Sunday, March 29, 2015

Capanna Montagna

More than 1,300 mountain huts (or “capanna montagna” in Italian) dot the Alps across eight European countries from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany and France in the west, to Austria and Slovenia in the east, to Italy and Monaco in the south, providing hikers and climbers with accommodations and shelter in the high country.

Envision a high altitude berth with Alpine flair: cozy bunks, warm blankets, hearty meals and outstanding views. The headline in a recent CNN article about Alpine huts read: “Semi-Secret Alpine Huts; Where Hardcore Hikers Party.” “Lens-Popping Mountain Scenery! Vodka-Clear Lakes! Marmots! You Get It All,” said the kicker.

And so it is. We now have not one, but two, Alpine huts of our own in the North Cascades near the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, Washington. The first was a tree house (above); the second is more down-to-earth (top). Both are located in the upper Wenatchee River area adjacent to the Glacier Peak and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Areas.

The property is adjacent to the junction of the Wenatchee River and the Chiwawa River (below) near Plain, Washington. Tip of the fedora to Helmut Vallindaklopf and the Steinke clan for the resources, help and guidance to make it possible. With shower house and sauna in place, we are all set for backcountry adventures this summer.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Late Show

Several students in my class this quarter were struggling with finding ideas for a feature story for a blog or newsletter: “How do you come up with ideas for a feature?” one asked. “I read: a lot,” was my initial reply. “Plus, I’m constantly looking for unique angles on stories that may be interesting and timely to my target audience.”

For example, the subject of “being late” came up recently. A friend lamented that her yoga instructor had regrettably admonished latecomers for their tardiness. Another noted that, in hindsight, he was perhaps too strident in his dealings with students who came late to class. So is lateness more the rule now than the exception?

I learned early the importance of not being late. “On time is late,” announced Fr. King, my Latin teacher in high school, in a booming tenor that projected to the back row. “You see, I begin my class promptly at the top of the hour, and if you’re just showing up, you’re not ready.” At home, we set our clocks 10 minutes fast, just in case.

A college professor of mine would actually lock the door promptly at the top of the hour, so any poor Johnny-come-lately’s had to knock on the door and either suffer through a public humiliation, or simply skip class for that day and suffer the consequences for missing class at a later -- and perhaps even more painful -- date.

So has “being late” become more acceptable since I was a acolyte among the “soldiers of Christ?” Apparently, though some people think it’s okay to take it to an extreme. At Eugene Water & Electric Board, meetings typically started ten minutes late. Once we were ten minutes in, we figured it was okay to proceed without the others.

My advice to students? Never, ever show up late for a job interview. Once you’re hired, you can survey the lay of the land -- and more importantly, the company culture -- to determine what might fly, and what might not fly, when it comes to punctuality. Meanwhile, I tell them to consider “being early,” and use it as prep time.