Category Archives: Random stuff

Not adventures :)

Getting in my vaguely regular practice at the range – 22-Sept-2020

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Tuesday, 22-Sept-2020

 

I have various skill sets that I try to keep fresh – driving in the snow, for example.  Not skills that I’d always need, but ones that I feel are important enough to spend time keeping at least vaguely fresh.

One of those is hitting a target with a gun – Not something I’d hopefully ever need, but something that I feel is a good thing to keep at least competent at.

 

So, Laurel and I headed to the range after work on Tuesday.

It’s a range that I’d been to before – it’s actually underground, strangely enough, up in Washington.  Nothing super fancy, but definitely a solid setup.  Good safety precautions, pleasant staff… really all that I could ask for in a range.

We parked, signed in, rented a pistol, and headed in.

I mean… that’s really it.  We shot for about an hour, switching the pistol out once and then renting a rifle to complete the practice.  Just reminding ourselves how to load a magazine, how much recoil to expect, that sort of thing.  The range-master was excellent, and gave some really good tips too.

Simple, easy, and enjoyable.  With pizza afterward?  A good evening indeed.

 

Ohh, and here’s the pictures.  Did pretty well for not having shot in a few years.  Even better – they had a COVID-19 target, so… I saved us, guys.  Shot it dead.  All better now, right?

Oregon Wildfires – the air was not good. Mid-September, 2020

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September, 2020

 

Man.

2020 is just… not great, man.

It’s scary – I saw someone say that we shouldn’t think of this year as the worst wildfires in a decade… but instead, think of them as the best wildfires for the next decade.  Every year, they get a little bit worse… hopefully we can reverse it, but realistically…

Well, let’s just simplify it and say that I’ll be buying a heavier-duty respirator, instead of the small one that I’ve got now.  Maybe one of those ones with a self-contained tank, or hip-filter or something?  We’ll see.  I’ll look on the fire-fighters supply store and see what I can source this coming Winter.

For now though, the fires burn, and I stay indoors.

From the 10th to the 17th, roughly, Wilsonville stood on the world stage as having some of the worst air quality in the world – top 10 for almost every day, and literal worst for a few hours on the 10th.  My worksite was closed that whole time, though thankfully I already have a working from home setup, so it didn’t affect my ability to get things done too harshly.

Physically, it was rough – headaches, light nausea, that sort of thing… but again, thanks to already having a full fridge and a good set of facemasks, I was pretty well protected from the ash and smoke.  I just stayed home, and did my best to not refresh the air quality page and the evacuation orders page too often.

 

There’s not much else to say, really… I took a few pictures to give some visuals to it… so sit back and enjoy this quick glimpse into what living on Mars will probably look like.

I guess, since we’re having so much trouble getting a manned mission to Mars set up … we’ve decided to bring Mars here?

Sorry, that was the only viable joke I could think of for this whole thing, so I had to fit it into the blog post somewhere.

A long staycation on July 4th – Hiking on Hood

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So my company was hit pretty hard by COVID-19, and instituted a 10% furlough program. Reduced pay, but balanced by various furlough days scattered throughout the year… primarily around holidays. July 4th was one of those, which meant that I had Thursday through Monday off from work – the 2nd through the 6th. Five full days for adventure!

My original plan was to drive out to City of Rocks in Idaho. I reserved a campsite maybe two weeks beforehand, and started planning out what to bring, and what route to take.

But… It’s a 10 hour drive, shortest route. 11, by the route I was thinking of taking. And that doesn’t include stops for gas, food, and the stretch breaks that I’d absolutely need on a trip that long. I kept trying to talk myself into it, but in the end I just talked myself out of the trip.

I canceled the reservations, and put together a new plan. A staycation, full of relaxation, organizing my new apartment, and re-aquainting myself with the Pacific Northwest…

 

 

Thursday, 02-July-2020

 

The adventure started on a Thursday.

The plan was something a bit non-standard; to hike up Mt. Hood during the day, to see how high up the glacier I could get. Sort of an endurance and altitude acclimatization test, if you will. My goal was to get at least as high as I’d gotten before, and ideally all the way up to the base of Hell’s Kitchen – the caldera of Hood itself.

I wasn’t particularly set on this goal, though. I knew it was pretty ambitious, and ascending in the middle of the day is absolutely not the ideal time. But it’s not dangerous, as long as you consider your surroundings and conditions, so I was looking forward to seeing how I’d do.

The drive out was lovely, but as I got onto the flanks of Hood, and neared Government Camp, I had a realization. I pulled over to confirm, and yes. I’d left my hiking boots at the apartment.

Well, okay. Part of ascending up a glacier is having crampons. I had them, but they were worthless without boots to attach them to. Technically I could probably hook them onto my running shoes… but they’re not waterproof, and that’s a singularly horrible idea.

 

Fine, Hood it out. What else’s around?

A lot, obviously. It’s Mt. Hood, man! I’ve got a whole forest ahead of me! I can go anywhere!

So I went to Tom, Dick, and Harry. It’s a peak that Sarah and I had done before, above the beautiful Mirror Lake – another hike that I’d done pretty regularly recently. Decision reached, I found the parking lot and headed in.

 

It’s July 4th weekend, sort of, so I wasn’t particularly surprised when the trailhead was nearly completely full of cars. I mean, it’s a Thursday… But COVID has everyone home, I guess? Meh, who knows? It’s all good. I parked as far away from people as I could, and headed into the woods.

There were a lot of people, but it’s thankfully not too hard to stay away from folks on trails like this – I admit that I hopped off the side of the trail more times than I’d have preferred, which definitely added some time to the hike, but you know what? It’s worth it.

The hike itself was exactly as I’d remembered it – beautiful, fairly calm, and great views. It was pretty toasty, definitely, but I felt really good. I think it’s all the time wearing a mask at work – seriously, I’ve noticed a definite boost in my hiking endurance, even more than when I was regularly running. It might help that I’ve been biking, and have access to a gym, but… I still think it’s too soon for those to have kicked in any appreciable amount.

You heard it here first, kids. Wearing a mask gives you better endurance. Woo!

 

Anyways, I hiked, it was beautiful, and then I summitted. It’s one of those surprise summits, where you don’t quite realize that you’re already there until you look over and – BOOM – Mt. Hood is standing proud directly in front of you.

It was excellent – Relaxed, had a snack, and even played with / got mobbed by some chipmunks. The “got mobbed by” is quite accurate, actually, since they tried to loot my backpack by starting to climb into the pockets… while it was less than a foot away from me. I feel bad admitting it, but I ended up having to fully kick them away, when yelling, tossing pebbles, and then smacking them with my hands didn’t work. They’re persistent little buggers.

The hike down was quick and painless – I stopped at Mirror Lake to admire the view and take a quick rest, but mostly I just trucked onward down the mountain, and back to the car. In total, I think I did ~1,800ft elevation, and maybe 8 miles. Not bad, especially as the start to an adventure weekend!