Archive for September, 2009

So many memories, so little room

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

When I started scrapbooking a couple of years ago, almost all the pages I made were single-photo layouts. Now that I’m scrapbooking all of these hiking photos, however, I find myself trying to cram as many photos as possible on every page – there are just too many views I want to remember!

I try to cull my photos at several stages in the camera-to-scrapbook process (actually, the eye-to-scrapbook process – I’m becoming more and more critical of what I choose to photograph. With a digital camera it’s way too easy to just snap away like mad, creating more work for when you get back to the computer. Bah!):

1) Looking through my photos in Lightroom, I delete the obvious losers (blurry, grainy beyond salvation, major exposure failage etc.) altogether, and then flag the ones I want to upload to flickr. Our flickr account is where we share our photos with friends and family, and I like to think of it as a backup in case all our hard drives crash or the house goes up in flames or something. I only edit the flagged photos.

2) Now comes the hard part – choosing which photos to scrapbook. I make an effort to include photos of us and our hiking partners on every page even if it means dropping a nature photo I love, because I think they will be more interesting to us in the future. I think I’m going to make a simple album with my favorite nature photos so I won’t have to worry about forgetting them.

I also save some photos to use for non-event, non-chronological scrapbook pages – instead of including this photo of JK and the pups on the Tuck and Robin layout, I’m going to save it for something else. Maybe a page about my favorite things? Or summer memories? Or how freaking cute my boys are? I store multiple usage photos like that one in a digital Library of Memories system.

Tuck and Robin

3) Now for the actual scrapbooking part – I like to choose one or two photos to emphasize what I want to remember about the trip (these tend to be nature photos), then squeeze in the rest as supporting actors.

Since I am generally too lazy to come up with new, exciting designs all the time, my layouts tend to look very similar to each other. Case in point – the Tuck and Robin page looks a lot like the Mount Baker page I just made, and the Tank Lakes layout is based on a design from Cathy Zielske‘s Design Your Life class that I have already used on another page…and quite frankly the two layouts in this post look almost the same. I don’t care; I’m just happy to be scrapbooking and getting these memories down on paper.

Tanks for the memories

The first couple of times we went hiking, I ended up making several scrapbook pages from each trip – if I had kept this up, my shelves would be full of not-very-interesting albums. I definitely prefer this more succinct (if I can use that word about photos) style of memory keeping, especially since I don’t really have room for many albums in our house to begin with. Maybe we should just build more shelves :o)

All by myself

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Since I had already gone on my first solo hike and my first backpacking trip without JK this summer, I decided it was time to break another barrier – backpacking all alone. Dun dun DUN. To kill the suspense right away, I’ll reveal that I did not get eaten by a bear.

I wanted to go somewhere I had been before (with a short hike in in case I freaked out and wanted to run back home), so I decided on Gem Lake by Snoqualmie Pass – it’s a very popular hike, but I figured it wouldn’t be too crowded on a Tuesday night.

My lake for the night Snow and Gem from above

It did not in any way feel like the autumnal equinox when I started hiking, the sun was out in full force and hot enough (80′s!) to make me appreciate the shady bits of the trail. I passed a bunch of dayhikers (but no backpackers) and made it to Gem in exactly 2.5 hours, which is pretty good for me with a full pack – the pumpkin spice bread carbo load the night before must have worked its magic.

It was windy as all hell by the lake, which made it really difficult to set my tent up; various bits and pieces kept trying to blow away and the poles were bending all over the place. I ended up trying a couple different campsites before finding one that was sheltered enough for me to erect my lovely abode without major failage.

Tent Shadows through my tent Loud pika

I spent the afternoon swimming, hiking up Wright Mountain, lazing around by the lake, reading and watching a colorless sunset. Another person had arrived and was camped on the opposite side of the lake, but I was far enough away to feel like I was all alone. The night was uneventful except for a fat little mouse running straight into my tent – I didn’t get a photo but drew a very lifelike (and most excellent if I do say so myself) sketch of the incident in my journal so JK could see it.

Tent monstarr Mouse in the house

I thought I would be nervous sleeping out there alone, but I guess I’m so used to backpacking at this point that it just feels like home. Huzzah!

After more swimming and reading the next day, I reluctantly had to head back to civilization. At some point during the journey the middle seam of my shorts had ripped, so I had to hike the whole way back with my butt hanging out – my apologies to anyone walking behind me that day.

Tuck & Robin Lakes

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I’m officially not allowed to whine about our hiking season anymore; last weekend was ridiculously summery (ok, I’m allowed to whine a little bit about how hot it was) and we were treated to a perfect sunrise up by Robin Lakes.

More, up, again

The hike up there seemed harder than the stats implied – I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the heat since even JK was exhausted – and the trail is a schizophrenic mix of flat and wide, steep and narrow and downright scrambly, but man alive was it worth it.

My mans

Freshly caught nutrias at Robin Lakes Photo #347 of this view

We knew that this place is popular, but it was still surprising to see tents dotting every available surface around the lake. The really weird thing was that most people didn’t get up to see the sunrise – they must not have realized what they were missing…

Pretty pastel

I’m becoming more comfortable taking photos now (the trip to Tank Lakes was good practice) instead of just handing JK the camera. Just one little step on the road to learning that I don’t necessarily suck at everything.

Tahoma says good morrow Daniel, you're a star

I took about 200 shots of the sunrise (seriously) before we snuck back into the tent to get some more sleep.

Handsome Aberforth We had planned to scramble up Granite Mountain and check out some of the other lakes in the area, but instead we escaped the heat by napping and swimming. I loved just hanging around the lake, being lazy and talking to JK. I’ve been feeling tired and down in the dumps lately, so the endorphins, sunlight and good conversation did me a world of good. Our personal camp goat (we named him Aberforth) made it even better.

In the early afternoon we reluctantly packed our stuff and headed back down, stopping to swim in some of the lakes on the way. It was one of those perfect days I wish I could just bottle up and relive whenever things seem hopeless.

Antenna-ear and thumbs up Brrr

- complete photo set on flickr -

The one with all the parentheses

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

We just went through a very wet and cold period here in Washington, so we spent our time hanging out with friends, eating delicious food, going to the movies (500 Days of Summer, Julie & Julia and Harry Potter (again) – all of them excellent) and scrapbooking (well, I did, not JK).

Das Toof

Since I have no original ideas these days (and that’s ok!), I stole Karla Dudley’s design (the digital pattern paper is also from Karla Dudley, but it’s a paper layout – I printed the background on cardstock before adding the photos) for Das Toof. I love JK’s photos from that climb!

I made On Top of Old Smokey to participate in Erin’s challenge over at Write.Click.Scrapbook. last week; I used one of my blog posts for the journaling. Easy and lazy, that’s how I like my scrapbooking!

On Top of Old Smokey

I asked for something more challenging…

Monday, September 7th, 2009

…and that’s just what I got! Necklace Valley and Tank Lakes have been on my list for a while and I was planning to go with JK, but considering the luck we’ve had with scheduled trips this year I figured we wouldn’t make it up there. When Karen and Anne invited me along on a three-day midweek trip, I was more than happy to ditch JK (moahaha) and join them.

Karen ascending Anne of the Mountains

The trail is as good as flat for the first five miles, then heads steeply up up up for a couple of miles until you reach the first lakes of the Necklace Valley. To be honest, the valley itself was a bit disappointing – I had pictured an Enchantments-like granite landscape dappled with lakes, but it was all below the timberline and not very impressive compared to the lakes I’ve become accustomed to seeing (I know, I’m spoiled). It’s still very pretty, but in my opinion not really worth it considering the b*tch of a hike in. The gorgeous stuff that makes it worth it is off-trail, up above the valley.

We hiked up on boulders and pretty granite to get to our destination, the ridiculously purdy Lower Tank Lake. By this point I had started gaining a new appreciation for my husband – this was my first backpacking trip without him and I’m used to him carrying all the heavy stuff!

Happiness defined

All thoughts of sore legs and aching backs were forgotten when we reached the lake. This place is too pretty for its own good:

Sunset over Tank Lake

After a beautiful sunset and a huge dinner (I forgot that JK and I usually split a bag of those freeze dried meals – I had to force myself to eat a whole one so I wouldn’t have to carry all that weight back out. Ugh!), we settled down for the night and I had an excellent night’s sleep. While husbands are good for use as pack mules and general amusement, it’s definitely easier to sleep when they’re not snoring right next to you!

My new tent (with perfectly decent views) Photographer's perch

We spent the next day getting acquainted with the area, exploring the numerous lakes and tarns on the plateau. The girls convinced me to scramble up and along Otter Ridge, which looked terrifying to me from afar but turned out to be pure fun and with excellent views – it felt great to challenge my fear of heights just a little bit.

Glacier Peak, Tahl & Ilswoot

We moseyed on back to camp and spent a lazy afternoon swimming (ok, jumping in and immediately clawing our way back out, brrr!) in Lower Tank Lake, taking pictures and walking around on the plateau before turning in for the night.

My back was not happy about all the rock hopping I had done, so it kept me awake most of the night – I’m glad I brought a book and my Zune (and some codeine, ahem)!

Swirl Flare squared "...and the sea is just a wetter version of the sky"

The hike out on the third day felt like a bit of a death march – the sun was baking us to a crisp and the elusive woodland gnomes had been hard at work both elongating the trail and adding more ups and downs than we had on the way in. Stupid gnomes.

Heading out Reflection in Tazz Tarn

The hike was made easier by keeping this image in my head:

Filling up my Tank...

After 173 miles (or so it seemed), we finally reached the trailhead – I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see a car before! After a stop to replenish our bodies (mmm, potatoes), I went home to find poor JK still sick. He was impressed by all my badass-looking cuts and bruises (the joys of off-trail hiking!) and my mosquito bites.

I hate mosquitoesI had hoped, rather naively, that the mosquitoes would have died by now, but the evil little buggers came out in full force on the second night. I HATE THEM SO MUCH. Oh well, at least I’ll have a multitude of sexy scars (it is physically impossible for me not to scratch a bite) to remind me of this trip for years to come.

Despite the death march, the heavy pack, the bloodsucking vampires, my disapproving back and some gnarly blisters, I think this was my favorite trip of the summer. We went to a beautiful place, I had great company, and I got to challenge myself by inching my way out of the protective little box where I usually live my life. I want more of that.

The official trip report is here – Karen and Anne’s photos are far superior to mine, so I recommend taking a peek!

- complete photo set on flickr -

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