Our First Hike in Washington (and some stories of our life in Olympia)

End of September 2015, Jacob on the Pacific Crest Trail at Mt. Rainier National Park (the last day of the road being open). It was an amazing drive, but Jacob and I were both scared with all the ice and snow…total Floridians, you know? 

In September of 2015, Jacob and I embarked on a cross-country road trip from Florida to Washington State, we had just gotten out of college and I was offered a job as a biologist in Washington State – I talked it over with Jacob (as we always did with big decisions) and he told me that he wanted to live somewhere like Washington so badly – somewhere new and different. I remember he was the first one I called when I found out and he said: “Baby this is so exciting, I can’t wait- how awesome! You have to take this job! Ahhhhhhh! And you know what? I like the rain”. We both would soon realize that Washington state is pretty much horrible weather-wise except for two months out of the year. I remember after 3 months living in Olympia (the capital of Washington) I started to feel major seasonal depression. Anyway, when I think about the first time I told Jacob about the job offer, I close my eyes and It feels like it was yesterday – I remember where I was, at Archbold Biological Station, a short-term job, and he was spending most of his time at my parent’s house that summer of 2015. I visited every weekend and most weekdays. I couldn’t go a day without my Jacob! And since he had just finished college (he was only one semester behind me) that summer he was only an hour from me back in our hometown (of course not our real home, that is Tallahassee, don’t forget). I remember making a pros and cons list with Jacob and my mom and dad and after careful consideration, we decided – yes, let’s make our first move together as adults. Let me just say, the cross-country road trip deserves its own post – because that is filled with videos, pictures, and so many stories. So this post is very short today. Mostly short stories of me and Jacob in Washington. Outside our house in Olympia, on a clear day, you could see Mt. Rainier perfectly – such a monolith of a mountain standing at 14,411 feet – Jacob and I loved the hill on 5th street because the view of the Mt. Rainier on a clear day was spectacular. Olympia also had a ban on all chains – so everything was local. We both loved this. Jacob and I loved this food truck called Nineveh, a combination of Egyptian and Persian food and we seriously LOVED it. Total obsession. It was literally 2 minutes from our house. Jacob would say “Can we get Ninev’s tonight, please?” We had our own language called “yakescoo speak” where we shortened everything, I have a list on paper of all our shortened words and our special language. Anyway, I would always get the falafel, Jacob would always get the Shawarma – and we would also get the hand-cut fries (that were covered with amazing spices – some of the fries best we ever had) and fried cauliflower. I remember Jacob said once “I don’t know what they put in those fries, but they are dangerous. So fucking good”. Even the drive-through hamburger joints had names like “Tom’s Burger’s” – no McDonalds or Wendy’s. All local. Jacobs favorite part of it all? Four local bookstores in a small town like Olympia. His favorite bookstore was called Orca Books, again we lived downtown so we could walk to these places really easily. He loved this bookstore for many reasons, including that there were many cats in this bookstore and they loved to jump on Jacob’s lap and knead him.

I don’t have a photo of Jacob being kneaded by a cute little cat at Orca Books but Jacob took this photo of me – November 2015, I remember him saying “how can you have a bookstore and not have cats around? This place is perfect.” This cat’s name was Ken – which Jacob and I thought was odd. He didn’t feel like a Ken. 
Rainy Day Records, Olympia WA – one of Jacob’s favorite places and only 5 minutes from our house.

Another perk of living downtown was that there was a record store only five minutes from our house called Rainy Day Records  (Jacob loved this place)- and you could buy records, cassettes, and even rent movies. And when I talk in minutes I mean walking, not driving. Jacob and I would spend hours on our days off looking through vinyl together here. Jacob came home one day and said “Coo! You can rent movies there!!! How awesome is that?” It was great, we felt like we were living on another planet completely in Olympia. We also lived across the local library so we could get books and movies all the time, for free. Jacob had a true gift for finding the best movies instantly at libraries. He also found many “Coo movies” (his name for my kind of movies) – and he used to say, “Oh baby, this is such a Coo movie we have to watch it.” Not bad movies – just ones I hadn’t seen and he knew I would love – like Groundhog Day, for instance – or Plains, Trains, and Automobiles. We watched almost every Woody Allen film together and Mel Brooks films, and we would request them too. For example, “Love and Death” was the first Woody Allen film I ever watched, and Jacob and I saw it together at the FSU student life center – Jacob had already seen it and he said “I can’t believe this is the first Woody Allen movie you are going to watch, how awesome”. I loved it-and it will always be my favorite for that memory and that reason. Anyway, we were able to order it at both Rainy Day Records and the Library. It was great. I also just want to say that we both loved John Candy – especially when Jacob introduced me to SCTV (a much funnier version of SNL with John Candy and Eugene Levy just to name a few…)  (this was his favorite skit of all time) and he also introduced me to Cannibal: The Musical, one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen and the creators of South Park made it. Jacob would always sing to me “Shpadoinkle Day“. I have a video of him singing this song regularly and in his opera voice and I watch these videos every single day. He would look at me in the eye especially with the line “As I ride with my girl, she’s my best friend in the whole world.” Even though in the movie the line is declared to a horse, Jacob always made that line about me and would look me in the eye and kiss me gently while he sang it.

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Olympia Coffee Roasters – we are drinking coffee and local ice cream mixed together, that is Jacob’s hand and our two straws – he loved it. 
Jacob surprised me with Olympia Coffee all the time. It was adorable and just one of the ways he always showed his love for me. 

Anyone that knows Jacob knows he hates coffee – but, he loved the coffee at Olympia Coffee Roasters– I remember one time he said: “baby, that is the best coffee I have ever had and you know I HATE coffee – truly next level. I would drink this every day.” We also had a tradition (so many, I know) of going to Darby’s Cafe for breakfast – they had this AMAZING breakfast item: yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, and granola rolled into a tortilla and deep fried covered in whipped cream and more fruit. Out of this world. But of course, Jacob always had the Corned Beef Hash. So cute. I could talk about our life in Olympia for days, for instance – a little corner store called “The Little General Food Shop” was literally around the block from our house and sold household essentials and very progressive food products (Oregon ice cream Jacob loved and I would surprise him with).

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Local cookie mixture to help me make chocolate and peppermint cookies that Jacob loved. December 2015. Thank you little general food shop!
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The actual little general food shop with the cutest paintings behind the register – Jacob loved these paintings. Even though the store was a little expensive – it was so convenient we ended up going there for many things and we discovered our FAVORITE PEANUT BUTTER IN THE WHOLE WORLD – it is called Bliss Nut Butter (follow this link – I am telling you Jacob and I would just eat the whole jar with a spoon, no bread- nothing, it was that good). And my mom ended up shipping us a huge box of it to Tallahassee from Oregon when we moved back to Tallahassee. We were so happy. “Thank you Cringes” Jacob cried out. 


But I want to talk about our first hike to Mt. Rainier – which I have barely touched on- I just have so much to say I get disoriented and end up switching topics easily. We had been on other hikes in Olympia and in Thurston County, but nothing intense like Mt. Rainier. So, August and September are really the only months you can visit Washington because the rest of the time it is gray, rainy, and just… well, hazy and gray. But now, I am longing for the weather in Olympia. I wish I was there now. I hate the sunshine here in my parent’s house in Florida. The feeling of the sun makes me sick – that Jacob cannot feel it. I am crying as I type the words. Also, I cannot energetically align with the sun – It doesn’t fit my mood. I want rainy days and hazy weeks full of just…gray. Like in Olympia. So basically, I want Washington weather right now. Okay: onto our first hike. I am going to leave our first hike mainly in photos. It was a hard hike, no doubt, but it was uphill to see Mt. Rainier, and then downhill the entire time with the view of Mt. Rainier in front of us the whole way. We couldn’t figure out which was worse – uphill or downhill because downhill really fucks up your knees. Jacob voted that uphill was much worse. I told him I couldn’t decide, but my knees are really bad, so downhill was very hard for me. They both were super challenging – but the view was beyond amazing and our first true hike in Washington Jacob declared as truly magnificent. Even though his favorite hike in the whole world still resides in North Carolina, he absolutely loved the scenery and our first hike at Mt. Rainier (and we had many more there, our Thanksgiving hike in 2015 at Mt. Rainier we had snow chains on Jacob’s car and played in the snow up in the mountains). Also, there were moments during this hike where we were on the edge of the mountainside (actually, many times during this hike) and Jacob overcame some of his fear of heights. I was so proud of him. I always was.

On our way to Mt. Rainier, Jacob and I came across this old Post Office with a Coca-Cola sign that Jacob LOVED. So we had to document it.


We met a couple, very nice, who offered to take a picture of us. Jacob and I enthusiastically said yes because it was such a beautiful day and one of the last days we could hike here and we wanted to document it. 


Jacob in front of Mt. Rainier on our first hike – beautiful boy and a beautiful hike. I hid a Coca-Cola in my backpack and we sat on a stump and I surprised him with it, he was so excited to drink it. “You’re the best, Coo! This is exactly what I needed”.
Jacob took this picture, “Coo, we are on the Pacific Crest Trail- now we can say we have been on both the Appalachian Trail and the PCT!”
Jacob drinking his Coca-Cola and staring at Mt. Rainier. We also brought sandwiches and snacks with us – this was a hard hike for sure. We needed this break to take in the beauty and rest up for a few minutes.
Part of our drive on the way back the weather started to change, pretty eerie shot, huh? We thought it was very Washington… and it reminded us of a video game Jacob played in college. “Well…welcome to the Pacific Northwest, huh? ” Jacob said. 
Jacob by our very first fireplace after we came home, it was so cold! He loved starting up our fireplace… so cute. Everything he did was cute.
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I am ending this post with the last photo Jacob took that day – he saw the blue mountains go on and on and started to write in his notebook which he eventually lost… (not that day) but I hold this day close to my heart, and would give anything to be back in this moment again. Hand in hand. Kissing my Jacob and leaning against his shoulder telling him “I love you”.



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