Sunday, August 30, 2009

Backpacking at Heather Creek

In keeping with my constant desire to find my way into the backcountry, my buddy Wood and I took advantage of a free Friday to hit the trail. We went to the Dungeness Trail in the Olympic National Forest. This trail is a little to the northwest of the Big Quilcene Trail that we took to Marmot pass about seven weeks ago. It was a great time.
This is Wood.This is me and the great pack that I got this year.This trail has two cool log bridges.
We found this great meadow to camp in. It was a little up the trail from the main camp so we had the place to ourselves.

Wood wanted to revive a tradition of old that he and his buddies used to have of cooking meat over the fire on a spit when camping. I was a little dubious at first, but he made a believer of me. We stopped at Wally's World on the way out of town and bought this seasoned pork loin roast.Wood made this spit out of some sticks that we found nearby. We basically just ate the meat right off the spit. It was quite delicious.For breakfast Wood was going to have scrambled eggs, but I also had a pouch of salmon and some tortillas so we had salmon and scrambled eggs breakfast burritos. Let's call it the accidental backcountry gourmet. I'll definitely remember this recipe for the future. It beats the crap out of outmeal.

I love the forest and I'm glad we had the chance to get out, brief though it was. Here's one last picture of the beauty of the backcountry.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Swing Shift & Star Gazing

This week I switched up the routine a little bit by working the swing shift. It was also a departure from the norm in that I was doing a job that has nothing to do with my normal job. I was working in a support role for the shipboard work that is happening on the carrier Abraham Lincoln which is at the shipyard right now. This was really fun for me because I've been wanting to get some experience working on the ship. The office I was in was on the hangar deck of the carrier and even after working out there for a week I still think it's awesome to see the ship as I'm walking out to it.

The other thing I like about swing shift is that I get done with work when the stars are out. Usually I have to be in bed by this time so I can get to work on time. So I decided to scout a little and I found this great place near my house to see some stars. It's the parking lot at Island Lake. The county park commission was nice enough to not put lights in the parking lot so the darkness is pretty profound.

I want to get a telescope but before that I need to orient myself to the night sky so I can actually point it at something interesting. During this week I have been able to identify several constellations and a galaxy. I've seen Andromeda, Pegasus, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Aquila, and Lyra. Inside Andromeda I saw a well known galaxy called M31. Through binoculars it looks like a large fuzzy star. Stars in Cygnus, Aquila, and Lyra form what is know as the Summer Cross. Here at about 47 degrees latitude it's almost directly overhead at midnight.

Anyway it's fun to look at stars. Soon I can buy myself a cool telescope and actually have a good look at that galaxy.