Monday, September 29, 2014

Seattle: A warmup for Daddy-daughter travel season

Plans to return to Munich, Germany over the weekend were shelved for a couple of nearer adventures here in the Northwest.  On Saturday, a dozen of us got together for a 17.6 mile hike/scramble on Mount Hood to the Mooney plane crash site and Mooney Tarn, including the Elk Cove trail, Pinnacle Ridge, and some off-trail action.  Stories and photos are coming soon!

Garth's Blog skips over many of my international travelogues (or I often post them later).  Friends who follow my blog grudgingly accept this.  But hopefully I'll be uploading more international posts now that Kathy is almost ready to let me take Lena along overseas!

For now, here is our OTHER adventure from this weekend:

We've come a long way since Lena: International Baby of Mystery (link).  At three years old, Lena already has Daddy's sense of adventure, exploration, and restlessness.

And I'm praying that our 8 1/2 month old Levi will, too!

Lena's vacation in Spain last Fall was so long ago...

En route to Madrid, Spain

...So, with Mommy's permission, I figure it's WAY past time to get Lena flying again.

Flying Lena to Seattle on Friday for lunch with my friend Michael Alben (living in Burien) was a good place to start.  Let's call this a "dress rehearsal" for some upcoming kid-modified, Garth-style international trips.

PDX Airport

Mommy holds back tears long enough to drop Lena and me off at curbside.  Kathy's dry eyes lasted all the way to the PDX cell phone waiting area, where she awaited my text assuring her that Lena and I were assigned seats on board.

A groggy Lena tugs her little roll-aboard luggage though the TSA checkpoint, charming everyone.

Lena's is giddy for her favorite part of flying:  The airport people-mover!

Delta'a PDX rampers Jeffy and Cindy load up our Skywest CRJ for departure.  Lena's car seat is sitting on the ground, next to the aft belt loader.

Seattle - Burien

Rather than this church parking lot, imagine Lena dragging her luggage to a kid-friendly hostel or friend's house in Italy... or anywhere in the world!

After Michael picked us up from SEA-TAC airport, he showed us around his house, his church, and the town of Burien.

Michael gives us a tour of Burien Evangelical Church (don't let the name "Evangelical" fool you), including the music room upstairs.

Downtown Burien

Seahurst Park, on Puget Sound

The journey home to Beaverton

Vine video-  End of a Daddy-daughter trip:  A sleepy Lena boards our flight home from Seattle to Portland.

Flying back to PDX:  Lena is too young to fly standby in Business Class, so we sat in the comfy Economy Comfort row again.

Riding the Max train home from PDX airport to Beaverton:  Lena is in desperate need of her afternoon nap.

Reunited with another future traveling, hiking, and climbing companion:  Baby Levi!

Garth's Blog will return in late October with...

Climbing Mount St. Helens again!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lil' buckaroos at the Buckaroo Rodeo

Up close and personal for the Molalla Buckaroo Rodeo

This is a catch-up post, from July:

The fam was all set to head out for this year's Portland Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th. Lena loved dancing with Daddy at the Blues Fest last year. Before we get to the 2014 stuff below, here are some 2013 flashback photos from around the Portland waterfront:

Backstage with Luther Dickinson, after the North Mississippi Allstars played
(Bonus: A photo bomb by Fake David Crosby!)

Walking/crawling around the docks in between sets

Dinner at Thirst waterfront cafe before John Hiatt's closing set

This year, as we geared up again for the 2014 Waterfront Blues Fest, Kathy and I realized that neither Lena nor baby Levi had been to a rodeo before. Our friends ride in various events, and we've been to more summer rodeos than we can keep track of.

The Blues Fest was put on hold for the first time in years. Lena and Levi made their July 4th debut at the Molalla Buckaroo Rodeo instead.

In the words of another, more famous Garth...

It's bulls and blood,
the dust and the mud,
And they call this thang a rodeo
(Wah waooooh!)

Even rodeo clowns text on the job?

Believe it or not, Lena's footlong+ corn dog was the smallest on the menu.

Lena's first ever carnival ride, at the rodeo with Daddy

"You must be this tall..."  Lena is finally tall enough!

Vive video:  Whee!

Fourth of July barbeque after the rodeo

For once, we didn't go to Fort Vancouver or downtown to catch any fireworks that evening. Kathy and the kids walked over for Dave and Kristy's neighborhood firework display, and I ducked into the garage to ready my gear bag for the morning.

At 2:30 a.m., my alarm would sound for the next day's adventure. We had a volcano to climb.

Coming up on Garth's Blog...

Climbing Mount St. Helens!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lena starts preschool, and turns 3 years old today!

Happy birthday, Lena!

It's been a few years since Kathy and I became parents.  A few.  We can officially say that now.  It's difficult to fathom that Lena turns three today...

...And even more mind boggling, that Lena started preschool last week!

Open house at Aloha Christian Preschool

Lena's first day of preschool (last week)

Lena and Levi watch Mrs. Bates on the Six O'clock News, explaining Aloha Christian Preschool's approach to keeping kids safe and healthy

Lena's 3rd birthday party

Vine video:  Click for audio of Samantha getting excited about Lena's potential hiking/travel gear.
"It's a bag! It's a purse!"

Happy 3rd birthday, Lena!!

We have been blessed with three years so far of joy, happiness and love.  We thank God every day for you and your baby brother.

You and Levi will be back on the hiking trails and flying around the world again VERY soon!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hiking: Wyeth to North Lake

It's tough to select which of our hiking, climbing, backpacking, and boating trips from this summer to feature on Garth's Blog.  This month and next, I'll try to pick the recent outdoor stories which highlight as many different groups of my adventurous family, friends, and students as possible.

Later this fall, I hope to also compile a "catch-up" photo post to feature the adventures I'll skip over (including recent international trips!). Click here for our earlier summer catch-up post of hiking photos!

The reported steepness of the Wyeth Trail to North Lake was daunting enough to deter a couple of my friends from joining us on our hike earlier this summer. But our fantastic crew (pictured above in Marc's group photo-- me, Nader, Marc, Tatiana, Magnus, Jenny, Scott, plus Ola) who committed had few problems with the difficulty.

The 12.8 mile out-and-back hike gains 4220 feet of altitude in a relatively short distance. I forgot to snap photos of anything but the flat sections. I blame our engrossing conversations on the trail.

Magnus and the rest of us lace up boots at the trail head. Thanks to Marc for this other photo as well!

Heading over to the Harphan Creek crossing

After heading uphill, the mostly wooded scenery opens up for a view of the Columbia River Gorge and Mount St. Helens

Ola and Tati find a friend on the trail

A quick break while crossing a talus slope

We entered the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness area and were soon treated to a view of Mount Defiance, one of my favorite butt-kicker trails.

Click here for birthday photos from one of my many hikes up Mount Defiance, the highest point in the Columbia River Gorge.

On one of the steeper sections, we finally broke up into two groups: a fast group and a faster group. Those of us in the faster group reached North Lake a little sooner.

But when we reached our destination, we all had plenty of time and freedom of choice to relax, eat, and take a brisk swim in the frigid lake.  Refreshing!

Even after hiking back down from North Lake to the Wyeth trailhead together, we still couldn't get enough of each other. A few of us met at the Cascade Locks Ale House for some post-hike munchies (some day I'll order something OTHER than a Reuben sandwich, I promise!) and more great conversation.

The comically tall soft serve ice cream cones that we picked up afterwards from the East Wind Drive-In somehow managed to dwarf our smiles for the drive home from Cascade Locks.

But not by much.