Saturday, February 28, 2009

To the Rim of the Crater

We returned yesterday from a wonderful three day getaway to the Crater Lake region of Oregon. Our goals were to visit our friends, Smitty and Shawn, who recently moved to that area, as well as explore Crater Lake National Park. On Tuesday night, after I returned from a late shift at work, we set off toward the OR border. We camped in the back of our Explorer and set off again bright and early on Wednesday morning. The drive north was beautiful, especially along the Smith River. There were waterfalls everywhere!

We had a great time visiting with Smitty and Shawn (and of course Latte and Panda, too). Our wish for enough snow to ski on was granted, and we had a great afternoon of cross country skiing up, up, up, and then back doooowwwwn. We picnicked in the sunshine, on the snow, and later skiied around the headwaters of the Wood River.

On Friday, we said our goodbyes to our wonderful hosts and headed toward the national park. Lots of snow had fallen at the park the previous day, and it turned out that the road to the crater's rim was closed. We were so disappointed to not see the "crater lake" of Crater Lake National Park! As we walked through the exhibits in the visitor center, a voice called out to Mike. Sounds unlikely, but it turned out that a coworker from our time in Colorado was working there, and he gave us some great advice about a trail that would lead us to the rim. We strapped on our snowshoes and plowed through sparkly snow, about 900 vertical feet (over about a mile) up to the rim of the crater. It was steep terrain, and I started to get a bit scared of tumbling down the mountainside, but we eventually summited the rim and were greeted by a panoramic vista of the deep blue waters of Crater Lake. Mountains in the distance, ice covered rock formations nearby, and there we were, completely alone to soak in the view. It turned out to be a blessing that the road was closed, because otherwise we would have had to share the view and the solitude with bunches of other visitors! We both agreed that it was our best snowshoeing adventure EVER.

The drive felt longer on the way home than on the way there, but luckily we made it before darkness fell. Now we're counting down the days and watching as the boxes pile up in our living room...on Thursday we'll begin the drive toward Georgia!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Rainy Day on the Coastal Trail

A cold wind was blowing and a light rain was falling as we began hiking from Klamath River Overlook on the Coastal Trail in Redwood National Park. The trail set out along waving grasses some 500 feet above the crashing surf. We walked along a high bluff with nearly-continuous views of the largest of all oceans. Soon, the trail dropped to the rugged coast at Hidden Beach. Huge, storm-driven waves crashed against the rocky coast sending ocean spray high into the air.

The final section of the trail wound around a point of land, with ocean on three sides. Ahead of us was a bridge and a sign which we had hiked by on a previous adventure. This completes the Coastal Trail through Redwood NP! It's another goal accomplished! After a little over 8 miles, we quickly climbed into our little red car to escape the now howling wind. As we drove back south to our home in Mckinleyville, the light rain turned to a hard rain. It is now pounding off our roof and reminding us of how fortunate we are to have a warm shelter from the storm!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rain Has Arrived

Well, the surprisingly sunny weather that we've experienced so far in Humboldt County has finally changed to the more typical--that means RAIN and gray skies. But we were still able to walk to church and back this morning, and I was able to take a walk with my client this afternoon, before the rain really set in. I know the area needs rain, but oh-how-I-love the sunny days.

In the few days since I last wrote, our moving van deposited all of our boxes into their new temporary home, a nearby storage facility. It was interesting to see what we deemed "important" enough to make the trip out here, back when we packed these boxes (about 4 months ago). We were amazed that, once we consolidated the goods into fewer boxes, we could fit all of it into a 9 x 5 storage unit. What a relief that is!

I'm still looking for an apartment in Georgia. I had a pretty good lead on a studio near Mike's academy, but it's already been rented to someone else. That was a disappointment, but I'm sure something will turn up.

I've firmed up my summer plans a bit. I'll be volunteering as a roving ranger at Isle Royale NP for 1 month, and I'm so excited about it. What better way to spend a month than on Isle Royale, a place that I love so dearly?

Now the cold that Mike suffered from last week has ravaged its way into my system, leaving me with a very sore throat. It feels like my vocal cords (or something back there) are swelling and making it difficult to swallow. I didn't think I'd make it through my work session today; between the pain of my sore throat and the really bad behavior of my client, I just wanted to put my head underneath a pillow and call it a day! His mom is SO patient and well-informed about autism, and I've learned a lot by observing the techniques that she employs with him. I have so much to learn!

Once again, our church is a huge blessing. We attended an event last night called "Tables of Eight." One lady coordinates potluck dinners at a bunch of different houses, and assigns each person who is interested in attending to one specific house, with seven other people. We had a wonderful meal and really enlightening conversations with other folks from our church. During the service this morning, Mike commented that he feels like a real member of the church community now that we've gotten to know so many people there. We're very lucky.

Tomorrow is another day at the zoo. I'm looking forward to feeding raisins to the spider monkeys. :)