Brian's Journal - 2006

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06/27/2006   Corner Brook  
In June 2006 Mazie told us that Dad did not have long to live so Susan and I and the boys drove up to Vancouver and caught a series of two or three flights to Newfoundland. Writing these entries 15 years later, I have forgotten many of the details but I did take quite a few photos and wrote a fair amount in some of my birding notes which partially explains my focus on birdwatching, hiking and other outings in this account. I didn't take any photos of Dad nor did I write anything at the time about my visits with him. He was not feeling well and was not up for a lot of visiting; most of the time I visited him alone and never for very long.
I did pray with him several times and he seemed to find that reassuring. After being skeptical of organized Christianity for his entire adult life, I think he returned to the faith of his youth at the end. Shortly before his death, about a month after we returned home, he prayed with a couple of friends (who happened to be Seventh-day Adventists) and asked Jesus to forgive his sins and save him. Mazie reported that after that he was a changed man, gracious and loving toward her and Jennifer, with whom he had for a couple of years refused to speak after she reproached him about how he was treating her mother. I guess he found a peace which had long eluded him.
Susan in the kitchen
Daniel recovering from the flight
White-throated Sparrow
Anyhow Mazie didn't have room to put us all up at their house so we rented an inexpensive apartment for the week from the nearby Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. The campus bordered an extensive forested park with direct access to the Corner Brook Stream Trail system which the boys and I explored on our first full day in the city. We were particularly intrigued by a big leaky water main which ran down the hill into the city from a reservoir on Corner Brook Stream. From an article in the Corner Brook Telegram I later learned that the wooden-stave pipeline fed the hydroelectric station for the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Company and would continue to leak for at least the next 15 years following our visit. I was also intrigued by the birds and flowers. The orchid display was particularly impressive and included the Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) common in New Hampshire along with the three species pictured below.
The wooden-stave pipeline
Showy Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae)
Showy Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae)
A leak
Bog Candle (Platanthera dilatata)
Marsh Leopard Orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis)
Excerpted from birding notes:
From Sir Wilfred Grenfell college campus, walked down to Margaret Bowater Park via O'Connell, then followed road up along Corner Brook nearly to the power plant. Turned R onto trail, crossed Watsons brook, climbed up onto ridge to the E and over to the pipeline. Followed pipeline to top of hill, turned WSW along powerline, then cut W down first little stream to Watson's brook. Crossed brook, climbed steep bank into burned area, continued W to trail and followed it directly WNW back to campus.
Followed the reverse of this route in the afternoon with the boys, took some photographs, confirmed ID's of Boreal Chickadee, Solitary (Blue-headed) Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
06/28/2006   Cedar Cove  
Susan stayed in Corner Brook while the boys and I joined Jennifer, Daley and Isaac on an outing to Cedar Cove on the rugged and exposed west coast of Newfoundland south of the entrance to the Bay of Islands.
Village west of Corner Brook
Little Port from the trailhead
Starting out for Cedar Cove
Bogs along the trail
Cedar Cove from the trail
Cedar Cove from above
Excerpted from birding notes:
Followed trail from Little Harbor, ate lunch in sheltered stream gully.
With the boys, Jennifer, Daley and Isaac. Birding was secondary. Very windy, WSW 30+ gusting to 60+ at times on the beach bluff overlooking the cove. Wind was whipping spray off tops of breakers on the point to the N and sweeping it overhead, making a continuous light salt rain, wind-driven drops stinging our faces. Wind scoured the meadows and buffeted the treetops - hard to see or hear birds.
Jennie
Daley, Jennie and Isaac on the trail
Isaac and Daley
Daniel batted pebbles into the teeth of the gale. Both boys leapt off the bluff into the wind hoping that it would support them. It didn't.
David leaping into the gale
Daniel batting rocks
Daniel and David eating lunch
Iris
Black-and-white Warbler along the trail to Cedar Cove
Wild (and tasty) Strawberries
06/29/2006   Humber Arm  
After a leisurely morning we retraced our route out along the Humber Arm shore west from Corner Brook as far as the BlowMeDown nature trail, stopping here and there for photos or a little exploration. We did not have time to hike the nature trail but we walked out to the mouth of BlowMeDown brook where we found blue bellflowers and ripe strawberries growing among the rusty cobbles above the high tide line. On the way home we stopped to photograph a rainbow spanning Humber Arm and a white church overlooking the bay.
Camp at the mouth of BlowMeDown Brook
Rainbow over Humber Arm
Church along Humber Arm
06/30/2006   BlowMeDown Brook  
In the morning I did a bird run on the Corner Brook Stream trails, about which I recorded the following notes:
I followed trails from the college down to Watson Brook, stopping to identify a Magnolia warbler and count other warblers, then ran up past the power plant part way up to the pipeline. There I ran into another patch of birds, then ran and walked the trail up to the pipeline crossing at the top of the hill, rejoining the trail system at the next crossing a hundred yards or so farther up the pipeline. From there on the birds were pretty quiet. I followed the Corner Brook trails up to Corner Brook pond, spent 20 minutes talking to a man there about the area, then ran back down along the pipeline, pausing on the way to study toads mating in a puddle. Bathed in Corner Brook above the powerplant before climbing the hill back to the college.
On the way back I watched toads mating in a puddle along the pipeline - about 10 couples and another 20 single males. The females are large and brown, the males smaller and more ochre-colored. Each female had a male riding her back, clasping her tightly with his forelegs wrapped around her body just aft of her forelegs, leaving his hind legs free to kick away competitors. The single males sat, paddled, approached other males and attempted to mount them but quickly lost interest and backed off. A few puffed out their throats and trilled. When a single male encountered a couple, he attempted to butt or pull the married guy off his mate but the married guy always kicked them away with his hind legs. The females seemed to cooperate with this, hunkering down on the floor of the shallow puddle or clambering away from the aggressor. Some of the females were trailing a chain of gelatinous black-yolked eggs, but they didn't seem to care.
Wild Rose
Susan on the trail to the swimming hole
BlowMeDown Brook swimming hole
In the afternoon we returned to BlowMeDown Brook and hiked the nature trail, as I noted in my birding notes:
Hiked up the Blow-me-down nature trail about a half mile to the turn-off to the swimming hole, hung out and swam for a while, then hiked back. Had hoped to hike further but Swee, Daniel and David had only sandals. The stream was up from rain last night, the color of weak coffee but not too cold for swimming.
I remember that I dove into the brown water and missed a large angular boulder hidden under the surface by only an inch or two. Sobering.
07/01/2006   Western Brook Pond  
Susan on the trail to Western Brook Pond
Greater Yellowlegs in breeding habitat
Bakeapple Berry
Bogs along the trail to Western Brook Pond
Cliffs along Western Brook Pond
Mountains at the head of Western Brook Pond
Adapted from birding notes:
Susan and I walked into the pond together via the Steady Loop, arriving at the boat just in time for the final boarding call. I didn't count birds on the way back on the trail.
A strong SW wind was sweeping across the bogs making birding difficult. Most of the ID's were by sound nonetheless, and there were a number of songs I couldn't identify. Of those, most were probably redstarts or yellow warblers. We saw a few additional species from the boat, as noted. The overcast lifted and even broke up a little during the boat ride up the pond then coalesced again and dropped down even lower than before, obscuring the cliffs in haze,as we walked back to the parking lot.
Daniel and David outside Java Jack’s Restaurant
Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse - Rocky Harbour
Susan, Daniel and David at Spruce Grove Cottages
07/02/2006   Gross Morne hike  
Jennie and I did a brother-sister hike up Gross Morne while the boys went exploring with Susan for the day.
Overlooking a moose
View up Ferry Gulch
Jennie on the trail
Wilson's Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Jennie above Ferry Gulch
Adapted from birding notes:
We started up around 11 after chatting with a couple birders from Bangor ME who told us about Mourning Warblers singing at Berry Hill CG. Stopping frequently to listen and look for birds, we reached the overlook around 1 with the summit still shrouded by the STCU overcast. When we reached the overlook Jennie spotted a cow moose in one of the ponds below us and we watched it for a few minutes before it moseyed into the low spruce along the shore and disappeared.
I persuaded Jennie to do the loop backwards so we hiked up Ferry Gulch to the pond near the head of the valley. E of the N end of the pond I noticed a faint trail leading directly up the alder/birch slope to the barrens. We followed it from the pond - bits of caribou hair strewn all the way up, small pond in a hollow at the top, ledgy knolls with tuckamore and boggy meadows in between. (Wilson's Warblers were singing in the alders and Blackpolls were carrying food to their young hidden in the stunted firs.) Descending back to the pond, we continued up the trail to the summit with stops for photos, ptarmigan, views and a quick lunch in the lee of a spruce clump.
North slope of Gross Morne
Rock Ptarmigan
Me on top of Gross Morne
Rocky Harbor from Gross Morne
Arctic Hare
Hanging dead chickens
We reached the summit at 5PM, lingered briefly for a couple of summit photos and started down. At the top of the big gully we flushed an Arctic Hare which bounded away but fortunately stopped while still within photo range. Dad and I used to snare them in the winter in the hills around Sop's Arm. They were pure white then but in the summer they turn gray with black ears. As I recall, the meat was dark and lean and quite mild in flavor for game. After our hike Jamie met us for dinner that evening at Java Jack’s Restaurant in Rocky Harbor and taught the boys how to fold the napkins into the form of dead chickens. Although 15 years later I do not recall what we ate, I do retain a very favorable memory of the food.
07/03/2006   Rocky Harbor  
Bog without Mourning Warblers
Building the cairn
The cairn
A wet day. I birded a little around our motel, the Ocean View Cottages (I think) in the morning then drove out to Berry Hill CG where I failed to find any Mourning Warblers. In the afternoon we visited the lighthouse where the boys built a spectacular cairn in the style of Andy Goldsworthy.
07/04/2006   BlowMeDown hike  
Larch snag
Magnolia Warbler
The BlowMeDowns from below
Excerpted from birding notes:
The BlowMeDowns are a flat-topped range of orange-weathering serpentine which is exposed farther south and east but capped in the BlowMeDown Brook area by a blocky gray-weathering gabbro/diabase (according to the geological map). Little vegetation grows on the dirt and gravel serpentine slopes but up on top, the ledgy and rocky rim slopes gently south to broad marshy meadows and a few ponds. Vegetation on top is the usual barrens carpet of black spruce, common juniper, alpine birch (or willow), alder, crowberry, sedges, reindeer moss and more. Marshy meadows are mostly sedges I think, with lots of tiny sundew plants, larger pitcher plants and more.
The Blow-me-down nature trail leaves the S side of Hwy 450 about a half-kilometer W of the bridge over Blow-me-down Brook (30K W of Corner Brook) and traverses SW along the base of the Blow Me Down mountains through boggy/brushy meadows dotted with hemlock and white pine. The area was apparently burned quite a few years ago and has been slow to recover. Silver stumps with charcoal etched away by the weather bear witness to the fire and although some of the pines are fair-sized, I doubt they predate it. Shubby cover in most areas would make off-trail travel difficult. The nature trail is well used for the first 1K to a swimming hole in a small gorge in BlowMeDown brook. Beyond that it continues through bogs and sparse pine-larch-spruce forest to the brook which runs out of the next cirque to the east.
Gabbro foreground, Serpentine background
BlowMeDown mountains
Barrens ponds
I hiked the Blow-Me-Down trail until it crossed the little stream which runs out of the next cirque east of the trailhead, then ascended the serpentine slope to the east end of the cirque rim. I followed a faint trail marked with cairns up over the rim, then headed east to the high point around wihich the valley of BMD Brook swings to the S. After a few photos I headed down slope to the nearest pond which is about a quarter mile S of the cirque rim. After spooking the coyote, photographing a swamp sparrow and searching in vain for the ptarmigan, I left the pond heading west up to a gentle ridge, then turned N to catch the W end of the cirque rim. I traversed down the "Sand Bank" as Dad called it, then bushwhacked down a talus slope back to the trail. Once I hit the trail again I stopped counting birds and hurried back to the car.
Pitcher Plant
Swamp Sparrow
Cirque above BlowMeDown Brook
A few black flies and mosquitos found me whenever I was out of the wind. The ALCU cloud cover, though thin, managed to block the sun most of the time, frustrating my search for good photographs. Not until I was driving back to Corner Brook did the sky finally clear over the Blow-Me_Downs. As I approached the pond from about 100 meters away I heard a Swamp Sparrow trill and a yellowlegs scolding, and also another sound, an unfamiliar hooting or chucking sound. Unfortunately I didn't stop to transscribe it because I was more interested in verifying the Swamp Sparrow. Then I saw a white bird flapping, assumed it was a goose or duck, then at the same time spotted a coyote sniffing around in the same area. The white bird flushed again and alighted about a hundred feet away on a ledgy ridge. Clearly a ptarmigan, but I didn't stop to verify which one because I was pursuing a photo of the coyote, a tawny yellowish orange animal with gray in his tail, too heavily built for a fox. The coyote caught wind of me and fled and by then I'd lost track of the ptarmigan. I did get photos of the Swamp Sparrow though.
07/05/2006   Bonus day  
As I recall it was a leisurely morning. Sometime around midday I checked on our flight times for tomorrow and discovered that our flight was actually scheduled for today and would be departing from Deer Lake, an hour away, in 15 minutes. It was on time, unfortunately.
In an illustration of how with God things work out for the best, Dad returned to the hospital today after his last night at home. I was able to accompany him after he got settled into his room and spend some good time with him which I would have missed had I not mixed up our return date.
07/08/2006   Home again  
Inside the greenhouse
Pipsie in the greenhouse
The upper garden
At home, summer is underway. In the greenhouse, Daniel set up his ceramics wheel and David's water garden thrives in a stock tank. Flowering parsley in the tomato bed attracts a horde of flies which in turn feeds a herd of Tree Frogs, which we affectionately call "Pipsies". Out in the garden, zucchini is flowering and the carrots and beets are coming along. We won't get around to harvesting the latter so mice and moles will get most of them but I love zucchini and will eat them all summer long.
07/15/2006   Summer Snowboarding at Paradise  
Bushwhacking
Phlox
Avalanche Lilies
Wes Sandvik was crazy enough to join Daniel and me for a summer snowboarding adventure at Paradise. The snow was perfect and the flowers were beautiful but the walk up was a little tough at first. We bushwhacked up from the bend in the road below the Paradise Lodge then hiked up to Panorama Point, pausing for a photo by some Japanese tourists who looked as though they wished they could snowboard down with us.
Pausing and posing
Pasque flower
Partridgefoot
Putting on our boards
Scarlet Paintbrush
Yellow Erigeron
The top of the snowfield at Panorama Point is nice and flat but a 30mph wind was sweeping fog just over our heads and our fingers were almost too cold to tighten our boots. After just a turn or two to warm up we dropped into a tricky series of senescent schrunds. We each managed to get stuck at least once. A quick traverse along the crest of the snowfield put us at the top of the headwall, the crux of the matter. We each successfully negotiated the two or three turns on the steep terrain, although Wes did pay a brief visit to the rocks on the edge of the snowfield on the way down. It was easy riding after that until our snow abruptly ended at a waterfall in a narrow gully a few hundred feet above the car. We saw the end coming soon enough to avoid mishap, though not soon enough to avoid a scramble back up out of the gully.
Approaching the first turn
Completing the first turn
Dropping down the chute
Entering the stream gully
Climbing out of the stream gully
Relaxing back at the car
It was a really fun outing and afterwards we told each other we should do it more often, but somehow we didn't.
07/18/2006   July  
The lower raspberry patch and the house
David with dinner and fresh-canned raspberries
Our new Puss
For years, July was raspberry season. Our little raspberry patch produced upwards of 200 pints of raspberries each summer. I canned them in quart jars with about a quarter cup of sugar per quart after first cooking them until they just barely simmered into a sauce.
In July 2006 we apparently also acquired a new cat, actually two of them, from the boys' friend Caitlin who had too many of them. We had recently lost our first orange cat. She had been a stray who'd adopted us when she was starving and who although personable, had never become really friendly. We had called her Lazy, not with any malicious intent but just because she generally seemed reluctant to move once she got settled in somewhere. That tendency proved her undoing when Susan accidentally ran over her as she lay on the concrete apron in front of the garage door.
The boys came up with names for our new cats but I forget what they were because I just always called them "Puss". Although we started with two we soon lost one, perhaps to a local coyote, but the other one was loyal and affectionate with an energetic enthusiasm for chasing the light of a laser pointer and a bemused tolerance for being slid across our hardwood floor on her back, a game I called "Propel-a-Puss". I can't imagine what she called it.
07/29/2006   Unicorn Peak hike  
Me, Daniel and David
Unicorn Peak from below
Rufous Hummingbird in the trail
Unicorn Peak is one of the prominences in the Tatoosh Range on the south side of Mount Rainier National Park. Except for the last 50 feet which are technical, it is a pretty easy Sabbath afternoon hike.
Daniel and cairns
Mount Rainier
Magenta Paintbrush
I now disapprove of them as a form of natural graffiti but back then we were into building cairns. Daniel built some on the way up. We scrambled up to the summit ridge but declined to tackle the top. The views were spectacular despite a partial cloud ceiling not far overhead. The flowers were still somewhat limited, it being early in the season for that side of the mountain.
Playing on a ledge
Playing in a schrund
Daniel riding a rock
On the way down we stayed on snowfields as much as possible. We each selected a large flat rock and attempted to slide down the snow while standing on it. Daniel had the most success with that.
08/07/2006   Mount Saint Helens climb  
The boys in the tent
Camp in clear-cut below Mount Saint Helens
Resting along the trail
Because it is a volcano I get to call it a climb but it was really just a hike. The boys and I did it on the day Dad died. We were still in our sleeping bags in our tent when Mazie called to let me know. The boys didn't know him very well and I had not been particularly close to him for a number of years so the news didn't affect us much. I mostly felt grateful that I'd had the opportunity to spend some time with him during the preceding year. Grateful too for the nine months I lived with him after high school. Were it not for that, I'd have barely known him at all.
Canada Jay
Beargrass
Red paintbrush
He'd have enjoyed the hike with us, though in truth he would probably have preferred to go fishing. We started up at the crack of 8AM or so, entertained a couple of Canada Jays in the woods (or did they entertain us?) then diverged from the usual route up a rubbly lava flow to scramble up a remnant knob of some older terrain. Unlike the rest of the mountain it hosted a carpet of grass and flowers alongside a tongue of forest extending up from below.
Snowfield schrunds
Daniel, David and me on top
Dust plume from boulder
Daniel admiring cairn
Daniel descending
David descending
The rest of the way up to the summit was a sandy slog on a ridge of boulders and ash. The summit, just the highest point of the gritty crater rim, hosted a small crowd when we arrived so after a few minutes we hiked a half-mile or so north along the rim so we could indulge in some minor vandalism, pushing boulders down into the crater. They generated a very satisfying dust plume during their descent. The crater itself was a surreal sight, a jagged cliff-rimmed bowl lined with talus and partly filled with a cone of pale rhyolite rising out of a moat of black ice.
We played around on the rim for about an hour before starting down. Both photos and memory suggest a descent more exuberant than the climb up. We followed a slightly different route down, staying as much as possible on sandy slopes or snow, the boys racing ahead while I slogged more sedately behind. We celebrated our ascent with dinner out somewhere on the way home and ordered deep-fried ice cream for dessert. It must not have been that good because I have never ordered it since.
Trail-side flowers
Daniel and David pondering deep fried ice cream
Uncle Bill
08/12/2006   Crater Lake Marathon  
Four days after our St. Helens climb I drove south again, alone this time, for a double marathon weekend in central Oregon. I stopped by Gresham on my way to visit Uncle Bill. He was quite a runner in his day with a sub-five minute mile and numerous runs up Mount Washington to his credit. He doesn't run anymore but he still plays the Steinway grand piano which dominates his small apartment.
Pre-race dinner
Juggling practice
Crater Lake
The marathon was gorgeous but my knee got sore in the last 8 miles so I decided not to tackle Haulin' Aspen the next day and went thunderegg hunting at Richardson's Ranch instead. I finished towards the back of the pack in 5:19 and had to wait a long time for a bus back to the start, my only complaint about an otherwise well-run race.
Crater Lake Marathon start
Around mile 2
Mount Thielsen
Running along the rim
Around mile 10
Around mile 20
At Richardson's I dug in the Opal Bed, or maybe it was the Blue Bed. It wasn't crowded and the eggs were abundant. The prettiest egg I found was filled with orange opal. Having cracked it open, I couldn't cut and polish it so I gave it away but not without some subsequent regret because I never found another one like it.
Crater Lake Marathon finish line
Mule deer
Digging for thunderings
08/17/2006   Newfoundland visit  
Dad's memorial service was set for 18 August so we flew back to Boston, or maybe it was Portland, and met Eric, Sarah and Roger. I hopped into their car and we set off for Newfoundland while Susan and the boys drove up to Jackson. Sarah and Roger did most of the driving which meant that we listened to Irish folk music most of the time. That got a bit old but otherwise it was a good trip.
Clouds over Maine
Sarah, Roger, Brian and Eric
Nova Scotia sunset
We drove under ominous clouds in central Maine and reached the Nova Scotia - New Brunswick border around sunset. We might have driven through the night; at any rate we boarded the ferry for Port aux Basques at sunrise the next morning. I looked for birds during the crossing and recording the following notes:
Eastbound on the morning ferry on a beautiful sunny day, light seas, light westerly wind becoming SW 15 for the last couple of hours. I watched from the upper foredeck most of the time. Non-avian wildlife included 3 pilot whales (blunt forehead, 20+ feet long), a hooded seal and a leatherback turtle 6-8' long. Completely unidentified birds included peeps flying south (breet calls) and a small songbird. Identified birds included Greater Shearwaters, Gannets and Kittiwakes and a flock of Ruddy Turnstones.
Sarah and Roger on the Port aux Basques ferry
Starting up the mountains near Port aux Basques
Looking up
Looking down
Mountains near Port aux Basques
Dad's ashes at the cemetery in Deer Lake
We disembarked in Newfoundland in the early afternoon and and took the opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do - stop and explore the mountains north of town. With their steep flanks and barren heights, those mountains have intrigued me since I first saw them back in 1963. They were flatter than I expected on top but and there were not many birds but the views were great and we all enjoyed the outing.
Sarah, Jennie and I all spoke at Dad's service. I don't remember what we said though I did have a recording of it somewhere. In the afternoon we drove up to Deer Lake with the urn containing Dad's ashes and gathered around it for a brief graveside service. We did not stay for the actual burial so I'm not sure what that entailed.
Mazie
Jennie and Eric on the trail
On top of Gross Morne with the new sign
Woodland Caribou on top of Gross Morne
Woodland Caribou on top of Gross Morne
Pond in Ferry Gulch
The next day Mazie and Jennie joined us for a hike up Gross Morne. We encountered no Ptarmigan this time but other hikers reported a group of Woodland Caribou just over a rise near the summit. Sarah and Roger walked over for some close-up views but for some contrary reason which I do not recall, I did not join them and settled instead for a couple of distant shots.
Daniel's cairn at Rocky Harbor
Isaac?, Jamie, Jamie Silken and Jennie
Village near J T Cheeseman Provincial Park at sunset
Before returning to Deer Lake we drove out to the lighthouse and checked out Daniel's cairn. It was still there, but now accompanied by a host of more modest imitations. The beach was littered with cairns. Hopefully the winter ice will wipe the slate clean. We left the next day and camped that night at J T Cheeseman Provincial Park near Port aux Basques in order to catch the ferry in the morning. I had time for a short run before sunset and found a few birds, including a family of Rusty Blackbirds in what I presumed was their breeding habitat, Alder thickets along a small stream. Also a mink in rocks down by the saltwater.
Port aux Basques from the departing ferry
Nova Scotia elm trees
Cow Moose and calf
The weather was less favorable this time but the birding was actually better. As I noted:
I watched most of the time from the foredeck. Conditions varied from calm and overcast or foggy to SE wind and heavy rain showers. Unidentified species included an alcid off Port-aux-Basques, small flocks of peeps and a couple of gulls mid-crossing. Interesting perspective on the warblers - from above as they overtook us flying low over the dark gray-blue water.
I was particularly impressed by the warblers - a Magnolia, a Black throated Green, a couple of American Redstarts - and a Northern Waterthrush which appeared during a heavy rain shower, landed on the deck and took refuge under a lifeboat. All so out of place and vulnerable, tiny colorful birds flying with such determination over such an expanse of inhospitable gray ocean. We also encountered quite a few Storm-Petrels, probably mostly Wilson's, in the first couple of hours out of Port-aux-Basques.
Our southbound migration was unremarkable though I was interested to spot several apparently healthy American Elms in northern Nova Scotia. In New Hampshire they were all killed by Dutch elm disease back in the 70s. Also noteworthy were the cow and calf Moose browsing on ferns in the field in front of the house the morning after we arrived back in Jackson.
08/23/2006   New Hampshire  
The Ammonoosuc trail
Water over ledge
Eric on the Ammonoosuc trail
Eric and Matt at Lakes of the Clouds hut
Mom and John on the Crawford Path
Mom and John on Washington
Was this Mom and John's last ascent of Washington on foot? I think it might have been. As I recall they did not accompany us back down the trail but instead caught a stage down the mountain to the Glen House where we may have left a car for them. Mom and I explored a little around the Lakes of the Clouds; she may have suspected that she would not make it back there again.
09/10/2006   Skagit Flats Marathon and a wedding  
Brian and Susan on Expedia dinner cruise
Marathon start
Melissa from work running the half
Kai and Brandon
Valerie and Janet
Mount Rainier at sunrise
Sometime in the previous couple of weeks Susan took Daniel to Proctor in Andover NH to begin his postgraduate high school year. I didn't get any photos of their departure. Expedia hosted employees and guests on a dinner cruise around Elliott Bay. It was reasonably fun. I think we might have danced some too. Two days later I ran the Skagit Flats Marathon in good time: 3:54:10, my best since my final BQ attempt at Tucson two years ago.
That afternoon we attended Kai and Brandon's wedding at church. Bride and groom looked happy but I always wondered as usual how long the marriage would last, not that I had any reason to suspect that it wouldn't. That looks like John McLarty in the background who married them, and who would become both my pastor and my friend over the next decade, but I could be mistaken; I'm not too good with faces.
09/23/2006   Guye Peak caves  
David in the cave
Marble from the cave
David in Cave Valley
David and I hiked the rough trail up Snoqualmie Mountain as far as the Cave Valley where we explored a narrow little cave right along the side of the stream channel. David pushed farther in than I did and gave himself a pretty good scare which may have permanently dampened his enthusiasm for spleunking. I went in far enough to retrieve a fluted piece of marble which was just lying on the gravel floor of the passage. It is a very cool rock. Daniel is at Proctor so it is just David and me on these adventures.
10/01/2006   Portland Marathon  
Jeff around mile 4
Running the marathon
Crossing the St. John bridge
Me around mile 17
Aid station around mile 18
Aid station around mile 21
Jeff talked me into running Portland with him, or perhaps it was the other way around. We met several years ago at the Mercer Island half marathon and have been running together from time to time since. He takes them a little more seriously than I do, perhaps because he doesn't run as many. As I noted in my comments on my Maniacs marathons page at the time:
Sunny fall day, my 1st large race this year; great crowds. Ran first six w/ Jeff then didn't slow down enough after that. Somewhat sore most of the race.
Approaching the finish line
Me at the finish
Post-race lunch with Jeff and Anita
I think maybe his wife Anita ran a 5K that day. Jeff's finish time was probably a little under four hours; mine was about 13 minutes over, respectable enough as far as I was concerned back then. We ate somewhere reasonably nice together afterwards before driving back to Seattle.
10/07/2006   Indian summer  
Saddle Mountain
David in the garden
Tree Frog in the greenhouse
It looks like I spent a day digging petrified wood over at Saddle Mountain near Mattawa, probably with Pat but I don't recall for sure. From the look of the wood it came out of the big hole in which we and others excavated pieces of a petrified Sequoia stump some 8 feet in diameter over a period of six months or more.
Back home in the garden it was a good year for tomatoes, and as previously noted, also good for Tree Frogs in the greenhouse.
10/08/2006   Nick's mom's wedding  
Nick's mom getting married
Susan and bubble
Nick and his sister
Nick's mom married an Auburn businessman at Federation Forest State Park. Nick reported that he's an okay guy. Someone was blowing soap bubbles after the ceremony so David and I tried to photograph them.
10/13/2006   Visiting Daniel at Proctor  
Foliage at sunset
Monarch on chrysanthemum
David with Daniel's friends
David juggling, Daniel's girlfriend weaving
Daniel and David juggling pins
Daniel and David tossing pins high
Proctor scheduled a Parents Weekend about six weeks into the school year so we took the occasion to visit Daniel. We attended an English class, ate in the cafeteria and hung out around campus for a beautiful fall day. The boys juggled. We met Daniel's girlfriend, at least she was reported to be his girlfriend, and her parents. Daniel did not appreciate our enthusiasm about her and her family.
10/15/2006   Jackson  
Bob Cheney's, where Nana used to live
Jamming at Mae Kelly's
Appetizers at Brookside Farm
Matt on the trail
Boreal Chickadee
Glen Boulder
After visiting Daniel at Proctor he accompanied us to Jackson for a few days and joined Sarah's group at Mae Kelly's on Sunday night. Susan must have driven him back to Proctor on Monday morning. I hiked up to Slide Peak with Matt. No snow on the mountain yet though the leaves have mostly fallen.
10/22/2006   Back home  
Paintings from Jackson
Autumn view from the living room
Fall foliage along the American River
Back home the field and garden have their characteristic autumn aspect, damp and unkempt. The fall foliage is brighter and more colorful on the east side.
10/29/2006   Tri-cities Marathon  
Two-hour early starters
Sunrise around mile 4
Leaning into the wind
I finished fifth from last but since I started two hours early I crossed the finish line while the clock still read only 3:23, which was quite gratifying. One of my best clock times ever. The day was sunny but a strong west wind was sweeping across the river, and since the course is mostly on a dike along the water, we ran much of the race leaning sideways into the wind. I ran mostly with a local woman whom I have never seen since but we got to talking and overlooked the cones marking the turnaround so ended up running an extra 3 miles. I ran the Halloween Marathon last weekend so this was the first time I ran marathons on successive weekends.
11/05/2006   IUWR Seattle Marathon  
Runners and helpers
Pumpkin love
Barefoot Jon
For my third race three weeks, I ran along the Green River from Kent to Alki in 4:33. I wrote in my Maniac Marathon notes "A quiet well-organized little race sandwiched between rain storms. Ran w/ Barefoot Jon."
11/11/2006   Ron Herzog 50K  
Several miles in
Puddle around halfway
Me around mile 20
The Ron Herzog 50K in the hills near Granite Falls was probably my toughest race to date. For the middle third of the race we ran in an inch or more of slush and the bottoms of my feet got so cold I felt as though I was running on little foam pads. Completing it qualified me for four stars in the Maniacs listing.
11/24/2006   Thanksgiving  
Ready for dinner
Crystal Mountain ski slope
Daniel's big grab
Daniel flew home for Thanksgiving and we had a modest dinner together in front of the fireplace. The next day we drove up to Crystal, as I recall in a long-lost Snowboarding page:
In the several days before Thanksgiving a series of storms at Crystal Mountain dumped over 4' of powder on top of a base of about a foot of snow. Despite the crowds on the day after the holiday we found some great powder riding, along with a few rocks. Daniel caught some decent air and I caught a few pictures. I also made one turn too many below the beaten track and had to take off my board and "swim" back to the trail.
12/15/2006   Storm  
David with weapons
Tree down over the wires
Cleaning up
A windstorm brought down one of the 30-foot leaders on the Cedar tree, narrowly missing the front porch roof. We used our old climbing rope to lower it to the ground so I could cut it up. The storm also knocked down an ash tree in the woodlot across the street. The tree fell across the utility lines and into the road. I don't recall if we lost power but I eventually sawed up the ash tree, carted it up to the workshop and split it into firewood.
12/25/2006   Christmas day  
David with ski goggles
Susan with original art
Daniel with calendar
Daniel returned home for Christmas and we celebrated the holiday at home rather than going to New Hampshire as we often did. Actually the boys and I celebrated part of the day at Crystal Mountain where conditions were good and crowds were modest.
12/27/2006   Year end  
Puss in wrapped contemplation
Snow and flooding
Sunset

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