Archive for June, 2008

The world is just awesome.

Yesterday was definitely what you could call a “boom-de-yada” day. (That may just be my new phrase for anything awesome.) I started blogging about it last night, but since I’m a geek, I had to sort through and upload my pictures from the day. And since I’m a big geek, I had to make a Google Maps track of it so that everyone could see where we went. So I think I might be ready with this post now. ;-)

Anyway, it was really the first Saturday we’ve had off together (not counting my family reunion over Memorial Day) since, oh, last September. And since it was going to be in the 80s and gorgeous (actually hit 91 in Seattle and 93 where we were!), we decided that we needed to do Something Fun. Something Fun ended up being a road trip, a real one of which we haven’t done in way too long. At first we were thinking to head out to east King County. Then we tentatively tossed Mount Rainier in there. But when Colin didn’t get home from his police ride-along (a work thing during which he got to go to Bill Gates’ retirement party, but that’s another story) until almost 2am and therefore slept until after 10, we thought maybe Mt. Rainier would be off the table. So we went out to breakfast, picked up some of my stuff from the library, got a car wash by a soccer team, filled up the gas tank, and then headed out to parts east. Got east and decided to keep going east. And south. And eventually we ended up doing Mt. Rainier anyway. I’d never been up there, and it’d been 15 or so years for Colin.

What a perfect perfect day to head out there in a clean car with a full tank of gas. Seriously, it was one of those days that we like to pretend we don’t get here in Seattle so people won’t flock here in even greater numbers. We started out with Parts Known — a drive Colin and I had taken before through the valley carved by the river that eventually runs through our town (and provides the largest sockeye salmon run in the lower 48), but instead of turning west when we hit Enumclaw as we’d done before (a trip which would eventually land us back on the freeway home), we turned east to the mountains. This was more or less a spur-of-the-moment decision. And then we started heading up and up and up, chasing The Mountain.

When we started out, it was pretty small. This is how we see it (more or less) on nice days from Seattle.

We headed up some pretty weather-scarred roads — it was a rough winter up there. I’d forgotten how cool it is to watch the terrain turn from lowlands to alpine. And The Mountain got closer.

We started to see wildlife at this point, real wildlife beyond just a chickadee or a squirrel. One thing we have a lot up down in suburbia are crows, your standard garden variety. This guy may look like a crow, but he was our first true bit of wildlife, because (although you can’t tell in the picture) his huge size made him a raven. Seriously, he was bigger than most of the hawks I see along the freeway. Not being urbanized, this was as close as he would deign to get to my camera lens.

After awhile, the terrain got very different — with one really big difference — snow.

After awhile we knew we were almost There.

And The Mountain got closer.

At one point we stopped to make sure we were going in the right direction and to take pictures. I, of course, built a snowman.

It was 87 degrees out — the snow was melting pretty quickly.

87 degrees is, of course, barefoot weather. Wherever you happen to be.

(I am resigned to the fact that I just look gross in this picture. The “pregnancy gives you beautiful hair” thing is a myth — my hair has never been so unmanageable, but it’s uncomfortable to have it pulled back in the car, so I had it down. And I’m running out of shirts that fit, hence the baggy tee that the ILs picked up for me a few years ago on vacation.)

In any event, we were definitely heading in the right direction — The Mountain was not only getting bigger, but was getting harder to see.

We got to drive through some very cool tunnels. Because I am a geek (BIAAG?) I have this thing for old masonry — I find it indefinably cool. So I had to take pictures.

This one was carved entirely out of the rock. It looked like basalt, but I wasn’t really close enough to tell. Given that we were heading towards a dormant-turning-to-active volcano, though, basalt was entirely a possibility.

And The Mountain got closer. The foreground to this is a frozen, snow-covered lake. Mucho cool. I’d forgotten what an amazing shade of blue glacial lakes are.

We saw more wildlife around this time. Some idiot tourist was throwing this mule deer cherries. Stupid people bug me, but I was on vacation, so I got over it quickly. ;-)

Shortly after that we saw a gray fox, but he moved too quickly (as did we) to get a picture. Alas. We also (well, I — Colin was driving) saw a bald eagle earlier, which pretty much rounded out our wildlife count. The only two things I really wanted to see that I didn’t get to see was a Roosevelt elk and a mountain goat. I’m just fine not seeing any of the resident bear.

We stopped at the Paradise Inn to look around — they finished a renovation in May, so we had to check it out. It looked nice.

The Mountain was quite close now, and this was pretty much the closest we got to it. Much closer would have required a lot of hiking.

It was definitely a big avalanche season — this picture shows a tree sheared by too much snow moving too fast, and its neighbor, who was flexible enough to escape a similar fate. Such scenes were not uncommon during our drive.

Following the path of the glacier. 120 years ago, the glacier on The Mountain came down past this bridge and close to where we were standing. Now you can just barely see the edge right along the shadow in the upper left-hand corner of the picture.

All I can say, though, is that the world is just awesome.

We had some random person take this pic, and it might be a good Christmas card shot except that a.) they got those weird shadows in there :-( and b.) we’re going to have another person for our Christmas card by the time we need to put those together. :-D Nevertheless, it’s a nice spot to take a photo, if you ignore the scary-looking chick in there. (As a note: I try to go barefoot during the summer as much as possible. Growing up, I was pretty much barefoot any time I wasn’t at school or in church, and my feet were really healthy. I now spend most of the year in shoes, and it makes my feet unhappy, so I try to avoid shoes when I can.)

Posting this one just because glacial melt is pretty and, well, it’s just cool.

This was looking up the glacial valley as we crossed the bridge in the photo earlier.

And that’s it for pictures for our trip to The Mountain. Awesome perfect amazing day. The Google map of our drive (BIAAG) can be found here.

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goo goo ga ga

*slobber*

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Hello world!

We’re getting there. Patience is a virtue.

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