article today that confirmed our fears: Artist Point, which we use to access many of our favorite hikes in the Mt. Baker area, will not be cleared of snow this year. So, today we chose to drive from our mostly blue skies in Bellingham up to the Middle Fork logging road, hoping for a view and determined to get some exercise, no matter what. We actually had a wonderful day last November when we previously visited this area. I wrote about it here (and you can see the views we missed today).
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
I went walking early Saturday morning with the Fairhaven walking group, after having skipped it the week before because it was raining when I woke. Yesterday we walked about five brisk miles down by the bay and ended up at the Adagio Cafe for coffee afterwards. I then moseyed down to the Farmers' Market with a new friend, Karen, who I've seen before with the walkers, but we both headed down to the market together and I got to know her a bit better. I introduced her to the Rabbit Field Farms booth, where the vendor was expecting my usual purchase of baby kale. It looked good to Karen, so she bought some too. It's especially tasty early in the season.
Then I walked over to the Y and swam a half mile, feeling like a million bucks after swimming, showering, and heading back home. After the exercise and being ready for a good lunch, I felt the weekend had an auspicious beginning. The squirrels were on the porch when I got home, and after I shoo'd them off and swept up after the birds, I realized that they aren't intimidated any more by my Super Soaker antics (which I wrote about here), because the water isn't anything that hurts them and now they know that as crazy as I look, I'm not likely to harm them either. Sigh. They have had babies, and now I have two families, a black set, smaller and native to the area, and a family of gray squirrels. I went out one day after having chased one particularly persistent guy off the porch three or four times and hurled an apple I was eating after him as he ran away. Immediately he turned and inspected it, and of course hauled it back to his den. Or maybe her den. Now I occasionally throw an apple core onto the lawn and it is gone within minutes. As long as they aren't on my porch I don't mind them. My brother-in-law used to remark that squirrels are rodents, after all, just rats with a better wardrobe.
article about sitting still too long in one place, that it's bad for your health. Even if you get lots of exercise otherwise, it's important to take breaks often from sitting, stand up and stretch, even for a minute. I guess these guys are doing me a favor as I snatch up my Super Soaker and run out the front door, pumping the trigger with mad abandon. They run, too, but just as soon as my back is turned, well, you know the rest.
And then yesterday, Sunday, was a brilliant day, filled with sunshine and reaching 72 degrees F. I drove down to Snohomish and ended up making four skydives before heading back home. They were all good ones, too, playing in the air with my friends and having just the best time. All my landings were good, and I'm still learning how to pack this parachute to open consistently nice and soft. I am convinced, however, that once I figure it out, I will be happy with it for the rest of my skydiving career.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
|Fred and Mike on the way to Huntoon Point|
Saturday, June 18, 2011
After giving up on the walk, the first bus to town goes by at 9:50 am, so I ambled to the bus stop since the rain had dwindled to what was called "light rain mist" on my weather blog. For those of you interested, the temperature outside right now is 54 degrees F, and yesterday's maximum was 66. Our all-time record for the date was 87 in 1958, and I don't think we need to worry about setting records any time soon. We are continuing with our cooler-than-normal temperatures accompanied by rain. At least these days are broken now and then by sunnier and warmer temperatures than we are having today.
I stopped by the bookstore and picked up The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Everyone who has read it tells me I'll love it, so now I'll have some lunch and snuggle into my recliner and read, while the birds sing outside.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
There are two approaches to this extensive alpine ridge. ... Both lead to exceptional meadows and good views of Mt. Baker, the North Cascades, and peaks of the B.C. coastal range. ... Note that the snow on north-facing slopes takes longer to melt, which means the longer south route may be mostly snow free several weeks earlier than the north.Well, ten of us headed up the highway to try out the longer south-facing route. This is what it looked like for a couple of miles, lots of green and really lovely, other than the fact that the sun didn't shine on us all day. No matter, it wasn't raining, which is always a plus. The hike begins at an altitude of 1,850 feet, and we didn't run into snow until we had trekked to right around 3,700 feet.
We covered only 5.5 miles and 2,600 feet in elevation gain and loss. We did agree that the snow for the second half of the hike made it seem twice as long. We didn't really have an incentive to make it all the way to the top, since the clouds would obscure any possible view. It really didn't make or break our hike; it has been a good day. Thanks for sharing it with me.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The downstairs neighbor who flew his flag last year has moved out, and the apartment is currently being rented to a short-timer. Many changes have taken place in my neck of the woods since then, too. I was writing twice as many posts on my blog, and I decided to take the internally generated pressure off by posting less often. But still, I notice that if I've written one over the weekend I begin to get a little restless by Tuesday. After all, I always write one on Thursday after the Trailblazers hike.
Some people don't like to be bound by schedules, but I find that having a scheduled morning routine is comforting to me. Wake up early and get some tea, read the news and my blogs, get dressed, have breakfast, catch the bus by 7:40 am, head to the coffee shop for my latte. Mosey out the door, say goodbye to my friends, and walk to the YMCA for my 9:00 am class. By 11:10 when the next bus goes back by my house, I've exercised, showered, shopped for any needed groceries, and am happy to have a few hours of spousal interaction, read, whatever comes up. It's a routine that makes me feel pretty darned lucky.
Sometimes I see scenes around town that make me glad to have my camera out and ready for action. When I saw this orange caterpillar, I realized my camera had to be dug out and turned on before it had gone by.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
|From Hoot Photography|
|Shutter speed 1/30, ISO on auto|
I have messed with the ISO, which is explained by remembering how film cameras used to require you to buy film with different ISOs -- I would always buy 100 ISO because I wasn't ever sure where I'd be taking the pictures. That would work for pictures in full sun (which Colorado has plenty of, when I was using film), but it wasn't great for pictures taken indoors. I would buy a film at 400 for low light pictures, but you couldn't change out the film once it was in the camera. Today's cameras allow me to make changes whenever I feel like it. However, it's not easy to understand the relationships between the elements in the Photographic Triangle. But I am just beginning to get a teensy little bit of a hold on it.
When I am wanting to be sure I get a good picture, I revert back to the auto setting and then usually need to clean up the picture in iPhoto, usually having to lighten it, and sometimes fix the contrast. Although it's a lot of work to understand all this, I'm actually enjoying myself... at least sometimes. When something works and everything clicks, when it comes together to make a good shot, I am pretty pleased with myself. But I've got a LONG way to go. Good thing I'm retired!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
|Click any picture to enlarge|
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
|Linda and DJan at the Dropzone|
She is a very dynamic person and was hoping to make an observer ride when I told her about the possibility, but Skydive Snohomish no longer offers them. It's quite possible she will come back again and make a tandem jump. In any event, after we had spent the day together (while I packed my parachute and boarded the airplane and jumped out three separate times), I felt like I had expanded my universe in a direction that makes me very happy. It's amazing to me how the blogosphere brings us together because of mutual interests and gives us the option to actually meet in person!!
Linda mentioned the possibility of perhaps having a blogging buddy vacation weekend, where we could gather some of our mutual blogging friends living close by who might like to spend some time together, and I think this is a great idea! Although this is the first time we met in person, Linda and I are way more than simple acquaintances, as I know her hopes and dreams and she knows mine. That is one thing that blogging provides us that creates a brand new universe for many of us. Back in 2009, I wrote a blog post about Teilhard de Chardin who suggested that we are creating a new paradigm for human interaction through our connectivity.
I'm not sure what will come of all of it, but I know that my blogging buddies, two of whom I have now met in person, are adding more and more to my daily sense of satisfaction.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Today I'd like to talk a bit about getting older. I've heard it said that aging is not for sissies, and whoever said it wasn't kidding. There are so many things that just keep on deteriorating, including the aging of our friends and family, with the loss of another one now and then. It's part of the process, and it's one part I hadn't considered when thinking of getting older. The four Seniors who carpooled together on our hike last week each had a new ailment to share, and I thought of the conversations I overheard when I was a kid, never guessing that I would be there some day, commiserating with my cronies over this and that part beginning to break down or wear out.
One of the resources that I use to make myself feel better about getting older are the blogs of some of my dear friends: people whose faces I have never seen in person, probably won't ever meet, but you just never know. My blogging friends are almost all retired or close to it. Tomorrow, I'll be meeting a Bag Lady in Waiting: Linda Myers, who lives a few miles away from my favorite place to skydive: Skydive Snohomish. She says she's not going to try it, but you never know. I made my first jump never realizing that I would end up with so many of them under my belt.
But it's sad knowing that this is a sport that, although I still love it, is no longer something I intend to keep doing much longer. This is my last season, or next to last. I've thought it would be cool to keep on skydiving until I am 70, which is only another year and a half. However, it doesn't make much sense to me to keep going until I have an injury that I have to deal with. I want to stop skydiving on my terms, so every jump I make is potentially my last one. I figure I'll know when it's time, and I feel that time coming.
Another favorite blog was introduced to me by Linda at A Slower Pace. She has decided to stop blogging, which saddens me, but then again, why keep on doing something that isn't giving you what you want out of it? She wrote about a blog that I now read every day, with something good that I learn from it, or a link that I follow to another exciting place. It's a professional blog written by Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By. She has a regular staff of elders who research and write about everything that interests me as an elder myself. Ronni says she was forcibly retired in 2005 because of age discrimination. She is an inspiration to me, every day, and she's already passed her seventieth year and tells it like it is.
Today I was out walking with more than a dozen women of all ages. We meet at 8:00 am on Saturday, rain or shine, and walk with Cindy, a retired race walker who has taught me how to quicken my pace and walk brisk enough to really feel it. Then I went over to the YMCA and swam a half mile. Strolling around in the sunshine afterwards, I just had to give thanks for the life that I have, the health still moving me forward, and scouting out what's ahead.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
|Raindrops in the lake|
No sign of them, and several trail junctions gave us time to speculate where they might be. It was as if they had been snatched up by aliens, it had happened so fast. We headed to the clearcut area that was our destination, hoping for a view of Bellingham Bay and our friends. We had discussed that the bulldozers and harvested timber would make it possible to see a view that had been hidden previously. Here you see the icky part in the foreground as we looked out at the bay.
I'm sure we will change some procedures before our next hike, but like I said at the beginning of this tale, all's well that ends well! (For Kimberly's take on the day, click here.)