Friday, November 29, 2013

My Big Fat (Bike) Thanksgiving

I can't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving than being outside, in the woods, and on a bike.  I ventured north of here a bit past Poulsbo and sort of toward Kingston to North Kitsap Heritage Park.  The park has some nice, though easy non-technical, multi-use trails.

Clicking on the pictures makes them bigger, by the way.

I began my ride at the number 1 on the map.  That's where a parking lot is. 

With my floor pump out of commission I took a bike that had (more than) adequate tire pressure.  In this case it was the Surly Moonlander.

If you go back to the map for a minute you'll notice every trail junction is numbered.  At each trail junction there is a post with placards and numbers on them.  The numbers on the posts correspond with the numbers on the map.  The number on the post shown below is almost completely blocked by the bike seat.

With my new handy-dandy tripod thing, I can take pictures of - - - - - - - me!

I explored many of the trails.  One of which was a gravel road leading to a gate (which was closed) with led to a paved road which led to the sign in the picture below which is at Kingston Road which is a very short distance from a house I seriously considering buying.  Sweet!

When I needed a break I made my way back to the car for Thanksgiving dinner comprised of a Clif Bar, coconut Chai tea, and Hammer Gel for dessert!  Oh, don't cry for me, Argentina.  Several people invited me to their places for Thanksgiving.  "You shouldn't be alone for Thanksgiving!" was the usual.  Screw that!  The weather was outstanding as was the biking.  I chose wisely.

I did see a few signs like this.  Judging by the trails, few, if any, vehicles this sign targets were ever on the trails.

Judging from the picture below, this park is haunted by formless ghosts.  I have no idea what made that white form in front of the camera.  Weird.  No ghosts tried to knock me off my bike and take it for a spin.

The trail beginning at the "Trail Not Maintained" sign seemed to be the opposite of "not maintained."  Though I found a few of these trails, they are not on the map.  However, they were fun to ride.

What's a trailhead without a kiosk?  If you'll notice on the right side of the kiosk at about the middle brochure thing, there are some walking sticks with leather cords at the top hanging from a hook on the side of the kiosk.  Forgot your walking stick?  No worries!  They're here to borrow!

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving.  One of the things I'm thankful for is the large number of very nice trails to ride on.  It was a nice outing on a great day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Closing Inn

A post or two ago I'd mentioned I'm hunting for a house.  I'm happy to report I'm closing in on my elusive quarry.  I might have something substantial to report on this front soon-ish.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have a four-day weekend.  What to do?

The weather is holding nicely.  With some days off I'm likely going to do some biking and some hiking.  Co-workers have expressed interest in some mountain biking over this time off period.  Final plans will be made soon.  I'm hoping to have a post or two with some meat in the form of pictures to sling out there.

Other than that, not much to report.  Though I am in the market for some snowshoes.....

Friday, November 22, 2013


Hello there Gringos!  I've more house hunting/prepping stuff this weekend.  Have a little inspirational video.

Monday, November 18, 2013

On The Hunt

On Saturday I saw several houses up close and in person.  I've not been in the market for an actual house in some time.  Things have changed, I guess.  I should stipulate I now live in a very different part of the country.  However, I was a bit surprised at what one needs to spend to get something at least in pretty good shape and in an OK location.

I did find one house that has potential.  I'm going to look a bit harder at that one.  In the mean time, I'm engaging some financial institutions for "pre approval," whatever that means (I know what it means).

In addition to looking for a house, I will be in the market for a colder rated sleeping bag.  There's snow-shoeing-camping to be done this winter, I think.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Big Game Hunting

Just the other day I received a letter in the mail letting me know I have until January 18th and then that is that.  Reading this I knew the only thing to do would be big game hunting.

"Big game?" you might ask.

Yes, big game.

"Like deer."

No, bigger.

"OK, elk."

No, even bigger.

"Moose?  Bear?"

No and no.  The big game I'm putting in my sights is the very elusive "house."

The letter I received in the mail stated my apartment lease is up on January 18th.  It suggest I try their handy-dandy website to see how much they intended to jack my rent.  And, oh, by the way, failure to either renew by lease end OR let them know at least 20 days in advance means I'd be going "month-to-month" at the very unreasonable rate of the current month's rent plus and additional $500.00 per month.

Renting an apartment was always going to be a temporary thing.  I wanted about a year to learn the area and see where I want to be and where I don't want to be.  I do know my move to the Pacific Northwest was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  Buying a house makes good financial sense.

I'm lining up some house viewing appointments for Saturday.  I'd very much like to have this done, handled, and behind me MUCH before my "20 days before lease end."  Looking online at the listings, I have found several places that look appealing, are affordable, and have what I want.  We'll see how this big game hunting goes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Olympic National Park Day Hike

First off, right out of the chute, let's play a numbers game:

1)   Clicking on the pictures makes them bigger.

2)   What I type might have something to do with the pictures or it might not.

3)   A link to all the pictures I took can be found below somewhere if/when I remember to include it.

4)  Now onto the stuff:

Monday was a holiday for me.  I was done with my medical recertification and wanted to be outside.  The weather cooperated nicely and I was off to Olympic National Park.

I departed Port Orchard cutting through Belfair and Hoodsport.  The road to the park skirts the approximately 1 mile wide and 8 1/2 mile long (about 4,000 acres) Lake Cushman.  I stopped long enough to take a few pictures of the lake.

Not too far past the end of Lake Cushman the sign for Olympic National Park is found.  Monday I was in the southeast corner known as

the Staircase area.

I decided to do a day hike on the North Fork Skokomish River trail.

I really didn't have a game plan other than that.  I thought I'd hike for a bit and when I thought it time, turn around and hike back.  I was just enjoying being outside, having no agenda, and being along with my thoughts.

After the first 1/2 mile I took off my fleece jacket.

After another 1/2 mile I took off my merino wool bike jersey and was down to my Capilene base layer.  It was quite cool when I started but I think it got up to about 50 degrees on Monday.

I've been on these exact trails a few times this past summer.  Most of the pictures I took are probably quite similar to the pictures I took then.

I did bring along my little tripod with the flexible legs thing.  I was able to take a few selfies without holding the camera in my hand and extending it as far from me as I could.

This time of the year I almost had the park to myself.  I did run into a few people on the trail.  I did see three O.W.L.S.  I don't know if O.W.L.S. is a real organization or not.  I'm guessing not since I sort of made it up on the spot when I saw these three people.

The three people I was were all 70 to 75 years old (I'm guessing) and were a group of three women.  They had day packs and trekking poles.  When I first passed them, they were resting by the side of the trail and giggling like old college roommates telling "war stories."  Perhaps they were some time ago and this is their annual hike.  Or, perhaps they're locals and they do this often.

At any rate, they seemed to be having a large time.  I thought it interesting there were three elderly women doing this.  I said "hello" but made no further inquiries.  Sometimes one's imagination can concoct a better story than reality.  So, I labelled them O.W.L.S.  I decided O.W.L.S. stands for Old Widowed Longjohn Society.  I couldn't come up with a better word using "L."

Before I knew it I was at the trail that one would take to get to Flapjack Lakes, or, four miles from the parking lot.  I had chores to do back home so I decided to head back.  About 30 minutes heading back down the trail I stopped, moved aside, and let the grinning O.W.L.S. continue with their hike.

It was a great day to hike and get some fresh air.  All the pictures are HERE.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was in class all day working on my Wilderness First Responder recertification and CPR recertification.  I'm happy to report I've passed both.

The class was taught by National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) instructors

from their Wilderness Medical Institute branch.

There were 26 of us in the class.  The class was about 60% women and 40% dudes.  Most were from around this area.  They all had cool backgrounds and an avid interest of the outdoors and being outdoors.  In other words - exactly my Tribe.

Some of the class was spent inside in the classroom but more was outside doing "scenarios."  A "scenario" is a set up rescue.  The "patient" is given instructions on how to act, what to say, and more often than not given quite realistic looking makeup for bruises, blood, cuts, impalement, etc.  The rescuers followed the protocol in determining what was wrong and fixing.  "Scenarios" are my favorite part of class.  "Patients" always took their roll seriously and didn't help or hint to provide as realistic as we can get without actual problems.

Today I've got some errands, chores, and the like.  However, I can hear the Olympic Mountains calling.  I might scoot over the Olympic National Park for a day hike.  If so, I'll have something to talk about Wednesday and probably have some pictures, too.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Recert Starts Today

In a few hours I'll be making my way to my Wilderness First Responder recertification class.  I've studied, I've taken the practice tests, I only wish I'd done some "hands on" practicing with a not-so-innocent bystander....

A full report on Monday but here's this until then:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Have you ever wondered how certain things got started?  I've been a Dead Head for as long as I can remember.  I found the YouTube thing below on the interwebs.  It's an interview with Jerry Garcia on how the Dead became the Dead and the very early days.

Of course if the Grateful Dead are not your thing, perhaps this other video will jump your dead battery.....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Study Time

I had an inside weekend.  My Wilderness First Responder recertification thing is next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I had my nose in my textbook and workbook for most all of the weekend.

The three days will be spent learning new stuff, "rescuing"/treating "patients," and taking a written and practical exam.  This will go down at Olympic College in Bremerton, WA.

My review included Wilderness Medicine vs. Urban Medicine, Patient Assessment & Basic Life Support, Traumatic Injuries, Environmental Stuff, Medical Topics, and Common Wilderness Medical Problems.

The limits of a WooFeR (Wilderness First Responder) are things like I can't sew anyone up.  If someone needs stitches (sutures using the medical lingo) I'd clean the wound and then pack it wet to dry.  An evacuation would follow.

Also, I can't recommend or suggest taking anything stronger than over-the-counter drugs.  I can help patients if they're already prescribed, but that's it.

A WooFeR's task it to keep someone alive until they can be handed off to someone of higher medical training such as an EMT, nurse, or doctor.  Along with that is some fairly standard paperwork called a SOAP note.  A SOAP note is a precise way to communicate what's up with the patient.  It contains Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan information.

I have a SOAP note pre-made and I take one with me every time I go into the backcountry.  It has fill-in-the-blank spots such that I don't forget anything, it's easier to read, and can be filled out quickly and with minimal distraction from the primary task of tending to a patient.

WooFeR classes are held year 'round and all over the country.  If you're thinking you'd like to do one here's the scoop; they are 80 hours long and there's an extensive written and practical exam at the end.  Recertification classes are a three day event and also all over the place.

I decided to do this kind of out of guilt.  I like to do things in fairly remote places and some of those things can be a bit dangerous.  And, I always invite people along.  That's the guilt part.  I'd feel quite terrible if someone were to get hurt badly way out somewhere with no cell reception and limited means to help.  The chances of me needing to Woof someone are quite low.  However, if needed, I want to be prepared.

Friday, November 1, 2013

National Geographic Speaker Series

National Geographic reached out to me via email and snail-mail.  Both mediums advertised the same thing - "National Geographic Live!  Seattle 2014 Speaker Series."

The dates of the series are in the thick of the Pacific Northwest monsoon season.  This looks like a good way to distract a dude from the rainy season here.

There's a price break for subscribing to all of the sessions.  I am not good at planning that far in advance.  Though I'd like to attend all speaker's talks, I'll probably end up doing it on a session by session basis.  Sometimes life has a way of getting in the way of plans.

With the Banff Mountain Film festival in December and this speaker series, it looks like I'll have something to look forward to every month with the exception of February.  That might be a good month to visit a Southwestern part of the United States mountain bike venue.

The last thing, I encourage you to watch the video below.  If I were you, I'd click on the "full screen" button thing.  It's pretty good.