Sunday, August 26, 2007

mount rainier, vol. 1

after being cooped up in our studio apartment for a few weeks, we decided it was time to make a trip to the closest mountain. upon arrival, our tripometer said that this 14,410 footer is only 55 miles from our doorstep. although we can see mount rainier from various parts of our community, we couldn't really take in all of it's beauty without getting into it's back country. enjoy the pictures.

note: justin, i think you'll find a desktop background or two laying in here waiting for you!

note dos: our sleeping bags were so fresh & so clean, clean, and (finally) dry for our two nights at mowich lake campground.

mt. rainier
elev. 14,410 ft
15 miles outside of the park boundary.

happy camper, mowich lake
elev. 4929 ft.
on the way to lake eunice and tolmie peak.

brooke got a laugh out of his forgotten linkin park button. how many hikers wear a graffiti artist on their sleeve?

eunice lake
elev. 5320 ft.
a beautiful lake.

looking from eunice lake to tolmie peak.
the fire lookout tower is the square dot on the ridge left of center.
[click on picture for a close up view.]
our destination awaits.

happy camper. the fog begins to roll in.

tolmie peak fire lookout tower.
elev. 5939 ft.
our destination breaks through the end of the trail.

on clear days you can see a wonderful view of mount rainier.
on days like this, it was drenched in fog and 40 degrees.

as you can see, the view was well worth the three hour hike.
did we mention it was cold and windy?

inside the fire lookout tower where a ranger spends their time during a dry season.
this was andrea's favorite part!
she hopes to inhabit these humble quarters one day!

brooke liked it too!

we were treated to nature's sweet snack on the hike down:
low blueberries!

bobo dow!

we met a new friend on the way down as well: mr. chipmunk.
he was quite the photogenic fellow.

here's another game of 'name that flower.'
anyone want to take a stab?
seriously, we need a plant guide.

part dos
after we summited tolmie peak, we returned to basecamp for a quick gatorade recharge and to prop up our nearly blistered feet. then back on the trails, this time, headed for what we only knew as 'spray falls.' little did we know of their shear magnitude.

look at the ingenuity of the freaking nps again! what a placement of those logs. hikers adore this stuff. dry feet = happy camper

what the hell! is this a trail?...or a moraine? i guess we'll follow...


spray falls is a glacier runoff, dropping 300 feet to the river below. it took our breath away as we stood there for a while, taking in all of it's splendor.
my (andrea) breath was also still as i watched brooke hop stone to stone past the 'official' trail end to the other side of the river to get this amazing picture (please do not report this to your local park ranger.) thank God he returned back ok, camera in hand, grin on face.

another great shot brooke took teetering on rocks over the quick rapids of spray creek.

still smiling on the return of a 10.5 mile day of beautiful hiking.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

if the shoe 900 miles in it.

i'm not going to lie. last october i went to my nearest DSW and bought this pair of asics GT-2110's because 1) they looked cool. 2) they fit my foot. and 3) they were in the right price range. i had no intentions of ever running any sort of race in them, let alone a marathon. i simply wanted a good pair of shoes that i 'might' do some running in.

a month later i signed up to run the full flying pig marathon and began my training end of november.

as some of you may or may not know, picking up a pair of running shoes because they look 'cool' is a terrible idea. i heard horror story after horror story of injured runners, leading back to a bad pair of shoes. i sank low in my seat when they told us that at team in training...promising myself that if i felt any pain that might be from my shoe, i will throw them away and get fitted for a real pair of shoes.

just for the record:
from a rough calculation, i have logged about 900 long, trying, sweaty miles onto this pair of asics. and oh....they have been so good to me the past 900 miles. they have seen plenty of sunshine, rain, mud, sleet, snow, ice, mud, gravel, and more rain, and more mud!!

after running a daunting 6 miles on tuesday, i told brooke i'm not going to run another mile until i get a new pair of shoes. so today i went to my local running store to finally get fitted for a pair of running shoes. the guy examined my shoe's wear patterns, watched me walk/run and brought out the newer version of the same shoe i picked up at DSW last year!! it's the Asics GT-2120's. he said it's the perfect fit for my type of foot. wow. what are the odds.

i took my new kicks out for a light 3 mile run today along the cedar river trail. it's a spot that brooke and i regularly frequent throughout the on my run, and us on our bikes. it's a beautiful trail, where, if taken north for a mile, dead ends into lake washington (pictures to come) and if taken southeast, will run you out along the cedar river, through the ferns and moss of the rainforest. it's a beautiful trail, the perfect place to run.

i showed brooke my new shoes when he got home from work. he said, 'cool! they're soon, they'll be very....gray.'
what can i say, i like to run in the mud.

well, now that i have my new shoes, maybe i'll have to check out the 'run like hell' half-marathon in portland this october.

doctor's warning:
if you're going to do any sort of serious training on a shoe...get it professionally fitted. it's free, and for you cincinnatians, i would highly suggest Fleet Feet Sports in blue ash. for any of our new seattlite friends who might be reading, i had a great experience at The Foot Zone in Issaquah.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

two years and finally fresh

after two years of camping, backpacking, and traveling, andrea and i decided to wash our sleeping bags. we are heading out to mount rainier this weekend and i said i didn't want to go unless i got to wash my sleeping bag. although i would have gone anyway, i really wanted to enjoy a good night's rest in a sleeping bag that didn't smell weird.

washing a down sleeping bag is a too boring to go into detail. basically a little special down wash soap and then into the dryer with a few tennis balls to fluff it up. at least that's the way it should work. let's just say that mine is still quite wet! the smell of wet goose is not my favorite and i do not enjoy going to the dyer every 5 minutes to re-fluff.

fun evening spent eating mexican food and playing arcade games when letting our bags tumble "dry." 1945 and Bust-A-Move never seemed so fun!

the tools of the trade.

window into a wet sleeping bag's life.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ryan adcock

whenever andrea and i travel we can't help but listen to this guy. ryan is from cincinnati, ohio, and we strongly recommend you check him out!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

how 'green' is 'green'?

from american expedition vehicles:

It seems as if everybody is trying to be more “green” these days. Terms like “conservation”, “sustainability” and certainly “energy” have seen a dramatic increase in popularity. Trendy or not, all of this attention is opening the eyes of many Americans to different ways that we can do our part to optimize our lives and conserve resources.

So, just how “Green” is our beloved Wrangler? The answer may surprise you.

Green Wrangler Header Graphic

One of the first places that many people begin to take note of their own consumption is behind the wheel of an automobile. Nearly everyone has seen an article that notes the various ways to conserve car-related resources and fuel. Making sure your tires are properly inflated, replacing your fuel filter, or simply driving slower will all help you increase your mileage and decrease your time spent pumping gas. Many people are taking this a step further and ditching their low Mile-Per-Gallon rigs for something they can brag about around the water cooler. Sales of hybrid vehicles are soaring and 40+ overall MPG looks to be just the beginning of what this new class of vehicles are capable of. It’s an exciting new chapter in automotive history, but everything comes with a catch.

These high MPG cars take a lot of energy and resources to create.

According to a 2006 study by the firm CNW Marketing & Research, The Toyota Prius (over its lifetime) will consume nearly 5.5 times as much energy as - you’ll never guess - the mighty Jeep TJ Wrangler. In fact, the Jeep Wrangler landed in 3rd place, in the US, as one of the cars that requires the least energy to produce (and operate) with the least environmental impact. CNW Research’s study tracked and calculated the energy cost of each car model sold in the U.S. in 2005 from initial concept to the projected time the vehicle would be scrapped. They call this the “Dust-to-Dust” value and it incorporates a great number of factors including: cost of producing raw materials, material transportation, cost of factory employees (and their own transportation to work), energy costs at the factory, cost of disposal, etc., etc.

While there is absolutely no reason to argue against investing in technology that increases gas mileage, it’s rewarding to note that our TJ Wrangler is one of the most efficiently produced vehicles on the planet. Plus, our passionate Jeep-lovin’ community provides a built-in recycling program. You’ll never see a bunch of old Jeeps lying around the junkyard or landfill. Somewhere, someone, is dying to get their hands on your Jeep for their next project.

any thoughts or expertise on the matter?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

new place = new adventures

we've been in the seattle area for a little over a week now, but have found plenty of time for new adventures. we know the area is still new to us, but during our first road trip out to port townsend, wa on brooke's birthday last saturday, we both looked each other in the eye, smiled, and confirmed that we could live in this area for a loooong time.

brooke was so excited to take the ferry across the puget sound from seattle to bainbridge island... we then drove up to port townsend from there. he's on his phone taking birthday calls the whole morning.

here we are in port townsend, washington. it was a beautiful 70 degree, sunny day!

port townsend is a small victorian town, but there are many places along the sea of old factory buildings. here is one of our favorites!

today we took the bus downtown to seattle. we met a few interesting characters, as is usual in busy cities. we particularly got a good laugh out of this pan-handler (on far right) with the sign that reads:


and this dude, who was on a total 'vision quest.' we discovered him next to a stage set up within pike place market of a local jazz band. this hippy was totally feelin' the groove. he made me smile....he's just lovin' life.

another gorgeous day in seattle. we spent most of the day in pike place market. there is a beautiful variety of cultures out here in the pacific nw.

lookin' over the sound.

here's brooke, waiting for the bus?....or maybe he's waiting for me to catch up from taking random pictures.

ahhh....the famed seattle space needle. we have yet to travel up it, maybe we'll save it for a clear day when we can view mt. ranier, AKA 'The Mountain' as it's known around here. it's pretty big.

we took the monorail from downtown seattle to seattle center, to check out the space needle, EMP (Experience Music Project) and to see what else was in that area.

back to pike place market for dinner and sunset. we love the buildings around this old part of town.

a great evening in a wonderful city.

finally up to speed!

andrea and i have finally arrived in seattle. we unloaded 'the burden,' and returned it. so glad to be done with that thing!

look at that crazy shadow...

first sign for seattle!

we found an studio apartment in downtown renton. a great little city/town just outside of seattle. there are so many cool things about renton that you'll read about over the next few months.
outside of our new place....home sweet home for a while.

thanks for reading. make sure to come back. we love reading your comments. talk soon.

the calm before the storm

the below photographs were taken on the snake river the morning andrea and i decided to kayak from jackson lake dam to deadman's bar. we never made it the whole way. andrea and i got caught in a log jam about half way. andrea took the brunt of it as her and her kayak were dragged completely underwater, and under the log jam. she miraculously pop to the surface on the the other side. let it be known, surfacing after colliding with a log jam does not happen often. we made it safely to a distance shore of the river, put back in, but were too tired to continue. we pulled out of the snake river eight miles short of deadman's bar. we had to drag both of our kayaks up hill, through a sage brush field about three-quarters of a mile to get a ride back to our car. needless to say, it was time for some mountain high pizza pie and a beer.

i am so thankful andrea came out of this alive. it was quite a nightmare.

the peaceful part of the snake river; from jackson lake dam to pacific creek landing.

bald eagle nesting areas lined the upper snake river. if you look closely to the bottom left
of the nest you can see a bald eagle perched on a branch.

not sure what type of flower this is; can anyone tell us?

what are the odds? a bee landing on the same flower we were photographing.

andrea pre-log jam.

brooke pre-log jam

the finest land in the country... jackson hole.

worn out. post-log jam and kayak shuffling extravaganza.

andrea just had told me to look behind me to see how far we had carried the kayaks through sagebrush.
just a fifty foot steep hill down to the water at the tree line.