Sunday, January 24, 2010

Worth Waiting For

Let's see, hit the hot tub or download pictures and post....hmmmm....tempting to go with plan A. But guilt about my new year's resolution wins.

Today we FINALLY got up to Mt. Adams. We've bided our time, patiently skiing at Teacup and on the Hood side, with the masses. There has been no snow to speak of on the Adams side. Nothing worth skiing on. Until now.

Earlier this week, Thursday and Friday, Lloyd and Elliot tested the higher elevations, driving past SnoKing Sno Park to ski up the Forest Road 190. Saturday, Lloyd needed a recovery day, and I was busy being a good WA Democratic PCO in Ellensburg, voting on our candidate for Congress, but I digress...that's another post, for tomorrow.

Today's news was the Best Snow of the Season. Sorry, Saints, you're second fiddle to this (but I did get home in time to watch the OT and see you win).

It snowed all day. We started out at Forest Road 190, braving the snowmobile fumes in the parking area, and climbed where none of them dared to go, up to 4100 ft plus, about 2.5 miles. Here are Lloyd and Elliot leading the way up to our playground.

Had a blast practicing tele turns on the cleared hillside. Elliot was like a kid in a candy store. He lives for days like this.

Lloyd had more energy than anyone wanted to deal with (only kidding, sweetie). Note all the snow on his knicker socks...he loves falling in powder.

I took a break under a tree. This was my view.

Here I am, totally enjoying myself, under the tree and wishing I'd brought extra mittens or gloves because mine were soaked by this time.

Skip was a great coach, in between telling stories.

Janet, as always, made sure we found the best 'ladies rooms' and set a fine example for me to follow down the mountain. I'll figure out these tele turns yet.

By the time we headed back, all our tracks were about filled in. Here is Lloyd, pointing out the obvious:

There were about 5 inches of new snow to play in. Visibility was low, but the quality of the skiing was excellent!

We even did a good deed for the day, helping these snowmobilers out of their predicament with Ellliot's good ole Suburban and tow strap. Their mishap was blocking the road, so the people parked uphill from them would have been unable to leave Dodge either. NB: if it's snowing when you get to the Sno Park, turn around and head yourself in the homeward direction BEFORE you go and play.

A day of rest tomorrow, but Tuesday we plan to take advantage of 'our' mountain. Because today, we OWNED it! Now...on to the hot tub!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Last night was the monthly meeting of the Voodoo Philosophical Society, a group of local folk who like to get together for pot luck, wine, and thoughtful discussion. We hadn't been for a while, but since the meeting was at our friends' home in nearby Underwood, and the program was enticing, I baked up a crab quiche with mushroom crust, grabbed a bottle of bargain Chard, and we headed down the hill, across the White Salmon River, and up the hill on the other side on a dark and rainy night.

Our hosts decided that we should all watch Bill Moyers Journal, which featured Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. Most people have heard of the mountain climber turned Afghanistan and Pakistan school builder, and many of my friends have already read his first book (his second is called Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, In Afghanistan and Pakistan). I'm half way through it myself, so the show and following discussion were timely for me. I was reminded of what a good show Moyers Journal is.
American humanitarian Greg Mortenson's first book — THREE CUPS OF TEA — has sold over 3.5 million copies around the world. It tells the remarkable story about his efforts to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When in 2008 the JOURNAL asked viewers what books should be priority reading for the next President, THREE CUPS OF TEA was among the top ten suggestions. Now, the book has become required reading for our senior military commanders and Special Forces in Afghanistan.
The fact that our leaders are reading or have read this book is good news.

I highly recommend this book if you haven't read it yet. The video of the interview is worth a watch, as well. Very humbling. The world needs more Greg Mortensons.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please Help Today

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

It's easy. Just get out your credit card, go to the website, and make a donation.

Doctors Without Borders is one of my favorite charities, and they get a monthly donation from me. But the need in Haiti is huge, and we all need to do a little extra.

Other worthy stops while you still have your card all warmed up include
The Red Cross and The Clinton Foundation. Gotta go. My credit card is starting to cool off.

Friday, January 8, 2010

When It Rains, Always Have a Plan B

Remember all that lovely snow we had on New Year's Eve?Well, it's been raining on our snow for days. We tried skiing at Teacup (3rd stop) yesterday, and had a mediocre outing, so today we thought we'd try plan B.

Around these parts, Plan B in January includes a short drive to the Balfour-Klickitat Day Use area to look for eagles. We parked in the empty parking lot, joked about the crowds, and watched as our friend Skip from The Dalles drove in. He had decided it was a Plan B day as well! This property was the likely site of a Klickitat Indian village visited by Lewis and Clark. An English nobleman, Sir Thomas Balfour, developed a farm here in the 1890's, with a few traces still apparent. Skip told me about the Osage orange trees that were planted as a 'fence', when I wondered about the round 'balls' on the ground near the trees. Sorry, I left the camera in the car for this stop and I didn't have my set of keys. Lloyd and Will had walked away by then, so when I caught up to them and they asked me "Do you know what these round things are?" I gave them the lecture about osage oranges. Lloyd was speechless...I usually say "I dunno" and he says "But you're supposed to be the biologist" as if I should know what every living thing is. I shouldn't have told them I just found out about them myself...

We did spot several eagles from the trail, and decided to head down to the fishing area where we've seen spawning salmon before. It's about time for the spring chinook to start doing their thing. And, lo and behold, they were! Those are live ones splashing, obviously, and to the left. The ones on the right were spent and done. And very smelly dead.

We could see them from the top of the bluff, splashing away in the shallows, so we climbed down for a closer look. Check out the video. Brindle was fascinated.

Up in the trees nearby where two bald eagles...I know my camera zoom is pathetic, but they are the two white spots you see just up and left of center.

Even closer was an immature eagle, who sat on a limb above us. He never moved. Must have had a good lunch!We went down to Fisher Bridge and watched for salmon in the falls. We actually saw them in that carved out area in the left side of the wall. They'd make their way up, then get washed back. Then we saw some jumping in the area near the snow. I tried to time my photos to get them, but alas, it was not possible. You will just have to take my word for it. This shot looks strange, but it's taken from Fisher Bridge looking down at the water.

All together we saw more than half a dozen eagles around Lyle. We crossed the river at The Dalles, and had some lunch at the fabulous La Petite Provence. The French Onion Soup is to die for and I needed some warming up. On the way back towards Hood River on I84, I looked out the passenger window to see another eagle soaring along with the car...what a day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, Twenty Ten!

I've been a bad, bad, blogger. I let a whole month go by without posting. I think I hit web overload, keeping up with two blogs, facebook and managing two other group pages. When one gets busy with 'other things' like taking advantage of good snow when it's here, hanging out with my dear Alina when she visits, visiting friends in near places like Bend, celebrating with family in even nearer places like McMinnville, baking cookies to my favorite Christmas albums, well, time just flies. So my first new year's resolution is to pay more attention to The Pahk. I'm thinking this year will have plenty to write about.

My Top Ten Best Things About December 2009, in summary, are:
1o. A successful I'm Dreaming of a White Salmon event, I just love manning the s'mores table at the firepits. The tree was beautiful, including the lighted salmon Lloyd made for the top.
9. Being able to buy Food Bank bags of groceries at the register at our local grocery store. So easy to add on $10, and it's what the food bank needs. BTW, I think it's being extended thru January. I like it when I'm reminded that people aren't as lucky as I am, and can act on it right then and there.
8. Great cross country ski days with my ski buddies, lots of fun, no injuries, post ski pizza and brews at the Sawtooth, and the first cookie swap.
7. Excellent weekend in Bend, and visits with Edie, Bill, Bob and Jane mixed in with ski club business, as well as a perfect snow day ski at Swampy Lake. The drive home through a storm on Mt. Hood, not so much.
6. Getting snowed in twice. Lloyd and I never run out of things to do, outside or in. It's really nice to not HAVE to go work, school, pool, etc....I'll add almost getting snowed in at the movie theater the day we went to see AVATAR...clear on the way in, several inches by the time we got out. But so worth it.
5. Given #6, being able to get to and from PDX to pick up and drop off Alina without incident, with a storm 'window' new year's eve morning to get her there before the snow started. Except for that one bit about driving back through the gorge at 5 am, hitting ice while passing a semi on a bridge, and everyone sliding...that was not fun. Getting up at 3 am wasn't much fun either, but you gotta do what you gotta do to see your kids.
4. Hearing from friends near and far via cards, email, Facebook and phone.
3. Blowing glass ornaments at White Salmon Glassworks, this time with Mary and Syd.
2. A wonderful Christmas weekend in Mac, great food and wine, friends and family.
1. The fantastic present from Keara and Alina, hand carried by Alina from Boston: a gallery of framed photos of the two of them, and their sweeties, taken at Lars Andersen Park. I'll be hanging them in the living room, so stop by and see my beautiful young women who are missed so much. No digital images yet, so you'll have to wait a bit.