Endless summer


Seattle continues to have the most awesome summer weather ever. We’ve broken records for most days over 80 degrees in the history of ever. I’m definitely in the minority of people who are happy about that, but given what the rest of the year’s weather is likely to be, I’m enjoying every second of it. Unfortunately, this leads to blog neglect, so I’ll share some snapshots of our summer adventures.

T did an open-water swim race at Lake Meridian. I’ve done this race twice as part of my Ironman training, so it was weird to watch it from the comfort of a camp chair. Here he is suiting up and getting ready to go:

PreLakeMeridianTOff into the wild blue yonder:

LakeMeridianTAnd they’re off!

LakeMeridianTstartHe did very well, beating my previous best time by ten¬†minutes (bastard!) Plus, he got some valuable race experience and I got a lot of time to read my book in the sunshine. ūüôā

We continue to be entertained by these two bozos:

SummerSleepyPups AustinBoneSleepAustin got a new toy eggplant and he’s obsessed with it. Such a silly puppy…

SummerPupsAustinvEggplantWe’ve been enjoying our summer cocktail of bourbon lemonade. I’m embarrassed to admit how quickly we went through this Costco-sized bottle of Maker’s Mark:

SummerCocktailWe balanced it out with our veggie box bounty and, of course, the occasional treat:

IceCreamWe also got to attend a fun Pink Martini concert at the zoo:

PinkMartiniCourtesy of our friends’ adopting this little nugget:

NewBirdT’s training has reached the point where you’re on the cusp of various injuries and battling all sorts of aches and pains. We did a century (100 mile) bike ride down in Portland where he had such severe lower back pain beforehand, I wasn’t sure he was going to make it four blocks. But he rallied and did the whole route and was looking pretty spry at the end. Then threw his back out adjusting the bike in the back of the Element. So, it’s been lots of physical therapy with Dr. Austin (in addition to his real PT, of course.)

PTAustinOver Labor Day weekend, I¬†had him do another long swim to make sure his lower back wouldn’t seize up. We headed over to Seward Park, so he could do a long swim but still be close to shore in case something happened.¬†Plus, there was a path along the shore, so I¬†could keep an eye on him. Here he is¬†heading out, so hardcore!

TswimSewardParkI think we’re both looking forward to¬†the race getting here already.

The motivating power of Mother Nature


For our last full day, Nerissa had a nice long hike planned for us. Ten miles in all, on a trail filled with river views and waterfalls. Originally, we’d planned it with the anticipation of hot weather and taking little dips in the water as needed. But, Mother Nature decided to favor us with cloudy skies instead. We fueled up with a fantastic smoked salmon scramble (roughing it!) and got ready to hit the trail.

Y14-TFhike3The crazy thing about hiking in this area is the diversity of terrain that you go through. We saw everything from lush forest:

Y14-TFhike2To huge fields of granite:

Y14-TFhike4Y14-TFhike5And, of course, there were rest stops/photo ops:

Y14-TFhikeTandIY14-TFhikeEY14-TFhikeTEventually, we joined up with the river and added cool water views to the already interesting granite:

Y14-TFhike14Y14-TFhike8Y14-TFhike10 Y14-TFhike12Y14-TFhike11Y14-TFhike13Erik eventually decided that enough was enough and stayed at a good lunch spot, while the rest of us went on to see Tuolomne Falls. As you might expect, there was a fair bit of climbing involved.

Y14-TFhike6When we got to the falls, Nerissa and I clambered out onto the granite across from the falls, while law-abiding T kept going down the trail. The view down was beautiful, but a bit unnerving:

TF-viewAnd, of course, the falls were breathtaking:

Y14-TFallsNerissa captured this cute photo of me:

Y14-TFallsMeAnd I got this (slightly blurry) shot of her:

Y14-TFhikeNThe more observant folks may have noticed the increasing presence of ominous clouds in the background of my photos. We were definitely concerned about them as we rendezvoused with Erik for lunch. We ate quickly and hit the trail. Of course, there’s only so quickly you can hike this kind of terrain:

Y14-TFhike7We started getting little sprinkles of rain, but nothing too bad. It wasn’t until we got back to camp that the rain seemed to be getting serious. We decided to investigate Tuolomne Lodge for drink/dry hangout options, but that turned out to be wildly mis-named. It was then decided to head down to Lee Vining, a tiny town next to Mono Lake. The rain continued to get stronger, so it was definitely the right call. We ended up eating dinner at a weird gas station restaurant and then getting a glass of wine at the bar at Mono Lake Inn, a surprisingly pretty spot, should you find yourself in the area.

When we got back to camp, we were greeted by an unbelievable sunset (the combo of the wildfire smoke and rain clouds?)


It was a bummer not to have a last campfire night, but it was a fun adventure in that “making the best of it” way.¬†We turned in early and fell asleep to the soothing¬†sounds of rain on tent.

The next morning it was overcast with showers in the forecast. We discussed the possibility of doing a short hike, but it was generally agreed to just head for home rather than chance getting caught¬†in the rain. We stopped for a surprisingly delicious lunch in the tiny town of Oakdale and made it to Erik & Nerissa’s place with plenty of time to shower and repack our crap.¬†I’d scheduled T and my flight for later in the evening, so we had time for a nice walk and yummy dinner before going to the airport. It was nice to have a leisurely transition to civilization.

I’m so grateful to have been able to go on this impromptu adventure. Many, many thanks to Erik & Nerissa for inviting us and being such magnificent hosts. I’m hoping this will be the first of many¬†fun travel adventures to come.

Soaking up the ridiculousness


As expected, we settled into a solid routine of great meals followed by fun adventures, interspersed with wacky hijinks: Y14-BreakfastNerissa made Erik a special place-setting: Y14-PlaceSettingWe talked T into making his famous pancakes, but had forgotten the syrup. So, the camp store provided us with this memory from childhood: Y14-Breakfast2On deck for the first day’s adventure was a hike to Cathedral Lake. We decided to pose for a fun “Before” picture: Y14-BeforeCLhikeUnsurprisingly, there was A LOT of uphill. T sprinted out ahead of the pack, while the rest of us walked at a reasonable place, stopping to wheeze rest, but the scenery was beautiful: Y14-CLhikeY14-CLhike3Y14-CLhike2We talked some other hikers¬†into a group shot at the half-way point: Y14-CLhikeGroupEventually, we arrived at our destination ‚Äď beautiful Lower Cathedral lake: Y14-CLhike6I took off my shoes and took advantage of the natural ice bath on my feet and calves. Then it was time to EAT. This looks like a good picnic spot: Y14-CLhike4Nerissa got this great shot of our post-lunch relaxing: Y14-CLhikeLunchRestThen it was time to head back. More showy nature: Y14-CLhike5T & Nerissa dubbed Erik & I the “Red-breasted Jays” because we chattered noisily for most of the hike. And, of course, we did an “After” shot to go with the earlier ones: Y14-AfterCLhikeComedy gold, I tell you! We stopped at the camp store for more firewood (and ice cream). Nerissa and I opted for the ladies room. I heard much giggling from her stall and made her pose for this picture when I saw the source: Y14-TooHighToilet All of the other toilets were a normal height, so we weren’t sure what the story was with this one. T’s guess was accessibility, but who knows. We might have been a bit punchy from the hike because we thought¬†this was pretty funny as well: Y14-HandSanitizaThe boys didn’t know what to make of all of the laughter coming from the ladies room. The next day, T and I decided to tackle an open-water swim at Tenaya Lake while Erik & Nerissa went for a hike. Per usual, the scenery was crap. I brought my waterproof camera to get some pictures: Y14-TenayaLakeY14-TenayaLake2 I warned T that swimming at this altitude was not going to be easy and to adjust his expectations accordingly, but I think he was a little surprised by how much it affected him. Y14-TenayaLakeTI haven’t been swimming much and hadn’t worn my long-sleeved wetsuit in a long time, so I took it easy and swam somewhat near the shore. The water was cold, but not too bad once you got in. It was super clear and beautiful. Plus, with no showers at the camp, it was really nice to rinse off the dirt. T managed a half-mile of swimming, which was pretty solid considering the altitude/water temp. T took a nap while I lazed around the campsite. I gave the hammock a little test-drive: Y14-HammockI definitely need one of these! Hammock-eye view: Y14-HammockViewErik & Nerissa returned from their hike, which was apparently not enough to tire Nerissa out, as she and T decided to go for a second hike up Lembert Dome. Erik & I opted for more laziness. Here are Nerissa and T being awesome: Y14-LembertDomeTN(The haze behind them is from the El Portal fire. It was the only day we noticed it.) Clearly, it wasn’t slowing T or Nerissa down!