Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sahu hi tithla

sahu hi tithla

This morning was cold and blustery on Colvos Passage where we live. We started a fire in the fireplace and settled in for a low-key day of reading books and watching the changes in weather out the window.

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Around 10 AM we saw a Native American dug-out canoe working its way up the channel, moving along the buoy line about 100 feet off shore.  It was crewed by 11 folks, men and women, young and old, followed by a chase boat.

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Reminiscent of an earlier era.  Wish we know what “Sahu hi tithla “, the name of their boat, means.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dumb Bird

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A weird thing happened on our last run down the mountain as we headed back to our condo. Nancy and Kelly stopped downslope to wait for Bob and Cathryn to catch up, and noticed a Grouse slowly making its way over the snow, uphill, toward them. We stopped to watch the bird's progress, and pretty soon she approached our group. She walked in circles around each of us, coming within a foot or so, then took an intense interest in Nancy. For the next 10 minutes we watched this bird walk, in somewhat agitated fashion, around Nancy's skis and feet, pecking at her ski pole, attacking her ski pants and boots with her beak, and walking over the top of her boots. Nancy held out her hand to see if the bird would hop on, to no avail. The bird continued to appear agitated, and headed over to spend a couple minutes each with Kelly and Bob.  Finally, Bob moved to ski away, and the Grouse hopped on the back of Bob's ski briefly, as if to detain him or take a ride! What a weird bird! Or dumb bird, as some in our group described her. Tonight Nancy did an internet search to attempt to identify the bird, and decided it might be a Western Grouse. She also found a short video of a Grouse exhibiting exactly the same behavior, and it was described as an attempt to establish and protest it's territory. Live and learn.

Long Way From a Baja Beach

Having spent 4 1/2 months in Baja during this past winter, often on sunny, warm beaches, our current trip is priming us for the next adventure to Alaska.  Monday our friends Nancy and Kelly called to invite us to join them for a 3-day weekend at their condo in Whistler, B.C., a ski-in/ski-out ,two bedroom unit just above Blackcomb Village. We rescheduled a couple activities we had planned, packed our gear, and took off Thursday for the drive to Seattle to pick up Kelly and Nancy, followed by 4 1/2 hours to Whistler. 

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This morning dawned with sunny, blue skies, contrary to the weather report we’d seen that suggested we’d be skiing in the rain.  Kelly and Nancy knew the temps were below freezing last night, so suggested we wait til 10am to begin skiing so the ice would have a chance to thaw and make the snow surface better for skiing.  That turned out to be great advice!  So we spent 5 hours riding chairs up the mountain and winding our way down gorgeous ski slopes with spectacular views of the Coast Range. 

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Nancy and Kelly are far better and faster skiers than we are, neither of us having ever taken a lesson in our 30+ years of skiing.  After a few hours of skiing together they made one incredibly diplomatic suggestion to each of us for improving our form, and we found it was actually easy to focus on making ONE technical change!  Cathryn can no longer easily find Bob on the slopes by scanning for his strandard “stance” – he has a completely different look as a result of this one suggestion! We are grateful, as the thought of taking a “real” lesson, in which we’d undoubtedly get 18 suggestions regarding things we should do differently, would certainly result in absolute failure. 

It was a beautiful day, the snow conditions were great (for Spring, anyway), and it was so warm we were shedding layers throughout the day – fabulous!  Nancy and Kelly are easy, fun travel companions and we are so happy to have made this trip.  Tomorrow:  another day on the slopes!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Staircase!

 

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It was a beautiful spring day today. Cathryn was busy with a variety of activities all day and had potluck dinner  plans with neighbor women, so Bob jumped at the chance when his sister Lynn called with a proposal to join David and her on a hike on the Staircase Trail in the Olympic National Park.

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Because it was early in the season, the road was closed at the west end of Lake Cushman, so we walked a mile on the road before hitting the trail. The water was high in the North Fork of the Skokomish River, so the Staircase Rapids were roaring! We made so many side trips down to the river along the rapids that by the time we arrived where the bridge across the river used to be, the GPS informed us we were only averaging 1 MPH!

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We had our lunch at the top of the trail, then returned the way we came until we got back to the road, where we took the Shady Lane Trail along the south side of the river at the head of the lake where we rejoined the road, and made our way back to the car.

A great way to spend a sunny spring day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alaska: The Plan

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OK, we’ve put The Plan to paper and drawn it on a map. We know we won’t follow The Plan, because we never do, but we wanted to see if we could really “do” a trip to Alaska in only 6 weeks. It looks like we can, although we’ll leave lots of things for a second or third trip. It’s like trying to see most of the lower 48 in 6 weeks (it’s actually similar mileage) . . . it can’t be done.

We laid it out as if we were going to do the full trip in 38 days. We know we have at least a couple of days of driving that may be too long, and we’re sure we’ll find places we just have to spend another day. But we actually have about 45 days available for the trip, so we have the ability to add days when we want to or need to.

We’ve put a map in the right-hand column showing the route (double click on it to enlarge the map) and added a tab or “page” just under the header picture that has a text copy of the itinerary. We’d love to hear from anyone who has made a trip to Alaska if you have suggestions on things to do or see, places to stay, or places to eat along our route.

We plan to leave Monday, May 17th and return the 1st of July. July, August and September are the three months in which the weather is dependably great on Puget Sound, and we want to be home for the peak of the boating season.