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Month Eighty-Six was less eventful than last month and I stayed in Washington the full month, although I did still manage to explore a lot between events at the Gorge.
I started the month at the Gorge working the last three days of the Above and Beyond Festival, then I had a couple of days before Watershed Festival started where I stayed onsite to catch up on work.
Watershed was a crazy five days but luckily we didn’t have a show the weekend after that so I had ten days off to travel in Washington and to recover from the craziness.
Toby and I spent three nights in Mount Rainier National Park camping and hiking, then after a night back at the Gorge, I picked up one of my best friends in Seattle and we spent five nights exploring the beautiful San Juan Island and Orcas Island.
Then it was back to work at the Gorge for The Chicks for three days, followed by a couple of days in Seattle before having to be back at the Gorge again to work the six-day Bass Canyon festival. And that was the month.
Now onto the stats!
Countries Visited: USA
- Washington: George, Moses Lake, Packwood, Ashford, San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Marysville, North Bend, Seattle, Issaquah
National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Mount Rainier National Park, Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island, Moran State Park on Orcas Island
Islands Visited: Fidalgo Island, San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Mercer Island
Travel Days: 12 days
Best Meals: Coconut prawns and creme brulee at Michael’s on the Lake in Moses Lake; Halibut sliders with fries from Buck Bay Oyster Farm on Orcas Island; Eggs, hashbrowns, and a homemade biscuit from Twede’s Cafe in North Bend; Smoked trout croquettes with rosemary and potato bread with fig butter and chive and onion butter from WildFin in Issaquah; Pho Ga from Lucky’s Pho in Fremont, Seattle.
Worst Meals: Stale morning bun and too sweet vanilla latte from Caffe Vita in Columbia City, Seattle.
Best Craft Beer: Ginger Rye by Aslan Brewing in Fremont, Seattle – it has a strong and spicy ginger flavor that I absolutely love.
- Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, WA 6.5 miles
- Silver Falls trail in Mount Rainier National Park, WA 4 miles
- Naches Peak trail in Mount Rainier National Park, WA 3.7 miles
- Mount Fremont Fire Lookout trail in Mount Rainier National Park, WA 6 miles
- Cascade Lake Loop trail in Moran State Park on Orcas Island, WA 3 miles
- Mountain Lake Loop trail in Moran State Park on Orcas Island, WA 4 miles
- Green lake loop in Seattle, WA 3 miles
- Seward Park Peninsula loop in Seattle, WA 2.7 miles
Watching: Wild Crime, Keep Breathing, Hacks (SO good!), What We Do in the Shadows Season 4
Reading: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Keeper of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis.
No new posts this month but I completely reworked and updated a couple of older posts – The Best Things To Do in Juneau When It Rains, and The Best Things To Do in Sitka, AK.
Hiking and Camping in Mount Rainier National Park
I really loved my three days hiking and camping in Mount Rainier National Park. I visited the park 12 years ago but that was only a short visit, so getting to do some popular hikes and explore more of the park this time around was really great.
I loved seeing all the marmots, the incredible views of Mount Rainier, camping in the forest, and getting out and hiking again after a busy couple of weeks of work.
Exploring San Juan Island and Orcas Island
Because I love the Gulf Islands of Canada so much, I have been wanting to visit the San Juan Islands in Washington for a while. With my friend visiting from New Zealand, it was the perfect excuse to finally get over there.
We visited San Juan Island for three nights and Orcas Island for one night and I really enjoyed both. On San Juan Island I loved the beach and sunsets from San Juan County Park, the bustling town of Friday Harbor, pretty Roche Harbor, exploring the history at English Camp and American Camp, the lighthouse and ocean views at Lime Kiln State Park, and whale watching by zodiac.
On Orcas Island, the highlights were the views from the top of Mount Constitution, eating delicious seafood at Buck Bay Oyster Farm, exploring the town of Eastsound and visiting the historical museum there, and hiking around two lakes in Moran State Park.
I can definitely see myself returning to these islands and I want to visit Lopez Island next time too.
Having Friends Visiting
Although we meet a lot of people doing the job that we do at the Gorge, we don’t have any friends out here and I do miss that.
This month we were lucky to have a couple of friends come out to the Gorge, our event and travel friend Rachel who worked with us for three weeks and did a spectacular job, and one of my oldest friends from New Zealand, Megz, who I traveled to the San Juan Islands and Seattle with, and who visited us at the Gorge for a couple of days.
I hope if we are working here next year too that we get more people coming out to visit.
All the Animal Sightings
I had some great animal sightings this month. In Mount Rainier National Park we go to see so many hoary marmots up close, as well as mountain goats, chipmunks, and ground squirrels.
In the San Juan Islands, I got to see minke whales, a breaching humpback whale, a tufted puffin, lots of seals and sea lions, porpoises, and a number of bald eagles including one sitting on top of a lighthouse that let us get really close.
Washington is great to see animals in the wild!
Spending a Couple of Days Back in Seattle
I got to return to Seattle for a couple more days this month and it was fun to show Megz some of my fave places including Gas Works Park, Kerry Park, the Ballard Locks, Fremont and the Fremont Troll, and Golden Gardens Park for sunset.
I also walked around Green Lake, had lunch in Wallingford and checked out the shops, walked the perimeter of the Seward Park peninsula, and visited a park and beach on Mercer Island.
The more I experience of Seattle, the more I love it.
Extreme Heat at the Gorge
The Gorge really heated up this month and I was struggling big time when the temperature hit over 100 degrees most days. Cleaning up after Above and Beyond and Bass Canyon were the worst and I definitely started showing the signs of heat stroke, and Watershed was also unbearably hot, hitting a high of 110 degrees.
The air conditioning in our RV wasn’t working for a few days and it was an absolute sweatbox. In a lot of ways, I would be excited to come work at the Gorge again next year but I am not excited about the extreme temperatures.
The Shit Show That Was Watershed Festival
So as well as being unbearably hot, Watershed was the hardest festival we have worked this year in other ways too.
We had a lot of difficult and demanding people we had to deal with, so many people tried to break into Oasis after dark (and some before dark too) and we literally had to chase them down, we had to evict two tents because they sneaked people in – the only time we have had to evict people this summer, and there were just way too many Trump flags in the camping ground for my liking (any is too many).
Country music, extreme heat, and a ton of alcohol didn’t bring out the best in people.
No Orcas in the San Juan Islands
I have seen orcas a few times and I love them so I was excited to see them again during our time on the San Juan Islands as this is one of the best places to see them in the country.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see one during our time there, not even on our three-hour whale watching trip. I especially felt bad for Megz because she has never seen one.
A lot of these costs are my half with Toby paying the other half. I also don’t include international flights in my recaps.
A reasonably low-cost month because I was working for a lot of it and my meal and accommodation costs are covered when I am at the Gorge. It will definitely be more next month.
My six nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of three nights camping in and around Mount Rainier National Park, and three nights camping on San Juan Island and Orcas Island.
My 25 nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of 22 nights on-site in our RV at Gorge Amphitheatre, and three nights of free camping in Seattle, Tulalip, and San Juan Island.
Food and Drink $485.50
The lowest it has been for a while because I spent so much time working at the Gorge this month where my meal costs are covered.
- Biker boots (secondhand) $6
- Gas $172.50
- Road Tolls $3.50
- Ferry to San Juan Island with vehicle $44
- Whale Watching Adventure Tour on San Juan Island with tip $181
- Historical Museum on Orcas Island $5
- Hulu $7.50
- Phone plan $35
- Toiletries $72
- Books $41
- Pin $2
- Propane $4.50
- Shower $2
- One Month Spotify subscription $10.50
- CBD gummies $36
Website Costs $12
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
Van/RV Costs $47
- Van Insurance $37
- Gas cap $10
What’s in Store for Next Month
Next month will be less work and more travel, which I am excited about because I am starting to feel pretty burnt out and I want to escape the heat.
The first couple of days I have off but will be staying onsite at the Gorge to just relax and catch up on some work. After that, we have an easy show – Los Bukis – with hardly any tents booked in Oasis which will be a nice change after mostly sold-out shows this summer.
I’ve got four days off after that and I’m going to spend them back in my beloved Vancouver via Bellingham, before returning to the Gorge to work Dave Matthews Band – another busy one and our last long event of the season.
Then I have the rest of the month off! Well, other than my online work.
Toby and I are hoping to escape to Leavenworth for a couple of days of hiking and maybe tubing, then to Olympic National Park for a few more days of camping and hiking if the weather looks good – maybe somewhere else in Washington or Oregon if it doesn’t.
And then I am taking my first flight since May to New York City! I am spending five nights there, exploring, eating lots of bagels and pizza, and visiting my friend Dani, then we are traveling to Philly together for the last three days of the month where I want to explore the history and food scene and hopefully visit a friend if he is home.
I am excited for both but particularly Philly as it is my first time there and Pennsylvania is a new state for me – number 47! Then I will only have Delaware, North Dakota, and West Virginia to go.
To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here