We returned for our second silent retreat (click here for first one) at the Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades, located above the shores of Puget Sound in Federal Way. The silent retreat is provided through the generosity of the Archdiocese of Seattle and Seattle University’s Jesuit mission, and is open to people of all faiths and spiritual direction who have a connection with the university.

The three day retreat begins Friday evening with communal dinner and conversation, followed by an introduction of participants and spiritual directors (who are like counselors). Then the silence commences, and only the spiritual directors occasionally speak at various optional half hour “movements” throughout the weekend. The topics vary, spanning from personal to religious to inspiring stories to guidance on how to heal or think or live fully. The spiritual directors also offer two optional half hour private one-on-one sessions for freeform talk about whatever a participant would like to discuss.

The grounds span a beautiful 39 acres of Puget Sound waterfront, with forested walking trails, courtyards, labyrinth, meditation benches, and gardens spread around the property. The main buildings also house a chapel, library, and multiple meeting rooms, all open 24 hours for anyone to visit and meditate in at any time. Breakfast, lunch, and dinners are served in a large dining room overlooking the Sound, though the only sounds in the room are from silverware clanking and people eating.

Participants come for many reasons, spanning from healing to thinking to planning to relaxing to re-forming. The atmosphere is one of camaraderie and shared intent. The spiritual directors are there to provide a meaningful yet self-directed experience for everyone.

Main buildings at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades



Courtyard at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

One of several courtyards



Chapel at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Chapel



Statue on nature trail at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Statue by nature trail



Stations Of The Cross walking trail at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Stations Of The Cross walking trail



Jesus, Mary, and Joseph statue at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph statue near nature trail



Labyrinth at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Labyrinth for walking meditation



Puget Sound view at Archbishop Brunett Retreat and Faith Formation Center at The Palisades in Federal Way

Puget Sound view from the main buildings



Dumas Bay Wildlife Sanctuary sunrise at Puget Sound beach

Nearby Dumas Bay Wildlife Sanctuary at sunrise



Links
Archbishop Brunett Retreat & Faith Formation Center at The Palisades

Directions

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Seattle Immersive Theater produced a somewhat ambitious performance that is true to their roots of immersing the audience in an interactive and participative experience. “Supraliminal” was well timed for the Halloween season, and all tickets were sold out every night.

Guests arrived at South Seattle College and were directed to a small auditorium. It took a while to adjust to the fact that the people helping, handing out waivers, and talking banter before the 7:30 start were actually already in character and acting with you. At the official start time, “class” was convened. Two actor professors and a medium gave a PowerPoint presentation and discussed the history of paranormal study, different types of paranormal activity, and a specific case that they were currently investigating at the historic Georgetown Steam Plant owned by Seattle City Light in south Seattle.

A planned class field trip to the location was “moved ahead” to tonight, and a bus was waiting for us outside. While on the road, the professor gave additional historic context about the building and what they were doing.

After arrival, a Seattle City Light employee (unknown if it was actual employee or another actor) gave a historical tour of the Steam Plant. The tour was interesting, though a bit long for someone expecting something creepy to happen. Perhaps the anticipation was part of the buildup…

Finally we were taken into a dark cavernous section of the plant where a Command Center was set up that connected with night vision cameras set up at 9 locations around the plant. Then the fun finally began, as a ghostly girl, demon, and demonic possession quickly ramped up both on screen and in front of us.

Supraliminal is an unusual theater production, most suited to someone intrigued by the location-based experience and real time acting of a story from beginning to end. At over 2.5 hours, it was a bit long but was still educational and fun. I was hoping that there would have at least been little “clues” and weird experiences along the way at the steam plant to build up the haunted experience, but one needs to wait for near the end until it gets rolling beyond the historical context. Kudos to the crew on the final scenes, including an unexpected and well done finale. When you think it is all over, it’s not quite really all over.

Seattle Immersive Theater waiver release form

Due to walking around in the old very non-OSHA-approved steam plant in the dark, there were two liability waivers that had to be signed before participating in the performance



Seattle Immersive Theater Supraliminal at Georgetown Steam Plant group tour

Class entered the steam plant, by the massive electric power turbines



Georgetown Steam Plant Seattle tour

Catwalks and passages where we walked through the plant



Georgetown Steam Plant Seattle tour power turbine and crane

Horizontal steam electric production turbine and overhead crane



Georgetown Steam Plant Seattle Immersive Theater Supraliminal group enters dark fueling area

Class entered the dark and cavernous fueling area, where we found the Command Center and finale



Links:
Seattle Immersive Theatre
Supraliminal video trailer
Georgetown Steam Plant
South Seattle College

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Salmon fishing is great up and down the breezy western shores of Whidbey Island. We fished from the shores of Whidbey Island on Admiralty Bay in the town of Coupeville. Salmon migrate along there on the way back to their home rivers, swimming through the eel grass beds and looking for food (or buzz bombs on fishing lines that look like food). Fishing is generally best within about +/- 1.5 hours of high tide. We kept going until we needed our headlamps, and our few catches were after the sun had gone down!

Salmon fishing Whidbey Island Admiralty Bay Coupeville

Salmon fishing on Admiralty Bay at sunset



Salmon fishing from shore of Admiralty Bay Coupeville

Gray but calm day at the shore in Coupeville



Fishing for salmon in Admiralty Bay Coupeville Whidbey Island

Sunset colors grow deeper while fishing for salmon



Filleting salmon on Admiralty Bay beach Coupeville Whidbey Island

Filleting fresh salmon at the beach

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Savor Seattle offers the delicious and varied two hour Chocolate Indulgence Tour, launched from Pike Place Market. The entertaining guide provides both history and education regarding all things chocolate, with some local flair thrown in.

The tour’s primary stops and samples occur at Cupcake Royale, The Chocolate Box, Dahlia Bakery, The Confectional, Indi Chocolate, KuKuRuZa Popcorn, and Fran’s Chocolates. Samples range from straight quality chocolate to fancy desserts to thick drinking chocolate. Plenty for everyone. It is possible to eat too much chocolate! But it is all yummy.

Dahlia Bakery in Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour

Famous chef Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Bakery



Dahlia Bakery display cases in Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour

Inside Dahlia Bakery



White chocolate dessert at Dahlia Bakery in Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour

White chocolate dessert at Dahlia Bakery



Chocolate covered popcorn samples at KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn in Seattle

Chocolate covered popcorn samples at KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn



Columbian drinking hot chocolate at The Confectional by Pike Place Market in Seattle

Columbian drinking hot chocolate at The Confectional by Pike Place Market



Links
Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour
Cupcake Royale
The Chocolate Box
Dahlia Bakery
The Confectional
Indi Chocolate
KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn
Fran’s Chocolates

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On the northeast side of Mount Rainier National Park is a terrific car-accessible visitors center, cafĂ©, and series of trailheads going off in multiple directions. There are many day hike options out to waterfalls, glacier overlooks, and views of Mt Rainier’s snow-covered flanks. Camping options are nearby, too, and can be accessed by hiking or driving. Lots to do, with beautiful mountain scenery in all of the options.

We hiked southwest from Sunrise, along Sunrise Rim Trail, Wonderland Trail, Sunrise Park Road, and Burroughs Mountain Trail to get many different environments and vantage points within a fairly compact distance. A couple miles from the Sunrise parking lot is Sunrise Camp, nestled in a small treed valley by Shadow Lake. Campsites are rustic with an outhouse and no potable water. The location offers a great launching point out to Emmons Glacier Overlook and further along the Burroughs Mountain Trail to one of the best up-close views of Mt Rainier.

Sunrise is highly recommended for its day trips, overnight trips, and mountainous variety.

Mt Rainier National Park Sunrise Park Road trail backpacking

Backpacking along Sunrise Park Road trail



Mt Rainier view from Sunrise area trail in Mt Rainier National Park

Mt Rainier reveals itself near Sunrise



Backpackers on Sunrise area trail in Mt Rainier National Park

Backpackers on Sunrise Rim Trail



Shadow Lake in Mt Rainier National Park

Trail around Shadow Lake by Sunrise Camp



Walking in Shadow Lake in Mt Rainier National Park

Hiking IN Shadow Lake



Shadow Lake at Mt Rainier National Park pumping filtered water

Filtering water at Shadow Lake



Mt Rainier National Park Emmons Glacier Overlook trail hikers

Emmons Glacier Overlook



View from Emmons Glacier Overlook in Mt Rainier National Park

View from Emmons Glacier Overlook to Mt Rainier



White River view from Glacier Overlook in Mt Rainier National Park

View from Emmons Glacier Overlook into White River valley



Burroughs Mountain Trail in Mt Rainier National Park with hikers

Burroughs Mountain Trail



Burroughs Mountain Trail in Mt Rainier National Park

Getting closer to Mt Rainier on Burroughs Mountain Trail



Links
Mt Rainier National Park
Sunrise
Trail map
Book: Hiking Mount Rainier National Park: A Guide To The Park’s Greatest Hiking Adventures

Directions

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Cape Disappointment State Park has many things to offer and is a great getaway on the Washington coast. It is located at the mouth of the huge Columbia River that spills into the Pacific Ocean, bounded by a protected inland bay on one side and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean on the other side. A long jetty has created a vast area of trapped sand that now forms the majority of the most accessible land in the park, including the campground, store, and general facilities.

Exploring the park shows many things for many different tastes: two lighthouses, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, historical plaques, flat biking roads, casual forest hiking trails, and plenty of open sandy beach for beach fun. The campground is well situated for easy access to the beach, yet has some wind protection from trees. Restrooms, picnic facilities, and campground layout are all very good.

Cape Disappointment State Park is the kind of place where you can easily stay either a day or a week.

North Head Lighthouse view south over Cape Disappointment State Park

View from North Head Lighthouse looking south toward Columbia River and jetty



View looking north along Pacific Ocean coast from North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park

View north from North Head Lighthouse along Pacific Ocean coast



North Head Lighthouse trail in Cape Disappointment State Park

Trail to North Head Lighthouse



North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park

North Head Lighthouse



Bell's View Trail viewpoint in Cape Disappointment State Park

Bell’s View Trail viewpoint on foggy day



Cape Disappointment Coastal Forest Trail on rocks at Baker Bay beach

Baker Bay from Forest Coastal Trail



Cape Disappointment State Park Coastal Forest Trail viewpoint to Baker Bay

Shallow Baker Bay



Baker Bay Cape Disappointment State Park Columbia River kayaking

Kayaking Baker Bay



Kids climbing tree at Cape Disappointment State Park campground

The trees around the campground are perfect for climbing kids



Kids taking pictures with phones along Coastal Forest Trail in Cape Disappointment State Park

Kids taking pictures with their parents’ phones along Forest Coastal Trail



Links
Cape Disappointment State Park
Book: Cape Disappointment Light The First Lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest

Directions

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The Tillamook Forest Center is an interesting and entertaining rarity among state parks. It has a true sense of fun, starting with entrance signs that you would expect when approaching an amusement park. Its creators have done a great job of educating people of all ages with interactive exhibits, intriguing uses of unusual facts to hold readers’ attention, an approachable sense of history, and an integration of place within the forest and river around it.

When first approaching the center, visitors can climb the stairs of a full replica fire lookout station. The cabin on top includes example items that would have been used by spotters, historical photographs, and fun views within the Tillamook State Forest and the rest of the facilities.

The main center building itself is an architectural gem that merges modern architecture with forest sensibilities, and the displays were created by a top notch team. The center teaches in an entertaining way about trees, the biological systems they support, loggers, history, and people in the area. Short scheduled classes are great for kids, too.

On the other side of the center, doors open wide to a full suspension bridge that crosses the Wilson River, with many miles of hiking trails beyond. Camping and other amenities are also available.

The Tillamook Forest Center is a pleasant surprise for what a government agency can do to fulfill its mission in a fun way for everyone.

Tillamook Forest Center Tillamook State Forest fire lookout tower

Tillamook Forest Center fire lookout tower



Tillamook Forest Center suspension bridge Tillamook State Forest

Suspension bridge from Tillamook Forest Center



Tillamook Forest Center suspension bridge above Wilson River in Tillamook State Forest

On suspension bridge above Wilson River in Tillamook State Forest



Tillamook Forest Center suspension bridge over Wilson River in Tillamook State Forest

Suspension bridge over Wilson River



Links
Tillamook Forest Center
Tillamook State Forest

Directions

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