Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mt. Rainier Hikes

Remember last year's project to paint the house. Well, we're still doing it. I will post pictures soon... but first:

Mt Rainier. Large, forbidding...

We did a lot of hiking last weekend for Mark's Birthday. He enjoyed it immensely, and we got to see all sorts of surprise people: his best friend from High School, Larry, popped out of our tent singing, "Is That All There Is?".

Our first hike was a warm-up hike before any of our friends arrived at the campsite; just a mile loop to see the Nesqualine Glacier.   I took a lot of pictures.  My camera has a great macro lens, so I was able to get close-ups of all the mountain wild flowers.  I think I liked the avalanche lillies the best because they poked up out of the snow banks.  

The second hike was with more friends -- Mark's favorite part was seeing two marmots.  I managed to get two photos of them; in one the animal is giving a "noble marmot" pose.   And we saw a cool looking flower that seemed to come straight out of a Dr. Suess book... maybe that was my favorite flower.  

My third hike was kind of a solo-hike, so I took the Wonderland Trail from Cougar Rock to Narada Falls.  There were several cascades and falls along the trail, which followed the Paradise River.   It was interesting to see the difference between the Nesqualine and Paradise Rivers -- the first is muddy with glacial flour, and the second was clear from snowmelt.  I hiked early Sunday morning for about two hours, and I think I saw about five people total on the trail.  It was very quiet and I got a chance to sit by Carter Falls and just write down my observations about the falls -- which means I have to re-read a recently written short story with a waterfall in it because it would have drowned out what the characters were saying.

Oh well.  Next time -- painting!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dreams and Writing

Polished up a short story.  I'd thought about sending it to the Wordos tonight and now I'm glad I didn't because I tightened several points.  I should be ready to send it next week.  

In the dream department...

Over the weekend I had a dream that started out nicely -- five or so friends were using their super powers in a networking kind of way.  They discovered an underground hidden city of evil demons -- except the evil demons were kind of sappy new-agey artsy-folk.  

The dream got kind of nasty when one of the friends was killed (gruesomely) and replaced by a demon-clone... and one thing led to another and there was a kind of demon-pogrom in retaliation.  By this time, the demons had transformed from new agers to skeletal large-foreheaded creatures (now that I think about it, they were like very thin, albino Klingons).  There was a dream break, and then a lonely demon-child orphan was staring up from its hiding place in a basement, wishing it could play with the human child living in the house above it.

Monday morning, I had a really disturbing dream -- I was in some horrid little country run by a repressive government.  Anyway, a bunch of us were visiting a factory that processed cilantro (or some similar herb).  The factory owner was a woman who was a kind of a high-profile social justice agitator.  There was a raid on the factory, and I was nabbed by the secret police.   Somehow my shoulderbag had incriminating evidence in it.

There was an unpleasant interrogation dream montage, and I was rather worried that they'd find out I was gay.  I think they were more interested in somehow making me denounce the woman factory owner.  Somehow I wasn't killed, and I guess I held out long enough for the American Embassy staff to secure my release (and a ticket out of there).   

I'm going to guess that some of this dream activity is a combination of camping chocolate and a rocky forrest bed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Visitors' Center

Planned for Hawaii.

Built on a mountain.

Scheduled for Implosion.

No. Really. There's so much snow in the winter that they have to spend a small fortune in diesel just to heat the roof so it doesn't collapse. And the wheelchair ramps are too steep (and long); it's too bad they can't turn it into a skateboard park.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier Sitka ValarianJust got back from a Birthday Camping Trip for Mark at Mt Rainier. More photos as I go through and delete the fuzzy ones. We stayed at Cougar Rock campsite (nice car camping), and we did a bunch of hiking trails above Paradise Valley and around Narada Falls.

Several sets of friends and my family met to wish Mark a happy birthday (and hike).

Meadow on Nasquilly Vista TrailWe started out with short hikes and for the most part we stayed in the Paradise Valley area.  This year heavy snows and a cold June have resulted in all the wildflowers blooming more or less at the same time.  

We stayed at Cougar Rock Campsite -- it was nice, but the wild flowers were prettier up at the Paradise Valley area.  

Knole above Paradise Lodge, Mt. Rainier Our third hike involved lots of up and downs.  I think this was my favorite part of the trail -- I forget the name, something like Paradise Ridge Vista trail.  Anyway, this knoll looked like some kind of a temple and I secretly want it for our back yard.

The trail was a loop.  As we were heading back to the Jackson Visitor's Center, we managed to spot two marmots.  Mark was pleased because he wanted to see marmots.  I'd never seen them before, and I managed to get some photos of them (one in a "Noble Marmot" pose on a log).

On the trail to Carter FallsMy brother-in-law, Randy and I went for a short hike.  We were about three minutes away from Carter Falls, but we didn't realize it and turned back.  Along the way to the falls I happened to be in the right place at the right time to take this photo; I like how the reds in the hollow trunk came out.

One of the cool things we noticed on the hike was a series of holes in the bank along the trail which were blowing out cold air (it was refreshing as it was 80-something at the time).  We figured that snow and evaporative cooling must somehow be transforming the burrows and holes in the ground into a giant cooling tower complex.

Wooden Drainage Pipe, Carter Falls Trail, Mt. RainierI went back the next day (Sunday) to hike from Cougar Rock Campground to Narada Falls.  One of the guide books complained about the drainage pipe that ran along the side of the trail.  

What the book didn't say was that the pipe was made out of wood slats bound together by wire.  I'd never seen wooden conduit before and I thought it was interesting.   

It was much cooler Sunday morning, and I met only about five people during my two hour hike (if you don't count the two tour busses filled with seniors that showed up at Narada falls about the time I did).

Trees along Paradise River between upper and lower Narada FallsMt. Rainier was pretty.  There were no flies and the mosquitos weren't too bad.  The mountain did not bring to volcanic life.  And although we had a brief thunderstorm Saturday night, it was over before much rain fell.  

That said, after three nights of camping, there's something to be said for having clean hair and one's own bed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pinholes and Farsightedness

Feeling a little more up-beat. Been writing, which seems to be good treatment for Author Bleahs. Had a great talk with Jerry Oltion the other night and learned how to use a pinhole as a vision aid.

Now it's off to bed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Wrote some. Decided that I needed a character to change genders from female to male. Then I got caught up in the research of the sexual reproduction of plants and the "alternation of generations." I hope to have the story finished by the end of the week.

Still painting the house. Mark has been doing the majority of the work, but tonight it was my turn. One of our neighbors walked by and liked the color combination.

I don't know if it's the heat, or what, but I've been sort of in a funk the last few days.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Too Much Research

I need to get my writing steam back up. I was on a roll the last few days, and then errands in Corvallis put the breaks on the process. Thursday was a research day. I'm hoping that I'll get back into the groove of things.

Cafe John continues to be a nice place to write, with minor shade shuffling happening around 4 PM.

I've been reading too many New York Times articles and various other books. One book that has been fun is called "Relics of Eden", and it's about looking at and comparing genes of humans, apes, chimps and baboons. It's very introductory, which in my case is cool. I think my favorite little bit has been the revelation that human's primate ancestors used to be able to manufacture their own vitamin C, but that the DNA replication process corrupted (and turned off) that gene.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Archeology and World Building

I got a bunch of books on archeology from the library today. THe Cycladic Spirit by Colin Renfrew looks interesting; I've never quite understood what the ancient Greeks were trying to do with these statues. I also got Between the Lines which is about the Nazca lines in Peru. I was hoping that there would be a little more about the "Owl Man" than I've been able to see in about five minutes of skimming through the index.

I'm thinking that both might make interesting sources for world-building; and in any case, I wonder if Renfrew will make any linkages between the Cycladic statues and the ancient Caaananite goddess Ishara.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Quick Post

In the dream department... the other night I had a dream about gay marriage.  There were all sorts of themes about social equality and justice.  But the part of the dream that stuck with me the most is when somebody told me I had "man boobs."  I spent the rest of the morning wondering if my subconscious was telling me to get more excercise.

The loaner laptop one of my friends is letting me use has increased my productivity quite a bit.  I've been writing some more UU Joe stories -- we'll see what the Wordos have to say about the latest installation of Joe's thwarted love life.

And speaking of the laptop, the other day I had a very nice Urban half-hour at Cafe John, sipping Ceylon tea outside (in the blissful early morning temperature of 58F) and reading the New York Times online.  

Augh-ust! is here.  Today it got to about 93F.  As I write this the house has only cooled down to 75F.  Time for the fans.