Tag Archives: Rain

Bill and Greta visiting – Kelly Point, Mazamas, and Portland’s Rhododendron garden!

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Friday, 18-October-2019

 

Sarah’s Mom and Dad came to visit!  If you think Sarah and I have been having a busy year… well, you’d be right.  But Her Mom and Dad haven’t had a boring year either, so when they had a chance to escape up to Portland after a business trip, all of us were really excited to get to visit, catch up, and have a nice weekend of downtime and relaxing.

We had a few adventures scheduled up, but we mostly left room for us to explore and spent time together – Video calls are great, and I am extremely thankful to be living in the future where we can video call literally anywhere in the world without even noticing a delay, but in-person visits are still the ideal.

 

So we walked, explored, took them to some of our favorite restaurants, and explored somewhere we’d never been before – The Rhododendron garden!

First up was Kelly Point park – it’s a lovely walk, and a great way to tire Ollie out a bit to keep the crazy down to almost-sane levels.  It was excellent as always, and we even got to see some cool mushrooms!  Not otters or eagles this time, but it was still fun scanning the surf for them.

Then, we stopped by Sarah’s old workspace at the Mazamas – The Mazamas Mountaineering Center is where she’d been teaching kids to climb this summer, and so she got a chance to show off the walls and the Mazamas library.  I… may have… possibly… gotten a little distracted exploring the library.  I admit to everything, and it was awesome.

After the MMC, we headed to the Rhododendron garden.  We hadn’t been there before, but Sarah had heard amazing things about it, and it sounded like an excellent place to explore.  It was raining, as it so often does in Portland, but honestly I think that made the garden even more beautiful.  The rain on the leaves, and the petals on the flowers… it was lovely.

 

 

From 2018 into 2019 – An Australian Adventure: Fitzroy Island

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Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 27-Dec through 30-Dec-2019

As is tradition, Sarah and I spent Christmas and New Years on an international adventure of epic proportions.  This year, the Lydecker clan (including myself and Henry’s girlfriend Leah) met up in the land down under, the magical land of Australia.

 

Waking up in Cairns, our first order of business was to get ourselves to the docks, to begin the first big adventure of the trip – visiting Fitzroy Island on the Great Barrier Reef!

To warn you, there was one small issue with our trip to Fitzroy… See, Fitzroy is a beautiful tropical paradise, surrounded by coral, with warm clear water and blue skies.  Except when there’s a cyclone hitting the reef.  Then, it’s a beautiful tropical paradise island, covered in rain forest, with interesting trails to hike on.

But we’d planned on exploring the reef, which as I mentioned was currently being hit by a cyclone.  Which is Australian for a Monsoon.  Which is South Pacific for Hurricane.  Which is East Coast for “it’s a right big storm, it is!”.  But would 3ft visibility stop me?  No!  No I say!  I still snorkeled with the best of them!  Which was easy, because no one else was crazy enough to snorkel during a cyclone!

 

Thursday, 27-Dec

Early boat ride to Fitzroy, then hang out for a while as they finish getting our rooms ready.

Hike a bit of the Summit track with Greta, swim a small bit, and learn that I’m impressively bad at snorkling.  Like, really bad.  Impressively, terrifyingly bad.  So Sarah and I Snorkeled in the pool for a bit, which was fun.  Trivia fact: we both look awesome in swim suits.

Why did we have full-body swim suits, you may ask?  Well, this is jellyfish season.  There’s the Man-o-War jellies, which have 3meter long stingers that are sort-of pretty deadly.  But there’s also the Irukandji jellyfish, which is clear, and roughly the size of your thumbnail.  They’re both deadly.  The Irukandji is actually the most venemous jellyfish in the world!  And it’s tiny and effectively invisible!

So we wear stinger suits.  Not only are they a truly amazing fashion statement (not sarcasm, fyi.  I looked awesome), but they protect you from the jellies should they be nearby.  Of course, if there’s any evidence of the jellyfish then the resort would warn everyone to stay out of the water….

Anyways.  Then we Had dinner at Foxy’s (the lounge at the resort), and played the first round of trivia.  It was extremely pop-culture, and since none of us were any good at that…. we turned in and got an early evening.

 

Friday, 28-Dec

Sarah and I do the summit track, out to the lighthouse, after having breakfast in the dining room.

Then do a little more attempted swimming while Sarah relaxes and paints on the beach. I… almost get capable of it!  Slowly, the rock climber learns to enjoy the water!

Then back to the room to cook up some kangaroo stirfry!  Sarah and I cooked, and I’d like to think that we cooked pretty well!

 

Saturday, 29-Dec

Hike out to Nudey beach, which is not actually a nude beach.  They’re very adamant about that, with quite a few signs making mention.  That’s just the name of the beach, okay?

Explore to the “Secret garden”, which isn’t really much of a garden.  But it is a hike in, so I guess it fits with the “secret” aspect?

Then I swim around some more, actually getting almost good at this whole snorkling thing!  Take some more pictures… but still not much to be seen.  I did have a friend, though!  My stinger suit had yellow trim, and this little fish decided that I was his fish-bro, since he’s yellow too. Fish-bro swam next to me the whole time, hanging out and flipping around.

Dinner is at the main restaurant, which is quite lovely!  We eat, we drink, we laugh, and we enjoy ourselves as the rain lashed at the windows.  It was chilly… but honestly really impressive to see the storm over the ocean, and watch the mainland vanish as the storm rolled in.

 

Sunday, 30-Dec

Our last day on Fitzroy 😦

I swim for a while in the morning after we check out from our rooms, and finally see coral! It’s terrifying, because it appears out of the murky depths, but is still beautiful.  Seriously, I freaked out so many times… I had the best visibility to date, but it was still less than 6 ft, and so I’d look left for 2 seconds, and then look straight and see this monster looming ahead of me.  I’d freak out, splash around a bit, and then realize it was just kelp, or something.

But it was lovely, and I got the best pictures of the trip.  So that’s a good thing.

Then we get the ferry back, had some lunch, got on a plane, and flew home to Sydney! It was definitely a long flight, but it wasn’t bad.  And since we layed over in Brisbane we were able to have some awesome tex-mex as a little taste of home!

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Wednesday, 30-May

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Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Wednesday, 30-May

A West Virginia adventure – Spring Break in the New River Gorge, 2018

Saturday, 26-May, through Saturday, 02-June, 2018

 

Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze. Country roads, take me home… to the place, I belong! West Virginia, Mountain momma… take me home, country roads.”

I’m pretty sure that the first real spring break I ever had was with Daniel, years ago, when we drove down to the New River Gorge to climb, and attend the New River Rendezvous. Since that year, we’ve done our best to always link up and go on some glorious climbing trip on or around Memorial Day. This year was a tough one, with Sarah breaking her leg, but she insisted that I go anyways, and let her live vicariously through me as she convalesed at home. I’d already cleared the week as vacation with my boss, even before I was hired for the project, so I was free and clear for a throwback adventure…

 

 

Wednesday

 

Today’s the day! The big day of the trip! And big days start with… breakfast! What? Bacon and eggs? That’s crazy!

But you know what? We’re cool kids, and we can do what we want. So we break with all tradition and have bacon and eggs and coffee for breakfast. Just like the last three days, because it’s awesome.

 

The goal for the day is to go back to where we went on Monday, but to use our new knowledge to set up more routes now that the whole crew had been gathered. The forecast looked good, the sky looked pretty clear, and we were energetic and ready to go.

We started in pretty quickly – taking two cars meant that packing and unpacking was actually really quick, even with six peoples worth of gear, so we found ourselves setting up routes rather impressively quickly…

  • Butterfly Flake, 5.7, Lead – I did this one at least twice, and it was definitely worth doing multiple times. Fun, powerful, and just slightly sketchy due to the fact that you’re climbing a massive, detached flake of rock that probably weighs something around a hundred tons.
  • Shady Lady, 5.7, Lead – Cindy (from Monday) had recommended this route rather intensely… which makes sense, since she set the route herself in years past. I found it to be really fun, but a little weepy and wet thanks to the constant rain.
  • Layback and Enjoy it, 5.10d, TR – Ohh my lord I loved this route. The first crux was gloriously, horribly, evilly hard, and I don’t think I honestly did it cleanly. But I did do it… mostly by going around the hard bit. The second crux went super cleanly though, since I love laybacks. And, interestingly, this route had a pretty big one.
  • The Decameron, 5.10b, TR – This route is the test piece for the area, and it was evil. I didn’t complete it, I’ll fully and honestly admit. The crux is a terrifying traverse over open space, followed by a super thin move. As Daniel said, “Move onto the really bad sloper, then match your hands on the bad sloper, and then move to the worse sloper above. Then jump”.

 

Now, the original forecast for the day was bright and sunny all day… but of course this was the New River Gorge, and weather reports are really not super accurate. None of us were particularly surprised then, when we checked the weather at noon and found that a storm was quickly bearing down on us.

Thankfully, it was still a ways out, so we had time before we had to run out. But climbing always takes longer than expected, and soon enough I was trying to rush up The Decameron to pull it down and hopefully avoid a repetition of our earlier, soaking wet adventure at Sandstonia. I’ll be fully honest with you all here, dear readers; I got my butt handed to me by that route. The earlier 5.10d was easier for me, and I kept getting thrown off the crux move of The Decameron.

 

But I’m not a good loser, and I refused to leave any gear at the top of that climb… or worse, call Daniel over to clean it for me. So I swung over to a slightly easier line, climbed up, and then swung back onto the main route a bit above the crux portion. Because I’m smaht that way. Wicked Smaht.

 

I had the route cleaned, and we could head out. The walk was quick, and soon enough we were heading toward WalMart for boat shoes for everyone.

Wait, boat shoes?

Yup. Boat shoes.

Not everyone is as obsessed with climbing as I am, as it turns out, and so everyone else decided that they should do something other than scrambling up rocks while wearing strange shoes. Instead, they wanted to splash over submerged rocks, also while wearing strange (but strange in a different way) shoes.

They didn’t own those new strange shoes yet, though. So we had to go to Walmart to buy them.

If it isn’t apparent, the summary of the above is: “Everyone else wanted to to whitewater rafting, but needed water shoes. So we bought them at Walmart”.

We also got some food, since we needed it. That turned out to be a mistake, since we were all quite hungry, and shopping while hungry is a bad idea. But we persevered, and finally found ourselves at home, making dinner.

And by that, I mean “we went to an ice cream shop called Fat Eddies, and ate amazing ice cream and I also ate a corn dog which I dipped in the afforementioned ice cream because this is America and I can do crazy things like that if I want to especially when I’m over hungry from climbing and then herding cats in Walmart who are also hungry”

 

Dinner was awesome. Daniel and Erin make chicken foccatia, and it’s delicious.

We all hung out, and I soaked in the hot tub for a while, which was awesome.

Then a well fed sleep.