemon, halved and juiced
4 chorizo sausages, about 6" in length  
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
black pepper to taste
Lemon slice to serve

1. Fill a large bowl with cool water and add lemon juice and lemon halves. Cut the stems off the artichokes and remove the outer 2-3 layers of tough leaves. Discard leaves and stems. Continue to remove the outer leaves of the artichokes, placing the leaves in the lemon water as you go, until you get to the tender inner leaves. The tender part will be mostly yellow or bright green. Once all the outer leaves are removed, cut off the pointy, sharp tips of the inner artichokes and discard tips. You need to cut off more than you think, about 1/2 inch, or else they'll be too tough to chew. Working quickly to prevent browning, quarter artichoke hearts, roughly scoop our fuzz if there is any, and place in lemon water

2. Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water to blanch artichokes. Bring a big pot of water to boil and salt heavily. Add artichoke leaves and hearts and boil for 3-4 minutes. Add sausage links and boil for another 4 minutes. Drain and immediately add artichokes to ice water. Set sausages aside and slice into rounds when cool

3. Gently heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or frying pan. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and leaves, white wine, and salt. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently then add sausages. Cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes. When artichokes are soft and sausages are cooked all the way through, turn off heat and add pines nuts, parmesan, most of the parsley (reserve some for garnish), and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately with lemon slices

A Trip to Sequim

Noah and I took a quick trip this past week out to the rugged Olympic Peninsula to his parents house (who are in the process of moving down from Alaska, so it was only the two of us). There, we cooked, baked, hiked, photographed, puzzled, watched movies, and drank hot toddies by the wood fire. It was glorious. And a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of Seattle. I happened to have time off because I'm starting a new job on Monday (exciting!) and Noah was burned out after a seven day work week. 

We left Seattle in Noah's clunky, but adorable, orange VW bus packed with pretty much our whole kitchen and headed North to the ferry. The ferry ride was gray and the sky was spitting rain, but it was good to feel the fresh breeze on our skin and know that we were on an adventure. We both live for adventures. Our first adventure to the Olympic Peninsula together was over two years ago. The orange VW bus was packed with camping gear, not kitchen gadgets, and Noah and I were still new to each other. The bus had different ideas though, and started overheating just before the turnoff to Port Townsend. Noah made a valiant attempt at repairs, but the exhaust fumes and temperature gauge made us turn back toward Seattle. Back in front of our house, we unpacked the bus, repacked everything in a different car, and drove all the way back to the ferry once again. Adventures are adventures no matter where they lead you.     

The next three days in Sequim were filled with numerous hours in the kitchen followed by photo shoots and eating lots of food, including a whole loaf of homemade sourdough bread. In between oven timers I would dash into the next room to put a puzzle piece in place and then dash back out, jumping over camera wires, to check on whatever was in the oven or bubbling on the stove. The wine was opened around 5 while we cleaned up the day's mess and took the last shots, then we'd relax for a bit before dinner, me with my puzzle, and Noah with his bread making book. The evenings were finished with a movie. If only every day could be like this... 

...we were trespassing on fairy land.

We did leave the house a couple of times. We walked down to the neighbors to see if there were any fresh eggs for sale (we scored two cartons) and we had to make several emergency trips to the little store down the road for forgotten ingredients. We also chose the rainiest day to go on 6.5 mile hike. Driving about an hour (and a half in the bus) west on 101 we found the Kloshe Nanitch Trail that ascends up to a former fire lookout site. The hike up was steep with switchback after switchback paving our way. But it was beautiful. As we climbed, the fog and mist got heavier and heavier until we could barely see around the next bend. It filtered through the trees along with stray rays of sunshine, making everything look greener and more vibrant and more alive. It gave the forest a magical feel, like we were trespassing on fairy land. We had the trail all to ourselves too, which heightened the eeriness and mystique. And there were mushrooms. So many mushrooms. They popped up out of the earth in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. I'm pretty sure we saw lobster mushrooms and maybe a morel, but I can't be certain and I'm way too chicken to dig them up and bring back home to eat. So they stayed where they belong in fairy land. 

We got to the top, soaking wet and hungry. The fire lookout is no longer there, only a platform resting in its place, and the view was non-existant because of the soupy fog. We dug out our (sourdough) sandwiches and put on another layer over our sweaty shirts to keep from getting chilled. Then it was time to head back down. The fog and mist started to lift as we got halfway down the trail, creating starbursts of light behind boulders and tree trunks. It was beautiful. Noah was enamored. 

Just as we neared the end of the trail, the fog cleared and revealed blue sky. With the appearance of the sun went the mysteriousness and the magic and the thoughts of little fairies living in the forest. We were just on another hike in the forest on a nice day.