Spring has sprung

John and I were walking in the park this afternoon, chatting, enjoying ourselves, and then he nudged me hard in the upper arm.  I lost my balance and windmilled a bit to keep from landing in the muddy grass, and DUDE. I barely tapped you on the arm. Overreacting much? (or some such) went through my head.  I didn’t fall on the grass, I did get my feet under me on the sidewalk, and then John yelled, “No, SNAKE!”  You would have been SO impressed by my high-stepping prancing moves.  I leaped OVER the teeny tiny TERRIFYING snake that I was thisclose to stepping on and landed on the far side of the path.  Then I came back to look.  Now maybe it was more scared of me that I was of it, but if it had made any sudden movements I would have been up a tree.

I’d like to show you what it looked like, but I didn’t take a picture of it, and there’s no way in hell I’m googling snakes.  I don’t google bugs, either.  I don’t need those images in my brain.

Crater Lake is SO freakin’ BLUE

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I usually get annoyed when I skip a day on the ol’ blog here, but I can’t be mad about skipping yesterday.  I didn’t plan to skip – I thought I’d be back home in time to get it done – but it was late because we were out having adventures and doing fun things and taking LOTS of pictures.  I can forgive myself for that.

None of the pictures you’re about to see have been edited, mostly because I don’t really know how to do that, and I’m too lazy to bother with it.  The signs all over Crater Lake National Park say that the water is so blue because it’s all rain and snowmelt and because it’s the deepest freshwater lake in the country. It was incredible.  I didn’t want to look away.  Of course, I did look away because who would believe we were there if we didn’t take pictures?  I love being a tourist.

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I can’t help but like this one, even though we could be ANYwhere since you can’t really see the lake.

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It was hard to leave, even after our hike.  Oh yes – we hiked.  In our infinite wisdom, we chose one of the strenuous hikes, meant to take 2-3 hours and gain over 1000 feet in elevation.  In our defense, there were only two hiking trails within walking distance of where we parked, and the other one was easy and seemed to follow the road we’d just driven down.  BOR-ing.

If you squint, you can see the Crater Lake Lodge in the upper center part of this picture, which is where we started.  I think we were about halfway when I took this one.

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The temperature was in the 70s, and we were working hard, so we were plenty warm, but there was SNOW on the ground.  Not everywhere, certainly, but we had to climb through a slippery melting snowbank to get to the top.  That was the scariest part.  Well, coming back down through the snowbank was the scariest part.

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We did reach the top, though.  Here we are on Garfield Peak, 8000 feet above sea level.  I don’t know how many feet we were above lake level.

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And here’s another terrible selfie (it was really bright out, okay?).

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I think I might have to make that one my profile picture for ALL of my accounts.

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John wants to run down this meadow.  I’m willing to bet it’s steeper than it looks.

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I think I took this next one on the way back down.

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Here we are, tired and happy and soon to be very hungry.

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We left about 6pm (we got there around after noon, close to 1, I think), but it’s 2 and a half hours away, so it was nearly 9 before we got back to Cottage Grove, and after 9 before we ate.  Almost midnight when we got home, still had to shower (covered in sweat and sunscreen – totally gross), and we’re only a little bit sore today.  Our gym has a hot tub.  We may be heading there this afternoon.

Our Big Day Out: A Photo Essay

We did make it to the coast, and we did have a wonderfully pleasant day, and with the sun out, temps in the mid-60s felt great.

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We did what usually works out for us: hit the road with a general destination (or at least direction) in mind, and then just see what we see.  You know?  It worked out pretty well.  Our first stop was at the Sea Lion Cave, a place we didn’t know even existed until we noticed it on our handy road atlas.  (Our cell service was pretty much non-existent all day, so we relied on good old-fashioned maps.)

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Apparently, this is where the Stellar sea lions live.  Off to one side was a path to the elevator that takes you down 20 stories to the actual cave (fall and winter home of the sea lions).  Way over in the distance is the Heceta Lighthouse.  We’ll visit that some other trip.

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A similar path in the other direction took us to the lookout where we could see the rocks where about 150 sea lions were sunning or playing in the surf.

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It’s breeding season, and the male sea lions were shouting about it.  Lots of roaring.  They’re a noisy bunch.

We headed further north after that, stopping in Newport for a late lunch and a little browsing.  Newport has a pretty harbor, but it’s a working port and the harborside factories or whatever where they deal with the raw fish and crabs smelled AWFUL.

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Looks nice, smells bad.  But they had a friendly California sea lion willing to pose for his fans.

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After that, we found a mostly empty beach and read for about 3 hours.

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Sunset sent us home.

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Bugs. Also, puppy.

Did you know that when you fly through a cloud of gnats at 15 miles per hour, they feel like tiny pebbles hitting your face?  Now you do.  Good thing my mouth was closed.  And I was wearing sunglasses.  I always wear sunglasses when I ride my bike, sunny or not, getting dark or not.  If I don’t, all that wind rushing into my face makes my contacts get all dry.  Plus, bugs.  I was riding my bike back from yoga one night several years ago, no sunglasses because it was getting dark, and a bug flew right into my eye.  It was gross.  And distracting.  And gross.

What’s not gross?  I just watched a video of a guy proposing to his girlfriend by handing her a puppy with the ring tied to its collar.  SO CUTE.  The puppy, not so much the proposal.  I don’t care about that.  Although, ACTUALLY…that’s kind of gross, too.  Not gross in the same way as bugs in your eye, but it’s like cheating.  “She CAN’T say no to me after I’ve given her the cutest puppy in the world!”  Cue evil laugh.

I hope you said yes because you want to marry him and weren’t swayed at all by the cute puppy in your arms, lady in the video I watched with the sound off so I don’t know what really happened!

Gauntlets have been thrown

I like to be outside.  I like the fresh air, I like the scenery, I love the sky.  I just don’t like it when outside touches me.  Personal space, man.  I need it.  You know I take allergy medicine all year, and it does a pretty good job, but I run into minor problems if my skin touches vegetation.  Not all of it, and not all the time, but enough of it and often enough.  I wear gloves and kneel on a towel when I’m weeding because my skin reacts when grass (cut or not) and weeds touch it.  It goes away quickly, and it’s localized (thank goodness it doesn’t spread), but it happens every time.

So aside from weeding being an annoying chore to begin with, I have that to be careful of.  Bugs are the other part I can’t deal with, as (again) you already know.  The outside of our house here is covered in ants.  So far, we don’t have an ant problem inside, but they’re all over outside, and when I was weeding the other day, they kept getting on me.  It’s not a HUGE deal (I was wearing gloves and long sleeves and they were just ants and not the biting kind (I assume because I didn’t get bitten)), but I came inside to shower and change and I found an ant ON MY HEAD, CRAWLING IN MY HAIR.

THAT IS UNFORGIVABLE AND I MUST NOW DECLARE WAR ON ALL ANTS.

Sorry, ants.  You started it.

Rose garden with actual roses this time

There’s this really nice house I see on my bike ride with a really nice backyard.  The back is all tall wrought-iron fence, and there are rose bushes blooming along the top of the fence every few feet.  Pretty.  The other day I noticed that the yard between the patio and the fence was all dirt, and I briefly wondered what they were going to plant there.  Today as I rode by, I noticed it looked different, but I was a couple minutes past it before I figured out what it was.  (I’m very observant.)  Sod!  They sodded the whole thing.  Maybe it didn’t register because it was still flat?  Very green, very nice.  I might not have noticed at all, or it wouldn’t stuck in my head, except that our yard has fresh sod (fresh from March, I think), and you can still see the edges of each piece.  I wonder how long it takes for it to all mesh together?

Now, have some pretty.

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Outside

We went hiking today!  Okay, “hiking”.  Fine.  We went for a walk.  We live at the base of Skinner Butte, and there’s a trail that winds around it to get to the top.  After more than two weeks of looking at it, we finally climbed it.  I think the walk up is prettier than the views from the top.  We’re going to have to get out of town to get the truly spectacular views.

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Paths.  I love my paths.

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I was waiting for something to come crawling out of this tree trunk.

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Overgrown path…and I have a picture of these GIANT primordial ferns, but I get an error when I try to transfer it to my laptop, so you’ll just have to imagine the giant ferns.  I noticed that when we went hiking with Will and Christina last October.  The woods looked prehistoric.  I expected dinosaurs to come charging through.  Not so much THESE woods, but I want to get out of town again soon.

Couple of views from the top, facing south.

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I think that peak is Spencer Butte, but what do I know?