Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The summer of grandkids

What a marvelously delightful summer this has been, with extended visits by our remote grandchildren.

In June Teresa and Paisley came to visit for nearly six weeks. We got to know Paisley a lot better and saw her start walking and gain many new skills just in the time she was here. She is such a pleasant baby with a very agreeable personality.

At the end of the summer we hosted Bridget and Jeremy for a fun filled two weeks, and enjoyed the company of Magdalena and Miriam. Miriam is such an introspective and intelligent girl, and Magdalena is outgoing and fearless. I think Magdalena had an oft used expression that summed up the summer very well: "So fun!"

We are fortunate to have Blair and Emily's kids in town: Brooklyn, Jonah, and Eli. Brooklyn nearly drove us to the poor house with her extensive reading this summer with our two cents per page incentive. Jonah is all boy, and Eli so polite.

All of these cousins love playing together and get along so well. And what a great blessing to us grandparents!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mt. St. Helens Climb

(View of Mt. St. Helens from our camp)

Yesterday a group of us climbed Mt. St. Helens. This was my fourth time, the first being a glorious experience about a decade ago, with perfect weather. Each time, being exhausted at the finish, I assure myself that I won't do it again. But, time has a way of softening the hardship and bringing the exhiliration and accomplishment into the foreground.
Bridget and Jeremy are visiting and they wanted to do the climb, so we got a group of 13 together, including family and friends. We drove up the night before and camped at Climber's Bivouac. We sat around the campfire telling stories and keeping warm. Some were up and on the trail at 5:30AM, and others (including me) at 7:45.

The wind was blowing a bit at the camp, so that was a concern for the mountain. As usual, it was a pleasant start, with two miles of gentle climbing through a forest. Then we emerged at timberline and started climbing through and over a long stretch of boulder fields.

Towards the top of the boulder field we could see our destination, the crater rim.

It got very windy at this section of the climb, and it appeared iffy whether we could finish. But once we got up on the final stretch it subsided a bit.

The views at the top are amazing, with Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and other volcanic peaks all over the horizons.

This is looking to the north into the crater, with Spirit Lake and Mt. Rainier.

The descent is always agonizing, and goes on forever. The footing is treacherous for much of it, due to loose sand/gravel. I actually prefer the climbing part. What a welcome sight the forest trail is emerging from the final boulder section.

Now, I have completed my last Mt. St. Helens climb. And it was another marvelous experience, especially to climb with Suzanne, Bridget, Jeremy, Emily, and others.