31 Dec 2015

Happy New Year (and some December stuff)

December has been a busy time. W and I spent the past week with my sister and her boyfriend, visiting from Michigan, and we had a great time in and around Tacoma. One of the highlights was a trip up into the mountains.

There's almost never snow in the lower elevations in western Washington, but up in the mountains there is a tremendous amount. In fact, the highest levels of snowfall in the continental 48 states are measured here!

There was only 2 to 3 feet of snow where we went, Crystal Mountain. There was more at Paradise, but the road was closed due to an excessive amount of snowfall for this time of year. That's saying a lot, when you consider that it sometimes has snow as deep as 16 feet! (it's like driving through a tunnel and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting to see that some time this winter after a very bad winter last year with low snowfall)

We found a lonely abandoned sled at a little turn-out on the road, and went down this little hill a few times.

It was a gorgeous day and everything was beautiful and perfect.

The road into Rainier National Park was closed, as it always is in the winter.

We found a snowman. Or should I say, Jabba the Snow Hutt. 

The snow was actually kind of blue if you saw it at the right angle. Hopefully you can see this here.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of joining Scott and Cabot for a type-in in Kirkland, WA. I only managed to snap this one photo of Scott on Cabot's decrepit Underwood standard. That was a fantastic machine, it looked so terrible but true to the Underwood's reputation, it typed pretty great.

Happy New Year! I managed to snap this photo of the final sunrise of 2015 just as I am finishing up this post!

16 Oct 2015

From the top you can see the world

Mount Rainier seen through the clouds on the road in Bonney Lake

Humans love views. I, wholeheartedly believing "the trees are the view", can't deny that I love seeing what's miles and miles away. We like to think we're on top of the world. We probably evolved to want to see where we are and what's around us, and none of that modern stuff has changed this.

Consequently, I love hiking in Washington. There are countless trails to the countless peaks of the Cascades and Olympics, each with its own unique view of the country. Our latest hike was a moderate one—4 miles to the top of Shriner Peak, a little southeast of Mount Rainier. I'm not in the best hiking shape though, so the 3434 foot gain was a bit challenging. About 1000 feet per mile, a 40% grade, excluding the alpine meadow a mile before the peak.

 On the trail there were lots of patches of fall color and fallen leaves.

As well as the fully evergreen areas with a soft pine needle bed.

Suddenly, the mountain appears before our eyes.

Just in time to catch this little rainbow.

Looking south towards Mount Adams

Then the trail passed through a rocky alpine meadow.

The low evening sun beautifully lit up patches of the ground.

Hiking upmountain once again.

Nearing the top—plenty of views now that we are out of the forest.

It wasn't that far before the summit appeared, complete with the abandoned fire lookout tower.

Where the best view of the day was to be had, of course. Right in time for sunset. From the watchtower you can see the four closest major peaks of the Cascades: Rainier, Adams, St Helens, and Hood.

Click to view panorama

Last time I took a break in my typewriter phase, my blog lay dormant. I hope none of my readers mind that this is turning into a travel and photo blog for now in the absence of typewriters. Either way, I'm not changing anything.

30 Sept 2015

Urban Inspection 4: Night Disturbance

On a whim, I decided it was time to take some more night photos of Tacoma. It turned out to be a fortunate decision.

You may have noticed this is heavily back-dated. I should have posted this back in September, but I've been quite sick this week.

One of the old brick alleys of Tacoma. I understand that the old brick can be nice, but this is so uneven that not only is it intolerable for auto traffic, but it's even difficult to walk on.

I always thought graffiti looks better than mismatched grey paint, but I also understand all the complicated reasons behind it.

Most of the streets, like this one, are pretty empty after midnight.

Downtown Tacoma is quite a center of public art.

We witnessed a driver knocking over a recycling bin, although I didn't quite get a photo of the act itself.

We heard police sirens and they stopped right in front of the bar ahead of us.

We were presented with this bizarrely delightful scene.

The lady with this wonderfully swooshy garment stopped by us to make this comment, which seems to explain everything about the situation:

Finally, as we made our way home, we saw Caution the Cat who works in the Office of Consumption. There used to be a small wooden plaque with words explaining his situation, but they went missing at some point along with the clock hands.

25 Sept 2015

Less-travelled roads to heaven (part 2)

The Seven Devils mountain range, from where the technical top of the canyon is measured. We call it the Seven Satans because alliteration.

Never fear—this is not missing the first 2 pages. Those were part 1. Note the change from "hell" to "heaven". I really do love Moscow that much. Partly because it's great, but partly because of an irrational emotional bond with it which I have no desire to shake.

The "alien landing pad" of Hells Canyon.

The clouds cast lovely shadows.

Nearing sunset at the reservoir of Brownlee Dam.

White Bird

US-95 by White Bird

Sculpture at the Nez Perce County Courthouse (at Lewiston)

US-95 going north to Moscow. We went up this incline to the Palouse country using the modern 4 lane highway.

Moscow countryside (I regret not bringing my camera on the walk around downtown!)

Looking from the top down at Lewiston and the old two-lane road, which we took down the inline.

Grain storage along US-12

Overlooking the Snake River near Starbuck (no association with Starbucks!)

A railroad bridge over the Snake River.

Palouse Falls

This is a rough outline of our complete road trip. I pretty much ignored everything between Weiser and Cascade, yes. It's just that dull in comparison to what surrounds it!