Oh dear. Here I am again, apologizing for an unintended blog vacation. Wait, I have an excuse! The last bit of summer got a bit busy around here. We did a week’s vacation with John’s kids and the grandkids and all the dogs, to the Washington coast (that would be the Left Coast for any of you from the Atlantic-side Washington). It was a grand time. I actually took the week as an “education” week, meaning that I had to spend part of each day reading medical stuff, but that worked OK, surprisingly. We’d rented a huge house just up the sand from the beach, and each of the 3 families had their own floor for bedroom space. The little ones are getting old enough that they aren’t up at the crack of dawn, and they tended to spend the whole day outside, so I did actually get some reading done. Here’s the link to all the photos, if you really want to see all the “good big fun” that we had.
Part 2 of the excuse is a bit of a slog at work. We’ve had several docs out off and on during the summer for a variety of reasons, so it’s gotten a bit busy and hectic at work. That plus the belated arrival of summer around here meant that I haven’t spent much time knitting or playing around on the computer. We get such a seemingly short summer here that we tend to spend most of it outside.
To start off the fall season, John and I took a couple days this week and went up to Mt. Rainier National Park. We’ve been up there to drive around and to hike a bit in the past, but I’ve never stayed overnight in the lodge at Paradise before. Tuesday I got off work, got home and finished packing, and we made the drive up the mountain to the lodge. We had a beautiful day for hiking yesterday. It rained most of the day today, but it was still beautiful for the drive back home, and I get to go to work tomorrow. I’m sure John will get a photoshow done at some point, but here are a few:
That’s Paradise Inn. It’s one of the original National Park lodges, built in 1916 and renovated completely a few years ago. The main lodge accommodations have rooms with shared bathrooms and showers down the hall, which is funky but adds to the historic feel. The great lobby of the lodge is spectacular, including an ancient piano which has been restored. They have a pianist who plays during the dinner hour, adding to the charm of the place.
Here’s John as we set out on our hike up the mountain yesterday. We live in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, and it’s one of those landscape features that sometimes you take for granted. I had to be reminded on this trip that “the mountain” is actually in the same county I live in. Cool!
We saw a surprising number of wildflowers still in bloom. There were lupine, paintbrush, and an awful lot of something that I thought was valerian, but another hiker told me was lovage.
We saw this little fellow early on in the hike. He (or she, I didn’t get close enough to look!) meandered along the path, but after a bit, gave a huff at us and lumbered away. That’s a black bear, by the way, and if you keep your distance and don’t get between them and their children, or corner them, they mostly leave people alone. There are no grizzly bears in the park.
More fauna. These are marmots, or whistle pigs. These are all over the park, and are completely unafraid of humans. They will whistle loudly if alarmed, thereby getting the nickname. This one was clearly a girl with hot flashes. After we took a few photos, she got up and ambled over to a nearby snow patch.
She just flattened out on the snow and stayed there. I wonder if that would work for me?
There’s the famous mountain that we hiked toward. At the lower half of that photo is the Nisqually Glacier.
And there’s the Nisqually River, which of course starts from that glacier. The river ends up in Puget Sound, right in our back yard. If that mountain blows a la Helen, this is one of the major lahar paths, so we’d be in some serious trouble.
There was of course the requisite sock photo. This proves that I indeed still knit. In fact, I sat down at the Glacier Vista point and knit a round, to the amusement of all of the other hikers passing by.
We met two young women with 2 toddlers, climbing up the hill, while we were on our way back down the mountain. Part of this trail is paved at the lower end, but as you climb up, it gets gravelly, then rocky, then with a bunch of very steep rock steps on the upper third. They had ditched the baby carriage about a third of the way up the trail and just went on, lugging the toddlers by hand. About twenty minutes after we saw them, we ran across the carriage down the hill.
More whistle pigs! Click to embiggen!
That’s it. There are lots more photos, but that pretty much does it. Oh, John did get a photo of me spinning away on my spindle in the grand lobby of the Inn last night, but it’s on his camera. When I get my hands on it, I might remember to post it as well.
I’m still knitting the same damn things. Maybe now that the weather’s cooler, I’ll make some progress and show photos!