1. Cherry Creek Falls – Hike #1

    June 11, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Hiking, Journal, Seattle by Kristina Horner

    For the last year or so, I’ve had this inkling that I wanted to start hiking. Which is funny, because when I was young I hated when my parents would make me go hiking (“why would we just want to walk around in the woods when there are books to read?”), and I also distinctly remember in college making fun of the fact that the very first thing you’ll see on anyone’s dating profile here in the Pacific Northwest is that they “enjoy hiking”, like there is nothing more stereotypically Seattle than a loud and proud love of hiking.

    But… I mean. I work at Microsoft and graduated from the UW and started hiking and even recently bought my first The North Face jacket, so honestly… maybe I just need to admit that I’m pretty stereotypically Seattle. Maybe I should just embrace it.

    Anyhow, my friend Jenn and I decided to start hiking. We’ve both been trying to be more active lately, including signing up for (and actually going to!) a gym, and signing up for a 5k (The Bubble Run!) at the end of the summer. And yesterday we did our first Pacific Northwest hike, complete with sweet new hiking backpacks.

    And yesterday we did our first Pacific Northwest hike, complete with sweet new hiking backpacks.

    25 foot cherry creek falls hike seattle

    The Hike: Cherry Creek Falls Trail
    Description: A hike along old logging roads to a 25 foot tall waterfall on Cherry Creek just outside of Duvall, WA.
    Length: 5 miles (out and back)
    Elevation Gain: 718 feet
    How long it took us: About 4 hours round trip, with about a 30 minute stop for lunch and pictures at the falls, and Jenn struggling with a hurt ankle on the walk back.

    Thoughts and anecdotes:

    This was a fantastic first hike! The trail itself was moderate to easy, with a few tricky mud puddles to cross here and there. There’s also a point about 2/3 of the way in where you have to cross a literal creek, which added to the challenge and excitement. I’m not sure if it’s because we went early in the season, but there’s also about a half-mile stretch in the middle where the trail is really thin and a bit overgrown, so you spend a bit of time pushing through bushes and shielding your face, which was just a little bit annoying but overall not too bad.

    When you get to the end of the trail, there’s this beautiful viewpoint that overlooks the falls from above, but the real magic happens when you hike down the last steep stretch to find yourself at the base of the little body of water that forms at the bottom of the falls. We were disappointed it wasn’t warmer, because what a place that would be to take your shoes off and splash around in the water. We made due just eating the sandwiches, carrot sticks and chocolate chip cookies we’d brought along which enjoying the view.

    The people we encountered on this hike were friendly and had cute dogs, and even offered Jenn a beer after we passed each other multiple times during her ankle-hurting saga. We respectfully declined, because as savvy new-hikers, we’d already brought our own tiny wine bottles. Because we’re classy.

    The only strange thing that happened on the hike was near the most treacherous mud puddle – Jenn and I were cautiously making our way over when we heard a phone alarm go off. Jenn wasn’t too concerned right away, because she assumed it was mine, but I don’t use a phone alarm. I use the silent vibrate alarm feature on my Fitbit. I assumed it was HER phone, but it quickly became clear it wasn’t coming from her direction. In a few seconds time, I was certain either someone had dropped their phone on the trail, or there was someone waiting just off the path, ready to kill us.

    Once we’d cleared the mud, we walked a few more paces, and a man was just standing at the top of the next hill, by himself. It was his phone. He was holding it in his hands. And he obviously had been able to hear us saying “where is that alarm coming from? Whose phone is that? This is creepy!” from just around the bend but chose to say nothing!

    He was friendly as we passed, and we all laughed about it, but I was still pretty creeped out. I might have to write a scene in a book sometime where characters find out they’re not alone in the woods by hearing someone else’s phone go off loud and clear. Probably at night. Probably when their flashlights have gone out.

    For the record, I packed extra batteries for my flashlight, so this fictional horror scenario would not happen to me. Always be prepared.

    We’ve got our next hike planned for next weekend, and I’m so excited to make this a regular thing! Stay tuned for more blog post updates/reviews of the hikes I go on.

    Leave a comment!
  2. Life Update: July 2015

    July 4, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Journal by Kristina Horner

    Despite having a full time job right now, I’ve spent much of the last month out of town. First I spent 1 week in NYC for BEA (a personal trip) and then another week in LA for E3 (work). And of course, a natural side effect of this is watching everything I’m doing online just sort of dissolve around my feet while I’m traveling. I used to be so good at it, guys. I used to be so good at filming everything, blogging on the go, tweeting my adventures nonstop – but now that I’m a little older (I think it has to do with being older? maybe not), I really appreciate that personal time and it’s so nice to just… detach a little bit.

    But now, I am making an active effort to jumpstart everything back up for summer. It’s interesting though – when I’m busy, when I’m really aware of how much time I have to accomplish my personal hobbies and goals… two things happen.

    1. I usually tend to get MORE done. There’s no time to lie around trying to figure out what to do. When you have 1 hour in the morning before work and something like five hours when you get home (not including nights when you have plans), that time gets used to its absolute best ability.

    2. When there isn’t enough time to do everything, it really becomes clear which of those things are the most important and which can be put on the back burner. This is another thing I am trying to keep track of.

    So what does this mean? I’m not really sure yet! I will be blogging and making videos all summer, but I am going to try to cut down to only the content I really want to make. I’ll also be making some costumes, reading, hosting a reading event or two, and maybe doing a live show here and there.

    I’ll also be spending a lot of time outside. I want to spend at least 2-3 days a week at the lake I live by. I want to do less talking about reading and more actual reading (though I’ve already read 43 books this year so this clearly isn’t my biggest issue). I want to spend more time working on my writing. Going on more walks. More runs. I want to clean out my room and downsize my belongings. I want to make some clothes. Go camping. Dye my hair.

    In immediate life news, I bought a new car. This was my first major adult purchase and it’s still a little scary, but I got a great deal on it, and it’s so cute.


    It’s a Mini Cooper Countryman in “brilliant copper”, though the salesman really sold me on it when he called the color “root beer”. Also there’s this hidden mickey on the dash:

    Hidden mickey on the dash of the mini cooper

    I’ll be at VidCon, PAX Prime and Faerieworlds this summer. There might be a few other events that pop up but those are the big ones, and I am so, so excited for all of them.

    It’s interesting – I’m doing entirely too much every day (like usual) but I’ve also been trying to slow down, read, spend time outdoors and relax lately. Nothing like scheduling in that relaxation time, but I’m trying to get better.

    What are you trying to focus on this summer? I’d love to hear about it.

    Want to stay updated on what I am doing? Subscribe to my mailing list!

    Leave a comment!
  3. Look #11: 25th Anniversary!

    August 29, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Outfit of the Day by Kristina Horner

    This past weekend, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary! Back in the day (in 1988!) their wedding color was a light teal blue. So, they encouraged guests of their party to dress accordingly:


    I wore a light blue vintage dress I got at Buffalo Exchange about a year ago, strappy silver sandals from Target and some fun summer jewelry.

    Funny story: I had to leave the set of Job Hunters on a huge shoot day to get to this party, which is why my hair ended up in fishtail braids. Spoilers… this is a Season 2 Avery hairdo. Our costume and makeup team also had a heyday dressing me for my party, even though that’s obviously not in their job description. Chunky blue circle earrings and fat white bracelet were courtesy of Markie the costumer, and Mallory our makeup girl removed my false eyelashes and “normalized” my makeup a bit before leaving. They did a fab job! I wish I had people to dress me every day!

    My family also looked adorable — and can we talk about how fantastic that cake is? My mom was positively glowing that day, and she totally deserved it. I am so happy and proud of my parents for achieving such an amazing milestone together, and I was so glad to celebrate the momentous occasion on a gorgeous day like the one we had. My family is the best. 🙂

    Leave a comment!
  4. Caving Adventure – Spelunking at the Ape Cave

    August 20, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel by Kristina Horner

    Last week, I went caving for the first time over at the Ape Cave in Mt. St. Helens, Washington. I’m a total beginner and I had absolutely no idea what to expect – but I had the time of my life! I know that some caves out there require helmets and climbing gear/ropes, but Ape Cave is a bit easier than that – which surprised me, as it’s the longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States (running a full 13,000 feet). Ape Cave definitely required you to be agile and in good shape, but even a cave diving novice could work their way through it.


    Before you jump headfirst below the depths of the earth, you’ll need a few important supplies. I passed quite a few people in crappy sneakers and t-shirts, and trust me – you don’t wanna be that guy. If you’re planning a spelunking trip, here’s what you’ll need:

    • Waterproof jacket
    • Long sleeve shirt (it’s a chilly 42 degrees year round down in that cave so you’ll want to dress warm – but not too warm, as you’re doing a lot of climbing)
    • Waterproof pants
    • Gloves (absolutely necessary)
    • Hat (again, again, absolutely necessary)
    • Hiking boots or shoes with great traction
    • Headlamps (I can’t stress this enough, you’ll need your hands free quite often so having a light source strapped to your head is crucial – and I’d suggest at least 50 lumens. Mine was 65)
    • Another high powered flashlight that can fit in your pocket when you need both hands for climbing (Mine was 265 lumens)
    • At least 2 liters of water per person
    • Some sort of backpack to hold excess supplies
    • Extra batteries. I can’t imagine losing power while you’re down there. Yikes.

    The cave itself has two sections, the Upper and Lower caves. The lower cave is relatively easy, takes only an hour to walk down and back at a moderate pace and is home to the famous “meatball”, a large circular rock that got lodged between a skinny upper section of the cave. They give informational guided tours through this section, it’s great for kids, and it’s mostly flat walking. If you’ve got your little sister or Grandpa along, this is a good option.


    The Upper Cave is the really exciting one, though. It’s a big jump in difficulty level – this one is a mile and a half long, and when you combine that with the above ground hike back, the full trip will run you 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on how quickly you take it. There’s a lot of climbing over large piles of rocks (one of rangers informed us there were 27 piles to be exact, but we sort of lost count after we took that wrong turn at Albuquerque). Word to the wise, when you hit the first big confusing open area, don’t go left. Go right. After that, it will always be clear which way to go.

    For those who were curious, going left will take you down a path that gets smaller and smaller until you start to wonder why you signed up for this hike in the first place because this is going to require some serious crawling and then, oh wait, this path doesn’t even go anywhere. Guess we have to go back.

    Anyway, this is what it looks like down in a lava tube:


    It’s gorgeous, and scary, and totally worth the amount of sweating and small dizzy spells you might encounter while underground. We all turned our lights off at one point, of course, which is one of the most disorienting things I have ever experienced. True darkness is immensely terrifying, especially when you can’t even see your fingers though you’re waving them inches from your nose. Closing your eyes or leaving theme open – it all looks the same that far underground. Standing in utter blackness like that, hearing only the shallow breathing of your hiking buddies and the drip drip drip of the cave slime… that’d make you crazy after awhile.

    About 2/3 of the way through the cave, there’s a wall of rock about 8 feet high that stands between you and freedom. I read some reviews about this wall before embarking on my own journey, and I have to admit: it was my biggest fear about the whole thing. Apparently there used to be a rope there but it’s long gone – though one handy foot hole does exist about halfway up. Luckily my boyfriend Joe has retained all of his childhood playground climbing abilities and easily pulled himself up. With a hand up from him, I was able to make it up as well with relative ease. I’m 5’10” though, so if you’re shorter and equaling inept at scaling SHEER WALLS OF ROCK, make sure you’ve got at least one super agile climbing buddy along to help you.

    The next noteworthy thing along the journey is the skylight. It’s about twenty minutes from the end of the cave; a welcome sight yet such a tease. You get a quick glimpse of daylight, but there’s no way out at this point (and people have gotten injured trying) – so you have to continue onward, back into the darkness.


    All in all, I highly recommend Ape Cave, and if you’re intrigued by caving but don’t live in Washington – look up some caves near you! Be sure to do your research though… there are all sorts of different experience levels of caves, and you should know what you’re getting yourself into before you set out to do it. I had a great, great time, and I can’t wait to go again! If you’re interested, here’s the video I made of my experience:

    Have you ever been spelunking? Where did you go? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

    Note: This post may contain affiliate or referral links.

    Leave a comment!