Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cleaning up a bit

Catherine has started a new project around here with Ian, helping to clean up his Legos collection. Ian tends to take his Legos apart and make new things after he's played with his new stuff for a bit. With his collection, that makes putting together his collection to sell/give away a bit of a challenge.

We put together this Star Wars spaceship this afternoon, which, since Ian hadn't had it together in some time made for some great fun playing with it again once we had it all together.

I took a couple of photos of Ian mugging for the camera, but these candid shots taken of Ian playing with his toy struck me deeper than those other photos. Other than that, nothing terribly new on the home front. 

Have a great day everybody!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Busy Columbus Day Weekend

Not like any weekend isn't busy, but this one just seemed a bit crazy!

Ian and I had a Cub Scout service project, where we helped to spread bark and wood chips on a running path at a local elementary school. That was Saturday morning, which Ian followed up with a birthday party in the afternoon.

Sunday saw me and Ian making the drive up to Boeing's Museum of Flight for a FIRST Lego League robotics thing. I say "thing" because we both thought it would be a competition, but it was really just a large get-together for all of the various FLL teams across Washington to get together and learn the rules of the upcoming competition.

Ian helped make the robot, which was fun for him. But the true highlight was the airplanes hanging - literally - around the place. More important was the flight simulator. "Can you do three"? was a question Ian asked me after doing a single barrel roll in the F22. Can I?!?

The attendant said she could tell we had a good time. I presume it was from the volume 11 (it's one louder than 10 - which describes the peals of pure joy still echoing in my ringing ears) noise that Ian made. He even let go like he was riding a roller coaster!

And just to prove that Catherine is top notch, she agreed to let me take Monday away from the family to go take what looks to be among the final autumnal hikes I may have to enjoy here. Since all the National Parks are closed (don't get me started on the need for a functioning government to enjoy a hike in the woods..I most certainly do NOT) I decided to brave arrest and make my way to Mt. St. Helens.

I investigated before leaving, and there were no signs closing the place, so I was under no real threat of any legal action. But I did have the place to myself. Not until I was within a 10-15 minute walk of the parking lot on my way out (~5 hours) did I see another person. Elk? Yup, by the harem-load. Coyotes too. But no people, which was just fine with me.

The hike has been on my bucket list, photographically, for some time. I am sooooooooo glad I made it!

The approach is about 5 miles with only a 1000 feet or so of elevation gain. The destination was St. Helens Lake, which has a beautiful view of Spirit Lake, Mt. St. Helens, and way in the distance Mt. Hood. You can see Mt. Hood if you look very carefully through the haze, so this is a two volcano for one shot! Lake St. Helens sits about a 1000 feet above Spirit Lake, which you can see off in the distance.

The trail there goes through that little keyhole (up above) which was ever so dicey trying to get through, but only because there was some bullet proof snow on the trail with an abrupt drop off to one side. Otherwise an enjoyable hike.

I also made a dash down to Spirit Falls on the Washington side of the Gorge which was hard to find, but worth the effort. Photos may follow, we'll see. We're doing our best to enjoy our time here, as it is officially limited (but not before more snowy adventures).

Have a great day!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Quick family trip to North Cascades National Park

Catherine and I decided to make a trip up to North Cascades National Park (not that it was technically open, stupid government!) while the weather was nice so they could see where Jeff and I had been hiking earlier this year. We stayed in a little chalet, which was very nice.

We drove into North Cascades National Park and took in the view at the Diablo Lake overlook, which while pretty, we were pressed for time since I wanted to get up to see Mt. Shuksan while the sun was out.

All in all, Saturday was a big day in the car, but the kids did great.

Sunday morning I got up early and went back up on the mountain, which was fun for me. I went back to pick up Catherine and the kids (after having breakfast), and we went to see Nooksack Falls.

The kids had a great time at Nooksack, climbing on the rocks and running around a bit. Below is Mt. Shuksan with a fresh coat of snow. We had snow earlier in the week in the mountains (like here), with some of it still sticking around through this weekend. 

Have a great day everybody!