Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Worst camping trip EVAH?

We left home on Friday evening and drove north toward Mt. Baker and our campground reservation. The further north we got, the worse the weather got. It started out as gentle little spots on the windshield, strengthening as darkness fell. We turned off the highway to follow smaller and narrower and bumpier roads as the rain became solid.

Arriving in the campground, the rain was pelting the car. No one wanted to get out, least of all the fellow who was supposed to put up the tent. That would be me. It was dreadful, so dreadful that we didn't walk to the bathrooms, we drove. We dashed in to brush teeth and dashed back to the safety of the car. Without a tent, we decided to sleep in the car.

Sleeping in an odd place - the driver's seat - I slept fitfully and kept waking up. The car would be full of fog and a bit stuffy, so I would lower the window slightly. No matter how slightly I opened the window, rain would get in to splatter me, so I kept closing the window. The rain kept up all night, feeding the glaciers at altitude but drowning our spirits in the campground.

The rain finally broke around sunrise, so we got out and made a quick breakfast. A tour of the campsite revealed that it was settled nicely on the lake, but the overcast held low and solid. On a sunny day, the lake was reputed to reflect a gorgeous view of Mt. Baker, but all we saw were three shades of grey. We decided to skip the planned hike and head out on a scenic drive to the east, hoping to catch a bit of sun on the dry side of the Cascades.

Everybody in Seattle knows that it is wet on the west side of the Cascades while dry and sunny on the east side. On this day, it was. As we crossed the pass, the clouds thinned and the sky turned blue. The weather was so fantastic that we abandoned our campsite at Mt. Baker and set up at Early Winters Campground in a dry, piney forest. Lovely.

Make your plan but stay flexible.

Victoria and Harry?

On 22 April, 2000, our family began to read Harry Potter. Our young son had started reading but had settled himself into relatively lightweight stuff. He would read the youth editions of Pokemon and Star Wars novels, but refused to touch anything in hardback or that might "look hard". We had planned a visit to Victoria, BC, a ferry ride from Seattle, so we took along the newly released Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. On the boat ride to Victoria, we read chapters from Harry Potter. When the (adult) voices wore out, we stopped reading. Our young non-reader was so incensed that he grabbed the book and finished reading it himself, although we had to continue reading aloud for his younger brother. Thanks, Harry!

The is a view of the Empress Hotel on the Victoria Inner Harbor shortly after we arrived.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vancouver from on high

Welcome to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. This is not the 51st state nor is it part of Britain. It is a lovely city in the southwestern corner of our northern neighbor. Among the many visual delights of Vancouver is the Lion's Gate Bridge and you are standing on it. As you look eastward, you see the Burrard Inlet, an arm of the sea - a fjord. Vancouver city lies to your right, while North Van is to your left; West Van is behind you, on the left. The Lion's Gate Bridge connects the Vancouvers. You can see the orange of the cranes on the loading dock, and a set of white peaks that form the port building used by the cruise ships that go up to Alaska.

Update: Added a title. Oops.