Back home in Australia, July means chilly, short days and admittedly odd mid-year Christmas celebrations. It’s all a bit bizarre, but it’s our only opportunity to wear Christmas sweaters and sip eggnog as December is usually too-hot-to-function, let alone wear anything more than a singlet.
As much as I love a good Reindeer print pullover, I could definitely get used to this northern hemisphere July!
This month was so beautifully sunny and fantastic that it made staying inside incredibly difficult – so I didn’t! I’ve learnt that I can work on my laptop basically anywhere, so long as I have a good pair of sunglasses and an iced coffee. It’s a discovery that I’ll continue to take advantage of as long as the sunshine remains.
Here’s what went down in July when I wasn’t in work-mode.
A lucky break in work schedules enabled Tom and I to make a very quick jaunt to Fiji to celebrate two friends get married. It was a whirlwind trip, and felt like we spent more time in the air travelling to and from then we did on Fijian soil – but nevertheless I’m so glad we made the trek.
Our short time was spent catching up by the pool, cocktails in hand, and sampling some truly delicious Fijian food. Kokonda and fish curries might just be more of a draw card than Fiji’s pristine beaches! We also fit in a scuba dive on the Coral Coast.
One of my recent goals was to explore outside Vancouver’s downtown area, which I began to achieve in July.
My parents and I Airbnb’d in Riley Park, which was the perfect location for walks in Queen Elizabeth Park, and a convenient stroll to great dining options along Main St (I highly recommend Locus Lounge and MEET On Main).
Parents in tow, I also ticked off some big ticket tourist items that I was yet to try: Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain and Vancouver Lookout (all fun but definitely pricey activities!)
Sunday afternoon was spent at nearby Deep Cove for a hike up to Quarry Rock. The spectacular views from the top were worth braving this very crowded trail – but parking in Deep Cove on a weekend is an utter nightmare. I’d suggest arriving very early or very late if you want to tackle this hike in summer. (I still think Oyster Dome is better though!)
Seaside vibes in Steveston B.C.
With a desire to show my parents something more interesting than the I5 on our return from Vancouver to Anacortes, I decided to make a pit-stop in Steveston, a small fishing village near Richmond B.C.
I discovered the town has deep roots in shipbuilding and salmon cannery, along with a fascinating Japanese history. We explored the local museum, Fisherman’s Wharf, Garry Point Park, and wandered the flower-lined streets before indulging in lunch at Dave’s Fish & Chips (a longstanding local fixture for fried seafood).
Fun fact: It’s also the town where TV series Once Upon A Time was filmed. I’m not too familiar with the show but there seems to be a lot of tour options and sights for fans who’d like to visit Storybrooke.
Mt Baker hiking
While it felt odd to visit my favourite ski destination sans-skis, I have to admit summer might be the most beautiful season at Mt Baker. There was still a bit of snow around (which I used periodically as a personal mid-hike refrigerator), but Baker and Shuksan sure do glisten under a summer sun. Tom, my parents and I spent the day completing several short hikes in the area.
Mountains and sunshine trumps everything, always.
A day trip to Lopez Island
This day will go down in history as the day I finally sighted orcas in the wild. Even if it was a brief glimpse: I saw a fin, a splash, and that totally counts.
Lopez is rising to be my favourite of the San Juan Islands. There are so many parks to explore, and all offer beautiful coastal views and shoreline walking trails. Visiting Shark Reef Sanctuary almost guarantees a seal sighting, and no trip is complete without icecream from Lopez Island Creamery.
We also discovered that the local winery opens to the public on Sundays. Not to let a chance go by, we stopped in to sip siegerrebe and rosé in the sunshine of their vineyard garden.
Around Town – Anacortes
With my parents in Western Canada and Tom in South Dakota for much of mid-July, I was head-down-arse-up in work, trying to make the most of the quiet. Work was punctuated with yoga, sushi and wine nights with friends, impromptu breakfast-and-book picnics, and side trips to my beloved Cranberry Lake.
Later in the month my tour guide badge was reinstated, ensuring lots of activities around Fidalgo & Whidbey Island. A highlight was a morning hike at Ebey’s Landing (perfect panoramas of the Olympic Mountains!), and exploring historic Fort Casey before raspberry picking at a local farm.
August brings one very special date: our one year anniversary living in the USA!
I’ll be hosting my parents for most of this month before they return to Australia. Aka there’ll be plenty more local adventures, including a few days exploring Vancouver Island.
August will also bring one of my most anticipated trips ever. At the end of the month, Tom and I are off to Alaska!!!!! It’s a short but sweet two week adventure, featuring hiking, boating, cycling and even snorkelling. Add me on Snapchat (live-recklessly) to see it all!
Expat Escapades is a monthly series here at Live Recklessly. I’ll recap my latest adventures in the USA, new Seattle favourites in food/drink/culture/activities, and uncover more of Anacortes and the Pacific Northwest region.
If you have any suggestions of where I should visit, let me know in the comments below!
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