Friday, December 11, 2020

Film, not filming, but film camera

Hi guys, it's Bryan here.

It's been a strange and challenging semester, but we have almost make it through, and we are so close to being done! 

For my final blog post of the semester, I want to show you some of the photos I took with my film camera. In my past blog post about traveling to Japan, I have shared some reasons why you should use film cameras, which include changing the way you take photos, delivering photos that have unique coloring, and giving you joy when waiting for the film to be developed. 

My friend gave me a Canon T70 film camera as a birthday present this summer. Throughout this semester, I have finished three roll of films, and I want to use those photos to conclude my semester this year. 


First Roll: 

Before my friends all went back, summer was fun. We went hiking and ate good food.
This one was taken at Clarks Creek Park.

We went to Steilacoom park and some other parks
We would go for a walk just for good pictures. (Taken at Sunnyside Beach Park)

Then we hiked Mailbox Peak.
It was a really hard hike, but the view was definitely worth it.

Then my friends went back to China, and I couldn't find a good reason to go out

I would walk around in the school, but nobody was there

Sometimes I could find good views for photos, but most of the times I couldn't
Then, new semester began, and I met some new friends!

I finished my first roll of firms in 2 weeks... 
Second Roll: 

We also went hiking. This time it's at Point Defiance Park

And we saw orcas! What a surprise!

I went to Bellevue to visit my cousin. We went to Mt Rainier...

And Gas works Park

Gas Works Park really had some beautiful views!
I finished the second roll in 3 weeks...


Third Roll: 
I go to see my cousin in Bellevue once in a while. So this one was also taken in Bellevue.

I found this sign on a baseball park. It was so funny! "it's not the MLB!" You parents stop trying so hard!

I had a busy semester, and I didn't go out much due to COVID and the wild fire in Sept..
My clinical experience got postponed 3 weeks because of COVID! 

When things all finally settled down, my friends and I went for a hike in Little Mashel River waterfall.

The view there was absolutely gorgeous! Recommended!

I went back to my busy busy study days afterwards.

I finished my third roll in 3 months... I literally have photos from 3 seasons in that roll. 
And here are some bonus photos that I took with my phone. I really liked them!

They were taken at Little Mashel River waterfall

So that's my photo journey of this semester! Most of the photos were not edited, as I was trying to keep the flavor of the film. 
Taking photos with film cameras are not cheap. I spend around 6 dollars for a roll of film and 20 dollars for developing it. Adding tax in there, it costs me around 1 dollar to push that shutter once. Not cheap! Also, you won't know what's the photo like until you develop it three four weeks later, so if you screwed it up, no matter how good the view was, you are not getting a good photo out of it. 
Yet, I still love film cameras, because of the excitement it gives me when waiting for a film to be developed and for the unique coloring it gives. 
I hope you enjoyed my photos~ Good luck on your finals, and have a nice winter break!
Bryan Yuan

Friday, November 13, 2020

Norse Mythology and The Vikings

Hi guys, it's Bryan here ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ
Couple weeks back, I randomly bumped into a song called Drown (Sang by Milet) on YouTube. It was so good that I looped the song for days. Later, I realized that it was the outro music for anime Vinland Sage. So I watched the anime that is basically about a boy joining a group of Viking raiders to avenge his father who was killed by the leader of these raiders. The anime was really fun, but more importantly, the way Vikings was portrayed in the show made me interested in the Viking cultures and its Norse mythology. In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the reasons that drew my interest to Norse mythology. 
My understanding of Norse mythology is based on a radio program that I listened to over the summer. It may or may not be accurate; plus the fact that Norse mythology is not very systematical, as it is comprised of many little stories told by many different people. So please read for fun, don't take it too seriously.
If, after reading this blog, you became interested in Norse mythology like I did, you can read books like The Children of Odin by Padraic Colum and The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion by Danial McCoy.

Yellow - Married; Pink - Affair
Red - Blood brother; White - Children

Difference with modern culture

I began knowing the Norse mythology from the Avengers movie. As I gained more understanding of
the Norse mythology, I was surprised to learn that Loki is not the brother of Thor, but rather the brother of Odin; and Loki is not the brother of Hel, but rather the father of Hel, Fenrir, and the world serpent. (See family tree on the right)
Loki is one of the iconic characters of Norse mythology. He is neither just or evil. He sometimes help the gods, and he sometimes tricks them. Before Ragnarok, the final battle of gods, Loki turned against the gods, killed Baldr (the god of light), and created monsters like the world serpent, Fenrir, and Hel (god of death). 
Loki is also a shape-shifter, which means he can turn into any human or even any creatures... So one day, when he was trying to trick a giant, he turned into a beautiful mare and lured away the giant's male horse, and... that's why there is a horse in his family tree.... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Vikings don't really care about virtues or goodness; they care more about living with money and fames and dying with honor. And Valhalla is a great representation of this spirit. Valhalla is the sacred hall that Odin built to train soldiers for the final battle of gods --- Ragnarok. It was said that half of the warriors that died in the battlefield, will be lead by the Valkyries to live in Valhalla. There, they will train and fight every daytime, and at night, their wounds will heal and they will enjoy foods and wines. Unlike other culture, which says people ascend to a place of virtue and peace after their death, Vikings ascend to another battle arena. And the ones who could go to Valhalla was not the kindest human, but the man who fought the hardest and died the most honorably. Considering how harsh Viking's land (Denmark, Norway, and even Iceland) are, it make sense for the Vikings to value power and honor. 

Human-like features of the Gods

The gods in Norse mythology are not almighty, nor are they immortal. These mortal gods are subject to their final fate --- Ragnarok, meaning "the Twilight of the Gods". 
Gods in Norse mythology also have human-like personalities. They are gold-seeking; they steal; they wage wars; and they frequently interfere with human affairs. In many ways, the greed of these gods lead to the destruction of themselves in the form of Ragnarok. 
Ragnarok is a very interesting story in Norse mythology. It is not just a huge battle, but a series of events that symbolize the gradual corruption of gods. If you have a chance to read it, you will be able to feel the downfall of Asgard (god's world) and the increasing greed of the gods. 
But for me, I think Ragnarok reflects the Viking lifestyle, which they were not bound by virtues, and they were trying to enjoy life before it ends unexpectedly. Because even gods can die...

*Spoiler Alert!*
In the ending of Norse mythology, many gods, including Odin himself, died during Ragnarok, and the world was submerged in the water. Eventually, the world resurfaced, and the two human survivors rebuilt human civilization. 

Vikings in PNW

Some say that Norse explorer Leif Eriksson landed in North America 500 years before Columbus. When he first found North America, he named the place "Vinland". Scandinavian culture has profound influence in the Pacific Northwest region. And the closest place that you can enjoy Viking culture is Poulsbo. You can take a look at my previous blog post about Poulsbo to learn about the town. 
Poulsbo used to host Viking fest every year to celebrate Scandinavian culture. unfortunately, the event this year is cancelled due to COVID. But in the future, you should pay a visit to the fest, so you can drink and feast like a Viking!

Stay Healthy and Stay Strong, drengr! ("powerful and brave warrior" in old norse)

Bryan Yuan

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The 2020 Election: A guide for International Students

On Monday, I had the opportunity to attend a webinar hosted by Cornell Law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, called “Ballots and Borders: Election 2020”. The webinar provided an in-depth explanation of the U.S. immigration system, and laid out what is at stake for international students and scholars who are studying in the U.S. during or after the 2020 election.

As I exited the Zoom call at the end of the webinar, I found myself more informed in certain areas of U.S. politics, yet I was filled with more questions than ever when it comes to the U.S. election system “in action”. For context, I am a dual U.S./Norwegian citizen, and have spent the majority of my life in Norway, until I moved to the U.S. three years ago to attend PLU. I have inquired about the U.S. election system countless times, knowing that my status as a citizen permits me to vote in elections – so it might be handy to know how things work around here. That said, I still don’t fully understand how it works, and I probably never will, because if there existed an award for “World’s Most Unnecessarily Complex and Confusing Election System”, it would most certainly be handed to the U.S. of A. To help clear things up for my fellow international students, this blogpost will serve as a guide to the U.S. presidential election, and how its outcomes might affect you.

Primary Election vs. General Election

The presidential election process can be divided into the primary election, also known as the “primaries”, and the general election. The primary election serves as a stepping stone to the general election, and is used to determine who the primary candidate of each party should be. The primaries are run by each respective state and their local governments, where voters cast ballots for their preferred candidate. Some states, like Iowa, Nevada, and Wyoming, choose to elect a presidential nominee through a caucus instead of a primary election. In this case, eligible voters gather at local “caucus meetings”, where they discuss and vote on the presidential candidates.

After the primaries conclude, the presidential nominees are chosen for each party based on the results. The nominees can then announce their selection for vice president, and together they can start campaigning to win the popular opinion in the general election. In other words, the general election is characterized by only having one presidential candidate per political party. This year, the general election will be held on November 3rd, and it is always held on the first Tuesday of November, every fourth year.


The Electoral College

To me, the electoral college is the most perplexing element of the election system. Unlike many other democracies in the world, the U.S. president is not selected based on a national popular vote. Instead, citizens in each state cast their general election ballot, which votes a number of party representatives into what is called the Electoral College, where their main objective is to elect a President after Election Day. Without going into too much detail, a presidential candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the election, out of a total 538 possible votes. The closest attempt to make this process representative is designating a fixed number of electoral votes to each state based on its population size. For instance, California has a population of nearly 40 million, and so they receive a significant number of electoral votes, 55 to be exact, compared to smaller states such as New Mexico, who receives 5 electoral votes. Are we overwhelmed yet?


It’s worth noting that this system has been critiqued by Americans and non-nationals alike, arguing that it is not representative of the actual public opinion. Instead, the public’s opinion is used to elect other politicians, who then get to make the “final call” as to who becomes President. A good example of how this process may be unrepresentative is the 2016 presidential election, where candidate Hilary Clinton actually won the popular vote by nearly 3 million people. This means that there were three million more ballots cast for Clinton than Trump, however… we all know how that turned out. One reason for this outcome, and one of the main critiques of using an electoral college to determine the outcome of an election, has to do with the number of electoral votes allotted to smaller states. The argument is that there exists an imbalance in voting power between different states, and although larger states receive more electoral votes – it is still not proportional across the board. Essentially, voters who live in larger states may feel as though their vote has less of an impact than those who live in smaller states. This is because smaller states still receive a substantial number of electoral votes – and may have a larger say in the outcome than what is proportional to their population size.


The 2020 Presidential Candidates

The webinar I mentioned at the beginning of this blogpost was mainly spent reviewing each of the presidential candidates in regard to where they stand on immigration matters, and how this might affect international students. Immigration has been a signature issue for Trump throughout the 2016 election, as well as his past four years in office. In short, he will very likely continue his efforts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, which will consequently affect the international student population in the U.S. as well. Most notably, the Trump administration has recently proposed the elimination of “Duration of Status” for F-1 students. “Duration of Status” allows F-1 students (and other student visa holders) to stay in the U.S. without a hard expiration date, and it allows students to renew their paperwork pretty easily if said student would like to pursue further education in the U.S. after their initial program end date. The elimination of “Duration of Status”, then, would result in heightened restrictions for how long international students may be permitted to stay/renew their stay in the U.S. after they finish their program.

Biden, on the other hand, is interested in reverting many of the immigration laws and policies that have been passed under the Trump administration, and supports a comprehensive immigration reform. Just some food for thought!

With that said, I want to encourage all eligible voters to GO VOTE PLEASE, and fellow international students – tell your friends what’s at stake and to GO VOTE PLEASE!!! :-) 

 -- Megan


“Borders and Ballots: Election 2020” Webinar, hosted by Stephen Yale-Loehr


Thursday, October 8, 2020

5 Tips for PLU School of Nursing Application

Hey guys,
This is Bryan. And I am back with another blog post!
This time I want to share some nursing program application tips. These are the tips that I used or I found it important when applying to School of Nursing 3 years ago. And now, I am a senior nursing student who is graduating soon. 
The information I offer below are based on my personal experience. I can't guarantee it to be 100% accurate nor it hasn't been change since I've applied. However, I think it can give you a general sense of what to focus on and offer you a starting point if you are struggling on the application. 

General Information

PLU Clinical Learning and Simulation Center
Nursing is one of the most popular majors at PLU. The School of Nursing offers Bachelor nursing program that features high NCLEX passing rate and large amount of clinical practice opportunities with a high post-graduate employment rate.
Starting Fall 2021, The School of Nursing is also changing its three-years nursing program into a two-years program, which saves time for students and have a more reasonable course arrangements. Link Here. 
The Nursing Center that was recently opened was also offers great opportunity for nursing students to  practice. 

1. Application

Student can apply on this website (Undergraduate). 
Note that International students are required to submit a language testing score, and the requirement for that is higher than PLU application. (link)
In general, both Spring-starting and Fall-starting applications are submitted in the same period (Sept. 1st ~ Aug). For incoming students, students who complete their application before the priority deadline (Feb 1st) are given priority considerations. For current PLU students, 4 decision dates are set, and student who complete the application before one decision dates will be notified about the result at the next date. 
I recommend to complete the application before the priority date, or as early as possible, to increase the chance of acceptance. 
Be aware that you have to submit all the documents by the priority date to be considered completing your application. Having only the application form completed and not submitting the documents will not be considered completing the application and will not give you the advantage of priority deadline. 

2. Complete Prerequisite Classes with Good Grades

(Study hard "always" works)
To apply to the School of Nursing, students are required to complete each of the prerequisite classes with a grade higher than 2.5 and a overall GPA of the prerequisites of at least 3.0. 
I think this is the most important factor that the School of Nursing look at when making a decision. Of course you'll need to meet the requirements for application first. However, to increase your chance of getting in, you should have good grades in the the two Human A&P classes at least. This is because many of the nursing classes are based on the knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. 
When I transferred from Pierce College to PLU, I have completed all the nursing prerequisites. I didn't have the best grade for all of the classes. Most of them I only got 3.0 ~ 3.5, which is not very competitive. However, I got 4.0s for both and the Human A&P classes, and I think that really helped me a lot.
If you have already completed the classes, and the grades are not ideal, you still have the chance to retake the class. The school (of Nursing) is allowing one retake for each prerequisites. so if you have a grade between 2.5~3.0 for the Human A&P classes, I recommend you to retake it for a better grade. 

3. Get healthcare working/volunteer experience

Having a working experience is not required, but it will boost your opportunity for getting in by showing that you are determined to the field of nursing. 
By working experience, I don't mean that you need to have a CNA working experience in a big hospital. You can be a transport personnel in a hospital or you can simply volunteer in assisted-living facility or a children-caring center. 
For me, I volunteered in a hospital... gift shop... for 100 hours. I am not sure if it really helped with my resumes, but the most important thing is that you are showing your willingness to advocate for somebody else and you are really interested in getting into the field of nursing. 

4. Have a good letter of recommendation

2 letters of recommendation is needed to complete the application. This is the other piece of information that you can use to accelerate your acceptance rate. 
Personally, I recommend to have one letter of recommendation from your work place or volunteer place. For example, ask for one from your supervisor in volunteer job. Your supervisor can demonstrate your good work attitude, show that you are truly interested in the field of nursing, and prove that you have advocated for someone else. 
The second recommendation should come from a different source to show your different side. I recommend having one from the professor in one of your prerequisite classes (Human A&P class professor is ideal). This letter will demonstrate your ability to learn new information and your study attitude. 
If you can't find a letter of recommendation from your professors, ask your advisor for one. Advisors also know you well and are more willing to help you. 

5. Write Good Personal Essay

(Stress management is huge
in nursing school)

If your classes have already finished and you still want to improve your application, you should definitely spend more time in writing a good personal essay. 
Usually the School will give topics for the applicants to write about. The topics change every year, but there is one tip that you can use to start writing. That is to write your essay based on how you fit the essential qualifications
If you haven't read it, Essential Qualifications are basically talking about the good qualities that a nursing student should have. It include motor skills, sensory/observation, communication, cognitive, and behavioral/emotion. You can read on this website for more detailed information. 
I think it's best to focus on communication skills and cognitive (critical thinking) skills. Talk about how you have or practiced those skills based on a volunteer/working experience. 
Or, if you have limited working experience, talk about how you managed stress in busy class time. Also, you can talk about how you advocate for someone else and express your interest in getting into the field of nursing. 
The key is to show that you are interested in the field and express your personalities to show them that you can bring something different to the field. 
For the very least, have your essays prove-read by couple other people to avoid grammar errors. 

So here are the 5 tips that you can use when applying for the School of Nursing. I hope you can find it helpful and use it to submit a perfect application to the School of Nursing! 
Stay Healthy and Stay Safe~


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

How to Hike up Mailbox Peak AS A BEGINNER

     If you have been hiking around Pacific North West, you probably have heard Mailbox peak trail as one of the most challenging trails around the region. With a 4000 ft (1213 m) elevation gain in 2.7 miles (4.3 km), the Mailbox peak old trail challenges even the very experienced hikers. But with great challenges, comes great views. 

Mailbox Peak; Mt. Rainier in the distance
On Mailbox Peak; Mt. Rainier in the distance

Being aware of the difficulty of the old trail, a "easier" new trail was build recently for a safer hike to the peak. The new trail is twice as long as the old trail, but the incline is more gentle and the road is more defined. My friends and I, all being beginner hikers, used the new trails to summit the mailbox peak. For this blog post, I want to share my experience of hiking the mailbox peak new trail and give you some information on what to prepare for this hike. 

Time/Distance/Trail condition

Due to all being beginner hikers, we choose to hike up and down using the new trail. Most people hike up the old trail and down the new trail. Since it is easy to get lost hiking on the old trail as a beginner hiker, and it is physically very challenging, we decided to take the safer route. 
We left early and started hiking at around 7 am.
At around 10:20 am, we reached the mailbox peak with hiking distance over 5 miles and elevation gain over 4000 ft (1200 km). 
After resting for 20 mins, we started hiking down. We finished our hike at around 2:30 pm
So it took us 7.5 hours to hike the 10.3 miles long new trail up and down. 

Hiking up

Walking in the woods
The new trial is well maintained and is very defined. The trail is a little bit muddy even when it's not raining, but at least there weren't many bugs. For the first 2 miles of hike, the incline was very gentle, and we were basically just chilling and enjoying the walk in the woods. 

After the first 2 miles, the trail started to grow steeper and narrower; my legs started to burn and the rocks on the road really hurt my ankle. We took some short rests to replenish water and stamina. 

We pushed on for 2 more miles, and the woods started to clear up. We could see some views of the far away mountains and that really cheered us up. There were barely any people at that point. 

At 4.7 miles, roughly 2.5 hours after we started, the new trail is joined by the old trail. The trail started to become crowded and we had to step to the side from time to time for people to pass. 

The rocky trail

The last 1 miles of hiking was the hardest. It started with a rocky trail that is narrow (two-men's-wide) but less steep. Shortly, the rocky trial ends and it turns into a very steep dusty road. It was like a 40~50 degree incline, and we had to use our hands to stabilize ourselves. At that point, my friend was already exhausted, so I tried cheering her up with the ancient technique,  called: "we are almost there."  And it worked wonderfully. 
We reached the mailbox peak at around 10:20 AM.

A woman with her dog at the mailbox peak

Hiking down

Hiking down is physically more challenging than mentally does.  

The dusty, steep trail is hard to hike down at first; but it is manageable if you proceed with caution. 
One mistake we made was walking too fast. We almost ran at some part of the trail, because of that, we ended up needing more rest and consuming more time than we did hiking up. 
Going downhill also hurts our ankles and knees a lot. But knowing delicious food was waiting for us, we pushed on. 

Things to Prepare

Here are the list of things that we took for this hike: 
- 1.5 L of water 
- Lots of Snacks
- Jacket (since it is cold and windy at the peak)
- first aid kit
- One pair of socks (It is possible to get wet when crossing the creek) 
- Camera
- Hand sanitizers/Face mask/tissues/garbage bag

Things to Know

Trail condition: Since the trail is easy to navigate and easy to walk on, we wasn't worried about getting lost on the way. There were a few creeks crossing the new trails, but stepping stones and bridges were set to help crossing. However, please know that it can be dangerous to hike while there are snows covering the trail. And it can get muddy at rainy days. 

Phone signal: There are barely any signals on the trail. But there will be some signals on the peak. 

Time: It is better to start early, because it is not as warm, less crowded, and gives us enough time to hike down before sunset. It can be hard to find parking if you arrive late. 

Trail head: The entrance of the new trail is hard to spot. It will be on your left shortly after you walk up from the parking lot. Look for the information board, and that's the trail head of the new trail. 

Parking: Parking can be hard to find if you arrive late. Discovery pass is also required to park there. 

Mailbox peak trails can be challenging, but the views at the top is definitely worth the efforts and sweats. And it looks like one tradition is to bring some snacks and put it into the mailbox when you reached the peak. We found a sorts of wired stuffs in the mailbox, and we left some energy bars in there too for anyone in need. Lastly, when you reach the peak, don't forget to touch the mailbox and take a photo with your friend to signify your summit!


Bryan Yuan


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

5 Ideas for a Safe and Fun Summer in Washington!

Hey everyone, it’s Megan!
I hope the summer has treated you well thus far, despite the restrictions we are all facing. I myself have found it challenging to keep busy, and I’m always looking for new things to do in the area. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some items off of my summer to-do list; some of which have been crossed off already, while others have yet to be explored. Taking the context of this summer into consideration, it’s important to tailor your activities to current safety guidelines, so the following ideas will all be social distance-friendly for that purpose. Because I’m writing this with a PLU audience in mind, I have specifically included activities that don’t require extensive travel from the general Tacoma area. So, without further ado – here are five ideas for a safe and fun summer in WA!

Rodeo Drive-In Theatre

Port Orchard, 43 minutes away from campus

The family-owned Rodeo Drive-In Theatre is Washington’s largest outdoor theatre complex, with 3 projection screens and a total capacity of about 1,000 cars! Although drive-in theaters are often perceived as a ‘blast from the past’, this activity has experienced a rediscovery of sorts in recent years, and today they are nearly as well-attended as back when our grandparents would go! Bring some friends, some lawn chairs, and pocket money for snacks!

I have yet to check this one off my list, but I am determined to make a night of it sometime this summer! The Rodeo Drive-In Theater is currently up-and-running, and in compliance with Phase 2 reopening guidelines. Gates open 7:30 pm Friday-Tuesday (closed on Wednesday and Thursday), and the show starts at dusk. Check out their website here for a weekly movie schedule, advance ticket purchase, as well as some more detailed information about what to expect. A night at the drive-in theatre will be a memory for the books, and the best part is that there are very few COVID-restrictions due to the nature of this activity; you are automatically socially distancing!

Northwest Trek Wild Drive/Wild Walk Experience

Eatonville, 35 minutes away from campus

The Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is located in Eatonville, WA, and they are dedicated to conserving native Northwest wildlife and natural habitats. Under normal circumstances, Northwest Trek allows visitors to roam their parks and interact with the habitat, but in response to COVID-19 they are now offering alternative experiences; the Wild Drive and/or Wild Walk Experience!

The Wild Walk is the new, safe way to experience the Norwest Trek’s central exhibit area. It allows you to walk down a one-way path to see native wildlife like grizzlies, bald eagles, otters, cougars, wolves, and more – while staying safe, healthy, and socially-distanced. Some things to keep in mind: wear a mask, bring a water bottle, and they don’t take cash!

A map of Wild Walk experience at Northwest Trek.

The new Wild Drive is the other way to see Northwest Trek. This is a separate ticketed experience from Wild Walk, and it offers an hour-long tour of their facilities from the comfort of your own car! You tune into a specific radio-frequency to get the tour audio, and you meet bears, cats, canines, and so much more on the trip. You can order tickets online off their website here, and if you’re interested; act quickly! They seem to be going fast!

Anderson Island

Ferry departs from Steilacoom; Island is 20 minutes away by ferry

This is perhaps my most recent endeavor, as I took a trip to Anderson Island this past week. Anderson Island is the southernmost island in the Puget Sound, and is accessible by boat or a 20-minute ferry ride from Steilacoom. Although the island has a limited array of activities, you don’t need more than one; the old swimming hole. The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole, or Lowell Johnson Park, has two separate, cordoned off swimming areas – one for the “Big Kids”, and the other for the “Little Un’s”. The park features a floating “V” dock, water slide, sandy beaches, a sand volleyball court, and picnic areas. It is known as “The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole” by locals because of its historic origin as a gathering place for bathing before electric power was introduced to the Island in the 60’s. Today, it’s just a really good place to spend a summer afternoon.

Although there might be some concerns about social distancing, I wanted to include this idea after my own experience traveling to Anderson Island this week. The old swimming hole was not very crowded despite the amazing weather, and it was very easy to maintain social distancing as few people are spread out over a large area. Some features, such as the floating dock, are a little less distanced, so I’ll leave that up to your discretion. I had a really nice day on the island, however, and would highly recommend this hidden jewel to anyone looking for something to do nearby! You can buy walk-on tickets if you don't have a car, and remember to check the ferry schedule here to plan your trip ahead of time.    

Local Thrift Shopping

Thrifting adventures last weekend
Refresh your summer wardrobe on a budget! Although this idea is a little vaguer in terms of location, I would highly recommend hitting up some of your local thrift stores this summer. As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, I am always on the hunt for ways to renew my clothing selection, and thrift stores are by far my favorite way to do just that! Although thrifting may seem like a daunting task at first, it merely requires some patience and a good eye for potential in order for your shopping trip to turn into a success. I have countless finds from thrift stores that have now become staple pieces in my closet, and they were all under $5! I normally go thrifting on days that are a little overcast, and I give myself a small budget to work with, as well as a list of a few clothing genres to stick to. This adds a little personal challenge, and it prevents me from getting things I’m not actually looking for. Some of my personal favorites are Bargain World, Parkland Thrift Center (50% off on Saturdays!!!), Goodwill, etc. If you are looking for more upscale finds, I suggest going to thrift stores that are located in high-income zip codes; trust me, it works!

Take a Hike!

At least we tried :-)
Not a groundbreaking suggestion, perhaps, but after months inside; I think it’s worth a mention! I recall the last hike I went on, which was right around the start of quarantine. A couple of friends and I hiked Rattlesnake Ledge thinking that it would be a good idea for social distancing (surprise: we were wrong). With that in mind, I would suggest not choosing the most popular hike in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes! Washington Trails Association consistently updates their website with information regarding hiking in the time of coronavirus, which I will link here. Here are some things they say to keep in mind:
  •         Plan ahead: Aim for lesser-traveled trails, and pick a couple of backup trails in case your first pick is crowded. For a complete guide of hiking options in WA, check out WTA’s Hiking Guide!
  •        Practice physical distancing: When you see approaching hikers, give them a little “on your right (or left)!” to let them know you’re coming towards them. Give each other space, and cover your mouth when passing.
  •        Clean up: Respect public lands and communities by making sure that anything you bring with you is also brought back/thrown away properly. After all, Mother Earth is going through enough already!

Hiking is such a great way to soak up the summer while still being active, so I will definitely be giving some of our local trails a visit throughout the next few months!


Alright – I think that’s all I have for this time! I hope I gave you all some ideas for activities to try this summer, while still practicing social distancing in the process. We don’t have to be bored just because summer looks a little differently this year, and I encourage you all to make the most out of this time despite some restrictions. Stay safe, everyone!

-- Megan