Space Needle In Queen Anne's Backyard

I was a bit of a tomboy when I was a kid. I guess you could say I was pretty balanced actually. I loved pretty dresses and shoes, but I also knew the value of a t-shirt and worn jeans and didn’t mind getting dirty playing outside. Those qualities still pretty much hold true today as well.

When I was a wee girl though, I like to think I did my fair share of tromping around the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southern Ohio. I have the scars of a childhood of playing outside whenever possible. I have the memories of scrapes and carefully pulling off ticks as well as getting stung by various insects. And, it was no big deal. Even with the ticks, it was all “pull it all out, you’ll be fine”. Now, it seems inevitable you’ll get Lyme disease.

So, even with all that lovely nature and coming across snakes and getting lost in the mountains, I loved being outdoors and immersing myself into Mother Nature’s realm.

I still do really. In theory, I love the idea of roughing it by camping out in the wilderness and hiking for days on end. In reality though, I’m all for a short hike in the woods or the mountains in the cold weather of autumn or winter. Because now? Now, I’m not so keen on the bugs.

On our move out here to Washington this past summer, we stopped at a lookout over a gorge to get a better view and snap a picture or two. Within a few minutes of this visit, tiny, invisible monsters starting munching on us like we were the tastiest thing they had had all day. I think they were biting gnats. Whatever the hell they were, they were evil little buggers and ruined what could have been an awesome moment.

Bugs and I… we’re, unfortunately, like magnets. And it’s a hate/hate relationship on my end.

Are you sensing a theme here? It all has to do with my hatred of insects really. I think my mind would shut down if I had to live in a tropical climate.

Of course, I’m not to the point of being a hermit. I still love being outside and embracing the elements, especially if it involves sunshine in the dead gray of winter in Seattle.

This past Sunday was a pretty nice day with 60° temps and sunshine, so the husband and I decided to do a little urban exploration. And ya know what? Sometimes, the best experiences can be found in your own backyard. Plus, “traveling” or exploring without really going anywhere at all but out into your neighborhood has its benefits, such as…

  1. For those of you who have dogs or children, you can’t just go traipsing out into the wilderness any ol’ time you want to. Even with a day trip, it takes an insane amount of preparation and patience (and deep breathing) if you decide to take your children and/or dogs with you… bug spray, sunscreen, food, water, first aid, etc., etc. It’s ideal to stay closer to your zip code in those instances.
  2. Less danger from nature… if you live in a city, of course. If you live out in the country, I assume you love bugs and reptiles, and you’re a weirdo. I much prefer a “dangerous” big city. ;) It’s all subjective though, right?
  3. You might discover something new to you or find some hidden gem. I love finding little pockets of solitude within the city. I also find geocaching more fun and diverse within a city as opposed to rural areas.
  4. You may learn something new about your city and its history.
  5. You’ll get to go home at the end of the day and sleep in your own bed. This almost makes me want to go nowhere. I love our bed. It’s a king size, uber comfortable Tempur-pedic mattress. I don’t know how I would function without it.

On our little day of urban exploration, we ventured out into the neighborhood of Queen Anne. When you build a city such as Seattle on hills, you got to find a way to get from one place to another. That’s where we come in with the steps! There are so many stairways in this city. I found a map someone has made and graciously shared online of all the public stairways in Seattle.

The husband and I ended up walking around five miles with 800 steps up and 900 steps down, and man… were we sore and worn out but in a good way. We found the quaint and hidden Parsons Gardens. We marveled at the beautiful houses in the neighborhood. We also learned a bit of history about the stairways, walls, and structures in the area. The oldest stairway is from 1905. Oh, Seattle. You’re such a young’un compared to the east coast cities. ;)

On our walk, we found various locations with gorgeous views of the city, Mount Rainier, and the Puget Sound. We also found one of the Little Free Library boxes.

Little Free Library In Queen Anne

I always find it surprising when you talk to people about some of the activities or sights you’ve experienced in a city they have lived in their whole lives, and they have never experienced those things for themselves. I just can’t imagine living that way. It’s amazing what awesome little nooks and crannies you can find, and you only have to venture mere steps outside your front door.