Bar Trip Part One: Seattle & Mt. Rainier



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Bar Trip Introduction

If you follow along on my Instagram stories, you might have noticed Ryan and I spent two weeks in August traveling out West.  We must have been six days into the Bar Trip when I exclaimed to Ryan that this would be the longest blog post I’ve ever written.  To which he had the perfect response: make it a series!
If you don’t know a law school graduate, you may not know why I keep referring to our vacation as a “bar trip.”  A bar trip is a trip law school graduates take right after taking the bar.  Since Ryan doesn’t begin working until October (just around the corner now!), it’s the perfect time to take a trip while we wait on his results.  According to the internet, “Bar trips are a beloved rite of passage within the law school community. During these multi-week vacations, law grads celebrate completing the bar exam with jaunts to parts unknown before starting their jobs in the ‘real world.’”
Ryan and I have been planning this trip for years!  It started out with vague and multiple location ideas.  We discussed it over many meals and evenings.  We spent hours and hours watching travel videos, reading articles and even books to help us decide exactly where we wanted to go.
For months, we settled on Europe.  We had even narrowed down a route through multiple countries.  But, it dawned on us how little we had seen of our own country.  And, lately we’ve had an itch to explore more national parks.  So, we decided on the West Coast!  The perfect place to explore, hike, and eat lots of delicious food.

Where did we go?

  • We spent three days in Washington, where we stayed in a quiant AirBnb in Seattle.  One of those days, we drove out to Mt. Rainier.
  • After that, we took a flight down to San Francisco, where we spent the next few days of our trip.
  • Then, we rented a car for the remainder of the trip (who we lovingly nicknamed “Rolla”- she was a red Corolla) and headed for Yosemite for the next four days.  This was the most hiking-intense portion of our trip!  We actually stayed outside of the park, in a renovated airstream camp, in a small town called Mariposa.
  • After exploring Yosemite, we drove to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks for one day.
  • Lastly, we rounded out our trip with a 4-day stay in Los Angeles.

I hope to break down the trip into a few blog posts so that it’s not so overwhelming.  For today’s post I’m going to write about the very first leg of our trip: Seattle and Mt. Rainier!

Seattle & Mt. Rainier

When you picture Seattle, maybe you think of dreary weather, hipsters, the Space Needle, and good coffee.  Maybe Grey’s Anatomy?  Those are the things I thought of at least.  Now I think of beautiful pines, delicious food, art, and water.  Seattle is pretty much surrounded by water, which isn’t something I had really considered before.
The very first thing we did in Seattle was grab tacos from a hard-to-find, no-frills spot called Tacos Chukis, and they were the best tacos I’ve ever had.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture because we ate them so fast.  I didn’t even get better tacos in LA!
After that, we went to a park called Gas Works Park, which is actually the site of a former gas plant!  Some of the old pipes were painted, and there was a playground.  You can sit at this park, and watch seaplanes take off from Lake Union right in front of you!  It was quite the welcome into the city.  It was surprising to me how beautiful and sunny this day was, since I was expecting Seattle to just be gray and dreary.
After relaxing at the park for awhile, we decided to simply drive around and explore the city.  Seattle definitely has its own unique, punk-ish personality.  It was easy to get around, and we loved being able to see mountains and pines in the background of the cityscape.

Our first time staying in an Airbnb

On our second day in Seattle, we woke up incredibly earlier (an unfortunate, but gratifying trend on this trip).  Before heading out of the city, we grabbed some delicious coffee, and drove to Mt. Rainier.
The closer we got to the mountain, the more beautiful the drive became.  We were in the park when we got a flat tire on our rental!  It was pretty funny to have a full view of such a beautiful mountain behind us as we changed a flat tire, and in a way, it made our day more memorable.  The kindest father and daughter stopped to help us.  One of my favorite things about this trip was meeting people from all over the world.
Hiking Mt. Rainier that day was one of the best days of our lives.  I don’t think we were prepared for how stunning Mt. Rainier was going to be.  It was made even better by the fact that we got an early start and beat the crowds!  We began our hike at a place appropriately named Paradise.  For most of the hike, we were surrounded by lush meadows, and colorful flowers.  It was incredible.
During the hike, we met a British couple on their honeymoon.  They were on a trip similar to ours, only they had a bit more time, and they started their journey in Canada!

The marmots and squirrels are not shy at all!

We were surprised by the snow, just a few feet away from us.

And, right back down! As soon as we started down again, we saw more beautiful meadows.

After getting in some good exercise at Mt. Rainier, it was only right to spend our last day in Washington eating our way through Pike Place Market.  The weather on this day was truly what you would expect from Seattle.  We had so much fun trying out the food we had drooled over for months.  We carefully planned out our meals for this day, so that we could try the best food.  We added some bubblegum to the nasty, albeit mesmerizing, gum wall.  We rode on the ferris wheel.  We tried ginger beer (it was delicious!), world-famous chowder, and Beecher’s mac and cheese.  We watched the fish throwers!  I admired all of the beautiful, fresh flowers in the market.
We even discovered some neat things we hadn’t planned on trying.  For instance, we found a little chocolate shop that makes chocolate right there in Seattle.  It was delicious.  We also found a really nice coffee shop  called Storyville that serves caramels and seltzer water with your coffee.  They even gifted us a free mug that I’m using as I write this blog post!  We found a map store that Ryan just loved.  One of my favorite finds was a small, hidden jewelry store named Silver + Salt.  It was such a fun day.

So, there you have it!  Our time is Washington did not disappoint us.  I feel like I wrote a book, and there are so many details I still left out.  I can’t wait to share the next leg of our trip with you: San Francisco!  Let me know if you’ve also visited Seattle or Mt. Rainier and if you had the same experience as us!  Thanks for reading! 🙂

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