Archive for April, 2009

Washington isn’t all snow…

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

…we have desert too! JK had another all-weekend class with the Washington Alpine Club this weekend, so I tagged along with Tom, Dani and their morbidly obese (sorry, “stout”) dog Jasper for a hike in the Umtanum Canyon. Eastern Washington really is a different world…I approve of all the sun they get, but not so much of the snakes, spiders and ticks. Bobs ended up getting some sort of weird bite on the inside of his leg, but according to the vet he’s totally fine. Poor little Scabnose, first the broken toe and now a bite dangerously close to his genitals!

A desert kind of green

Wellington is doing great by the way. I’m still amazed by how dog-like he is for an Italian Greyhound. Here he’s chewing on a stick (Bobby would never even think of acting so…canine) he found on the hike:

I am Wellie, hear me rooaaar!

…and here he’s nursing Bobby back to good health after the vet appointment:

Nurse Wellington

Alrightyroo, short post (I have to run) but at least it’s a post. Ok, so it was just an excuse to post the cute photo of Wellie with the stick.

Same old, same old

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

I haven’t been scrapbooking much the last couple of months, and when I do dust off my neglected hobby, I feel like I am just doing the same thing over and over again. Hiking photos, blue and white papers (usually from the same big slab of paper I bought at Costco a couple of years ago because I am too lazy to look for anything else), Heidi Swapp transparent snowflakes (ditto) and a computer font for the title. It’s all about the laziness; my scrapbooking crap is in such a horrid state of disarray that it is impossible to find what I am looking for and, frankly, not very tempting to sit down and make a page. Basically I need to just suck it up and clean.

10,188

Ali Edwards used a digital template in the current issue of Creating Keepsakes that I just fell in love with, so I had to try it. I wanted to stuff more photos from our hike to Camp Muir in there, so I made a second page using the top of the template. Easy and fast, huzzah!

(Speaking of Ali, this post made me really want to get into scrapbooking again.)

I made this next layout for the February issue of CK – the photos are from our amazing trip to Jade Lake last summer. The paper is blue but at least I didn’t use those transparent snowflakes.

Jade Lake

Yet another day in Paradise

Friday, April 24th, 2009

JK spent all last weekend climbing up by Anacortes with my erstwhile mountaineering classmates, so I was left to my own devices. Since the weather looked promising, I contacted Gabi and joined her and a group of the Seattle Hikers for a trip to Rainier. Yes, another trip to Rainier. I’ll never get enough of that mountain.

The sun was so strong Rainier had to wear a hat

This time Mount Rainier was covered in all sorts of lenticular clouds that looked like UFOs hovering above us to take us away.

To the mothership!

We headed up to Mazama Ridge and ambled along, oohing and aahing at the views, dropped down to Reflection Lake, and circled back up to Paradise. In the heat and wet, heavy, sloppy snow, hiking up the gently sloping Paradise Valley Road ended up feeling more tiring than rest-stepping up Aaron’s signature (or so I’ve gathered :D) steep hill earlier in the day. The good news is that the snow is melting and summer is on its way!

The gang on Mazama Ridge

Perfect weather, beautiful views, and a great bunch of hikers. Regardless of what Dr. Phil has to say about it, meeting people from teh intarwebs just plain rules.

A thing that certainly does not rule is forgetting sunscreen. You would think I would have learned after burning my lips on our trip to Camp Muir a couple of weeks ago, but no. The day before this hike I spent the afternoon on a sailboat on Lake Washington with not a drop of sunscreen on my face, and on the hike I diligently applied and reapplied gunk all day but neglected to cover my ears, neck, chest, and, curiously, one thin, straight line down my nose. I am officially stupid and am paying for it by looking like a peeling Freddy Krueger.

They're coming to take you away

A Tale of Fail

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

This is a layout I made last summer for Computer Tricks for Scrapbooking 3, raving about wanting to really tackle my fear of heights. This winter I decided that since I had reached the point where I could walk along a cliff or hang around at the top of the rock wall in the gym, I was ready to take a mountaineering class. Hah.

So very proud

Last weekend our class went to Spire Rock, an outside rock climbing wall about an hour south of Seattle, and it became painfully obvious that I wasn’t ready after all. As it turns out, climbing on smooth, worn, mossy rock outside while wearing stiff mountaineering boots is 374 (approximately) times as terrifying as climbing inside with rock shoes that will stick to anything and huge, luxurious hand holds. When it was time to try rappelling, I couldn’t even take the first step off the “cliff”. I just had this vision in my head that my foot would slip and I would bang into the wall.

I spent all week trying to prepare (both mentally and physically) for our next outing to Spire. The first thing I did when we got there was get up on that rock, set up my rappel, take the first step…and then slip and bang straight into the rock. I rappelled down (rappelling itself is fun; it’s just that nothing in my mind or body wants to take that first step) and got right back on the horse…and slipped again, really banging into the rock again (my knee is still swollen, magnificently multi-colored and painful as all hell when I bend it, whine whine whine).

The rock was ridiculously slick from being marinated in a couple of days of rain, so people kept slipping and sliding and flipping over all day, but it was over for me. I can’t join the class for the climbs if I am that uncomfortable on rock. Lame.

I’m trying very hard not to dwell on the fact that I failed at something yet again, and that it is ok that I’m scared of heights. It’s not something that absolutely needs to be fixed, and there is a lifetime of non-sphincter tightening hiking to be had in Washington. But as much as the heights bother me, I think what really screwed things up for me this time was trying to learn this stuff in a large group of people where I felt like I could never measure up. And that’s really not good.

Number one lesson learned from the class – I have the self-esteem of a (really really insecure) gnat. And I don’t know where to even begin to fix it.

Camp Muir at last

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Last winter when I had to turn around on measly Poo Poo Point because I was in such horrendous shape, I vowed that by summer I would be in good enough condition to make it to Camp Muir, the climbers’ camp on the most popular route on Mount Rainier. At around ten miles and 4,600 feet of elevation gain I figured it would be a good goal, but the real test is that the camp is all the way up at 10,188 feet (3105 meters), higher than I had ever been before – the highest mountain in Norway is 2469 meters…

Well, summer came around and I was definitely in shape to do it, but between a lack of cooperating weather and some conflicting backpacking trips, we never got around to visiting Muir – so with the promise of excellent weather this Sunday, JK, Carlos and I decided we should finally go for it! I was a little worried about coughing up a lung or two since this would be my first hike after the flu, but I really needed a beautiful day in the mountains after my pathetic attempts at climbing in our class the day before (more on this later when I’m feeling less ridiculous and/or traumatized).

The sun was out, the sky was blue and everything was just perfect. I got to test my post-plague lungs on the hill up to Panorama Point, and luckily all my innards stayed where they were supposed to be:

Nature's stairmaster

JK was on camera duty this time to make up for bossing me around as his personal photographer the last time we went to Rainier, but I did get some shots of my happy husband in his natural element as Mountain Man:

Happy husband

As we got higher and higher the wind really started to pick up, so I put on my Tellytubby costume and hiked on:

Windy highway

I felt fantastic until the last 1000 vertical feet, then my body started noticing the thinner air. We could see Camp Muir ahead of us, but no matter how far we walked it just didn’t seem to get any closer…

Almost...there...

At long last we made it. Huzzah! Once we stopped moving I felt great again, but JK and Carlos had headaches and were getting nauseous because of the altitude, so we just ate some food, took a few photos, then headed back down again. I was intrigued by the wheelchair accessible outhouse:

Wheelchair accessible!

Family portrait

The way down was great, we didn’t need snowshoes anymore and could plunge-step most of the way. Once we had descended a bit the boys started feeling back to normal as well.

Two good friends

There are few things more beautiful that seeing the afternoon light on Mount Rainier. Have I mentioned I love living here??

Beautiful Tahoma

Adams, Tatoosh, Carlos

…and as if the day hadn’t been perfect enough, we were greeted by this beautiful fox once we were back on the road:

Foxy lady

We’ve been on some excellent hikes this year, but this was by far the best!

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