Happy Birthday – Sweet Sixty

Week after week, one hike at a time, working my way to the completion of the goal of sixty hikes before my sixtieth birthday made this entire year feel like a celebration as friends and family joined me. Making more incredibly wonderful friends, including meeting the love of my life, while experiencing exciting new adventures along the trails, I wore out the soles of a pair of hiking boots and even toned up my tush a bit. All surprise bonuses along the way! The entire weekend of the grand finale was filled with wonderful celebrations with lots of friends, family, fun, nearly too much food and great gifts – yet no hiking, unless that rather long, uphill path leading from the dock back to the parking lot after our three and a half hours of Contra dancing could possibly count as a hike.

Wearing my “birthday” hat . . .

From Saturday afternoon until well into the evening, we celebrated during the annual Ferry Boat Contra Dance Party. From Anacortes to Friday Harbor, and back, members of the Contra Sutra Band played their lively Contra tunes. We danced and danced and danced as the Elwha ferried us through the San Juan Islands. Go here – http://youtu.be/JVqJM5Egt58 – to see the video I took during one of the Contra dances. Beautiful music while dancing Contras – incredibly fun!

(pic by Beth) . . . Kent and I dancing to a Contra waltz

Sunday, the actual day of my birthday, was filled with even more celebration. Starting with breakfast with my son at our favorite waterfront restaurant, the Bayside Cafe, followed by a visit to our local Marine Life Center, the updated version of the original “touch tank” we often visited when he was a child. Later, as if a picnic, our morning celebrations closed with birthday cake at Boulevard Park, another of my favorite locations.

Birthday cake . . . at Boulevard Park

Following an afternoon relaxing and perusing a stack hiking books, Kent’s homemade lasagna and more birthday cake made the finest dining for any birthday celebration. Once again, it was time for more celebration with the receipt of the absolute perfect gift – a pack perfectly designed for extended backpacking trips.

The perfect gift for further hiking adventures!

And to make it even more fun, tucked into the many compartments of the pack were even more gifts. With clever clues written on each, sometimes my first guess was correct and other times, it took me several. Thank you, thank you for making this birthday so special and so much fun!

Hint – “I’m so attached to you”

Thanks also to Beth, Francean, Lori, Kriss, Fred, Jane, Joy, Lisa T, Kathy T, Kathy R, Kathleen, Camille, Dena, Sandy, DJ, Dan, Mike, Michael, Richard, Judy, fellow Contra dancers – and everyone else. I don’t mean to omit your name, but there really has been so many of you that have so generously given encouragement, support, friendship, cheers and love as each step got me closer to completing those sixty hikes – and to my sixtieth birthday. Some of you joined me along the trails, others wanted to, and you all helped. So, thank you, EVERYONE! Special thanks to Kent – for your love, for so effortlessly making our hikes together so much more of a fun adventure as we met up with bears, snakes, fossils, hot springs, wildflowers, birds, snow, streams overflowing their banks, beautiful waterfalls, lookout towers and so very much more. Thank you for letting me blubber and for holding me up last week through the passing of my sister. Words cannot express the thanks, appreciation, gratitude and joy I feel by sharing my life with you! I can only repeat what you said so well in your birthday card to me – your words:

“Building a life together,

Loving and supporting each other,

Creating so many good memories,

And many great adventures together to come.

I love you.”

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So, what’s next? We’re talking a backpacking trip now and researching snow levels, looking for camp sites where we can hike into, set up a base camp to do day hikes from there. Definitely stay tuned!

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