I have just returned from a week’s vacation to my previous home state of Washington.  Accompanied by unusually cool temperatures and a handful of my dear friends I was able to walk and hike my way through old stomping grounds, and even explore some new ones.  After a 5-mile Rampart Ridge hike at Mount Rainier we found the perfect way to relax — beers on the porch of the National Park Inn with a view up the valley to the mountain.  A few days later I was walking along a 2-mile boardwalk over the Nisqually River delta while the tide was returning.  That was followed by exploring the Lavender Festival and various artist’s studios while in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula.  And my final “hike” was an urban one around Green Lake in Seattle, followed by a great seafood dinner.  My rainy and cool trip to the Pacific Northwest ended with a late-night flight back to the heat and humidity that’s gripping the midwest.  Traveling east we flew past the mountains and across the plains, leaving the pinks of the sunset behind us.  And with towering thunder clouds and lightning storms off to the north, we landed into the bright lights of the Twin Cities.  A quick trip filled with shared conversations, laughs, great food, abundant memories, and a bevy of best friends!