Saturday, December 31, 2016

Holidays 2016 with the Riggotts

This year Emily and I headed home for Christmas to spend time with her family and my mom.  We were on top of Kilimanjaro on Christmas last year so it was only fair to spend this year with family again, especially since I hadn’t met my new nephew Landon Riggott yet, and after Keith’s rough surgery recovery it was more appropriate than ever this year to be with family rather than a world apart.  Despite some hectic last minute travel alterations and me getting a cold near the end of the trip we had a really great, relaxing time just hanging out with family for over a week and playing with our nieces and nephews.  Read on:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ski Bowl Powder Day

Emily and I had our first day out for the resort ski season.  I had done some backcountry skiing with Ian earlier in the week but this was our first resort day.  We nearly didn’t get up to go but after some decision making we opted to drag ourselves out of our warm bed, leave Leo at home and make the drive up to Hood in the truck to check it out.  We were certainly glad we did as it turned out to be the best powder day for us in probably 3 years of crappy winters.  

Friday, December 9, 2016


I’m not sure what is going on this year but Oregon is getting dumped on with snow.  Since mid November we’ve had an amazing year so far and this week the snow actually lowered down to the valley and Portland.  We got about 2 inches of snow on the ground and of course all the news outlets began calling it snowpacalypse!  Ha!  If only everyone had grown up on the East Coast driving threw blizzards they’d realize how sill it was.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad drivers out here and when combined with the fact that Oregon doesn’t salt the roads it ended up creating a 4 hour drive home for Emily who only works 20 minutes away now!  She left work at 5pm and didn’t get home till after 9pm!

The day after it snowed beautifully over the city the snow turned to freezing rain.  Emily somehow still drove to work but by the time Leo and I got up the whole neighborhood had turned into a skating rink!  I took him out for a walk and was able to run and slide down the entire icy sidewalk.  Our driveway was a sheet of ice except for where the Prius had been and our new backyard was completely covered in icicles!  Leo even had a hard time walking down the sidewalk on his morning walk.  Thankfully, a few days later everything was melted and back to normal but for those few days the whole city came to a stand still!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tom Dick and Harry Peak Windy Ski

On Wednesday of this week Ian Roth and I headed up to Mirror Lake to do some backcountry skiing.  It had been snowing a ton in the mountains and he had a new split board he wanted to get some turns on.  The only reason I agreed during the middle of the week was that the weather looked clear and I thought I could get some wintery drone footage for my website.  Unfortunately, it was far to windy to fly but we had a great day in the woods regardless and got a few deep powder turns in.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Forest Park with Leo & Escape the Room

Today Emily and I headed to Forest Park in Portland for a hike with Leo.  It was super short at just a couple miles but was enough to put a big smile on Mr. Lee.  In the evening we met up with Chris Harmon, Ian and Colleen and Sesha at Gastro Mania for a truly amazing Greek dinner before heading over to Escapism Portland to try to “escape a room” in 60 minutes.  Our room was a difficult one called the Wizard’s Lair and despite our best efforts we only made it about 50% through all the puzzles before we ran out of time.  One of the actors who played a hunchback apprentice showed us all the puzzles we hadn’t gotten to yet and said we actually did fairly well for the first time.  

It was an absolute blast and Emily and I look forward to trying to escape a different room with friends in the future.  Apparently, it is becoming really popular.  I also can’t wait to head back to Gastro Mania for another Chef’s special!  After the room we all came back to our place for a few more drinks and hot tub before calling it a night.  Ian and Colleen ended up staying over with us for the night.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

This year Emily and I decided to host Thanksgiving.  We had a new backyard and hot tub and nobody had made any secure plans yet so we invited the usual crew up to Portland to spend the  day with us.  Everyone arrived on Wednesday evening, bottles of booze in hand to start the festivities.  We didn’t have dinner plans so we just ordered some Thai food and snacked on what was around.  We had a full house of dogs for sure!  Jason and Jen brought Alder, Scott and Danielle brought Fawn (they got Fawn after Arrow passed away this fall), Pos and Oliver, and we had Leo.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Holm Bachelor Party

With Chris and Paris getting engaged over the summer and their wedding on January 7th we weren’t left with an ideal time of year for a bachelor party.  It was the shoulder season when there might not be enough snow for skiing and possibly just too much for mountain biking.  Many national parks and attractions we may have gone to were also beginning to close in early November and his brother didn’t have a passport to get into Canada.  This left very few options for us.  We were stuck between heading out to Anthony Lakes to ski in December or mountain bike in Bend in November.  Upon getting hold of all his friends and brother the consensus looked like November was the best time for everyone so Bend was the best option.  Read on…

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Astoria and Canon Beach with Leo

Today we took a drive with Leo out to the coast.  Although I had been to the coast a month ago with the Spaul Family and Leo it had been a while for Emily and she had the itch for the Pacific.  Instead of heading straight west we chose to pass through Longview and her old work mill at Wauna.  She had received a big promotion to the head of the Camas Mill the week I got laid off which cut her drive time from 1.5hr each way to 20min each way!  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Munra Point - Columbia Gorge

Today Emily and I decided we needed to get out of the house and go explore with Leo.  I looked through my hiking guides for the area for a place we haven’t been close to Portland (getting fewer and fewer) and found Munra Point, a quick 2,100ft, 5mi scramble in the Gorge that we hadn’t been to yet.  The pointed summit would also prove to be a perfect place to practice flying my Mavic as well.  Read on.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sauvie Island with Leo to Fly Mavic

Today I headed out to sauvie Island with Leo and the camera to practice some shots and fly the Mavic Pro around a bit for practice.  It was a beautiful fall day and it had been a while since I really got Leo out of the house.  I’d been unemployed for nearly a month as well.  To my horror it cost $10 for the parking pass for the Island for the day.  This certainly seemed like twice what I had paid last time.  A year pass was $30 but only good for the calendar year so why would anyone ever buy one in November.  I love coming here for the bird life but will make sure to buy a year pass in January instead.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween 2016

Once again this year Danielle and Scott hosted a Halloween party in Corvallis and as usual the decorations, costumes, and food were fantastic!  We were super excited to visit Alder again whom we hadn’t seen in a very long time since he was a puppy over the summer.  We ended up staying with Jen and Jason this year instead of Danielle and Scott’s as we didn’t want to add any stress for them and they have a new pup named Fawn who is a bit skittish.  Read on.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Coast with Eric and Spaul Family

With McNeill leaving shortly for the East Coast and then New Zealand for a while and the convenience of being out of work we all decided to head to the coast for the day, despite the bad weather.  We loaded up in two cars because we had both dogs with us as well and headed out to Oswald West State Park. Read on..

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Keith's Whipple Surgery

Emily and I were supposed to go on the Rogue River Trip this weekend but when we found out her dad was scheduled for a very intensive surgery the same weekend we dropped our plans and booked tickets home to be with him.  I won’t go into details here except to say that doctors luckily found a spot of cancer on her dad’s pancreas early and determined that surgery was an option.  The Whipple Surgery, named after the doctor who created it, is one of the roughest ones out there with a long recover time.  Thankfully, before we left we heard the good news that they had taken a large enough “margin” around the cancerous cells and felt they had removed them all.  Keith still has a long road ahead of him with Chemo and treatments but the outlook is good.  It was really good to be there for him and Patti who stayed by his bedside for days.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ellie's 10th Birthday Visit

Once again I kept my promise to Ellie and flew out to see her for her 10th birthday.  It of course was a little rougher this year as I had just lost my job and my relationship with her mother and family had deteriorated after Ellie's visit to Oregon over the summer.  We were in the middle of a heated debate over how much support I should be sending home and it was a well known fact that I am completely against her being brought up to judge all those who aren't Christian and share her ideals, not to mention her being taught that the Earth was created in just 7 days.  Grrrr.... despite all this I love her immensely and always want to be a positive influence on her life so I make the trip to see her when I can. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Leavenworth Octoberfest and Full Enchantment Hike

This year we did not get lucky with the Enchantments Lottery in Washington.  Despite about 6 of us all entering the lottery none of us got any camping spots like we did last fall.  Regardless, we were determined to head up to the amazing Bavarian Village to show Emily the beautiful mountains there and eat some sausages at Oktoberfest.  Despite some rain and a death march out of the woods well after dark the beauty of the area was worth the effort.  Read on..

Friday, October 7, 2016

Goodbye Cardno

Well, that was quick.  After just over a year with Cardno and through a useless lawsuit against us (see previous post) Cardno was shutting us down.  Layne gave us a heads up something was coming and it was pretty rough for all of us knowing that all of our efforts were for nothing.  I had literally just organized all of our gear and was finalizing acquisition and project planning protocols for us.  Oh well.  When they came the current head of America's at the time did say that it was a failure at the upper management level and not any fault of ours but that didn't make it any easier.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Riggott Visit 2016

After Emily's parents toured Napa they headed up to Portland for their flight home and to spend a few days with us.  Unfortunately, we didn't have any big plans so we made up ideas according to the what the weather allowed.  We checked out Top Golf in Hillsboro which we hadn't been to yet and had a great time drinking beers and hittin' golf ball after golf ball out towards targets on the green.  

We also went for a walk in the shopping district of Portland around 25th street and took a tram ride down from the hospital to the trolley as part of the 4T trail.  It was a pretty uneventful trip but we enjoyed good food and good company.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Goat Mountain

With Emily in San Francisco with her parents touring the city and heading to Alcatraz I was alone with Leo for the weekend.  With beautiful weather predicted I searched the internet for a place to take Leo where I could legally practice flying my DJI Phantom outside of a designated wilderness area.  I found a great ridge line hike just north of Mount St. Helens which looked perfect and probably wouldn't be too popular.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lostine River Loop - Wallawas

This Labor Day weekend we had wanted to head up to Washington with Chris and Paris and do a big 30+ mile loop near Glacier Peak but as usual with this time of year there were fires everywhere and the trail was closed due to one nearby.  We found this out the night before leaving so Chris and I had a frantic evening trying to decide on where to meet up that would be convenient for us coming from Portland, and them coming from Moscow, ID.  We decided on a 20 mile loop of the Lostine Rivers (West and East) in the Wallowas of Eastern Oregon and the trip turned out to be the right choice for sure!  Read on:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

AREMA Conference

Honestly, I’m not sure why I was sent to this conference.  It was the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) yearly conference in Orlando and I had no idea how to market our aerial services to the rail industry but Layne and Jason had wanted me to go to meet a guy named Carlo who was a Cardno Manager in the region.  A woman named Sheri was also at the conference whom I hadn’t met before.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Visiting Kevin and Alexa in St. Pete

Just got back from a wonderful visit with Kevin and Alexa in St. Petersburg Florida.  I was down in Florida for the AREMA rail conference for Cardno in Orlando so with St. Pete so close it only made sense to go a day early and have a visit with Kev, Alexa and their adorable Ronan. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Caddy Ridge & Dishpan Gap

This weekend Emily and I grabbed Eric early on Saturday morning and drove 5 full hours north to the mountains just above Lake Wenatchee in Washington for one of the best overnight hikes I've done in the Northwest.  We had amazing views of Glacier Peak, Rainier and the Washington high peaks, walked through amazing wild flowers and even saw some marmots while camping at a beautiful alpine lake.  Read on to see the pics.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

This weekend Emily and I went on our first bike camping adventure.  We both own what the biking industry calls "cross-bikes", road bikes without shocks but built for wider tires and long touring on gravel roads.  I bike every day to work and Emily doesn't get on hers that often so instead of putting on our fat tires and going off-road I decided our first overnight should be on paved roads to test out how we do carrying our camping gear and food in our panniers.  Read on.