Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cloud Cap

Dollar Lake Fire on Mount Hood, August 30, 2011
"On Mount Hood, firefighters wrapped the historic Cloud Cap Inn with fire-resistant material to protect it against the Dollar Lake fire, which has grown to 1,500 acres. The lodge was built in 1898 as an elite destination resort reached by railroad and horseback, and is used now by the Crag Rats mountaineering group, Mount Hood National Forest spokesman Rick Acosta said.

The Dollar Lake fire was ignited by lightning over the weekend and was burning in heavy forest at about 6,000 feet near glaciers on the north flank of Oregon's tallest mountain. A regional management team took over the fire. Thirteen hand crews were ordered to supplement the smokejumpers and initial attack teams already fighting the fire.

Firefighters faced winds up to 25 miles per hour.
Three campgrounds have been closed, including Cloud Cap, Tilly Jane and Lawrence Lake. The Vista Ridge, Gnarl Ridge, Pinnacle and Elk Cove trails are also closed.
The fire is burning in the same area where the Gnarl Ridge fire burned in 2008."

The kids and I had the unique opportunity to stay at Cloud Cap two weeks ago.  We were invited by Brian's brother, Dale, to celebrate his birthday on the mountain.  Dale is one of the infamous Crag Rats -- part of the mountain search and rescue team on Mt. Hood.  We felt fortunate to be included that weekend to enjoy the lodge and the surrounding wilderness.  

To say it is breathtaking would be an understatement.   Marc and I hiked through this area fifteen years ago on a four day trip around Mt. Hood.  I remember it vividly because it was the first sign of civilization I had seen in three days.  All I could see was the potential for a flush toilet.  After hiking with four men, a trowel, and one scant roll of toilet paper, the lodge seemed like an oasis in Hades.  We were not able to use the facilities, but I remember it well to this day.  I digress.

I was thrilled to be back in this place a decade and a half later.  This would be one of those places that you can see and touch God's power in a very tangible way.  I love high places that offer new perspective.  Cloud Cap is amazing and it grieves me to know that this place is threatened by fire. 

I thought I would share some of the pictures that I was able to capture.  I still marvel at the beauty and the power of mountains.  And to think....God can move them!

Mt. Hood as the sun is beginning to go down.

Girls standing in the wind and watching the clouds swirl by....

Striking the Pioneer Woman Stance

Adam and Sophia

Brian and his sweet mom, Anne

Lenticular Clouds....worth googling.

Wildflowers and a mountain shrouded in mist....gotta love God's creativity and beauty!

This picture does not do the sunset justice....Amazing!

Ben on the big rock that marks the elevation.  The trees behind him mark the scars of the last wildfire that ripped through this area. 

We settled down that evening in front of a monster fire.  A perfect ending to a surreal evening.

Sunrise!  Bright and bold!

The sun coming up over the hills. 

The walls talk at Cloud Cap.  Those that have visited and climbed the mountain engrave their names and the date on the walls.  There are hundreds of entries.  Ben found the oldest date out of those we looked at.  1899.  Sad to think that this history is threatened by fire.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Simple Work. Simple Fun.

We have had a fairly busy couple of weeks.  I can't complain, though.  I live for summer.  I like the warm weather, the outdoor fun, and even all the work that starts heading our way as August arrives.  We have been working hard and playing hard.  It feels great to push through the day and fall into bed -- just to get up and do it again the next day.

Thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of the last couple of weeks.  Simple work followed by simple fun.

We spent five sunny days at Paulina and East Lake a couple of weeks ago.  It felt good to get out of Western Oregon and head for drier weather.  The kids loved playing in the lake, star gazing at night, and eating tons of great food.  Many thanks to Lil, Lew, Brian, Maejang and Chia, for spoiling us rotten on this trip!  We had a blast!

Sophia hit another milestone.  She finally learned how to ride her bike.  It might have happened sooner if she had let anybody teach her.  Big surprise...her response was, "I'll do it myself."  There you have it. 

We came home from camping to find our raspberries ready to pick.  Because of our cooler weather, everything has been late this year.  Despite the weather change, we have done well this year.  We have heaps of berries to pick and have had fun sharing them.  Needless to say we are spending a lot of time in the garden.

Of course, we no sooner get on top of the raspberries and the blueberries are right behind.  By the time the bushes are done producing I am weary of the picking, canning, and freezing.  It's always well worth it, though, in the middle of winter. 

Remember these little guys?  A couple of months ago I could pick them up in my arms.  Today was slaughter day and I think the largest of the bunch tipped the scales at over 250 pounds.  They aren't so cute anymore.  I'm always glad when this project is finished, too.  They get to be a bit of work towards the end...not to mention the less than lovely smell.

My sweet girl with her buddy, Nellie.  They have had a great summer just horsing around together.  I can remember being this age -- I was always outside with my horse.  Good memories.  It warms my heart that she finds joy in the same simple pleasures that I did as a kid.  It's not fancy, just simple fun.

The bunnies are doing what they do around the Griffith home.  We have had 19 babies since June.  These little guys are heading to new homes next week.  Nothing makes us smile more than watching these little puff balls scamper around. 

Okay, now onto "Man-Stuff."  I have a growing appreciation for the male of the species.  While I'm finding my way around the chainsaw, vermin, and repairs, I have certainly discovered my limitations.  I am firmly convinced that I can do ALL things through Christ; however, sometimes it's just nice to have guys around to expedite the process!  Word to the wise.....don't take the men in your life for granted. 

Grandpa setting out to work on the pump house.  He has been the driving force behind getting my pump house rebuilt and ready for winter.  He manages to help me out, travel for work, work on his own place, and make his grandkids feel special...not to mention a million other things.  Sophia thinks her grandpa is kinda special!  Can you tell?

The kids and I found this creepy, disgusting creature ambling down our driveway a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, it's a rat...and a large one at that.  I think he ate some of the exterminator's poison because he was pretty dopey.  Unfortunately, he was alive which meant that my dog wanted to kill it.  I figured if he was loaded with rat poison Hurley probably shouldn't touch it.  That left me with one option....Put a bucket over the top of it and think for a few minutes.  This was much like the day the pig died.  I was looking around, hoping that some magic rat killing person would materialize out of nowhere.  No such luck.  Again, that person was obviously me.  A sledgehammer and a shovel and that was the end of the rat.  I do believe I was an honorary man that day.....

Some things around here require a crazy man.  For instance, pressure washing and treating my roof for moss.  You will not ever find me jumping around on peak of my roof.  It made me queasy just watching the roofers up there. No...some jobs I readily get out my checkbook and let the professionals handle.  

This is Adam...one of the two men of the house.  I am so proud of my boys and all the work they have been doing for me this summer.  Always with a good attitude and done well.  For being eleven, they are responsible for a lot.  We picked up a cord of wood from our friends this week.  They helped load and then spent a few hours on their own unloading and stacking it...without being asked.  Their dad would be incredibly proud of his little men.  I know I am.

Well, I'm off to get a few more things done around here.  Thanks for visiting us.  Enjoy these last weeks of summer.  They are flying by!

With love and gratitude...