Archive for July, 2005

A Weekend with My Parents

July 19, 2005 Leave a comment
Before my wife and I moved to Washington my parents were planning a trip. Now with us here in the Pacific Northwest their destination changed a little. They made it out here this weekend and Tracy and I took them to many places.
After a day at Pike Place Market and several other events, I drove over to Alki beach where we were able to get some nice pictures of the Seattle skyline at night. You can find those in the Seattle photo album.
Sunday my prayers from the weekend below were answered and we had a beautiful sunny afternoon. We stopped several places along the way, including Narada Falls. There are just so many waterfalls throughout Mt. Rainier National Park that it’d be almost impossible to see them all, but Narada is one of the larger ones. I was also able to get some good shots of Mt. Rainier overlooking Reflection Lakes – one of the more popular spots for shooting Mt. Rainier. You can find those in the Rainier photo album.
With Mt. Rainier standing at 14,400 feet above sea level you can see it looming in all its majestic glory in the greater Seattle skyline. I get to see it driving down 520 to work most mornings in the summer. It’s just so huge it’s hard to imagine. When you’re closer to it it seems as though it’s not that much further to the top, but even at Reflection Lakes – just 4,585 feet above sea level – a little less than 10,000 feet remain!
If you get the chance, I highly recommend Reflection Lakes at N46°46.175′ W121°43.801. It truly is beautiful – when you can see the summit.
Categories: Travel

Invasion of the Limax maximus

July 18, 2005 Leave a comment
Some time back – shortly after moving to Washington – I wrote about the Tegenaria gigantea, or Giant House Spider. Now we’re being invaded by the Limax maximus, or Spotted Leopard Slug.
Slugs are able to thrive in the Pacific Northwest because of the cool and damp climate. You find them all over – in the yard, on my large gas grill, on our screen and even in our house! When we got back from backpacking trip last weekend we had our tent and rain fly out to dry. We brought them in for the night and the next morning we found mucus trails on our couch. Since they were dry they wiped up easily and I found the slug near the rain fly and put him outside. The next morning we found trails on the carpet and found that there was another slug we didn’t see.
While one of the prettier slugs, they’re still a nuisance. They’re as numerous as worms in the Midwest after a rain but make a bigger mess. They also get quite large. One night I saw one crawling up a support beam that was about 8 or 9 inches long! They do have a rather odd – but interesting – mating practice, however.
Categories: Home

Backpacking in Mt. Rainier

July 11, 2005 Leave a comment
Tracy’s first backpacking trip probably wasn’t during the best weather, but we enjoyed ourselves after that nice hot bag of re-hydrated beef stew!
We should’ve left Friday night so we could hit the trails early but decided to stay and do things with friends. We did get going early in the morning but found that around Mt. Rainier you need to have wilderness camping permits, which are themselves free but reservations cost $20 currently. We’ll definitely have to file for next summer to do the 93 mile Wonderland Trail.
Saturday was pretty wet and got pretty cold later that night. Tracy brought her fleece but was still a little cold. I boiled some water and stewed the dehydrated stew. In minutes we had a hearty meal. Unfortunately I forgot a few things we used to take along during long outings that we called "big adventures" in Boy Scouts and later in Explorers with my former Scout Master. We made note of them but made it threw the night mostly dry. The rainfly seeped a little bit but our sleeping bags were dry and we kept warm. Our backpacks were soaked, but some simple large plastic bags over them at night next time will (and has before) solve that. Fortunately in this case it was our only night there.
Sunday was pretty nice. It was still cloudy and most of the peaks were obscured in clouds but it was drier and, more importantly, down hill!
We will be planning one more, longer backpacking trip in late August or early September before the trails close when the weather is nicer, like it should be next weekend when my parents visit while on their trip through the Rockies. The weather should be like it was when I came here to interview for my current job.
All in all we had fun. I was a little disappointed that I was not able to take a decent photograph of Mt. Rainier over Reflection Lakes, site of some of the most beautiful and popular shots of Mt. Rainier. Hopefully next time. I also took a pretty nasty spill down some rocks while trying to get into a better position to frame a shot, but don’t worry…I kept the camera safe.
We hope you enjoy what few pictures I was able to take in the photo section with the same title as this entry (plus the date).
Categories: Hobbies

Happy 4th of July

July 5, 2005 Leave a comment
Tonight was a spectacular show – our first in the Greater Seattle area. We went with some friends to Juanita Park to watch the Kirkland display, and from there could see several towns’ displays. Even before ours started we could see most of Lake Union’s show in Seattle – one of Seattle’s two shows. To the left of ours we could also see what looked like Bellevue’s display and another one close to that. That’s four concurrent fireworks displays. Lake Union’s looked most impressive, but the traffic through Seattle, on I-5, and across the 520 bridge would’ve been tremendously slow.
It’s also the birthday of a friend of mine stationed in Iraq! I hope he and the rest of our men and women fighting not only for our children’s freedom but for others had a happy 4th and that you and yours did too.
Categories: Entertainment

Movie Review: War of the Worlds

July 3, 2005 1 comment
 Perhaps almost as gripping as the original dramatization of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds presented by Orson Welles on October 30th, 1938, the recent movie War of the Worlds was suspenseful at every turn.
It was an excellent movie and the C.G was most impressive. While I’m not particularly fond of Tom Cruise, I do have to admit that he fit this role well as the hero in turmoil trying to hold his estranged children together.
Dakota Fanning was her usual bratty character.
The narrative hook – the "arrival" of the alien machines – didn’t take long. Fortunately very little set up was required of the main characters and the conflicts between them. The rest of the movie – right up until the end – was utterly gripping as everywhere the main characters went, there were the tripods and their heat rays – which I might add are done far better than an old screen adaptation I’ve seen before.
If you get a chance, I do recommend that you see it. At least you know this is only a theatrical drama, unless the thousands of citizens in 1938 that fled their homes, swamped police call switches, and more. I applaud you, Mr. Welles, for one of the ultimate pranks in history and for getting people off their duffs.
Categories: Entertainment