Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 3 - North Cascades, Copper Ridge

Wow! It really rained last night. We got into our tent and within thirty minutes it began to rain, and it didn't let up all night. When we woke up it was still raining. Finally around eight am it tapered off But not before we had breakfast inside the tent. 
The weather remained unstable and we debated as to whether we continue to hike even further into the wilderness or to bail out and return to the car. 
It was obvious that it would probably rain again later in the day, the real question was how much? 
We decided to risk it and headed up the ridge to the lookout tower. The ranger would have a better idea of the forecast. An hour and a half later we arrived at the forest fire lookout.
At 6250' above sea level it was the highest point on the trail. Vic's leg was really bothering him so after carefully considering our options we decided to turn around and head out.
By lunch time we made it back to the hill about three hundred feet from where we camped. So we stopped for lunch after hiking all morning we had only made about three hundred feet of progress.
After lunch we began our descent back out the trail we hiked in on yesterday. I hiked on ahead because I needed some alone-on-the-trail time. The weather has been great, mostly cloudy and no rain.
The insoles of my shoes began to act up on me and I am not sure why. They both have felt the need to slide forward in my shoes and fill up all the space around and under my toes. So much so that the heel of my insoles were under the balls of my feet. I removed and hiked the rest of the day without them.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 2 - North Cascades, Copper Ridge

More rain! At least right now. Most of the day we had no rain. We fell asleep last night to rain falling on the tent. We awoke to silence. Sometime in the night the wind stopped.

We got on the trail at 9:00 am and hiked back up to Hannegan Pass. We stood around there and had a hiker moot. A moot is where you stand around and make decisions. The decision before us was "what did we want to do next?" We decided to make a second attempt to climb Ruth Mountain. We spent the rest of the morning  climbing up the ridge to the foot of the snow field.
We tried to climb the snow but we really didn't have the right equipment so we decided to eat lunch at the border between the snow and the rocks.

After lunch we headed to our camp at Silesia on Copper Ridge. The views from here are spectacular and we have a much better indicator of approaching weather - we can see the horizon.

On our way down from Hannegan Pass we came to a cold rushing stream with bright sparkly water rushing down across the hard, barren scree slope at the bottom of a cliff. No algae on the sides of rocks, no plants, dirt, or other other indicators of organic material. We filled our water bottles and as we sat waiting for the Aqua Mira we met a thru-hiker on the Pacific Northwest trail. She has started in Montana forty three days ago and still had four weeks of travel before reaching the end of the trail at the Pacific Ocean.

We got a prime campsite here at Silesia, right on the top of the ridge. There are two campsites here. They are both on the top of the ridge. After setting up camp we had to get water. the big downside of Silesia is that it is a dry camp. The nearest water is at Egg Lake, it doesn't look that far away on the map but the trail is quite steep. A round trip there and back took about forty five minutes.

When we finally got back we prepared dinner. We had the best seating ever for dinner, and the weather had cooperated all day so the views to the mountain peaks around us were clear and spectacular. We got everything cleaned and into our tent as the sun was setting. Within ten minutes of getting settled the rain started. It is raining quite hard, and the wind seems to be picking up too. I am glad that this storm didn't start earlier.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 1 - North Cascades, Copper Ridge

Use one word to describe North Cascades National Park - rain! It's been raining off and on for the last half of the day. It really became intense right in the middle of dinner. We had made plans to hike in and over Hannegan Pass and camp at Boundary Camp. When we arrived at the ranger station and began speaking with the ranger we learned that our plan was not going to work out. The ranger helped us create a new plan. The new plan has us camping at Hannegan camp on the west side of the pass.

We arrived at camp around two thirty and decided to try to climb Ruth Mountain. We started up the trail to the pass after setting up our tent and hanging our food at around three o'clock. We actually made the observation that if it should rain the water might drain down the trail into our tent. We ignored our own observation so by the time we decided to get out of the rain after dinner, we had a creek running under our tent. 

Fortunately we have brought the three man tent and it has a floor in it. This means that the water was running under our tent and not through it. We used our ice axes to dig a  Boy Scout trench to divert to water around the tent.

We are all dry, mostly dry anyway and warm in the tent as the rain continues to fall in fits and starts. Every now and again the wind picks up and blows the rain around.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 3 - Staging

We arrived at Vic's today at one thirty pm. The trip went fast because we were caught up in the story of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo audio book. Unfortunately for us we didn't get to the end of the story yet so we won't get to hear to the end of the story until our return trip to California. We stopped by Fred Mayer's and bought the niece and nephew some toys. I

The weather forecast for this week in a forty percent chance of rain. I am feeling a tinge of dread and am silently asking myself why am I doing this. Why did we drive all this way just to go out in the wilderness and get rained on for a few days. We are entering the same trailhead that we exited a few years back when the last half of our nine day trip was five straight days of rain.

I am mentally going through my checklist of gear and equipment and wondering if I am forgetting any thing. How will Jack do in the rain? Do we have enough rain gear? How bad will the bugs be?  We decided to forego the bear canisters and hang our food on the second night. The other nights we will be staying in established camps with bear boxes. 

Vic produced a heavy USB battery pack that I am going to bring as a supplementary battery source for my iPhone. I will be carrying that so the reduction in weight from removing the bear canister is partially gained back be carrying this battery. Well it's only a few days and it iis a learning experience about what works and what doesn't.

It was fun seeing the niece and nephew and spending time with them. The house is noisy here like ours once was when our children were this age. I enjoy conversing with them and learning was is important to them. We bought them both little air pump powered rockets that they promptly figured out were ideal for shooting at adults. What is it that causes them to want to shoot at you? Is it the enjoyment of being able to get you to react to them? Is it the feeling of control? Shooting them against the wall or wooden bricks just wasn't as entertaining for them as aiming for your face is seeing you bob and weave.

Tomorrow is the big day. Now is time for sleep.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 2 - Oregon Coast

We drove from Redding to Tillamook today. I feel tired and goofy after our long drive today. I have been humming the bars from the Favorites Things tune from The Sound of Music for the last few hours. 'Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, da da da dada da warm woolen mittens, brown shiny packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things.' I don't really remember the words all that well, and none of those things are my favorite things, but I do like the tune, and how the music swells in the soundtrack of the movie.

We intended to take advantage of the free breakfast at La Quinta this morning. However when we arrived at the breakfast room this morning at six am we were already too late. The Waffle Pirate had already taken control of the waffle irons. He was the OCD coach of a cheer leading squad  who felt it was his duty to make fourteen waffles before anyone else was going to be allowed to use the irons. He informed all those around him that he had been making waffles for over thirty years and had made thousands of waffles in his lifetime. I opted for two hard boiled eggs and a half of banana. What does it mean when about an hour later you start burping up the taste of a hard-boiled egg? 
We stopped at the Rogue River rest area on I5 just about the same time as a couple of motorcycle gangs. I remember these from the seventies. They were a lot scarier then. Their bikes are a lot cooler looking now.
Jack was having a good time taking all kinds of cool pictures with special effects. Pictures that were a lot more interesting and took a lot more creativity than I had. We had lunch in Florence, Oregon at Mo's, right on the water. 

I don't think this was the same Moe from the Three Stooges because he was a her, and she didn't have an 'e' at the end of her name. 
Mo had her own Wall of Fame. In spite of her preoccupation with here own fame, Mo delivers an awesome seafood lunch. While we where waiting food the food to arrive Jack took pictures of the crab fishermen and the seals.

Kelli's favorite food is seafood, especially when she is eating it in a restaurant on the water's edge. The food was excellent so the drive after lunch was difficult as I was ready to take a nap. We have been listening to The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo book on tape, that made it possible for me to keep me from falling asleep. That and a double chocolate iced blended mocha from Dutch Bros

This is the first time I have been to Oregon coast. I was surprised how little I saw the ocean. Much of the highway is away from the coast and in the trees while that part that is on the coast was foggy. There were a few places where we saw the water.
Just prior to the town of Tillamook we drove by a huge hanger. I am guessing that at one time they stored a blimp in it. It appears that some creative souls have converted into an Air Museum. Jack insisted we stop and take a picture. I took a picture of Jack taking a picture.

We finally made it to the world famous Tillamook Cheese factory.
We took the self-guided tour through the touristy part of the factory and enjoyed the free samples at the end of the tour, I took the time to go through the line a second time so that I could really savor the flavor. 
We finished our day with a tour of the local Goodwill. Kelli was hoping to find a blanket.

 We searched for gifts for our friends and families, but found ourselves perusing the women's shoes.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 1 - La Quinta

The first day of vacation, well technically, it isn't, but we left on our drive to Washington State and stopped in Redding for the night.

I weighed my pack before we left. Twenty five pounds, including the Suntactics charger and the bear canister. I am thinking that my pack will be close to the same weight when I hike the PCT. There isn't anything more that I need than what I have. 
Jack is sitting in the corner working on his graphic journal. I am practicing my two-thumb blogging technique that I will need to perfect before 2017. That seems like a long way off but I struggle to hit the correct letters on my iPhone screen.
We listened to Garrison Keillor talk about Lake Wobegon on one of the audio books I checked out from the library before we left. I actually got to the library fifteen minutes before it closed. I have not had the chance to listen to A Prairie Home Companion very often but I am guessing that the regular listeners to that show probably have already heard the stories I heard for the first time today. Garrison is a great storyteller. He makes it look easy, while in reality telling stories is hard work.

Tomorrow is a big driving day. We head up along the Oregon coast. I am feeling more relaxed than I have felt in a long time just thinking about the next week being non-work days. I am surprised that I am not feeling more exhausted since it is so late. Just knowing that I can sleep as lo g as I want tomorrow is restful in itself.

Trip Preparations

It's been a busy week. If I were more disciplined I would have blogged more and explained the steps I have been working through. Today's the day I leave for a brief sojourn in the the North Cascades National Park. Here's a summary of the preparations I have made.

  • Identify and prepare gear and equipment
  • Prepare menu and shopping lists
  • Plan route and prepare maps and GPS waypoint list.
  • Replace worn-out, broken, or missing equipment.
  • Purchase new equipment (Suntactics charger for my iPhone, Sawyer squeeze bottle filter)
  • Purchase food and supplies
  • Repackage food in ziplocs and bear canister.
  • Pack everything into my pack.

I am trying a couple of new things this trip. I want to test the Suntactics charger in Washington weather (supposed to be cloudy and rainy) it probably won't be able to keep my phone charged. I am bringing my  iPhone in a Life Proof case. I will be using my iPhone for blogging, pictures, and I also have my maps in PDF format on it. I have printed out my maps because I don't trust the battery life of my iPhone or the ability of my charger to keep it charged.

I am also bringing the water filter in addition to my Aqua Mira. The idea is that the filter gives you water instantly while Aqua Mira takes approx 30 minutes from the time of collecting the water until you can drink it. The filter is an extra 3 ounces. I will see if it is worth carrying those ounces on this trip.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Living in Freedom

John 8:31-33 Read it yourself

This is Jesus' statement to the Pharisees he has been in dialog with. Throughout the dialog I can sense the Pharisee's frustration and anger building in their responses to Jesus. The conversation is between Jesus, (the truth incarnated) and Pharisees who are very religious, but who have no spiritual light. They are completely oblivious to the fact that they are blind, in fact they are insulted with the thought. A few short verses (minutes of real time) Jesus is going to tell them that their father is the devil.

Jesus, on the other hand, is open and inviting to these blind and deaf spiritual guides. His every word seems to be focused on taking a jack hammer to the foundations of the wall they have put between themselves and others, especially God.

Jesus is speaking to the Jews who had believed in him. "who had" is past-tense, bringing to my mind that there is a difference between believing in and putting ones faith in Jesus. My guess is that this was a mixed crowd. That there were some who were truly Jesus' disciples and some who were good at faking it. Jesus is speaking to all of them at once. The true disciples will hear, the fakers will be insulted.

"If you abide in my word." At the time that Jesus spoke these words, and even the time the author penned them, there was no formal Bible. There wasn't a published book or scroll that one could carry around and read on a regular basis. Abiding means to stay, or to dwell in. Perhaps meditating on and remaining within close proximity captures the thought. It may not be comfortable, it may not even be perfectly clear, but true disciples will remain close to Jesus' words. 

Jesus' declarative statement is, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Jesus is talking about slavery to sin. I have heard sin defined as missing the mark. The significance of the term "missing the mark" is the presupposition that firstly there is a mark. 
The mark is godliness, being seen as righteous in God's eyes, being found acceptable and pleasing to God. This is certainly true of the people to whom Jesus is speaking. Being Pharisees, they have spent their lives attempting to hit the mark. They, in their more honest and reflective moments, know for a fact that they don't hit the mark. They are angry with Jesus because he is setting a standard for them that they know they don't meet. We can see this in their anger in a few short verses when they accuse Jesus of being illegitimate (v. 41). If Jesus is not sinless (in their eyes) then they are tacitly agreeing with God's assessment of the sinfulness of man, which naturally includes them.

The second significant presupposition about "missing the mark" is the idea that you are trying to hit it. An unregenerate pagan, completely living for himself without any conscience thought of accountability to any higher power may be thought of as someone who is not even trying to hit the mark. However, even that person is living up to some sort of moral standard they have set for themselves, and more often than not, wants others to conform to their standard as well. It is a universal truth that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). 

Therefore Jesus statement about knowing the truth and the truth setting you free is a universal invitation to all who are sinners. The sad thing about Jesus' listeners is that they were convinced of their own moral superiority and thus were blind to the truth and confident in their heritage. They exchanged the opportunity of abiding in the light of God's truth for the worship of a dead idol (their own heritage). In my mind, this is no different than someone who clings to the fact that they were born in a Christian family, or said the sinner's prayer in the past, but there is no flesh and blood expression within their own life in the here and now present.

Abiding in the word today is significantly easier in that we have the Bible, the Word of God. "To whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48) This is especially true when you see yourself as the recipient of God's grace (as did the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking). With whatever grace you believe you have received it will be placed within your account and measured against your generosity.

Lord, help me to live with courage and faith and to generously give not only my time and money, but the words of life you have been so abundant to share with me.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Light of Life

John 8:12-13 Read it yourself

Jesus said he was the light of the world.

Whoever follows Jesus will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. 

Light means clarity, light gives you discernment, the ability to distinguish nuances and differences that you cannot see while walking in the dark. Light gives you the ability to stay on the path because you can see the path. 
When you walk in the dark it is easy to stray from the path. you try to stay on the path using other senses and/or rules. When hiking in the dark you might try to say the path is always bare and smooth and if you are off the path you'll know it because you'll be walking in deep grass, or on rocks. Or you might follow the rule that the path is always on the left bank of the stream. When the path changes from clear forest floor to a traverse across a rock slide, or the path crosses the stream it would appear that the path has disappeared. If you can't see and are trying to feel your way you are at a complete loss as to where the path went. With sight, it is easy to follow the path, no matter where it leads.

The Pharisees doubted Jesus' testimony because they were not followers. Without following they remain in the dark and can't see. Following Jesus makes the path self-evident. The Father reveals the path, Jesus confirms that it is the path. Those in the dark can't see the path. When Jesus says, "I am on the right path." they find it easy to discount because they don't even see the path.

Lord help me follow you and give me light to see the path. Give me the courage to say what it is that you have given me clarity about without fearing the ridicule of religious people.