Tree walker fun Tree Hugging Just before the cliffwalk Old Growth Tree On the Cliff Walk Tree Walk Capilano Suspention Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

If you visit Vancouver and Whistler-Blackholm, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a fun place to stop. They have three main attractions that make the entry fee worth it.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River. Originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and park commissioner for Vancouver, its first incarnation was made of hemp ropes with a deck of cedar planks. In 1903, a wire cable bridge was built as a replacement. The bridge was completely rebuilt in 1956 and pretty much in the state you see it today and with repairs.

In 2004, Treetops Adventures was installed and consists of seven footbridges suspended between old-growth Douglas Fir trees on the west side of the canyon, forming a walkway up to 98 feet above the forest floor. Just a present walk for enjoying trees

In June 2011, an attraction called Cliff Walk opened and features a cantilevered and suspended walkways that jut out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River.

Apart from those heart pounding show stoppers, they have smaller “safer” attractions. Of them I really enjoyed the rain forest walk around serene ponds and tall old growth trees.

Some of the kiosks feature interesting history and stories about the park, but most are trivia bites meant to entertain children. One particular story stood out: in 2006, a 300-year-old, 46-tonne Douglas fir tree toppled during a heavy snowstorm. The tree fell across the western end of the bridge and the park had to be closed for repairs. They kept part of the tree where it fell and you can walk over it along the boardwalk trail.

The best part of course is walking over the bridge trying to steady yourself as it bounces with each step — not just your step, but also the steps of everyone else on the bridge. On that particular day, we were lucky to see a bald eagle swoop about 10 feet above the center of the bridge while we were on it. I had to call out to Sig who was staring intently at the bridge floor, “Look up! Look Up!” He turned up just in time to see the eagle fly over his head.

On the Cliff Walk, we saw more bald eagles hunting for fish in the river. That walk was particularly tough, but worth views which I’ve never experienced in my life. Now I want to go see more touristy sky walks such as Glacier Skywalk in Jasper national park, Alberta, Canada or the Grand Canyon. Even brave those old suspension bridges found in Costa Rica.

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Dungeness Light Station Dungeness Spit Beach Dungeness Spit Driftwood Dungeness Spit Dungeness Spit Out on the Dungeness Spit Out on the Dungeness Spit Out on the Dungeness Spit Don't let the hat blow away Low Tide Low Tide Beach Combing

Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness Spit was formed by wind and water currents that forced river silt and glacial till to arch into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Over the centuries the spit has grown to over 5 miles. You can hike all the way to the tip, where a lighthouse has been keeping guard since 1857. The extreme tip, however, like the Dungeness Bay side of the spit, is closed to public entry to protect important wildlife habitat. Because the spit is protected and managed as a wildlife refuge, many recreational activities are restricted.

The best time to go is obviously low tide. The entry trail is 0.5 mile and before descending to the beach, theres a sweeping views of the spit from an overlook. At the base of tall bluffs is the start of the spit with a straightforward hike to the lighthouse. Pack plenty of water and sunscreen. If the 11-mile round trip seems daunting, any distance hiked along the spit will be rewarding.

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Temple Fish Black swan of hawaii Buddha & The Temple Stone Buddha Temple Temple bird Gardens Temple pillars Zen Garden Buddha & The Sig Bamboo Gardens The Byodo-In Temple The Byodo-In Temple

O’ahu: Byodo-In Temple, Valley of the Temples

The Byodo-In Temple is located at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It was established on June 7, 1968, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The Byodo-In Temple in O’ahu is a smaller-scale replica of the over 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site in Uji, Japan.

This leisurely walk through the temple grounds includes a lushly landscaped paradise nestled in a cleft of the pali and is home to wild peacocks and hundreds of  Japanese koi carp. The beautiful grounds include a large reflecting pond, meditation niches, and small waterfalls; a beautiful, peaceful, and restful place.

Amida, a golden Buddha housed in the temple, falls solidly in the “awe inspiring” category.  The Buddha is possibly the largest figure carved outside of Japan. Towering more than 9 feet, the immense figure is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui.

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Coffee in saucer

Drinking from the Saucer

Today I learned that a saucer is a small dish originally intended for holding sauce. But in the 18th century, it was acceptable to pour tea or coffee into a cup’s saucer to cool the beverage before drinking it.

I was only able to find once reference about it in Google Books in a 1800s Peterson’s Magazine, but it talks about coffee.

But then I found this in a 1920s book how drinking from the saucer is considered “old” or “passé”:

Years ago, it was not simply permissible to drink out of the “sasser” it was an accomplishment. To see a man pour his tea into his saucer and cool it off and then lift it with firm touch and sip it with a long, soothing, sibilant, gurgling, fugue-like cadence that could be heard in the next county, was to see and hear the proper thing. The louder noise he could make, the more desirable dinner-guest he was considered. If he wanted to do a little fin-de-siecle flourish, he dipped his gingerbread in the tea in his saucer and then played a solo in double-bass with it thru his mustache. And then if he were a true artist and could wipe his mustache on his coat sleeve daintily — daintily, mark you? without the slightest suggestion of coarseness but with that infinite considerateness that betokens the saving of napkins, he was worth while; for napkins were rarely given out except to the minister.

Konstantin Makovsky (1839-1915). drinking tea

18th century drinking from saucer

Camano Island Drift Wood

Where Have the Games Gone?

Where have the Games Gone? Up until about a year ago (or has it been two years?) I played a lot of games. I even ran a podcast dedicated to a game. You may have noticed that my blog’s name has changed from “Anne, G4m3r W1f3ling” to “All things Anne.” So what happened? What have I been up to?

Hikes and Walks

Since October 2014, I’ve written regularly about my hikes and walks in and around Seattle with my two friends Janice and John, and of course with my husband. I know! Who new that the fun exploring in real life exceeded that of exploring in an MMO world? My husband has an aversion to roughing it in the great outdoors, and we call him Mr. 2% for various reasons. Apparently, he feels that I indulge him in nearly all of his hobbies that it would be only fair to reciprocate for mine.

My impetus for travel is two fold; the first is having friends eager and willing to join me on adventures. Secondly, I’ve found medications that relieve me of nasty allergy and asthma symptoms. Friends make for excellent motivation, entertainment and fun when wandering about ogling at nature. Combine that with being unchained from psychical restrictions, and now I have an impulse to put one foot in front of the other just to see lush vegetation, majestic views, and animals frolicking in the wild.

If you’re interested you can view my posts and pictures of our adventures.

Of course there are more reasons involved for less gaming, but I’ll save that for later blog posts.

 Saratoga Passage

Saratoga Passage


Milky Way at Yellow Stone

A Year of Doing What I Love

Since 2012, we’ve done themes instead of resolutions. My own past themes have coincided with Sig’s own themes. We had The Year of Ambition followed up by the Year of Consolidation. This year Sig’s selected a Year of Creativity. I on the other hand want to do more of what I love, hence the theme of The Year of Doing What I Love.

Now before you turn this into a some kind of adolescent joke that tweenies will giggle uncontrollably at, I’m talking about spiritual and philosophical love.

I’ve been taught that doing love was a selfless act: you do things for others out of love, even if it makes you unhappy. Lots of times, I’ve done things for others believing that helping others would make me feel good. For a time, their happiness can transpose to happiness for myself. But as time passes, I have begun to realize that the joy of others can only take me so far. Now its time I found something that is more self-sustaining.

There’s a bit of a hurdle for me on this particular theme: What is it do I exactly love doing? I know what I do not like. I also know what I kind of like doing, what makes me feel satisfied, and what entertains me. But I’m not sure about what I could be doing that fills me with love, or better yet what fills me with self-love while I’m doing it.

This is where themes are so much better than resolutions: with a theme, its okay if the first (or second or even third, or the n-th) thing I pick won’t be the thing I love doing. Either way it will be a step in the right direction, because having tried is better than having done nothing at all. From that, I can pick up what I have learned about myself and keep moving forward. Where as a resolution is a “success or fail” box with no room for growth or change.

So here it is, my theme for the year of 2015: A Year of (Finding and) Doing What I Love


O’ahu: Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens

Waimea Valley is 1875 acres of beautiful and sacred native Hawaiian history. Waimea also known as the “The Valley of the Priests,” gained its title around 1090 when the ruler of Oahu awarded the land to the kähuna nui. Descendants of the high priests lived and cared for much of the Valley until 1886. In 2009, we took a took a casual walk on a paved path through the botanical gardens and up to the waterfall area. Possibly THE finest collection of Polynesian plants in existence.  Amazing and rare Hawaiian plants blooming with vivid flowers.  Numerous endangered species native to islands such as Lord Howe Island, Guam, Madagascar, the Mascarene Islands, the Ogasawara Islands and even the Seychelles. Several native and endangered birds including the ‘Alae ‘ula live in this serene sanctuary. A 1.5 mile round trip well worth the visit.

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Blue Sky Savannah Bay

Anguilla: Junks Hole & Savannah Bay

Near the remote eastern end of Anguilla is a beautiful lengthy curved bay with sand, snorkeling, and palm trees. There is one building (although I want to call it a shack) called the Palm Grove. The bay itself is called Savannah Bay and looks like it should have a five-star resort on it instead of being empty. The corner by the Palm Grove is called Junks Hole.

This is a mile-long beach without a hotel in sight (but not for long). There is really only one way to get to Junk’s Hole: On the paved road across the eastern end of the island, watch for a sign for Palm Grove. The sand road to the beach is rough and rocky in places, but can be driven during daylight with no great difficulty. Park next to Palm Grove.

Hiking the bay is tame and peaceful with its exquisite blue sky, turquoises sea and white beach. The bay is usually shallow and sandy along the shore, but strong weather can change the bay bottom. The swimming is excellent, but as with all Atlantic beaches, the currents and surf can be strong at certain times of the year.

Kolstrand Building

Ballard: Chippy’s Fish & Drink

The Kolstrand Building was owned by the Kolstrand Marine Supply Company for almost 80 years. Built in the early 1900’s it’s a historic landmark in neighborhood and now home to three very fine bars serving some of the tastiest foods in Ballard.

On a Friday night, we made our way to The Walrus and the Carpenter for dinner, but get road-blocked with a 90 minute waiting list. Checked in at Staple and Fancy, but wandered out to Chippy’s Fish & Drink, one of many Ethan Stowell restaurants and bars.

First, I have to say I like a place that sports a fish phone and ample octopus decoration. I really like the batter on their fish, but it’s sad that their chips are so mundane; it seems to be a curse on Seattle seafood bars. Chef April Bloomfield needs to come to Seattle and teach everyone how to make proper chips. Also, for a sea side town, you would think that decent fried fish would come at a decent price. Nope. None. Nada. Expect to pay $15 minimum for your fish and chips, but if you drink like a fish you probably won’t notice the price at all. Chippy’s is a full bar and stocked heavily with scotch, wines, ciders, cocktails and 50 beers found in draughts, bottles and cans.

Thankfully as of November 2014, Chippy’s is now hosting happy hour from 5-6p Monday through Friday. Snacks go for $5. Fried oyster sandwiches and all selections of fish and chips for $8 apiece. Cheap drinks like Rainier and Tecate for $2 as well as a selection of NW brews and ciders for $3. Ahoy matey!



Mt. Rainier: Longmire

The trail begins directly across the road from the Longmire Inn and loops around a marshy bog created by the mineral springs that burble out of the meadow. The path brings you close to a couple of the springs and when the trail nears the stream alongside the meadow, you’ll find a few beaver dams. Halfway through the loop, you’ll pass in front of a tiny log cabin, built in 1888 by Elcaine Longmire, James’s son. The trail passes a junction with the Rampart Ridge Trail on the right just before closing the mile-long loop.

A short and sweet hike in addition to touring camp Longmire. The museum features glass cases filled with plants and animals, including a stuffed cougar. Historical photographs and geographical displays provide a worthwhile overview of the park’s history. The adjacent visitor center has some perfunctory exhibits on the surrounding forest and its inhabitants.

During the summer this is a fun little rest stop and a nice prelude of things to come deeper into the park. Because of its relatively low elevation at 2,760 feet, Longmire is one of the few areas of Mount Rainier National Park which remains accessible year-round. During winters of heavy snowfall, three to five feet of snow may cover the ground. This is great for snowshoers and novice skiers when blizzard conditions exist higher on the mountain.