Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon

Well, it's Tuesday afternoon: an appropriate time for a quick blog update, because Rebecca and I attended a Moody Blues concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheatre, a delightful outdoor concert venue in Alton Baker Park.

I had heard that their skills had diminished over the years, but the Moody Blues did not disappoint. The concert was delayed an hour because of the heat (it was 102 degrees in Eugene yesterday), but once they started, it was classic Moodies.

They played a nice variety of their hits, including Tuesday Afternoon, Nights In White Satin, Ride My See-Saw, Question, I'm Just A Singer In A Rock 'N' Roll Band, Are You Sitting Comfortably? and more.

All in all, it was great music, fantastic food and -- as always in Eugene -- interesting people-watching.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Seoul Man

Pretty exciting day. Started off simply enough. Went out to the land o' Goshen (Oregon), where our ski boat is stored, to get the craft running after a couple of idle years.

But by the end of the day, I had booked my flight to Seoul, South Korea in mid-September to visit my daughter Gina (above, left) and lecture at Sogang University on the practice and profession of public relations in America. This nifty gig was arranged by my colleague Kyu Ho Youm, who is a Professor and First Amendment Chair in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Perhaps a side trip to Thailand will be in order since I'm already in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course

Took my first trip up the McKenzie since retiring from EWEB. My goal? Climb Horsepasture Mountain, an old lookout site south of McKenzie Bridge. Named by early forest rangers who grazed their beasts of burden enroute to lookout sites on Ollalie Ridge, the summit provides a stunning view of the Three Sisters (above) -- originally named Faith, Hope and Charity -- as well as Mt. Jefferson and Mt Washington.

We used both horses and mules to pack gear and equipment when I worked on the gypsy crew clearing trails for the U.S. Forest Service. We came to call 'em "dogs" even though, in reality, they are much smarter and certainly more conniving critters than dogs. They had names like "Bud," "Pancake," "Jimmy" and "Destiny." Occasionally, they'd all take off for the trailhead after we'd unpack 'em at camp and we'd have to chase them down.

The upper meadows of Horsepasture Mountain (elevation 5,660) are rife with mountain wildflowers, including tiger lily (left), columbine, lupine, paintbrush, purple aster, goldenrod, coneflower, cats ears, bear grass and hellebore. I love the early season in the backcountry because of the wealth of flora. Unfortunately, this time of the year coincides with bug season in the highlands. Thank God for DEET.

Only saw one other party out in the hills on this day, and they were kind enough to take a picture (below). They claimed they were from Eugene, but when push came to shove, they "admitted" they were from Cheshire.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Run, Becky, Run

Just returned from a masters track meet in Seattle, where Rebecca participated in the 100- and 200-meter races. Now that she's in a new age group, Becky achieved an All-American time in the 200-meter by running the race in 34 seconds.

We kicked around the Pike Place Market for awhile when we arrived on Friday and then enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner and a spectacular view of Elliott Bay at Anthony's on the pier. After dinner, we proceeded to our hotel room at a Travelodge in University Village near Husky Stadium on the University of Washington campus.

On Saturday, we arrived early at the West Seattle Stadium so that Becky could become acclimated to the track. She had one race in the morning and one in the afternoon; in between, I spent my time (and money) in the REI in downtown Seattle (BTW, I love Seattle but not the traffic; it's the kind of place where you can get a dirty look for only going 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit).

After the meet, we spent some time with Rebecca's niece, Jesseca Brand, husband Adam Porad and their two kids. Later we all went out for dinner (sans kids) at a fabulous Indian restaurant in the U-District.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Hills Are Alive (With The Sound Of Music)

Left Eugene about 9:30 a.m. for the two-hour drive to the trailhead with friend and climbing/hiking partner Steve Still. Took awhile to get my legs -- probably about a mile -- and then we were off as I warmed up. Thank goodness for my iPod. Nothing like a little hard-driving rock and roll by The Who to help march my sorry butt up to the summit.

All in all, it was a good first outing. The bad news is I was a little worse for wear at the end of the day: rather stiff muscles, numerous mosquito bites and a blister on the back of my left heel (the boots were already broken in; the feet were not.). The good news is that I'm nearly fully recovered after 24 hours of rest and recuperation, and ready for the next one.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Excuse Me, While I Kiss The Sky

Just returned from the Owl Farm. Dividing the long drive to the North Cascades, I stopped at my sister's place in Welches, near Mt. Hood. Carla and her husband, Bob, have a beautiful cabin on the Salmon River.

Made a few other pit stops along U.S. 97: one for my annual contribution to the Yakama Nation (read: I purchased a nice variety of fireworks) and another for some cherries, now in season.

As the cherries are out, so are the mosquitoes: I spent the first few minutes after arriving at the Owl Farm putting up a new screen tent. The bugs weren't unbearable, but they certainly make their presence known. You'd best cover up outside or use bug dope to deter the little bloodsuckers this time of the year.

When I was a kid, I'd swell up quite badly when bitten by a mosquito. Now, after tens of thousands of bites, mostly from my time as a wilderness ranger, they hardly affect me. Oh, the mosquitoes still bite, but after a quick scratch, that's it.

In addition to doing the usual chores preparing the place for guests later in the season, I scouted out the road to Maverick Saddle on Entiat Ridge for a hike sometime this summer to the Blue Creek Guard Station on the Mad River Trail. As expected, the "all-weather" surface was kind of rough and rocky: four-wheel drive is recommended.

Entiat Ridge, the longest continual ridge in the State of Washington, extends nearly 60 miles from the remote Glacier Peak Wilderness Area all the way to the Columbia River, north of Wenatchee. In 1980, I patrolled the area as a wilderness ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.

A broad ridge with a plethora of flora and fauna, the upper Mad River area on Entiat Ridge is spectacular. Walking a ridge that almost kisses the sky, a hike provides a view through miles of empty air to Glacier Peak, which lords over dozens of icy/craggy sentinals like Buck Mountain and Seven-Fingered Jack in the upper Chiwawa River basin.