Monday, August 15, 2011

Family Hiking Day

How many people do you think have taken this picture?

I don't know why I put so much faith in weathermen.  Granted, if the forecast has a sun with a little cloud, I know there's no telling how the day may be.  But if it's just a sun, well, suddenly it's like a promise, "There will not be even one cloud in the sky.  You are guaranteed a beautiful day--enjoy!"  And because of the lack of sunshine 'situation' I've mentioned before, there really is pressure to make some sort of plan to get out in it.  I knew getting my kids to go hiking with me was going to be challenging...walking around in the woods in not usually a teenager's idea of a good time.  But, if there was a good swimming hole mixed in, and the assurance of hot weather, I knew I could sell it.  I looked online and found what I thought would be the perfect place--waterfalls, lake, not to far of a drive and only four miles round trip of hiking.

Bridal Veil Falls

I even convinced our friends Tim and Hilary to come with their teenager--this was going to be an epic family day!  Road block number one: our oldest boy has other plans.  No problem, we just replace him with one of his friends...project family bonding day is still afoot!  Obstacle number two:  looking up the hike again I notice it's not four miles round trip, but four miles in.  Do kids really have any concept of miles?  I'll just keep that information to myself and they'll never notice the difference...operation family fun cannot be stopped!  Complication number three: our friend Tim has taken off kite-boarding and is still not back and now Hilary is pissed and doesn't think she can meet us in time.  No problem, we just leave without him!  Onward ho!  (Tim did manage to catch up to us and they made up, so it was all good)

Our next snag...the giant gray mono-cloud is going to burn off, right?  I mean, the picture was a SUN with NO CLOUD.  That means I can take it to the bank...give it a couple more hours, we are going to have a blazing sun in the sky, no worries.  Hurdle number five: we need to buy a "Northwest Forest Pass". (Do not get Ken going on government permits and red tape. Just don't, trust me)  No problem, there's a little store that sells them on the way there...except they look closed.  Really?  On a Saturday?  No, their power is just out.  They are hooking up the generator.  Ok, not a problem, we can eat our lunch here in the parking lot until they open back up.  Are we having fun yet?

I know I'm making it sound as though my epic family day was an epic failure, but it really wasn't.  There was a point, though, when I thought it was-- reaching the top (after what felt like 20 million stairs.  Note to self: when the trail is steep, remember to triple the mileage in your head. That means if it's 2 miles, consider it feeling more like 6) and the kids had beaten us there and were already heading back down.

The sun never came out, they were freezing and getting bitten by mosquitoes and so disappointed they didn't want to swim but just get the heck out of there.  
Serene Lake
We let them go, except when we got up there we went a little bit further (just one more staircase!) and found 'lunch rock'.  It was awesome, and tempting enough to entice Ken to jump in the frigid water.  I felt so sad the kids missed it, but Ken encouraged me to just enjoy it as 'our moment', and so I did.

 The kids were in better spirits when we finally caught up to them at the trail head, and we stopped and got pizza on the way home. So, I think family day was a success.  However, next time Mr. Weatherman promises me sun, I think I'll plan a trip to the movie theater. ;) 
Rudy won a monkey and Oscar and Micheal (Kramer's replacement) got tattoos at the pizza place

Monday, August 1, 2011

Steamboat Rock

I've already admitted I'm not in good shape.  This could be a bit of a problem for someone who wants to hike 500 miles in 50 days.  But maybe not, I mean, that's only 10 miles a day.  But, I figure I should at least make an attempt at fitness if I'm going to label myself as a 'hiker'.  So I've decided I'm going to be a little more diligent about hiking daily (or at least walking)...and more than the usual 15 minutes around my neighborhood so my dog can take a poo.  (calm down...I don't let her go in the neighbors' yard!)  The day before we left for camping, I splurged and bought an ipod player. (I know, I haven't even bought a back pack yet.  There is time...and I need to train first, right?  And training means good tunes, everybody knows that ;) I could only afford to throw about 20 songs on there, but I figured that was enough to get me up and down Steamboat Rock...which I resolved to do every day on our camping trip.

this is supposed to be artistic, in case you were wondering

 I almost succeeded...I was pretty faithful except for the day we got there, the day we left, and the day I did that other hike because I needed recovery time from blood loss. (I guess that only leaves me with three times I actually did much for bragging rights) 

this is also artistic...see how the rock is not in the middle, aka, 'asymmetric'? 
And I've never even taken photography classes!

I was excited to head up my last time during dusk, so I could get some good pictures.  I knew that once you were at the summit, you had the option of doing a loop around the top which would bring you to the back side where I was hoping to get some good sunset shots. 
One problem... I'm about as good with time management as I am with navigation.  Put them together and you have me realizing there's a good chance I'm going to have to crawl down this thing in the dark. 

And trust me, this is not something people should be doing--it's really steep and I fell on my butt several times in the light of day.  Even scarier was my imaginations of Ken's thoughts..."Why is this woman so intent on killing herself?  Why do I have to leave this cozy fire and try to go rescue her a@@?"  Ugh, I'm just not into being the damsel in distress. (I wish I was, cause I'm pretty good at it) I figured my only option was to run like hell, which I did.  I cut straight across that plateau, and just prayed I'd recognize where I was at when I got to the other side. (And not get bit by a rattlesnake in the process) 

And it felt kinda awesome, actually, ...except for all the pokey plant things sticking in my pants and socks. (Who wears velor sweat pants hiking? Didn't I say I needed a hiking 'What Not to Wear' intervention?) And as I was coming down the last stretch with just a few minutes of light left, I thought I saw Ken riding his bike toward the trail head, obviously coming to my rescue.  I waved frantically..."Look, I'm alive!  Calm your fears, dry your tears...she lives!"   That guy must have thought I was nuts.  I found Ken at the fire with his nightly cordial.  "Oh, your back."  Suddenly I was annoyed that he hadn't been worrying about me.  Women can be impossible, I know.