Monday, July 30, 2007

Table Mountain at last

So, one of the hikes I've been meaning to do for awhile but haven't is Table Mountain. It was a perfect day and a great hike. It was a bit crowded, as this is the first week that the road up to Artist Point has been open; but I managed to find my way to the lonely spots. It's only about 1 mile to the top and from there you can wander all over the place, which I did.

THERE ARE MORE PICS - can't put them all on the blog, but they're all on my website here.

I was also painfully aware of the word "preparedness." I ran into a couple of nice women along with their 11 year old son who fit the mold of "un-prepared." No packs, 1 water bottle, no food, one in tennis shoes and the son was wearing Crocs with no socks. Now to be sure, Table Mountain is not the most difficult hike, but it is alos not the easiest. It gets narrow in places and with most hikes around here, you are frequently only a couple of bad steps from a long fall. Well, to shorten the story, I helped them out and on my way down ran into the son who was already about 15 feet off the path, on an avalanche field, and slipping further. The two women (his mom and aunt) were nowhere to be seen (they were already down to the parking lot). The boy was looking scared and after we got him back up to the trail, I decided I better escort him down the rest of the way.

Me? I was planning on a 3-4 hour, 4-5 mile hike. I had a big breakfast, packed 5 energy bars, two water bottles, a first aid kit and an "essentials" pack (with more food, water purification, and the other 12-15 essentials). And I had wished I'd brought my trekking poles. Live and learn!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hovander Park '07

Been trying for a long time to photograph a be the judge; did I succeed?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cool photo from brother-in-law

So, my brother-in-law Matt is working in Arizona this year, flying tour groups around the Grand Canyon area. He took this photo the other day while driving home from dinner. Pretty cool! Wish I had taken it myself.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cool Post/Picture - update

Some of you were asking about how/why I was there shooting pictures. Well, I wasn't. This is a picture that someone else took.

One of our elders at our church is a Whatcom County Detective, who is also on the S.W.A.T. team. This shot is from a training he had to do; (he's one of the guys on the ground in this picture). That's a blackhawk helicopter btw...

Also, our friend "bandit" and his family are back.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Orca Whales

Julie and I had the amazing chance to go see some Orca Whales. It was an awesome trip! 8 1/2 hours round trip on a gorgeous day, boating through the San Juan Islands all the way out Victoria B.C. and back (note, in the background of some of the whale pictures you can see the Victoria Harbor). Yes, we had to venture much farther then normal to find the whales, but it was worth it. To see the full set of pictures, click here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July and More...

Got a few pictures from the fireworks up here in Bellingham, in addition to a picture from the local baseball team, the Bellingham Bells. Before you make fun of them note that Edgar Martinez, A-Rod and Raul Ibanez among others played baseball for the Bells at one time. Of course, that's when they were affiliated with the Mariners (which they no longer are).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thank You

As Independence Day draws nearer, I am aware of a number of thoughts and emotions;

Our Country's Freedom was bought at a steep price. Hundreds of Thousands of lives have been sacrificed to gain, protect and further the cause of Freedom and Human Rights. Regardless of your political views, on this day we should join together to say "thank you" for all those lives that gained this freedom.

My Grandfather, who was full blooded Japanese, served in the US military. I remember with a smile his recounting that early in his tenure, his CO asked if anyone could cook? He volunteered that he could cook a little and just like that, he joined the "cook staff." Due to a number of reasons, mainly that he suffered from terrible migraines, he was granted an honorable discharge. Then Pearl Harbor hit and all of a sudden the "Japanese Americans" became the enemy. My grandfather was able to keep him and his young family out of the internment camps but that too, came at a steep price as he lost property, possessions and peace of mind. He changed the family name from "Nishimura" to "Weston" to help protect his loved ones. If anyone had a right to be upset with the country he loved, he did. And his dying day, he remained the most patriotic man I know, and I never heard him once complain of the treatment he received during the war.

There are a million stories like this one - lives that were lost, sacrificed, some voluntarily, some not - all contributing towards gaining and keeping the freedoms we have in the United States. To all of those men and women, this young man and my wife say "thank you." It hardly seems enough, but let us never forget the price that was paid as we celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stimpson Nature Reserve

Made it out today (Monday, the 2nd) and enjoyed a beautiful 3 mile loop. Note the Heron in picture 1, flowers in 2 and 3, funky bark in 4 and lots of white mushrooms in 5, and lastly but perhaps most impressive in person was a few very large tree trunks we came across in 6.