Fall

Suddenly the air has gone from sticky to crisp, leaves are falling, and I am craving hot chocolate. It’s fall, the time of year that I’m convinced that it’s nicer to live in DC than most anywhere else. Something about this weather and slanted sunlight make all the brick houses with their roof spires feel even more picturesque than usual.

To top it all off, I have found myself with quite the social calendar in the coming months. It kicked off in a glorious way this weekend. On Friday night, a group of Mark’s and mine’s friends spontaneously went “glamping” – glamorous camping – and rented a yurt in the Shenandoah valley. (You know it’s glamping when someone brings their espresso machine.) We stayed up late drinking wine by the fire pit and eating smores, and somehow managed to wake up early to hike Old Rag Old Rag Mountain.

In the words of the National Park Service, “Old Rag is Shenandoah’s most popular and most dangerous hike…The number of search and rescue missions each year attests to its danger. There’s no doubt that the scramble is great fun and the views are spectacular. A day on Old Rag is one of Shenandoah’s premier experiences.”

It was indeed great fun, and fear not, our troupe needed no emergency rescue, although those rock scrambles were no joke. Contortion was needed in several spots, and I did wimp out and ask my tallest mountain man friend to hold onto me as I jumped from rock to rock a few times since I’m scared of heights. The views were spectacular as promised.

We went for pizza and beer afterward, and at that moment no food or drink could have tasted better. I still feel physically exhausted a day later, and I’m not in bad shape!

The drive and to and from Shenandoah was also lovely. I like to complain about how much more beautiful the West Coast is than the East Coast, but the Blue Ridge Mountains and their surrounding rolling hills are really beautiful. I can’t wait to return.

Oddly enough, I will not have to wait long. Ages ago Mark and I made plans to go to the same area for the upcoming holiday weekend. I was a little worried when we agreed to the group trip that it would feel silly to go back so soon, but we had such a nice time this go-around that neither of us particularly mind heading straight back.

Huzzah, fall!

(Unfortunately I forgot my phone and camera, so pictures of the Shenandoah Valley will have to wait. Instead, all I can offer is a shot from this morning’s farmer’s market.)

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Cozy

It is snowing outside, and I am drinking hot tea while snuggled under a blanket on my couch and listening to jazz music. This morning I went on a run. My tummy is full of popovers and Oregon berry jam. I feel at peace. I do not particularly feel like writing a blog post. However, if I put off writing a blog post until tomorrow, I can’t imagine it happening at all. Tomorrow I will be drowsy from staying out until who knows when tango dancing, I have a visit to a potential new apartment (trying not to get my hopes up, I’m worried I’ll fall in love with it and not get it,) and I’m going to a Teach-In on Civil Liberties at the renowned DC bookstore Politics and Prose.

So, a blog post. Our trip to Argentina was amazing, it was beautiful, and it was needed. Highlights included eating many tasty things, hiking through outrageously amazing scenery, and long days warm weather, maybe in that order. I feel absurdly lucky to have been able to return to one of my favorite places in the world, and to share it with my mother. I wish I could do it all over again, although perhaps not the missed airplane connection (sorry, Papa)!

Pictures with some commentary are below.

First off, breakfast:

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Next, the Perito Moreno glacier:

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Ice cave under the glacier: dsc_0533

While we spent most of our time in the mountains, a lot of Patagonia is flat, dry steppe. That bright blue lake you see below is fed by glaciers, hence the amazing color.   dsc_0554

Some mountain pictures:

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The area around the Estancia where we stayed looked like this:

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Finally, baby cows: dsc_0746

It was a little tough to come back to real life, especially to flat, mountain-less DC. West Coast, someday I will return!