Race: Dirty Dash
Location: McCleary, WA
After-Race: Time to get diiiiiiiiirty!!! Talk about the best excuse ever to run, roll, swim, and dance through mud!! This is a 5K that is right up my alley. People don’t run it to actually win, they run it to get dirty – I’m really good at that. It’s not as hardcore as the Warrior Dash, Mud Run, etc. This race is all about fun! It’s a fun, short road trip down to McCleary and my team geared up and got our Mudweiser shirts ready. They were a pristine white, but after the race, you didn’t see an inch of clean fabric. There are a bunch of different obstacles that all contain lots and lots of mud. There was so much mud at one point that our feet were getting stuck and some people were abandoning their shoes completely. Bring clothes and shoes that you don’t mind losing, needless to say. There were ponds we trekked through, mud balls thrown at us, walls were climbed, puddles were swam. Getting dirty was never this fun! The best part is the gigantic waterslide halfway through the mud run. Be careful, though. This run is more dangerous than you expect. I unfortunately witnessed a gnarly ankle break. Let’s move on from that….after the waterslide, there’s FREE BEER! Doesn’t get much better! A mile of mud longer and there’s the finish line – we almost didn’t want it to be done! I’d highly recommend taking a waterproof, disposable camera. I got some awesome shots while we were on the run, and I didn’t have to worry about dropping my cameras in the mud. Also, bring lots of towels – be prepared for your car to get dirty. They do have “showers” to clean off, which are basically tiny hoses that everyone fights over. You can also donate your dirty shoes! It’s such a fun activity that I’ll never forget!
Link: Dirty Dash
Restaurant: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
After-Taste: I’m obsessed with Harry Potter. I mean, who isn’t, right?! Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is on my bucket list, but in the meantime, there’s a makeshift way to visit Diagon Alley in Seattle! Hot Cakes in Ballard serves Butterbeer! When I found this out, I immediately planned a night to visit and got a little giddy inside. Hot Cakes is a super cute restaurant that has chocolate scents that led me to it’s door. The desserts looked fantastic. I watched so many desserts being delivered to customers and I wanted to become their friends just so I could try a bite. Then came my Butterbeer. Eeeeeeek! It was in a small glass, which at first kind of made me sad because I thought I was being gipped. Not the case. The drink is so rich, the little glass is all you need. It’s a mix of butterscotch, apple cider, ginger and sparkling wine. And it’s warm. Yummmmmm! I had my Harry Potter glasses on (I mentioned I was obsessed, right?) and with each sip, I felt like I was in the Leaky Cauldron with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Such a fun treat and quite tasty too! It’s perfect for a rainy, muggle day.
Link: Hot Cakes
Venue: Emerald Downs
After-Race: It’s not a complete Summer without a visit to Emerald Downs to watch a horse race! And it wouldn’t be a complete experience unless you have a fabulous hat to wear to the event! My girlfriends and I found some cheap Summer hats at TJMaxx and added some whimsical decorations to spice them up. I went classy (wish I would’ve gone a liiiiittle crazier) with some blue sequins and peacock feathers. My friends Jen and Lil, however, got these giant butterflies that they attached to their hats. They were such a hit! Random people were taking friends with them because they were so extravagant, unique, and a little wacky. There were some other people with hats at the races, but if you don’t like a lot of people looking at you (and possibly judging you), I would advise against a hat then. It’s a blast walking up to the railings and watching the horses with crazy names race. I bet a few bucks on a couple different horses…but to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. Some people take their betting very seriously. For instance, one of my favorite parts was seeing a guy win his bet. He must’ve won a million dollars or something because he was screaming, laughing, jumping, and even laid on his back on the ground while shouting. All of his friends were excited and patting him on the back…and were probably extremely jealous. If you want a fun activity, definitely go see some horses race. Just don’t forget your Mint Julep!
Link: Emerald Downs
Hike: Bridal Veil Falls/Lake Serene
Location: Index, WA
After-Trail: I won’t sugar coat it, this hike is tiring and challenging at times. But absolutely rewarding. It’s about 7.5 miles total (that’s including the waterfall detour….which you’d be crazy to miss) and 2000 ft of elevation. There really is nothing better than the woods in Washington. So quiet, lush, and beautiful. The waterfall detour was awesome – there are a couple smaller waterfalls along the way, but Bridal Veil Falls was breathtaking! I’ve never seen anything like it – and you can get right next to it! It’s a super loud roar and you’re bound to get wet, but it was so cool climbing on the rocks and standing right next to the gigantic waterfall that looks like it’s falling from the sky. After the (highly-recommended) detour, you climb a bit more, walk through a gorgeous valley, and come up to Lake Serene. I would recommend going later in the Summer because our view had more snow than water in it. Definitely wear warm clothes because it’s amazing how quickly the temperature drops – not to mention, you begin climbing through the snow. It makes sense why it’s called “Lake Serene” – it’s so quiet and stunningly gorgeous. The views of Skykomish Valley will turn your brain off and you can’t help but enjoy the peacefulness you have reached. This hike is a must-do. It’s great for the mind, body, and soul.
(Don’t forget to get your Discover Pass before you go!)
Link: Lake Serene