Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category.

Backpacking at Lena Lake

This weekend Christine and I hiked in the Olympic National Forest up to Lena Lake. Christine hadn’t been backpacking in 6 or 7 years and this is a great hike to get back into things with. It starts with a moderate climb that is a little boring, but once you get to the top the trail meanders through nice forest for a couple of miles before coming to the massive Lena Lake. There are tons of campsites around the lake so even on a busy weekend (and it was busy this weekend) you can find a secluded spot. We found one on the north end of the lake a bit up from the water and well out of earshot of our nearest neighbor.

We made one trip to Lena Lake before, in May 2000. It was very interesting for me to constrast the lake conditions. The lake has 2 major streams that feed it, both on the north end. In 2000 both of these streams were dry and I hiked a couple of miles up one into the Brothers Wilderness. This year they were both flowing fastand loud. The lake itself was flooded by around 3-5′ and many of the lakeside camp sites were flooded.

Christine had a great time and asked me to remind her how relaxing and fun hiking and camping are whenever she tries to think of excuses for not going. This is good news for me because I’m hoping to go on at least one backpacking trip and one overnight bike camping trip per month through September.

More photos…

Shi Shi Beach hiking trip

Two weekends ago I went on a 3 day road and backpacking trip with my friend David. I’ve known him longer than anyone who isn’t a family member and we’ve been great friends for almost all of that time. He had some time off and we decided to do a trip together on the Olympic Peninsula. We try to do something like this every few years.

The weather was looking super iffy on the morning of June2nd and we spent most of it looking at weather reports and wondering if we shouldhead east (away from rain) instead of going west (into it). Finally we gave in and decided toignore the weather reports and head west. Like many great trips wekicked it off with a large meal and hit an Ethopian Resturant on the way out of town. During lunch the rain slowed down and things started to look better.

We had good ferry Karma and arrived at the Edmonds/Kingston ferry with no wait time for a ferry plus getting loaded onto one of thefirst lanes to be unloaded. The drive to Port Angeles was uneventful except forme making a wrongturn where we drove a 40 minute loop around the Port Gamble Indian Reservation (and yes, there is a casino in Port Gamble) beforepopping out exactly where we started and getting back on track.

In Port Angeles we arrived at the ranger station 2 minutes too late to get a bear canister, but the ranger told us we wouldn’t need one for our first night, andwe figured we wouldn’t have any food left by the second night.As the day turned into evening we realized that we had no flashlight and found aopen hardwarestore to buy one, then headed up into the park to go to Olympic Hot Springs.

Passing Lake Mills on the way to the Hot Springs

The trail into the Hot Springs was an old road so the hiking was super easy. We saw a few other groups coming out of the hot springs and an abandoned biking bottom of the side of the trail, but not much else on the hike in. We went to the campground first and setup our stuff, then went down and found the pools themselves.

The hotsprings were okay, but not great. They have higher algae growth than most springs that I’ve been too, and someone seems to think that using old car floor matts is an appropriate way to seal up the pools. I found it kind of disgusting, but I’ve also been spoiled by the wonderful hotsprings along highway 12 in the Idaho panhandle. David loves the springs and spent more time in them. We had some great conversations about how to best design a house that he is building and what the world will be like after peak oil.

While the hotsprings were lackluster the campground was great. It was mostly empty (only one other group was there), had bear wires for storing food, and the campsites were set pretty far apart and were flat. The only other people camping there were a little strange and very drunk and disappeared (while leaving their fire going) shortly after we got there. We shared a couple of beers and a little food and went to bed.

The next morning we headed out an on the road to Neah Bay to find Shi Shi beach.

Getting to Shi Shi beach is an adventure. It is a roughly 4 hour drive plus ferry ride from Seattle. In the last two hours of the drive (from Port Angeles) you’ll only pass through two communities before Neah Bay and both are very small with limited services. The scenery is nice though,and that is what really matters.

Once at Neah Bay you need to jump through a few hoops to get to Shi Shi beach. You need to pick up a Recreation Pass ($10) at one of a number of businesses in town. This pays for the trail to the beach. If you are with David you also need to find some fish for dinner. We asked around before finally being pointed to the fish processing dock and David walked down and was able to buy a full salmon,right off of the boat, for $5. $5, for a ~5lb fish. $1/lb for stuff that costs $20/lb back in Seattle. The day was looking up.

We arrived at the trailhead to discover a couple of rangers and a police officer looking at two trashed cars. They told us to park at the private parking lots (someone’s front lawn) a 1/2 mile back up the road. This cost another $10, but that is part of the Shi Shi adventure. You need to pay three people to get there — an Olympic National Park backcountry pass, the Makah Indian Reservation for trail work, and a private individual for parking so that your car isn’t broken into. Did we really want to go here that badly?

We did.

A cool tree along the Shi Shi beach trail

We loaded up our stuff and headed in. Since we didn’t have a bear canister we only brought food for that night and thought we’d find a nice breakfast in the morning elsewhere. The trail in started pretty nicely, it was mostly boardwalk and turnpike along some second and third growth forest. After about a mile it turned into a trek through the mud in second growth forest. The only people that we saw on the trail were a couple of rangers who passed us (going into the beach) and a odd woman walking very fast away from the beach who asked us if the wild raspberries were poisionous.

At the end of the trail we found a steep bluff down to the beach and the rangers were talking to a large group about their camping situation. We passed through and broke out of the woods onto the beach.

Shi Shi Beach, looking North

What a beach. There are large sea stacks at the points on either end of the beach. The beach is about 2 miles long and has streams coming across it in about 4 places. The stacks at the south of the of beach are called the Point of Arches and there are 3 arches that you can see through as you approach them.

We walked about half a mile down the beach, setup camp, and had some dinner. The fish was awesome:

Grilling salmon in the fire

I’ve only recently started eating fish (after 15 years of being a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian) and this was the best that I’ve had so far. I expect that the setting, being hungry,and the freshness had a lot to do with that.

After eating about 2lbs of salmon and an ear of corn each we walked down to the end of the beach and back. The area around the Point of Arches was the most interesting and we waited there for sunset:

Sunset over the Point of Arches

Any thoughts of skipping this trip due to rain were clearly unfounded. The weather was wonderful and this might have been one of my more memorable sunsets (especially in Washington State). On the walk back up the sunset just got better and better.

We got back to our camp at dusk, restarted our fire, moved it a little bit closer to our sitting rock, and sat back and relaxed. What a wonderful weekend. I hope to make it back another time.

Relaxing by the fire

The rest of the photos.

Reviving the blog, and an introduction

I setup this blog back in July and promptly forgot about it mostly because I didn’t tell anyone about it.

Last week the subject of blogs came up on the iBOB listand I remembered that I had this blog.

Kent Peterson, also a new iBOB blogger, just posted a nice intro, and I thought perhaps I should do the same.

I’m a guy with way too many hobbies and not enough time to spend on all of them. On the internet I’m best known for my cycling hobby, where I enjoy riding and working on bikes. I host a bunch of mailing lists at bikelist.organd I’m active on even more of them. I enjoy experimenting with bicycles and have a good memory for obscure parts details, so friends (on and off of the internet) often ask me about weird gearing, brake systems, and stuff along those lines. I own a lot of bicycles but the common theme is that most are lugged steel (all are steel) and can fit fenders and wider tires. These days most of my riding is done on my Bridgestone RB-T, but that could change by the time you read this. Most recently I’ve been spending a lot of time off of the bike due to a knee injury, but I’m currently doing physical therapy to fix these issues.

Professionally I’m a software developer for Microsoft Exchange (an email server). I work on the High Availability group, which as the name implies, figures out how to make your companies email servers stay online as much as possible. I’ve been working in Exchange for 9 years and have worked on many aspects of this product,but most of my time was spent working on the internet protocols (SMTP,POP, IMAP, NNTP).

My list of hobbies changes about as often as my list of bikes, but here is what is keeping me interested right now:

  • Woodworking — We needed some custom radiator covers at home, and the cost of buying even ugly ones was quite high. I’m still getting around to building those, but in the meantime I’ve been doing some smaller practice projects. My most recent one was a end table for our bedroom that holds the bedroom stereo. I’m trying to build projects faster than I buy tools, but I really like tools and this is difficult for me. Recently I’ve been trying to find a cheap used jointer on craigslist, but they all sell before I send email.
  • Photography — I’ve been interested in photography since high school whenmy father and I setup a darkroom and he taught me how to process B&W film. My shooting tends to be on again and off again, with lots of photos being taken on vacations. Perhaps I should start a photo blog to remind myself to take photos. My favorite subjects are landscapes, but recently I’ve been having fun taking some sports photos (cyclocross racing for instance) or photos at concerts (when they’ll let me bring my camera). My camera of choice has been a Pentax SLR (these days it is their Digital SLR, *ist D) for pretty much all of that time, I like their user interfaces and smaller lighter weight than most of the competition. On the other hand I’m a strong believer that the photographer makes the photograph, not the photographer, and don’t think that choice of camera is that important to the final outcome.
  • Beer Brewing — I brew my own beer and make my own mead (honey wine). My beer preferences arefor hoppy or dark (or both) ales. My biggest brewing problem is that I normally brew faster than I want to drink it, so I need to find other people to help out. Currently on tap I have a pale ale, a porter, a hefeweizen (german style, not NW style), a sweet/strong ale that was supposed to be a clone of Mac and Jacks, and some peach/ginger mead. Aging and fermenting I have a light ginger mead and two kegs of a barleywine or strong ale. I mostly brew using all grain and in the last year have been working with my friend Peter to build a new brewing system that can do larger batches (so we can split them) and which is more efficient. There will probably be a post on that later.
  • House Stuff — My wife and I own a 1908 Craftsman house in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. There are always projects to be done. Last year we refinished the dining room (a messy project since it involved removing a layer of plaster and 4 layers of wallpaper), the living room, and the office. This year we are working on the kitchen and pantry and I have some small project ideas for the basement.The basement is always a challenge because it is a little small and fighting for space we have bicycles, woodworking, beer making, computers, and laundry.
  • Computers — I host a tiny army of servers from my basement. They serve up this blog, the mailing lists, and personal websites and email for family members and friends. I use both FreeBSD and Windows Server, but I’ve been moving more things to Windows Server as I’ve had the time (not that there is anything wrong with FreeBSD, I just don’t want to keep on top of security patches for two operating systems). For the last 18 months I’ve also had a machine running Windows Media Center which records TV for us (both HDTV using an over the air antenna and regular cable feeds). I enjoy writing software in my free time, but since I also do this at work it usually gets pushed low down on the priority list and happens very very slowly.
  • Biodiesel — My wife and I own two Volkswagen TDIs and run them on 100% biodiesel. Biodiesel is a diesel alternative fuel which is primarily made from vegetable oil. I’m somewhat active in the biodiesel scene in Seattle and host nwbiodiesel’s websiteand have helped them with organizing meetings and their annual forum. I don’t like cars and think that most americans (probably including myself) use their cars way too much. Using them less and using high fuel efficient cars fueled withrenewable and cleansources is something that I’m very interested in. More on this in another post.
  • Music — I really enjoy listening to music and going to shows. These days I listen to a lot of alt country (think Wilco) or alt pop (think Death Cab for Cutie) but my musical tastes are vast and I’m always learning about new bands. I’m a member and supporter of KEXP(I wish every major city had a station like KEXP) and often listen to them at work. I’m lucky to have a lot of friends and a wife with similar musical tastes who turn me on to new music. As I get older I strive to keep up with new music and never to stagnate and get stuck on my musical tastes from my twenties.

Anyway, there it is, a short snapshot of what makes me tick. A common theme is that I’m technical (perhaps overly so) and like to know what makes things tick and how to make things myself.