Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best of all-new 2014 hiking photos (so far)!

Northern Ireland- Me and my Australian mates Michael and Lucy stepping down onto the 100 foot high swaying rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede.

Now that we're back from our surfing trip, a slew of blog posts and pics from our recent international adventures and bigger climbs is on the way! But here are some all-new photos from a few of our latest hikes here in the States:

Regular Daddy-daughter hikes with Lena

A morning "speed hike" up Dog Mountain with Cindy, Jeff, Roma, me, and B.G.

Shaun's and my harrowing, painful, and nearly disastrous 18+ mile navigational challenge from Wahkeena Falls to Larch Mountain (below); There is an entire Garth's Blog post planned for our misadventure soon!

Shamus and me approaching the top of Larch Mountain, before our trail run went completely sideways

And a couple months later, a second chance:

Update: I'll still be posting the story and pics from Shawn's and my earlier adventure, but I've already returned a few weeks ago from a second extended trail run up Larch Mountain from Wahkeena.  Rest assured, it is possible to complete the trail run WITHOUT risking injury and your dog's life.

Those sections of trail are closed for good reason!

Sections of the Gales Creek trail, Reecher's Camp in the Tillamook State Forest, and beyond:

The Hamilton 4 hiking down to the Nehalem River

One of many Daddy-daughter hikes at nearby Camp Rivendale...

...followed by Lena getting her fix of the Jenkins Estate playground

Rain or shine: Drying out after returning from another soggy trail run

Dougan Falls

Click for audio of Dougan Falls

Daddy-daughter hike on sections of the Three Corner Rock trail in the Yacolt Burn State Forest, while Mommy waited in the car:

"Daddy, go hiking?"
"Yes, Lena... Daddy and Lena are hiking."

Training for our next big climb with the crew at the Circuit bouldering gym

Again, some major climbing, hiking, and traveling posts are on the way!

But looking back, this short evening hike in January was the most significant of the year:

Baby Levi's first hike with Lena at Noble Woods nature park, at only 11 days old!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hope of the Class of 2014: Moving on from the Reynolds High Shooting

As I prepare to release the upcoming posts about our overseas trips, hiking, and climbing, I have a couple of personal blog "shares":

  1. My loving wife Kathy wrote a touching Father's Day tribute to me yesterday on her own blog, "The Hamilton 4."  I finally had a chance to read it today, and it's one of the sweetest things anyone has ever written for me!  The link is here: "Our Daddy."
  2.  In light of the Reynolds High School shooting on Tuesday, I rewrote last week's sendoff to our Class of 2014 students.  My blurry, embarrassingly bad graduation ceremony pics have been removed.  I copied the words from my other blog and have shared them below:

Tuesday's school shooting at Reynold's High School hit close to home for us in the Portland metro area.  Many of my friends either attended school there or live nearby.  On the heels of the recent shooting at Seattle Pacific University, it was a stark reminder that horrible things like this can happen here in the Pacific Northwest as easily as they can anywhere else in the country.

Reflecting back on my controversial (and subsequently banished to my private blog) blog post on the Newtown school shooting 2 1/2 years ago, it seems my reaction this week has been less spiritually raw but no less distraught.  This time around, I don't feel compelled to be as shockingly candid here about my prayer life in response to tragedy.  But I will say that my prayers are being poured out for the friends and family of shooting victim Emilio Hoffman.  And we can all hope that some good will result from the past week's national discussions about reducing gun violence, the treatment of mental health disorders, and the positive impact that stable marriages and families can have on children.

As with recent tragedies, it is unfortunate that the news media fixates on and publicizes the killer.  Fame has not been implied as a motive for the suspected shooter, who presumably swiped weapons from his single father's collection but was also "highly regarded for his spirituality" by an elder in his Mormon church.  And yet, after being exposed to media coverage of the 74 school shootings which have occurred in this nation since Sandy Hook, it's not a stretch to assume that a would-be shooter may have at least considered the infamous legacy that he or she may leave behind.

But most of us know that horrendous acts should not establish a legacy.  And I applaud media outlets who choose to highlight the personal triumphs and accomplishments of our world's young people.

The legacy which many of us hope to leave behind, in addition to our accomplishments, is to be remembered for our kindness, our character, our ethics, and how well we love and serve others.  These may not be the legacies that make us famous, but they are what matter most.
[Continued below]

Greenhills 09
Photo credit: Werwin15 on Flickr

The hope of the Class of 2014 is that the future is wide open for them!  Infamous acts by others or even our own personal failures in the past do not overshadow the good that we can accomplish in the future.

As a Christ follower, I believe that God will lovingly and wisely direct those who seek Him.  But even if your beliefs differ from mine, we can still agree that this year's graduates have admirably demonstrated their drive to succeed in this world.  And that's something to celebrate!

For the young people in our lives and student ministry who have graduated this month, Kathy and I are so proud of you:

Congratulations to Anna D, Brett C, Eleanor B, Tamarra B, Whittney M,

and the rest of the Class of 2014!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rough night with the Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers earned an impressive 3-1 road game victory against the Real Salt Lake last night.  Last Sunday night here in Portland, though, was a different story...

Until last Sunday, Kathy and I hadn't brought Lena along with us to a Timbers game since a couple seasons ago.  The last time Lena watched the Portland Timbers play the Vancouver Whitecaps, a few things were different:  Lena was only 11 months old, the now Providence Park had recently made the change from PGE Park to Jeld-Wen Stadium, the refs were vigilant, and the Timbers were victorious.

Before we get to the more recent game from last Sunday, here are a couple throwback photos from our 2013 Warner Pacific alumni night  (link) at PGE Park:


Warner Pacific grads Amy, Garth, and 15-20 others cheered along with baby Lena (on Daddy's lap) for the Timbers

Fast forwarding to this past week, the Portland Timbers were beat 4-3 by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the latest Cascadia Cup rivalry on Sunday.  The game recap is here.

After I got home from work, we dropped off our 4 1/2 month old Levi at a friends' house and headed for the MAX train with Lena.

"A twain!  Daddy, c'mon!":  Click this Vine video above for audio

The view of the field from our seats was pretty good, near the jubilant Timbers Army section.  I tried throughout the game to explain to Lena what was happening and who was handling the ball.

Thanks to some dirty plays by the Whitecaps and some controversial (read: horrific) missed calls by the refs, the mood of the crowd was a bit more intense than normal. Lena got a little freaked out and spent much of the game hiding been our legs.

It didn't help that we were sitting in the "angry" section.

Sitting in the angry section also meant that the frequent use of obscene hand gestures (and even a fight) around us rendered many of my best pictures inappropriate for this blog. Some things are a little difficult to Photoshop out of a picture.

But hostility didn't rule the entire evening. Here's a Vine video of the crowd exploding after the second Timbers goal of the night:

Timbers GOAL!!

And of course, our mighty Timbers transformed last Sunday's unfair loss into a distant memory last night on the road in Salt Lake City.  In contrast to the travesty that Lena witnessed last weekend vs. the Whitecaps, it was nice to see the refs stay on top of things.

A happy Timbers Army is a happy world.  RCTID!!

Coming in a couple weeks...

The best of all-new 2014 (so far) hiking photos!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

More Eason time in Bend (feat. Kathy)

Around the time that I was in Amsterdam hooking up with my French and Swedish friends for the day (link), Kathy and the kids had a weekend trip of their own.  My work schedule during the weekend made flying standby to Bend too risky for this round.  But I'm hoping to take Lena with me on another quick trip to Europe in a few weeks!

Kathy wrote the post below, originally scheduled to be uploaded last week as the companion piece to my "A visit from Afghanistan" entry.  Lena and Levi, Brent and Cheryl, Tom and Lora, and the most amazing wife and mother in the world had quite a time down in the Central Oregon countryside.

Guest blogger Kathy tells all below:

Going to Bend has become a favorite weekend getaway for the Easons.  Besides the beautiful high desert and many outdoor activities to do, my sister Cheryl and her husband Brent live in Tumalo, which is situated between Redmond and Bend.  We always go with my parents, so it makes for a great time with family.

Brent and Cheryl have a couple of acres on a butte with Redmond to the north and Bend to the south.  There is plenty of room for Lena to run and play with her dog cousins, Porter and Yote.   They also have chickens now, so Lena enjoys gathering eggs and feeding them each morning and evening with Aunt Cheri.   This was Levi’s first time to Bend and he loved it too (although it’s a little difficult for him to express that).

On Saturday we had a picnic lunch along the river at Tumalo State Park and then stopped at Schillings Nursery, where they had a little western town and Lena-sized horse buggies.  Upon returning to the house, we spotted four deer in front yard.  Lena wanted to pet one and Brent thought about meat for the winter.  Of course, neither got what they wanted.

On the Sunday morning before we left, Lena helped Uncle Brent prepare their garden spots.  She even “planted” a dead Christmas tree branch to which she said, “Mommy, I plant pretty tree for you.”  It was a fun and relaxing weekend and I can’t wait to go back in a few months.