Category Archives: Recreation

Have an Adventure: Skydive Snohomish

I’m not sure if I’m having an early mid-life crisis, or just getting bolder in my old age, but this summer I was talked into doing something crazy: jumping out of a plane.  Five years ago I don’t think I would have done it.  Now, I think I want to do it again.

To skydive with Skydive Snohomish, you need to book your appointment a little in advance, prepay a $50 deposit, and give yourself about 3 hours at the facility.  You also have to be at least 18 years old, and weigh less than 220lbs.

Disappointingly, the day I was first scheduled to go was cloudy, and as my friend (a serious skydiver and the one that talked me into) said, “You can’t jump in low clouds; they’re not fluffy like you think.”  Deep down I knew this of course, but was in angry denial at the weather all day.   For my rescheduled jump earlier this month, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

As a newbie I was tandem jumping, which meant I had an experienced diver strapped to my back.  Or rather, I was strapped to his front.  Either way, I felt a lot more confident in his ability to pull the parachute than mine so I was happy.  My biggest fear was fear itself: I thought that once I was on the plane, looking down, I might not want to go.  Or worse, I might throw up.

When you arrive for your appointment, you sign a five-page waiver that repeatedly tells you that you might die.  Don’t let this scare you off.  Do make sure your life insurance policy is up to date before you go.  Once you’ve signed your life away (quite literally), you watch an instructional video about how to do a few main things in the jump: how to exit the plane correctly, and how to land. Then, an instructor reiterates those factors and has you practice the positions you need to be in on the ground before you head out to the staging area to suit up.

Your tandem diving partner gets you all geared up and ready to go with flight suit, goggles and hat, and then you board the plane.  I got lucky in two ways here: first, I had a great instructor who calmed my nerves by telling the cheesiest jokes ever on the plane (How do you find Will Smith in the snow? Look for the fresh prints).  Secondly, I was the last tandem person to board which meant I was the first one to jump out, and I didn’t have to build up anticipation watching the rest of the plane go.

Was I scared?  Yes and no.  I was nervous, and before it was my turn to jump out, I had to watch three individuals jump.  But when my turn came and we started scooting our butts toward the exit, I didn’t have time to be scared.  I didn’t even have time to realize I was at the edge before my tandem partner pushed us out.

The first feeling out of the plane was indescribable – like being terrified and exhilarated at once.  It was loud, my ears hurt a little, and I lost my sense of what direction I was facing.  Once the parachute opened, everyone was suddenly completely silent, and i got to gaze around for miles at the view.  Although you’re skydiving over Snohomish (next to Stocker Farms), you can see all of Seattle, the Puget Sound, Mount Baker, and more.    My tandem partner let me steer for a little while before we landed safely on the ground.

I’ve posted a few photos here of the process, and highly encourage your inner daredevil to knock this off your bucket list!

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Get out of Town: The Outback Kangaroo Farm in Arlington

While driving out to a camping spot in Oso last weekend, I passed by a sign with an arrow pointing to Kangaroos.  I certainly wasn’t in Australia, so at the campsite a friend and I decided to do a Google search for kangaroos in Arlington, and found out about The Outback Kangaroo Farm.  We were pretty excited, so we drove back the 30 minutes from our campsite the next day to take a tour. For a super affordable $9 per adult ($8 for children, and cash or check only), you can go on one of four tours per day through this farm.  My first thought upon arriving was that I’d be standing behind a cage, listening to someone speak.  However, this was only true for the first exhibit (the lemurs, of which three had just recently had babies).  After that, we were able to walk into every paddock and enclosure, feed most of the animals, and pet and play with them. Don’t get me wrong – this wasn’t all just for fun.  The tours are guided and are also somewhat educational (more on a child-level, as there were plenty of little ones on the tour).  But can you really resist the chance to pet a wallaby? Peacocks, chickens, and goats roam the farm pretty freely.   In fact one particular goat decided to meet us at the beginning of the tour and just follow us the whole way.  Before we got to the kangaroos, we met a llama, an alpaca, several donkeys, a miniature horse, and a pretty large 25-year old tortoise.  We also met an ostrich and a couple of emus, which was the only other enclosure we couldn’t enter.

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The wallabies and kangaroos live together in a pretty large area.  Several are stand-offish and stay far away, but most bound up to the people that walk in. We had a little bit of food for them, but even when we didn’t hold food they’d come right up and snuggle in for a pat on the head.  Most were born and raised there, as the farm has been around for 15 years.  They’re used to humans.  One kangaroo had a new baby in her pouch, and we were able to feel her stomach and feel the baby the way you’d feel a woman’s stomach when her baby is kicking while they explained to us how kangaroo babies grow and mature. I should also mention that this place sells wallabies and kangaroos, for $1200 to $1500.  Wallabies are totally silent animals, but that doesn’t make them great for a Seattle apartment or high-density neighborhood – they’re not exactly an animal you can potty train and need a lot of space to run around.  Oh well, my dog would get jealous anyway.

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Long story short: this place gets a lot of thumb’s up from me.  I’m not normally a huge supporter of animals in captivity, but these guys all had plenty of room, shelter, food & water, and seemed genuinely happy.  Plus, I learned a few somethings.  Next time you find yourself near Arlington, go check this place out!

MY FAVORITE THINGS: current addictions

Like most of us, I see new shiny objects every few weeks.  Sometimes they’ve been around awhile, sometimes they’re brand new, but once I catch on to something I love I just can’t stop.    Here’s a few of my latest addictions –

MY NEW FITBIT FLEX:

I was super late catching on to this trend, as I saw friends of mine start purchasing last fall.  Now that I’ve had mine for two weeks, i’m obsessed.  As a naturally competitive person, this little $100 wristband is motivating me to walk and run more and eat healthier.  I can compete against friends of mine through its little social network to be the most active in a 7-day time period, cheer them on, “taunt” them, and message.  I can input what I eat and have it track calories.  And my favorite feature is being able to monitor my sleep and see why I’m grumpy some mornings due to the amount of restlessless I had in the night.

SEATTLE CIDER COMPANY SEMI SWEET CIDER:

Although usually an avid beer drinker, with spring on the way I find myself picking up individual cans of this once or twice a week from Ballard Market.  Based in SODO, the relatively young Seattle Cider Company is the first cidery in recent history within Seattle city limits, and they’re doing a great job.  The two regular ciders they produce are Dry and Semi Sweet – and I’m loving the latter.

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MAPLE LEAF ACE HARDWARE:

I moved to Maple Leaf last August and bought a fixer I’ve been remodeling since (almost done, woohoo!).  Maple Leaf Hardware has been phenomenal – they carry way more than I expected them too, they’re dog friendly inside so I can walk there with the beast, and at any given time there appears to be about 500 employees ready to help.  Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but have you tried finding someone to help you at the Home Depot lately?  Maple Leaf Ace also has tons of gardening equipment and with it finally becoming spring, it’s a super convenient north Seattle spot to get planting.

Be a VIP, help clean up Seattle Parks July 20th

We all love our Seattle parks, so why not show your love by giving back a little?  Friday, July 20th is VIP Day – “Volunteers in Parks” Day – where you can help pull ivy, restore trails, and spread mulch at various Seattle parks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

One of those parks is north Seattle’s own Lower Woodland (the other parks are Lincoln and Dr. Jose Rizal).  To register to help cleanup Lower Woodland, click the link here and sign up through EarthCorps.

But it’s not all work and no play.  Following the volunteer efforts, all helpers are invited to a thank you party at Lake Union with live music, food trucks, the beer boat, activities and a commemorative t-shirt.

Start chugging that milk – the Milk Carton Derby returns July 14th

It’s not too late to get your registration in for the 42nd Annual Denny’s Seafair Milk Carton Derby, held at Green Lake Park this year on Saturday, July 14th beginning at 10 a.m.   The traditional event will include around 100 milk carton boats competing for $10,000 in prizes.

For those of you wanting a last-minute entry, there is no charge to compete in the racing, military, and open categories.  There’s a $250 entry fee for the Groups/Commercial category, which allows the vessel to race with a name/logo on it.

Children as young as eight can participate, as there is a special “youth” category for ages 8-13.  Besides the boats, there will be land-lubber activities also: displays and exhibits, the Seafair pirates, Seafair princesses, and Seagals will all be on hand.

For full details and the rules & regulations of building your craft, visit the event’s website here.  To see more of last year’s boats like the one below, visit my photo post from last year here.

PHOTO: Sunny Evening, April 2nd at Green Lake Park

I’m not a great photographer, but every now and then my Windows Phone snaps a decent pic of this beautiful neighborhood.  Here’s a snapshot of the sun sinking lower over Green Lake on April 2nd!

A Very North Seattle Easter – Where to go, when, for your neighborhood Egg Hunt

I’m not very good at paying attention to holidays, probably because I don’t have children.  The only way I know which holiday is approaching is usually by the displays of candy at the grocery store – Halloween to Christmas, Christmas to Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day to Easter, and so on.  The marshmallow Peeps are out, along with the jelly beans and Cadbury Creme Eggs, and so Easter must be on its way.

And for those of you that DO have children, that means Easter Egg Hunts.  You have a few to choose from in north Seattle this year – and North Seattle Sarah has you covered on what to do.

Wallingford: The Wallingford Center presents their annual Easter Egg Hunt featuring…wait for it…The Bubbleman! The celebration will be Saturday, April 7th at the Wallingford Center (1818 N 45th Street) and will go from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The Bubbleman begins performing at 9 a.m., and the egg hunt takes place at 10 a.m.  From 10 a.m. to noon there will also be face painting, crafts, and a chance to meet the Easter Bunny.

Woodland Park: The Zoo is hosting their annual Bunny Bounce from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 7th.  Egg hunts for age groups 3-5, and 6-8 will happen in half-hour increments starting a 10 a.m.  Egg hunts for toddlers will be at 9:30.  This is the 11th year the Zoo has put this on, and there will be crafts, bunny encounters and more throughout the day.  Cost to participate is regular Zoo admission.

Green Lake: Egg Hunt at the Green Lake Community Center is back this year, after being cancelled last year from lack of funding.  Visit the Community Center at 10 a.m. on Saturday April 7th at 7201 East Green Lake Drive N.   It’s free for kids 10 and under.

Ravenna: The Spring Bunny Hunt at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center at 6535 Ravenna Way NE is also hosting an egg hunt.  This one starts at 10 a.m. and is for children 12 and under.

Loyal Heights:  Children 10 and under can hunt for eggs at the Loyal Heights Community Center at 10 a.m. on April 7th, at 2101 NW 77th Street.

Ballard: Same goes for you, Ballard.  Children 10 and under can egg hunt at the Ballard Community Center on April 7th at 10 a.m.  The Ballard Community Center is at 6020 28th Ave NW.

Bitter Lake: Finally, we can’t forget about our friends on the northern border.  Visit the Bitter Lake Community Center at 13040 Greenwood Ave North for an egg hunt for children 10 and under at 10 a.m. on April 7th.  Note: Meet at the Bitter Lake ANNEX which is attached to Broadview Thomson Elementary School.