Hiking at Fort Steilacoom

Today we went on a quick hike at Fort Steilacoom. The place is a bit deceiving at first glance. As we pulled into the parking lot I was disappointed. There were baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a playground and a paved walking trail. I thought here we go again, another boring “unscenic” walking path. Where were the vistas?

We walked along on the path and noticed some people off in the distance that were not on the paved path. We cut across the field and found some dirt trails that led us off into the woods. The deeper we got into the woods, the more serene and beautiful it got.

We plan on going back in the future to do more extensive exploring.

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Mount Rainier

Saturday we drove up to Mount Rainier even though it was raining, because if you plan your day around the weather or what is forecast here, you’ll never go anywhere. It was misting rain with low clouds so we couldn’t see Mount Rainier from the Sunrise visitor center, but the drive was still beautiful.

I left my camera home but took these with my phone.

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Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

We’ve been on vacation this week and again we have gone exploring around the state going to places we haven’t been to yet and still have only scratched the surface. We drove down to Long Beach, Washington and went to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is at the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. The views were stunning, absolutely took my breath away.

It is named Cape Disappointment because in 1792 fur trader John Meares was sailing south in search of trade locations and turned around just short of the mouth of the Columbia River. Silly man, should have stopped and asked for directions.

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He’s Going to be the Death of Me

If you find me dead alongside the road sometime it will be more than likely because of Orso. I walk him every day at least three times a day, the first at four am, and almost always it is in the dark. We also have more than our fair share of rabbits out and about along our route and Orso just has to lunge and bark at them in the dark. I try to be very vigilant on our walks watching out for any movement and Orso and his demeanor. If his ears are up and he gets stiff I know something is close by. I do this to avoid becoming a boat anchor or at the very least avoiding rotator cuff surgery.

This morning though I was a bit distracted and not fully on high alert when Orso decided to lunge and bark at something on the side of the road. He thought it was a small rabbit and was determined to scare it off. But it wouldn’t budge, just sitting on the side of the road daring him to cross the street and get closer. As we closed the distance, I saw that it was a rock, a round rock about four inches and not a rabbit. Dumb dog almost dragged me across the road to get to A Rock.

I should have taken that as a sign of what the rest of the walk would be like, but I didn’t. I just kept plodding along. The farthest point we walk to, is down a very dark section of road with no street lights and all of the homes on one side of the road are dark because all the sane people are sound asleep and nothing but dense woods on the other side of the road. As we turned around to head back home, Orso decided it was time to take his morning poop. I waited patiently for him to finish then fished out a poop bag and my flashlight so I could find it and not leave any behind.

After I picked his “elephant dump” and started tying a knot on the end of the bag, I stepped right in some other dog’s poop. Some thoughtless moron left his little dog’s poop on the side of the road and I stepped right in it. I should have shined my flashlight around the area before I took a step. I stood there cursing all little dogs and their owners, because at that moment I hated them all, (even though I know it’s not the dog’s fault, I grouped them all together). That was when Orso either heard or saw something moving in the woods and gave way to barking and lunging at the unseen phantom.

There I was standing on the side of the road trying to get the end of the poop bag tied off and wipe my shoe in the meager amount of grass and Orso was trying to get to some unseen monster in the woods. I’m lucky I only got poop on my shoe and not road rash from being dragged across the road.

The day is off to a bang, I can’t wait until our mid-morning walk and more opportunities to use my Aflac policy.

Death Wish

Though I’ve not seen any of our state’s predators, it is widely recognized that living in the State of Washington we have a large number of predators, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, Bears, Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes. Each one of these predators have the ability to eat small and large animals. I am putting out an all call to any or all of these predators. If I send you my address would you send a couple of emissaries around? I promise you will be richly rewarded.

Sound totally insane right? Well I know that mountain lions and bears can’t read (maybe wolves can, they are pretty smart) but I do have a totally rational reason for the need. We have rabbits here. Brazen or stupid, I don’t know which and I don’t care, I just want them gone. The other day a rabbit ran into our backyard in the afternoon while Orso and I were out there. He ran straight at Orso then turned and ran at me with Orso in hot pursuit. I was almost run down by a charging hundred-pound brown locomotive that only had eyes on a one-pound fur ball. Good thing I was paying attention and jumped aside.

Yesterday morning on our early morning walk, yes I still walk Orso at the crack of dawn, when I noticed Orso was very intent on something ahead of us. Something small with tall ears, another rabbit was sitting in the road just waiting for us, not moving, just waiting. Stupid rabbit, or maybe he was suicidal having the curse of not knowing utter fear and was totally bored with the good life. I tightened my grip on the leash and told him no, for all the good that did. He still lunged at the rabbit and woofed quite loud at four in the morning. People are sleeping and don’t want to hear a very deep loud woof then the screams of a rabbit in the jaws of my menace.

Again this morning we ran across another rabbit with a death wish just sitting on the side of the road, watching us come toward him. Again with the woof and the lunge. The evil little creature jump meandered off with a couple of small hops. Not the wild jerking and sprinting I have seen on the nature shows with a fox or coyote in hot pursuit. I could see my fears of being a boat anchor coming true once again if I don’t get rid of these small suicidal marsupials.

Hence my plea to all predators, please come, I’ll send you my address and I promise you will feast handsomely.

Someone Talk Me off the Ledge

I am having a life crisis and need some guidance before I make a huge mistake. Orso is ten years old and our only dog now. He is calm and sedate for the most part, giving way to the eternal puppy inside occasionally, running around like a loon. Those displays of puppy idiocy are few and far between. Life is good, quiet and boring.

Because life is going so well, there are fewer moments in life that are out of control and as chaotic as in the past, when he was younger and we were three dogs strong, AJ, our counter surfer and pantry raider, Charlie, our split personality dog, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Walking them was always a challenge and I had many instances of being the boat anchor, getting dragged after some poor unsuspecting creature of the night. Worst of all I have less and less to write about. No one wants to hear about how loud Orso snores or how he runs in his sleep.

So in an act of idiocy I have started looking at animal shelter websites and rescue groups online for another dog. I am not sure I am ready for another dog, I don’t want to go through the last weeks of Charlie’s psychotic breakdown, bringing a new dog into our peaceful home. I am somewhat gun shy after that and I won’t put Orso through the terror of Charlie’s vicious episodes with a dog that might not be animal friendly. During my recent business trip to Kansas City, I went to a dock dog competition where the local humane society was parading adoptable dogs around. I saw a big boy, an Akita mix, that if I still lived in KC I probably would have taken him home. Then another friend showed me pictures of a litter of Mastiff puppies that are five weeks old. Thank god they are too young to separate from their mother or I might have taken one of them, even though I do not want to go through another puppy phase EVER AGAIN.

My quandary is that I am probably one of the most boring people in the world, so unless I take up some new sport, like rock climbing or trail riding, I don’t have much to write about anymore. We all know how well I would do at rock climbing or trail riding and I think that eventually even Aflac would cancel my policy. That brings me back to my present problem, taking the leap and getting another dog.

I need the voice of reason to slap me across the back of my head and tell me, “Are you out of your mind? What are you thinking? Take up knitting or something a lot tamer, dummy!”

Poor Mitch, he is in so much trouble and doesn’t know it yet.

My Neighbor is Trying to Kill Me

Honestly, I am starting to believe that behind that sweet smiling generous face lurks a serial killer. This is probably why two other houses have recently gone on the market and I didn’t see the owners move out. All of a sudden the houses were just empty. She killed them. And she kills in the most insidious way, she will never get caught. It started out so innocuously, she offered to give me a couple of her Azalea bushes because she has too many. Sounds innocent enough right? Wrong, once she gets you in her yard, the evil begins.

She picks out a large mature Azalea bush and says how about this one? You think, wow a full grown bush, this will look great in my yard. So you say sure, that is so nice, thank you. Then you have to dig it up, not easy, after that you have to carry the full grown bush to the truck, remember it is a full grown bush and the roots are covered in about five pounds of dirt. After you place it in the truck and turn to say thank you, she says in a super sweet voice, oh I have more for you. You can’t leave with just one.

The first plant transplant excursion with her netted me four mature Azalea bushes, three Foxglove plants and one large fern. That’s how she sucks you in. She gives you a reasonable amount of plants to whet your appetite. Just like a crack dealer. The second plant transplant excursion she had me dig up four more large Azalea bushes and a sickly Rhododendron. One of the Azaleas was so large we had to get her husband to help lift it up in the truck.

She caught me on Monday and told me that according to the Almanac, Tuesday was the day to move plants and she had another Azalea to give me. Stupid me, I fell for it again. I got over there and she had me dig up eight Azaleas, one more Rhododendron and two very large Barberry bushes, resplendent with a ton of small sharp thorns. That was so much fun, I think I left a pint of blood in her dirt. Maybe that was the whole ploy, get me to bleed in her dirt and fertilize the soil. She wanted to give me three more extra-large Azaleas and two seven-foot-tall Rhododendrons, but I begged off by saying we should wait until the rainy season when the soil is easier to dig in. Maybe by then she will have forgotten or I’ll be dead from her generosity and it won’t matter.

I am going to have to up my game if I’m going to survive and expose her for the evil wicked woman that she is. Giving away extra plants in an evil ruse to make my yard lush and beautiful. Such evilness. Well I’m on to her game now and I’m eating my Wheaties, so I can dig with the best of them.

Franklin Falls Snoqualmie Pass

Today we traveled to the Cascade Mountains up to Snoqualmie Pass to hike at Denny Creek. This morning was a more typical day in the Pacific Northwest, rainy and overcast with temperatures in the sixties. Up in the mountains, there is still snow at the higher elevations, even in June, go figure.

We first drove up to Snow Lake Trailhead and hiked up to see a couple of waterfalls higher up but there was still snow that high and fresh snow at 4,000 feet. So we wandered down to the Franklin Falls trailhead and hiked up to the waterfall. Orso wanted to get into the river and splash around, but the current was way too fast and hard, we would have had to chase him all the way to the ocean.

We found cabins in the woods right on the river, talk about isolated. All in all we are getting to see things we never had back in the Midwest.

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Today The Pacific Ocean

Today we drove out to the coast to let Orso play in the ocean. There were a few surfers out there trying to catch a few waves. Overall the day was beautiful, a mild breeze, partly cloudy and mild temperatures. I found some intact sand dollars and made Mitch put them in his pockets to carry for me.

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We took Orso to an inlet first to see how he would do in the ocean with the salt water.

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Then we moved to the ocean shore to explore.

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