Thursday, April 28, 2011


It's been awhile since the last post, and nothing too exciting has happened since the last post. Awesome things have happened, just nothing adventure related!

A couple weeks ago I went on a company cruise thru Key West to Cozumel and back to Miami. In Cozumel I went on the 4-wheeler jungle excursion. It hadn't rained in 2-months there, so the dust was prodigious, to say the least. Still a lot of fun, though rather outside the bounds of what I typically do. I did see some colorful birds and some iguanas and get to hear about some ancient local history of the ruins we visited while tearing around on the ATVs.

More recently I went to San Francisco with Cara. We walked around the city, felt the cold air coming in off the bay. I met her brothers and cousins, her parents were there, as well as her sister-in-laws family. A whirlwind of new faces and conversations.
As we drove south, I was reminiscent of the last time I was in San Jose, I had been alone there for work. One day I drove east and hiked in the brown mountains on that side of the valley. Arid qualities abounded, browned grass and earth, dust with rattler belly marks, coyote scat and tracks, and signs warning of cougars. The next day I drove west, to Big Basin, where I walked among the redwoods and sequoias.
Time was short on this trip, we were there only 3 full days; the activities were all family related, as was expected! I enjoyed meeting everyone, all very good people; I know this was important to Cara. The beach was gorgeous, the afternoon temperatures excellent, and wine tasting and lunch on the cliffs fantastic!

I received conformation concerning the Washington Volunteer Vacation. The planning of it was cumbersome, but I have laid out an itinerary, which honestly I don't mind doing, but would rather not as I like going places without a rigid plan - however, on this excursion I needed to be at a certain place at a certain time, and without taking extra days off and spending extra money on lodging/car rental/etc I had to have the events line up, while trying to find decently priced flights.
 I fly into Seattle and have a few hours to go north into downtown on the light rail to see REI (get fuel and whatever else I might need but don't have for the trip), from there I can sight see for a bit Pike's Place whatever else I can walk to - though I will have a full pack on all this time - so I gotta remember to pack light! Then I jump on a bus that goes east over the mountains to Wenatchee. Wenatchee does have an airport, but looking into getting a flight there was difficult, not only did all the flights come thru Seattle, they all had 6+ hours layover times from the arrival flight and I would need to get there another day in advance because of the wait times. From the bus station in Wenatchee - after a 4 hour bus ride thru the mountains - I will be in walking distance of the hotel I will be staying at for the night. The next day I will need to get a ride from the hotel to KEAT, the airport, for the pickup from the volunteers from AHS. From there we drive north to Chelan and get a NPS supply boat to pick us up and take us the ~40 miles up the lake to within 5 miles of our camp for the week.
On the way back it's not quite the same, first we get the boat ride back, 2 hour drive to Wenatchee by 6pm, bus to Seattle, arriving at 11pm. Jet leaving 1am to fly through Houston and then back to BWI by 2pm the following day. That is the marathon day of constant travel - start the day hiking, boating, driving, bus riding, light rail riding, plane riding to finish. Reality will be crashing down on me after a full week of blissful nothingness - no distraction, just waking working, soaking in the beauty. Currently there are 5 people confirmed for the trip. The group leader and another person have the same address in Minnesota. The others are from Flint and Philly.
I'm looking forward to meeting everyone, and working on the trail. The description reads: "Volunteers will perform trail brushing and clearing, and reroute a remote trail climbing toward Bonanza Peak in the Cascades. There is a cold glacier-fed creek flowing near the camp"

In a couple weeks I will be heading down to Trail Days with the Washington Backpackers. I am an organizer, so I rather feel obligated to help out, however, I'd like nothing more than some relaxing time. I do want to go see the ponies on Mt Rogers, logistically it's going to be tough if 20+ people actually show up. I may show up later than Newman, just so I don't have to participate in carrying the 4 metric tons of equipment from his car to the campsite!!!