This kid probably enjoyed our vacation from home the most of all of us.

Staycation: the low-stress, low-reward time off we all need right now

Nov. 4, 2020

If you'd rather click through the photos in a gallery, go here.

Fair warning: I'm typing this as election results are rolling in. So my writing probably reflects my mood: anxious. Also, It's really been reminding me of my post from four years ago

Mikey and I needed a break. He's been working (from home) without one since December. 

We picked a week, knowing we really wanted to return to Sisters, Ore. And we went back and forth on whether to go. We never did book our cabin, knowing we would feel much less stressed if we just stayed home during the pandemic. 

I thought it would pass more slowly because it wasn't the most exciting vacation. But the familiarity of being home actually made the time go faster. Oh, well. I suppose that's what we needed.

My first run was a whopping 3 miles from home.

I knew Mikey needed a quiet start to our time off, so I let him watch football all weekend, and we stuck to the island. I ran with a friend, and we ordered pizza delivery.

But by Monday, Mikey knew I had to get out to the mountains. We loaded up the Rover with some of our travel gear but left the camping equipment behind. Mikey wanted to sleep in his own bed, and we did every night. 

We drove to the east end of the Olympic Adventure Trail, where Mikey took Winston for a walk and then picked Tully and me up about 7 miles later.

We spent the rest of the day driving around the Olympic Peninsula checking out some potential future camping spots and made dinner at one of them. And then drove home in the dark.

After that, we alternated days at home and with days in the mountains. On Tuesday, I ran from home without Tully, and we filled out our ballots.

Wednesday took us to the mountains again, but this time to the Cascades for the first time all year. I found a few trail options just north of Mount Rainier National Park, and we headed out. I was really thinking I'd choose the low trail along the White River, but as we approached the skies were so clear, I couldn't pass up the big climb instead.

Mikey was kind enough to wait more than 2 hours hours while Tully and I ran up Little Ranger Peak, about 2,800 feet of elevation gain, and picked us up a few miles down the highway.

Please pardon the photo dump. These trails were beautiful the whole route. The woods mesmerized me, the views of Tahoma/Ti'Swaq (Mount Rainer) over the cliffs were spectacular, and I loved every minute of it. 

At the top of the trail, there's noticeable evidence of fire in recent years, including the end-of-season fireweed clumped on both sides of the single track and blackened trees with no green needles.

Mikey took Winston for a 3-mile walk along the river. The old dog did great, keeping his balance and even running down the hills. 

The drive home was just as gorgeous as the rest of the day.

Thursday was gray and uneventful. We worked around the house a little but otherwise rested up for one more day of driving around.

We decided to look for salmon spawning in local creeks Friday and started in Poulsbo. Although we saw some salmon on our walk, we wanted to keep looking. We stopped one other place in Kitsap County, but it looked busy, so we didn't even get out of the car and headed once again for the Olympic Peninsula. We found a creek on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife land, where there was a little more action.

Possibly our most boring family portrait yet.

It was getting late in the day, so Mikey dropped Tully and me for a run along the Olympic Discovery Trail and picked us up in Port Townsend. I tried to turn it into a tempo run, but between my late lunch and Tully's low motivation, I had to back off my effort a bit. Tully actually hasn't been the most solid running buddy lately. For about a month or so, he's been sluggish unless we're doing speed work (his favorite) or running somewhere new. Although he ran fantastically earlier in the week, he was a little bit of a dud this day. Hoping to get his running spunk back, but in the meantime, I haven't been taking him every day.

The rest of the weekend we pretty much hid at home. I dressed Tully up on Halloween and took him to our farmers market but otherwise kept the activity low. To be honest, the upcoming election kind of brought our moods down, and we weren't motivated to do a whole lot else. But I did manage to cut out a shirt the last night of vacation. (A new pattern, so I hope to write that up soon, but I have to construct it first! Also, I have photos of two other new patterns, but I haven't typed anything up yet.)

So staycation wasn't nearly as refreshing as a real vacation, but it's what we get this year. So I'll take it over nothing.


I've just finished typing this as we're waiting on national results a full day after polls have closed. I am a mix of anxiety, hope, and disappointment. Our country has some real problems, and it's going to take a whole lot more work to fix them.

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