Archive for October, 2009

It’s the time of the season

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I’m enjoying autumn so much this year – I don’t know if it’s because of all the stored up sunshine I have from this summer or if it’s just because I’m suddenly in a much better place (and have a much better mindset) than I’ve been in years, but I just feel happy. And that’s pretty much awesome.

Being in the U.S. makes it hard *not* to appreciate the changing of the seasons though…ok, so it’s slightly annoying that the stores put out their Christmas displays in September, but I love all the seasonal foodstuffs (of course I do) like cider and pumpkin spice anything and the general excitement about fall. Corn mazes, pumpkin patches, insane Halloween decorations, I love it. Wellie gives the season four paws up too:

Leave it, Wellie!

I finally started working out again, so that might be part of the reason why I feel so disgustingly content these days too. Ok, so I’ve been hiking throughout the summer, but going for a walk once a week really isn’t enough to shift lard from this bucket or maintain a somewhat consistent influx of endorphins. It feels great even though any positive effects I may have garnered so far must have been negated by my alcohol intake over the last week (as it turns out, happy autumn time = beer) – after a particularly festive the night before, I felt like I was sweating pure hops yesterday at the gym. Ugh.

Anyway, I don’t really know what the point of this post was except to say that I like autumn and that I have a very cute dog who seems to agree.

Happy feet at last

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

After hiking all summer with boots that were literally falling apart at the seams (luckily we had fantastic weather this summer; huge holes tend to make boots less waterproof..), I finally got myself a new pair of boots. Since I have weird feet and get blisters even when I wear flip flops (seriously), I’ve been breaking them in slowly by wearing them on walks around the neighborhood with the dogs, but last weekend I wanted to take them out in the mountains.

Mount Pilchuck fit the bill for a short, easy, and hopefully-blister-free hike – plus there’s a lookout at the top, so it’s an interesting destination even if you don’t have any views…which we didn’t. Still, it was a great day out with our friends; the fresh snow made everything look all Christmasy and gorgeous, and we got quite a bit of sunshine even though the clouds obscured most of our views. Best of all? I came home with toasty, dry feet (impressive considering the trail was basically a stream on Saturday) and not a single blister. Huzzah!

Soaking up the sun We found these nutrias... First hike in my new boots

(By the way, I hereby officially declare that Washingtonians are NOT allowed to complain about the weather right now after the amazing spring and summer we’ve had. Rain is both expected and necessary in October/November, and if I catch anyone whining about it from now on I will smack them upside the head with a get-some-perspective stick. If you can’t handle the one really over-exaggerated cliché about this area, then move somewhere else and stop dragging us all down with your negativity. Harumph!)

Old layouts, old photos

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I’m taking Ali Edwards‘ class, Yesterday and Today, over at Big Picture Scrapbooking, and I am really loving it so far – sorting and scanning old photos, thinking about stories I want to tell from when I was growing up (back in the days of yore).

Part of the process was to go through my old scrapbook pages to see whether my “storytelling” was up to snuff. While doing that, I pulled out these pages to put in the Yesterday & Today album. They’re all strangely coordinated – maybe I should keep the green/brown/beige thing going throughout the album? Meh, that might get boring.

1950 Ingrid & Øyvind

My mom and dad :) Best

Good things I found when going through my pages:

- lots of journaling, whether short or long. I especially liked the ones where I wrote like I talk and it felt like my personality (as annoying as it may be) came through.

- layouts with multiple photos, simple design – keeping embellishments as accents and focusing on the words and the photos.

- white space! The layouts that had some breathing room were my favorites.

Not-so-good things I found:

- most of my earliest pages didn’t have any journaling, not even a little note about the time, place or people in the photos. I used to think I would always remember those things, but now I can’t even recall the names of the people I went to high school with. How sad is that, by the way?

- a whole bunch of “purposeless” layouts that were more about using a photo I thought was cool than actually documenting what was going on in our lives.

- I want to make more mini albums, more pages about our families, more pages about everyday life – not just about hiking…

- I love enlarging my photos, but sometimes they’re just too big. It’s better to have some white space around a smaller photo and let it breathe.

- chipboard letters that have fallen off since I made the layout. This drives me nuts – don’t market it as self-adhesive if it can’t even stick to a piece of paper for a year!!

- writing the full journaling in my handwriting (little snippets are ok) – it’s not just ugly, it’s totally illegible. A couple of days ago we were (privately) making fun of a car salesman’s handwriting (because he was a loathsome, lying swine of a human being who deserves to be mocked), and I realized I am not in any position to make fun of other people’s scribbles. But at least my handwriting doesn’t look like a second grader’s. Unless it’s a really, really drunk second grader.

- layouts with paint, inking and various other attempts at being “artsy”, which clearly I am not. I’ll stick to my simple style.

Larch Week, Part Three: Blue Lake

Monday, October 19th, 2009

After fifteen minutes or so of driving in the dark (stopping on the way to gawk at the outline of the mountains surrounded by stars), we found the Lone Fir Campground and were shocked by how many people were there – we thought we would be the only ones stupid enough to go camping on such a butt-numbingly freezing weekend.

Best campfire evarz We don't want to leave

We found a site (right next to the bathrooms, it would make the nocturnal calls of nature easier to bear in the cold) and got a campfire started as fast as possible. Then we lingered in front of said fire for three whole hours, chatting, eating soy dogs and generally enjoying the feeling of warmth.

The night was surprisingly comfortable; in fact I have never slept so well in a tent before. We brought several tons of extra blankets, but in the end, all it took was an extra sleeping bag and a real pillow for me to feel nice and toasty and sleep through the night.

Lawg Just hangin' out Happy husband

In the morning we spent another four hours in front of the campfire before finally peeling our butts off the camping chairs and heading out on an easy, relaxing and very scenic hike to Blue Lake. Excellent views for minimal effort, and we got a good look at the route Carlos climbed up Liberty Bell in August.

I think this was my favorite weekend of the entire year (so far!). It was great to finally hang out with Carlos again, and to hike with Tom, Tisha and Steve, even though we ended up camping separately. Add a feast of larch trees and a bunch of lakes, and that’s pretty much my recipe for pure happiness. The campfire didn’t hurt either, I am officially a car camping convert. Big thanks to all my fellow larch hunters for making this such a memorable week!

Trio by Blue Lake Best weekend of the year!

Larch Week, Part Two: Black Peak

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

As the weekend came up, the forecast grew colder and colder and colder, warning of a daytime high of 23°F (-5°C) and a nighttime low of 11°F (-12°C). Brr! JK, Carlos and I were scheduled to go backpacking with Tisha, Steve and Tom, but we chickened out at the last minute and decided to dayhike with the group and then car camp instead – that way we could bring as many sleeping pads and blankets as we could possibly stuff in the car, plus have a campfire.

Our destination was Black Peak, sharing part of the trail with the Maple Pass hike I had done earlier in the week. Since we were just dayhiking, we planned to join the backpacking crew to the lake below Black Peak and turn around while they scrambled up (but we all brought our climbing helmets just in case).

So many colors

The first part of the trail was easy, especially for those of us carrying day packs instead of heavy winter overnight packs. Moahaha. The exhaustingly long talus field over to the first lake was covered in 4-5 inches of snow, which made it even more interesting for the poor bastards carrying heavy loads.

We sat down to rest and have a snack by the beautiful, avocado-colored Lewis Lake. I’ve been wanting to go there all season, so I was all giddy and happy to finally have made it.

Loathing Happy and slightly annoying What more could I want?

The larch porn up there was incredibly arousing, and there was much oohing and aahing and unsightly drooling as we made our way up to Wing Lake.

Lone larch And they were all yellow Wing Lake

When we reached Wing Lake, we realized that JK and Carlos would have a shot at reaching the summit of Black Peak (and making it back in time to cross the Talus Field of Doooom before dark) as long as they moved fast.

I volunteered to stay behind at the lake since a) I would slow them down too much to summit, b) I would most likely be terrified by the exposed scramble up there and c) I prefer lakes anyway, especially when they’re turquoise and surrounded by larches. Nom nom nom.

Content

While I bundled up in all my layers and some borrowed camping accessories from Tom and Tisha, the rest of the gang headed up towards the summit. Apparently it was pretty sketchy, especially getting up the summit block and crossing a sphincter-tightening, snow-covered, narrow, hellish piece of rock over to the true summit. Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t go, and I’m also glad JK prefers roped class 5 climbing to scrambling. Ugh.

Here’s a panorama of Carlos on the summit (I just realized the stitching process severed his hand – sorry Carlos!):

Black Peak summit

Four cold hours later, JK and Carlos finally made it back to the lake, happy to find me only partially turned into a popsicle. We hurried down from the lake and found ourselves crossing the talus field at dusk, just as the wind was picking up and blasting us from the valley. Brrr. I had the joy of finding a sucker hole in the snow and banging my shins (there is no body part more badly designed than the shin) and bending my hiking poles as I slipped between the rocks. Fun!

Blue Wing Teletubby One last look at Wing

It was completely dark by the time we reached the main trail, so we switched on our head lamps – never go hiking without a head lamp, seriously – and covered the last couple of miles in no time. I love hiking in the dark (as long as the trail is good); I get into a sort of trance where all that exists is me, my feet, and stars as far as the eye can see.

35 minutes later we were back at the car, scurrying inside to turn on the heat, and then we drove east to try to find a campground where we could spend the night and warm our frosty behinds.

Tom wrote a very amusing trip report on nwhikers.net if you’re in the mood for lots and lots of photos (there are some great ones of the scramble!) and a chuckle or five.

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