Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend at Smith Rock

This past weekend, we went to Smith Rock, in Central Oregon, to rock climb. We've probably been to this area 20 times over the years and we always enjoy the sun, dry air and warm winter rock. Last year we stayed in a lovely house adjacent to the park that is owned by a climber from Seattle named Rob Price. I climbed with Rob a couple of times this past summer in Squamish and we decided a winter getaway to Smith Rock would be a fine way to cure the rainy season blues in Squamish and Seattle. Plus, Rob offered to fly us down in his plane - how could we refuse?

The weekend was great - we enjoyed socializing with Rob, climbing in the sun and having some deep, deep sleeps (it's very quiet and cold at night). Highlights for Elise were making waffles with Rob, riding horses and going in the hot tub. The horse ride got a little out of control when Chief (her horse) got spooked and decided to gallop. Luckily, Les and Holly (the owners) were quick to intervene and Pam snatched Elise off Chief's back before she fell. It kind of scared us all, but Elise - being the trooper that she is - gave it another whirl and everything ended well. In fact, just before we left for home, Elise got to ride on "Priceless" with Holly. She really enjoyed it and the ride was a great way to end on a high note.

Pictures from the trip...

Smith Rock in early morning light.

Priceless grazing in her pasture.

Making waffles with Rob in the kitchen of his house. Elise really enjoyed this, especially the consumption of the waffles the next morning! They were delicious...

In the hot tub on Rob's deck. A very relaxing way to wind down after a long day of winter climbing.

Evening sun in the horse pasture.

Climbing in the dihedrals at Smith Rock.

Elise doing a climb. This didn't go very well (you can tell by the expression on her face). The climb followed a groove up the wall and this scared her. We brought her down and found a much friendlier face (the next picture down) that she climbed multiple times - the day was saved.

Chewing some grass. I told that this is what farmers do and she seemed to like it...until she stabbed her mouth with the sharp end.

This is a sequence of shots Rob took of me climbing Chain Reaction, a popular climb that ascends a steep wave of orange rock. The conditions were perfect for climbing that day.

Feeding the horses some apple slices.

The calm before the storm. Minutes later, the horse got spooked and took off, scaring us all. The damage? One frightened and weeping 4-year-old, and three shaken adults. But all's well that ends well...

Pam, Rob and Elise posing at the top of the canyon with Ship Rock in behind.

Getting ready for the ride home. A look into the cockpit.

Elise posing under the nose of the airplane.

Rob circled Smith Rock before we headed north. Here's a shot I took of the park from the air.

A view of Mt. Baker. The weather was great for the first half the journey and we had beautiful views.

Flying in the small airplane was exciting for us all. Rob dropped us off in Bellingham at about 5:00 pm and we were home by 7:30 pm. It was a great weekend. Back to the Squamish routine...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back in Squamish

We made it home from our trip safe and sound and are back into our Squamish work (and preschool) routines. The trip home was fairly uneventful and we were suprised at how little traffic there was getting into Vancouver or up to Squamish considering it was the afternoon of the closing ceremonies. No problems at all...

Last weekend was beautiful in Squamish so we got out and climbed in the Smoke Bluffs and saw lots of our friends. If all goes well, we'll go down to Smith Rock this weekend with Rob Price. The weather will be the determining factor.

Here are some random pictures from our trip with captions included. Enjoy...

The view of the cliff from the lake below. We spent a few afternoons relaxing on the shore in the sun while Elise collected dozens of freshwater clam shells.

Elise posing with a crayfish she and I found in the shallows near the shore of the lake. She did not want to touch it - I don't blame her.

The cliff where we spent most of our climbing days.

Waterfall off the middle of the cliff.

Elise and Daddy "cuddling" at the cliff.

A climber on Fugitive. Note the pad around her thigh. Climbers use their knees (and thighs) to jam behind large blocks on this cliff. It can provide a rest in the middle of a very steep and exhausting climb.

Elise posing in our cottage with the mask she made at the library storytime. It was very entertaining when she would run around the cottage naked with nothing but the mask on.

Our little hiker. She has become much more capable at walking distances which is a relief to my aching back.

A limestone cavern we explored on a rest day hike.

Elise in front of the cavern.

Elise posing in front of some flowering bushes near our hotel in Jamestown. She and I went for a really nice hike one evening, played at the train museum and finished with a good playground session at the local elementary school.

Elise posing in front of an old shed in Jamestown.

Elise and mommy relaxing in the sun by the creek near the climbing area.

Their were lots of horses in the fileds leading up the cliff.

Elise watching a movie on her iPod at the cliff.

Orange lichen covered the rocks...