Hiking the Mt St. Helens Blast Zone

Hiking the Mt St. Helens Blast Zone

Starting from the Johnston Ridge Observatory, we hiked down to the valley and through the blast zone of Mt St. Helen's 1980 eruption on our way to Loowit Falls. The ever-changing landscape and volcanic activity gave way to sights unlike any other. 17.5 miles and a few thousand feet of elevation gain made for some very sore bodies at the end of the day.

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The 2017 Seattle Pride Parade with Garrison Titan

The 2017 Seattle Pride Parade with Garrison Titan

A record-breaking heat set in over Seattle during the 2017 Seattle Pride Parade, but the Garrison Titan of the Star Wars 501st Legion wasn't fazed. Dawning their dark robes and sweltering armor, dozens of members took part in the parade to a huge turnout of over 200,000 onlookers. With the help of dedicated spotters, including one who was delighted to go by "waterboy," everyone stayed happy and hydrated during the 3 mile walk to Seattle Center.

By the end of the parade, most of the Garrison was speechless at the overwhelming enthusiasm emanating from the crowd. The excitement continued with a surprise stream of confetti in celebration of Matthew Brown, the Garrison Commanding Officer's 150th troop. Even better: the Garrison's presence was so well received that they were asked to return for next year's parade just the day after.

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Visiting the Olympic Peninsula with Sander Rodenhuis

Visiting the Olympic Peninsula with Sander Rodenhuis

Last week I met up with Sander Rodenhuis who was exploring the United States for the first time, beginning in New York and moving westward over a couple of months. Born and living in The Netherlands, he was certainly amazed at the contrast in cultures, as evidenced by our visiting of a Walmart in Aberdeen and his excitement when seeing a wall of Budweiser branded socks. He purchased a quite a few pairs and a grip of 4th of July beer koozies that proudly displayed a bald eagle, US flag, and the slogan "BEER ME!" (OK — I'll admit I purchased a pair of socks, too.)

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Photos from the Nisqually National Wildlife Preserve

Photos from the Nisqually National Wildlife Preserve

The Nisqually National Wildlife Preserve is Washington's largest relatively undisturbed estuary. This unique feature brings a lot of different wildlife together in one area, and provides a very interesting contrast to the mountains and forests commonly thought of when referring to the Pacific Northwest. We even saw a bald eagle.

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Photos from Beat the Bridge with Garrison Titan

Photos from Beat the Bridge with Garrison Titan

Beat the Bridge is an annual Seattle fundraiser for type 1 diabetes research, raising over a billion dollars for T1D research in its 35 years of existence. Participants can take part in a fun run, race, or walk to raise money and must try to cross the University Bridge before it raises. This year, a few Stormtroopers from Garrison Titan were there to bring more excitement to this lively event.

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