Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 13 - Serrano Glacier to Natales Boat Trip and back to Punta Arenas

Today we finished our kayak trip with a boat ride from the Serrano Glacier back to Puerto Natales.  On the way we were treated to both whiskey with glacial ice from the glacier we had just paddled to as well as an amazing traditional Chilean lamb feast.  From Puerto Natales we then traveled by bus back to Punta Arenas for a New Years celebration at the bottom of the world.  Click the title to read on... 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 12 - Tyndall Lake to the sea and the Serrano Glacier

Today we left our remote camp at Lake Tyndall and cruised the Tyndall River back to the Serrano River where we continued onward to the sea and the Serrano Glacier.  We entered the Bernard O'Higgin's National Park and had plenty of time to kayak up to the face of the massive glacier before a relaxing night with more of Rob's delicious cooking.  Click the title to read on....

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 11 - Leaving Paine Grande and start of Serrano River Kayaking

Today we started our amazing kayaking trip from Torres Del Paine National Park to the sea via the Serrano River.  Our guide Rob was super cool and the views from the river were amazing.  The wind was calm enough that we were even able to make it up the Tyndall River and get close to the very remote Tyndall Glacier.  Experiencing the remote regions of Patagonia far from others was a lifelong goal for me and we were able to experience that on this trip.   Click to the title to read on....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 10 - Refugio Cuernos up the Valley Frances then out to Paine Grande

Today we ran out of luck with the weather on our trip.  From when we got up all the way till we reached our final campsite the mountains remained cloudy and it was raining off and on.  We ended up skipping the French Valley which ended up working out as we were exhausted.  We were able to relax at our final campsite at Paine Grande with a nice meal and pisco sours from the bar there.  Click the title to read on.... 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 9 - Campamento Torres to Mirador Torres to Refugio Torres

Today we had amazing views of the towers in the morning after climbing through fresh snow.  We then continued our trek with beautiful weather all day.  It was certainly a very long day and by the time we reached our second campsite we were exhausted.  Click the title to read on and see some of the most amazing photos from our trip.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 8 - El Calafate to Puerto Natales to Torres Del Paine

Today was mostly a travel day from El Calafate, through Puerto Natales to Torres Del Paine for more Trekking.  We had time  for a quick lunch after dropping off our stuff with Dittmar and the rental car before we had to catch the afternoon bus up to the park.  It was a beautiful bus ride as it had just recently snowed on all the surrounding peaks.  Click the title to read on.....

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 7 - El Chalten to El Calafate Day of Rest

Merry Christmas.  After 3 hard days of trekking it was nice to have a relaxing day off.  The weather was terrible so we just headed back to Calafate where it was better and had a relaxing afternoon.  We called family and had a wonderful dinner in town.  Click the title to read on....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 6 - Camp De Agostini back to Camp Poincenot and out to Chalten

Today we totally lucked out on the weather.  We had great views of Cerro Torre with clearing clouds and by the time we trekked back over to Mt. Fitzroy it was under blue skies.  After we got back to town we found our amazing bed and breakfast and celebrated Christmas Eve in town eating some delicious pizza and local beer.   Click the title to read on......

Monday, December 23, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 5 - Camp Poincenot to Laguna de les tres to Camp De Agostini - Mt. Fitzroy Loop

Today we woke up to pouring rain at our campsite below Mt. Fitzroy.  We didn't get lucky with the views of Mt. Fitzroy today, even after waiting until 1pm to leave our campsite when the rain stopped. But, we ended up with some great views into the Cerro Torre Valley later in the evening as we made our way to our 2nd campsite.  Click the title to read on.....

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 4 - Calafate to Chalten and start of Mt. Fitzroy Loop

Today we had a long drive from Calafate across the vast Patagonia Plateau to the very cute town of El Chalten beneath the immense Mt. Fitzory.  We stopped at the ranger station to check out the weather forecast and learn about the area before driving to the edge of town to start our 6 mile hike in to our first campsite.  Click the title to read on....

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 3 - El Calafate, Argentina & the Perito Morino Glacier

Today we crossed the border from Chile into Argentina with our
rental car and visited the Perito Moreno Glacier just outside of El Calafate where we would spend the night at our Bed & Breakfast Casa De Grillos.  Today we saw a ton of wildlife and the biggest glacier we had ever seen.  Click the title to read on....

Friday, December 20, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 2 - Santiago to Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales

Today was yet another travel day from Santiago down to Punta Arenas.  From there we caught a bus that Laura Dittmar had arranged for us to Puerto Natales where she picked us up from the bus top and took us to our first hostel of our trip.  So great to be at the bottom of the world with a long honeymoon of adventure ahead of us!  Click the title to read on...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Honeymoon - Day 1 - Travel to Santiago, Chile

Just some quick notes for this entry as it was a travel day.
  • Taxi Magic picked us up right on time at 9am and we made it to the airport with no problem despite some ice on the road. 
  • Easy through TSA leaving socks and jackets on in pre-screened line.
  • Earlier 10:15 flight crashed on the tarmac into the towing vehicle.  Guy jumped out and broke his arm.  They had to re-route all the passengers from that flight but our flight was ok.
  • Got breakfast at Gustavs in the airport - em started off with two Bloody Marys while I had an Irish coffee.  
  • Watched Lord of the Rings Extended on our flight to Dalles.
  • slight scare when emily couldn't find our passports right before our flight to Santiago

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dog Mountain with Amy Jo and Loomis

Today Emily, Leo and I joined Amy Jo, Loomis and Addy for a very cold hike up Dog Mountain in the Columbia Gorge.  It was a steep, quick hike with lots of snow at the top and some good views of Mt. Hood, Adams and Mt. St. Helens.  On the way home we all were hungry so we stopped at a delicious brewery in Stevenson, Wa.  It was great to hang out with Amy Jo and Loomis and to get out with the best dog ever one more time before we had to leave him to go on our honeymoon.  Click the title to read all about our hike....

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snowy Days & A Quantum Christmas Party

This past week has been frigid in the Northwest and on Friday we received about 3 inches of snow in Ridgefield.  This of course caused a complete mess with traffic.  So much so, that our bus driver on Friday announced it would take nearly 3 hours to go the 18 miles to downtown Portland.  Thankfully, he pulled off at Delta Park and I was able to jump on the Max but I still arrived at work at 10am.  Corvallis got 8-10 inches of snow and later I saw that people were towing skiers down roads and backcountry skiing Chip Ross Park!  Leo certainly loved all the snow though!  

Friday night was also our Holiday Party for work.  WSI has been merged into Quantum Spatial and the two offices decided to have separate parties this year.  I haven’t even heard that CVO has a party planned yet, and that it might be in January if they have one.  Our party was at Bar XV downtown and of course there was food (yummy meatballs) and an open bar.  Eric and I hadn’t planned on getting too drunk but of course we did.  Emily got a ride with Caitlin and her friends to the party and left Leo and the Prius at Eric’s.  I tried to stay out of sight most of the night just hanging out with Arley, Ryan, Eric, Katie, and Emily but I did get to have some fun conversations with the new tech Conrad as well as Ingrid.  I had a bit of fun late in the night slipping edamame into the pockets of my unsuspecting friends but the night was ultimately cut short when I looked over at Eric who was clearly ready to go home.  It took us a little time to get a hold of a cab but ended getting to Eric’s just before midnight.  I later got a good laugh from all the disposable camera photos that were taken throughout the night.  Great party and a great release of stress for most of the office.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Once again Emily and I joined Scott, Danielle, Jason and Jen in Sunriver for the long Thanksgiving weekend.  This year Jen and Jason found the house and it was perfect, complete with a hot tub and fireplace that was so big we could climb it!  We ate a huge dinner of deep fried turkey and sides and went on a great hike and visited the High Desert Museum.  I also conjured up a little adventure for everyone when I sneaked out late night... Click the title to read on...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Battle Ground Lake

Took Leo today for a short hike around Battle Ground Lake in Washington.  It was only a 10 minute drive away from us and we had read it was a miniature version of Crater Lake, volcanically created in the same manner, just much smaller.  The whole walk around the circumference of the lake was about 1 mile and didn’t take long.  We didn’t pay the ridiculous $10 day fee and were lucky to not get a ticket during our short hike.  

With steep slopes on all sides leading down to the water we could see the similarity to Crater Lake but it was all overgrown and didn’t really blow my mind.  Leo had a great time though and we ended up getting some amazing Chinese from the local Rising Sun Teriyaki Grill on the way home :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dog River Trail Mountain Biking

Today Emily and I headed out to Hood River for some Mountain biking with both vehicles so we could shuttle the trails.  As usual lately though, we slept in too long and got a late start at 11am.  By the time we reached our first trailhead on the East Fork Hood River far up Hwy 35 it was 1pm.  The trailhead wasn’t that clear and the campground that was on the map wasn’t apparent.   There was also 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.  We should have taken all these as signs because when we found our way through the woods and onto the trail we realized that the trail had been abandoned due destruction from a flood in the area.  We tried to make our way over and under the downed trees for about 15 minutes before calling it a day and returning to the car.  

Emily had forgotten to check her gas level when we left Hood River and was pretty much on Empty.  We risked heading back to my truck which we had parked at the bottom trailhead of the unrideable East Fork Hood River Trail.  We moved the Prius to the bottom of the Dog River Trail, quickly through the bikes and tires in the back of the truck and headed back up the mountain to FR 44 and the upper trailhead for the trail.  When I started unloading our bikes at the trailhead I almost lost my mind when I realized I had forgotten my front thru-axle in the back of Emily’s car…. so, back down the snowy mountain road again to the Prius 8 miles down the road.  Between leaving the East Fork Hood River Trail and making two trips between cars for gear we didn’t hit the Dog River Trail until nearly an hour and a half later… and we only had 2 hours of light left in the day.

Thankfully, the Dog River Trail turned out to be amazing.  I was worried about the steepness of it dropping 2,500 feet in about 6 miles and the snow on the ground at the top making it dangerously slippery on our bikes, but our tires gripped well and we were fine.  It was actually really cool to whip down the trail over a fresh coating of snow on everything around us.  I saw fresh deer tracks ahead on the trail and shortly caught up with a huge buck that ran down the trail ahead of me for a short ways before ducking into the woods out of site.  

The trail was super well maintained by a local mountain bike association and was pretty much downhill the entire way.  There was one short steep rocky section that required walking but otherwise the trail was smooth single track with lightly built banked turns and a few tight switch backs in the steeper sections.  There was a couple nice viewpoints that I’m sure would have had a great view of Hood on the way down had it not been snowing and raining.  I also stopped to check out the biggest mushroom I’ve seen in the Northwest.  It was about 1.5 feet in diameter!  At the bottom of the trail I also saw what was either a large fox or a small coyote on the trail sniffing around.   When we got down we cleaned ourselves up and put warm clothes on as heat painfully returned to our toes.  No cotton socks next time in weather like that!  We then had to make a quick run into Parkdale for some gas before heading back up the mountain to get the truck at the upper trailhead just as it was getting dark.  Although Dog River Trail was amazing I’m not sure it was quite worth the $60 in gas I blew for the day driving all around.  Next time we shuttle cars for biking we are getting a 7-8am start in the morning, especially with the shorter days of winter upon us now.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

COD Mountain Bike Trails and Smith Rock Climbing

This weekend with Emily traveling for work and back home for Julia’s baby shower and Sophie’s Christening I headed to Bend with Leo to meet up with Chris and Paris whom I hadn’t seen since Jason’s wedding in August.  I loaded up the car with my bike, Leo and enough gear to last the weekend and headed out for two great days of amazing mountain biking and sunny rock climbing at Smith Rock.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dinner with Ryan, Arley and Katie

With Emily traveling for work I joined Arley and Katie for dinner at Ryan Anderson’s place.  He made home made Italian slipper bread, brussel sprouts with aioli sauce and a pasta sauce that was amazing.  I brought some sweet Italian sausage that went well with the pasta and a bottle of our Big Red wine left over from the wedding.  Ryan played some great tunes from his record collection and we had a great evening of good food, good drink and great conversation. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ape Cave & Lower Falls Creek

It was a rainy weekend in the Northwest so Emily and I decided to spend a day underground out of the rain exploring Ape Cave on Mt. St. Helens on Saturday.  On Sunday we headed into the Gorge for some hiking with Leo but after some terrible directions in our guidebook and getting lost on forest service roads for 3 hours we almost ended up with our first “Sunday Drive” without actually hiking anything.  Thankfully, we found the trail and got to see a very cool waterfall with Leo before the weekend ended.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Quantum Halloween

This year the office didn’t see as many costumes as last year, mostly because everyone is under a huge crunch to get data out the door.  I passed on a costume but there were some stand out ones such as Erin as a martial artist, Nate as Cosmo Kramer, Borish as “between two ferns (Zack Galfinackas show) and Vu as an Angry Bird.  Pete Burns took the best costume award as Ron Burgandy in the field posing inside a helicopter that looked exactly like a news chopper. 

But, by far, the best costume in the Portland office was Arley who came dressed as Eric McNeil, complete with sandals, a yellow bike bag, and a grumpy attitude.  She looked so much like Eric that throughout the entire day, never deviating from character, she confused co-workers over and over again as they called out “hey Eric” only to find Arley looking back at them.  Eric had no idea it was coming which made it even funnier.  Well done Arley, well done.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Danielle's Birthday and Beaver Tailgate

Emily and I traveled down to Corvallis this weekend for Danielle’s birthday party at Jason and Jen’s on Friday night.  It was a sushi party and we were surprised to see nearly the entire Corvallis office there.  On our way Em and I stopped at Market of Choice and picked up some rice and tuna for the sushi party (at a ridiculous price).  BD was in sushi rolling mode and made roll after roll that we all happily enjoyed.  There was so much fish around that not all of it was eaten although I put in a good effort.  It was great to catch up with everyone that we don’t get to see that often at the party.  Later as people left and Jason and I settled into the bourbon only the 6 of us remained with Lee and Danielle falling asleep on the couch.

On Saturday we woke up late and went for a nice walk with all the dogs up the power line trail towards Chip Ross Park.  Danielle had learned all the back ways through the rich neighborhoods in the hills to get to the trails on her weekly runs.  We saw a couple huge houses, one with a disc golf course in the backyard!  We stopped at Market of Choice again to pick up some food and liquor for the Beavers tailgate that night.  Danielle and Emily had the idea to make irish coffee in a big jug to bring to the tailgate.  We should have brought double as it barely lasted the whole time.   Those who we didn’t see at the birthday party we got to see at the tailgate including Shiloh whom we hadn’t seen in ages.  None of us had tickets so we ended up heading back to Scott and Danielle’s to watch the game there.  Jason and Jen and Pete showed up after half time to watch the Beavers dominate the game for the win.  We were all stuffed from the amazing tailgate Doug had put on as usual and after all the booze and our afternoon dog walk we were pretty tired.  There was of course time to mess with Scott, who as usual had passed out sleeping in front of me on the couch.. :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ellie's 7th Birthday Weekend

I had a wonderful weekend with my daughter on her 7th birthday in Fort Wayne, IN.  Ellie had a "Mad Scientist" birthday party and I bought her a new mountain bike for her to learn to ride.  I also got to see her play amazing defense in a soccer game.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Killen Creek Trail - Mount Adams

On Sunday Emily and I went on a truly amazing hike on Mount Adams with Leo.  We encountered over a foot of unexpected snow but the clouds cleared for us and we has some really amazing views.  On the way home Adams lit up with alpenglow at sunset brighter than I've ever seen a mountain before.  Leo had a great time testing out his new backpack with us as well.  Click below to read on and see more pics.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lewis River Trail Mountain Biking

Today, after sleeping in a bit to catch up on some much needed rest Em and I grabbed our bikes and headed to the Lewis River Trail which ended up being a lot further away than I thought it would be, far past the Mt. St. Helens climbers turnoff.  We got to the trailhead at about 2pm and began our trip through a beautiful fall forest along the river.  The trail at first was super smooth and fast but after a few miles we started to encounter rock gardens and some pretty steep hills.  The combination of wet leaves and dirt made these hills difficult to climb and we ended up walking a few of them which slowed down our pace.  

Along the trail we passed many campsites for fishermen and hikers and a lean-to that had been just refurbished and stocked with dry wood inside for the winter.  We passed some amazing old growth Doug Fir trees which were so tall we had no perception of where the top of the tree ended.  There were lots of mushrooms around but we didn’t see any chanterelles and didn’t dare try any which was a good idea as the end of the trail had a sign with skull and crossbones warning hikers and bikers about that some are extremely poisonous.  We didn’t see any animals on the trail but heard birds throughout the day.  

The trail was exceptionally maintained with huge cutouts in trees to allow bikers to continue under them.  There were a bunch of log rides (bikers can hop on to the log and ride its length) but Emily had forgotten her helmet and was borrowing mine and they were pretty wet so I didn’t attempt any of them.  At one point after a long climb we found ourselves perched on a cliff overlooking the river far below.  It would have been a great place to camp for the night if we ever wanted to.  

By the time we crossed the final bridge and made it back to FR-90 it was 5pm and we had been riding for 3 hours.  This wouldn’t give us enough time to go back on the trail by dark so we exited to the road and started biking back.  Emily hadn’t drank enough water for the day and was beginning to cramp up a bit while I still had a lot of energy so we discussed it and I took off ahead at full speed down the road to grab the truck and come back for her as she took her time peddling uphill on the road.  I was able to make it back to the truck in about 25 minutes along the 8-9 miles of road and quickly returned to pick her up.  Unfortunately for her it was about a quarter mile before she would have started the long downhill to the truck anyway... but it did save her about 15-20 minutes of biking.  From there it was the two hour drive home and a relaxing night by the fire.  :)