Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon Mostly Sunny and 77 degrees F
I have procrastinated writing a blog all day. The month has been full, with both difficult and delightful moments. I want to talk about the fun, but I do need to get the hard stuff out of the way. Often I think that people who share their feelings about life and the good and the bad things that go on are the best bloggers, the ones I like to read the most. But it can be a fine line. I read Mark’s moody musings with recognition, with “aha’ moments, and Al’s sometimes down days along with the good ones are part of what makes his blog good to read, real. I so appreciate the ups and downs of Sherry and David’s journey, and her willingness to share with us.
There are others who are more reticent, but magnificent photography and wonderful words describing exotic travels are a delight. Now and then my favorite blogger and friend will let some musings slip into her detailed travelogues, and I always enjoy those moments. As I said, a fine line. I have stumbled onto blogs that are terribly tiresome, not because the blogger talked about how they felt about something, but maybe because they went on and on in a way that was …well…whiny and boring. Needless to say, I don’t read those blogs any more.
I do talk about feelings in my blog, maybe more than some, not as much as others. The surprise for me was my need to shut up and shut down when I had to deal with letting my cat Jeremy go. It was and is hard to talk about it somehow. Every animal owner knows the feeling of saying goodbye. It happens to all of us eventually. Even though I found I didn’t want to talk about it, I did discover that I needed to say it had happened, and the flood of condolences and support that came in was a good thing for me. Thank you to everyone who made comments, and especially to MZB, a fellow blogger/friend who recently lost a loved pet as well, and sent long letters to assist me through the process.
I miss Jeremy, of course. Somehow I miss him even more in the MoHo. He loved to travel because he knew we were all right there close together, he didn’t have to go crying around the house trying to find us. In his old age, he hated being alone. He was either on my lap, on Mo’s shoulder, or riding shotgun on the dash whenever we were on a trip. Still, nearly two decades with a cat is a blessing, especially a cat like Jeremy, so I won’t complain any more.
Just a day after Jeremy went to cat heaven, my grandson Xavier was in another play, “The Skin of our Teeth”, at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls. Daughter Deborah came over from Grants Pass to spend the weekend and go to the play with us. It was a fine evening, and nearly 11pm when I pulled into the driveway back home. I saw some movement on our porch, with dark hulking figures by the door, and started to panic, when a closer look suddenly revealed that the big hulking man on the porch was my grandson Steven!
Daughter Deanna had picked him up in Moses Lake where he now lives and brought him to Rocky Point as a birthday surprise for me. It was a great surprise, in addition to having Deanna here for a few days, I finally got to spend some time with Steven. We have great shared memories of the years when I took him on work camping trips into the wilderness of Idaho when he was a teenager. This was the first time I have seen him since 2007 and since he returned from his second tour in Iraq. Even nicer, Steven was born on my birthday, so it was his birthday too!
What a great weekend we had! I had previously requested a family hike for Sunday the 14th, choosing the Mt Scott trail in Crater Lake as a good place for a family trek. I knew that Melody and my grandkids Xavier and Axel would be there, along with daughter Deb, but had no clue that our little family hike would include Deanna and Steven. Deanna’s husband Keith remained home to do some home time chores in Richland as they are waiting for delivery of a new semi to replace the one they currently own. Deanna has some fairly horrendous stories about California emission laws for truckers, but I won’t go into that right now except to say that it has cost my trucker kids more than 100K in after market fixes and down time.
The fires in the west this year have been terrible, and the skies have been smoky for several weeks now. On the morning of our hike, we still were under smoke from the 790 fire just 9 miles northwest of Rocky Point, and much more smoke from the huge Happy Camp fire just across the border in California. I had so hoped for clear skies for our hike, but decided that we wouldn’t let the smoke get in the way of our family celebration.
The weather was actually perfect, with cool morning air warmed up by the midday sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, and even with the smoky skies in the distance, once we were above 7,000 feet or so at Crater Lake, the air was clear. Our hike wasn’t so much about the fabulous views of Crater Lake as much as a place to be together as a family and enjoy the outdoors doing something a little bit different.
Mt Scott is the highest point in Crater Lake National Park, and the trail to the lookout at the peak is 2.5 miles each way, with a 1,200 foot elevation rise to the summit at 8900 feet. Unlike some peak trails, however, this one is well graded without a lot of boulder hopping steps. Perfect for all levels of hiking skill. I loved it. Just enough to get a good workout, but not enough to burn anyone out.
Steven put photoshop on my computer so I could get everyone into one frame, but I haven’t tried it yet!After our hike, we continued around the Rim Road that encircles Crater Lake, stopping a few times to enjoy the views. Probably due to the smoke, the park wasn’t especially crowded, but the lake blues were a bit subdued. Even so, as I looked at the lake, I wondered out loud to Mo, “We live here, why don’t we visit this park more often!?” I promised myself more Crater Lake hikes in the future.
With a two hour trip home after the hike, we were all starving, and I was happy that I had slow cooked the ribs all night in the oven. All they needed was a quick glaze on the BBQ. They turned out to be the best ribs I ever cooked. That little trick in George’s recipe for the WeberQ, using sauerkraut between the ribs, makes for fall off the bone tender tasty meat.
Deb and Melody had to go home and back to work, but Deanna and Steven stayed for another two nights, spending a great day talking and sharing stories. Steven was a computer security hacker for the Army, and had some great tricks and ideas for our computers that were really helpful. He also had some rather interesting stories. Whew! The world can be a scary place.
Deanna took Mo and me (I sounds better, but nope…Deanna took me is the rule, right Sherry?) and Steven to a great birthday dinner at Lake of the Woods Resort, just 15 minutes up the highway, with a beautiful view of the lake from our table. Speaking of the highway, we at last have a name for our pass. I often talk about going over “the unnamed pass” on Highway 140 to Medford. I now have a name. The highway department dubbed our pass “High Lakes Pass” and we now even have a sign at the summit! Good name. The Sky Lakes Wilderness is on the west and the Mountain Lakes Wilderness is on the east side of the road so High Lakes is a great name.
The final celebration for the week culminated in a trip over the mountain to enjoy a play at the Shakespearean Festival in Ashland. What a treat it was to sit in the gorgeous Allen Elizabethan Theater for a magnificent production of “Into the Woods”. The Festival is world class, and people come from all over the world to see the plays. Mo and I have been to a couple of the plays in two of the other theaters in the past, but seeing a play on this famous stage was first for both of us.
Best part of the story, however, was the seat choice. The theater is an open air venue, with rain a rarity in Ashland this time of year. I ordered tickets months ago, and even then the “best” (more expensive) seats were sold out, so we had to settle for row M, toward the back. Lo and behold, it rained! And those “best” ticket holders got all wet while we were completely protected by the balcony above us! Amazing! Even more amazing was the professional way that the cast continued the dancing and singing in those fabulous costumes with barely any acknowledgement that they were getting soaked as well. Pretty incredible!
It would have been a great way to end the month, but instead we are going to end it with an even better plan. We are off to Seattle and the San Juan Islands. Just a short jaunt, because we know that the San Juan's deserve much more time, but this will be an exploratory trip with a longer visit to come in the future.
As much as I struggled with writing this blog, I knew I had better get it done before we get on the road and I have photos to process and stories to write about another new destination for us! Onward.