Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mt. St. Helens - Part 1

Greetings, Jake here. I can't believe its been over a whole month since we've posted. I just went on an amazing get away in my own backyard of Washington state. As you may recall, Mt St Helens blew in 1980 and knocked almost 2000' vertical feet off its top in less than 30 seconds. Today it makes for a spectacular national park in which to frolic in...and thats just what we did. I went on down to southern Washington to romp around and explore with Jeff and Kelsey, friends in the UW physical therapy program, in celebration of finishing all our bookwork for the whole PT curriculum (we are off to the clinics in the fall and go our own separate ways). I will try to keep the verbiage to a minimum and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Wednesday: Jeff and I leave Seattle to go for a once-in-a-lifetime bike ride on Windy Ridge on the NE side of Mt. St. Helens. The experience lived up to the name...WINDY. Yet, with a backdrop as stunning as Mt St Helens coupled with the fact that there was no cars (road closed to cars due to maintenance), the ride was purely divine. This is Jeff (left) and I (right) getting our first jaw-dropping glimpse of the mountain.

This ride was full of ups (notice Mt. Adams in the background(12,227'))...

...and downs.

Finally, we neared the end where there was a spectacular view of Spirit Lake. This lake instantly rose 200' in elevation when the volcano blew because the whole mountain relocated itself directly into the lake basin. You can still see that thousands of trees remain in the lake from the day of that cataclysmic explosion.

Thursday: Kelsey, Jeff, and I embark on a truly awesome hike to the rim of Mt St. Helens (8,365'):

We had plenty of time to goof off on the way up while we were catching our breath. Doesn't Jeff look like he is on top of the world (left)? Just wait until we get to the top, buddy (Mt. Hood in the background (11,249'))...

This was my Paul Bunyan pose, but since I didn't have a blue ox I coerced this squirrel into being my sidekick:

Climbing, climbing, climbing. This is us being strong (left) and staying together (right).

And, finally after about 4 hours of this...

...we made it and danced on top of the world! (notice Mt. Rainier in the background (14,410'))

Unfortunately, this is right about the time the Jeff's camera battery died. Stay tuned for pictures from the decent from the top, camp life, and romping around in the underground lava tubes. Adieu.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Icicle Ridge with the Molz Factor

Greetings faithful viewers. Its been a while since I've posted, so I am going to go big with the pictures this time! Today I went out hiking with my long time friend from HHS (thats right! Helena High School...go Bengals!), Molly Hoyne. You can call her Molz. We tackled the grueling switchbacks on a 5.3 mile ascent to the over 7000' lookout point on Icicle Ridge to drink up the views on a hot sunny day in Washington state.

The ascent offered wonderful views of mountain wildflowers and beautiful vistas...oh yeah, and this swiss cheese tree. Hum.

Molz and I stayed tough all the way to the top, and don't we look it! Here we are playing around on the top of the world. Cheese!

We got a great view of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Glacier Peak is far left.

It was over 90 degrees today so we weren't surprised to see a budding wildfire in the distance. Eek!

As we made our way down, I was still enamored by the amazing views. However, my feet really started to hurt and I soon got an itch to get them boots off and booked it straight on down.

Well folks, thats all for now. ~Good night and good luck~

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Golden Times at Golden Gardens

After a long winter of gray, gray, gray !*BAM*! The sun showed it's face in a big way. A few weeks ago the temperature climbed above 90 and those thick, drab Seattle clouds were but a distant memory. So what does a typical Seattlelite do in these circumstances? Call a few friends, gather the necessities, and head to the beach!

Heres the gang: Sanatan, Lesley, Patrick, and Sarah and Chrissy

We decided to head over to Golden Gardens Park, which is a beautiful sandy beach right on the Puget Sound. And as you can see, we are not the only ones who thought this was a good idea.

Where was Jake you ask? Off playing in the sand by himself, as usual...

Its a shame that we don't see the sun more often because the sunsets over the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains are better than a seedless watermelon on a hot summer day.

This is a ship coming out of the Port of Seattle. With the Olympics as its backdrop, I am again reminded about the delicate balance between man and nature.

And to you Mr. Sailboat man, I salute you.

And with the moon as my guiding light, I traversed the entire city (east-west) by bike to finish off a stellar evening.

(cue music now) Good night sweetheart, well its time to go...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tulip Festival

After two years of intending to go to the Skagit Valley Tulilp Festival, Jake and I finally bucked-up and did it! We threw our bikes in the car and headed up North to Mt. Vernon, WA. What should have been an hour drive took us much longer due to all of the weekend warrior traffic. Thankfully, we were thinking in advance and decided bike through the countryside to see the tulips, which sure beat the stop-and-go traffic on the country roads (no kidding - this is a hugely popular excursion for Americans and Canadians alike.) There were fields and fields of tulips in all different colors. I felt like we were in Holland! Enjoy!

(left) Jake puts new clip pedals on my bike! I got biking shoes and learned how to clip in and out on this trip. I was very proud of myself for not falling once! (right) A timer shot balanced from the handlebars of a bike. This was the first field we came to. We later found out that it was not yet in it's prime.

This field was a striking display of orange tulips from a distance. Up close they were red and yellow striped!

Jake poses in front of a field of red and yellow. Look closely in both these shots - you will see Mt. Baker poking over the surrounding hills. Mt. Baker is approximately 60 miles north east of Mt. Vernon.

(right) This rare field featured tulips and daffodils. The Daffodil fields had mostly been cut already. What a picturesque little barn! (right) Red tulip field and Mt. Baker

What a beautiful day! It was a feast for the senses.