July 3, 2001, in the back of my car, at the end of a logging road somewhere in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. OK, Jazz is great, but I gotta turn off the music to type. Ok, now I am sitting in my Crazy creek chair in the back of my car, facing the trunk, with the laptop perched on the 40% of the 60 / 40 folding seat, while the 60% is down, and I am sitting on it. I'm kind of sitting up in bed. I think today, was perhaps the best sunset day yet. As I was finding this spot, I happened around a corner of the logging road, and had a great view of the mountains in the distance. I took a couple pics, then drove to the end of the road, where I intend to park the car, and went about cooking dinner. - I don't want to get into this all. But here is the deal. After I cooked dinner (Ramen Noodles); I walked back down the path with the pot full of ramen, and a camp towel doubling as a pot holder, and my crazy creek chair, (Thanks Joe) in the other. I sat down in the middle of the dirt road, in my chair, with the pot holder in my lap, and the pot full of ramen resting on it, chowed down dinner, and watched the sun go down. It was postcardesque. The rest of the day and yesterday. Yesterday I worked on the web site, and my latest journal all day long. That's about it. It was a goregous day outside, but I was inside most of it typing. There was a problem with my RAS account at HI, so I called, and Jamie Bragg set me up with a new account. Rmadison1. Not sure what messed up the old account. Could be that stupid me tried to e-mail a 2.5mb attachment to a friend of mine. It kind of stuck MS Outlook. (I had to reboot, because after clicking cancel it just hung for 10 minutes, and I got sick of waiting.) Actually this is two nights ago when I typed the quickies. Umm I think that was Sunday night, the 1st. I was up until 2:30 working on computer stuff Sunday night, and last night. So, today might be a little shorter. Anyway, the new account let me dial in, but outlook couldn't download the message. So, I had to do it manually. All you computer geeks out there should know how to do it, it's kind of cool. Go to google.com, and do a search for "pop commands". If you are on a slow link, and someone has sent you a "bomb" e-mail. I.e. one that your pop3 client (outlook, outlook express, pine, eudora, etc.) can't handle because it's too big. You have to get in manually. All you do is telnet
110, 110 is the port for pop3 if that's the server you are using, then you type user , pass , then to list your messages type list, you can do all sorts of other stuff, like look at the internet headers, and delete specific e-mails. If you do the list, and one looks much bigger than the others you can dele , and it will delete it. It will also give you a confirmation. That's what I had to do, because the big attachment got bounced back to me, and I couldn't download it. Next, thanks to Eric Meddaugh for hosting me on ekaboka.com. He is the man. If you are getting married check out www.ourweddingsoon.com. If you want random passwords that are easy to remember check out www.randpass.com. These are both his sites, and are useful for their purposes. Oh, I went to Subway and had one of their new rolls / subs for dinner it was garlic pesto or something. Pretty good and fresh. I had my usual tuna sub. Very good. The lady asked me if I would like the stamps, and I told her that I think I had a full one, but I hadn't done most of the stamps at their location. She said "Well, they are supposed to be good worldwide." - I dug for it in my wallet, "well, here it is!", "Would you like to use it then." She asked? - "Sure" was my response. "Ok, that will be a dollar 88 cents." - Down from 6.57. I think quite a bargin. So, today I ambled quite a bit. I think I might look around for a place to Mountain Bike tomorrow in the Idaho panhandle. Kristen let me look at one of her guide books, and there were several noteable places to mountain bike in Idaho. The one I want to do is called the Canfield Mountain Mecca. It's near Couer d'Alene which is about 10 miles south of where I am. Cool! People are extremely nice in Libby. I went to the grocery store, kind of like an alpine town theme, and like everyone I talked with had something nice to say. Even people who didn't have to be nice, were super nice. The cashier, and the deli women were both really nice and talkative. I also went to Pamida, which is like the old kmart, kind of junky, but with decent stuff. There I bought my Power inverter for plugging my cooler in to an AC outlet. This way, I can also save a socket, and have three things going on at once in the car. Of course it would be a pain to string them all up, but I could do it. The woman who checked me out at the Pamida had serious 5 o'clock shadow. I felt bad for her. She totally has to shave on a daily basis. She was muttering about quitting or something, but she was still nice while checking me out. Then I took a drive up to Yaak. People from Libby (who are in the middle of nowhere) refer to Yaak as the middle of nowhere. So, since I had pleanty of time, and felt like a beautiful drive, I drove up there. I missed it, because there was no sign going from southwest to northeast. But, after going through town and looking at a map, I realized I had missed it. The only two stores in the town that I noticed were a bar, and a gas station. According to my camera, which I am transfering files from now, the bar was called the "Dirty Shame Saloon". I remember passing a school too. I don't think that was called the "Dirty Shame School, district #42", but maybe it was close. So, I snapped a couple pics, then drove the 30 miles or so back that I had come to see the town. Jay had referred to it as "The Yaak", when talking about it before. I like thinking of it as "The" something, kind of like "The Gulag" in the former Soviet Union. Kind of a neat ring to it. Yaak was small, but all around it were beautiful mountains, many of them scarred from serious logging that went on. Then I drove the same road I had driven in 1997 through Montana to Idaho. I remember stopping at Kootenai Falls, and the Bridge that you go over when passing into Idaho. Kind of funny. I hadn't remembered it before. I definitely didn't remember Libby. But Kootenai Falls yes. The falls, and bridge looked the same. The pacific Northwest is very nice. It reminds me of home the most, with being the furthest out west. There are deciduous trees, as well as pine trees, and the earth is similar to ours. More Pine, and the smell of all those trees is amazing. Often times there are lakes also, which kind of remind me of back home. Sunday night I was done. That bike Ride took a lot out of me. Dinner we had was great though. It was Fahitas. I added Chicken A `la Ry, of course. They came out very tasty. Kristen and Sarah like to brown the tortilias. I didn't like that too much, but I did like the refried beans, corn, and black beans mixture that they used. I also made an ice cream run after dinner because I felt like it. I got Ben and Jerrys frozen Cherry Garcia, the Raspberry Coconut, and a half baked chunky monkey for Jay. The first two were frozen yogurts, which I like better, the last was ice cream. I feel better about eating the yougurts, even though I can totally polish off an entire container in one sitting if I don't think about it. I had a good time at Kristen + Sarah's. It made me realize more how different men and women are. Kristen, although she is very outdoorsy, communicates the most womanly of any woman I know. Sometimes when she talks, I totally have no idea where she is coming from. It's really interesting talking with her, and she is so nice that whenever I see her, she brightens my day. She is so interested in being who she is, that anything that she doesn't think will affect whatever she is doing in the here and now, has no bearing on her whatsoever. I almost equate it to absent mindedness, but maybe I am too minded, and don't enjoy the here and now enough. I am always thinking three or four steps ahead. All the time. Sometimes that get's in the way. Kristen on the other hand, is always thinking in the here and now, sort of zen like. I'm not sure if she feels that that sometimes get's in the way, but I think I might. I have other friends that think more like her than I do. I wonder if she has a motto, or a mission statement. Things that do not affect her mission statement are peripheral, and inconsequential. Maybe I should make one and see what happens. I think if I worked the way I thought, then I would be very successful. Most of the time, I love thinking about grandiose schemes, and plans, but fail to act on them. Where can I get a job at a thinktank, where people dream up schemes all day long, and make money doing it? --- Hmm, I think I have just found my calling. To be a thinker, designer, and schemer. I need to do this in the business world, and some kind of technical world too. I should pick a discipline like chemistry, or physics, or something similar, and go for it. Oh, Sarah and Jay rented Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But not with subtitles, with the english dubbed in. It was not as good as the subtitles. They made the words to americanized, and like a cheesy love story. The original words are much much better. We couldn't finish it the first night, because Kristen had to go to bed. I had already seen it, so I wasn't too sorry to miss any of it. We also watched a little of fear factor, and "the weakest link". I found the weakest link amusing the first time I watched it, but then the announcer get's annoying. Fear factor was mildly amusing, but kind of dopy. The fixit guy from News Radio hosts it, and he is no regis philbin let me tell you. Tomorrow is the 4th. I have no plans. Maybe I will be in Spokane, WA. What is tomorrow? Wednesday? I don't know if I want to drive to North Cascades National Park. It's kind of out of the way, and I'm not too sure I care too much about seeing it. But maybe I will if things work out right. I gotta give Heather a call to link up with her. I should e-mail Lee too about her friend in Vancouver. The more I read about Vancouver, the more it looks like it will be a lot of fun. I am actually kind of psyched. Seattle should be cool to hang out in again. I can't think of anything else. Except that I need a pocket tape recorder to tape what I think as the day goes by, so I can remember it later. That would be super cool. I wonder if sony has something that would be compatible with my memory sticks?
July 4th, 2001 Riverside State Park, Spokane, WA, Campsite #13 As good as yesterday day was, the night was bad. I feel a great sorrow for those people who many refer to as "white trash", a friend of mine, Steve first called them Whiskey Tango when I was working at EDS. I think that term is a convienent one for folks who tend to be poor, and or just act like a bunch of immature high school kids. - From my notes last night - There is some white trash camped out next to me. I can tell by the way their site looks, stuff everywhere, smoky voices and old vehicles, and dank and things that one isn't supposed to burn like plastic in garbage. The nite is nice. Almost a full moon. Tomorrow night is the full moon. - Too tired to break out the laptop. Shouts from Mrs. Griswald of "I don't give a f**k!", "I don't give a s**t!" "You don't care about me!" "All you care about is this beer." - Crash" "You treat me like s**t", and I'm sick of it!" I think the only response I heard from the guy was around 5:00AM, when he was obviously tired from the arguing, and trying to patch things up "I married you didn't I.", then laughing, then blessed slience. Then my other neighbor started snoring. The likes of which Devin Floyd has not heard. - There were crashes, from beers and trash being thrown to the ground left and right, as well as car doors opening and slamming shut. These went on until 5:00AM. I know this, because I heard Mrs. Griswald yell "It's 4:30 in the morning.", then things calmed down 30 minutes later. A couple of times I just grinned to myself, as I was trying to fall asleep, "Here we go again" - I was thinking. Then another argument would ensue. It's about 10:00AM now, I am doing this in the morning, because I was too tired to type last night, and the two annoying ones next to me are still sleeping on the ground. No tent, just a blanket, themselves, and another blanket. Right on the ground. Garbage is strewn everwhere, and an inflatable race car or something is laying on the ground that they must have bought for there kid last night. There is empty pringles cans on the ground, a couple pairs of flip flops, dirty blankets, and trash and beer bottles. Last night they had a couple fires where they were burning plastic, I could tell, because there was plastic in the fireplace earlier, and it makes a distinct sizzling sound when lit. Which it made a lot last night. So, I didn't sleep too much amid the noises from next door, and the snoring on the other side. Funny note of history, I am staying in the same site as I did 5 years ago on my trek. It's called Riverside State Park in Spokane, WA. Site was cheap 14 dollars per night, decent restrooms, and showers. The fireworks were also at the same park I visited 5 years ago. Riverwalk State Park in Spokane. Kind of funny. The site, and area is nice except for the noise of my neighboors. Few bugs, and decent privacy. Well, last night, I picked my campsite poorly. When I drove around, I looked at the sites for their privacy value. After I picked my site, lucky number 13 or 14, I don't remember what it is, I went back to set up my tent, and noticed the garbage strewn around the site next to mine. - I almost moved my site, on a hunch, but figured what the hell, how bad can it be. - Big mistake. I returned from the fireworks around 11:00PM last night. They were alright, I was beat, and almost fell asleep during the musical warm up. - I sat in the wrong section, and when they started they were behind a bunch of trees, so I couldn't see a thing. I made a mad dash to get a better view, as about 200 others did, and ended up kicking some other people along the way. - Very Sorry. Anyway the show was lame. They didn't go that high, and were not too impressive. It was fairly long though, I think lasted at least 15 minutes. They played John Phillip Susa, "Over There", "Grand Old Flag", Neil Diamond's "Comin to America", etc. One cool part was that everyone counted down the beginning of them, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.. Bang Boom. Thus signaled the start. I guess I am going to go backwards, and then come back to the beginning. - Then I left Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, commonly referred to as "CDA" headed for Spokane. As I was driving down the road, I got about 17 miles, and felt a tug to go back. So, I did. I stopped in the visitor's center on the way, and asked "So, I'm just passing through Coeur' d'Alene, and have a couple hours." "What's fun to do?" "Swimming" was the response. Apparently Coeur d'Alene has a nice park area down by Coeur d'Alene lake. There is a beach, basketball courts, a huge playground, volleyball nets, a resort, a boardwalk, and a bunch of rocks that people jump off into the lake. It was mobbed. There were people everywhere. Mostly younger kids, and older adults with children. Not too many people my age. I watched the guys play basketball for a while. Nick was one of the best, He looked Asain, or something. But, he was cut like a razor blade, and really good. He was facing off against one of his opponents, and came down looking straight at him, dribbling the ball between his legs back and forth, kind of doing a goofball face, which many professional basketball players do to psyche out there opponents. - Remember Michael Jordan's tongue. Anyway, he was right in this other black kid's face, and made a quick move to the right, and he had him. The other dude bought it hook, line and sinker. Nick stepped back left, and popped up a beautiful shot which hit nothing but net. Some of the bystanders gave the celebratory "OHHHHH", "Homeboy left his jock strap on the court", etc. It was a sweet move, and everyone watching was pretty impressed. I watched them shoot hoops for a while, one guy said of another "Do you see that move, this guy is 16, and graduating high school this year. Not only is he an athlete, but he is a boy genius." I even took some pics, trying to capture the action. It's difficult, you need to have split second timing to get sports pictures, because things happen oh so fast. I talked with some of the numerous police officers for a while. I even saw somebody get arrested for drinking beer. He must have not been 21, because other people had open containers, and nobody said anything to them. He looked a little pissed, and I am sure the police arrested him without discretion to make an example of him. I even took a little dip to cool off. Some of the readings on the outdoor thermometers as I was driving into Spokane read 102, 99, 98, 95. I imagine it was around 95 or so during the day. So, as I drove into Coeur d'Alene I started looking on the sprawled directions that I had jotted down on from my laptop last night, in order to try and find Canfield Mountain Mecca, as it was referred to in the book Kristen had. From the directions I had, it said to find 15th street, and head towards the highway. It said to do this for about a mile, my mile was blocked by a 4th of July parade that was under way, so I had to go all the way down to 23rd street, to try and get around. At 23rd street, I found a Ranger Station that was closed. But they had maps, and guides to hikes in the Idaho Panhandle, which was where I was. None of the rides that they had in the book were rides that were on Canfield Mountain. I must say the west is awesome for National Forest land. On any National Forest land that allows mountain biking, there are usually maps freely available at the Ranger stations. They actually advocate using the area in this way. It's awesome. How can things get any better than authorities advocating use of the lands for Mountain Biking, and motorcycling. It's like the whole Skateboarding / Biking is not a crime thing. Except totally reversed. I love love love it. So, the Ranger station was closed, and I headed to the gas station that was nearby. I asked "Can you give me directions to Nettelton Gulch Road, and Canfield Mountain." - "Hmm. Burt?" - "Burt's our direction guy, and he can help you out." Said the cashier. Burt came up, and looked really funny. He had a shaved head, but totally missed a couple spots, and I mean there was about an inch and « tuft of hair sprouting out in a couple spots. It was really funny looking. But, for all his frazzeledness, Burt gave directions right to the trailhead. I found Nettelton Gulch road. It was off 15, except opposite of the directions I had. Either I copied them down wrong, or they were wrong in the book. On the road, I saw a female biker, and asked her about the trails, she said that there are a bunch of cars parked, and maps near some of the trailheads. When I got up to the parking area, two other mountain bikers were finishing their rides. I talked with them a bit, and they were nice enough to give me their only map, which detailed a few good loops. I decided to take the one they suggested, which was up the fire road, to a great flat pateau, where one could view Coeur d'Alene lake, and Hayden lake, each on opposite sides of Canfield Mountain. Then I took trail "D" through some unrideable uphills, and treacherous rocky downhill sections. (A lot of the trails were in "rough" shape, because of the Motorcyclists that shared access with the Mountain Bikers.) The two guys I talked with said the uphill fireroad section was about 45 minutes, which it approximately was, they said that the entire ride took them around 2 hours 15 minutes. It took me about 1:45. Trail "D" went to trail "10" which went to trail "B", which went to trail "8", which took me back to the beginning. I think the letters were North and South, and the numbers were east and west approximately. Much of the downhill and uphill sections had good sized chunky rocks, about the size of « bowling ball, which if one fell on, would certainly draw some blood. Most of the back side, after the initial fireroad uphill was singletrack. I think the ride was about 5 miles or so total. On the down hill section of the last leg the trail was very steep, and riddled with whoop de doos. These are the big up and down sections that sometimes can be jumped if there are two or three, (Called doubles and triples respectively), but if there are a ton of them to gether, they are generically called whoop de doos. I am unsure of the spelling of that. Now, I am not Mr. Jock sporto, by any means, but I am a pretty decent mountain biker. I think my natural skills, and fearlessness really helps me in downhill sections. A good example of this follows. I was coming down the last section as fast as I was comfortable, and I began to smell exhaust in the air, reminding me of Ithaca, when Dan Williams decided to go riding with us with his motorcycle, and we on our bikes. He would ride up to the camp, then back to where we were, and say, "almost there, another mile or so", then 2 minutes later, "almost there, another _ mile or so". It got to be quite annoying. So, I smelled the exhaust, and the trail got dusty, and then I caught two motorcyclists. They were putzing along, well I will refer to it as putzing. - Of course there was no way I could pass them on this singletrack section on the side of a big mountain. SO, I stopped, and had a drink, and relaxked for about 45 seconds or so. Then I continued, this time a little faster, to see if I could catch them again before the bottom. Sure enough I did. The bike had numbers on them, like the guys raced or something, anyway that was cool. I woke up on the National Forest and drove to Coeur d'Alene. Later - This is July 5th btw, I was too tired to type last night.
July 5th, 2001 Somewhere past stevens pass in Wenatchee National Forest, outside of Mt. Ranier National park. Today, I woke up after a very unrestful night the night before, from the Whiskey Tango, and Captain Snore, and typed for yesterday a little. I had breakfast, and took a shower. Then I went to a bike shop, and asked about my seatpost clamp bolt + nut, and about my computer cable on my bike that I also broke. (Don't know if I mentioned this, when I went riding with Kristen on lindy peak, my front tire caught some debris, and I went head over the bars, and broke my computer off.) It was hanging on by the cable, but that later came off too. So, I need to get a new cable. I think I will probably have to replace the whole thing. Anyway, I bought some tri-flow, because I am low, and that is the best lube in the world. - For the bike of course. Then went to the R.E.I. outlet, and asked about sleeping bags, and shopped around. I bought nothing. The guy said that the Seattle R.E.I. is huge compared to this one, which I think was pretty big. Two floors, and several climbing walls, is to me big for a retail store. He said they have a couple in stock, right and left zipper. I would be left, because they say one unzips, with the opposite hand. Then I went to Riverwalk park, and took some shots. I really enjoy taking pictures with my camera, it makes picture taking a lot eaiser, and more enjoyable, so that I can concentrate on the light, and the shot more than how the camera is set up. I like it very much. I hope it, as well as my other electronic gear hold up for the duration of this trek. - Oh, the car too. I know the pod will - cause it Rocks! Setting up the car for sleeping in the back is kind of a pain. It takes a good 10 minutes or so to move things around, so that I can layout. I am reconsidering my packing scenario. The only thing I like about having the rear seats up, is that the stuff in the back is very well concealed with the little internal tarp thing over them. This is very nice for security, and for things not flying around in the wind too. I guess, since I am with the car most of the day, this isn't a super big concern. Maybe I will play with redistribution sometime next week or something. I do have most everything else pretty down pat. I know where everything is, and can find it easily. Plus, I think the packing job I have done is very efficient. So, after spokane, town of economic depression, and roads where the wheel marks cause depressions. Seriously, roads in Spokane, and from Coeur d'Alene have marks where peoples tires go. It's very annoying when moving along the road, because you car makes all sorts of weird noises, and moves oddly, when you are in the ruts. Usually I tried to drive to the left or right of them, like I would off roading. Spokane does have an odd mix of people. It's close to Canada, so many things are metric, and there is a big influx of Canadian's. Plus, a lot of the people are poor. I don't know why that is, because the rest of the town seems nice. I wonder what causes it. I drove most of the rest of the day, stopping in Yakima, yes the town where they make the car racks. I was a little nervous driving into town with my Thule Rack, thinking I stuck out like a "Blood" in "Crip" territory, or some such thing. Oh, I forgot to mention I stopped in a town called Moses Lake, and also stopped and napped at a state park along side the Colombia River. The town of Moses Lake was very flat, but the lake was beautiful. The park was incredible, it had very nice tall trees, and I sat in the shade and streched my bones, after a nice sandwich lunch. I took some pictures of the trees moving. They were kind of cool. Made nice noises and flowed very nicely. Then in Yakima, I went to the Chamber of Commerce, then went to the "Fruit Place" where they gave me a nice sample of Cherry Juice. Then I called the Ranier Mountaineering place, and confirmed that I could go do the day "certification class" thing, tomorrow. I could, I confirmed where to meet and such. I got lucky, because people usually meet on the other side of the park, and shuttle in. I am going to meet them in Paradise, which is inside the middle of the Park. So, it will save me an hour drive time. - Thus, I am camped out on this side of the par tonight. (The east side). After I confirmed with them, I called Heather to let her know I am coming into town in Seattle on Saturday. I was a little better with the phone message, but I could have been better. I will remember for the future. I assume too much, I should be more humble when speaking with guest hosts. - Or leaving messages. Then, once I realized that I would need to be at Paradise by 9:00AM tomorrow morning, and my cell didn't have coverage in the mountains, I had no way of waking myself up. So, I had to buy a watch. I have needed one for a while, and now was a good excuse to get one. So, I did. I got pretty much what I wanted, except for the band which is kind of lame. I hope that it can take a generic replacement, because as soon as I find a cool replacement, I am totally going to get it. This one is too plasticy. Then I drove up here, and past the pass, and here I am. A couple things. I forgot how bad the mosquitoes can be at altitude. I stopped at one of the scenic overlooks, and left my door open, while I walked around for 3 minutes, and took some snapshots. I came back to see mosquitoes buzzing all around my car, and in it. I also realized it was about 40 degrees cooler than it had been in the flatland. I went to the back to dig out my more warmer fleece top, and warmup pants, and was instantally devoured by angry and thirsty bugs. As soon as I found my things, and threw them forward in the car, I closed the rear window, hopped in the front, and closed that window too. I then proceeded to kill at least a dozen mosquitoes that were inside the car. 12 mosquitoes in 3 minutes way too many. I also stopped at a fruit stand earlier, and got some cherries and plums. They came up to be 1.30 for a pound of cherries, and a pound of plums. I gave the guy 2 dollars, and said keep the change. Great deal. Last thing of note, unless I can think of something else. The poison Ivy on my foot is really bad. There are three patches, the main one, that I opened up a couple nights ago, to let the pressure out, and two others. It sucks, because the main one has already past the most painful itchy stage, and the others are just catching up to that point. So, they will hurt like crazy and itch like mad for the next two days, then start to go down a little like the other one. If there is anything I hate in this world it's poison ivy. I mean I don't hate it as a plant, I just hate the reaction I have to it. It majorly sucks. I decided not to take the steroid perscription I had for this run - in with the poison ivy, because I thought it was going to be a small go round. It turned out to be medium size. Plus it's on my foot, which makes it a little more bareable. Because If I keep socks on, and shoes on, sometimes when I am walking, I don't notice it. This is very good. I like not noticing it. Not like now, though. I can totally notice it. I hope it doesn't deter my hiking ability tomorrow. Good Night.
Friday, July 6th 2001 10:19PM - Undeveloped site number 055 on the Tacoma National Forest, outside Mt. Ranier national park. It has been a long, but good day. I completed the one-day climbing school necessary to participate in the Mt. Ranier 2 day summit climb. I am on the waiting list for any days that are open between now, and my flight, which is. Now I have to look it up which is a good thing, because I wasn't really super sure when it was, and this is good to know. Now, I know. It's Wednesday night, well, Thursday morning at 1:00AM. Conceiveably, I could climb on Wednesday, but that would be quite ugly. I woke up this morning, and it turns out I didn't really need the watch, but I have needed one, and it was a good excuse to purchase one. It was only 40 bucks or so. I woke up, and drove to Paradise. I wish I had an opportunity to ask someone "Which way to paradise?" - But I didn't. It turns out the spot I picked last night was perfect, and right where I thought it was on the map. It was right before North 123, or something into Mt Ranier from the southeast. I woke up and started driving. I made it into the park and the first visitor center. It was closed opening at 9:00AM. I used the bathroom. Then I went down the road, and found the main entrance, and got in with my National Parks pass. From reading the RMI brochure, I found out that I can get refunded the Park Entrance Fee for the school, and the 2 day climb if I photo copy a copy of my pass, and mail it to them. Cool, I will get 40 bucks back or something. It has definitely paid off again this summer already. - The National Parks Pass that is. So the woman at the main entrance told me it was about a 45 minute drive to Paradise, which was surprising to me, since it looked shorter on the map. It gave me about 30 minutes once I got there to get my stuff together. Tight, but I could make it. I made it there in 30 minutes or so, very little traffic. The closer I got to Ranier, the closer I got. Ha ha ha. No, it was weird looking at it. The first couple looks I got, it looked small, and something I could do in one day. Then the next couple looks I got, it looked incredibly tall and impressive. Sometimes it was shrowded in clouds, other times it was not. It is a very elusive mountain. I got to paradise, and ate breakfast, then found the climbing hut. I filled out the paper work, and rented my equipment for the one day climbing school. 50 bucks or something for the equipment, and 150 for the class. I got my stuff, and the equipment list of things I should bring. It was a small list, but I was stuck. I sat and looked at the list for quite some time. I only had about a « hour before the class started, and I couldn't get started getting my gear together. I hate when that happens. Sometimes it happens that I just get stuck when there is a time constraint, and can't get going. I don't know maybe too many things to think about. I start thinking about how to do things the most efficiently, and can't move forward. I think because normally I have so many things going on, that when I have this many more, it's like an overload or something. - Regardless, I was about 5 minutes late getting myself, and all the gear I thought I was going to need back to the hut. It turns out that I had about another 40 minutes before we started doing anything anyway. So, I had pleanty of time. No biggie, but I don't like getting stuck. It happens sometimes in the morning too, usually when I am running late. I know I am running late, but I just can't get started. Odd. Milk was almost bad, so I used the rest of it for cereal for breakfast. Cooler definitely needs to be on 24 / 7 if it is to be any good without ice packs in it. When I have Ice packs, it is usually good for being off at night for about 3, or 3+1/2 days. This definitely will not suffice in Alaska. I may have to resort to the Iced cooler, or maybe get another car battery or something. Maybe I will call one of those RV places, and see what there thoughts on the matter are. Maybe a stereo shop, who install high - end sound systems will be able to do something for me. Class started with a 45 minute hike up the mountain in Snow. I wore shorts and a wicking tee shirt which got sweaty from my pack. It was incredible on the mountain. If I had my snowboard, I would have been in heaven. There were snowfields galore. Once we got to the makeshift camp, we were instructed in technique in climbing, breathing, stepping, resting, etc. We also got instructions on glacading, self arresting, on back, on stomache, both facing up and downhill. Glacading is basically sleding on your body. You can do seated glacading which is just sitting, and sliding, my favorite is standing glacading. I love, it and kept climbing higher and higher to do it over and over. I felt like a kid. A lot of the techniques and principals of Mountaineering are similar to those in Rock Climbing. Always yell "falling", if you are going to fall, or if you are falling. Force breathe, get good footholds before good hand holds, etc. I learned the parts of the Ice Axe. There is the Pic, which is the front longer part with the teeth. There is the "adze" which is opposite of of the pick. The shaft, and then the spike. (I think that's what they called it) - I just remember the instructor had a brain fart, and couldn't remember what it was called, and he called it the "pointy thing" as a joke. The proper way to hold an Ice Axe is to have the thumb underneath the adze, and the fingers wrapped around the pick. This is to ensure that if you fall, you are in a good position to self arrest your self. We got into 3 groups of 8 several times to demonstrate things. When we were demonstrating the self arrest, which is only touching the ground with your shoulder, two feet, and the pick end of the axe. You dig the pick into the ground, and pull up the shaft at the spike end. To give yourself better leverage. Your sternum is right across the axe also to push the pick end into the ground. One time he said that as I slid down, he would hand me the axe, and I would arrest myself with it. He pulled it away, and I had to arrest with just my elbows and feet. It surpised me, but I did it fine. Actually I was impressed with myself that I did it with such a quick reaction. When one is walking in the snow, it is important to always be in a rest position, so each step should be quick to get into the next rest position, not long and prolonged, because the more you are off balance, i.e. one foot on the ground, the longer you are off balance. Also, when going down hill, dig ones heals in to make sure you have good purchase. Then after lunch, we did some stuff with crampons. Learned how to clear the crampons by hitting them with the Ice Axe, and by sliding on the downhill to get the snow out. Also learned the French technique of ascending, and the american technique, and how to properly turn a corner, and keep your Ice Axe on your uphill hand. Also the splay technique of ascending. Later we learned how to walk roped into one and other, and how to move over the rope around corners on switchbacks which is the most difficult, and important thing. All in all it was a good day. We descended all tied in, and things got a little slow when a guy behind me was going much slower, and the guy in front of me was going faster, I was kind of stuck in the middle. Going up was fine though. I was tired from the banging of the shins, knees, toes, ankles, and tendons. After it was over, I got on the waiting list for dates between now and my flight back, as well as when I return. I think I would like to do it now, so that I can have something neat to talk about at the wedding. Monday and Tuesday would be mint. Then, I cruised into the town of Ashford to look at the equipment that they rent, I.e. down parkas, and fleece pants. Both very technical, and expensive. I was thinking the stuff that I had would be fine. But no, I will definitely have to rent some of that gear. I may buy the sleeping bag I was thinking about. Marmot Pinnacle long. From R.E.I. in seattle. Perhaps too some fleece or goretex pants. I will rent the fleece pants if I don't purchase them I guess. I have been looking at those for a while too to purchase. They are kind of expensive. Then after looking at gear, I called my voice mail, and got Heathers message. She is not going to be in town this Saturday. So, I am going to hang out in Tacoma I think on Saturday. There is a blues festival in a park somewhere which I will check out. The weather is supposed to be beautiful all weekend, so that should be cool. I may cruise up to Seattle also to go to the R.E.I. Then, hang out with Heather on Sunday, maybe Monday too. I think if it turns out that I have time in the city of Seattle, I want to tour the Boeing plant, and maybe do one of those tours that I didn't get to last time. I checked out the fish market, and the pier, but I could totally do that again. There is so much to see down there. Maybe when I get back if I do the climb prior to the wedding I might check out North Cascades national park. Too much to think about. I am sleepy and going to bed.
Saturday July 7th, 2001 Saltwater Beach State Park 9:20PM Pacific Standard Time Today was good. I woke up in the woods, and had to dump quite badly. I mean really badly. I didn't even bother to put shorts on. I just kind of pulled off my boxers, and squatted 6 feet away from my car, and let it go. I don't ever remember having to dump that badly when first waking up before. It is quite an inconvience. I dug my pit toilet later, and buried the waste. I have also got in the habit of burning my used TP, then burying that too. So, after that, I put clothes on, organized the car, and had breakfast, then I was on my way into Ashford. I went again to the Ranier Base camp to look at the rental equipment. Namely the Fleece / Pile pants. They are by Marmot, and called "Ranier Pant", fitting. The rental folks said that they had the pants in the shop. I looked in the shop, and they didn't have them. They had the equivalent Mountain Hardware Pant. Which I guess is just as good. I tried a pair on, and they were not that comfortable at all. For 200 bucks, I wouldn't buy them. I am going to see what R.E.I. in Seattle has. They are a super big store, and I have been wanting a pair of those pants, so maybe I will find something. I also need a better Mummy Sleeping bag. The one I have definitely will not suffice. It's good as a summer, late spring, early fall bag, but nothing else. I need something that will put take me through fall and spring. Maybe a +15 or +20 degree bag. The ones I have been looking at from Marmot are expensive. I may look for something a little less. Especially if I get the pants. So, I browsed around the rest of the store, and didn't really find anything that I absolutely "Needed", so I took off for Tacoma. The drive to Tacoma took longer than I had expected. It took about an hour and 15 minutes. The traffic was terrible, especially because there was some bike race going on. I got there, oh, I stopped at a sculpture garden along the way. This guy Don something did all sorts of iron scupltures. I found some of his stuff a little morbid. But it was cool to get a couple pictures nonetheless. His front yard doubled as the garden, and access to it was free. (Donations appreciated.) In Tacoma, I found a visitors center which was tiny. I listened to NPR, and passed the time. "Wait, Wait, Don't tell me." Michael Feldman's "What do you know". "Car Talk", and NPR News were all on. I love NPR. I couldn't live somewhere that didn't have NPR. It passed the time wonderfully. Carl Castle, on Wait Wait Don't tell me was hilarious. I was laughing out loud listening to the show. So, I found the visitor center. The woman there was slight, and kind of reminded me of a nocturnal creature. She was kind of odd too. Not quite able to specifically answer my questions. Plus she knew nothing about the Blues Festival that was going on during the day in Historic Old Town. I had to find it myself on the brochure. She didn't even really have specific directions to it, even though an address was on the paper. She kind of marked a 3 mile long section on the map and said "This is where it should be, there will probablly be signs. - No signs, I ended up going out to the end of the pier, and turning around. Then I just followed my nose, and found it. Great Information - NOT! The free bands that went on during the day ranged from great to poor. The first couple were good, and they decreased in quality as the day went on. I got there around 1:00PM or so, and hung out for most of the day. I took a couple bathroom breaks, a "get out of the sun" break, and a lunch break. There was this little kid dancing around during the concert, and he cracked me up. He had the best moves I have seen, and I have a grin now, just remembering it. He looked like he was really dancing to the music, and had this one move that was hilarious. He spread his arms wide, looked up to the sun, or whatever, smiled widley, and just stood. Kind of like someone who has spent all day in a terribly crowded office, with no windows, and they come outside to wonderful rays of sunshine. They turn there face up to the sun, spread there arms wide to hug the sun, and let it pour all over them. It was amazing. He had the greatest look on his face too. A huge contented smile, like everything in the world was right for him. No fear, no ambition, no typical inquisitive childhood curiosity, just contentment, and bliss. I tried to feel like him. I think if I have ever seen an angel, he was it. The day passed, I didn't get sunburned which was good. I pretty much looked at women most of the time, and listened to the music. There was a gaggle of lesbians a while away from me. I thought one was cute. Hmm, is this becoming a theme. Doubtful. One of the sponsors of the Festival was RedHook Beer, so there was a beer garden with a bunch of "beautiful people" as one of the M.Cees referred to them as. I avoided the garden. A very popular snack seemed to be chocolate covered frozen bananas with peanuts on them. There were a lot of fat people. I think this one dude was in denial about where his waist began and his stomache ended. His pants were REALLY low, and his gut hung way over them. Straight to the frozen chocolate banana booth from the beer garden for him, then back again. The venue was nice. It was a city park. The stage was a flatbed from a semi, and there was a semi - circle that surrounded the grass where all the vendors, and such were. The beer garden, and port - a - potties were stage right. There was also several concerts going on tonight in the area, but they didn't get started until around 8:30PM, and I didn't feel like staying that late. The free band's ended around 6:30 or so. I had planned on going to the REI today, but skipped it, because I called RMI, and asked about how the school did today, and they had a definite opening for the Monday and Tuesday climbs. SO, I signed up for that. I am stoked, because that gives me another day to get ready, and think about a bag, then a couple days to recover after the climb. I will probably drive back to Heathers Tuesday night, and crash, then hang Wednesday, and Thursday with her. It will be cool when people ask me at the Wedding, "What have you been up to lately?" "Well, I summited Mt. Ranier on Tuesday, and I am on my way to Alaska." Nice. I am looking forward to going back home for the wedding. It's kind of funny. I don't really feel like I have been gone that long. I guess it's been about 3 + « weeks. I haven't really been keeping track of my expenses. I should start doing that, because I want to make sure that I have some coin when I am done with the trip. That was about my day. Then, I drove towards Seattle, and found the State Park that I am in now. I picked what I think is a better spot this time, hopefully I will catch some Z's. If not, I am going to set up the car for sleep if necessary. Well, goodnight. - Maybe I will tell you about the Mt. Ranier climb a bit. The first day, we assemble at 9:00AM, and leave for Camp Muir. It's about a 5 + « hour climb. Then lights are out at around 8:00PM, then we wake up between 11:00PM, and 3:00AM, and make the roped in trek to the summit. We summit around 9:00AM, then hike back to Camp Muir, and then back to base, to finish around 4:00 or 5:00PM. Pretty brutal. One of the guys I was talking to at dinner last night said the climb was one of the most painful things he has ever experienced. He said that RMI is a "pain factory". He said "I hated my guide while we were on the trek." - And, "They are all business on the mountain." These are both very comforting to me, especially with some of the experience that some of the people have. The first guy to summit Everest twice works for them, he is a Sherpa. Lou Whittiker, the first American to summit Everest started R.M.I, and still works for them. One of our guides has 23 years experience doing this stuff. So, I felt really good about my saftey, and like I am going to be challenged with the physical exertion. I hope the old bones and ligaments can handle it. I'm glad I have a couple day's recovery time after it's over. Good Night.
July 8, 3705 S.Dawson St. Seattle,WA On Sunday, I only needed to run a couple errands to get ready for the Mt. Ranier Climb. I had pleanty of time to go R.E.I., go shopping, and meet up with Heather for a bit. So, that's what I did. Things worth mentioning are, that when I woke up in Saltwater Beach State Park, my tent had condensed quite badly, this is one of the few things that I really don't like about camping. Condensation, It's nobody's friend. So, my tent wet, the outer part of the main deal, and the inside of the fly. Of course, I am camping near ground that is dirty, so after I take off the fly, it accidentally drags on the ground. My car is also dirty, so when I try and wedge it between the windows of my car, and between the cracks in the picnic bench, it drags slightly on the side of my dusty car, and gets quite dirty. That is the dilema of the car camper. I know that if I just can get it to hang in the sun for like 30 minutes or so, that it will be dry as a bone. Thus the attempt at hanging it between my car and the picnic bench. It kind of doesn't fit too well, so I had to move my car ahead a little bit to try and get the size to match up a little better. It did, but the size is still a little bit off. But, I got it to hang enough that the drying part will happen if it catches the sun. That is the problem though. I am kind of in - between two fairly large hills, maybe it is just the geography, and they are not hills. I'm not sure really what you would call them. But I am in between, and the camping road that I am on runs east / west, and I am on the east side of the road. As it rises, the sun shines down nicely on the other side. So, I decide to dig around for my manual for my digital camera. I still need to learn a lot about it, like how to take pictures in apature priority mode, and shutter speed mode, and manual mode. From reading, I learn about how to do the AE lock, which I think stands for Automatic Exposure Lock. What this allows me to do, which is really cool, is lock the light exposure on a subject, then reframe the subject, and take the shot letting in the amount of light that I want to. For example, if the foreground of the picture you want to take is dark, but the background is light, the camera will automtically adjust to the background light, and try to set the apature accordingly. In this instance, I can point the camera at the ground, or somewhere in the picture that is dark, and set the amount of light that the lense will let in, then lock the automatic exposure, then point the camera back up, and reframe the shot, and get it with the right light. It's cool, and it works good. I also learned about setting the film speed, and the different resolution modes for movies. So, as I am reading, I watch a younger girl pack up her camp across the road. She seems too young to have gone camping all by herself, but what the hell. I watch her as she packs up her tent, and tries to stuff it in the back of her car, which is strangely full of stuff. It fits, but she has to push pretty hard to get it in. Then she grabs what looks like a cookie from the picnic table, and munches on it. While she packs up. Grandpa then comes over, shortly followed by grandma. So, that's where all the stuff comes from. I can't hear what they are saying, but it seems like Grandpa proceeds to reprimand her for packing up the tent wrong. He then unpacks, then repacks it inside a box, and proceeds to shove it in the car. He didn't show her how to do it correctly. He just kind of does it. And judging from his and her body language, she doesn't feel good about it, and he is just annoyed. I think I would try to teach my offspring how to do it the right way, or maybe not. Sometimes it is good to let kids make mistakes. So, they leave, and I unhook my tent fly, and pick up my tent still intact, and walk it over to their site. It is totally dry, and a great spot to dry out my tent. I rehang my fly, and let my tent dry. After about 15 minutes, they are good to go. It was sitting 35 or 40 on my side staying wet. Hmm, the power of the sun. Photovoltaic, good word. Other thing to mention R.E.I. Holy Crap. This is the biggest outdoor store I have ever been too. Three floors, a separate bike shop, a separate camping area, a separate clothing area, a 30 / 40 foot glassed in indoor climbing pillar, a reception area that looks like a museum with all the pictures hanging on it. A waterfall, a jogging path, a mountain bike path. The place was huge. It was on a street corner, and extended three or four regular size buildings in each direction. They have maps and directions posted in strategic locations, so people don't get lost. When I walked up to it, I felt like I was in the bird aviary / tiger area at the San Diego Zoo. Inside was equally as impressive. Tons of gear, and a lot of stuff on sale for cheap prices. I wanted everything, and felt myself being pulled in many a direction. I had to focus, sleeping bag, and fleece pants for Ranier. Three hours later, and 500 dollars less, I walked out with an Instant meal that cooks itself, a thermarest sleeping pad, a Marmot pinnacle +15 degree sleeping bag, and a pair of treking telescoping ski poles. Unfortunately, the clothing section was not as robust as the rest of the selection. I was also looking for the fleece pants, Marmot Ranier pant, and a pair of bergelene underwear that I could wear inside my swim trunks. They had neither, but the guy directed me to the patagonia store which was on first ave near the Public Market. I found patagonia, then spent 30 minutes looking for a parking spot. They didn't have it either. I hung out at the public market a bit, good place to take candid pictures. Watched them throw the fish. Got a hold of Heather, and we agreed to meet out for food. She was going to roll towards me. Then I called and talked with Allison, Pete, and Doug. All good to catch up with. Heather and I went out for Sushi at one of her favorite places. I made a funny trying to order a beer. I ordered a tempura which is food for a beer when I meant to order the typical beer, which I can't remember the name of off the top of my head. Then I drove back to the national forest land outside of Ashford, tried out my new sleeping bag and pad, and was too tired to write in the journal. The drive was about 3 hours. I set my clock, and went to bed.