Archive for the ‘Parents and Kids’ Category

Tamolitch Pool Hike

Posted by julie on Monday, 23 June 2014, 10:39

To celebrate summer, yesterday we hiked up to Tamolitch Pool, also called Blue Pool, where the McKenzie River comes back above ground after disappearing as groundwater for a bit. The two-mile hike to the pool—mostly in shade except for the last half-mile or so, which is over lava flows just beginning to grow shrubs and trees big enough to offer shade—was the perfect length for our family on a day with temperatures in the low 80s. The kids parkoured all the rocks and down trees for the first mile, then they settled into a hike. Everyone was ready for a break when we reached the clear, cold water of the pool (of which I have no photos; a Google search will probably give you some good ones). The pool is difficult to reach, so we opted out this time. We’ll climb down next time. At least one of us was brave enough to enter the 36°F river on the hike out. I know that my feet were numb in about 11 seconds.




Mid-hike meditation


Ooh, that’s colder than I expected


The bravest one of all of us (always)


“This … is it.” or: A post-mid-life birthday present for Dad

Posted by jonesey on Wednesday, 24 April 2013, 17:31

This is how I remember it, anyway.

Once upon a time, when my father was chronologically younger than I am now (but more mature than I am now, since he inflicted offspring, a mortgage, and a lawnmower on himself at a much younger age), he decided to check the mid-life crisis box.

Sports car? No, he had already owned a 1972 BMW 2002 (named Fritz, of course), picked up from the factory in Germany. No mere sports car was going to top that.

Trophy wife? He already had one of those, and still does.

No, my dad has always been a rational, reasonable, sensible person, even in a crisis. He went out and got one of these:

Dad has always liked a little go in his cars, so when it was station wagon time (gotta have something that can hold two kids and a bunch of trash and recycling on the way to the town dump, after all), he bought a brand new 1986 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon. That thing could GO, and it didn’t complain at all when you really pushed it. I once took it up to 90 (sorry, Dad) just for kicks while merging onto the empty D.C. Beltway late one night. I think the RPMs cracked 3500 when I did that, but they might not have. The car sure didn’t mind one bit.

I looked for the ad above for years. I finally found it a few months ago. In the meantime, I found it that Ferrari really did make a station wagon. And it was ugly. Take a look:

The last link above has the best explanation of the hideously not-as-atractive-as-it-should-be Ferrari station wagons that were built for a couple of Really Rich People. They look like a toned-down Ferrari front end mixed with a Subaru back end, resulting in an early-1990s Saturn or Honda wagon ambiance. Definitely not a Ferrari look. I’m sure they drive nicely, but blech.

And here’s a reward for those of you who read all the way to the end. Well done.

Celebrating 30 Years of the Volvo Turbo 1981 – 2011

Happy birthday, DYD.

Long Hike Thoughts

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 5 March 2013, 8:30

I met the bearded man just after I’d skied over the bridge, topped with about three feet of snow, piled to the top of the bridge’s railing (I didn’t do the math, but I wondered how much extra weight was just sitting on that bridge all winter long). I planned to explore a new ski trail for me, along the north side of Gold Lake. As a Backcountry Ski Patroller, a large part of my “job” is connecting with the public and helping them have great, snowy, winter experiences, so I stopped to chat as this man awaited his companion.

As I figured out how many miles they had already snowshoed that morning (about 5, down from the South Waldo Lake Shelter), then found out what they were training for (hiking the Continental Divide Trail), it suddenly dawned on me that I’d met Sunshine and her Dad (trail name: Balls). I first read about the duo on the Backpacking Light website in 2011, when they were completing their Pacific Crest Trail journey. Last year, they hiked the Appalachian Trail. So, this year, they’re going for the Triple Crown with their CDT hike, completing all three long hikes by the time Sunshine is 13. This 12-year-old has more experience with bear hanging, sleeping on the ground, trail food, and pushing herself through challenges than most people will ever have. As I considered the school that Sunshine has missed in the past three years, I kept coming back to what she’s gained in self-confidence and outdoor skills from her experiences.

Earlier that morning, I’d talked with my friend Walter about adventures with kids: living abroad, rock climbing, and, yes, even through-hiking. A couple of things have been pointing me toward more serious adventures with my kids. First, I just started a book, Before They’re Gone by Michael Lanza, about a family’s year-long quest to visit National Parks imperiled by climate change. Although I’ve only just begun reading it, it’s easy to see that this family had what most people would consider “grown-up-sized” adventures. In the first chapter, they’re heading out for an early spring, 4-day, 29-mile backpack with a 7- and 9-year-old on icy Grand Canyon trails. That’s believing in your kids and their abilities!

After meeting Monkey, who turned nine while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail last summer, I’ve been considering how feasible it might be to complete a long hike with one or both of my children. The PCT was Monkey’s idea, by the way. She wasn’t coerced. Last summer, when we gave Monkey and her Mom a ride to their campsite after they’d inhaled 1200-calorie meals of pizza and milkshakes, I asked Sylvan if he’d like to try a long-distance hike with me. He balked. The little one, though, seemed interested. With her constant singing and smiley demeanor, she’d be the perfect companion, too! Sunshine to balance my native grumbles. I asked her yesterday if she’d like to try some backpacking this summer. Without looking up from her art project, she said, “Yes.” As she shapes up as a hiker, we’ll see if she enjoys pulling off long days (with enough Jelly Bellies) and is driven by the challenge of a good, long-term goal. I hope so!

This is why I’m on the Backcountry Ski Patrol (and why I can’t imagine leaving Oregon, even when I wish we lived much closer to grandparents). Look at that sunshine!

Helping Daddy Run Too Far

Posted by julie on Monday, 20 August 2012, 0:04

Chris ran the Waldo 100K yesterday. It was more than 100K; you’ll have to ask him about it.

The kids and I supported him, but only a little. We really just wanted to get out of town and go swimming in a beautiful mountain lake. We succeeded.

We thought we might have missed Chris when we got to Charlton Lake, after some road construction and VERY slow trucks. Made it, though, with time to spare. I almost missed this photo, though.

Mostly cloudy, drizzly, with brightly-colored children

The Outdoor Program was out of rental kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on Friday, since the weather has been so utterly delectable. So, on a whim, I bought an inflatable kayak at REI. I hope it lives up to its great start. The kids and I took it to the island in the background, both kids inside and me pushing from behind.

By the time we'd found the Shadow Bay swim area on Waldo Lake and inflated the kayak, it was 80 degrees and sunny, perfect for boating or swimming in remarkably clear and cold water. This beach is great, because the water reached my chest only after I'd walked out 150 feet. Perfect for new paddlers.

Found this little amphibian swimming near shore

Had plenty of time at the finish line to ask repeatedly to ride the gondola, drink lemonade, eat veggie burgers, drink hot chocolate, and only watch about 15 runners come in (in 3 1/2 hours; 100Ks aren't really spectator sports)

"Who wears the pants in this relationship?" Or, perhaps, "How does he wear the pants?"

Families on bikes!

Posted by jonesey on Friday, 13 July 2012, 6:37

The Sightline Institute’s Daily Score blog posts thoughtful research about transportation, land use, economics, climate change and other environmental topics, with a focus on the Pacific Northwest.

Today’s post is about transportation. And cute kids. You may recognize a couple of them.

Some of My Favorite Things—14 February 2012

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 14 February 2012, 21:47

A photographic list:

Two of my favorite vehicles, one ridden my three of my favorite people. Xtracycles rock! And they're even better when you get them from a nice guy on craigslist.

The photo is a few months old, but the sentiment is quite current. Elena is an expert hugger, and I love it!

Bracelet made by Claudine, beader extraordinaire. A lovely necklace completes the set, but the bracelet secured my decision. I loved the memory wire, smoky beads, and thumbprint stone.

My husband is silly.

Time-saver or time-sucker?

This is my favorite Harry Potter book. We're reading it with Sylvan right now. I don't want to miss any on Chris's nights to put Sylvan to bed!

What a great organization and a great group of people.

And one of the reasons I love the Patrol so much: I get to see this, my favorite mountain, Diamond Peak, every time I patrol (unless it's overcast, which it hasn't been this winter—which means there's less than 3 feet of snow on the ground, but that might change this weekend!).


Spencer Butte and a Skate Party

Posted by julie on Sunday, 6 November 2011, 22:01

We got off to a slow start, but the day picked up, with a hike in the afternoon followed by an evening birthday party at Skateworld!

Our forest fairy.

When we started off on the Spencer Butte trail—a one-mile trail to the top of a mountain south of Eugene with fantastic views of the city—a forest fairy played a panflute somewhere in the woods above us. We never saw our musician (perhaps because, as Chris noted, when forest fairies stand still, they camouflage themselves as trees), but her notes wafting through the yellow leaves added a general magic to our hike. Elena searched for forest fairies in any likely hollowed log or hole in the ground on the way up.

Both kids reached the top with no (very little?) whining. I’ve been avoiding taking both kids up here alone, because I didn’t want to have a whiney melt-down (or deal with the kids having one), but they were both troopers. Skittles helped (four each on the way up, two on the way down).

Smiles and yogurt-covered raisins (or raisin-covered raisins, if you're Elena).

Mr. S looks so tall and thin in this photo. He took the slippery rocks like a pro. He naturally got low to better balance and slide if necessary. Time to take this one rock climbing.

After a quick hike down, which included a troll under a bridge (Sylvan the troll chasing some college girls [wouldn't you have thought I'd have at least another six years before that happened?]), a family of five hiking with seventeen dogs (okay, seven), and a feral chicken, it was on to Skateworld! Okay, Tecnu showers and then Skateworld!

Our addition to the 70s-themed potluck. This and tater tots. Did you know that Easy Cheese is actually mostly cheese? I didn't mean to disappoint you.

Yes, that's a My Little Unicorn with a disco ball atop Rachael's cake. And Jiffy Pop on the table.

Sylvan trying out the skates. Chris confident in his 70s shirt. Sylvan was actually way better on skates than he was last year. He was slow, but he didn't need a hand. He didn't skate long, but he tried it out. Kindergarten's changing this one, and all for the better!

Elena's frustrating game of air hockey. Did you know that air hockey's really hard when you can only reach eight inches onto the table?

Lots of skating fun! Rachael’s skate mix was superb, and included Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious, Summer Lovin’ from Grease, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana (which is somehow inexplicably linked to Carvel ice cream with rainbow sprinkles in my brain), the Gambler, and Take Me Home, Country Roads. Passing on roller skating to another generation! Sylvan’s going again on Friday with the other school-age children who don’t have school on account of my Mom’s birthday (don’t tell her it’s Veteran’s Day; she knows everything shuts down for her birthday).

Eugene street scene

Posted by jonesey on Thursday, 6 October 2011, 20:42

Traveling from school to home. Two kids, two bikes, one bike trailer.  A little rain, and lots of sun. Stopping to check out lacrosse practice across the street from Agate Hall, where the Vaux’s Swifts nest in the chimney during their spring and fall migrations.

Also, I took this picture WITH MY PHONE. My PHONE. If you're over 30, stop and think about what the word "phone" used to mean. Not to get off topic, but thank you, Steve Jobs.

Springtime in Eugene

Posted by julie on Sunday, 15 May 2011, 22:22

Because She-who-shall-not-be-named gave me a hard time about not posting anything but granola for nearly a month, here are some photos of our recent days.

The chalk drawings before the addition of potty words

Wishful thinking: Pahd Thai for dinner (that happened), playdate with Robbie next Saturday (we'll probably be at the beach...)

Snacktime on a bridge!

Master Young Raccoon was attempting to enter our garage when Chris spotted him

Some Things to Do Before I Go

Posted by julie on Sunday, 17 April 2011, 1:17

I’m in no rush, because I plan to last a century, but I might as well get started. My ongoing “bucket list” has some overlap with the Top Ten Natural Places I Want to Visit. In brainstorming order, my undoubtedly incomplete list:

  1. Learn to surf (someplace warm, without sharks)
  2. Learn to play at least a dozen songs on the guitar and participate in a campfire sing-along
  3. Learn to skateboard (maybe from my daughter or son)
  4. Visit Machu Picchu
  5. Get a nice digital SLR and be proud of my photographs again Accomplished with a Sony Nex5, August 2011. No one paid me anything to say, “Get this camera. You won’t regret it.”
  6. Publish some of my writing in a real magazine
  7. Dance with Ghanaians in Ghana
  8. Make a video that is good enough to give away
  9. See elephants and lions where they live
  10. Spend more than two weeks enjoying/relaxing in Bali (or someplace equally buoyant, warm, and surrounded by ocean)
  11. Climb to the highest point in each of the 50 states (continental 48?): Gannett Peak in WY, Mt. Washington in NH, Mt. Marcy in NY down; that leaves 47! (Oh, gosh, does this really mean I have to go back to Florida?) November 2011 update: Frissell in CT, Graylock in MA, Ebright Azimuth in DE, Jerimoth Hill in RI (This one doesn’t really count, since I only made it to the highway near the high point, which is a couple of feet higher and a few hundred feet from the road. We arrived at 4:45, and it closes at 4.). June 2013: Hood in Oregon. August 2014: Mansfield in Vermont.
  12. Visit each of the 50 states: only Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska left
  13. Become a better listener
  14. Live in the Dolomites for at least a school year
  15. Hike the Continental Divide Trail
  16. Live near the beach and spend each morning walking with the waves
  17. Climb in Yosemite
  18. Finish a quilt
  19. Catch fireflies with my grandchildren (or someone else’s grandchildren)
  20. Learn another language well enough to have a conversation on the phone
  21. Hike the 52-mile Torres del Paine circuit in Patagonia
  22. Go on an epic bike trip, maybe in Sweden
  23. Lead a multi-pitch, maybe the Beckey route on Liberty Bell
  24. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park. August 2014: The cousins reunion was just outside RMNP this August, so we hiked there nearly every day. I’ll have to go back to climb Longs Peak, though. Anyone interested?
  25. Backpack in the Brooks Range
  26. Run a marathon in under 4 hours November 2011 update: I’m signed up for the Eugene Marathon in April. This is the one!; April 2012 update: 3:58:46 at April 30, 2012 Eugene Marathon
  27. Read Moby-Dick
  28. Take my kids to a drive-in, maybe at the Spud in Driggs. August 2014: Mom and I took the kids to see Popeye, in honor of Robin Williams, at the new and decidedly awesome drive-in in Amenia, just blocks from where I went to elementary school (my kids particularly liked how the bathrooms were designated with a moustache and some pouty lips). We also passed three(!) working drive-ins on the drive back from Washington last week—one somewhere north of Coupeville on Whidbey Island, one south of Port Townsend, and one northwest of Olympia. So many possibilities…
  29. Introduce my children to drinking milk through a Tim Tam (I learned it with red wine, but that’s a few years down the road)
  30. Teach my nephew something naughty but benign
  31. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
  32. Go horsepacking
  33. Visit Walden Pond
  34. Ride a rollercoaster with my children and eventually with my grandchildren (my Gram set a high standard)
  35. Go on a women’s only yoga/canyoneering retreat (or meditation/surfing, or some equally active and calm combo)
  36. Write every day for a year
  37. Draw every day for a year
  38. Take my children to see a meteor shower in Arizona, Montana, Kiribati, or someplace equally dark. Lie in the road and see 60 or more shooting stars in an hour.
  39. Go to the top of the Rifle Tower (okay, Eiffel, but Sylvan said this the other day and it made me smile)
  40. Climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  41. Take a Valium and take my kids to Disney Land. No Valium required. I couldn’t believe how much fun I had, and, at 6 and 9, the kids were really great ages to both take in the magic and appreciate the thrill rides. After Space Mountain, Elena said, “Let’s go again!” When it’s not even 9 a.m., and there’s not much of a line, we could say, “Why not?” Halloween 2014.
  42. Take my Mom and daughter to a fancy tea somewhere
  43. Sell my silkscreened stuff
  44. Learn to play chess from Sylvan April 2012 update: Sylvan’s taught me how to play, and he reminds me every time we play of how each piece can move. We are currently similarly matched; he will be beating me in just a few months.
  45. Sing karaoke in front of people (this one scares me more than any other, I think)

I’m a bit distressed by the amount of fossil fuel that the travel on my list would consume. I have considered biking to the base of the highest points in each of the 50 states, then hiking…


A Few Things I’ve Already Done That Would Be On My Bucket List Otherwise

  1. Hot air ballooned (a stroke of absolute genius on my Mom’s part; this was the world’s best high school graduation present)
  2. SCUBA dived at the Great Barrier Reef
  3. Swum with dolphins in New Zealand
  4. Become a NOLS instructor
  5. Danced in a semi-professional company
  6. Studied abroad
  7. Fallen in love, more than once (More than once wasn’t on my list, but those people have made my life richer.)
  8. Run into a grizzly. Or two. (This wasn’t on my list either, but I’m glad it happened.)
  9. Run a marathon. Or three. Four actually, as of April 2012.
  10. Ridden in a helicopter. Or two.
  11. Been to a concert at Carnegie Hall
  12. Been on TV (a few times)
  13. Climbed at least 10 of Oregon’s volcanoes: South Sister, Bachelor, McLoughlin, Bailey, Cowhorn, Diamond Peak, Washington, Maiden Peak, Lava Butte, Mt. Scott November 2011 update: Thielsen. Summer 2012: Three-Fingered Jack, Broken Top. Summer 2013: Hood, Black Crater, Little Belknap.