We thought July was our last time this summer to savor the pacific northwest and the towering Evergreens that join, but from the unfortunate events with my dad we were graced with another trip back to Seattle.
The weekend was harder than I could have ever anticipated. I was depleted emotionally by the end, but I felt an ounce of closure. Time hasn't been on my side this summer, and each day seems to be harder without my dad. I badly want to call him and talk endlessly about running and the new trails Justin and I have discovered. I want to talk about my race schedule, my workouts, my weekly mileage, and all the little things that no one else understands unless they are an overly obsessive runner like my dad. And I really need him to edit my grad school papers because he always had the patience for my fleeting thoughts. My professors are now at the mercy of my writing, riddled with typos.
I couldn't come back to Washington without going to the mountains. Running and nature, my two sources of healing, were melded together in beautiful form by running a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail with Justin, Trisha, and Uli Steidl. I have been reading about Shinrin-Yoku, the Japanese term which literally translates to Forest Bathing, or taking a visit to the forest to improve one's health. Studies have shown that Shinrin-Yoku positively affects the nervous system, particularly by reducing stress hormones. Without the outdoors, I would be at a standstill with grief. Every day spent outside is a step forward in healing the pain of losing my dad.
This was my first time running to Kendall Katwalk, but we chose this route because it is an iconic section of the PCT. It has about 2,500 ft of elevation gain over 13 miles from the pass to the Katwalk, and is very steady in its climb, making for an enjoyable run down the trail. The Katwalk itself is stunning. It looks like the trail was literally blasted out of the side of the mountain with a sharp drop to the side. There is a 360 view of the cascades that is hard to beat on other nearby trails.
Once we reached the parking lot Uli knew of an area off Alpental Road with a flowing creek. Washington is notorious for its Alpine Lakes, which never disappoint. We soaked in the pools until hunger won us over and then we headed back to Seattle.
Arizona has a lot to live up to, but we are finding our place in the desert. Once the temperature reading dips below 100F I can stop constantly dreaming of Washington's cool mountain weather and sky-high pines whose shade I am in dire need of.
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.