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.  :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oregon Zoo

Today Emily and I visited the Oregon Zoo.  It was her 2nd time there as she had a business meeting at the zoo in the Spring but it was my first time and I must say I was very impressed by the zoo.  It had tons of signs all along the trail describing native Northwest species and what to look for in the trees and environment around the zoo as well.  

The animal pens all seemed cleaned and pretty sizeable and they are currently constructing one of the largest Elephant enclosures in the world having been one of the most successful elephant breeding zoos in the world.  We even got to see the new calf Lily with her mom.  I got caught up watching one of the elephants stuffing its face with grass for a while and I feel like it was watching me while it ate!

Some of the animals that impressed me the most were the massive Sea Lions and the black bears which both had very large enclosures and seemed to be very happy and active.  We got to the zoo at noon and in the 4 hours we were there had time to see all the animal exhibits that were open at a relaxing pace although I think if I went back with Ellie I would want to take the full day.  There is also a Childrens Science Museum next to the zoo that we would want to explore as well.  

I love going to the zoo and perhaps Emily and I will get a membership to the zoo when we move into Portland this spring.  It is very relaxing watching the animals and I love it when the seem to look back at me in curiosity as well.  Most of the animals also seemed up and active in their enclosures, almost to the point of putting on a show for the people watching them.

I also hope that the majority of people take the time to really read and absorb the information about the endangered species and upon leaving the zoo make a conscious effort to be better about recycling, purchase green sustainable products and curb their energy use or the animals we see in the zoo may soon be the last ones left on this planet we are quickly destroying by our ignorance and apethy.  :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Forest Park with Leo

Today Emily and I took Leo to check out Forest Park in Portland.  Apparently, it is the largest city park in the country with over 80 miles of trails.  Upon the suggestion of Tom and Eric we headed to the trailhead at the end of Thurman Street after Emily was done with her dentist consultation about getting her wisdom teeth removed.  We ended up doing a 4.4 mile loop along the Wild Cherry Trail to the Wildwood Trail and returning via the Alder Trail and the bikeable Leif Erikson Trail.  

This was our first time in the park and although it said to keep dogs on leash we took leo off as he never strays from the trial and stays very close to us.  A lot of runners passed us as we hiked along, testing out my still healing ankle from the Deschutes rafting trip a month ago.  We passed a ton of Cross Spiders in massive webs along the trail and even saw a coy dog on our way out of the woods that was scratching itself on the side of the trail.  As usual Leo didn’t care about it at all.  

After the short hike we headed back to the house for dinner and then caught a 3D showing of Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney which was the best movie I’d seen since Avatar in 3D.  The visuals blew my mind and the science behind the film was pretty sound in my opinion.