Saturday, June 29, 2013

Just playing around with the camera

We had a hot one here today - mid/upper 80's and no AC. We laid low after some serious yard work and cleaning the house. Once the outside temperature was less than what we had inside we opened up the windows for some ventilation.

I pulled out the camera, set up my homemade backdrop, threw a sheet over it, and snapped some photos of the kids.

Tomorrow will be a brew day along with some more yardwork and house cleaning. Have a great day everybody,


Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Cliffs of Iansanity!!

If you've seen The Princess Bride, then you know what my little play on words is all about. If not...go watch the movie.

This weekend was Ian's very first true backpacking expedition! We headed to the northwest corner of Mt. Rainier National Park and biked/hiked up the Carbon River to our campsite at Ipsut Creek.

This campsite was deliberately chosen because of the 5 mile bike ride in, rather than a hike. The uphill ride there really wasn't too bad, the downhill ride on the way was awesome!

You can see the road we followed to the campsite in the photo of Ian, above. The road is closed to automobile traffic due to multiple washouts along the way. The river is a glacial braided river, and as such tends to reclaim portions of the river valley to include the (former) roadway. Landslides and river washouts push big rocks into the roadway in places, forcing us to walk from time to time. But all in all this was a pleasant ride to and from the campsite, five miles upriver from the car.

We got to the campground and set up our tents. It was a nice break from the weight of the backpacks, which Ian really enjoyed by running around and exploring. There were a bunch of bicyclist/campers here, it seems like a pretty popular place to do that sort of thing. Even so, the campground was nowhere near full. It felt like we practically had the place to ourselves.

Ian and I then started our hike up the trail towards Carbon Glacier. Its terminus is the lowest in the US, only 3.5 miles away. A little more than halfway there Ian and I encountered a black bear having his/her dinner on the trail. A couple came up behind us. The bear knew we were there, but didn't make any real move for a minute or two, then looked like he was going to come our way. Another couple approached the bear from the other direction on the trail which pushed the bear towards us. At that time, both me and one of the other people on our side of the trail pulled out our bear spray and slowly started walking back up the way we had come. After about ten minutes, the people from the other side came through and said the bear had moved about 20 feet off the trail. Ian's feet were sore and he wanted to go back to the campsite for dinner, which we did. So we missed the glacier, but we got to see a bear. Fair trade, I'd say.

We both went to sleep shortly after dinner and slept pretty well. We checked out a waterfall nearby camp (near the photo of the two of us "holding" up that tree) and then came back to pick up our bikes. The ride down was very quick. We stopped only to take in another short hike to see the falls above (Chenuis Falls), and then made our way back home. 

We were blessed with beautiful weather Saturday, and only very light rain on the way out today. This was a great first backpacking trip for Ian! Hopefully he is hooked and will be my backpacking buddy for quite some time to come. Happy summer,


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day everybody! Today was a nice lazy day, just what the father ordered. We have been blessed with awesome weather this weekend, not to mention that my preliminary reconnaissance of the mountains is significant for normal snow melt, meaning I'll get into the mountains before August!

So today I dragged the family down the road to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge for a nice walk. The kids did the Junior Ranger (Refuge Manager doesn't have that great of a ring to it) thing while there. 

We didn't see any exotic wildlife, unless you count the gray squirrel as exotic. The kids still had a very nice time looking for different animals, though.

Catherine had a great idea for the trip home. We pass a local farm stand on the way to Nisqually NWR which sells local fruits and veggies. She thought it'd be nice to get some fresh strawberries and cherries. Strawberries are in full season right now, and the Rainier Cherries are just starting to come into season.

I love this time of year! Catherine made some strawberry lemonade, which was of course delicious. Have a great day everybody, and Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. Cheers,


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bike riding kind of day

Nothing terribly exciting has happened to the West Coast Skinners, with the sole exception that Ian and Leah are done with school for the summer!!! Yeah summer vacation!

So after a long morning of cleaning up the house (we just had the carpet professionally cleaned), to include exchanging the guts on two toilets, I fixed up the bikes and cajoled the kids into a ride.

I brought my iPhone along instead of my normal camera. I'm not super thrilled with the quality of photos I'm getting from it. Looks like it will take some work, though I do like not having to lug around a camera all the time.

Have a great day everybody - and Happy Father's Day a bit early.



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer fun

I had to work this morning at the hospital, so when I came back the kids wanted to play outside. They played in and out pretty much all day, with the majority of the afternoon spent outside.

Luckily for us, the rain stopped and the sun decided to come out.

Leah and I threw the frisbee for quite some time, and Ian and I threw the football. He is getting much better at catching, which was a pleasant surprise.

When it was time to put the camera away, Leah thought it'd be fun to hug Ian. 

Gotta love those kids, gotta love summer!