Santa Barbara Fire

When we chose Santa Barbara as our next assignment, we never would have guessed what was in store.

It is almost not fair for me to write this. Phil and I drive around the country with what fits in our cars. If they issued a mandatory evacuation, we probably would be able to leave with everything we own. That is not true for the majority of Santa Barbara residents and my heart goes out to everyone being affected by this terrible fire. I cannot even imagine living in a home my entire life and then having it go up in flames in a moments time. Having to start completely over with only what fit in your car when urgently told to evacuate. Not to mention the years and years of construction to follow for the things that were replaceable and the many tears for the things that were irreplaceable.


The Thomas Fire is now the 3rd largest fire in CA history and there is no rain in sight. It started on Dec 4th as a brush fire and now has spread closer and closer to Santa Barbara. The whole 13 days, we have had poor air quality, smoke filled skies, and ash raining down most days like snow.

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This is the most recent map of evacuations. We are now only in the voluntary (yellow) evacuation zone.


For the most part, the sky has been smokey like the picture above.

Below are images from yesterday, which was the first day the fire was viewable from downtown Santa Barbara.






It is hard to describe the city lately. It seems apocalyptic. We have been wearing our masks when outdoors and keeping windows closed due to poor air quality.

On a positive note, Phil is training for his first Ultra Marathon in January! Lately, there has been a lot of this:


Poor thing… No one likes to run long distance on a treadmill, but he is staying strong!

We go to bed with our phones on loud so we can here the emergency evacuation text messages coming through in case we need to leave during the night.

For now, we are safe and continue on with work and life as we approach Christmas.

We are looking forward to traveling up to Oakland to be with the Brocks this Christmas!!!

We are wanting to start a new tradition as this is our first Christmas as a married couple! Any ideas? What are your favorite holiday traditions?

When there is stress over shopping or holiday preparations, just remember the fire victims that have lost their entire home, or the many fire fighters that are away from their families during this holiday season. We are so thankful for everyone fighting the fires and this wonderful community here in Santa Barbara, CA.

Happy Holidays!


Our Last Week In Alaska, 283rd Mile.

Week of 9/24/17-9/30/17: 283rd Mile.

Well to say it was hard to write this post would be an understatement.

One might think as “travelers”, we would get used to goodbyes, but that is not the case. I do think one can improve at goodbyes, but they don’t get any easier. It’s funny… We are so close to our biological families, but every place we travel to feels as though we gain an additional family. I call them by their obvious name (to make it easier), but our Seward Family was like no other.

They took us in from day one and treated us like one of their own. It was so special. We had never really lived in a town this small (population ~2800) and it was such a unique experience. Life was slow, sweet and perfect. Everyone cared about everyone else and the care was genuine. There was no such thing as traffic, unless it was caused by wildlife.

Our last week in Alaska was bittersweet. We had a hard time saying goodbye, but had a pretty epic last hike.

To start off the week, we went on one of our favorite shorter trail runs together called Tonsina Point Trail at Lowell Point.


Sorry for the post-work make-up fiasco, but that’s real life. Oh and I’m blurry because I am running so fast. 🙂


This is one of many wonderful views on this trail run looking out on Resurrection Bay.

Skip a few days to Friday where we went out to lunch with our coworkers for our last day celebration.


What a fabulous crew. We sure are going to miss you all!

(By the way, Phil likes to do this thing where he sees a camera and then closes his eyes. Seriously, it’s a real talent.)


On our way back from lunch, this Moose decides to show up near the local airport.


One last Alaskan Moose viewing for us!


Last day office views. 🙂

After taking it easy on our last Friday night in Alaska, we decided to go on a long run on Saturday. We chose to go on Lost Lake Trail one last time since it is our absolute favorite.

Phil and I ran our first “trail run” race on this trail back in August. Lost Lake Run 2017 was a 16 mile trail run benefiting Cystic Fibrosis. It was so much fun!

We lucked out and had a gorgeous day.


If you start at the Southern end, it starts on mile 5 of the Seward highway. This side is called the Lost Lake side and you hike through dense spruce forest until it opens up with views of the nearby mountainside such as the picture above.


At this point, the trail looks like this, with lots of vegetation and beautiful views.





Then it levels off into subalpine area of wet meadows and hemlock groves.






At this point in the season, fall had almost come and gone so there was much more of a brown landscape up in the sub-alpine and alpine areas.


After just climbing the last alpine ridge, you have your first views of Lost Lake. It is about 7 miles from the trailhead to the lake!






Here is the split. You can continue to the Primrose side to complete the ~15 mile trail from trailhead to trailhead. Today, we just wanted to do out and back so we continued left to the lake to relax in the sun for a bit.





Lost Lake 🙂



Bald Eagles were everywhere in Alaska.



Phil running back down the trail. Bye for now Lost Lake!



Views of Resurrection Bay on the way down!




Jodi running down the trail! At the end of the day, we completed a 14 mile trail run with a short break by the lake in the middle to soak up some memories. This day marked our 283rd mile together since marriage and what a day it was!


Our last sunset in Seward… We were down by the waterfront and watched the sun set on the mountains across the bay. Can you see the moon? It was just beautiful.

As the sun set on our time in Seward we were so happy to have known this little piece of heaven for the summer. We will miss this place and these people, taking them with us always in our hearts and in our memories.

A wise Alaskan lady once told me, “Memories are like roses in December.”




First Post, 265th Mile.

Hey guys! Welcome to our blog. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Phil and I got married this past St. Patrick’s Day! Ever since then, we have been writing down our hiking miles by keeping up with what hikes we do, a little bit about our experience, the date, and the mileage in a journal. This spiked the idea behind the marriagemiles blog. I always wanted to start a blog ever since we began traveling as physical therapists back in 2014. I kept putting it off and then one day I drove past this garden center. The sign out front read, “The best time to buy a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to buy a tree is NOW.” This really hit home. I was held up on the fact that I should have started a blog years ago, when all I needed to do was start blogging today. So here we go… and thank you for reading! (This was taken from my about page for clarity).

Since marriage on March 17th, we have hiked 265 miles together. Hiking is nothing new to us, but keeping track of it is. On our honeymoon, we decided to start recording all the miles we hike together. We wrote them down in this book.


It has been so fun! I hope to go back and post about some oldies-but-goodies, but I am not promising anything.

Right now, we live in Seward, Alaska. As of late, Seward has been nothing but rain. Whenever there is a break in the rain, we hike or run!

Today, we decided to go up Mt. Marathon on the Jeep trail to eventually get to the Bowl.

mt We have done Mt. Marathon many times, but never around the back to the Bowl. It was beautiful! I didn’t bring my Canon, so the Samsung will have to do for today.


Once we got up above the tree line, we had a quick view of Resurrection Bay before the fog rolled in.


Look at those fall colors! Phil is looking up at the Bowl in this picture.




Mt. Marathon Bowl



My hiking model. 🙂


The fog came creeping in!


Then we started back down the trail.

You know how most places in the lower 48 you want to be quiet and hear nature at times on your hike? Well in Alaska, you want to make noise, talk, yell, sing, etc. They say to make enough noise so you won’t surprise a bear or other unsuspecting wild animal. We sometimes play music on our phones, yell “Hey Bear!” or talk. Today we happen to be playing a podcast. We have been listening to Up and Vanished lately (thanks to Jamie). It is so good! You should definitely check it out if you enjoy investigative journalism. Especially if you enjoyed the Serial podcast as much as I did. We were so wrapped up in episode 15 that we stumbled upon a Moose!


Luckily, she was minding her own business and there were no calves in sight. We just scooted on by and went on our merry way.


Just another day in the Alaskan wilderness! It really is the Last Frontier.

Well, this made our 265th mile together and many more to come!