Southern Draw

I always thought I could draw until I took a drawing class. The teacher is great though...a brilliant artist in my opinion, and I absolutely love his work.

Check it out here.

Of course, the online photos give one a good idea but they don't do the work justice. Fortunately, I was able to make it by the gallery showcasing his work last night. Seeing the Bird Shaman Picnic selections in person is quite an experience.

They are gorgeous, whimsical, sensual, sumptuous perfection.


Altitude Adjustment

The trip to Washington/Oregon was great. Highlights were hiking Mt. Rainier's trail leading to Muir Campground.

Being followed by a massive impermeable white/grey cloud, we hiked to appx. 9,000 feet where we heard a booming avalanche. Camping not being our objective for the day, we began our descent. Rainier is beautiful and frightening. Afterall, it is an active volcano.

We had a blast hanging out with a friend in and around Seattle, then drove to Cannon Beach, Oregon. We observed Haystack Rock from the beach and from the viewpoints around Ecola State Park. We hiked the Clatsop Loop Trail (a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail) from Indian Beach then headed to Portland.

The city of Portland is practically empty. It's as if half the population has been abducted leaving only a few tragic hipsters behind. It's weird. There are very few tall buildings and it's really, really clean. The coolest thing about Portland is the lite rail that runs through town and the wide bike lanes. What is not cool about Portland are the streets with bus only lanes. This means there is only one lane for cars SO, if you aren't walking or riding the rail, you are S.O.L.

From Portland, to Mt. Hood, we only had time to hike the Mirror Lake Trail.
The view wasn't nearly as spectacular as we thought it would be so we continued to the viewpoint on Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain. Pretty soon, every Tom, Dick, and Harry showed up but that was alright. There was plenty of view to go around.

Here's a photo of Al and Mt. Hood. From this viewpoint, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and obviously Mt. Hood.

We left Portland and headed back to Seattle for one last night of fun. We saw Juliette Lewis at the El Corazon. Juliette is beautiful and wild and an okay singer but we couldn't figure out if her craziness was real or an act. We decided she was trying too hard and resigned ourselves to the bar. I didn't bother trying to take a photo because those who did got shook down by the ogre-sized slobs (or staff) at El Corazon.

All in all, it was a lovely trip. Hiking is my favorite outdoor activity. I love it, I live for it. It renews me, it keeps me going. I am so grateful for these places, and for the desire and ability to explore them.

Click if you are not bored by scenery photos.

Happy Trails ~ :)


Roam In Peace: Kaya Wolfenstein 1994 - 2009

I saw her death in a dream. I opened the garage door (the garage being her den) and whistled for her, 'Come on, Girl!' She walked out of the dark but turned and went the opposite way of the opened door. I saw her through a window walking along the sidewalk toward her bed in the backyard. I saw her spasm and collapse. I awoke abruptly knowing she would soon be gone.

After a week of decline, our efforts to save her only mildly effective, Kaya departs this plane Friday, May 8th, near midnight under a full moon, beneath the maple tree Alan planted, amongst the boulders and azaleas, on the hill the animals loved to bask. She said goodbye in her own way, two short excited barks, this bark being the kind usually heard before walks or when greeting someone coming to let her out of the gate. She could not have died in a more peaceful way, in a more appropriate place or moment.

By Alan's design, Kaya superseded the average dog's life. After fifteen years of frolicking in Washington State, Maine, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Tennesse and Georgia, I know she is running with a new pack. She will be missed and never replaced.


Whistler, British Columbia!

March 2009 ~
I won't give a play by play here but will just say that Whistler is incredibly beautiful. Did some snowshoeing, some snowboarding (sorry no snowboarding pictures - the bruises will have to serve as evidence), hanging out in the village, and rode the Peak to Peak Gondola without having a freak out ~ it was simply alot of fun.

On the way into Vancouver we saw the Olympic Rings . On Whistler, we saw some guys from Poland's Olympic ski team and some adaptive skiiers on the slopes (adaptive skiiers are incredible ~ love those guys!).

I would love to live on the west coast and have access to this place. Click WhistlerBritishColumbia to view some more photos. Some aren't that great but you can see some shots from the P2P Gondola, which will give you an indication of how high off the valley floor it actually is.

If you ever have an opportunity...GO to BC! And if you are going to be there for the Olympics and Paralympics 2010 then I envy you! :)


Farewell to a Friend

I saved her and her brother from certain death. Two kittens, black and white running across the road at night. I made Alan stop and get them. Alan ended up running the brother over in the driveway a few months later but Camille survived. In fact, she defied the odds...outliving the life expectancy of an outdoor cat which is approximately 5 years. A scrapper, a mouser, a green-eyed hunter...She survived Mountain Park, Scott Drive, the birth of three kittens, the Disappearance of Eric, and several relocations. She was with us 15 years. She was a sweet cat and despite her six toes, Alan thought she was beautiful. We had to put her down tonight...the big C. Camille is survived by her daughter, Sugar, the blue-eyed, cross-eyed semi-Siamese.


New England Round Trip Sept 9 - 18, 2008

Day 1: Arrived in Boston 3:43pm
Drove to Lanesboro, MA. 90-W to 91-N up to Greenfield (2 hours), exited Mohawk Trail/Rte. 2-W to North Adams (1 hour). North Adams Rte. 8-S to Lanesboro (thirty minutes). Watched sunset over North Adams from mountainside. Checked in Mt. View Motel, where Leeam upgraded us to a cabin (good man). The hilliest and most scenic section of the Mohawk Trail is from Greenfield to North Adams. Appx. Total Trip Time: 3.5 hours from airport to motel. Sunrise 6:26AM Sunset: 7:13PM

Recommended restaurant: O’Reillys on Poontusec Lake. Very yummy, very affordable. Total was about $30 with drinks, not bad.
Day 2: Mt. Greylock State Reservation. Hiked to summit of Mt. Greylock, the highest summit in MA. Started out Roaring Brook Trail from Roaring Brook Road/Rte. 7 appx. 2 rocky miles up Roaring Brook Trail to Hopper Trail at Sperry Campground. Detoured onto March Cateract Trail to Falls appx. 1.7 miles. Back to Hopper Trail to AT to Summit appx. 2 miles. We pass this beautiful pond before reaching the summit then see the monuments of Thoreau and to the War Veterans.
From Driftin' & Dreamin'

Had lunch on the summit. Returned Hopper Trail/AT 2 miles, 1.5 miles down Sperry Road to Stony Ledge Overlook. Beautiful area here. Then down, STRAIGHT down, Stony Ledge Trail which we have renamed TKR Trail or Total Knee Replacement Trail for appx. 2.5 miserable miles to return on Roaring Brook Trail. 7 hours on the trail today. Good news is Park Roads are closed so there’s foot traffic only, not many visitors. Forgot to establish GPS signal so guessitmate by Visitor Center map is appx. 13.5 mile trip today.

Day 3: Drove from Lanesboro to Bennington, VT (1 hour). The plan was to hike Harmon Hill then continue on to Rutland, VT (1.75 hr.)to Mt. Sport Inn, but we did not do this hike today because the hike is mostly up stone stairs and our knees are shredded. I thought I was going to be disappointed by not making it to Glacier NP this year and I thought these mountains were wimpy since they don’t compare at all to those in Glacier but I guess it’s me that’s wimpy. I can’t believe how punishing that descent was yesterday. Absolutely no switchbacks just downhill. The waitress last night said her boyfriend snowboards on it but it's "wicked illegal"; I thought that "wicked crazy". Took a zero day and hung out at at South Street CafĂ©. Had a tasty lunch, some good coffee and got online. Gearing up for Killington/Pico hike tomorrow. It was a beautiful drive up to Rutland/Killington from Bennington. The road ran North between the mountain ranges and some pretty farms. It was a gorgeous day, blue skys, with white/grey clouds hanging low, casting shadows on the green mountains. I imagine it’s pretty incredible at height of color change.

Day 4: Did the misty mountain hop today in some pretty soupy conditions. 10AM: Hiked up Shelbourne Pass Trail from Pico Mt. to Long Trail/Appalachian Trail about 3.0 lush, beautiful, gradual uphill miles in a dense white fog. There is moss and ferns everywhere and it smells like Christmas trees. Visibility on the trail is good but no views. Made for some fast time to Killington Peak (appx. 5.5 miles. No good photos; view completely obscured. Rain started as we approached Cooper Lodge. Hung for a few minutes and talked to a guy doing the Long Trail to Canada. He said he had 150 miles to go. We pushed on the .2 miles to the summit in the rain via the narrow rocky staircase.

At the top, I really felt like a drowning rat clinging to the tip of pitching, sinking ship because I'm surrounded by an ocean of fog and I'm being whipped by gusts of swirling, magical mist. I couldn't see the edge; it was pretty freaky and I dare say I was scared. On the descent, finally on the descent, we saw two turkeys (very appropriate) and a huge beautiful owl that flew ahead of us for a time. Not being able to see too far in the distance, and it raining a bit harder now, we veered too far right and ended up at Bear Mountain ski area instead of base of Killington. This ski area is closed by the way, practically deserted since April, so it looked like Friday the 13th fodder.

We finally made it to a ‘residential road’ which is still high on the mountain, mind you, and by this time, my mended knee was shredded again and I was walking like Frankenstein. Luckily, we were able to hitch a ride with Plumb Bob (a local plumber/snowboarder) who was kind enough to stop & give us a ride back to our car. Thanks to Bob for not being a psychotic killer because I would not have been able to run away. Minus the time hanging out with Plumb Bob, estimate is 10.5 miles and appx. 5.0 hours. Despite getting lost, Bob Sardelli, the Innkeeper (another cool Bob) said we made good time so we felt pretty good. The mountain is beautiful and brutal and deceptive and definitely not wimpy. I enjoy this kind of thing.

Recommend: Lookout Bar & Grill (more casual, comfortable, pool table and games, good local beers Long Trail Ale and Switchback), Choices (more expensive, but damn good, esp. Rotissirie Chicken). I had two glasses of Pinot Noir and a Vermont Hot Apple Cider with Southern Comfort, Contreau, cinnamon, and orange with dessert. After dinner, my pain started to subside.

Overnight at Mt. Sport Inn. Sunrise 6:27AM Sunset 7:06PM

From Driftin' & Dreamin'

Day 5: From Rutland/Killington, VT to Adirondacks & Lake Placid, NY. The plan today was to hike the Van Hoevenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in NY but guess what?!...my left knee is injured so I am wearing a knee brace and popping Advil. This is the first knee injury I have ever had and it’s no joke. It feels like that crazy iceskater, “HardKnocks” took a baseball bat to my kneecap. The Adirondacks are nice but Lake Placid is very touristy. I am bummed today because Alan keeps pointing out every trailhead and there are a ton of them but we can’t hike. It is a zero day in every sense of the term. Walked around the town of Lake Placid and took some photos of Mirror Lake. There is trash and cigarette butts on the shores and I am so glad we are out of here tomorrow. Drove up to Whiteface Mountain but the gate to the summit was closed and they want $18 a car anyway. What a complete ripoff. Sunrise 6:33AM Sunset 7:10PM.
From Driftin' & Dreamin'

Day 6: Took the Port Kent Ferry from NY (1.0 hour) to Burlington, VT. Walked around Burlington today, what a cool, cool town. I love it here. I do not want to leave. Vermonters, in general, seem like pretty contented folk.
Recommended: Sweetwater Bistro on Church Street. The Doubletree in Burlington.

Day 7: On the way out of Burlington, went to Camel’s Hump State Park, in Duxbury, VT which is marked by a spray-painted plyboard sign. What a beautiful place that is. Hiked only 2.6 miles today on Monroe Trail. Weather again is partly cloudy, no real view but trails are beautiful. I have seen no trash on any trails in VT. Arrived in Hanover, NH.

From Driftin' & Dreamin'

Day 8: Hanover, NH, another nice college town, Dartmouth is here but feel of this town is very different. More upscale, ritzy, less earthy, more snooty. The woman at the Co-op Natural Grocery became unnecessarily vocally rude to us and complained to everyone in line because we took 14 items through the 10 items or less lane. She said maybe she should wear the sign around her neck. I thought maybe I should wear a scarlet number 14 on my sweater but I just laughed and apologized for ruining her day. The best thing right now is that the Connecticutt River runs behind this Motor Inn here and the Inn has canoes you can take out for free so that is what we did today. Saw sculling teams training on the river. Nice way to end the day. Sunrise 6:30AM Sunset 6:57PM.
Day 9: We found the most tranquil and serene spot of this trip and that is Trout Pond in Hanover, NH. It is so incredibly beautiful. Also, the forest is a protected bear habitat. We marveled at the perfect echo on the lake and longed for an inflatable raft. Mileage today: a paltry, 3.6.

We left for Boston and had dinner with friends from Providence, RI. Took the subway from the hotel and walked the Freedom Trail from the Park Street station to a “little Italy” section in the North End. Had appetizers and drinks at Lucca’s, dinner at Bacco's, then dessert and cappuccino at a killer sweet shop, Mike's Pastries. The food was so great and apparently you cannot go wrong in this part of town. Boston is incredible.
Day 10: From Logan Intl. Airport, Boston to Atlanta. Pickup Kaya and go home. Alan says if I want to hike Glacier NP, I need to start knee strengthening exercises. I hate to admit that he is right. Total trip mileage approximately 30.2 miles. Not what I had planned but not bad I suppose. All in all, it was a great trip. :)

For more pics go here: New_England#

Thanks for stopping by.