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Letters home to mom

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    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
    • December 31, 2011
      Father Time is riding out his last few minutes of being the temporal keeper for 2011; he sits in an easy chair with a calendar showing “Dec 31” behind him and a grandfather clock pointing to the time of 11:53. … Continue reading →
    • December 30, 2011
      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

A new day, fresh batteries, and am I a misanthrope?

Posted by joeabbott on May 13, 2018

Well, I returned to Mt. Rainier to hike to Camp Muir again and it was quite a day. A bit of a spoiler here but the weather was fantastic (evidenced by the awesome v-shaped sunburn I have on my neck), my SPOT appeared to perform flawlessly, and there were so many people on the mountain that most of my inner dialog involved saying rude things to them … fortunately, I keep my mouth shut a lot.

Time to take that trip along with me again!

A new day

DSCF1864DSCF1859I’ve been to Rainier 5 times in the past two months: once I was stopped at Longmire due to road closures (avalanche danger), once we had brilliant weather but only hiked to 9000’ due to time constraints, another time we hiked to 8000’ due to whiteout conditions, and twice we’ve now made it to Camp Muir. We did it in fine time and felt good, but it still takes a toll: the extra effort of hiking in mushy snow where you might post-hole (sink to your knee) in, being under a hot sun for 10 hours, and carrying a lot of weight all wear you down.

But, if you’re going to be worn down, this is the place for it!

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous and we were doing well. Tim felt it took him a while to find his stride and I struggled most of the time but we kept moving. An important part of hiking that many hours is hydration and food management … keep sipping that water and when you stop, make sure you replace those salts as well as keep the carb-train rolling; being on the mountain is no time to practice your diet! I eat like a garbage scow continually pulling in calories and have lost weight over the hiking season while making no other effort to trim down. You burn some calories on the trail!

What do I eat? Well, I have a little hip-belt pouch (had been intended to keep a one-quart water bottle but I use a hydration pouch) in which I carry a small baggie of nuts, some crackers or something crunchy, and I found something called a Stroopwafel

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They’re thin, light, and pretty tasty … they have 120 calories per “wafel”: with a caramel filling it’s not a diet snack. I noticed a new product in the REI power bar selection that looks a lot like these; I’ve tried them and they were good, but at over a dollar each, I didn’t get that many. When I came across a package of three dozen for (let’s call it $7 because I’m not sure at all what I paid but that’s what I saw on the Internet), I grabbed then, toss a few into a baggie, and they’re great on the trail.

But, I’m losing track of my point … the day was so clear you could see where we were heading from the parking lot!

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It looked a long way away but we had all day. Our only goal was to get there in 6 hours … not a hard goal or one we’d pain ourselves to meet, but it’s what we wanted. Time to head out!

Fresh batteries

Another issue I wanted to address on this hike was my SPOT. As I’d noted, I was having very poor performance from it; so poor, I had contacted the company and they were sending a replacement on generous financial terms. As my model was no longer manufactured, out of warranty and I didn’t have their loss\replacement program, it wouldn’t be free … but, as a customer since 2008, they offered me a new unit for quite a bit off. I accepted their offer.

But, while waiting for the new unit, I put fresh batteries into my current SPOT and tried again. Every season I replace batteries so this would be the second time replacing three lithium AAA batteries in just a few months. But it made the difference! I got dozens of locations marked!

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Ultimately it just says that I had discharged batteries, and for that I’m disappointed. While I like the new technology that will be in the new model, I’m not one to replace something that’s working just fine. Looks like I’ll have a backup.

Am I a misanthrope?

We got to the Park at 8AM, not a climbers’ start time, but respectable considering it’s an hour and a half drive for us. But, upon turning into the parking lot we were stunned … dozens! hundreds of people! We ended up parking in the last row and navigated past dozens of groups of people. If you weren’t skiing, you were in the minority and I had to laugh as the trail to the top of Panorama Point looked like the classic Chilkoot Trail image during the gold rush:

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And while I’m super comfortable around folks who aren’t from the States, there has to be a cultural thing where others are a lot more comfortable dogging someone else’s heels. We’re on this huge mountain and people continually marched up right behind me and settled in. I would step aside, they’d look up a bit surprised, and march on. This happened a dozen times or so! It was super-frustrating. Partially I was self-conscious about being slow, but who marches right behind someone?

A couple times I’d see the line of people and, knowing that I enjoyed being out to be with Nature and just my thoughts, I’d talk to Tim and we’d create a path across new snow where no one else was marching … and, within minutes, someone would be right on my tail! It was quite disappointing. And I also suffer from the frustration that comes when you are amid other languages and don’t understand what’s being said … it’s off-putting for me. Kinda like hearing a loud-talker on the phone when you can just hear one side of the conversation … similarly annoying. Perhaps I’m just sensitive that I can’t keep up a conversation at that altitude under that physical exertion. Regardless, the outing was less a balm than it normally is when walking along the flanks of this giant.

I will try to redeem myself a little. When we got to the parking lot I noticed a middle aged Indian man helping a very aged woman down the snow-covered, slick slope that’s the final 20’ to the lot. Seeing her concern and his care, I asked if it would be helpful to use my trekking poles and they readily accepted. I walked to the lot, sat down, and tried to regain some energy. After Tim came by and said he’d meet me at the car, I looked around for my poles … and, for a second thought the couple may have confused my offer of a loan for a gift! Then I saw they were still on the slope, slowly working their way down. It was touching and I was glad I could help. When they got to the lot, they happily returned the poles and thanked me, I told her she looked great and that would be all she needed to climb the mountain! And, with smiles and a somewhat lighter spirit, I headed to the car and toward home.

Coda

I’m working up to a summit bid in the first week in June. I’m not at the point I’d like to be, physically, but I know I can do it. It’ll just be tougher than I’d like. Heavens knows I’m putting in the time, so I’m not sure what more I should be doing. Perhaps even more time. With just three weeks left, that’s a resource I don’t believe I have, so I’ll make do with where I’m at.

In spite of the pain, discomfort, and continually go-go-going I’ve been living with, it’ll be fun to summit Rainier again. Thanks for joining me as I prepare for this journey.

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A day in pictures (and some words)

Posted by joeabbott on May 8, 2018

I was going to use this post to talk about getting stronger … how I feel broken down all the time but I’m more capable and faster … but, it got depressing. So I hit restart and will just be sharing my past weekend … I’ll let the pics do most of the talking.

imageI got out with Ron and Tim … the picture along the right side bar is our journey from the bottom (Paradise) to the top (Camp Muir) and back. It started in a solid rain, got gloriously clear, then a whiteout, and by the time we got back to the car, we’d just spent 45 minutes in driving rain. It was that sorta day … come along!

Ron’s face isn’t melting … that’s just the rain. We’re barely out of the lot and you can see his Gore-Tex jacket is already showing signs of waterlogging.

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Destination … that little spec waaay up there. You’ll likely need to look at the blow-up photo, figure out where that lines up in the first photo, and then try to spot the little square buildings marking Camp Muir. And, yes, they’re pretty hard to spot!

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Aside from that, the slog was the same as the slog usually is … sloggy. I was fairing poorly after a strenuous Saturday and struggled under the 50# pack. As you can see, this was my view most of the way: dead last in our pack of 3 hikers!

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But then things cleared and it’s GLORIOUS out there! I really love it. This is from somewhere just below Anvil Rock … you can find it on the map to the right.

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But, before long, the clouds settled in, I started lagging, and we were back to slogging. But, as you can see in the last picture, we spotted the rectangular buildings of Camp Muir … we were there!

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Evidence I made it … but, I felt a whole lot worse than I look!

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On the far side of Camp Muir, the trail goes something like this (the green line) … but that will be a trip for another day.

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But, the weather being what it was, it cleared a bit before going into total whiteout mode. Here we are saying farewell to Camp Muir and heading back to the cars … on the way down, I made a little better time than Tim and Ron as I was willing to glissade some of the steeper slopes.

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And then Paradise was in sight. I’d never seen the parking lot so empty but happy for the one car there that I was looking for … the one containing my dry clothing and that would take me home. As much as it’s nice to get out, when you’ve been walking 10 hours under a heavy pack through driving rain and whiteout conditions, getting somewhere you can relax in comfort is priceless.

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Thanks for tromping a long with me and I hope your days have less rain and now whiteouts!

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I stole a picture

Posted by joeabbott on May 5, 2018

Suzanne does a better job with her blog … less blah-blah-blah, more pic-pic-pic. That doesn’t mean I’m not happy with what I’m doing, but I think her style is generally more approachable and digestible by people clicking through the internet on their way to other things. And so, I often visit her site. Sure I know what she’s up to, but in a Kurosawa-esque way, it’s always fun to see the same days through someone else’s eyes.

And so I saw this picture:

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I was there when she took it and even peeked over her shoulder, but I love the shot. The simple flower in the foreground, the sly yet confident cat peering from behind the mossy bole of a tree. I like the casual formality of the path lined with large river stone, the frilly fern here and there, and the mulchy understory in between giving warmth in contrast to the cool grey background. Just a nice, balanced shot. The kind I always try … and typically fail … to achieve. Heck, even glancing back up at it now, I like the repetition of the upright plant stalks, the cat’s erect posture, and the lamp in the background, all echoing a similar form.

You can see the above pic and more out at A Walk in the Yard. Enjoy!

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Climbing in a whiteout

Posted by joeabbott on April 29, 2018

I’m not sure what’s changed, but climbing in a whiteout is pretty disconcerting and I don’t remember it always being that way. Yes, I’m out less than I used to be but yesterday messed with my head in ways that have me pondering my capabilities in the mountains. Even with the GPS and all the right gear, the day wore on me in a taxing way. But, I was out, enjoyed the beauty of Mt. Rainier on one of her moodier days, and will share a little of that day with you.

Here are some pictures just out of the parking lot … we’d just strapped on our traction footwear and were ready to head in. The picture on the left is looking up at the Mountain … in the lower elevation we had about 500’ of visibility; not enough for route finding, but enough to get one’s bearings. The picture on the right is looking back to the parking lot. On sunnier days the Tatoosh Ranges is prominent and glorious from this vantage. See my On a clear day post for a little juxtaposition.

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A bit later we arrived at Panorama Point; a spot so-named because you get great views all around. On this day, it was just Tim and me, posing for posterity:

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A couple things to note … first, my GPS is pretty handy, because we were using it nonstop. Because I wasn’t able to take a step without knowing if the slope was up or down, I’d just pop it on to determine if we were on the same line we’d put in last weekend. Also note that you can’t see a thing in the pictures other than us. Even looking at the snow around our feet, you quickly lose the ability to discern details beyond 10’ or so and there’s no “horizon” in a whiteout.

After getting just beyond Panorama Point, we stopped. Most other people had turned around by this time and we were breaking trail. I was questioning my ability to get us safely up and down so we broke for lunch, enjoying a few nibbles while waiting to see if the weather would lift. About that time, a group of nine folks in high spirits tromped by us, happily chatting and moving as if they had zero cares. Tim and I shrugged and after about 5 minutes, we followed.

We made it about 1000’ in elevation beyond Panorama Point, just above McCure Rock and The Sugarloaf (we were about 7800’) when I expressed concern. As long as we were right on these folks’ trail, we were doing fine, but on our own, I was reduced to looking at the GPS, taking a dozen steps, and looking again. And while I had spare batteries, I noticed the cold was sapping the lithium batteries I’d installed just the prior weekend; I was already down to the last bar.

So, we turned back.

It was a shame as we were feeling strong, the day was a joy without anyone else (within sight) on the mountain, and we were making good time: we felt like we could have easily made our objective of Camp Muir. While the weather was actually kinda bad, it wasn’t terribly uncomfortable and I’d trade a little inclement weather for solitude any day. It was cold but not so cold our hydration tubes were freezing … it was cold enough that Tim’s spare water bottle shattered, though!

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After turning back, we went about 10 minutes before the trail was completely lost. In addition to being in a whiteout, there was a slow pelting of snow and a good wind, leaving the trail to fill fill with snow quickly. So, I started marching us our dozen steps, checking the GPS, and continuing on. At one point Tim became convinced we’d come from the right, which sends alarms off in my mind. Of all the dangers that people fall into on this route, heading off onto the Nisqually Glacier (which is “off to the right” as you descend this route) is the main one that gets people hurt or worse. So while the whiteout was confusing me enough to question whether he was correct, I was adamant not to head too far to the right. So we stumbled on to the left.

DSCF1812In about 15 minutes after that, our troupe of nine high-spirited climbers were descending and marched past us. It seems a ranger heading down from Camp Muir had met them and stated conditions at Muir were just as bad; no better weather up high on the mountain. Once again we were swept up in their wake.

They stopped often, which was an annoyance, as I like to find a pace and just march on, but it appears they were having trouble with navigation themselves. The price of being able to march down the hill on autopilot was to allow those piloting the time needed to find a safe path back. Fair enough.

On the way down we hit two signs that things were going well … first, an actual sign and the second was more climbers. The climbers were hard to see, but you could hear them off in the fog. The thing I liked most about seeing them, is they were the first objects we could make out that weren’t within about 10’ of us. In the below picture, the few people you can see in the lower right are our “guides” on the way down; the new climbers are in the middle of the image, faint and in the distance.

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So, as our visibility was extending a bit beyond our immediate circle, we knew we were getting closer to the parking lot. Soon we saw trees … another sign we were getting lower down … but I wasn’t able to spot Paradise yet. Our group of nine had stopped and we’d marched past them, so I was hoping we were still on track; funny how quickly you can question your own confidence. But, when I heard the distance scream of children I knew we were approaching the area where families will sled and frolic in the snow … it was only minutes before we popped out at the parking lot.

It was a good day from the point of getting out, putting in about 5 miles and 3000’ of elevation, but in the four times I’ve been to Rainier this season, I have yet to get to Camp Muir. There may be another try next weekend … let’s hope for better weather.

Thanks for dropping by.

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It’s all in the context

Posted by joeabbott on April 27, 2018

When I hear Suzy utter a “Gah!” and we’re on the streets, I look for an exceptional interaction or individual somewhere in the crowds. When she gives that same “Gah!” at home, I reach for a newspaper or magazine to usher whatever bug, beetle, or critter outside that’s somehow made its way inside.

When I heard “Gah!” earlier today, I replied with, “I’ll go get a cart.” You see, we were at a place that was selling plants and I knew my miss had espied a must-have something or other. When I asked about her current find she proclaimed, “It’s on my list,” then added, “The undersides of its leaves are fuzzy.” Reading my expression she finished with, “That’s all,” all the while sympathizing with an individual who might need more to make a plant special than the fact that it has fuzzy undersides to its leaves.

As a side note, somewhat related, we expanded the plant storage we built a few weeks back. That’s all … thanks for dropping in.

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Quick shots from the last couple days

Posted by joeabbott on April 26, 2018

I’ve been off this week and now it’s Thursday … glorious Thursday! Temps here in Seattle should near 80°F and the day is ours to choose what to make of it. Let’s take a look at what I did yesterday and what’s gone before.

Wednesday

Yesterday was a weird day. I’d planned to get up early for a couple hour hike on a nearby trail but instead, found myself with a terrible night’s sleep and awakening to a miserable headache. After the hike I was going to grab a half yard of gravel and do projects in the yard. But, with my head causing me to actually take pain medication (you know it’s serious when I head to the medicine cabinet), I laid low, napped, and stayed out of the sun. By late afternoon I was feeling well enough to make good on my offer to help a buddy move some stuff and then returned home to watch a movie with Suzanne.

Today is the reset. I won’t hike the nearby trail but I will get that gravel and spread it about.

WP_20180423_10_04_35_ProTrimble

WP_20180426_07_13_02_ProThe start of our week was taking our dozen-year-old cat to the vet. He has always acted the role of an entitled cat (and when said of cats, that’s a big thing), but this was more than melodrama … a cat that stops eating for three days has issues. But, the vet checkup and subsequent analysis of various samples says, “a cat in very fine health.”

The doc suspects something to do with the pancreas and its various mechanisms. We still think there was a mechanical aspect … meaning he ate and choked or reacted to something. Neither hypothesis holds up under pointed scrutiny so we can just be happy he’s back to his princeling ways.

And, to that point, he’s even better than normal. He’s sociable, active, and almost playful. Fun to have this behavior back but not sure I’d want to trade another vet bill like the one we got in exchange for it!

Oh, and the picture to the right … that’s a cat we met at the vet. It was a surrender from a client and has a number of other issues. Our vet insists that he’s not that overweight and it’s just his body type, but from the “ooomph” Suzy uttered on picking him up and proclaiming him a “butterball … all softness and roundness”, I suspect he could stand a reduced calorie diet and still be just fine.

The Gear Rack

WP_20180424_12_03_33_ProI crowed about a gear rack I was building to take the place of a cart Suzy had purchased for (and was soon going to deliver to) her Master Gardener program. It was time to move my stuff.

WP_20180424_12_03_20_ProIf the attendant pictures show something that looks WAY overbuilt … meaning, do the sides of the trays really need to be made from 2x4s? … the fact is I built this using all scrap wood sitting around the shop.

The sides of the trays and legs are all scrap 2×4 parts … about a dozen pieces stored in various places around the shop.

The bottoms of the trays are actually some scrap the builders had left over when they enclosed the deck on our house. It’s been waiting for a project for a few years now!

And the top bar was a 2” cut-off of a 2×4 that was sitting in a corner. The original design had that bar just as long as the rack but I extended them so I could hang a few things.

I still want to sink a few nails (or, if I want to be fancy, some wooden pegs) from the top tray for additional hanging capacity. Other than that, it’ll do great!

I built it using mostly screws and no glue, this way I can reclaim the wood if I ever need to. You see, I only need this because I’m spreading out for a season of hiking\climbing; once that’s over, all of this stuff has places it can be stored in. Maybe I’ll just unscrew the trays from the legs and store it all flat, awaiting another season. Not sure but I’m happy with how this came out.

Parting shot

Gotta share one more from last weekend. While I fully intended to get back this coming weekend, Tim showed me his heels last night and both had holes burned in them from the outing … open, red, and sore-looking. We may choose another destination this coming weekend.

DSCF1780 Stitch

Thanks for dropping by!

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On a clear day

Posted by joeabbott on April 25, 2018

imageLast Saturday a friend of mine and I planned to hike to Camp Muir high on the flanks of Mt. Rainier as our goal. We also had a 2PM turn-around time and the gates into the Park didn’t open until 9AM, so we knew it was a stretch. We managed to get to 9000’, an hour or so below Camp Muir at 10,000’, so we missed our target, but enjoyed the day all the same.

We hiked about 4000’ (Paradise, our starting location is at ~5000’) in 4+ hours, not bad, and we enjoyed some spectacular weather. The views were phenomenal and the crowds were commensurate; a lot of people were on the trail. Let’s enjoy a few pics from the outing.

From the Paradise parking lot, the day promised to be gorgeous: the mountain was clear and crisp. Our destination was just below and to the right of the big blocky exposed rock above the trees in the foreground.

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I saw a lot of Tim’s back, initially. Tim joined me and went without wearing snowshoes. The snow quality was fantastic and held his weight just fine, so he was able to make better time than I was, as I was wearing snowshoes. I didn’t want to break through the crust, and as a Fatty McFat-Fat, that’s a real concern, especially with my heavy, training weight pack on.

There was one slope that reminded me of the classic Chilkoot Pass image, where gold rush prospectors are lined up to climb the Golden Stairs on a final push into the Yukon. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture that captured that view well enough … as there are far fewer people in my picture and the ground doesn’t nearly capture the sharp rise it felt we were heading up. But, the many footsteps and paths beaten into the snow tell the tale of a popular winter thoroughfare.

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At the top of this rise, there were opportunities for the two of us to have our proper pictures taken. Tim’s picture has the Tatoosh Range and a distant Mt. Adams in the background, whereas mine shows the summit of Mt. Rainier just up there … we should be able to get to it easily!

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Few times train you to just put your head down and find a slow pace than when you’re on a snowfield or glacier: the scenery doesn’t change all that much and it’s just you and your thoughts as you plod along. Heading to Muir is one of those times.

And then I got to this slope, just below an area named Moon Rocks. While the entirety of the trip is mostly even without a lot of steeper sections, this one feels steeper. Call it imagination but I cobbled together a few pics to help paint the grade:

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And here I was looking up:

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It holds this grade for some 300’. I’ve tried counting steps, I’ve tried finding a rhythm of breathing, and I’ve tried ignoring everything but putting one foot in front of the others, and still I find myself looking upwards, many times, wondering when I’ll be over the hump. But the reward for keeping at it is commensurate and then some for the pains:

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There were far too many people about for me to revel in the silence and solitude I usually enjoy when I get out in the mountains, but they were welcome companions, kindred spirits who would stretch themselves to find a greater truth … if not of the world in which we live, than a truth of just themselves and what they might achieve if put to a test. But for Tim and I, it was 2PM and time for our return to the car. Someone in the group suggested the gate wasn’t going to be locked at 5PM but the best he could offer was “A ranger named Darby told me.” Setting that against seeing the sign at the bottom stating the contrary, we weren’t convinced and we headed down.

The trip down was far quicker (as one might imagine), but our legs were wobbly and the snow was now of a consistency that made it somewhat treacherous on the few steep places. And, before we got to the parking lot, Tim had put his snowshoes on as the snow’s crust was now sun-warmed and broke through on each step. A final looked back also suggested our fairy tale day was at an end and Mt. Rainier was calling clouds to help welcome the evening.

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In many times like this, on leaving the mountains, I’ve thought, “I’ll be back,” without serious consideration for when, but with Mt. Rainier just an hour and a half south of us, I will be back and it’ll be this coming weekend. While the gate had been posted as closing at 5PM when we entered the Park, that sign was removed when we came down. Additionally, we didn’t get to Camp Muir and we’ll need to in 5 weeks or so: we have a summit window of June 4-6. So, the training continues.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing a few snippets of my time out on this hike, and I hope your time out on whatever adventure you choose has been just as grand!

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I’m tired … but a good tired

Posted by joeabbott on April 24, 2018

imageWell, these past few days have reminded me of a line in the opening to David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding in which he says something like: In order to write about a life, you have to live it. The book Theft by Finding is the published Sedaris diaries where he gives a nod to the fact that in order to have something to write about, you need to be away from the desk … or, in my case, the keyboard. So what have I been doing with my time? Glad I asked myself … let’s go!

Saturday was the sort of interstitial day you have when you’re between big things; in my case it was work and a week-long vacation. So, Suzy and I went to the movie Black Panther, a Marvel comic book superhero extravaganza in which a good man becomes king and also has a snazzy cat suit that empowers him beyond imagining. Or, beyond imagining for me but the folks at Marvel had things well-in-hand as the titular king does incredible things.

While I enjoyed the movie I did so no more than any other superhero movie. It was great in all the ways a multimillion dollar affair can be great but it had a lot of heart, and that seems to have played well to audiences and critics. It was a fine way to spend an early afternoon.

After that, I came home and started building a small station for storing some climbing gear and allowing it to dry. I now need some 16”x30” plywood and my table saw is behind a bunch of stuff … so, things stopped there until I can clean up that space.

And then Suzy and I frittered away our evening and I turned in early.

On Sunday I hiked to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier with a friend. We only got to 9000’, so we didn’t make it to Muir itself, but we put in a long day on the snow and enjoyed some spectacular weather. I can’t imagine not sharing more later, so I’ll leave it at that. And that was the day … not much left in terms of time or energy for anything else!

On Monday Suzy and I had a work day. Sort of.

For a couple days our cat, Trimble, had been acting ill, as if something was caught in his throat. He’d make a snotty *snerk* sort of sound, wretch a bit, and occasionally vomit clear liquid. It was clear because he hadn’t eaten anything in a couple days. And that’s dangerous for a cat who is so lean. The vet email over the weekend led to an early morning visit … it was the first time he’d had to be taken to a vet in years, as our vet will make house calls … and, even though he was improving, we our Trimble to the vet.

While he was acting better, he still wasn’t eating, and so our trip entailed: manual inspection, x-rays, blood and urine samples, subcutaneous fluids, syringe feeding, and a lot of TLC. It was a good vet (Island Cats on Mercer Island) but it blew the budget for veterinary services by a mile. We still haven’t heard back but we came home with a new pet. While Trimble had been sleeping a lot, spending time under the bed and looking a bit manky, he suddenly had an interest in going outside, being awake, and was generally sociable. Not sure if he’s “over” something or just had his share of adrenalin, but I awoke with him at my side and was happy for that change.

After getting back from the vet, we had lunch out and then it was chore time. While I mowed and edged, Suzy weeded. While I hauled and spread compost, Suzy weeded. And while I got out the deck furniture, umbrella, and corrected some hose situations, Suzy weeded. I think she gave me the easier tasks to avoid me learning the demoralizing labor that is weeding, and I appreciate it. But you should see the yard, folks … looking great for spring!

After that we had a little dinner: chicken Marsala with mushrooms over rice. Simple and tasty. While I cleaned up and did dishes, Suzy baked for a potluck she’ll have today and then I played some video games. A very fine day.

I’ll post more when life allows me the time to do so … but, we expect temps in the 70°s here this week and I am on vacation. Wishing you the finest of days … like the ones I’ve been enjoying!

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A little time off

Posted by joeabbott on April 21, 2018

WP_20140627_001For a guy who doesn’t mind working one bit, I do have to say the relentlessness of routine sometimes assails me and it really feels good to have a little unstructured time. This is one of those times.

I think it’s in large part due to things that have come before, what’s in front of me, and just my busy life. You see, since breaking my elbow in December (yes … I’m still going on about that), I have some abandoned projects I’d intended to tackle; that weighs on a guy. Also, with my new found resurgence for hiking and climbing, I’m out every weekend … which leads to time away, not doing other stuff, and a garage full of drying gear most days of the week. And, there won’t be an end until later in June.

Mondays are a nice break, but Tuesday I’m up at 5:15AM and have about 15 minutes after getting home that evening to grab dinner before I head to the gym for classes … and then get back at 8PM, giving me a couple hours to do what I want, clean up for bed, and then do it again. Wednesdays I’ve been trying to hike up a local peak after work and have been fortunate this goes pretty quickly … and hour up and an hour down, getting me home around 7PM. Not bad. Thursday is a mirror of Tuesday.

This means I get Friday evening to prep gear for my weekend outing and I run run run.

So, for a guy who really does like the company he works for, likes the work he does, and likes staying busy, I’m looking forward to this coming week off. What do I have planned?

Well, Suzy and I will see a couple movies, we don’t do that enough. I’ll try to get in a small woodworking project … I’ve been using a cart Suzy bought for her Master Gardener clinics (the MG season hasn’t opened just yet) to dry and arrange my gear on so I need a replacement station. I’ll blog some more and have a number of things to organize and tidy up. Of course there’ll be a couple of days of general labor around the yard, but for a desk jockey, that seems like it’ll be fun.

In short, a little this and a little that. Of course I’ll more regularly visit my blogging duties. Sounds perfect.

Here’s hoping your coming week has a little bit of perfect in it, too. Thanks for dropping by.

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One of the greatest pics of all time? You decide

Posted by joeabbott on April 15, 2018

When I want to waste time I surf Reddit … it’s great. Because I only give myself minutes to waste, I typically stay on the “front page”, where those items that are significantly ”upvoted” show up … that is, where many people who subscribe to the site “like” it. And that’s where I see things like this … one of the greatest photos of all time:

image

It was submitted as part of a story entitled, In many North American areas in which wolves have been reintroduced, the resident coyotes are seeing them for the first time. I’m pretty sure those coyotes are remembering an urgent appointment across the valley’ they’d forgotten about, but look at that wolf!! Terrifying! I’m sure it’s just curious and looking on, but it appears to be 10 yards beyond the coyotes and it’s massive. The fur is bristly, the head lowered, and the eyes are almost glowing.

I believe wolves are pack hunters, but this fella looks like he could have a go at being a pack of one. Beautiful animal, beautiful picture.

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