Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 18-24 in Pictures

Seamless integration of bicycle and car traffic in Seattle

Jacob's school still has love for the Sonics

Andrea and I stumbled upon this recharging electric car in Ravenna

Cedric eats some goodies on our drive
Reed asked to polish pennies, so we made a vinegar+salt solution and got to it

Jake and I enjoy a rainy trip to school

Jacob enjoys playing Crayon Physics

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mailbox Peak again

Saturday was another training hike for Mt. Rainier; just like two weeks ago, another trip up Mailbox Peak. This time, I was able to convince Ryan to join me for his first trip up the six mile round-trip hike.

It was quite cloudy and very limited visibility the whole way up. Luckily, just as we were reaching the summit, it started clearing up, and we could see the Snoqualmie River Valley below:

It opened up significantly in the 20-30 minutes between when we hit the opening on our way up and when we got back into the forest on the way down. Ryan captured a few shots of the mountains south of the Snoqualmie River. Mount Rainier would be approximately in the middle of this shot were it not for the clouds.

I've done Mailbox Peak three times before: once in September 2012, March 2014 and early May 2014. And now, mid-May 2014:

On my way down last time, I came across four twenty-somethings carrying bags of rice up the mountain. They said they were training for Tough Mudder. Very near the top of the mountain, I came across this nearly full bag of rice:

I can't say with absolute certainty that these people left the rice here, but a good number of other hikers I met on Sunday said they were there two Saturdays prior (the day before I and the Tough Mudders were there), and they hadn't seen the rice. The timing seems to indict them.

At the top, there was another bag right next to the mailbox. I loaded the bag up into my backpack (which was already laden-down with 25lbs of rocks) and snapped this shot of what had previously spilled out:

Ryan and I started down the mountain, and I grabbed the first bag of rice in my arms -- carrying something on the order of 60lbs of rocks and rice down the mountain. He was kind enough to load this extra bag into his backpack, and we made it most of the way down the mountain before we decided it was too much of a burden, leaving it on the trail. I was able, however, to bring one sack all the way back to the parking lot.

I say all this because I think it's important for people that enjoy the outdoors to leave no trace. This kind of behavior -- leaving 40lbs of rice on the top of a mountain -- can negatively impact the wildlife as well as others' enjoyment of nature.


Once I got home, I had several pounds of rice that I had to empty from my backpack. None of it, however, went to the birds.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 11-17 in Pictures

I play the part of the hammock while playing at Reed's school

Our espresso bar has a new fully-automated barista; however, we lack any flavoring for our drinks

So I make my own caramel sauce

Andrea and the boys play at Munger Pool

Jacob wears my motorcycle pants

Socializing with coworkers

Jacob shows off his meditation skills

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 4-10 in Pictures

Another trip to the summit of Mailbox Peak

My retractable badge reel broke, so I busted out the old LN lanyard

A beautiful day in Bellevue
Reed and I return from school

Jake and I paint guitars, et al

Another caterpillar becomes Reed's best friend

Reed washes his bike, modeled after how we washed our car

Monday, May 5, 2014

April 27-May 3 in Pictures

Jake enjoys the merry-go-round at the Top Pot 5k

My jambalaya attempt was rather successful

MacGuyver's car, seen outside PKV

A beautiful day yields a picnic dinner at Ella Bailey park with a view of Rainier.

Reed attempts to shuffle cards
Jake makes some aluminum foil shoes, asking me to post it with a speech bubble that says, "By Anonymous"

I've been keeping busy in the kitchen, pre-making egg noodles for homemade chicken noodle soup

Sunday hike: Mailbox Peak

Yesterday was another one of my training hikes for Mount Rainier. It was supposed to be Bandera Mountain, but we cancelled that on account of avalanche risk. Instead, we opted for Mailbox Peak.

Much of the hike is under the canopy of tall pine and cedar trees (among others), and looking down is often a view similar to this shot from fairly early on:

After a very long and grueling climb (it's always harder when you're hiking alone), I was rewarded with this spectacular view looking south. Mount Rainier is just above and slightly to the left of the peak left-of-center. (With the new Google Maps, you can get a clear view here.)

The requisite self-picture. There's significantly less snow than the last time I was here almost two months ago.

All the rain made a whole lot of mud on the trail, a bit of which I took with me.

The warning as you enter the trail is heartening in that it's only 2.5mi each way. For some reason, I thought it was approaching 4mi.

After you leave the trail proper, there's a well-maintained road leading back to the parking lot. After the draining ascent and painful descent, this is a well-deserved, relaxing stroll back.

Lucky for me, my boots are REI Scratch & Dent and cost me very little.

The hike certainly felt significantly slower than the March hike I did, perhaps because I was solo this time instead of hiking with a friend visiting from out-of-town. Or perhaps because I didn't have my hiking poles yesterday (which meant I made my legs do more work in keeping me vertical). Maybe I was carrying more weight this time -- I've got almost 30lbs of rocks that I take with me to train.

In all, the 5.1mi round-trip took 2:42.