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We had an action-packed weekend, so we hardly had anytime to relax, but nonetheless, the days were well spent and fun. On Saturday, we went to Bainbridge Island for an afternoon retreat. About an hour away from downtown Seattle via ferry, Bainbridge Island is in Puget Sound and is a wonderful escape for those a bit weary from city life. We attended a tour of the Bloedel Reserve, a massive arboretum created by Prentice Bloedel, the son of a successful lumber tycoon in the Pacific Northwest. Created as a profession of love to his wife, Virginia, the Bloedel Reserve was a beautiful estate, as we were surrounded by nature. The guide was very informative, explaining several types of plants and flowers throughout the long and extensive tour. The landscape and buildings were superb, and the size of the estate was breathtaking.
Following the tour, we took cabs over to a barbeque at a Duke alum’s house. She and her husband were gracious hosts, as we enjoyed eating hamburgers and brats out on the deck, soaking in the view looking out toward Puget Sound. I learned how to play bocce ball, and played a few quick games of table tennis. After thanking our hosts for their hospitality and a great afternoon, we stopped by Mora Ice Creamery, a local favorite. Their signature Swiss chocolate ice cream was a delicious dessert before boarding the ferry back to Seattle.
On Sunday, we woke up early in the morning to do some volunteer work for the Washington Trails Association on the Snow Lake Trail. With a short orientation on trail equipment and safety, we separated into small groups and accompanied a trail crew leader to a section of trail that needed repair. My group hiked two miles to our restoration location. I had never been hiking before, and before the trip I had negative opinions towards hiking. But after actually doing some hiking, I quickly realized why it is so popular among people in Seattle. To see the amazing scenery on the trail, and enjoy a sense of accomplishment when reaching certain checkpoints, really helped me realize how hiking can be a fulfilling experience. My small group accompanied our crew leader to a point on the trail where water flow was naturally following the trail. This can be potentially dangerous for hikers when the water flow is large and can make the terrain slippery for hikers. Thus, our job was to divert the water so that it would flow downhill away from the trail. Each group did something different, but a common thought was that the hiking excursion was fun and well worth it.
After returning to our apartments, some of us quickly showered and headed to Seattle Center for Bite of Seattle, an annual food festival. We specifically went to The Alley, a charity dining event hosted by Tom Douglas. Upon paying the entrance fee, we were able to sample food from Seattle’s best restaurants. From dumplings to pastrami to bruschetta, the menu of samples was delicious and the event was a success.