Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring Break

It has been too long since I have written anything, so I apologize for that.

Life is hectic (as always) with teaching, softball, and getting projects done for our mission trip this summer. Spring break was a nice change of pace where I got to visit friends and family in Washington state.

I got to Seattle on Tuesday around lunch time and went to my Aunt Jody's house where I was going to stay the night. After a few hours of talking I drive over to my Uncle Digger's house. When I got to his house there was a note on the door that they had to pick their dog up from the vet and to come on in. I assumed that we'd have dinner at the house since it was only 5:30 and we couldn't go out because their dog, Packwood, just had surgery and couldn't be left alone. Here I was talking with them and all I was really thinking about was food. I had planned to go to Paradise, WA to do some hiking the next day and when I told my uncle he said, "Don't you dare!! That place is still snow-packed." So we figured out a place in the lowlands in Rainier National Park that was safe for me to go hiking.

As Wednesday morning rolls around Jody and I go for breakfast and then I pack up and leave for Randle, WA in Rainier N.P. I'm following the directions and I cannot find the trail that I was planning on hiking. I keep driving and I found a visitor center at Cispus River. I go in, get a trail map, and head on my way. They always say to plan for the worst, so I had extra socks, jacket, gloves, hat, food, water, and flash light. The lady inside the visitor center said that part of the trail had some damage.

At this point, I am feeling good, taking lots of pictures, and I'm ready to commune with nature. I pass some beautiful falls that you can walk behind and I start up hill on the other side of the falls. This is the point where the lady said there was some damage, but it looked pretty clear so I kept going. As I got higher and higher, the path started getting narrower and narrower. The higher I got the more snow covered the ground, but I was sure I could see the path on the other side so I kept going. About 50 feet into the snow-covered ground I looked around me and I couldn't see the path at all. The best thing for me to do was to follow my footprints back the way I came. However, when there's lots of other footprints (the snow had been there awhile) it's not as easy as it sounds. I must've been following someone else's footprints because I ended up no where near where I started.

People think I'm pretty calm and collected, but in reality, I can panic quite easily. And this was one of those times where I started to panic because I am miles from the nearest person and there are waterfalls, which means even if I yell (and I tried) no one will be able to hear me. I am on the side of a mountain with such an incline that if I lose my footing at all the only thing stopping me from a 200 foot fall are trees. After an hour and a half of being lost, I gave up control and said (more like yelled), "God, if you just get me back to the trail sign by dark I will be okay." Not more than 2 minutes went by and I looked up and there was the sign. There's a lesson in itself!

So, I made it back in one piece... a little dirty and bruised, but in one piece. That night I drove down to Oregon City to stay with my cousin, Jeff, and his family. Thursday I did some visiting with Dale, the head coach I worked for (who's more like a Dad), and his family and then with other cousins, JoLynn and Amy, and their kids.

Friday, Jeff and I went hiking up Beacon Rock and Rodney falls. Beacon Rock is a hike that is only a mile, but it is straight up hill! When we got to the top it was very windy. We looked around and there was a bald eagle just soaring over the tops of the trees! It soared and came up behind the rock and then hovered about 20 feet right over us! It was so beautiful.

Then, after eating some lunch we hiked up the trail to Rodney Falls. Usually in the summer time the falls is just a trickle of water, but the springtime (although cold and wet) is the time to go. Even the overlook was filled with water creating its own waterfalls. The power that the waterfalls created was absolutely stunning.

Saturday I drove up to Ocean Shores, WA and met a friend at the beach for a clam festival. They advertised this huge clam chowder cook-off. When Phillip and I got to this tiny town there was 3 people entered in the cook-off and about 15 booths. So what we thought would take hours took about 30 minutes. =) You gotta love small towns! So after the wonderful time walking around the huge convention center we drove the few blocks onto the beach. And I literally mean ON the beach. Phillip has a 3 ton truck and we were able to drive 10 miles on the sand and barely leave tracks (except in one spot where the tires spun). It was kind of fun to go for a drive that close to the ocean. It was a really windy day and a little rainy, so we didn't want to get out, and the temperature was about 50 degrees. The waves were huge and it looked pretty dangerous. When we got a few miles down the beach there were guys surfing! The water couldn't have been much above 50 degrees. I guess that's exhilarating to some people, but that does not appeal to me.

Here are some pictures from my trip: