BOY did July have a lot going on! So much so that I barely had any time to write — as you could probably tell since it’s nearing the end of August and I’m just now recounting July (oops). It started with fireworks in Tahoe and celebrating my 5 year anniversary in Olympic, and ended with a week-long Zoo camp class and a week-long cruise contract! Travel-wise, it was a pretty great month! But there were a few super sucky occurrences too. Read on to find out what they were!
Sacramento, CA — 17 nights
South Lake Tahoe, CA — 1 day
Seattle, WA — 3 nights
Olympic National Park, WA — 4 nights
Ketchikan, AK — 1 day
Juneau, AK — 1 day
Skagway, AK — 1 day
Victoria, British Columbia — 1 day
On July 4th my boyfriend, my roomies, and I took a spontaneous road trip to South Lake Tahoe. We wandered the Vikingsholm Castle, lounged in my RapidHammock on the shore, and watched fireworks over the lake! I’m usually away over the fourth, so being home with my boyfriend and on an adventure with him was special.
Speaking of the boyfriend, he FINALLY got an official start date to work as a seasonal park ranger at Olympic National Park! We’d only been waiting for this for months! He was ready to go, but was stuck at home until the park received some paperwork. Meanwhile, I had already bought and booked a flight out to Olympic to see him for our upcoming 5 year anniversary, not knowing then that he would still be waiting to head up there. For a while I thought I was gonna wind up leaving him for our 5 year anniversary! SO happy he was able to drive up there and begin work 2 days before I was scheduled to go visit him!
My boss at the travel agency I work as an independent contractor for signed me on to do some extra work for her! Hooray for extra money! I now run the agencies website specials, Facebook page, and Instagram for a set amount of money each month. Follow along for travel deals and news!
Lots of great cruise contract memories! When I first arrived onboard, I was told I’d be in the Teen Center. I had never been assigned to Teens for the whole contract before. Frankly, they intimidate and annoy me. As a seasonal youth staff, you typically have to cover a few Teen shifts even if you’re assigned to one of the younger age groups. Anytime I covered in Teens there was always some kind of drama or disrespect or pure stupidity happening, and I didn’t want to have to deal with that the entire contract. But I gave it a go, and HOLY.POOP. It was so easy! They were such a great group of kids! Also, I had a lot of excellent food, my roommate was da bomb, and we saw a breaching humpback whale!
Two words — Food poisoning. On the 2 hour drive back home from Lake Tahoe, we stopped at a gas station for food. It was the only place open that late at night and whatever I ate made me sick to my stomach. We had to stop at a McDonalds and a random Irish pub for me to use the bathroom. It’s one thing to have food poisoning, but it’s even worse to be stuck in a car with it when you’re all just trying to get home after a long exhausting day.
My 5 year anniversary trip, though lucky I was still able to go and see my boyfriend, wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Because the trip all happened so quickly, I wasn’t able to do a whole lot of research or planning. It probably would’ve been helpful to know that where he was stationed in the park was a FOUR HOUR drive to the Seattle airport. And because he just started 2 days before I flew in, he had a lot of training and prep to do. Because of this, I had to fly into the airport and spend the night there until he could pick me up the next day and bring me into the backcountry. I had to sleep in the airport again on my way back home due to the timing of his schedule and my departure. I could’ve looked into buying a bus ticket to Port Angeles to be that much closer to him for an earlier pickup had the Zoo not lost my time sheet! It was a pretty chaotic trip, but still totally worth it to spend our 5 year together — and in such a gorgeous place!
Near the end of this month, we found out we’d be losing one of our roommates come August. This one isn’t my story to tell, but it was a sucky situation and it also meant that we’d be needing to suddenly pay extra in rent and bills again. Cue the tiny violin for my empty bank account.
The FOOD this month! I’m still drooling! With a cruise contract to Alaska, you gotta expect great food. During June’s contract, I didn’t have the money to indulge. But this time, I had saved solely for the purpose of eating at all of my favorite spots! Cider, crab bisque, and crab legs at Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau was first on my list. In Ketchikan I revisited Burger Queen, a cruise crew and locals favorite, for a Lahina burger and Huckleberry milkshake. In Skagway, I hit up the cutely decorated Sugar Mama’s for their best and most famous cupcake flavor — red velvet!
Other than my own apartment and my cabin on the cruise ship, I stayed in my boyfriends ranger housing in Olympic. It was great being out there in the backcountry listening to peepers and crickets at night. His boss even showed us a video he took of a mountain lion he saw out back a few nights prior!
Best Wildlife Shot
I saw a lot of wildlife while in Alaska and Olympic. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera on me when I saw a breaching humpback whale while sailing to a fjord. And though I was able to capture starfish, elk, and seals in Olympic, the images just don’t compare to this cute little crab. While hiking along the coast in Olympic’s Ozette area, I started looking through the tide pools in search of marine life. In one area I passed by, I heard tons of scattering around and realized nearly the entire rock pile was FULL of crabs! Big ones, little ones, white ones, purple ones. This guy was hiding under my boot and he was way too pretty not to photograph!
Most Popular Instagram Shot
Really?! Out of all the beautiful images of Tahoe, Olympic, and some of Alaska — a STARBUCKS drink is the most popular?! This makes me question who my followers really are haha. Insult to injury, it became my most liked photo of all time! WHAT?!
I mainly show you all photos of my travels and outdoor adventures, but I also love eating and drinking (who doesn’t?!). So I like to incorporate interesting or new and delicious foods and drinks throughout my Instagram as well. I like playing with color and texture too, and I thought this image of my pink drink was pretty. Still — hoping August’s most popular shot is brand related! *wink*
Featured Travel & Outdoor Product
As a RapidHammock Ambassador, I received a free hammock from the Michigan-based company and put it to use for the first time this month! I was surprised at how quick and easy it was to set up! Even better was that it was lightweight but still durable enough to hold both me and my boyfriend for an evening of relaxing on the shore of South Lake Tahoe. We were so comfy we almost missed fourth of July fireworks because we didn’t want to get out of the hammock and pack it away!
Go here and use the code AJAUNTWITHJOY to get 20% off a Rapid Hammock original hammock! Disclaimer : To my knowledge, I don’t receive any form of payment from being an ambassador or promoting this product. I simply received a free hammock to test and my own percentage off of their hammock accessories. I’ve since fallen in love with my hammock and choose to promote the discount to benefit my fellow forest-loving followers!
I was able to bring back the Memorable Food and Memorable Lodging portions of these Retrospects posts! Glad I had the extra bit of saved money to visit Olympic and eat well on the cruise!
This month, I was able to practice filming using my Nikon D7100 instead of solely relying on our GoPro. I’m still getting used to the Nikon’s video settings and transitioning from video back to photo, but the quality has been excellent so far. Looking forward to putting a video together from all the footage!
Goals For Next Month
My goals for August were to create a video from my Alaska Nikon footage or from January’s GoPro footage of Arizona. I also hoped to go on tours and discover more foodie locations in Alaska as I had a 3 week cruise contract to look forward to.
Coming up in August was a 3 week cruise contract back to Alaska — my last contract of the summer. I also have 2 weeks of my final Zoo camp classes to teach at the beginning of the month, and a hopeful trip to a National Park for the upcoming NPS 100th year anniversary!
Sharing Is Caring