A Week Long Adventure in the Mountains

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnaila few days (What do you want, we’re a lot busier now…) A month and 1/2 ago, we spent the week at camp. It was intended to be a 50/50 split of vacation and work and that’s just about what it was.

We were able to get the rooms framed in and prepped for electric and insulation. Now the real work can begin. Looks like we might just be able to make it usable this winter after all.

On the vacation side of things we had some fun.

    • Delilah spent some time playing in the stream
    • Took lots of four-wheeler rides (and Delilah got hooked)
    • Spent some time at the beach at Higley Flow State Park
    • Went geocaching and found a really nice new spot very close by along the Raquette River
    • Took Delilah on her first mountain climb up Arab Mountain
    • Went out for Ice Cream
    • Played on the playground (where Delilah learned her new love of old-school metal slides)
    • Ate lots of great grilled food (including lots of corn)
    • Built Delilah a house out of a large cardboard box

All in all it was a great week. Love getting to spend some quality time with our family.

UPDATE: Since this post was written a month and 1/2 ago and just posted today… more progress has been made on the camp. The insulation and electric work is complete, all corners/windows have been framed with rough cut (and painted) 2×4’s and the siding is going up.

1998 Europe Travel Journal

I found the following Travel Journal in a bag of my old stuff given to me by my mother.  It’s from my from my Trip to Europe with school in 1998.

I’ve provided it below, unedited And awesome. I’ve left it mostly intact and punctuation preserved for your enjoyment.  Go ahead and laugh, I did.

4/16/1998

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn. ~Joseph Addison, Chicago Cultural Center (former library)

I expect Germany will be like country kind of towns with lots of public transportation and then in the big cities more very modern looking buildings and I expect the people will be very friendly.

4/17/1998

The towns here just kind of end.  And then there is nothing for miles.  Walking in Rothenburg was like walking back a few centuries.  Even in the smallest town, which is where we are staying, there is a bus stop.

4/18/1998

Today we went to Dachau.  It was interesting.  There were many more concentration camps than I thought there were.  I guess we only hear of the big ones.  I also learned that Dachau’s gas chambers were never used to kill anyone.  The gas chambers at Dachau were never used and nobody knows why.  It was strange being at one of the Nazi concentration camps where people actually died by the hundreds.

4/19/1998

We had to get up at 5:45 this morning which meant I got about 5hrs of sleep.  That stunk.  We headed out to Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II‘s castle.  When we got there we hiked up the mountain to the castle and toward it.  After touring the castle we went up on the bridge that was a few hundred feet high.

4/20/1998

Today was travel day.  We have to go to Venice which is about an 8hr trip but we stopped a lot along the way.  Our travel plans were sort of changed because of some snow conditions.  Instead of going to Innsbruck on the way to Venice we stopped at Salzburg.  That was just as good because Mr Stoker lived there for a while and showed us around quite a bit.  I bought some spoons there while shopping and a chocolate pretzel which was very good but was so rich I could only eat 1/2 of it. When we got to Venice it was suppertime and we had pasta and then some viel stuff hat I didn’t like at all.  After all that just our group went out and walked around the town we were staying in (not Venice but close).

4/21/1998

Today was the best shopping day so far.  When we got up we ate (the same thing for the 6th time in a row) and then took the bus to a boat.  When we got to the boat we had to wait about 10 minutes before they got started.  Then it was about a 15min ride.  After that we took a 2hr tour around Venice and saw the “sights.”  I imagined Venice to be much better than it was, but it was really a dump.  But I suppose if you build a city on top of water it will tend to do that.  We had freetime for about 6hrs and then went back to the hotel.  The worst part about the day was it rained for most of it.  In Venice it normally is quite whet though, so…  They even have planks a foot off the ground to walk on in case what they call a (double high tide) happens.

4/22/1998

This morning we left from Venice for Verona and then on to Lucerne.  Today for once it’s not raining.  Big surprise!  It’s travel day and it’s not raining because we’re not doing anything.  It took about 10hrs to get from Venice to Lucerne.  I only got about 1hr of sleep on the bus.  When we got to Luzern nothing really happened, we ate then hung out for a while and went to sleep.

That’s it.  Which is really sad, because Lucerne was my favorite part of the trip.  I think Switzerland really spoke to the outdoorsman in me.  This makes me wish I had kept a real journal of everything.

2009 – How I Did

It’s funny, looking back on the goals I set at the beginning of the year, some of them were kind of silly, others weren’t even goals.  Either way, I didn’t do too bad.

  • Volunteer at least 4 times
    • Didn’t happen.. :(.  I volunteered on the United Way day of Caring and that’s it.  Wish I would have followed through on this one.
  • Quadruple the size of our Emergency Fund
    • Check
  • Take a 3 – 4week vacation on the west coast
    • Check
  • Buy a DSLR
    • Check
  • Win at least one photo contest
    • Sadly, Didn’t enter any…
  • Sell at least one photo
    • Sold my services twice, I guess that counts?
  • Reduce my wardrobe by 25%
    • Check
  • See at least 25 sunsets and 25 sunrises
    • Check, some weeks saw many, other none.  It all balances out.
  • Complete and release Mivity
    • Right… Mivity is canned, the Domain expired and I didn’t renew it.  If you have an idea for it feel free, I just decided I had other priorities.
  • Work out at least 3 times per week for 30minutes at a time
    • Started out the year and into the summer very good on this one, Unfortunately due to other obligations, later into the summer and the rest of the year, I Fell short.  I’ll be picking this up in the new year.
  • Finish the 1st floor of the house
    • Didn’t happen but we’re very close, looking like the middle to end of January.

The Toy Shed

shed-6Rachel and I were gone on an awesome vacation for 3 weeks this summer.  By the time we got back, my father was full-swing into building his new shed for camp.  The rest of my summer was spent at camp (oh no), helping him put it up.  It felt like every weekend but was probably only every other.  Some days we made progress, other days we just relaxed in the mountains.  Either way you look at it though, we were within the blue line so did it really matter?

We call it the shed, but It should probably be called a barn.  It’s not built like the typical plywood thrown-together mess you can buy almost anywhere.  It’s built to last, Adirondack style.  Amish raw cut real 2×4’s and all.  In a lot of ways, it might be over-engineered and over-thought, but it’s good to do things that way sometimes.  My dad did most of the work himself. I helped a bit with the roof, siding and hanging the doors.  My Uncle and my cousin helped a bit with the roof and the siding, and a friend at camp dug out the hillside and leveled out some of our lot with his equipment.  All that’s left is some tin in a few places and some paint!

My dad likes to call it the “Toy Shed” or the “Toy Barn” or the “Toy House,” whichever name fits his fancy at the moment.  We even had a sign made for it.  That’s because it’s intended to house our snowmobiles, 4-wheelers and whatever else we come up with.  Oh, it’s also intended to house the tools and equipment we’ll need for next years project, the camp addition.

We’re gonna need help though.  So if you’re up for some hard work next spring/summer at a beautiful location, let me know.  Remember, the more you help out the more likely we’ll be to invite you up to relax!

A bit of the construction process:

Pacific City

For our last day we headed to the coast again.  This time we went to Pacific City, the same place George and Stacie got engaged.  We wanted to climb the giant Sand Dune at Cape Kiwanda.

Cape Kiwanda Sand Dune

When we arrived there was a truck stuck in the sand on the beach.  The idiot had gotten stuck trying to pull in a Truck and Trailer stuck on the beachboat larger than the truck itself just as the tide was coming in.  We stood and watched for a few minutes while a cop showed up, and a few people tried to help, and we moved on.

View from the Sand DuneWe started climbing the sand dune and quickly learned it was a lot higher than it looked!  After getting to the top, the view was well worth it.  Rachel ran down but I had to keep the flying sand to a minimum, protecting my camera.  On the way down we noticed they’d gotten the truck out but only with the assistance of a full size tow truck (who was smart enough not to pull onto the sand, and used their winch).

We spent a great day at a beautiful place.  An absolutely perfect place to end a fantastic vacation.

Around Portland and Brewersfest

International Rose Test GardenWe slept in a bit on Thursday since we didn’t have anything planned until 2pm and we were driving all day Wednesday.  We started off the day by visiting the Portland Rose Test Garden.  I had no idea there were so many roses, wierd ones too.  They were all in full Bloom and so gorgeous!  Rachel got a few ideas and we found our Portland Magnet.  It was then time to head into the city to grab a bite to eat before our Portland Underground Tour.

After spending a fortune for parking ($12, there are much cheaper places but we didn’t find any right away) we headed to the Old Town Pizza, the first stop on the Underground Tour, to grab lunch and get tickets for the tour.  While I placed our order (a thin house special) Rachel called Portland Walking Tours to book it.  Unfortunately the Underground Portland tour was booked, something we hadn’t planned for.  Because we had plans for tomorrow we decided to take the Beyond Bizarre tour instead.

Portland Brewers FestSince we didn’t have anything to do for about 5 hours we decided to walk around and see a few things, the first being the Tom McCall Waterfront ParkAs we were walking along Rachel said something, my eyes glazed over, the skies opened and it seemed like there was a chorus of angels.  We walked right onto Portland’s Brewers Fest.

Mills End ParkAdmission was free so we went in (we would have anyway).  You pay for a mug with a bunch of chips, each chip is worth a tasting, 4 is worth a pint, but their tastings turned out to be much bigger than 1/4th of a pint.  They have a $10 mug which comes with 4 chips or a $20 mug which comes with 14 chips.  We each got 14 chips, what’s the point in only tasting 4 beers? After all, we had 5 hours.

Most of the beers were delicious, but we didn’t realize until the end that the beers were all west coast, not necessarily Oregon like we had originally thought.  Ahh well, still tasty.  We took a short break in between our 14 beers to wander around, and find the worlds smallest park which was neat.

Afterwards we met George and Stacie for Happy hour at Three Degrees where we enjoyed some great deals and good food (thanks Stacie!).  After that we took the MAX back to Old Town Pizza to catch our Beyond Bizzarre Tour.

EMFOriginally we thought the Beyond Bizarre tour was just the Underground Tour with some ghost stories and an EMF detector thrown in.  We were horribly wrong, and the tour sucked.  They hand out the EMF devices and it was mostly a ghost hunting exercise where they take you to these different locations and tell you why people think it’s ‘haunted’.  It was incredibly lame and we don’t suggest anyone do it.  I’m not sure if I would trust their Underground Tour either…  Perhaps If we had a coupon.

Back to George and Stacies, a glance at some pictures and bed… Another good day, despite the Tour Failure, mostly due to all the drinking.

Back to Portland

The DesertOur trek from Glacier National Park back to Portland was rather uneventful, and yet satisfying.  We drove all the way through, only stopping in Coeur D’Alene for lunch (which was a completely unexpected yet beautiful city in Idaho).  Again, somewhere in Montana we hit a giant hailstorm of bugs.  We seemed to literally drive through a wall of them with some as big as your fist.

As we drove through the dry areas, we watched the outside temperature gauge in the car reach as high as 106ºF.  Rachel wanted to know what that feels like, so at 70Mph we opened the windows and stuck our arms out.  It felt just like a blow dryer, and closed went the windows.

Dust DevilAlong the way we saw a ton of dust devils, which is kind of neat as I don’t remember ever seeing them this large before.  They look like mini tornadoes, and they seemed to tear across the skyline with a fury.

After crossing into Oregon we followed the Columbia River along I84, a large section of which we had taken before.  As the sun set, we were provided beautiful views of Mt Hood clear as day right over the river.  The most beautiful sight however was as we were passing Multnomah Falls and the sunlight was peaking through some clouds so only the falls were lit up.  It almost made us turn around, but we pushed on.

Mt Hood over the Columbia River

We arrived at George and Stacie’s with just enough time to show them some pictures and then head to bed.

Even just driving through, the scenery out here is beautiful and fulfilling.

Iceberg Lake

It just wouldn’t be right to go to the backpacking paradise that is Glacier National Park without doing some hiking.  To that end we decided to hike the 10 miles (round trip) to Iceberg lake.  The trail starts near Many Glacier Hotel which happens to be on the opposite side of the park from where we were staying, a mere 2 hours drive over the Going to the Sun road.  There was a Ranger guided hike at 8:30 in the morning so we went for that.

flowersOf course, the scenery from the road was beautiful but we also saw plenty of animals.  A herd of Elk were grazing in a field and 2 Coyotes were hunting mice or rabbits or something.  When we got to the trail head, we were a few minutes late so the Ranger and the group had already started off.  Not a big deal, we’d just meet them on the trail.  We grabbed our packs and off we went.  First thing we see? A bear, just a black bear but only about 50 ft off the trail and very startling.  Then we caught up to the group about a tenth of a mile in.  The group with the Ranger was about 25 strong and included an 80 something year old man and his family.  He had hiked this same trail about 30 years earlier and was looking to see how things had changed (or remained the same).

Iceberg LakeAbout a mile in we took a break and the Ranger started a game featuring the local flora.  She’d tell the person immediately behind her the name of some wild flower and that person would tell everyone that passed the name of the flower.  Then she’d tell the next person… and so on.  It was fun!  There were so many different flowers, we cycled through everyone about twice and only covered about half of them!

As with everywhere we’ve been, the scenery was amazing throughout the entire hike.  The hike itself was incredibly rewarding and the lake was the prettiest lake this side of Crater Lake.  I can now say I’ve stood on an Iceberg for the first time, although Rachel was afraid to jump across the small gap of glacier runoff water to join me.  I have to admit, the thought it would get bumped and float out into the lake leaving me stranded was definitely there.

A hike back, another bear and a restful evening.  A great day in Glacier!

Red Bus Tour through Glacier

Since we were only in the park for a few days, we wanted to see and learn as much as possible.   What better way than a guided tour through the entire park on one of the old Red Buses?

st-mary-lakeWe struck out at 8:30 on the Crown of the Continent Tour with our guide Matt.  Matt was a nice guy who introduced himself as someone who’d grown up his whole life wishing he had a place in the backwoods where he couldn’t be bothered.  He told us that once he saved enough money that’s exactly what he did.  His place is 8 miles from the nearest telephone, 4 miles from the nearest neighbor in the winter and 1 mile in the summer.  He parks his truck and ski’s 2 miles into his house in the winter time because that’s as far as it’s plowed.  He has a generator for power but no TV, no internet and no phone.  I’m sure I could live that way if I had to, but I’m not sure I’d want to.  Still, it has a certain appeal.  I could probably write a whole post just on Matt so we’ll stop there.  There is an funny story involving Laura Bush though so maybe I’ll write that up some day.

The tour took us over the going to the sun road and back into Many Glacier Hotel for lunch.  It was amazing, and informative and the going to the sun road takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen.  We saw 9 of the park’s 27 Glaciers from the bus and countless Perennial Snow Fields.  Matt informed us that a glacier has 3 requirements.

  1. It must have a surface area greater than 25 acres
  2. It must be greater than 100ft thick
  3. It must be moving

If a chunk of ice meats some but not all of these requirements it’s considered a perennial snow field.  Yes, perennial because it comes back (or remains) every year just like your flowers.  Speaking of flowers, we got a glimpse of some of the alpine wildflowers while stopped at Logan’s Pass and they’re amazing!

goatsOn our way back through we stopped at a little parking lot just past Logan’s pass where the Mountain Goats hang out.  They were everywhere.  In the parking lot, on the walkways, on the rocks nearby, in the trees nearby, hanging out on the man made walls… literally everywhere.

The downside to making land like this accessible to the masses is you begin to affect the wildlife.  The goats are no exception.  Anti-Freeze is now a delicacy in their diet.  Don’t worry though, they can’t ingest enough of it to hurt them, remember… they’re hard core.   They live above 7,000ft 365 days a year, avalanche’s and all.

After the tour we cooked some hot dogs and pasta to end the night on a good note (full) and drifted off to sleep.