Tag Archives: Adventure

Backpacking Foley Ridge, and exploring Linton Meadows


Friday through Sunday, 08-July-2022 through 10-July-2022

Ohh man… the last time I was at Husband lake was… well, not even a year ago, in fact.

Time these days seems to flow… differently. I don’t know how else to say it, but I can’t quite tell the difference between something that happened a year ago, six months ago, or two years ago. Maybe a relic of the new world we live in? Maybe an effect of the chaos and challenges in the office? Whatever it is… It was sure a surprise when I realized that it’s only been ~9months since I was last camped out underneath the stars at Husband Lake.

This time, however, was a bit different.
– I was flying solo, for one. No one to help carry the gear, though also no one to coordinate with.
– It was snowy at the lakes area, which was a major shift. I was expecting a warm day hiking in, but the most recent trip reports mentioned quite a bit of snow still at the far end of the trail… so I packed in some snowshoes.
– I was staying for three days, not two. I had a long weekend to spend out and about, and was looking forward to spending it away from cell signal and the light from monitors.
– Mosquitoes.

With those changes in mind, I packed a slightly different pack than previously. More food, of course, but I also left my inflatable kayak behind. I just couldn’t afford the extra weight, especially with the snowshoes strapped onto my pack. I’d bought them the weekend before, and… I’ll be candid here, I really should have noted the weight when I bought them. They weren’t light, by any stretch of the imagination, and I’d 100% come to regret those extra pounds by the end of the trip.

But we’re talking about the beginning, not the end! In the beginning, I was feeling good.
Scratch that – I was feeling great.

The drive to the trailhead was gorgeous. Sunny, warm, and absolute perfect convertible weather. I got going fairly early in the morning, and listened to amazing music the whole way out. Not emo, by any stretch, but… wistful? Wistful electronic music, if that makes any sense. (Ed Note: See the link below to the flagship song from Ben’s playlist!)

I drove, I parked, I hiked.

I felt good! I had my knee braces on, of course, but I felt strong. Or… I felt exhausted, and tired by the heavier-than-normal pack, but I felt up for the hike. I was able to push through, and I kept my legs moving and my arms swinging. My poles planted firmly, my boots were stable, and my progress was consistent.

I was… I was good!

I’ve learned something, in the last few years.

I need to meditate. I need the quiet times, when I can let my brain wander.

But I can’t sit and meditate like a monk in a mountaintop retreat. My body craves action and movement. I come alive when I’m kinetic, when I’m burning energy and traveling through the world. Life is movement for me, and movement is life.

So how do I rectify these opposing requirements? I drive. I hike, I climb, and I move. But I move in ways that allow distraction. They provide distance from my phone, and from the never-ending stream of information and distraction that our global society provides. I escape, distract my body, and force my mind to look inward and outward and all around.

It’s glorious, and I absolutely have my best thoughts and epiphanies while driving or hiking. Unsurprisingly, this excursion was no different.

I thought, my mind wandered.

I made it to camp, I set up the tent, and I allowed my mind to continue wandering.

I read some of my book, I ate food, and I hid from the mosquitoes. From the seemingly infinite crush of buzzing bloodsucking bastards. I learned that my citronella wristbands didn’t work, and I hid inside my protected tent and enjoyed the peace that only comes from being disconnected from the internet and the infinite connectivity it provides.

The next day dawned bright and cold.

I got up, cooked my breakfast, and read a bit more of my book. I pondered some of my epiphanies from the previous days hike, and braced myself to brave the stinging, biting, buzzing world outside my insect-proof mesh.

When I did leave my shielded room, I moved quickly. I’d learned that I had approximately 15s before the mosquitoes found me, so I packed my gear in my tent and then zipped off into the valley between The Husband and The Three Sisters.

I wandered, and took breaks whenever I found a nice spot that was sufficiently windy to shield me from the bloodthirsty masses. I gazed at the mountains, let my mind wander, and loved being active and outside. It was amazing!

That evening, I rested some more and kept the theme of reading and pondering. I’d had some unexpected news about my job the previous week, so I had a lot to think about… next steps, options, future paths that I could find myself on. It was good to have the disconnected downtime.

My last morning was cold and beautiful – just like the previous morning, but even clearer than I’d hoped it would be. The mountains were gorgeous in the distance, and I wished that I had infinite time and energy to just walk right up to the peaks that seemed only a few miles distant.

I know, I know. I skipped a lot of time, here… but you know what? It’s hiking and meditating and reading. What do you expect, hmm? Most of my blog posts about hikes are just “Hey, I hiked. It was fun. Then I finished”. This is pretty exceptional detail, here!

Okay. I ate breakfast, and hiked out. I went quickly, keeping to the “only stop for 12s, or when it’s windy” rule to avoid the mosquitoes. I made amazing time, in fact, finishing back at my car in approximately half the time it took me to hike in.

I drove home, listening to the same music as I had on the drive in… but pausing it more often to consider some of the ideas and plans I’d come up with on the hike.

Pretty sure that’s a good sign, if I’ve ever seen one.

Appendix A: Music Video. “I miss the future” by Lost Kings

Appendix B: Mosquitoes.
I didn’t really make it clear just how many of these absolute bastards I ran into. Single slaps would smoosh 3+ mosquitoes most times… I think my max was five.
Coming home, I counted ~160 bites on my body… though interestingly none of them really itched. Not sure if it’s a new type of ‘skeeter, or if my body was just so absolutely inundated by histamines that it couldn’t process.

July 4th at Elk Meadows


Monday, 04-July-2022

Let’s see… it’s been just about two months since my last excursion to Elk Meadows. Not too bad! Means I’m finally branching out, at least a little bit, right? Maybe?

Ehh, you know what? It’s all good – I love Elk Meadows, and it’s a perfect hike for me. A nice drive, a simple walk, and beautiful views that never fail to stun the senses and alight the mind. Just… yeah. Wait ’till you see these.

So July 4th was a bit weird this year… The world isn’t doing super great, if we’re being candid, and I know a lot of folks are skipping July 4th due to a distinct lack of independence and freedom… But you know what? It’s a day off work, and I don’t usually go in for big celebrations or fireworks anymore anyways.

I mean… don’t get me wrong, I do miss fireworks, but… After so many years curled up with Ollie in the closet comforting her against the explosions and scary sky noises I’ve kinda grown accustomed to not going out. Combine that with the whole pandemic and everything and… yeah. I’m okay with laying low and going for a hike instead.

I met up with my friend Lexi, quite spontaneously as it turns out. She’s been in the States for quite a while, but somehow her Australian origins meant that she’d forgotten that the 4th is actually a holiday… dangers of working in Academia, I guess? People don’t tell you that you don’t need to go into the lab that day, when there isn’t really a scheduled work schedule?

Anyways. We were texting as I ate my brunch, and made a spur of the moment decision for her to join in, and for us to get some miles under our boots together.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day – with just a bit of clouds scraping over Mt. Hood as we ascended up toward the meadow. Lots of stops for photo ops, and lots of good time chatting and enjoying the weather and good company.

We even saw a snake, and tons of tadpoles!

Yeah. Hike. Hard to type a story about it… we explored, walked around, visited my favorite campsite and lounged at the shelter for a bit. Then hiked down, enjoyed more views and photo ops… and even hit up the Timberline Lodge on the way back into Portland!

Since Timberline didn’t have quite a… extensive selection in terms of food (in short – COVID’s hit them hard, and all they had were a few appetizers), so instead I headed back home for dinner. Dropped Lexi off in Portland, said goodnight, and then braced myself to brave the July 4th traffic on the way home.

Because, you see dear reader, I have the benefit of hindsight to know that the highway would be jammed due to the fireworks. Not because of people driving… no. No, that would make sense! Instead, the highway had become a parking lot for people watching the fireworks on the river.

Which… seems… slightly unsafe, to me, but then again I am very prissy about “not parking on highways” and “using roads to drive on”.

So I got home, thankfully no worse for wear, and made tortellini. It was delicious.

A Washington Adventure – Seattle Aquarium!


Saturday, 18June-2022

It’s been a while since I’ve had an adventure like this, hasn’t it? One big adventure with a few different blog posts dedicated to it? Well… Here we go! Adventure to Seattle, solo-style!

A while back, I was granted citizenship to Austria, through an update to the Austrian Constitution allowing repatriation for descendants of those displaced by war. I compiled paperwork over six months, sent it all in, and then waited almost nine months. Then, out of the blue, I get a package in the mail – a very official package with my “Bescheid” included – my new citizenship!

Now that I have it, though, I need a passport… and the closest consulate is in Seattle. I haven’t been for a few years, and I’ve never had an opportunity to either explore the city on my own or to go backpacking in the Olympic National Forest… which happens to be right across Puget Sound from Seattle…

Of all my adventures and exploration around Seattle, the Aquarium takes the note as the one I wanted to dedicate an entire post to. Simply because there’s so many pictures!

I mean… how can you NOT stand and play photographer to a darling Giant Pacific Octopus? Or phosphorescent coral? OR THE OTTERS???

Anyways. I went to the Aquarium with my friend Nicole, and we had a blast! It was my first time there, but her second, so she played a bit of a tour guide for me… pointing out neat things as we wandered, and making sure to comment on my ability to poke sea cucumbers and urchins.

Yup. They let us poke things! Of all the parts of the Seattle Aquarium, I have to say the tide pools are my favorite… not just from an animal perspective, but from an engineering perspective… See, the Aquarium is right above Puget Sound, and they have pumps and channels that actually pull water directly from the sound into the building!

That water is then… somehow… turned into waves? And those waves feed the large enclosed pools that fill the first room you go into – all of which have animals safe for human contact! It’s so cool!

So, without further ado, please enjoy the many awesome sights!