Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Odyssey

Each Tuesday of the past quarter, my fellow classmate Suzi and I have gone on a stairwalk and study adventure, guided by one of the walks from the Stair All Stairs website:

This past week, we created our own adventure which included wheels and feet with food and drink. We met near the Fremont bridge, where the canal trail begins. From there, we rode to Discovery Park and locked our bikes up at the visitor's center. I changed into my walking shoes (Crocs are the lightest, most comfy shoes I own, great for transporting on the bike) and we set off on the Loop Trail around the park.

We talked fluid and electrolytes, not just because we needed them on our walk, but because we were tested on such things. We discussed pharmacology (drugs!) and the roots of nursing (Florence Nightingale). Then I spotted some swings at a park playground and we transitioned from students in nursing school to kids playing in the park.

As Suzi swung ever higher, she had her eyes and heart set on a zipline-like contraption and she flew off the swing and ran over to try it out. I encouraged her to stand on it, but Suzi is an "A" student and she decided to sit. She readied herself on the platform, then pushed off and went zooming down the zipline, then rebounded partway back. Then she tried it again... and a bunch more times. My turn came and I went from feeling like a stiff clutz to, well, a kid on a playground. What a blast that was! We gave each other a look and agreed that we had better get back to the studying if we were going to make it through the week (we had 6 exams to take).

We got back on our bikes and made our way into a headwind to Magnolia Village. At Uptown Espresso, when they told me they did not have pie, I remarked that we might as well be in Inner Mongolia. After all, no one outside of the neighborhood seems to know where Magnolia is, let alone how to find the village. And ever since Seattle Pie Company closed, I have had no reason to visit there. Luckily, Uptown serves up some really nice mochas, with their signature "Velvet Foam", so we consumed happily and studied for a couple of hours in their roomy, well-lit cafe.

At noon, our tummies were rumbling and we were at a loss for where to eat. I checked my handy app and saw there was a bistro about a block away, on a street no one ever goes to. Inner Mongolia, here we come! I have no idea how Tanglewood Supreme draws enough customers to stay open, tucked as it is along a dumpster-laden back alley, but the food there was delicious regardless. Those Mongolians must eat out a lot to support their local businesses.

Bellies full, we revved our engines and headed for a new study venue closer to each of our home bases. Fremont has a lot of coffee shops, but I wanted more than caffeine and settled on Wine Tea Chocolate. Woo hoo, now we're talkin'! I ordered a pot of tea and we found a cozy spot near the windows with a nice view of our bikes. After reviewing more powerpoints (we both have ipads – awesome for studying – welcome to the 21st century) and answering questions, the yawns began. We tried to power through but we needed some outside help. It was time for some chocolate!

I told Suzi that she had chosen a good study partner, not because I am a straight-A student or super diligent, but because I have excellent taste in chocolate. After devouring (delicately, of course) a bar of Amano and Dandelion, she agreed.

The day was coming to an end and the sun would soon set, so we ended our studying, packed up our bikes and I rode with her down the west side of Lake Union to warm up for the climb home. With all the time and funds invested into studying for the exam, I hope we both get a good return on our investments. We certainly had a lot of fun doing it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tales of the Adventurers

Rampart Ridge, across Gold Creek
Today found our winter adventurers in the woods adjacent to Gold Creek, navigating to the ridge that leads up to Kendall Peak Lakes. The cast of characters included Rich, Dave and Louise, all of similar fitness levels and all having recently completed the Mountaineers Navigation Course (with Dave instructing). As our adventurers shunned the road for the purity of the backcountry, navigation came into play. As there were no clear tracks in the direction they wanted to travel (up), they had to set their own course.
Highbox Mt

After winding through trees and some steep terrain, they stopped for refreshments, when they noticed two sprightly people, a young man and his lass, coming up behind them in their tracks. They moved swiftly and gracefully, with a youthful exuberance and thanked our adventurers for a fine track to follow. Then they chose a steep route as they passed, going directly upward from where our adventurers were standing.
Sir Hilary? No, just Rich

After consulting the map, the more mature group headed slightly to the west, finding the terrain more to their liking. At the top of the next rise, our adventurers met up with the sprightly folk who had struggled on the steepness of the slope and the hardness of the snow.

Having conserved so much energy, our wise adventurers went bounding through the snow like snowshoe hares, shedding years as they basked in the sunshine of their accomplishment and of the sun which shone brightly on the ridge.

Dave, with Rampart Ridge