Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun In The Sun On Whidbey Island

Too much sun! Seattle is still in a heat wave. Jill and Corey and the kids arrived mid afternoon last Monday. I guess it was about 90. Jill and Corey went out to a restaurant for a belated anniversary dinner and the kids and I played in the "pool". That evening we decided to head for Whidbey Island instead of waiting for the morning. We boarded the ferry after sunset. Tuesday we hit the beach in the morning and had fun in the sand.
The afternoons got hot when the wind shifted from over the water to over the land. We all had naps. By Wednesday it reached a record 103 in Seattle. Here in the Pacific Northwest, most of us do not have air conditioning. We open our windows and rely on the marine air to cool us. But when the wind shifted, it became a blast furnace. That afternoon the temperature gage registered 98.3 outside and 98.8 inside of the cabin. After the sun went down, it was more comfortable, time for canoe rides and s'mores fires.
Eating s'mores in PJs.
As the low tide came later in the morning we were able to get out on the tide flats.
We had a good time in spite of the heat.
We came back into town, and to a very hot house, Thursday evening.
Today we went to watch the hydros and airshow practice. But that is another story for another day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's The Day!

Back in Fort Morgan, Colorado, Jill and Corey and the kids have begun their journey to Seattle, by car to shuttle bus to jet plane. They will arrive about 1:30 this afternoon. We'll all land here briefly today, and then tomorrow morning we'll go to Whidbey Island, where I hope it's cooler. We're having a heat wave this week with temps in the 90's. Thursday evening we'll be back in town so that we can go to the Hydroplane qualifying and Blue Angels performance on Lake Washington Friday morning. That evening I'll make picnic food to take Saturday when we head south to my sister's for the day for a family picnic. Sunday Tom and I will stay home with the grandkids while the big kids go to the Seafair hydroplane races. We'll watch on TV while we play. Monday is yet to be determined, but it will include entertaining relatives from California. Tuesday we head for Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast. We'll return Sunday, with a stop at Mt. St. Helens on the way home. If we haven't done it by then, we'll go to the Museum of Flight on Monday. Then the Gibsons fly home very early Tuesday morning. Needless to say, I won't be doing much blogging for a while. But I will be taking pictures, so there will be reporting after all is said and done. You know, during the recovery period. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Le Tour

Some of you may remember last year that I posted about the Tour de France bicycle race. I have been watching it again this year, checking in each morning when I get up. Today was the last of the competitive days for the general classification riders, that is, those who are contending to win the whole thing. Today's stage ended on a mountain top, a really hard ride at the end of three weeks and thousands of miles. And there he was, as of old, Lance Armstrong! Tomorrow they will finish in Paris. There will be competition for the sprinters, but the overall standings are set for the finish. When they stand on the podium in Paris, Lance Armstrong, who is 37 years old, more than ten years older than the boys in first and second place, will stand in third place, after four years of retirement. It is a remarkable achievement.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mountain Wild Flowers

Besides the flowers on the alpine meadows, there were plenty to admire along the roadsides. When we stopped at Reflection Lake, we took time to walk along the road and admire their beauty. Valerian. Marsh Marigold
Shooting Star
Orange Paintbrush and Lupine
Mountain Daisy and Lupine
Lewis Monkeyflower
Bear Grass Lily
Tiger Lily
Merten's Bluebells
Thistle and Paintbrush
Sitka Columbine
Yellow Monkeyflower growing at the mouth of a water runoff pipe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day Two On Mt Rainier

For me the joy of staying over night at the Inn is being able to get up early and go out to catch the first sun on the mountain. My companions are the wildlife, like this young deer grazing in the meadow.
I was on the trail to Myrtle falls. Here the pasqueflowers were just opening.
With first sunlight coming in at an angle, the details are clearer. I had my tripod and used it to zoom in on one of the glaciers.
On these slopes, the yellow Glacier Lilies were blooming.
Hiker Linda - a self portrait using tripod and timer.
The stream above the falls.
Myrtle Falls As I was heading back to the lodge, this fox came walking toward me on the trail, not caring in the least that I was there. I guess he's used to visitors.
Bear Grass blooms and lupine.
After breakfast we checked out of the Inn and had to move the car. The day lot was full, so we had to be on our way, ready or not. And I'm never ready to leave this place. We drove to Reflection Lake and visited the site of our daughter's wedding in 2001.
With a ripple on the lake, there was no reflection this day.
Heading back down the mountain we stopped at view points along the way.
The bridge over the Nisqually River. This is a glacier fed stream, and the glacier has receded significantly. Tom remembers when it used to fill this whole channel right up to the bridge.
Good by to Paradise. I'll have to be content to view The Mountain from the low lands for a while.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Along The Skyline Trail

Because of the heavy snow pack last winter, spring has come late to the alpine meadows. Instead of the second wave of more brightly colored flowers, we were treated to the fragile and fleeting beauty of those flowers that emerge as the snow melts, and disappear soon after the snow is gone. White Avalanche Lilies covered the slopes (above) and clumps of Pasqueflower sprang up from the bare ground. This trail along Dead Horse Creek was still snowed in so we turned around and found another way up the mountain side.
Here again there were snow patches to cross.
Where the snow had just melted, flowers emerged.
Hiking at 6000 feet is work for us lowlanders. Boulders served as resting benches.
Above Alta Vista we turned around. Snow covered most trails. The mountain with it's blue glacier ice loomed large, an awesome presence.
And to the south, the Tatoosh Range, with it's jagged peaks, framed Mt Adams in the distance.
Mt. St. Helens was also visible, that gray flat top in the distance. As you know, she blew her top in 1980, just a reminder that these are all live volcanoes.
A chipmunk was looking for a treat, but we had nary a crumb.
Around every turn in the trail is another perfectly framed vista.
Not real mountain climbers, we're having fun just strolling the trails.
In some areas, cleared longer of snow, the Indian Paintbrush, blue lupine and alpine spirea were beginning to color the slopes.
We were hot and tired by the time we got back to the Inn. It was time to check in and have some down time before meeting again for dinner.
Dinner in the dinning room was great, and because we were celebrating birthdays we treated ourselves to rich desserts. Mine was chocolate, of course.
After dinner we went for an easy stroll and watched the sunset color the sky over the mountains.