Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shiny Old Home

No words (well. . .very few words) just pictures of my new place to satisfy my middle big. For those of you who don't know, i recently purchased a house in NE Portland's Piedmont neighborhood. It's a lovely 4 bedroom 2 bathroom place that i share with my tenants, Heather, Colin and Steve. It's a delightful group of folks but the transition from one roommate to three has been a bit shaky. Not to mention Riley's (the cat) new house mates, Ryker and George. I would have shot a video but my other camera is in the shop.

The front door from the driveway.

The front door from the garden side of the house.

The living room and dinning room. Just to the left of the frame is a wood stove and a nice white brick fireplace. To the right of the frame is the door to Colin's room and the front door to the house. The dinning room has the most amazing built-in that i have yet to be able to fill but i'm trying. The doorway in the center opens to a small hallway that Heather's room, the bathroom and my room are off of. The door just right of center goes into the kitchen.

Colin's room. This is the smallest room of the house but still not a bad size. There is a decent sized closet. Two of the four windows look out onto the side patio the other two look out into the front yard.

Looking from the back of the dining room toward the front of the house. The door just left of center is Colin's bedroom door. The door in the center is the front door. Out of frame to the left is the built-in, the hallway leading to two of the bedrooms and bathroom, as well as the kitchen doorway. To the right is a group of four windows looking out onto the vegetable garden.

Looking out from the hallway into the dining room. To the right of the picture is Heather's room, behind me is the bathroom door, to the left is my bedroom, and left center is the doorway to the kitchen.

Heather's bedroom. One window looks out onto the vegetable garden. The other the backyard.

The bathroom. To the left of the picture is Heather's bedroom, to the right my room, behind me the entrance to the dining room and kitchen.

My bedroom. The two windows look out to the backyard. The built-in in this room is huge. I haven't even begun to fill it. The closet is also pretty large. Riley has sought refuge from the dogs in the closet.

The kitchen from the breakfast nook. The door to the center goes to the dining room, the door right of center the hallway connecting the bedrooms and bathroom. Left of the frame is a door leading to the side patio and driveway. Right of the frame is a closet and stairs leading down to the basement and backyard.

Utility room at the foot of the basement stairs. To the left of frame the door leading to the backyard, to the right is Steve's room and behind me is the downstairs bathroom.

Steve's bedroom looking toward the door. This room is really big, about 500 or so sq feet. There is a large wood stove and a pocket door.

More of the basement. My fitness equipment, some bikes, and work bench. To the right is the utility room and back of the house. Behind me is the "bomb shelter" and more storage.

From the fitness/work bench area looking toward the bomb shelter. Bikes, bikes, and more bikes. There are actually more bikes in the house than there are people. Just the way it should be.

The bomb shelter. Still needs some organization but it's a great place for storage or wine cellar.

The door to/from the basement. To the left is the driveway.

The backyard from the top of the stairs. There is a cherry tree to the right and a plum tree right next to the wood shed.

The backyard from the wood shed. The veggie garden is to the right.

The sideyard and veggie garden. It needs some tlc and a good tilling. I'm just waiting to get all the tomatoes i can off the current plants and then i'll get it ready for spring planting.

So that's it, my 1920's home. I pretty fortunate to have such an amazing place. I love it! Not too bad for a first home. Hopefully all of you make your way out to see it in person.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Hills

I learned a long time ago that planning is overrated. However, a little planning would have probably helped me accomplish one of my goals for the summer. . .to summit Mt Saint Helens. Instead i've had to settle for a jaunt along Helen's south side, drag myself up South Sister (again) and this past weekend i found myself wandering, somewhat aimlessly, through the Mt Hood wilderness. Planning aside, or lack there of, not a bad collection of consulation prizes.

After finding out that the weekend permits to hike Mt Saint Helens sell out within hours of going on sale (it's nice to see that some mountains still have the status of rock stars) i had to make a quick shift to group hike. Having done South Sister in central Oregon last year, i figured i would be a good challenge that the group would certainly appreciate. I was also aware of the challenge that South Sister was. I chose to take a few warm up hikes to get get ready for Oregon's third tallest peak. I opted for a few of my standard Gorge hikes and, to just get a taste of what i was missing, a hike in the St. Helens wilderness. The idea was to traverse the south side of Helens, close to where the summit route passes through and get a basic idea of the hike (for next year). My friend Emily came along for company. We left Portland bright and early, Emily slept nearly the entire hour and a half trip to the trailhead. The guide book failed to mention or was too outdated to mention the washed out 2.5 miles of road leading up to the actual trailhead. The trail was poorly marked to start and involved an early icy creek crossing that left our feet damp for the rest of the day. We took a few "side trips" when we couldn't find the trail but all-in-all it was an awesome hike. Emily slept on the way back :)

In inappropriately named Blue Lake. It was actually green. . .and as all green waters go. . .very cold.

Emily trying to pick her way across the creek lumberjack style. We ended up just walking through it instead.

A view of Mount St. Helens from a trailside meadow.

Wildflowers appeared just as we were entering Sheep Canyon.

A view of Helens through the trees as we made our way to the South Fork of the Toutle River.

The view looking up the Toutle river.

River level view of Mount St. Helens.

Some crazy tree. It looked like it belonged in a Dr. Seuss sculpture.

Our trip to South Sister consisted of a group of six. Two were already in Bend staying with parents and the other four, including myself, departed from Portland after early departures from work. The trip to Bend was uneventful and beautiful. . .par for the course. The idea was that we'd try and find a campsite and nothing was available we'd just crash along a fire road. I wasn't a big fan of paying for a place to camp so my co-pilot and i put in a half assed effort to find an open campground. After about two "failed" attempts we started looking for some fire roads near the trailhead. We found an awesome spot that, shortly after setting up camp, we discovered was a horse camp. Joey sparked up the fire while Zack and i tended to the fajita/quesadilla dinner. Jane tended to the dog. Dinner was followed by a desert of FlashFlight throwing and beers. The next morning we joined Marisa and Kim at the trail parking lot. The hike upward was just as brutally beautiful as i had remembered from my first trip. Everyone toughed their way through the hike, Zack leading the group at nearly a jog and myself bringing up the rear. Kim's parents invited us back to their place, a lovely family home situated on the banks of the Deschutes river. Dinner was making its way to the table just as we arrived. Kim's dad quickly put beers in our hands and so the evening was made. Joey and i took a quick, very quick because the water was a bit chilly, dip in the river before dinner.

First glimpse of South Sister.

Broken Top and the infamous "Vegitation Preservation" sign.

South Sister and some Indian Paintbrush.

One of the many trailside breaks.

The trail leading unsuspecting hikers to the false summit.

Our refilling station before the final push to the summit.

The final push.

Kim and Marisa expending some extra energy with an impromtu dance.

Looking back at our watering hole and Broken Top.

Jayne and i taking a break on the summit. Broken Top is to the left.

Summit team (left to right): Joey, Marisa, Kim, Zack, yours truly, and Jayne. Middle and North Sisters in the background.

Probably my favorite photo of the trip. Marisa, Kim and Zack hiking down into the crater on our way around the rim of the summit.

Yours truly giving a glacial snow angle lesson in the crater.

The lake in the crater. Nobody wanted to take the swim in the lake dare. . .thankfully.

Zack stopping to enjoy the Mt. Bachelor view on the way back.

The ladies on their way down. That's a steep downhill and it seemed a lot steeper on the way up.

Funny thing about summit hikes, they are always downhill on the way back. This hike had no shortage of it.

Shamis taking a breather next to my filthy leg.

The next day i was pushing for a hike at Smith Rock on the way back to Portland. The rest of the group pushed back with a float down the Deschutes. Wisely, i went along with the group decision. A float was a much better way to follow a grueling hike, much better than another hike for sure.

The view from Kim's parent's deck. Not a bad place to have dinner after an epic hike.

Marisa enjoying the float.

Two bachelors one floating the other the same place it's been for a couple million years. Both. . .smooth on the top.

I took a weekend off to hang around the city and do some house shopping. Yesterday i was back on the trail. I sitll had big mountains on the mind so i headed up to Mt Hood. I ventured up to the north side of the mountain instead of the typical south east side used for skiing. Never having been on that side of the mountain, i had no clue where i was headed. I took the highly reccomended Vista Ridge trail up to the Timberline trail and began surveying fellow hikers for suggestions. One group told me i "looked strong" and should be able to see both Elk Cove and the Carrin Basin in the same day. I started on my way to Elk Cove. The trail to the cove was lined with beautiful views of Mt Hood. Along the way i crossed a field of boulders and skree. The seemingly direct route to what is known as Barrett's Spur was enticing but i continued on my path to Elk Cove. I stopped at Elk Cove to eat my Mexican Falafel wrap and ponder the rest of my afternoon. Staring me in the face was another seemingly direct route to Barrett's Spur, the highest view point available in the area. I headed through the meadow with the intentions of viewing the rock filled slope, knowing very well that it was likely that i was going to be dragging myself up it. And. . .up it i drug. Half-way through my scramble i thought to myself. . .here i am, in the Mt Hood wilderness, way off any trail, scrambling up a slope of hundred + pound boulders, with no one knowing where i am. Awesome! After a long back slide i briefly reconsidered the route but at that point it would have been a lot less fun going back down. It was an all fours hike until the ridgeline where i met up with the Dollar Lake side trail. I gleefully hopped on the boot beaten trail and headed up the last 1,000 feet to the top of Barrett's Spur. At the top i ran into my friends who suggested Elk Cove. We chatted a bit and i headed further down the spur to try and get as close to the mountain as possible. Once i got as far as the spur would take me, i stopped an finished the rest of my falafel and listened to the Elliot Glacier pop and crack. The hike back was flat in comparison to my route up to the spur. I looped around Dollar Lake where a few people were camping and headed back to the Timberline Trail. From there i caught Vista Ridge back to the peacefully waiting Yota. On my way home i stopped off at Full Sail brewery in Hood River for a pint, a BLT and time to smile about my day.

The view as i came to the top of the Vista Ridge Trail. Outlook not so good.

As the trail wound down to Elk Cove the clouds disappeared.

You can't help but love some wild flowers. Oh. . .and a giant mountain.

A babbling brook marking the entrance to Elk Cove. Barrett's Spur hides the mountain. The gravel patch between the two snow fields was my route to the top of Barrett's Spur.

The view from Elk Cove.

More from Elk Cove.

More wild flowers in Elk Cove.

And up i went.

Checking my progress a few hundred feet up. Elk Cove below.

A shot of the snow field on my way to the top.

Finally the ridge trail. Looking back on Elk Cove and a lot of rocks.

My first view of the mountain after hitting the ridge trail.

More mountain from the bottom of Barrett's Spur.

The mountain from the top of Barrett's Spur.

Some pre-historic glacier damage flowing into Elk Cove.

Some actual glacier. Each one of those chunks was probably about the size of a 18-wheeler.

Looking back at the west ridge of Mt Hood.

Heavy clouds eating the ridgetop of Carin Basin.

A closer look.

Hood through an artistic trail marker.

My parting shot of the mountain from Dollar Lake.

So. . .that's what i've been up to. I hope you're jealous, i sure would be. I'm off to the Olympic Peninsula next weekend to visit with the G's and R's and the newest R. There may be a hike thrown in the mix, one never knows with that group.