Archive for September 2003

Theological Question

On our drive to the Green Mountain trailhead yesterday, we saw a church in some small town that had an electronic readerboard facing the highway. On of the more curious messages announced a meeting of a “Vegetarian Support Group”. Since this was in a small rural town, and not in the supercilious Seattle granola belt, we drew the conclusion that, as with the religious movement to “cure” gays, the purpose of this “support” group was probably to get vegetarians back on the godly path of meat-eating.
Just then, this question occurred to me: If you’re vegetarian, and believe in transubstantiation, can you take communion? One possible solution would offer itself if Christ ever appeared to anyone in the form of a vegetable, but even my poor religious education, derived from a Methodist indoctrination which consisted almost wholly of plotting ways to give attractive girls rides home after church and MYF meetings, tends toward the negative on this question.

Summer Ain’t Quite Over, Part II

We’re having something like an endless summer here in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s getting kind of spooky, like somebody left us in the toaster oven and forgot us, or the gods are so distracted with Ben & Jen that they forgot how to work the clutch on that season thingy. Whatever is happening, we’ve had weeks of basically gorgeous weather.
Yesterday we took a day hike near Glacier Peak in the Cascades called the Green Mountain trail. Glacier Peak is one of the “necklace” of volcanoes that characterize the Cascades from Canada to Northern California, which includes Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Shasta and others. Since it’s mostly hidden from view in Seattle, it doesn’t get the press that Mt. Rainier or Mt. Baker get.
It’s a rather short hike - 3 miles in, 3 miles out - but it’s unrelentingly uphill, and you gain 3,100 feet of elevation over those three miles. You are rewarded with increasingly stunning views as you ascend, culminating in a 360 degree stunner at the end at 6,500 feet above sea level.
Blueberry bushes which cover great swaths of the terrain here have turned red and purple and they, along with scrub maples simply set fire to a lot of the landscape. An added dividend from the blueberries was abundant fruit that was still on the bushes, but which had dried somewhat, resulting in handfuls of blueberry raisins, bursting with concentrated flavor and sweetness.

Mount Baker From the Green Mountain Lookout

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Mount Baker in the distance.


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Late-season blueberries.

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Glacier Peak

A picture named Grn mtn 04.jpgLooking east to Glacier Peak

Green Mountain Hike

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Geyser, Yellowstone Park

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Sunset, Sucia Island, WA - the REAL end of Summer

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Wait! Put down that shovel and brush the dirt off his face - I thought I saw him breathe!

Wait! Put down that shovel and brush the dirt off his face - I thought I saw him breathe!
Been kind of a busy end-of-summer (the real end of summer, not that fraud and travesty foisted off by The Virtual (but not Virtuous) Occoquan a few weeks ago. After the OSU -Washington game, my son and I drove a car that my mother in law had given him from Toledo back to Seattle. We had an enjoyable 4 days of experiencing the American landscape from ground level. For most of the last 15 years, I’ve flown any distance over 2 - 300 miles, and I wondered if I could possibly stand driving the 2,000 miles that I usually breeze over in the time it takes to read the latest New York Review of Books. And I have to say it was fascinating to stare at the terrain and landforms as they went by, even in the hot and featureless plains between the Mississippi and the Front Range.
The kid was advocating a quick trip with stops dictated only by biology and the frailties of the internal combustion engine (as in the Buffett song (Jimmy, not Warren), there’s a woman to blame), so there was no hope of stopping to tour the several plains pioneer museums advertised along the road in Nebraska that piqued my curiosity. We stopped briefly to peek at the Cabela’s retail store in Kearney, NE. I thought it might prove an interesting and outdoor-related break from the road, but once inside we both realized that it’s more of an animal-killer’s ordnance cache than a granola-powered REI clone. Kid was disgusted by a gaudy tableau in the center of the store featuring a cast of dead animals cavorting motionlessly. We escaped despite the lack of camo gear.
Once in western Wyoming, however, he became enthralled by the terrain, and I was able to con him into stopping for a reprise of the Grand Teton vacation my wife and I took earlier in August. We had a nice hike in the late fall heat, and he admired, as a fellow rock climber, the vista of the Grand Teton peak that his mother had climbed. Since childhood, he’s been a fan of pyrotechnics, and we also dawdled in the geothermal areas of Yellowstone before an epic push from there to Seattle.
Besides that trip, I also took my first camping trip in a kayak, on Sucia Island in the San Juans north of Puget Sound. Sea kayaks hold an incredible amount of stuff, and I loaded mine up like the ill-fated pilgrim ship in Lord Jim, including (god help me!) my laptop, thinking I might rekindle my blog. A glance will tell you how far that got, but I at least proved the concept of fitting expensive electronics into a dry bag and daring the sea to pick my pocket.
A day after my return, I was off to Milwaukee for a week of work, where I now am ensconced, in a Holiday Inn Express with free WiFi and an inexplicable Jacuzzi spa next to my bed, stroking my muse furiously and obscenely. She’ll thank me later.